Updated: ‘Israeli army kills one Palestinian, injures 312, in Gaza
IMEMC 21 Sept — Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, a young man, and injured 312 other Palestinians, including 54 with live fire, after the army attacked the Great Return March processions, in several parts of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that the soldiers killed Karim Mohammad Kollab, 25, after shooting him with live fire, east of Gaza city. It added that the soldiers also injured 312 Palestinians, including 100 with live fire. 100 of the wounded Palestinians were rushed to hospitals in the Gaza Strip, while five of the injured residents suffered life-threatening wounds. The Health Ministry also said that among the wounded are twenty children and two women.
In related news, an Israeli tank fired a shell at Palestinian protesters near the perimeter fence, east of Gaza city, while an Israeli drone fired two missiles at a site, east of Gaza. According to online Israeli daily Haaretz, the army carried out several air strikes in northern Gaza, and quoted the military alleging that a number of protesters “hurled explosives and grenades,” in addition to burning tires. It added that one soldier was mildly injured by shrapnel, while firefighters extinguished six blazes caused by flaming balloons and kites, near the border area.
Israeli soldiers kill a child in southern Gaza
IMEMC 20 Sept — Israeli soldiers killed, on Wednesday night, a Palestinian child from Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and injured many Palestinians in several parts of the coastal region. The Health Ministry in Gaza said the soldiers killed Mo’men Ibrahim Abu Eyada, 15, from Rafah, after shooting him with a live round in the head, east of the city. According to Israeli Ynet News, the army said they “had no knowledge of any casualties or any live fire used by the soldiers,” and added that “only a very few officials were available for comments, because Israel was marking the Yom Kippur fast day.” Furthermore, the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds, and high-velocity gas bombs, at Palestinian protesters near the perimeter fence, east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, wounding six Palestinians with live fire, and causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The two Palestinians were rushed to the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, while the medics provided the needed treatment to scores of Palestinians who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to various cuts and bruises.
In addition, the soldiers attacked many protesters on Palestinian lands near Kissufim military base, northeast of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, moderate wounding eight after shooting them with live fire, and causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Also on Wednesday, the soldiers abducted two young Palestinian men after they crossed the perimeter fence, in southern Gaza, and moved them to an interrogation facility. The army said dozens of Palestinians “breached the fence from several parts of the Gaza Strip, and managed to return to the coastal region.”
Gaza: Palestinian teenager shot dead by an Israeli sniper
Al Jazeera 20 Sept — A Palestinian teenager has been shot dead by an Israeli soldier in the southern Gaza Strip during a demonstration, Gaza’s Ministry of Health and family members said. Mo’men Abu Ayadeh, 15, was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper on Wednesday night near the fence east of Rafah, the spokesperson for the health ministry Ashraf al-Qidra said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers had come under attack on the fence, with stones and firebombs thrown at them. Live rounds were fired according to “open-fire regulations”, she said. No Israeli casualties were reported.
According to Mo’men’s family, he was protesting for an end to the 12-year Israeli blockade and for the right of return of Palestinian refugees as part of the Great March of Return rallies that began on March 30. His father, Ibrahim Abu Ayadeh, told Al Jazeera that Mo’men attended the protests religiously. “Mo’men cared deeply about the march of return protests,” the 46-year-old said. “He was deeply affected by the injustice of daily life in the Gaza Strip, from the ongoing blockade and the difficult living situations.”
The teen, along with his friends, were members of a newly formed youth-led unit of the popular protests called Irbak al-Leili, or “nocturnal disturbance”. Members protest near the fence from early evening until midnight and participate in a number of unarmed tactics such as pointing laser lights at Israeli snipers stationed behind the fence. Another tactic includes blasting national songs on loudspeakers, as well as sending vocal messages to settlers in the vicinity of the besieged coastal enclave with the message that they are living on stolen Palestinian land. Mo’men, his father said, was shot directly in the head by a sniper’s bullet at around 11:30 pm (20:00GMT). “My son was protesting peacefully in a peaceful popular movement,” he said, adding that the Israeli occupation has normalised the targeting of women, children and elderly. “We have a right as Palestinians to protest against the blockade in any way,” he continued. “If the siege was lifted, then there would be no more protests. But we want our rights, and the protests will not stop with the killing of my son.”
Four slain Palestinians laid to rest in Gaza
[with photos] GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Thousands of Palestinians marched, on Wednesday, in the funeral processions of four Palestinians killed by Israel in the besieged Gaza Strip. In the al-Shate refugee camp of western Gaza City, thousands of mourners took part in Ahmad Omar‘s, 20, funeral, including Head of the Hamas movement’s politburo and other leaders of Palestinian factions. Omar’s mother told Ma‘an that the last thing her son told her before he headed to the protests at the eastern borders was that she is “the most beautiful gift,” that is when she asked him what he wanted for his upcoming birthday. Mourners and participants in the funeral waved Palestinian flags and flags of the Fatah movement, to which Omar belongs.
In Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, the funeral procession for Muhammad Ahmad Abu Naji, 34, set off in a crowded march. Meanwhile, in Khan Younis City in the southern Gaza Strip, mourners marched in the funerals of Naji Jamil Abu Assi, 18, and his cousin Alaa Ziad Abu Assi, 21. Mourners laid wreaths of flowers on the bodies of the Abu Assi cousins and repeated slogans demanding revenge.
MOH: 2 Palestinians killed, 30 others injured during Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Two Palestinians were shot and killed, while at least 30 others were injured after Israeli forces opened fire at them in protests near the Erez (Beit Hanoun) crossing between the northern besieged Gaza Strip and Israel, on Tuesday. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, who shot them with live ammunition. The ministry identified the two Palestinians as Ahmad Mahmoud Muhsen Omar, 20, and Muhammad Ahmad Abu Naji, 34. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reported that both Amer and Naji were shot in the head and chest by Israeli forces.
A Ma‘an reporter said that during the protest 30 Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli forces, who were using live ammunition, in attempt to suppress protesters. Meanwhile, several other Palestinians suffered from tear-gas inhalation due to tear-gas bombs thrown by Israeli forces toward protesters. PRCS immediately transferred injured Palestinians to the Indonesian Hospital in southern Gaza for necessary medical treatment. Thousands of Palestinian protesters arrived near the Erez crossing on Tuesday upon call by the High National Committee to break the nearly 12-year-long siege imposed by Israel on Gaza. The protesters were seen waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans, condemning the ongoing Israeli “crimes” against the residents of Gaza.
Israeli airstrike kills 2 Palestinians in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Two Palestinians were killed after being targeted by an Israeli airstrike east of Khan Younis in the southern besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday night. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that medical teams transferred the two Palestinians to the Nasser Hospital after an Israeli missile hit them as they allegedly attempted to cross the security border fence with Israel. Spokesperson of the ministry, Ashraf al-Qidra, identified them as [cousins]i Naji Jamil Abu Assi, 18, and Alaa Ziad Abu Assi, 21, from Khan Younis. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that Israeli warplanes targeted a group of Palestinians as they approached the security border fence in southern Gaza. Sources also claimed that the Israeli airstrike came after the Palestinians placed a “suspicious object” near the border fence.
Gaza protests escalate after deal to ease blockade fails
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 19 Sept by Fares Akram — Palestinians protested Wednesday at a new location along the perimeter fence between Israel and Gaza as Hamas intensified demonstrations at the border after Egyptian-led cease-fire talks stalled. The militant Hamas group was hoping its indirect talks with Israel would result in the lifting of a crippling blockade that Israel and Egypt placed on Gaza when it took over the territory in 2007 from the Palestinian Authority, but it accused the West Bank-based PA of thwarting the negotiations. For months, the marches were limited to Fridays, but Wednesday’s protest is the third this week, with new grounds including Gaza’s northwestern tip at the Mediterranean where land and sea boundaries converge. On Tuesday, Palestinian protested outside Erez, the only crossing point for people into Israel or the West Bank. “This thunderous march will not stop until the ordeal is over. This is our resolution,” Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said during the funeral of a Palestinian killed a day earlier at a protest. For Hamas, giving new momentum to the protests aims at building more pressure on Israel. “Creating new ways and tactics and diversifying the marches is meant to achieve the coveted goal of … the lifting of the siege,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said. The protests have persisted since late March, driven in large part by the desperation of living under the blockade. Hamas was close to reaching a deal and the mediation efforts reached their peak in August, but intervention by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority resulted in “confusing and slowing” the discussions, Qassem said….
As reconciliation stumbles, Abbas set to cut Gaza funds
RAMALLAH (Arshaq al-Awsat) 19 Sept by Kifah Zboun — President Mahmoud Abbas is about to make a decision to completely stop financing the Gaza Strip in the wake of the failure of inter-Palestinian reconciliation talks, well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. All means have been exhausted, and it’s no longer possible to keep the status quo in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian sources noted. Hamas “preferred to resort to a truce agreement (with Israel) at the expense of reconciliation. It has put reconciliation behind it,” the sources affirmed. “In light of this reality, the president will make imminent decisions.” According to sources, the decision to cut funding for the Gaza Strip may take place at any moment and be implemented immediately. The expected decision comes amid Egypt’s efforts to push forward a reconciliation agreement after Fatah insisted on a comprehensive empowerment of the government in the Gaza Strip and a complete cessation of talks on the truce, a move rejected by Hamas.
Cairo had resumed its efforts to make reconciliation a success, but at the same time halted Egypt-sponsored truce talks between the Palestinian factions and Israel last month, after Abbas warned against a truce agreement in the Gaza Strip, which he said would contribute to the separation of the sector from the West Bank….
Gaza: 13,000 UNRWA employees protest against cuts
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Sept — Some 13,000 UNRWA employees held a protest in front of the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City, against UNRWA cuts in salaries and services provided to refugees after the US decision to completely cut funding for the agency, which offers aid and services for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. Amir Al-Mishal, head of the UNRWA staff union, said that the staff gathered to reject all the obstacles by the administration of the agency and those behind it, stressing that the UNRWA crisis is not financial, but is rather subject to political agendas. We are not fighting against the UN agency,” he said, “but against job insecurity. We offered mediation to resolve the crisis with the agency, and to not put our rights in prejudice. We [the staff] agreed that we were ready to make contributions to overcome the crisis by the end of December.” According to the PNN, the union announced the suspension of communication with UNRWA after violating the agreement with the staff, and called on the press, government and factions to review the agency to find out what the administration has provided for employees. Al-Mishal called on the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to stand up for his responsibilities and intervene quickly, reiterating his demand for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to intervene immediately and urgently, as in previous trade union conflicts….
PHOTOS: 25 Fridays of protest in Gaza
The Atlantic 20 Sept by Alan Taylor — For nearly six months now, Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have been staging weekly demonstrations at points along the border between Gaza and Israel—protests they call the “Great March of Return,” which demands that Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their lands in present-day Israel. Every Friday since March 30, large and small groups of protesters approach the border fence under the watch of Israeli soldiers on the other side. Every Friday, Palestinians set tires ablaze, fly Palestinian flags, and chant slogans. Sometimes they throw rocks, fly incendiary kites to set fields ablaze, or lob tear-gas canisters over the fence—and sometimes they attack the fence itself with bolt cutters and hatchets. Every Friday, Israeli soldiers respond with tear gas and rubber bullets—sometimes live ammunition—to disperse, warn, injure, or kill those who get too close to the fence. United Press International quotes the Gaza Health Ministry as saying that “more than 178 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began March 30.”
Short Video: Palestinian protest Gaza blockade on land and sea
NBC News 18 Sept — Palestinian protesters set sail to denounce the 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip .Hundreds of protesters on the shore joined the Hamas-led demonstration. The protest took place near the maritime border with Israel. Chaos erupted when Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters. At least 26 people were reportedly injured.
Israeli forces open fire at farmers, raze lands in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)17 Sept — Israeli forces opened fire, on Monday morning, towards Palestinian farmers east of Khan Younis in southern besieged Gaza Strip. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli military observation towers opened fire as Palestinian farmers were working in their lands. Farmers were forced to evacuate the area in fear for their lives. Meanwhile, several Israeli bulldozers entered into the “buffer zone” alongside the southern Gaza border and razed lands. Witnesses said that four D-9 Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into lands near the “return camps” and razed and leveled lands as drones flew overhead.
Firefighters in south battle blazes sparked by suspected Gaza balloons
Times of Israel 20 Sept — Firefighters in southern Israel worked to extinguish at least nine blazes sparked by incendiary balloons flown over the border from the Gaza Strip Thursday, the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services said. A spokesman said the fires broke out near several Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza border, including Kibbutz Be’eri. On Wednesday, the fire service said there were four blazes started by suspected incendiary balloons near Kibbutz Be’eri over the Yom Kippur holiday. The use of fire balloons had been halted for several weeks, after several months of multiple daily attacks that left thousands of acres in southern Israel scorched and sparked fears of children being injured by bombs placed on balloons or kites and launched over the border. The return of the fire balloons come as tensions along the Gaza-Israel frontier have ramped back up after a brief lull….
Qatar ambassador visits field hospitals in Gaza
MEMO 19 Sept — Qatar’s Ambassador to Palestine has visited the field hospitals established in the Gaza Strip by the Jordanian and Moroccan authorities, Alarab.qa reported on Tuesday. Mohammed Al-Emadi met with officials and staff of the Jordanian military field hospital in Gaza before touring the facilities. During his visit, he hailed Jordan’s efforts to help the Palestinians in the besieged coastal territory. The ambassador also praised King Abdullah II for his overall support for the Palestinians and their cause. A similar visit was made to the field hospital set up in Gaza by the Moroccan military. Al-Emadi thanked Morocco’s King Mohammed IV for his humanitarian efforts to help the Palestinians. According to Alarab.qa, the visits were part of Qatar’s moves to strengthen relations with Jordan and Morocco.
Qatari committee opens Justice Palace complex in Gaza
Gulf Times 17 Sept — H. E. the Chairman of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Ambassador Mohamed al-Emadi inaugurated Sunday the Justice Palace complex in Al-Zahra city in the central Gaza Strip. The 11-dunam complex, at a cost of $11mn, comprises the Supreme Judicial Council, the Supreme Court, as well as Appeal, First Instance and Reconciliation courts. Abdul Raouf al-Halabi, President of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary in the Gaza Strip, praised Qatar’s efforts to complete the project and its continued support to the Palestinian people … The President of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary in the Gaza Strip said that the opening of the complex constitutes a new step down the path to maintaining justice and the protection of public and private rights and the first stage of the march of judicial development in the Gaza Strip. He thanked HE Ambassador Al Emadi and his team at the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza for their efforts, support and facilities to complete this project in a short and exemplary period.
$3 million to rehabilitate, develop infrastructure of Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing, Mufid al-Hasayneh, announced that the ministry cashed $3 million of the Kuwaiti grant to rehabilitate and develop the infrastructure sector of the Gaza Strip. Al-Hasayneh expressed thanks and gratitude, on behalf of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, to the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti Government and Kuwait Fund for Development for their support to the Palestinian people.
Ex-aide to Jimmy Carter named head of UN probe into Gaza clashes
Times of Israel 20 Sept by Raphael Ahren — The United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday announced that Santiago Canton of Argentina will head the agency’s probe into the clashes at the Gaza border this summer. Santiago is replacing David Crane, who last month quit as head of the panel. He cited “personal reasons” for his surprising withdrawal, though he reportedly felt compelled to leave after it emerged that he had previously advised the Israeli government. Canton, currently the secretary of human rights for the province of Buenos Aires, has focused his long career on human rights abuses in Latin America. He was the director of RFK Partners for Human Rights at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and the executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Earlier in his career, he served as political assistant to former US president Jimmy Carter in democratic development programs in countries in Latin America. He also worked alongside former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler, a prominent human rights advocate, on a 2018 Organization of American States panel studying possible crimes against humanity committed by Venezuela. Canton will preside over the three-member “Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The other members are Sara Hossain, a Bangladeshi lawyer educated in the UK, and Kaari Betty Murungi, a lawyer and human rights activist from Kenya….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian succumbs to wounds after brutal assault by Israeli forces
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — A 24-year-old Palestinian succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday morning, after he was brutally assaulted by Israeli forces as they detained him from his home in the Beit Rima village in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah in predawn raids. The Palestinian liaison identified the youth as Muhammad Zaghlul Rimawi (al-Khatib), 24.
Muhammad’s brother, Bashir Rimawi, told Ma‘an that some 40 Israeli soldiers raided their house in Beit Rima on predawn Tuesday, assaulted Muhammad while he was still lying in bed, wearing his nightwear, which Israeli forces ripped off of his body. Bashir added that Israeli forces continued to brutally beat his brother, while unconscious, carried him outside the house and took him to an unknown location. Bashir said that the Palestinian liaison contacted the family later and informed them that Muhammad had succumbed to his wounds; no other information was given regarding Muhammad’s death or when would his body be returned to the family for funeral processions. The Israeli authorities reportedly transferred Muhammad’s body to Abu Kabir Forensic Center in Jaffa for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The Rimawi family accuse Israeli forces of being responsible for the death of their son, Muhammad, due to the brutal assault he was subjected to during his detention hours before being declared dead. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) also confirmed that Muhammad’s death resulted from excessive beating by Israeli forces. PPS held Israel fully responsible for the killing of Muhammad Rimawi, “whose death was added to a long list of crimes and unjust executions carried out against Palestinian detainees and prisoners inside detention centers and prisons.” The Addameer human rights organization said that the excessive use of force by Israeli soldiers during Rimawi’s detention was the cause for his death. Addameer added that Rimawi did not pose any threat to the soldiers to require them to use such excessive force against him, pointing out that this is a violation of the international humanitarian law which bans the use of force against civilians who do not pose any real and direct threat. The organization considered the use of such lethal force in this manner extrajudicial execution. The number of killed Palestinian detainees and prisoners since 1967 has risen to 217, according to a report by PPS; 75 of whom were executed after detention, 72 died of torture, 62 of “medical neglect” and seven were “directly shot and killed by Israeli soldiers and guards inside jails and detention centers.”….
In video – Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian for alleged attack
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) 19 Sept — A 26-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the al-Musrara neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian, who was identified as Muhammad Youssef Shaaban Elayyan [or Oleyyan], a resident from the Qalandiya refugee camp, for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli authorities sealed off the street in the al-Musrara neighborhood surrounding the scene for several hours, preventing local residents from accessing it. The Israeli authorities then transferred Elayyan’s body to an unknown location after holding his body at the scene for about three hours. Sources confirmed that Israeli forces repeatedly fired live ammunition at Elayyan, shattering a local shop’s window and damaging several vehicles in the neighborhood, although the shop and vehicles were located a few meters away from where Elayyan was killed.
Israeli settler runs over Palestinian teen in Hebron City
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — A 16-year-old Palestinian teen was hospitalized after an Israeli settler “deliberately” ran him over, on Friday, in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Witnesses told a Ma‘an reporter that an Israeli settler deliberately ran over the Palestinian teen with his vehicle in Hebron City. The teen was identified by locals as Munir Abdullah Gharib, 16. Mounir suffered injuries from the attack and was immediately transferred to the Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron for necessary medical treatment; his condition remained unknown. Incidents involving Israeli settlers hitting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are a relatively regular occurrence, and are usually treated by Israeli security forces as accidents, even in cases when witnesses claim the car rammings were deliberate.
Residents prevent seizure of land in Sheikh Jarrah
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Israeli settlers attempted to seize Palestinian-owned land, on Thursday, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, however, the residents intervened and prevented the seizure. Hashem Badr, member of a local Sheikh Jarrah committee, said that Israeli settlers stormed the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood under the protection of Israeli forces, and removed the barbed wire surrounding the 50-square-meter piece of land. Residents of the neighborhood quickly intervened and remained on the land as a form of resistance to the attempted seizure by Israeli settlers. Badr confirmed that the land belongs to Abed al-Razeq al-Sheikh, whose house is adjacent to the land, and that the seizure was for settlement purposes. Muhammad Kiswani, also a member of a local Sheikh Jarrah committee, confirmed that among the Israeli settlers who stormed the neighborhood was Arieh King, Jerusalem City councilman, who supports illegal Israeli settlement expansion. Kiswani mentioned that Israeli settlers along with members of the Custodian of Absentees’ Property had previously attempted to seize the same piece of land at the end of August, during which Israeli bulldozers began to raze the land and uprooted planted trees. According to Israeli law, Jewish Israelis are permitted to claim ownership over property believed to have been owned by Jews before 1948 during Ottoman or British rule. However, such a law does not exist for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who were displaced from their lands and homes during and after the establishment of the state of Israel.
Israeli forces severely assault, detain Hebron residents
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Israeli forces raided a Palestinian home, on Wednesday night, in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and assaulted its residents. Locals said that Israeli forces raided the home of Palestinian Ghaleb Abu Sbeih in the Old City of Hebron and thoroughly searched it, damaging most of his furniture and personal belongings. Israeli forces assaulted two Palestinians, Shaher and Ibrahim Abu Sbeih, during the raid, for unknown reasons. Shaher was immediately transferred to the Hebron Governmental Hospital to receive the necessary medical treatment. Medical sources confirmed that Shaher suffered severe bruising and swelling all over his body due to being repeatedly assaulted.
Meanwhile in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood also in Hebron’s Old City, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian after Israeli settlers assaulted him. Human Rights Defenders confirmed to Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained Abdullah Abu Aisha after he was assaulted by several Israeli settlers while in the neighborhood. Abu Aisha’s condition remained unknown. The past few months, groups of Israeli settlers have stormed Tel Rumeida and attacked Palestinian residents as well as activists.
Israeli forces injure dozens of Palestinian students in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Dozens of Palestinian school students suffered injuries, on Wednesday, during clashes with Israeli forces in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Local sources said that Israeli forces provoked Palestinian students as they were on their way to school in Hebron City, resulting in violent clashes between students and Israeli forces. Clashes erupted near the al-Nahda Boys School and the Tareq Bin Ziad school, which reportedly disrupted classes in both schools. During the clashes, Israeli forces fired tear-gas bombs at the Palestinian students, causing dozens of students to suffer from tear-gas inhalation. Palestinian students are regularly harassed by Israeli forces and settlers in Hebron City.
The Palestinian Ministry of education released its annual report for 2017 documenting the Israeli government’s violations against Palestinian education, saying that 80,279 Palestinian children and 4,929 teachers and staff were “attacked” by Israeli settlers or soldiers. According to the report, nine students were killed, while 603 students and 55 teachers and school employees sustained live or rubber bullets wounds during Israeli raids into schools or by being run over by Israeli military jeeps, while dozens of students suffered from suffocation due to inhaling tear-gas fired by Israeli forces against them.
Clashes erupt during Israeli raids on West Bank areas
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians during Israeli raids to several areas across the occupied West Bank, on Saturday dawn. In the Hebron district in the southern West Bank, Israeli forces raided the Tarqumiya town hours after an Israeli settler had run over a Palestinian teen in the Tel Rumeida street of the Old City of Hebron. Israeli forces raided the family home of activist Raed Abu Irmeileh in Hebron’s Old City.
In the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, Israeli forces summoned one Al-Aqsa Mosque guard, Mahdi al-Abbasi, and the Farah movement’s secretary in Jerusalem, Shati Matour.
Israeli forces also raided the ‘Azzun town in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya.
Locals in the northern West Bank district of Nablus said that clashes erupted in the Sabastiya town in northwestern Nablus after Israeli patrols raided the town.
In the northern West Bank district of Jenin, several Palestinians suffered tear-gas inhalation during clashes that erupted at the Jabaa town crossroads in southern Jenin. Locals said that clashes erupted after Israeli forces set up a military checkpoint at the entrance of the town, stopped and searched vehicles and passengers.
Israeli forces detain eight Palestinians, injure three, in West Bank raids
NABLUS (WAFA) 18 Sept – Israeli forces Tuesday detained at least eight Palestinians and injured three others in multiple overnight raids across the West Bank, said security forces. Large Israeli troops detained two Palestinians after storming their families’ homes in Osarin town, southeast of Nablus. The raids triggered clashes, during which soldiers opened fire at local youths who protested the raid and attempted to block their passage, injuring at least two protestors. One protestor was reportedly hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the left eye and subsequently rushed to Rafidia Government Hospital. The other protestor was treated at the scene for being hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the leg. The raid took place after an Israeli military bulldozer sealed the entrance to the town with earth mounds.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces conducted a raid that sparked clashes in ‘Azzun town, west of Qalqiliya city, where they detained three Palestinians. This came as the entrance to the northern West Bank town was blocked off for the seventh consecutive day.
In Jenin district, forces detained a former prisoner after ransacking his home and interrogating family members in ‘Arraba town, southwest of Jenin city.
In Ramallah district, forces raided Qalandia refugee camp, south of Ramallah city, ransacking several homes and detaining two Palestinians. Violent clashes flared up in the camp during which a protestor was hit with bullet fragments in the feet. He was rushed to Ramallah Medical Complex for treatment. Israeli troops thoroughly searched and wreaked havoc in one home before seizing around 15,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $4,200).
Army abducts seven Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 20 Sept — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday at dawn, at least seven Palestinians, including three members of the same family, from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The PPS said the soldiers conducted extensive and violent searches of many homes, and interrogated several Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. It added that the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Jamal Karama, in addition his wife Hana Misk, and their son Jamil, from Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. The soldiers assaulted the family while searching their home; the property has recently been subject to frequent military invasions, and the soldiers also confiscated Jamal’s car. In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers searched homes and abducted Milad Fuad Masad and Moshir Monther Masad. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Odah Issa and Mohammad Omar Salah, from Bethlehem.
Israeli soldiers detain Al-Aqsa Mosque guard
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Israeli forces detained an Al-Aqsa Mosque guard on Thursday morning as he was heading to his work at the compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. Sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained an Al-Aqsa Mosque guard, who was identified as Hamza al-Nabali, while he was walking towards the Hatta Gate to reach the mosque. Sources added that al-Nabali was taken to an Israeli police station in the Old City for interrogation.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces banned head of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound’s female guards, Zeinat Abu Sbeih, from entering the compound and handed her a summons notice to show up for interrogation at the Israeli police station in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday morning.
326 Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa to perform prayers
[with photos, videos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday, on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement. A Ma‘an reporter said that dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the compound through the Moroccan Gate in successive groups to hold celebrations and perform religious Jewish prayers in the compound. Spokesman of the Islamic Endowment Department (Waqf), Firas al-Dibs, said that Israeli forces assaulted staff members of the Endowment Department, as well as several other Palestinians present in the compound. Medical sources confirmed that seven of the assaulted Palestinians and staff members suffered various bruises on the chest, back, and shoulders. The injured were immediately transferred to a nearby hospital to receive necessary medical treatment. Al-Dibs confirmed that Israeli forces detained Raed Zghayyar, a staff member of the Rehabilitation Committee, while in the compound and was taken to an Israeli police station in the Old City. Another two Palestinians were also detained from Jerusalem City by the Israeli police; the detainees were not yet identified … Sources added that Israeli forces and police were deployed across the compound to provide security to Israeli settlers. Israeli police confiscated ID’s of Muslim visitors to the compound, including women and youths, before allowing them entry….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Soon I will watch Israel destroy my home
The Forward 14 Sept by Eid Khamis — As I write these words, I await Israel’s destruction of the only home and community that I have known in my 52 years of life. The 180 residents of my West Bank village, Khan al-Ahmar — men, women and children — will soon be forcibly removed from our land in order to expand Israel’s illegal settlements. Our homes will be demolished and even our elementary school, built with love out of nothing but tires and mud, will be leveled. My fondest memories are of my childhood in Khan al-Ahmar. I would often make trips with my friends to a nearby valley full of natural springs and ponds. We would take food and tea with us, riding on donkeys to swim, catch fish, and enjoy ourselves. Israel stopped us from visiting the valley years ago, and now it wants us to leave our homes altogether and move once again. Even though Khan al-Ahmar was established in 1952, long before Israel’s army occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it cannot be found on a map. My parents came to Khan al-Ahmar after being forcibly removed in 1948 from our village in the desert in Arad, after the establishment of the State of Israel. Like other Palestinian cities and towns, Israel destroyed our village in order to make way for Jewish Israelis. We were thrown off our land and told to fend for ourselves. So we made our way to Khan al-Ahmar, a desert area nestled between two major water sources, in order to survive. Khan al-Ahmar, then under Jordanian control, was allowed to thrive, with the Jordanians recognizing our rights. But with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967, everything changed….
Europeans at UN urge Israel not to demolish Palestinian village
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 20 Sept — Eight European countries at the United Nations including five Security Council members on Thursday called on Israel to reverse its decision to demolish a Palestinian village in the West Bank. Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands warned that the demolition of the village of Khan al-Ahmar “would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution”. “We therefore call upon the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar,” the countries said in a joint statement released ahead of a council meeting on the Middle East. On September 5, Israel’s supreme court upheld an order to raze the village on grounds that it was built without the proper permits. The community of roughly 200 people is located in a strategic spot near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea. There have been warnings that continued Israeli settlement construction in that area could divide the West Bank in two and cut it off from Jerusalem, killing off the prospect of amassing contiguous land for a viable future Palestinian state.
Palestinian demolishes own home upon Israeli court order
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — A Palestinian from the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, in the central occupied West Bank, demolished his own home on Thursday afternoon upon order by an Israeli court. Fadi Shawamreh said that he had to demolish his own home; that was built in 2006, following an order by an Israeli court that the house was not licensed. Shawamreh said that a demolition order against his house was issued after he started renovating the ceiling and walls of the house during the past two years. He added that he was able to postpone the demolition several times until a final order was issued by the court to demolish the structure. The court allowed Shawamreh until the beginning of September to carry out its order or else paying demolition fees imposed by the Israeli municipality for its crews that would be carrying out the demolition instead….
Israel demolishes under-construction house in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli forces, demolished a Palestinian home that was still under construction in the Rantis village in northwestern Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, on Thursday. Sources said that Israeli forces demolished the house under the pretext that it was built without the almost-impossible-to-obtain Israeli permits. The house was located in Area C. Palestinian construction in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control — is completely forbidden. Palestinians are not allowed to build on their own private lands without nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permits. The 1995 Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israeli authorities divided the West Bank into Area A, B, and C. Area A, comprising the populated Palestinian cities and making up 18 percent of the West Bank, would be controlled by the newly formed PA, while Area B remained under Israeli army control with the PA controlling civil affairs. Area C, the majority of the West Bank, however, was placed under full Israeli military control and contains the majority of natural resources and open spaces in the Palestinian territory. The Israeli-controlled land was expected to be gradually transferred to the PA over a five-year period, according to the Oslo agreements. Yet, almost two decades later, the land has remained under Israeli control.
I asked Israel’s only journalist in Palestine to show me something shocking – and this is what I saw
The Independent 21 Sept by Robert Fisk in Bir Naballah, West Bank — This is the old road from Ramallah to Jerusalem, lined with lost wealth and forgotten hopes and once-loved homes. They all now end, of course, at The Wall — Show me something that will shock me, I told Amira Hass. So Israel’s only journalist in the Palestinian West Bank – or Palestine, if you still believe in so unorthodox a word – took me down a road outside Ramallah that I remember as a highway which led to Jerusalem. But now, just over a hill, it deteriorates into a half tarmac road, a set of closed, rusting shop doors, and garbage. The same old summer smell of raw sewage creeps up the road. It lies, green and gentle, in a pool at the bottom of the wall … But the section of The Wall to which Amira Hass takes me – tourist guide and analyst of Israeli society, she admits, do not go together – is a truly miserable place. Not as epic as Dante. Maybe a war correspondent could better describe the place. It’s the old road from Ramallah to Jerusalem, lined with lost wealth and forgotten hopes and once-loved homes which now end, of course, at The Wall. “Now if this is not shocking, I don’t know what shocking is,” Amira says. “It’s a destruction of people’s life – it’s the end of the world. See here? We go straight to Jerusalem. Not now. This was a busy road and you can see here how people invested in homes with a little bit of grace, the strength of the houses, the stone. Look at the Hebrew signs – because these Palestinians used to have so many Israeli customers. Even the name ‘carpenter’ is in Hebrew.” But almost all the shops are closed, the houses shuttered, weeds and dry sticks along the broken kerb. The graffiti are pitiful, the sun merciless, the sky so caked with heat that the grey of the wall sometimes merges into the grey stone of the sky. “It is pathetic,” Amira Hass says, without emotion. “This place – I’ve always been showing it to people; always, you know, probably a hundred times already, and it never stops shocking me.”
Israeli announces plan to expand settlement in occupied West Bank
PressTV 17 Sept — Israeli authorities have announced that they plan to expand a settlement in the southern occupied West Bank as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its land expropriation policies in the occupied territories irrespective of great international outcry — Israel’s so-called Civil Administration announced the plan on Monday, saying it will expand the settlement of Tina Omarim in the town of Dahriyeh, in the southern occupied West Bank district of al-Khalil (Hebron). The Palestine’s Land Research Center, which obtained a copy of the detailed plan, said the plan would change the classification of the Palestinian-owned land from agricultural into urban, in an attempt to justify expanding the Israeli settlement. The report further said that the plan would lead to the seizure of 64 acres of Palestinian-owned land in the al-Thahriyeh town. It also noted that the plan would include the building of some 150 housing units, the establishment of public institutions, public parks, streets and parking lots.
Israel approves 220 settlement units in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — A candidate running for the Jerusalem Municipality revealed on Monday a plan approved by the Israeli Civil Administration to construct 220 illegal Israeli settlement units in the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, in occupied East Jerusalem. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that candidate Aryeh King, a right-wing, ultra-Orthodox who is heading the “United” faction, said that the 220 new settlement units will be constructed at the initiative of Israeli businessmen as well as international. The units would serve as part of the expansion plan for the illegal Israeli settlement of Nof Tzion, adjacent to the area in question. Sources also said that the construction plan was approved by the Israeli Civil Administration, noting that the plan is still open to objections. However, if the construction plan is approved without any objections, 220 new settlement units are expected to start construction in the next few months. According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, in the year and a half since President Trump took office some 14,454 units in the West Bank has been approved, which is more than three times the amount that was approved in the year and half before his inauguration (4,476 units).
Settlers establish West Bank outpost in response to Israeli-American’s murder in terror attack
[behind paywall] Haaretz 21 Sept by Yotam Berger — The Efrat local council established an outpost on Givat Eitam as a response to the murder of Ari Fuld, a resident of the West Bank settlement who was stabbed at the Gush Etzion junction earlier that week. Givat Eitam is an area considered strategic, east of Efrat but located within its municipal jurisdiction. Israel has tried to advance legal construction in the area in the past but was halted due to the hill’s proximity to the Bethlehem region and the fact that international entities consider it a strategic area. A visit to the site revealed that one hut was built there, and there was a truck bearing a mobile home. A very small group of young people who are there said that they take turns guarding the hill. They confirmed that they were sent by the local council, and its flag was raised there. The army was also present. The Civil Administration recognizes the establishment of the outpost and apparently there is no immediate intention of evacuating it, one reason being previous requests by the council to permit construction at the site and allow it to become permanent. In the past there was an outpost on the hill, which was built in 2013 but was evacuated after about two years. The local council officially assumed responsibility for the establishment of the illegal outpost, whose houses were built without a permit and contrary to the law….
Despite mother’s warning, Israel to demolish family home of West Bank terrorist
[behind paywall] Haaretz 17 Sept by Yotam Berger et al. — Israeli security forces raided Monday overnight the home of Khalil Jabarin, the Palestinian who killed Ari Fuld in a stabbing attack at the entrance to a mall near the West Bank’s Gush Etzion Junction. The house, situated in the West Bank village of Yatta, was mapped ahead of its planned demolition. This is despite Jabarin’s mother alerting Palestinian and Israeli security forces of her son’s intentions prior to the attack. On Sunday, the Israeli army said Jabarin’s mother came to the military checkpoint Meiter in the South Hebron Hills and told soldiers of her son’s plan to carry out an attack. Israeli army also noted she arrived at the checkpoint several minutes before the attack, and added she was present during the attack … A source close to the Jabarin family said Sunday that Jabarin informed his parents that he planned on carrying out an attack at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The family said it informed Palestinian security forces, but those were unable to locate him in the tomb’s vicinity. Palestinian security authorities refused to comment on the matter.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel releases Palestinian poet from prison
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — The Israeli authorities released Palestinian poet Darin Tatour on Thursday after she completed two months out of her original five-month sentence. The Israeli authorities reduced Tatour’s five month sentence by three months, during which she was held in detention. Following the decision, Tatour was released from the Israeli Damun prison, in the Haifa district in northern Israel, where she completed the two month sentence. Upon her release, Tatour said “After three years of suffering, imprisonment and house arrest, I finally feel happy.” She added, “I have gained my freedom and I will continue to write. All my suffering was due to a poem I wrote and it saddens me that they (Israeli authorities) imprisoned me for writing the poem.” In July, the Israeli Magistrate Court of Nazareth sentenced Tatour to prison after the Israeli prosecution accused her of “incitement and supporting a terrorist organization” for writing a poem criticizing the Israeli occupation and posting it on her personal page on Facebook.
Israel releases four Palestinian prisoners from Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — The Israeli authorities released four Palestinian prisoners from the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, after they ended their 11-month sentences each. The four, Wael Khalil Atallah, 36, Khalid Ali al-Masri, 30, Murad Moussa al-Khmour, 23, from the Dheisheh refugee camp and Fadi Atiq, 14, from Bethlehem City were jailed and sentenced for participating in “resisting occupation” and belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP.) The PFLP organized a welcoming ceremony for the four former prisoners that began with a vehicles march from the streets of Beit Sahour and Bethlehem cities reaching the Dheisheh refugee camp. Palestinian flags were waved alongside flags of the PFLP, pictures of the four and signs condemning Israeli violations against prisoners. According to Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer, as of September, there are 5781 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons.
No justice for Bil‘in Palestinian activist shot dead by Israeli soldier
+972mag 18 Sept by Henriette Chacar — More than nine years after an Israeli soldier killed Palestinian activist Bassem Abu Rahmeh at a protest in Bil‘in, Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected a third and final appeal against the army’s refusal to prosecute or punish anyone for his death. The court, however, accused military police and prosecutors of handling the case with negligence, particularly for their inability to identify Abu Rahmeh’s killer. Justice George Karra was particularly piercing, writing in the judgment that Israeli law enforcement officials’ conduct, “or rather, [their] failure to investigate, led to the spoliation of evidence, and to the inability to find the person responsible for the victim’s death. And that is regrettable.” Abu Rahmeh, 30, was nonviolently protesting against the separation wall in Bil‘in when an Israeli soldier fired an extended-range tear gas canister directly at his chest, against IDF regulations. The injury killed Abu Rahmeh almost immediately. The unarmed, popular protests in Bil‘in, a Palestinian village near the West Bank city of Ramallah, started in 2005. Residents and Israeli and Palestinian activists marched weekly to protest the separation wall, which cut them off from nearly 2,000 dunams of their agricultural land….
Two months of detention for Belgian Mustapha Awad: Committee calls for action
Samidoun 19 Sept — Today marks two months since our dear friend Mustapha Awad, a Belgian citizen of Palestinian origin, was arbitrarily detained by the Israeli authorities. Mustapha is an artist and co-founder of the Raj’een Dabkeh Group, a human rights defender, a metalworker and a resident of Aalst. This summer, he decided to visit Palestine, the land of his grandparents. His arbitrary arrest and detention is very disturbing. Mustapha has been subjected to inhuman treatment, amounting to torture, while under interrogation. During these two months of detention, Mustapha has been denied even the opportunity to call his family. On October 2, he will appear for the third time before an Israeli court. Friends of Mustapha, fellow members of his dance troupe and representatives of organizations defending Palestinian rights have come together to form the Free Mustapha Committee….
Ahed Tamimi travels to France despite Israeli travel ban
IMEMC/Agencies 18 Sept — Despite an Israeli ban on her movement, Palestinian resistance icon Ahed Tamimi traveled to France, for a debate, on Friday. The young resistance leader was invited by L’Humanité newspaper and the French Communist party, or PCF, to participate in an event organized by Association France Palestine Solidarite. Ahed spoke on Sunday, at the Fete de L’Humanité (Festival of Humanity) which is organized annually by the PCF and its newspaper L’Humanité at La Courneuve in Seine-Saint-Denis. “I want to say to Trump that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Palestine”, Ahed Tamimi said, in reference to the decision of the U.S. president to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, addressing thousands of people who attended the last day of the event. “The Palestinian refugees, we do not need the money of the Americans, but to return to our land” and find “our dignity”, she added, according to Days of Palestine. “We must be united in the face of the occupation.” She went on to describe her own experience as a young Palestinian under brutal military occupation. “When you’re a young Palestinian who is 17 years old today, you suffer on a daily basis the practices of the Israeli occupation … even Palestinian children are arrested at checkpoints and Israeli-controlled.” The Palestinian people, Ahed concluded, “we are not victims, we are fighters for freedom.” The 17-year-old teenager from Nabi Saleh village in the occupied West Bank was jailed for eight months for slapping two Israeli occupation soldiers who were harassing her family at their home’s yard … The news of her France visit comes just a week after she was informed by Palestinian authorities that she was not allowed to leave the country, due to an Israeli ban on her and her family from doing so. Her father had said that they were not given any definite reason for the ban. Ahed is now expected to travel through Europe to talk about Palestine’s resistance and her time in Israeli prison. Her next stop will be in Spain, to participate in more solidarity events.
Abbas denies Palestinians refused peace talks with Israel
PARIS (AP) 21 Sept — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has denied U.S. claims the Palestinians have refused to enter peace talks with Israel. Abbas’ denial came after talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron Friday. Abbas asked Macron to pass the message onto U.S. President Donald Trump. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that the Palestinian de facto embassy in Washington was being shut because the PLO hadn’t taken steps toward negotiations. Abbas said “we didn’t reject negotiations as the Israelis claim,” adding that the Palestinian side is “ready for any confidential or public talks.” Abbas also said “the Europeans are working seriously to substitute and fill the American (funding) gap” after the Trump administration canceled over $200 million in aid for Palestinian projects.
Mahmoud Abbas to hold Middle East meeting in New York
AFP 19 Sept — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has invited Middle East envoys, foreign ministers and UN Security Council diplomats to a meeting in New York next week to discuss prospects for peace, the Palestinian ambassador said on Wednesday. The meeting on the sidelines of the UN general assembly debate was called amid a crisis in ties with president Donald Trump’s administration over its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cuts to Palestinian aid. Mr Abbas will meet with the group of 30 ministers and diplomats including the heads of UN committees that deal with Palestinian issues on September 26, a day before he is scheduled to deliver his address at the general assembly. Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour did not provide details, but he told reporters that there had been a “radical shift” under the Trump administration to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The Palestinian leadership cut off contact with the White House after Mr Trump decided to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, whose eastern area the Palestinians claim as their own capital. Palestinian leaders see the Trump administration as blatantly biased in favour of Israel….
Al-Quds graduates first cohort of trainees in ICC litigation
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 Sept — Al-Quds University’s newly created Academy for Global Justice completed the first of its kind training in the procedural and substantive aspects of litigation before the International Criminal Court, as prescribed by the Rome Statute of 2002. The Academy, which is chaired by the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court the Honorable Luis Moreno Ocampo, offered this intensive training course to twenty six students from the Faculty of Law and the Al-Quds Bard College. Five public prosecutors from the Palestinian Public Prosecution and four diplomats from the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign affairs also participated in the training. “The idea of establishing this first of its kind institute in the Middle East came in response to the pressing need in Palestine to train and prepare experts in the field of international criminal law and in the practical aspects of litigation before the ICC, especially now that Palestine has become a state party to the Rome Statute”, said President of Al-Quds University, Professor Imad Abu Kishek during the commencement ceremony….
Despite rising tensions, Trump administration says Palestinian Authority fighting terrorism
[behind paywall] Haaretz 20 Sept by Amir Tibon — … The Trump administration has announced over the summer a series of budget cuts in U.S. assistance to the Palestinians, hurting hospitals in East Jerusalem, co-existence groups promoting meetings between Israeli and Palestinian children, and economic projects in the West Bank that were supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Yet the only part of the American aid budget to the Palestinians that the administration didn’t touch, were the dozens of millions of dollars going to the PA security forces. That money was sent to Ramallah in July. The annual terror report made note of this fact, stating that “The United States assisted the PA’s counterterrorism efforts by providing training, equipment, and infrastructure support.” It also noted that “U.S. training and support assisted in the PA’s continued development of professional, self-sufficient, and capable security forces. The United States also assisted the PA with criminal justice investigations and prosecutions of terrorist financing and terrorist-related activity.”
Gaza’s deepening economic woes may spill over into West Bank, IMF says
The National 17 Sept by Deena Kamel — The Gaza strip’s economy will shrink further this year and into 2019, while its deepening financial hardships could spill over to the West Bank through the banking sector, the International Monetary Fund warned. Gaza’s economy is expected to contract four per cent this year and 1.5 per cent in 2019 in the face of a worsening humanitarian crisis aggravated by large aid cuts and revenue losses, the IMF said in a report on Monday. The West Bank is projected to grow 3 per cent this year and 2.2 per cent in 2019. “The West Bank is not immune to pressures in Gaza, particularly given the still active financial connections,” the Washington-based lender said. “Spillovers from Gaza could have broader implications for the fiscal sector going forward.” The comments followed the IMF’s 12-day visit to East Jerusalem and Ramallah on July 8 to assess economic progress in Gaza and the West Bank. Gaza, strangled by years of blockades, is stifling Palestine’s economic growth, which will decelerate to 1.5 per cent in 2018 from 3.1 per cent last year, according to IMF forecasts. Unemployment in Palestine was the highest in the world in 2017, standing at 27.4 per cent, and half of Palestinians under 30 are unemployed, the UNCTAD said in a Sept. 12 report. The liquidity crunch in Gaza could spill over to the West Bank through domestic banks which have “substantial” exposure to both regions, the IMF said….
Jordan takes steps to support Jerusalem’s Palestinians
Al-Monitor 19 Sept by Daoud Kuttab — The Jordanian government’s decision to reduce fees on passports for Palestinians in Jerusalem has revived hopes of a larger role for the kingdom in defending the rights of Jerusalemites. On Sept. 4, the Civil Status and Passports Department (CSPD) reduced passport fees from 200 Jordanian dinars ($281) to 50 dinars ($70) and allowed Jerusalem residents to apply for passports from the city instead of having to travel to Jordan. CSPD Director Fawaz Shahwan told Al-Monitor that the decision was taken to help ease life for Jerusalemites. “Starting Sept. 4, Palestinians in Jerusalem can go to the Islamic [Waqf] courthouse in Jerusalem, apply for a new or renewed passport and within a week have the newly issued passport delivered to their homes,” Shahwan said. He noted that an agreement between Jordan Post and the Wasel Company, a Palestinian package delivery service, has helped facilitate the delivery of official documents. Wasfi Kilani, executive director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, told Al-Monitor that the decision to reduce passport costs was part of a broader attempt to support the “sumud” (steadfastness) of Jerusalemites. “With clear instructions from His Majesty, King Abdullah, we have been working on a comprehensive plan that aims at strengthening the presence of our people in Jerusalem,” Kilani said. According to Kilani, in a further testament to Amman’s support, the number of Palestinians on the payroll of Jordan’s Jerusalem Islamic Waqf has risen….[long article detailing the history of Jerusalemites’ status]
IDF chief said to warn that West Bank ripe for major violent outbreak
Times of Israel 20 Sept — IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot reportedly warned ministers this week that a major outbreak of violence was likely among Palestinians in the West Bank, due to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ waning political influence and declining health. During Sunday’s high-level security cabinet meeting, Eisenkot said a flare-up of attacks in the West Bank would require more troops than an escalation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, highlighting the severity of the threat, according to a Hadashot television report on Thursday evening. He estimated there was a “60-80 percent” chance of such a scenario unfolding, according to the report. The TV report attributed the increased likelihood of a surge in violence to Abbas’ loss of international support from both the United States and Arab states; internal Palestinian pressure to clinch a reconciliation deal with Hamas and mounting frustration over the perception that PA forces were aiding Israel to curb terrorism, but were receiving nothing in return; and the 83-year-old Palestinian leader’s health woes. According to the report, Eisenkot cautioned that a “combative” Abbas speech next week at the UN General Assembly in New York could fuel lone-wolf Palestinian terrorism. The television report also suggested Eisenkot was critical of recent US steps vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority. He urged Israel to improve the economic situation for Palestinians in the West Bank and stressed the importance of resolving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, while suggesting Washington was not fully aware of the repercussions of its pressure on the Palestinians, the report said….
Palestinian schools strive to modernize classrooms
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 19 Sept by Mohammed Daraghmeh — As the teacher pointed to the large touch screen, her first-grade classroom came alive. With the click of a link, an animated character popped up on the screen, singing and dancing as it taught the children how to read. The day’s lesson was the Arabic letter “Raa,” and the screen displayed cartoon pictures of objects that contain the letter — desert, chair and pomegranate — as the teacher asked the children to come up with other words. The students smiled and sang along. Just a few years ago, such scenes were unthinkable in most Palestinian classrooms. Like elsewhere in the Arab world, schools in the Palestinian territories have traditionally emphasized memorization and obedience over critical thinking and creativity. With an eye to the future, some Palestinian educators now hope the use of technology and the arts will create new opportunities in a society that has produced large numbers of unemployed college graduates. “The students don’t need to memorize things. They need to understand first,” said Ruba Dibas, the principal of the Ziad Abu Ein School in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “Then they need to express their understanding through writing, speaking, drawing, acting.” Ziad Abu Ein is one of 54 “smart teaching schools” introduced last year. This year, the number tripled. By 2020, all 1,800 public schools in the West Bank are to be part of the program. Dibas said the goal is to eliminate testing from the classroom. Instead, she said students need to enjoy the learning process to absorb information. On a recent day, her school was buzzing with activity….
Israel warns it will cut Palestinian tax transfer if killer’s family is paid
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 21 Sept — Israel will cut the tax revenue it transfers to the Palestinian Authority if it pays the family of the killer of an American-Israeli settler, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Friday. Kahlon said he had instructed that any sum paid to the attacker’s family be withheld from tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) under interim peace deals. “I will examine other ways to limit the economic activity of the terrorist’s family,” he said on Twitter. American-born Ari Fuld, 45, was stabbed at a shopping mall in the Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem on Sunday. His attacker, Khalil Youssef Jabarin, 17, from a village in the occupied West Bank, was shot at the scene and has since been in Israeli custody. It has not yet been decided whether Jabarin and his family will receive payments, according to a Palestinian official. Israel has in the past withheld tax funds and in July enacted a law to financially penalize the PA by the amount of stipends paid to Palestinians jailed by Israel, their families, and the families of those killed by Israeli forces. Israel says such stipends are a reward and encouragement for the prisoners’ actions against it. The Palestinian Authority says they are welfare payments to support them and their families. The PA, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank, where Israel retains overall security control, pays stipends that start at 1,400 shekels ($392) after a prisoner has been detained for three months. Amounts differ depending on the length of sentence….
How Israel undermined Washington and stalled the dream of Palestinian statehood / Seth Anziska
NYTimes 20 Sept — This week, Israelis and Egyptians commemorate the signing 40 years ago of the Camp David Accords, the agreement that led to the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state. Through this peace deal, Egypt secured the return of the Sinai Peninsula, which it had lost in the 1967 War, and Israel neutralized its military threat from the southwest while gaining crucial recognition in the Middle East. Americans will no doubt take pride in this anniversary, recalling their role in mediating the negotiations that led to the accords, which are still regarded as the leading diplomatic achievement of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. For Palestinians, however, this anniversary is a painful reminder of their political disenfranchisement. Although born of a genuine effort by the Carter administration to address their fate, Camp David instead hamstrung Palestinians’ aspirations for statehood and left them under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, stripped of basic rights like the freedom of movement. My exploration of recently declassified archives in Jerusalem, in London and across the United States shows how, largely because of the work of Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel, the Egyptian-Israeli peace came at the expense of Palestinian self-determination. This was a missed opportunity that set the course for the political stalemate in the Middle East today.
Israeli and Palestinian civil defense teams join hands to save lives
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 16 Sept by Ahmad Melhem — Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian rescuers worked together on Aug. 19 to put out a fire engulfing a transfer truck at the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. Four days earlier on the West Bank, in Qalqilya, paramedics from Israel’s Magen David Adom and Palestinian Red Crescent and other first responders had taken part in a road accident exercise, which was capped to the surprise of many by the release of a joint photo of all those involved. The Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories also released a video Aug. 15 of the latter exercise in which Israeli Fire Chief Ido Peretz remarked, “[This exercise] is part of the ongoing coordination between the Israeli and Palestinian rescue forces. Today, we had a practical encounter on the ground for rescuing people trapped in their car and extinguishing a car fire. Our encounters stem from their necessity on the ground, as we often meet on the roads when there is a car accident. As the years have passed, we have learned that cooperation is important, and this is increasingly tangible every time we are on the ground. I hope things continue in this way.”. Nael al-Azza, director of public and media relations for Palestinian Civil Defense (PCD), seconded Peretz’s statement….
‘Let us fight together for human rights, for a country that is democratic for all its citizens’
+972 mag 19 Sept by Ahmen Abu Artema — Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the organizers of the Great Return March in Gaza, responds to Israeli conscientious objector Hillel Garmi, who said his decision to refuse the draft is partly inspired by Artema’s acts of civil disobedience — …Dear Hillel, I read your letter and listened to your recording on YouTube. You sparked a feeling of hope in my heart, that there is a foundation on which to create a more just and humane reality between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – a reality that does not derive its legitimacy based on the number of people who believe it can be accomplished at the moment, but because it is more feasible and closer to the values of justice and equality, and is based on respecting humans, rather than disqualifying them. Your decision is what will help end this dark period inflicted on Palestinians, and at the same time mitigate the fears of younger Israeli generations who were born into a complicated situation and a turbulent geographical area deprived of security and peace. Palestinians do not seek to drive Israelis into the sea, and Israelis cannot ignore the fact that there are more than 10 million Palestinians who still dream of the day they will live in freedom, and return to the homes they were forcible removed from in 1948. We can choose between two options, and there is no third: either we agree on a compromise based on a shared existence in accordance with human rights and equality, or we continue with this state of instability for 70 more years….