US State Department revokes PLO ambassador family visas: envoy
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 16 Sept by Yara Bayoumy — The United States revoked visas for the family of the Palestine Liberation Organization ambassador, the envoy said on Sunday, the latest development in the worsening relations between the Trump administration and Palestinian leadership. Ambassador Husam Zomlot, head of the PLO General Delegation to the United States, said his family, including his two young children, left the United States after being informed their visas would now expire when the diplomatic office is closed next month. The visas were originally set to expire in 2020. The Trump administration said last Monday the office in Washington would close. The State Department did not respond to a request for comment. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, criticized the Trump administration for being “vindictive.” “As if the announcement that the US would close our office in Washington, DC was not enough, this vindictive action by the Trump administration is spiteful,” Ashrawi said in a statement. “The US has taken its attempts to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians to a new level.” Zomlot said in an interview that two of his embassy employees met last week with State Department staff, who had requested the meeting. “The State Department informed our colleagues, as part of the discussion on the closure, that the visas of my wife and children are dependent on the PLO delegation and as such will not be valid after the closure of the office and that if they wanted to stay they would have to change their immigration status,” Zomlot said. He added: “This goes against diplomatic norms. Children, spouses and family have nothing to do with political rows.”….
Oktoberfest in the West Bank: Brewers turn beer making into resistance against occupation
ABC News (Australia) by Middle East Correspondent Eric Tlozek — There are no Bavarian costumes or oompah bands at the Oktoberfest in Taybeh, in the West Bank. Instead, dancers in traditional Arab outfits clap and sway to the music of the oud, while Palestinians and foreigners taste the products of the village brewery. Because Taybeh is a Christian village, the beer is alcoholic and mood just as festive as the more famous German event. Some beer varieties even taste Palestinian, because brewer Canaan Khoury has experimented with local ingredients for his herbal lager. “So we have anise, sage, sumac and wild zaatar, wild thyme, from the mountains of Taybeh,” he said. “It’s a very interesting beer, very aromatic. A lot of people explain to me that it’s like Palestine in a glass. It really does have all the unique flavours you get from Palestinian cooking.” Palestinian pride is the point of this unique beer festival. For Nadim Khoury, who established the Taybeh brewery with his brother in 1994, brewing beer in the West Bank was a way of asserting Palestinian nationalism under the Israeli military occupation. “Making a beer in Palestine, it’s resisting, because we are still under occupation,” he said … Taybeh is allowed to export its beer to many countries, but Nadim Khoury’s daughter Madees said the company faces problems because of the Israeli occupation. “When the beer goes from Taybeh to an Israeli port, to Europe or to the US, or to Japan, it goes through a lot,” she said….
Closure of DC PLO office will impact 600,000 Palestinian-Americans
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Sept — The Palestinian Council in the United States of America said that the decision to close the PLO office in Washington will harm some 600,000 citizens of Palestinian origin. In a statement issued on Sunday, the Palestinian Council said that the closure is yet another American step toward attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause, and not only affects the political situation, but rather affects serious humanitarian aspects related to consular services provided by the organization, including issues of inheritance, land sale and purchase, periodic agencies, etc, which will impact about 600,000 Americans of Palestinian origin, born and living in the United States….
US ends final sources of aid to Palestinian civilians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Sept — The United States decided to block millions of dollars to programs that build relations between Palestinians and Israelis as part of its policy to end all aid for Palestinian civilians. The New York Times reported that “the move to prevent Palestinians — including, in many cases, children — from benefiting from the funds squeezes shut the last remaining channel of American aid to Palestinian civilians.” … Previously, the designated funds went mostly to programs that organized people-to-people exchanges between Palestinians and Israelis, often for youth; some also went to programs for Israeli Jews and Arabs. As the US President Donald Trump cut all other aid Palestinians, according to the news site advocates had hoped this last fund of $10 million would remain available to projects with Palestinians. Tim Rieser, US foreign policy aide to Senator Patrick Leahy, said that officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had told congressional aides, last week, that programs benefiting Palestinians alongside Israelis would not be receiving any new money. Leahy established the broader program managed by USAID. Rieser said that the agency’s officials did not want to cut programs with Palestinians, but had to accommodate a White House that does not want to send American funds to Palestinians. “As a result, only programs with Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs will get funding, contrary to the tradition of the funds and intent of Congress.” Rieser added that USAID was essentially faced with either shutting down the program and losing the funds, “or keeping something going.” “They decided to support programs that involve Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.” Rieser said that “programs currently on multiyear grants will still get all their funds.”
US confirms further Palestinian aid cut
JÉRUSALEM (AFP) 16 Sept — The United States has cut additional aid to the Palestinians for programmes supporting conflict resolution with Israelis, an official said Sunday, adding to more than $500 million in other cuts. The latest cuts come from $10 million in programmes on reconciliation involving Palestinians as well as Jewish and Arab Israelis. The portion of the money involving Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip was being redirected to programmes between Jewish and Arab Israelis, a US embassy official said. It was not clear how much of the $10 million was being redirected. US officials also could not confirm whether the latest cut meant all non-security related aid to the Palestinians had now been eliminated.
“As announced in August, the administration redirected more than $200 million that was originally planned for programmes in the West Bank and Gaza,” a US embassy official said. “At the same time we redirected a portion of the $10 million which was planned for conflict management and mitigation.” The official said the portion involving Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza would be used “to enhance” programmes in Israel instead. US President Donald Trump has said he will withhold aid from the Palestinians to force them to negotiate as the White House prepares a plan for Middle East peace — what he has called the “ultimate deal”…
In recent weeks, the US government has announced more than $500 million in cuts in Palestinian aid, including cancelling support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. It has maintained security-related aid, having provided $61 million in assistance this year.
US funding cuts risk life-saving surgeries for Gaza children
Ynet 16 Sept by Itamar Eichner — US administration’s decision to halt funding for training of Palestinian doctors and life-saving medical procedures could decide the fate of many Palestinians; J Street call decision a ‘disgrace.’ — The training of Palestinian doctors and life-saving surgery for children from Gaza could be terminated due to the US decision to halt funding for the Conflict Management and Mitigation Program, which—according to a New York Times report Friday—is the latest funding program the United States has yet to budget … Among the organizations that could be severely affected by this decision is the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, which runs programs for joint Palestinian and Israeli football teams, training programs for Palestinian doctors, and promotes life-saving surgeries for Palestinian children in Gaza and the West Bank….
Palestinian official says US will never present Middle East peace plan
JERICHO, West Bank (Reuters) 15 Sept by Ali Sawafta — The United States will not present its long-awaited plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace any time soon and is instead trying to unilaterally change the terms of reference for any future proposal, a senior Palestinian official said on Saturday. Echoing deep scepticism among the Palestinians, Arab countries and analysts, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said that the Trump administration was siding with Israel on the core issues of the decades-old conflict, burying all chances for Middle East peace. “I don’t think they will ever introduce a plan,” Erekat said in an interview with Reuters in Jericho. “The whole world is rejecting their ideas. They are already implementing their plan by changing the terms of reference,” he said. Doubts have mounted over whether Trump’s administration can secure what he has called the “ultimate deal” since December, when the U.S. President recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and then moved the U.S. Embassy there … Erekat said it appeared that the United States has accepted Israel’s positions on other main issues of the conflict, and not just Jerusalem, including the fate of millions of Palestinian refugees from wars dating to 1948 and Israeli settlements on land Palestinians envisage as part of their future independent state. But Trump’s Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt told Reuters in that Washington was prepared for Israeli criticism of the plan and that both sides can expect parts they will like and dislike. He provided no further details. Greenblatt, a chief architect of the initiative, said U.S. negotiators had entered the “pre-launch phase” of the plan, despite the boycott by Palestinian leaders, but declined to specify a time frame….
Jared Kushner hopeful about Mideast peace chances
WASHINGTON (AFP) 14 Sept — Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and special advisor, has defended his policy of punishing the Palestinians to push them into new peace talks with Israel. In an interview with the New York Times published three days after the US administration evicted the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from its Washington offices, Kushner said the controversial method would eventually yield results. “There were too many false realities that were created — that people worship — that I think needed to be changed,” he said. “All we’re doing is dealing with things as we see them and not being scared out of doing the right thing. I think, as a result, you have a much higher chance of actually achieving a real peace,” he said … “Nobody is entitled to American aid,” Kushner said, insisting that the peace talks were not stalled. “In every negotiation I’ve ever been in,” he said, “before somebody gets to ‘yes,’ their answer is ‘no,'” he told the newspaper. The White House has not released a deadline to present what Trump has called the “ultimate deal” between Israeli and the Palestinians.
With Oslo, Israel’s intention was never peace or Palestinian statehood
[behind paywall. A long article well worth reading if you can access it] Haaretz 15 Sept by Amira Hass — The transformation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip into separate Bantustans was all part of the plan — The reality of the Palestinian Bantustans, reservations or enclaves — is a fact on the ground. Their creation is the most outstanding geopolitical occurrence of the past quarter century. It is of course possible to say that its seeds were sown with the occupation in 1967 but the process accelerated, consolidated, matured and deepened paradoxically in parallel with the negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinians – first with the Madrid/Washington talks starting at the end of 1991 and then with the Oslo process. Those who give credence to lofty verbal declarations about peace and a new Middle East will continue to believe that only chance, regrettable human errors, bad luck and technical hitches led to the formation of the Palestinian reservations buried in a contiguous Israeli space between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River – contrary to any logic of a fair settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis and negating the former’s right to self-determination. Others will continue to argue that it all happened only as a reaction to the attacks carried out by Palestinian opponents of the Oslo agreements and Palestinian opponents of Yasser Arafat. However, I wish to give, have given and am giving credit to the planning skills of the Israeli security and diplomatic establishment and the calculated sophistication behind the ability to speak softly in words the world wants to hear (“peace”) and in actual fact to do the opposite (continuing the occupation through outsourcing while dropping the burden of economic and legal responsibility for the population that is under occupation)….
Report on UNCTAD assistance to the Palestinian people: Developments in the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory
UN Conference on Trade and Development 11 Sept — Economic reality in Occupied Palestinian Territory is bleaker than ever – – UNCTAD’s annual report into its assistance to the Palestine people comes as socioeconomic conditions deteriorate and ‘de-development’ continues. Sky-high unemployment, declining per capita income, contracting agricultural productivity and worsening socioeconomic conditions characterize a bleak assessment of the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, according to the new UNCTAD annual report on its assistance to the Palestinian people. The report warns that evaporating donor support, a freeze in the reconstruction of Gaza and unsustainable, credit-financed public and private consumption offer poor growth prospects as the confiscation of land and natural resources by Israel continues….
Israeli forces shoot, kill 3 Palestinians in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Sept — Three Palestinians were killed and dozens of others sustained injuries during the 25th Friday of “The Great March of Return” protests alongside the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Palestinians had gathered, earlier Friday, alongside the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip to take part in protests under the slogan of “Resistance is our Choice.” Spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, confirmed that three Palestinians were killed during protests. Al-Qidra identified them as Muhammad Shaqqoura, 21, who was injured with a live bullet in the chest in eastern al-Breij in the central Gaza Strip, 12-year-old Shadi Abed al-Aziz Abed al-Aal, who was injured in eastern Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, and Hani Ramzi Affaneh, 30, from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The ministry added that at least 30 Palestinians were injured, 20 of them were transferred to hospitals for treatment including 11 with live bullets. Two violations against medical teams were reported; one woman paramedic was injured. A journalist identified as Ismail al-Ghoul was also injured with a live bullet in the leg in eastern Gaza City. [see here for photos of those killed]
Hundreds attend funeral of 12-year-old Gazan boy killed in Israel border clashes
GAZA CITY (AFP) 15 Sept — Mahmoud Abdel-Al, 11 , cries during the funeral of his twin brother Shady Abdel-Al in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (AP Photo) — Hundreds of Palestinians attended Saturday the funeral of a 12-year-old boy killed by Israeli army fire during clashes on the Gaza border. Shadi Abdel Aal was fatally wounded Friday during demonstrations east of Jabalia in northern Gaza, becoming one of the youngest Palestinians to be killed in months of unrest along the frontier. Hundreds of family members and friends attended the funeral, with some calling for revenge. “God burn those that burned my heart and killed my son,” said his mother Umm Shadi, who has eight other children. “What is my son guilty of? He is 12 years old,” she added through tears. She said her son had been going to the protests in recent months but she had been opposed. “I banned him but he was going behind our backs,” said the grieving mother. Mohammed, a 12 year-old friend also from Jabalia refugee camp, said he was with Abdel Aal when he was hit. “We were throwing stones at the fence,” he told AFP, referring to the heavily-guarded Israeli border line. The friend said Shadi had been hit by a tear gas grenade fired by Israeli soldiers and collapsed instantly.
Child dies from serious wounds suffered on August 3
IMEMC 16 Sept — The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has reported that a child died, Saturday, from serious wounds he suffered of August 3rd after Israeli soldiers shot him in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region. The Health Ministry said the child, Soheib Abdul-Salam Abu Kashef, 16, was shot with live Israeli army fire, and remained in a serious condition until he succumbed to his wounds at the Gaza European Hospital. On the day of his serious injury, the Health Ministry said the soldiers engaged in the excessive use of force against the nonviolent “Great Return March” in Gaza, on its nineteenth consecutive week, killing a young man, identified as Ahmad Yahia Atallah Yaghi, 25, and wounding 220 Palestinians, including 90 who were shot with live fire.
Israeli soldiers injure five Palestinians in southern Gaza
IMEMC 17 Sept — Israeli soldiers shot, on Sunday at night, five young Palestinian men on lands near the perimeter fence, east of Khuza‘a town east of Khan Younis, and east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said the soldiers, stationed behind sand hills and in sniper posts across the border fence, shot four Palestinians, east of Khuza‘a..It added that the injured Palestinians were rushed to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, suffering moderate wounds. In addition, sources at Abu Yousef Najjar hospital in Rafah, said the soldiers shot a young man in the leg, causing a moderate injury.
In related news, the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds, and many flares, into areas east of Gaza city, and in Jabalia in northern Gaza, in addition to east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza.
Furthermore, an Israeli military drone fired a missile at Palestinians east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, but the missile did not explode.
Israeli navy abducts three fishermen in Gaza
IMEMC 13 Sept — Israeli navy ships attacked, Thursday, a Palestinian fishing boat in Gaza territorial waters, abducted three fishermen and confiscated their boat. Zakariya Bakr, a Palestinian fisherman who witnessed the attack, said the Israeli navy boats chased a small boat with three fishermen on board, near the shore of Gaza Sea, and fired many live rounds at them. He added that the navy abducted the three fishermen, identified as the boat owner, Mohammad Abdul-Razeq Bakr, in addition to Omran Mohammad Bakr, and Mohammad Mohammad Bakr. The three fishermen, and their boat, were taken to an unknown destination.
Incendiary balloon lands in Knesset member’s house
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — An incendiary balloon was launched from the besieged Gaza Strip on Saturday and landed in the courtyard of the house of an Israeli Knesset member, in the illegal Israeli outpost of Beeri in southern Israel. According to a Hebrew-language news outlet, an incendiary balloon landed in the courtyard of the house of MK Haim Jelin from the Yesh Atid political party. Sources confirmed that the incendiary balloon did not lead to a fire or cause any damage. MK Jelin commented on the incident and said that he was not upset by the incendiary balloon, but by the Israeli government, which in his opinion, has no clear plan for such “terrorism.” Sources reported that Jelin also called for targeting the military wing of the Hamas movement, in attempt to force them to sign a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel.
WHO strengthens trauma care services in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report stating that with support from the European Union, it is replenishing stocks of urgently-needed trauma medicines in the besieged Gaza Strip and providing hands-on training for health staff working in frontline Trauma Stabilization Points (TSPs). Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, WHO’s Head of Office for Gaza and the West Bank, said in the report that life-saving medicines and medical supplies to treat more than 100,000 people have been delivered to hospitals and TSPs, filling critical gaps before supplies rapidly deplete as a result of increasing numbers of casualties in the ongoing protests known as “The Great March of Return,” which began on March 30th.bThe report stated “The role of health workers at Trauma Stabilization Points is crucial. Health staff in TSPs are usually the first to see wounded patients, and their capacity to resuscitate, stabilize, and treat patients with serious injuries can significantly increase patients’ chances of survival before they are referred to hospital for further medical care.” “More than 18,000 people have been injured from 30th March until the beginning of September 2018, due the ongoing protests in Gaza. Of the 18,000, more than 8,600 individuals were managed and directly discharged at TSPs, while almost 9,500 referred by TSP health workers to hospitals for specialized care.”….
Power outages to stop health services in Gaza
GAZA (AA) 15 Sept — An official at the Palestinian Ministry of Health warned yesterday that medical services provided by the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip would soon stop due to an ongoing electricity crisis. “Only one week of fuel is available for the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, which provides services to half a million patients a year,” Medhat Abbas, director general of the hospital, said in a news conference. “This hospital also saved the lives of thousands of Palestinian people injured in the ongoing marches on the security fence.” He said in a few days “there will be no fuel to run generators used to provide power needed to operate departments and organs of the hospital.” He also warned of the danger of power outages for many departments such as dialysis, intensive care, surgery rooms, outpatient clinics and sections of radiation. “The lack of electricity poses a direct threat to the lives of civilians inside the besieged Gaza Strip,” he said. Abbas added that the donors the Ministry of Health relied on to provide fuel to their hospitals were no longer available.
UN says Gaza situation ‘catastrophic’ amid deepening aid cuts
GENEVA (AFP) 12 Sept — The UN said Wednesday that the situation in Gaza was “catastrophic” after 11 years of “economic siege” and warned that Washington’s decision to halt assistance to Palestinian refugees would create “more misery”. “The situation in Gaza is becoming less and less livable,” said Isabelle Durant, the deputy head of the United Nations development agency (UNCTAD). “It is catastrophic,” she told reporters in Geneva. In a new report, the UN agency said the Palestinian economy, long stifled by the Israeli occupation, was being hit hard by a sharp drop in international support to the Palestinians, even before Washington’s dramatic cuts. Last year, international development assistance to the Palestinians shrank by more than 10 percent compared to a year earlier. And at $720 million, it stood at just a third of the $2 billion received a decade earlier, the UNCTAD report showed. … The declining international support, coupled with “a freeze in the reconstruction of Gaza and unsustainable credit-financed public and private consumption, paint a bleak picture for future growth,” UNCTAD said in a statement. The widespread restrictions on the movement of people and goods, confiscation of land and natural resources, and the accelerating expansion of Israeli settlements were also damaging, it said….
AP Photos: Gaza images on display in France show resilience
CAIRO (AP) 15 Sept – Khalil Hamra, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for The Associated Press, is exhibiting his work in a show titled “Why Gaza?” at the 30th annual Visa Pour L’Image photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France. The exhibition runs through Sept. 16. In 30 photos on display, Hamra shows the resilience of people in his native Gaza, a sliver of land on the Mediterranean Sea that measures just 360 square kilometers (140 square miles) … Hamra won the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award in 2009. He shared the 2013 Pulitzer Prize with three Associated Press photographers for his work in Syria. “Khalil Hamra’s work shines a light on the human condition in places most of us will never have the chance to visit,” said Maya Alleruzzo, the AP’s Middle East regional photo editor. “He often does so at great personal risk.”Hamra joined AP in 2002. He has covered the Arab Spring in Egypt, civil war in Syria and the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Here is a selection of his photos from Gaza:
Destroyed Gaza airport symbolizes grounded peace hopes
RAFAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 11 Sept by Adel Zaanoun — The opening of the Palestinians’ first airport, in the presence of US president Bill Clinton, was a symbol of the hopes for independence and peace kindled by the Oslo accords. But 25 years after Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the first of the historic agreements on September 13, 1993, the airport in Gaza lies in tatters, along with Palestinian hopes for an independent state. Today the concrete arrival halls remain in place, but much of the rest of the site is covered in piles of rubbish and rubble –- the remnants of years of war and neglect. The runway, 60 metres (65 yards) wide, is scattered with refuse, dragged in by donkey cart from nearby refugee camps. Daifallah al-Akhras, the chief engineer of the airport, admitted he wept on a recent visit to the terminal. “We built the airport to be the first symbol of sovereignty,” he said. “Now you don’t see anything but destruction and ruin.”….
Gaza militants say ready to confront any Israeli attack
GAZA (Xinhua) 12 Sept — Militants from various Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip said on Wednesday that they are ready to confront any Israeli military assault on the coastal enclave. Masked militants, holding arms and representing several armed wings including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, made the announcement at a joint news briefing in Gaza City. The news briefing was held to mark the 13th anniversary of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip with 21 Jewish settlements dismantled. “The Palestinian armed resistance is ready to defend the Gaza Strip and confront any Israeli military aggression on our people,” said one of the masked militants. “We will do so by all means in our hands until the liberation of our holy lands,” he added. The militant groups also called on the Palestinian Authority “to immediately stop all kinds of security cooperation with Israel after all peace efforts had completely failed.”
Egypt halts operations at Gaza border crossing: Official
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) 13 Sept by Hani al-Shaer — The Egyptian authorities on Thursday suspended operations at the Rafah border crossing, which links the Gaza Strip to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, according to a Palestinian border official. Moataz Dalloul, an official on the Palestinian side of the crossing, said a Hamas-affiliated security force had recently searched a passenger bus leaving Gaza, prompting retaliation by Egypt. “The Egyptian authorities saw the move by Hamas as a violation of a recent agreement giving the Palestinian Authority (PA) exclusive control [at the expense of Hamas] over administration of the crossing,” Dalloul told Anadolu Agency. Neither the Egyptian authorities nor Gaza’s Hamas-run Interior Ministry have yet to comment on the border official’s assertions.
Israel reopens its sole people crossing with Gaza
JERUSALEM (AFP) 13 Sept — Israel reopened its only crossing for people with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, more than a week after shutting it following a destructive Palestinian protest. The reopening follows several days of relative calm, as Egyptian and UN officials attempt to broker a long-term truce between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas. A spokeswoman for the Israeli defence ministry unit that oversees the Erez crossing confirmed it had reopened on Thursday. On September 5, the army said that hundreds of “rioters” had vandalised the Gaza side of the crossing, and that it would remain closed until the damage was repaired….
IDF says it detonated large bomb placed on Gaza fence, foiling attack
Times of Israel 13 Sept by Judah Ari Gross — The Israeli military on Thursday detonated a large bomb that had been placed along the Gaza security fence by Palestinians during a recent riot, the army said. The Israel Defense Forces said the placement of the improvised explosive device showed that the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group was trying to keep up the clashes along the border, despite the reported ongoing ceasefire talks with Israel. The large IED, which was placed inside a blue jerrycan, was found earlier this week by the IDF next to the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip. On Thursday morning, the military destroyed the bomb in a controlled explosion, the army said.
Homemade resistance: The popular response to the difficulties of life in Gaza
Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset 14 Sept — The recent conflict activity on the Gaza border can be characterized by its lack of affiliation to armed groups in Gaza and by the use of homemade and/or found weapons (i.e., stones and Molotov cocktails, either thrown or attached to balloons or kites). These unaffiliated actors are responding to their daily conditions, which are punctuated by food shortages, electricity cuts, unemployment, and violence because of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. While diplomatic efforts are important for durable peace, a ceasefire agreement to prevent incendiary devices from being launched into Israel will only be sustained if living conditions in Gaza improve.
When ceasefire negotiations are discussed in the media, they refer to talks between Israel and either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. However, it appears that Hamas has taken a secondary role in regional conflict events since March 30 (see Figure 1[i]). The primary actors in Gaza are unaffiliated demonstrators and people outside of demonstrations who launch airborne incendiary devices. These individuals may have varying personal and political relationships to armed groups, but in these activities they are not claiming to be affiliated with any group and, more importantly, are not clearly organized by one. Many armed groups, including Hamas, have openly supported and encouraged the weekly Friday demonstrations, but they are not organized or armed by Hamas.
Israel to build around Gaza world’s longest concrete wall
RAMALLAH (Asharq al-Awsat) 16 Sept by Kifah Zaboun — A “protective” wall that Israel has been building for months along the border with the Gaza Strip will become “the world’s longest concrete wall” and will extend over 65 kilometers to reach the Strip’s land and maritime border, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported. Israel decided to build the wall after the 2014 war, but its implementation began after three years of internal debate. The wall is the third line Israel has constructed along the border to confront the Palestinians and prevent them from carrying out attacks. Following the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s and after the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, Israel established buffer zones around Gaza and set up barbed wire, but these measures did not stop underground attacks. The wall aims to provide underground and off-the-ground protection from infiltration through the coastal strip. It will also include physical barriers and sophisticated technological detection systems, according to the Israeli newspaper. To date, Israel has used two million concrete blocks in the construction of the wall through five concrete factories that have been built along the border. The region employs 1,200 workers from different countries, including Romania and Brazil. According to the newspaper, the land wall will include an underground barrier at a depth of tens of meters, equipped with sensors that can detect any drilling of tunnels by land or any movement of divers across the sea. The maritime wall includes intelligent waves for early warning. The cost of building the concrete wall is 3 billion shekels, ($1=3.60 shekels).
Israel’s barrier will not totally neutralize Gaza tunnel threat, Israeli army official says
[behind paywall] Haaretz 14 Sept by Yaniv Kubovich — Hamas would like nothing more than to fight the Israeli army on its own tunnel-filled turf, says senior Israeli officer — The underground barrier that Israel is building along the Gaza border to thwart tunnels that infiltrate Israel will not fully remove the tunnel threat, a senior officer in the army’s ground forces told Haaretz. “The barrier very significantly blocks the Hamas tunnels that penetrate into Israeli territory…but we can’t delude ourselves. It is understood today that there is no barrier that can’t be breached. We will continue to look for tunnels after the construction of the barrier in Gaza,” added the Israel Defense Forces officer, whose comments contradict the claims heard in the last few months from other senior IDF officials. “Today in Gaza there is an entire world of tunnels underground,” says the senior ground forces officer, noting that Hamas is constantly upgrading. “This is not a tunnel like we know, one with an entrance and exit. Today in Gaza there is a very large network of tunnels whose entrances are inside a house, factory or public building that leads to different places, connects to various tunnels. This is really a network of tunnels more like the subways in different countries around the world,” he added. The IDF is well aware of the voices in the political echelons calling for a military operation in Gaza. But the IDF views the need to complete the anti-tunnel barrier as more important at this stage than any military operation inside Gaza….
Restriction of movement / Denial of entry / Deportation
Israel to close Allenby crossing for Jewish holidays
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — The border crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank, known as Allenby or Karameh bridge crossing, will be closed most of Tuesday and all of Wednesday in both directions due to Jewish holidays. Palestinian police sources said that Israel informed them that the Allenby bridge crossing will be remain open 24 hours a day on Sunday and Monday, however, it will be closed on Tuesday starting from 8 a.m. Palestinian police added that work will resume at the Allenby crossing on Thursday morning and confirmed the closure is due to upcoming Jewish holidays.
The closure marks Israel’s Yom Kippur also known as Day of Atonement, one of the most sacred holidays in Judaism, which starts at sunset on Tuesday and ends at sunset on Wednesday. Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes. Debilitating poverty and lack of employment drive many workers in the occupied West Bank to enter Israel in search of work. Israel’s imposition of closures on the Palestinian territory has severely affected the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who depend on entering Israel, or its illegal settlements, for employment opportunities….
Israel to deport French-US professor arrested at demo
JÉRUSALEM (AFP) 16 Sept — An American-French law professor arrested by Israel while protesting against the demolition of a Palestinian village in the West Bank is to be deported, his lawyer said Sunday. US-born Frank Romano, who teaches law at the Paris Nanterre University, was detained on Friday while taking part in a demonstration at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem. “There is an administrative decision to deport him,” lawyer Gaby Lansky told reporters. A spokeswoman for the Israeli interior ministry could not immediately confirm such a decision. The village of roughly 200 people in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is at risk of being demolished at any time, despite fierce criticism from key European nations … Anti-demolition activists said Romano was arrested along with two Palestinian protesters when they tried to block bulldozers sent in by Israeli authorities to seal off an access road to the village. Pictures on social media show him being led from the scene by Israeli riot police.
Israel to release professor arrested protesting West Bank village demolition
[behind paywall] Haaretz 17 Sept by Yotam Berger — Judge slams authorities’ handling of case, saying they ‘acted in bad faith’ and rejecting demand that he be immediately deported — The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday ordered the release of Professor Frank Romano from custody under the condition that he leave Israel by September 25, the date of his scheduled flight back to France. Romano, 66, who holds both French and American citizenship and teaches law in France, arrested on suspicion of disrupting the actions of Israeli soldiers on duty at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar on Friday. Judge Chavi Toker rejected the government’s request to immediately expel Romano from the country and criticized the way authorities handled the request. The professor is expected to remain in custody pending another hearing to be held on Monday … Toker added that Romano “stopped a tractor in the middle of the road,” saying that “this happens a hundred times a day in Jerusalem. He is not a dangerous man.” … Gabi Lasky, Romano’s attorney, told Haaretz that it is very rare for military code to be used on foreign citizens and that she has encountered only one such other case in the past.
Israel denies entry to Jewish-American activist for visiting West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Sept — An American Jewish woman was temporarily detained at Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport on Wednesday, and initially denied entry, as she had visited Palestinians facing home demolitions in West Bank. Julie Shayna Weinberg-Connors, aged 23, who arrived on a flight from the United States in order to start studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, in Jerusalem, was finally “informed that she could enter Israel on condition that she did not go into the West Bank without a permit,” according to Days of Palestine. On arrival at the airport, Weinberg-Connors had already obtained a temporary resident’s visa and a potential immigrant’s visa. According to the activist, she was told by the investigator at the airport that she “can’t go” to the West Bank; when she responded that, with the visa she had, visiting the West Bank was not illegal, the investigator replied, “No, it’s not [illegal] but we told you that you cannot go there.” In addition, when she acknowledged having visited Khan Al-Ahmar, a Palestinian community slated for demolition in the West Bank, the investigator got up and said, “You cannot enter. You are here to make trouble.” Only some two hours later, after the direct intervention of her lawyer, MKs Tamar Zandberg and Mossi Raz of Meretz, and the Haaretz newspaper, Weinberg-Connors was told she would be allowed entry – but only after signing a form entitled “Declaration by a tourist of non-entry to [Palestinian] Authority areas without the approval of the Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories”.
3 Palestinian prisoners continue open hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — The Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs Committee confirmed on Sunday that despite deteriorating health, three Palestinian prisoners continue their open hunger strike, in pursuit of their demands. The committee reported that Palestinian prisoner Jamal al-Qam, 48, from the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, who is currently held in the Ofer detention center, underwent 19 days of open hunger strike and will continue. Prior to his detention, al-Qam suffered irregular heartbeat. The prisoner Sheikh Khader Adnan, 40, from the northern West Bank district of Jenin, who is currently held in the Israeli Raymond prison, started an open hunger strike 15 days ago, and confirmed his continuation, refusing his arbitrary detention. Meanwhile, prisoner Imran al-Khatib, 60, from the southern besieged Gaza Strip, continues his hunger strike for the 43rd consecutive day, demanding early release from Israeli detention. Al-Khatib was transferred to the Ramla detention clinic following deterioration of health. According to the committee, he suffered from high blood pressure, cartilage problems, high cholesterol, and chronic stomach infections, however, his condition remained stable.
Violence / Detentions – West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian after stabbing attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — A Palestinian youth was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Sunday near the illegal Israel settlement of Gush Etzion, south of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, after the youth allegedly carried out a stabbing attack. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that a Palestinian youth stabbed two Israeli settlers, near the illegal Israeli Gush Etzion settlement. Sources confirmed that one of the Israeli settlers, Ari Fold, 40, a father of four children, died after the stabbing attack. Meanwhile, the other Israeli settler suffered serious injuries. Sources also reported that Israeli forces immediately opened fire and shot the Palestinian youth. The youth was reported to be in moderate condition. According to local sources, the youth was identified as 17-year-old Khalil Yousef Ali Jabarin, a resident from the Yatta village in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. Local sources confirmed that the youth was detained by Israeli forces and taken to an unknown location.
Israeli forces, settlers attack Palestinians in Ramallah village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — A Palestinian farmer was attacked on Saturday by a group of Israeli settlers as he was working in his land in al-Mughayyir village in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. According to local sources, dozens of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian farmer as he was carrying out agricultural work in his land. However, the identity of the attacked Palestinian farmer remained unknown. Sources confirmed that residents from the al-Mughayyir village confronted the Israeli settlers, in attempt to protect the Palestinian farmer, and succeeded in forcing the settlers to withdraw from the land. Heavily armed Israeli forces arrived to the village to provide protection to Israeli settlers and began to fire live ammunition, as well as tear-gas bombs toward the Palestinian residents to disperse them. Sources added that several residents suffered from tear-gas inhalation. No other injuries were reported.
Israeli soldiers assault and injure a Palestinian near Bethlehem
IMEMC 14 Sept — Israeli soldiers attacked and injured, on Thursday at night, a young Palestinian man in the West Bank governorate of Bethlehem, while on his way to his friend’s wedding. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the young man was stopped and assaulted by the soldiers in Wad Abu al-Hummus area, near al-Khas and an-Nu‘man villages, east of Bethlehem. It added that the young man, 23 years of age, suffered various cuts and bruises, and was moved to a Palestinian hospital in Bethlehem. The Palestinian said that he was on his way to attend a friend’s wedding, went the soldiers stopped him and constantly struck and beat him.
Israeli forces injure photojournalist in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — A Palestinian photojournalist was shot and injured by Israeli forces and dozens of others suffered from tear-gas inhalation during the weekly anti-settlement march in the Kafr Qaddum village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya, on Friday. Coordinator of the popular resistance committee in Kafr Qaddum, Murad Ishteiwi, said that Israeli forces raided the village, went up on rooftops of houses and fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs at protesters taking part in the march. Ishteiwi confirmed that a Palestinian photojournalist, who was identified as Nidal Shtayeh, was shot and injured in his chest after Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets at him. Shtayeh was shot as he was covering the story at Kafr Qaddum as part of his work for a Chinese news agency. Shtayeh was transferred to a hospital for treatment; however, his condition remained unknown. Ishteiwi mentioned that Israeli forces also targeted and damaged a Palestine TV camera with a rubber-coated steel bullet.
Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinians during clashes in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — Israeli forces detained five Palestinian youths during clashes that erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the Beit Ummar town in northern Hebron in the southern West Bank, on Friday afternoon. Activist Muhammed Ayyad Awad identified the detainees as Qais Mohammed Kamel Abu Maria, 15, Wahid Hamdi Abu Mariya, 16, Nasser Abed al-Hamid Abu Maria, 16, Sayil Jihad Ali Sabarneh, 16, and Mahdi Abed al-Hamid Abu Maria, 15. Israeli forces reportedly assaulted the detainees during their detention and transfer from inside the Israeli military tower set up at the entrance to the town. Awad added that several Palestinian suffered tear-gas suffocation during clashes and were treated on the spot. An Israeli soldier also assaulted a 17-year-old Palestinian by hitting him with a sound grenade on his head; the teen was treated by a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance.
Israeli forces suppress protest in Ramallah-area village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — Several Palestinians suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces suppressed the weekly protest in the Ras Karkar village in western Ramallah in the central West Bank, on Friday. Dozens of residents of the Ras Karkar village and surrounding villages, in addition to solidarity activists, both Palestinian and international, joined the protest and performed Friday prayers on lands threatened of confiscation in the village as part of Israel’s plans to expand illegal settlements in the area. Protesters also planned the land with olive tree saplings as a way to stress their refusal to leave the lands. Israeli forces suppressed the sit-in using rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas bombs and stun grenades, causing tear-gas suffocation among several protesters.
Israeli settlers vandalize vehicles, spray racist graffiti in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — Israeli settlers punctured and vandalized a number of Palestinian-owned vehicles in the Jalud village, south of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, on predawn Thursday. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity, told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Ahiya stormed the village and punctured the tires of three Palestinian vehicles. Daghlas confirmed that the damaged vehicles belonged to residents Muhammad Kamal, Hussein Kamal Abad and Ali Kamal Abad. Israeli settlers also sprayed racist, anti-Palestinian graffiti on the walls of Palestinian homes before leaving the village. Israeli settlers responsible for vandalizing Palestinian property were not taken into custody.
Israeli settler attacks Palestinian child in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — A Palestinian child was attacked by an Israeli settler in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, on Wednesday night. According to local sources, a Palestinian child was pepper-sprayed by an Israeli settler in the Jaber neighborhood in Hebron City. The child was identified as 11-year-old Ahmad Muhammad Jaber and was reported to have been immediately taken to the hospital to receive medical treatment. Ahmad’s condition remained unknown. Sources added that Ahmad’s father filed a complaint to the Israeli police against the Israeli settler responsible for the attack.
Palestinian child detained for alleged knife possession
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teen, on Thursday night, while near the Ibrahimi Mosque compound in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron. Locals said that Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teen for allegedly being in possession of a knife. The teen, identified as 14-year-old Ahmad Atef al-Awawda from the Old City of Hebron, was then reportedly transferred to an Israeli detention center for interrogation. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that Ahmad was allegedly preparing to carry out a stabbing attack….
Israeli forces detain 9 Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Sept — Israeli forces detained at least nine Palestinians on predawn Sunday across the occupied West Bank. Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) confirmed that Israeli forces detained three Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. They were identified as Hussein Ali Adi, 20, Abdullah Ahmad Akhlil, 21, and Farid Ahmad al-Aweiwi. In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, two Palestinians were detained. PPS identified them as Issa Ibrahim Ahour and Imad Ahmad Nawawra. In the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, one Palestinian was detained and identified as Muhammad Izzam al-Nitash. In the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, another Palestinian was detained. PPS identified him as Anas Malek Daoud, 22. PPS confirmed that in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians. They were identified as Ali Asaad Lolah, 35, and his brother, Deib Lolah, 39. According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,781 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.
Israeli soldiers abduct 12 Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 13 Sept — Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Thursday, at least twelve Palestinians from several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The PPS stated that several army jeeps invaded Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah in central West Bank, searched many homes and abducted Mohammad al-‘Aassi, 20, and Ismael Barghouthi, 24. In addition, the soldiers invaded Husan village, west of Bethlehem, and abducted Mahmoud To’ma al-‘Areedi, 25, after violently searching his home. The soldiers also invaded homes in Burqin town, southwest of Jenin in northern West Bank, and abducted Bassem Yasser Abu Shadouf. Another Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Salim, was taken prisoner by the soldiers at the northern entrance of ‘Azzoun town, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank. Furthermore, the army invaded Shu‘fat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem, searched several homes and interrogated many Palestinians. In Hebron governorate, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted seven Palestinians; five from their homes, and two children at a military roadblock.
Israel claims Hamas has women activists in Hebron
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 13 Sept by Entsar Abu Jahal — The Israeli Security Agency says it has dismantled a Hamas cell, made up mostly of women, in Hebron in the southern West Bank. The agency said Aug. 28 that over the previous few weeks it had arrested seven women it claims were recruiting members and coordinating events in mosques, working to expand Hamas’ popular base and spreading incitement on social media websites. The cell, the agency said, also had been helping prisoners’ families, trying to influence municipal affairs in Hebron, running charitable institutions and reaching out to foreign institutions for funding and aid to Gaza and to finance military activities. The cell included a number of men who were also arrested the week before. Some of the cell’s members were taken before the Yehuda military court and charged with being active members of an illegal organization. Hamas administers the Gaza Strip. Some observers rule out the idea that Hamas would involve women in its political and military activities in the West Bank, which is controlled by its rival, Fatah. Al-Monitor met with Rajaa al-Halabi, who oversees Hamas women’s work in Gaza. That work includes educating young girls at the intellectual, political, humanitarian, social, media and charitable levels. She stressed that the movement believes in complementary roles for men and women. Halabi denied the existence of any women’s movement affiliated with Hamas in Hebron, due to the tension caused by the presence of Israeli soldiers and settlers there, and movement restrictions imposed by the Israeli army and the Palestinian Authority (PA)….
Deadly hit and run near West Bank outpost wasn’t an attack, IDF and police determine
[behind paywall] Haaretz 12 Sept by Yotam Berger — The Israel police and the Israel Defense Forces have determined that the hit-and-run incident near an Israeli outpost in the West Bank last month was an accident, and not a ramming attack. On August 16, a Palestinian driver ran over a 40-year-old Israeli woman, Hava Chaya Roizen, near Havat Gilad, near Nablus. The woman succumbed to a severe head wound at the scene following initial CPR attempts. The military prosecution filed an indictment on Wednesday against Kamal Kadari, 63, of Qalqilyah, for causing death by negligence and abandoning the scene of an accident. According to the indictment, Kadari drove a cab the size of a minibus, taking five passengers from Salem to Jayyus. He is accused of traveling at 90 kilometers per hour on a dark and narrow road, leading him to hit Roizen, killing her instantly. “The defendant continued on his journey, abandoning the deceased, who was pushed into a nearby canal and thrown off the side of the road,” the indictment read. Kadari fled the scene, but turned himself in to Palestinian police forces a short time later. After turning himself in, the driver told authorities he fled the scene because he was frightened. The security forces have a video of the accident. Kadari will remain in detention until at least September 20.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Destruction in the desert looms for Palestinian schools in the West Bank
ZANOUTA, West Bank (MEE) 14 Sept by Tessa Fox — In the intense desert heat, five-year-old Aalia Issa sits in a village school made of cement blocks and a tarpaulin roof. She’s extremely shy, but wants to express how much she enjoys going there each day. “They teach us and give us trophies and rewards for being intelligent,” Issa said. Though only in kindergarten, Issa has already seen how easily her education could be taken away from her. Twenty days after the people of Zanouta, south of Hebron, built their first school this March out of cement blocks and tin sheets, Israeli forces dismantled it in the night with bulldozers, saying that it had been constructed without the right permits. Undeterred, village residents bought new materials and rebuilt the school over the summer. But when Aalia and other students arrived for their first day of school last week, they were greeted by a notice from Israeli authorities: they could either dismantle the school or it would be demolished in seven days. The school is one of 44 across the West Bank that are at risk of complete or partial demolition, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) … Around 300,000 Palestinians live here, yet between Israeli demolitions of schools and the routine rejection of Palestinian requests to build replacements, one third of the population don’t have primary schools. Instead, 10,000 children learn in trailers, tents and tin shacks. But even these makeshift structures are repeatedly torn down. Typically, Israeli authorities justify demolitions, saying schools were built illegally….
Israel to seize 267 acres in Jordan Valley
[with map] IMEMC/Agencies 14 Sept — Israeli authorities delivered confiscation notices for hundreds of dunams of Palestinian-owned lands in the Jordan Valley, in the northern occupied West Bank, Thursday evening. Mutaz Bisharat, a Palestinian official in charge of Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA), told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli authorities delivered the notices to residents in the al-Ras al-Ahmar area in the Jordan Valley. Bisharat added that about 1,079 dunams (267 acres) are under threat of seizure, pointing out that the notice did not mention reasons of the action. The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C — under full Israeli military control. International rights organizations consider the continuation of the Israeli campaign which targets Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, whether though confiscations, demolitions or evictions under the pretext of holding military exercises, as a violation of international humanitarian law.
Israeli forces demolish Palestinian home in al-Ramla City
RAMLA, Israel (Ma‘an) 16 Sept– Several Israeli bulldozers along with large numbers of Israeli forces demolished a family home on Sunday in the Palestinian neighborhood of al-Nakheel in al-Ramla City, in northern Israel. According to local sources, several Israeli bulldozers under the protection of heavily armed Israeli forces stormed the al-Nakheel neighborhood and declared it as a closed military zone. Sources said that the Israeli Municipality of al-Ramla ordered the demolition under the pretext that the home was built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permit. Sources added Israeli bulldozers proceeded with the demolition of the Palestinian-owned home, while Israeli forces prevented residents from accessing the area. The demolished family home belonged to Nayef Abu Amer.
Israel seals off Khan al-Ahmar, detentions reported
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — The Israeli authorities, escorted by large numbers of Israeli forces, surrounded and sealed off several roads leading to the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the central West Bank district, on Friday. Locals said that Israeli forces were deployed across the village, while military bulldozers entered the area and proceeded to seal off the roads, in an attempt to prevent activists from reaching Khan al-Ahmar to gather in solidarity with residents. Sources added that bulldozers also sealed off the main road that leads to the village, and began to raze lands. Violent clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli forces outside the village, resulting in a number of injuries among residents and protesters. Sources also confirmed that Israeli forces detained three Palestinians and one foreign activist; they were identified as Ibrahim Hussein Abu Dahouk, Suleiman Eid Hathalin, Omar Abdullah al-Hajj and French activist Frank Romano. Despite the blockade of the roads, hundreds of protesters managed to reach Khan al-Ahmar to show solidarity with the residents of the village, who make up a total of 35 Palestinian families and who are under threat of displacement after the Israeli High Court approved the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.
Ministry of Education to transfer work to Khan al-Ahmar
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — The Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education declared, on Thursday, that it will be transferring its work to the Khan al-Ahmar village threatened of demolition, east of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank. The ministry said, in a statement, that each one of its public administrations and directorates would be working from Khan al-Ahmar on a different day. The statement added that this step comes under the ministry’s efforts to support the resistance of Khan al-Ahmar and defend the village’s only school. The ministry called upon the world and all human rights and international organizations defending the right to education to put an end to Israeli violations that are against international norms and laws. The statement pointed out that the ministry provided students of the Jordan Valley schools rides to study in Khan al-Ahmar and provided teaching staff to strengthen the village’s school and transfer it into a central school. The ministry had exceptionally started the new school year in Khan al-Ahmar mid-July; that is six weeks earlier than the beginning of the school year at the rest of Palestinian schools.
Israeli forces take down protest huts at West Bank Bedouin village
KHAN AL-AHMAR, West Bank (Reuters) 12 Sept — Israel security forces on Thursday dismantled several shacks built by Palestinian protesters near Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank that Israel has slated for demolition. Reuters witnesses said Israeli forces arrived at the village before sunrise on Thursday and began taking down the newly built protest huts, without touching the Bedouin encampment, the fate of which has become a focus of Palestinian protests and international concern. Israel’s military liaison agency with the Palestinians, COGAT, said on Twitter that five “movable structures that were illegally transported & installed” in the area had been taken down. The five new huts had been assembled this week by activists from several rights groups and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in support of the Bedouin community. Khan al-Ahmar is beside an Israeli highway that runs through the West Bank from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea.
Palestinians file war crimes claim over West Bank hamlet
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 11 Sept by Mohammed Daraghmeh — A top official said Tuesday the Palestinians have filed a new complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court, after the United States said it would resort to any means to protect its allies against such actions at the international war crimes body. The move comes a day after the U.S. closed the Palestinian de facto embassy in Washington because of its leaders’ refusal to enter peace talks with Israel. National security adviser John Bolton also lashed out at the Palestinians for their attempts to have Israel prosecuted at the ICC, denouncing the court’s legitimacy and threatening sanctions if it targeted Israel and others. But at a press conference in Ramallah, Saeb Erekat doubled down by saying the Palestinians have asked the ICC to investigate Israel’s planned demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar in the West Bank. He also indicated the Palestinians plan to join other international bodies. Erekat said the Palestinians have asked the chief prosecutor to meet with village representatives and include Israel’s actions as part of her investigation into possible war crimes by Israel. “The U.S. threats against the ICC are a coup against the rules in the international system,” he said. “The Trump administration wants to dismantle the international order to ensure that it can stay above the laws and escape accountability.” Israel has long denounced Palestinian efforts to globalize their conflict by turning to external bodies with what it considers bogus claims. In particular, it says the ICC lacks jurisdiction because Israel is not a member of the court. The Trump administration dramatically ratcheted up its rhetoric by threatening sanctions if the court pursues investigations against the U.S., Israel or other allies. Bolton said the ICC “is already dead” to the U.S….
Mother of BDS co-founder Omar Barghouthi passes in Amman
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Sept — Wafia Barghouthi, the mother of BDS co-founder Omar Barghouthi, passed away in Amman, on Friday, as Israeli occupation authorities ban him from travel. In May of 2016, Israel effectively imposed a travel ban on him by refusing to renew his residency document, and Barghouthi was unable to travel to Jordan, to be with his mother during cancer surgery. Omar writes, according to the PNN: “Today, I experienced a personal Nakba. I am rarely broken, but today I am. At 6:30 am, my beloved mother, Wafieh, which translates to loyal or faithful, passed away in her home in Amman, unexpectedly, swiftly, at the age of 76. She died on September 14, a day after the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, without any apparent connection. Or so it seems. My mother was born in Jerusalem in 1942, six years before the Nakba … When I saw her last, it was in Ramallah, a week ago. She was happy that she has recovered well and that her fingernails were finally growing normally after she had lost them all during chemotherapy. “These little victories are absolutely necessary,” she said. “They nourish our willpower to keep the good fight against the monster inside.” Once we were discussing the concepts of victimness and resistance whether pertaining to the struggle against settler-colonialism or to cancer. She told me, “I do not see myself primarily as a victim, although I am a survivor of cancer. I see myself as a fighter who cannot relent. But I am so fortunate to have had the love and care and to be able to get medical treatment. How many sisters with cancer in Gaza are not allowed to travel for treatment and cannot get treated in Gaza either due to the fascist siege? It is beyond cruel and criminal. It’s fascist. I do not know how much longer I’ll live, but I shall dedicate my time to fight for their and their loved ones’ right to have this most fundamental right of theirs respected.” She then went on a tirade against the Palestinian leadership for “failing to fight for our most basic rights; not just the right of return for refugees but also the right to life itself.” Those who know my mother would know that political tirades are a genuine part of her unique and intriguing character. She was a secular Nasserite (supporter of the late Arab leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser), a feminist, an avid reader of literature and politics, an incredible cook, an unwavering supporter of popular struggles the world over against all forms of injustice, a moderate addict of Facebook (much less so of Twitter), a fan of the BDS-supporting Jewish Voice for Peace (US), a cleanliness freak, and an exceptional care giver with the biggest heart possible.…