In video – Israeli forces assault priests, detain one in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli forces and police assaulted several Coptic Orthodox priests in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, and forcefully detained one of them on Wednesday morning. Prior to the assault, the Coptic Orthodox Church organized a peaceful protest near Deir al-Sultan Monastery, located on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, against an Israeli decision denying the church the right to conduct the needed renovation work inside the holy site. It is noteworthy that the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem continues to conduct unauthorized renovation work for the Ethiopian Coptic Church section without the approval of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers and police officers surrounded the priests who were protesting, before assaulting and pushing them with excessive use of force, causing them several injuries. Witnesses added that the Israeli police forcibly removed the priests and detained one of them, before allowing the Israeli municipality workers into the holy site. The Islamic Christian Committee to Defend Jerusalem and Holy Sites condemned the assault on the Coptic Orthodox priests and denounced the intervention of Israeli authorities in the renovation works of the holy site. The committee pointed out that it is not within its jurisdiction to intervene in issues of occupied East Jerusalem, considering the area is subjected to the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL)….
Headstones smashed in Christian cemetery near Jerusalem in suspected hate crime
(Haaretz) 17 Oct by Nir Hasson — This is the fourth time in five years that the monastery and its cemetery were vandalized — A cemetery at a Christian monastery near the central Israeli town of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, has been vandalized. The monks responsible for its upkeep, who visit the cemetery every few days, found some 30 smashed headstones on Wednesday. This is the second time that the cemetery of the Beit Jamal Monastery was defaced. In 2013, a firebomb was thrown at a door and hateful slogans were scrawled on the monastery walls. It was also damaged in a hate crime in 2016, when unknown perpetrators entered the prayer house and smashed statues. The Israel Police said the matter is being investigated and that a forensics team was dispatched to the scene. “We’re using every means at our disposal to investigate and reach those involved,” the statement said. Gadi Gvaryahu, executive director of the NGO Tag Meir, which supports victims of hate crimes in Israel, visited the monastery on Wednesday and expressed his empathy to the monks’ distress. “The Tag Meir forum vehemently condemns the desecration of the Christian cemetery in Beit Jamal, which joins a string of hate crimes committed in recent days….
Jerusalem churches urge Netanyahu to block property legislation
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 21 Oct — The heads of the Roman Catholic, Armenian, and Greek Orthodox churches in Jerusalem called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to block draft legislation which is reportedly aimed at expropriating their property. The heads of the three major churches in Jerusalem wrote a letter to Netanyahu, condemning the bill as “disgraceful.” They wrote that its inclusion on the agenda of an Israeli government committee meeting scheduled for Sunday reneged on previous assurances by Netanyahu himself to withdraw the bill. “We were astonished to realize that this disgraceful bill was listed on the agenda of the ministerial committee for legislation this coming Sunday.” Swathes of Jerusalem are held by various churches, in many cases under long-term leases from the state. The churches then sublet the properties on the commercial market. In February, the Jerusalem municipality began enforcing tax collection on church property, excluding places of worship. In addition, the Israeli Knesset was also drafting a legislation, which would allow Israel to intervene in the resale of leases to commercial property developers….
Israeli soldiers surround Jerusalem Affairs Ministry
(IMEMC) 24 Oct — Israeli soldiers invaded Dahiat al-Barid area, south of the ar-Ram town, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, surrounded the building of the Palestinian Governorate and Jerusalem Affairs Ministry, and prevented the employees from entering or leaving it. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers and police officers encircled the entire area, and invaded many surrounding buildings before occupying their rooftops to use them as monitoring posts. It added that the soldiers photographed the governorate building from several directions, before withdrawing from the area …
Israel is ongoing with its attempt to prevent the Palestinians from having any control over their towns and communities in occupied Jerusalem, and is also targeting UNRWA-run facilities, including schools and clinics, to prevent it from providing services to the Palestinian refugees.
Israeli court rules for Jerusalem governor’s release
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — The Israeli District Court in Jerusalem ruled, on Monday, to release the Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, and place him under house arrest for seven days. Adnan’s lawyer, Muhammad Mahmoud, confirmed that the Israeli District Court ruled for Ghaith’s release and transferred him to house arrest for seven days, in addition to imposing a fine of 20,000 shekels ($5,467) on him. Ghaith was appointed two months ago by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as governor of occupied East Jerusalem. On Saturday, several vehicles, belonging to the special unit of Israeli forces, intercepted another vehicle that was transporting Ghaith in the Beit Hanina neighborhood. He was then forcefully detained and transferred to the Ofer detention center. The reason for Ghaith’s detention remained unclear.
Israeli authorities release Palestinian security official
JERUSALEM (Wafa) 18 Oct – Israeli authorities Monday released Colonel Jihad Faqeeh, 50, who heads the Jerusalem office in the Palestinian Intelligence force, according to head of the legal unit in the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Jawad Boulos. The Palestinian side applied for the urgent release of the colonel, after a decision by an Israeli court to extend his detention until Wednesday. Faqeeh was detained on Saturday at a military checkpoint near the town of Qatannah, northwest of Jerusalem, where he lives, as he was heading to work in Ramallah. No reason was given for the arrest.
Barkat raids Shu‘fat refugee camp
(IMEMC/Agencies) 23 Oct — The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, raided the Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied Jerusalem City, escorted by Israeli forces, on Tuesday afternoon. Spokesperson of the Fateh movement in Jerusalem, Thaer Fasfous, said that Barkat raided and toured the camp. Barkat’s raid to Shu‘fat comes a few hours after teams from the Israeli municipality had carried out a cleaning procedure across the refugee camp, in an unprecedented move, as this was usually done by workers from the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA.) Earlier this month, according to Ma‘an, the Israeli mayor had announced plans to remove UNRWA from East Jerusalem, accusing the agency of “operating illegally and promoting incitement against Israel.” Following Barkat’s statement, UNRWA expressed deep concern on the matter. However, it later dismissed the mayor’s threats, saying: “While these threats are worrying, they will not change facts on the ground since UNRWA exists based on international resolutions and binding bilateral agreements.”
Israeli army kills a Palestinian teen, injures five, in Gaza
[with video] (IMEMC) 24 Oct — The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed, Tuesday [23 Oct], that Israeli soldiers killed a teen, and injured five other Palestinians, east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. The Ministry said Montaser Mohammad Ismael al-Baz, 17, was shot and seriously injured with a live round in the head. The seriously wounded Palestinian was transferred to the Al-Aqsa Hospital, and was later rushed to the Shifa Medical Center, due to the seriousness of his condition, but succumbed to his wounds. It added that at least five other Palestinians were shot with live ammunition, when the soldiers, stationed in fortified sniper posts hundreds of meters across the border fence, targeted Palestinian protesters in their lands, near the perimeter fence, in central Gaza.
On October 19th, 2018, the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported that the army has killed 217 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including 163 who were killed at the protests, among them 33 children, one woman, two journalists, three paramedics, and four persons with disability, since the Great Return March processions started in the Gaza Strip on Palestinian Land Day, on March 30th, 2018. It added that at least 11,155 persons were injured, including 2,009 children, 442 women, 122 paramedics, and 130 journalists. Of those injured, 6,392 were hit by live fire, including 1,016 children and 120 women. The Israeli military continues to hold the bodies of ten of the killed, including of two children.
Palestinian dies from serious wounds suffered Monday
(IMEMC) 17 Oct — The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has reported that a young man died, on Tuesday [16 Oct] at night, from serious wounds he suffered a day earlier after Israeli soldiers shot him with live fire in northern Gaza. It identified the slain Palestinian as Saddam Abu Shallash, 27, from Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. He was shot with live Israeli army fire, near Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, and was rushed to surgery, and then to intensive care, but succumbed to his wounds. It is worth mentioning that Saddam is the brother of Sharif Abu Shallash, 28, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on December 23rd 2017.
Updated: Israeli navy opens fire at fishing boats, abducts four fishermen in Gaza
(IMEMC) 24 Oct — The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights issued a statement strongly condemning the ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen, and the illegal confiscation of their boats, and called for the release of four fishermen, who were taken prisoner by the navy, on Tuesday, in two separate attacks. Al-Mezan said its field investigations have revealed that, at 6:30 on Tuesday morning, Israeli navy ships opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, nearly two nautical [miles] in Gaza territorial waters in the al-Waha sea in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the coastal region, before surrounding a small boat with two fishermen onboard, and abducted them. The two fishermen have been identified as Awad Nafeth Sultan, 21, from Beit Lahia, and Ahmad Emad Siyam, 20, from the Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza city. They were taken to an unknown destination, and their boat was confiscated.
Al-Mezan added that, approximately at one in the afternoon of the same day, the navy fired many live rounds at Palestinian fishing boats, less than four nautical miles from the shore, in Sheikh Ejleen Beach, southwest of Gaza city, and surrounded them, before abducting two fishermen, and confiscated their boat. The two fishermen have been identified as Mahmoud Mohammad Miqdad, 35, and Hasan Soheil Miqdad, 26, from the Shati’ refugee camp.
Field research and documentation by the al-Mezan Center revealed that the Israeli navy carried 270 violations against Palestinian fishermen and their boats, since the beginning of this year, and that the navy fired live rounds at the boats 267 times, killing one fisherman, in addition to wounding sixteen others, and abducting 59, in addition to confiscating 18 boats….
Army injures eight Palestinians in southern Gaza
(IMEMC) 25 Oct — Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday evening, eight young Palestinian men protesting east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza has reported. The eight wounded Palestinians were rushed to Abu Yousef an-Najjar hospital in Rafah. Dozens of Palestinian youngsters also burnt tires, and launched fireworks towards Israeli sniper posts across the perimeter fence, while several others used laser pointers directed at sniper posts. In related news, the army fired two missiles at an observation post used by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, east of Rafah, causing damage.
Israeli forces injure 7 Palestinians in Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Seven Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli live ammunition, on Tuesday evening, after Israeli forces opened fire at dozens of Palestinian protesters east of Deir al-Balah in the central besieged Gaza Strip. Medical sources reported that Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian protesters, who participated in protests against the nearly 12-year Israeli siege of Gaza injuring seven of them. Those injured were immediately transferred to nearby hospitals in Gaza to receive the necessary medical treatment. The medical condition of those injured remained unknown.
Injuries reported as Israel suppresses 13th naval march in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — At least ten Palestinians were injured by Israeli ammunition, while others suffered tear-gas inhalation, as Israeli forces suppressed hundreds of Palestinian protesters in the naval march in Beit Lahiya in the besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday afternoon. Medical sources confirmed to Ma‘an that one Palestinian was injured with a live bullet in the leg in the Zikim area. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli forces opened fire at protesters approaching the border fence. Israeli forces also fired tear-gas bombs causing many to suffer tear-gas inhalation. The National Committee for Breaking the Siege had called upon Palestinians to take part in the 13th naval protest. Dozens of ships has also sailed off the coast in an attempt to break the 12-year-long siege on Gaza.
Gaza teen paralyzed in IDF strike visits Beersheba home damaged by rocket
(Times of Israel) 20 Oct — A Palestinian teen who was paralyzed by an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip over a decade ago this week visited an Israeli family who narrowly escaped with their lives after a rocket fired from Gaza directly struck their home. Maria Aman and her father Hamdi traveled to Beersheba to make a donation to the Tamano family, whose Beersheba home was completely destroyed earlier this week by a Grad rocket. “We heard what happened and we wanted to help because it’s a very difficult situation,” Aman told Channel 10 news on the way to Beersheba. “Both sides need to stop what they are doing, because every time this happens, I go back to the moments when I was injured.” Aman was critically injured in 2006 when the IDF struck the vehicle of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander in the Strip. The blast and shrapnel from the Israeli missile struck the Amans’ car, killing four members of the family. Maria, her brother Moamen and her father Hamdi now live in Jerusalem, where the 17-year-old has undergone years of medical treatment and rehabilitation….
Cabinet ministers: Malfunction caused Gaza rocket fire
[with video] (Ynet) 23 Oct by Itamar Eichner — Israeli intelligence determines with very high degree of certainty that a lightning strike caused the rocket fire that hit Be’er Sheva and off the coast of central Israel last week; ‘We acted very responsibly,’ one Security Cabinet member explains. ‘It wasn’t right to go to war because of the weather.’ — Hamas and Islamic Jihad may not have intentionally fired the two rockets at Be’er Sheva and central Israel last week. Security Cabinet ministers told Ynet on Monday the government decided against launching a military operation in the Gaza Strip following the rocket attack because Israeli intelligence determined, with a very high degree of certainty, that the rockets were fired due to a malfunction caused by the lightning storm that raged on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. According to one minister, there was indication Hamas and Islamic Jihad were embarrassed by the incident and even exchanged accusations before realizing the rocket launches were the result of a malfunction. “We acted very responsibly,” the minister explained. “It wasn’t right to go to war because of the weather.” He stressed that despite the tensions on the Gaza border, Israel continues giving a chance to efforts by Egypt and the UN to reach an arrangement between Israel and Hamas. Reports that a lighting strike caused the rocket launch first emerged on Wednesday night, when the Cabinet convened to discuss a possible response to the attack … Reports that a lighting strike caused the rocket launch first emerged on Wednesday night, when the Cabinet convened to discuss a possible response to the attack. Reports that a lighting strike caused the rocket launch first emerged on Wednesday night, when the Cabinet convened to discuss a possible response to the attack. Reports that a lighting strike caused the rocket launch first emerged on Wednesday night, when the Cabinet convened to discuss a possible response to the attack.
Senior Egyptian intelligence officials hold talks with Hamas in Gaza
(Times of Israel) 24 Oct — Hamas’s political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, received a delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the second meeting within a week between the two sides as Cairo continues its efforts to broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the terrorist group. The delegation was headed by Ahmad Abdelkhaliq, the official in charge of the Palestinian file in the Egyptian General Intelligence Services, the Ynet news site reported. The meeting comes as a supply of Qatari-purchased fuel entered the Gaza Strip for the first time in a week following a period of relative calm. Egypt has also recently made efforts to revive the reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah, the movement led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, hosting leaders from the two rival factions for separate talks in Cairo in the past month. Hamas in recent days has appeared to scale back mass protests along the Gaza-Israel frontier as Egypt renews its efforts to broker a ceasefire.
For the 30th Friday of Return and Breaking Siege march, Israeli forces wound 275 civilians, including 49 children, 3 women, 3 journalists, 4 paramedics and 10 sustaining serious wounds
(PCHR) 19 Oct — On Friday, 19 October 2018, in excessive use of force against peaceful protesters on the 30th Friday of the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, Israeli forces wounded 275 Palestinian civilians, including 49 children, 3 women, 3 journalists and 4 paramedics, with live bullets and directly hit teargas canisters in eastern Gaza Strip. Ten of those wounded sustained serious wounds. According to the fieldworkers of Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) during the reporting period, in light of wide-scale incitement by the Israeli highest military and political echelons against the protests and giving them a lead time until today to end them, the Israeli forces intensified the use of excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators though the organizers of the protests and Palestinian factions called for “maintaining the peaceful and popular nature of the protests and their tools” in addition to demanding “to take all measures to prevent and fail any opportunity for the Israeli snipers to take down the protestors.” PCHR’s investigations and fieldworkers’ observations emphasize that the Israeli forces heavily opened fire at the protestors, inflicting many casualties. Though no killings were reported, there were 10 persons seriously wounded. Moreover, though limited attempts to approach the border fence were reported in the demonstration areas, there was no imminent threat posed to the life of the Israeli soldiers and the protests were totally peaceful. PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness any armed manifestations while the Israeli soldiers continued to position on the top of sand berms and hills, in military jeeps and tanks along the border fence….
Israel cancels entry of goods into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — The Israeli army canceled entry of dozens of trucks carrying goods into the besieged Gaza Strip, on late Monday, according to Palestinian official sources. Sources confirmed that the Israeli side canceled entry of dozens of trucks scheduled to arrive into Gaza on Tuesday; reasons of the cancellation were unknown.
Israel resumes supplies of fuel into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — After a 12-day halt, Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, decided to allow supplies of fuel to enter the besieged Gaza Strip, on Wednesday. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, Israel will resume supplies of fuel to Gaza on after a 12-day halt imposed by Lieberman due to recent “violent” border clashes. On October 13th, Lieberman decided to halt the transfer of fuel and gas into Gaza, including truckloads of Qatari-funded fuel for Gaza’s only power plant. Lieberman said “In accordance with recommendations by security bodies it has been decided to resume the supply of Qatari fuel.” It is noteworthy that Gaza’s daily demand of power is between 450 to 500 Megawatts. However, the enclave has struggled for years with power shortages due to limited fuel access and degraded infrastructure. On Sunday, Lieberman also decided to reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza and the Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun) in Gaza after a 10-day closure. Sources reported that Lieberman’s office said the reason for the reopening of crossings and allowing entry of fuel was due to “a decrease in the violent events in Gaza over the weekend and efforts Hamas made to restrain”….
‘Iconic’ image of Palestinian protester in Gaza goes viral
(Al Jazeera) 24 Oct — Photo of shirtless Gaza protester goes viral, is compared to iconic ‘Liberty’ French Revolution painting –An image of a shirtless young protester in Gaza gripping a Palestinian flag with one hand and swinging a slingshot over his head with the other has drawn comparisons with the iconic French Revolution painting, Liberty Leading the People. Captured on October 22 by Mustafa Hassouna of Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, the photo shows 20-year-old Palestinian A’ed Abu Amro seeming to rise out of the thick of a protest against the Israeli blockade. He appears in sharp contrast to fellow demonstrators and reporters in protective jackets behind him, all set against a background of black smoke from burning tyres. The image has been tweeted over 5,000 times….
In video: Palestinian youths cross Gaza border fence
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Oct — Palestinian youths from the besieged Gaza Strip managed to cross the security fence along the Israeli-Gaza border, on Saturday, and placed a photo of a killed Palestinian on the Israeli side of the border. A Hebrew-language news outlet released video footage of Palestinian youths crossing the Israeli-imposed security border fence, to which Israeli army officials said “Palestinian youths managed to cross into Israel through one of the holes in the fence.” An Israeli army spokesperson also said that the Palestinians were “under surveillance” the entire time. The youths also managed to place a photo on the Israeli side of the border of a killed Palestinian, Muhammad Abed al-Hafith Ismail, 29, who was shot and killed over a week ago by Israeli forces during weekly protests against the Israeli siege on Gaza. Sources added that the youths managed to return to Gaza safely. Watch the video below:
Incendiary balloons spark 3 fires near Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — Three fires broke out, on Monday evening, in Israeli communities surrounding the besieged Gaza Strip as incendiary balloons landed in the area. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that three fires broke out and spread to greenhouses in the Ashkelon area due to incendiary balloons launched from Gaza. Firefighting crews arrived to the area that caught fire and managed to control the flames; no injuries were reported. Palestinians in Gaza view the incendiary kites as a form of protest against Israel’s nearly 12-year blockade of Gaza and for Palestinian refugees right of return to their homes and lands which are now known as Israel.
Israeli airstrike targets motorcycle in Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — An Israeli warplane fired at least one missile targeting a Palestinian motorcycle in eastern Rafah City in the southern besieged Gaza Strip, on Saturday afternoon. Witnesses told a Ma‘an reporter that an Israeli drone targeted a motorcycle near the Sufa area of Rafah City. No injuries were reported. Meanwhile, the Israeli army reported that they targeted a “cell” responsible for launching incendiary balloons and kites towards Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.
Opinion — The problems of Israeli children vs. the problems of Gazan children / Gideon Levy
[behind paywall] (Haaretz) 25 Oct — …The photo snapped on Tuesday by 13-year-old Uriya Kabir shows 7-year-old Yonatan Regev; both children are from Kibbutz Mefalsim in the Gaza border area. The photo spread through social media and was printed on a double spread in the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth. It’s hard to be indifferent to the reddening background and the fleeing boy; it looks almost like Vietnam after an American napalm bombing. But Yonatan was fleeing on his bike because the firefighters had warned him to stay away from the fire, which had been started on the other side of the kibbutz fence due to an incendiary balloon … On the other side of the fence, from which the incendiary balloons are launched, they want to make life miserable for Yonatan and his friends. They have no other way to remind Yonatan, the Israelis and the world, that their lives are much more terrifying. Perhaps if they make Yonatan’s life miserable, someone will remember their bitter fate and do something to save them. They’ve known for a long time now that if they don’t launch incendiary balloons and make life miserable for the people living opposite them, no one will care about their fate. Perhaps a boy Yonatan’s age launched the balloon, perhaps a little older, but there is nothing in common between the life of the person who launches these balloons and Yonatan’s life. They were born to separate fates. Since the gates of Gaza slammed shut on their lives, the gap has grown to a terrible abyss. Anyone who thought that the children of Jabalya, who gaze longingly at the children of Mefalsim, would sit idly by and accept their fate, does not know human history and the human soul. There is nothing more understandable, just and human than the uprising of the young people of Gaza; in light of the reality of their lives, they are responding with almost amazing restraint….
‘Gaza post-operative care and rehabilitation effort’ 30th March – 6th October 2018
Infographic from World Health Organization, Health Cluster
Israel bars Gazans from getting medical care in West Bank if they have relatives staying there without a permit
[behind paywall] Haaretz 20 Oct by Amira Hass — Until recently, such a ban was imposed on Gazans who have family members who are affiliated with Hamas. Now Israel expands the ban, claiming patients may use treatment as a ploy to avoid going back to the Strip — Israel has found a new reason to prevent gravely ill Palestinians from leaving the Gaza Strip for medical treatment. Patients who have a relative who has moved to the West Bank, without obtaining an Israeli permit to do so, are banned from exiting the Strip. Until recently, Israel had been banning patients in Gaza from leaving the Strip for medical treatment in East Jerusalem and the West Bank if they had relatives who are members of Hamas. In August, in response to a petition, the High Court of Justice ordered the state to cease this practice. But Israel is continuing to ban patients from leaving Gaza for critical medical treatment, now on the grounds that they have a relative who moved to the Palestinian Authority area in the West Bank without obtaining Israeli permission to do so. Since the beginning of the year, the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has been receiving more and more complaints from patients who said they were told explicitly that their request to leave Gaza was rejected on the grounds that they had a relative who had moved to the West Bank….
Swim team braves pollution to five into Gaza waters
BEIT LAHIYA (AFP) 22 Oct by Adel Zaanoun — On one of the world’s most polluted coastlines, 30 young Palestinians dive head first into the sea off the Gaza Strip, their minds filled with dreams of Olympic glory. Aged between 11 and 16, they make up a rare swimming club in the Palestinian enclave, and perhaps its only mixed-sex one. Coach Amjad Tantish talks through a warm-up before they race from the trash-strewn beach into the sea as he continues to bark instructions. Conditions are far from perfect; the waves make serious training difficult and they have little equipment. But Tantish explained that there are no free public swimming pools in the Gaza Strip, so they had to brave the sea. “We lack even the simplest equipment such as goggles and swimsuits,” he said. “We don’t have any funding.” The Mediterranean hugs the entire 40 kilometre (25 mile) western border of the Gaza Strip, but almost no one enters its waters. The desperate shortage of energy and lack of sanitation infrastructure mean around 100 million litres of poorly treated sewage are pumped into the sea every day, according to the United Nations. In the worst spots along the shore the sea is tinted brown … Mixed-gender activities are rare in conservative Gaza, particularly in the sporting arena. The girls mostly wear long black swim trousers and red blouses, with their heads largely uncovered. Tantish, 42, said in the past it “was not an acceptable idea, we faced many difficulties and troubles.” Now, he said, attitudes have changed. “Families drop their daughters off to practice swimming and the proportion of women reached 30 percent.”….
Up in smoke: Hamas cracks down on Gaza drugs
GAZA CITY (AP) 22 Oct — Hamas authorities have been burning piles of narcotics and cannabis in a yearly sweep against drugs in the beleaguered Gaza Strip. Officers in military fatigues on Monday poured gasoline and set alight more than 1 million tablets of opioid painkiller tramadol, about 1,500 slabs of hashish and 900 grams of opium. With residents suffering under a decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade since the militant Hamas took power, authorities say drug use has grown among Gaza’s 2 million residents as people look for an escape from harsh living conditions, soaring unemployment and travel restrictions. Hamas says it is fighting the endemic relentlessly. On Monday, it sentenced 17 people convicted of drug trafficking to hard labor prison terms of 10 years to life. Last year, Hamas legislators endorsed the death penalty to curb drugs.
Video: Upcycling grenades in Gaza
BBC News 20 Oct — Ahmed collects the debris at the Israeli Gaza border during the ongoing protests. He takes them home turns them into something new.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank
Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian near Tubas
(IMEMC) 24 Oct — Israeli soldiers killed, on Wednesday at dawn, a young Palestinian man in Tammoun town, and injured eleven others, east of Tubas, in northeastern West Bank. Medial sources said the young man, identified as Mohammad Mahmoud Bsharat, 21, was shot with a live round in the back, and died from his wounds shortly afterwards. The Palestinian was studying Health and Hospital Management at the Al-Quds Open University, Nablus Branch, in northern West Bank. Many Palestinian protested the militate invasion into their town, and hurled stones, in addition to using fireworks, targeting the invasion armored military jeeps. The soldiers fired many live rounds, in addition to gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters. Medical sources said the soldiers shot three Palestinians with live fire, including one who suffered a moderate-to-severe wound, and three others with rubber-coated steel bullets, while at least five Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
In related news, Palestinian protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at army jeeps invading Azzoun town, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank.
Slain Palestinian laid to rest in Tubas
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Thousands of Palestinians marched, on Wednesday afternoon, in the funeral of a Palestinian who was killed earlier by Israeli forces during clashes in the Tamun town, in the south of the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas. Muhammad Mahmoud Bisharat, 23, was killed by Israeli live ammunition during clashes that erupted in Tamun town in the early dawn hours of Wednesday. Three other Palestinians were injured with explosive bullets, including two critical injuries. The funeral processions began as Bisharat’s body arrived to his hometown, Tamun, the body was carried on shoulders from the Turkish Hospital in Tubas City towards Bisharat’s home in Tamun where final goodbyes were said before prayers took place at the town’s mosque and then burial at the town’s cemetery. Bisharat’s brother said that Muhammad had left the house at 2:00 a.m. and met with four of his friends to stand against Israeli soldiers’ raiding the town, however, he added that they were ambushed by soldiers who heavily opened fire at them.
Updated: ‘Palestinian shot dead allegedly after attempting to stab a soldier’
(IMEMC) 22 Oct — In Hebron Monday morning, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian, Moammar Arif Refa‘ey al-Atrash, 42, who the army claimed had tried to carry out a stabbing attack on soldiers stationed near Ibrahimi Mosque, lightly wounding one soldier. According to the Israeli Army’s official statement, “An assailant attempted to stab a soldier adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs, (The Ibrahimi Mosque) lightly injuring him. The soldier and other forces at the scene responded with live fire”. A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance rushed to the scene, but the soldiers refused to allow the medics to approach the Palestinian.
The father of al-Atrash was interviewed by local media [see video], and told them that his son was having a problem with his wife, and they were temporarily separated for about a week, and that he has a brother in the Old City of Hebron that he goes to visit every day. The now-deceased al-Atrash has three daughters and four sons, one of whom is Ofer Israeli prison. While being interviewed, the father received a call from his family telling him that the soldiers invaded their home, and told them that they intend to demolish it.
After he was shot by the soldiers, while he was lying on the ground dead or dying, Israeli colonial settlers were allowed to go up to the Palestinian’s body and shoot photos and videos. One of the colonialist settlers could be heard spitting, and shouting at the soldiers to put the corpse of the slain Palestinian in a trash bag, and to “throw him in the nearest trash dumpster.”vEven though an Israeli ambulance was present at the scene, the Israeli medics did not attempt to provide medical attention to the dying man.
This shooting death of a Palestinian accused of an attempted attack follows another similar incident on October 15th, when a Palestinian was shot dead near Nablus after allegedly attempting to try to stab an Israeli soldier.
Israel revokes work permits for family of killed Palestinian mother
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — The Israel Security Service, the Shin Bet, canceled Israeli work permits for the husband and brothers of a Palestinian mother who was killed after Israeli settlers hurled rocks at her vehicle, on Monday. Aisha Muhammad Talal al-Rabi, 47, a mother of eight children, from the Bidya village near Salfit in the northern West Bank, was killed on October 12th after Israeli settlers hurled rocks at her vehicle as she was passing by near the Zaatara checkpoint in southern Nablus. Hebrew-language news sites reported that al-Rabi’s husband and brothers were surprised to find out that they were the ones who were punished by having their work permits revoked, instead of holding the Israeli settlers responsible for the attack. Sources added that the Shin Bet claimed the ban was temporary. The Shin Bet also mentioned that no one has been detained as the investigation continues.
Palestinian family escapes near death after Israeli settlers attack their vehicle on West Bank road
NABLUS (Wafa) 20 Oct – A Palestinian family barely escaped death on Saturday after Israeli settlers attacked their car with stones while driving on a road between West Bank cities of Nablus and Qalqilya. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlements in the northern West Bank, told WAFA that Ahmad al-Sadda and his family, from the village of Jet, to the east of Qalqilya, barley survived a settlers’ attack on their vehicle. “The settlers attacked Sadda’s car with rocks as it passed near the settlement of Havat Gilad causing damage to the car and a blow out in one tire,” said Daghlas. He said the family, particularly the children, were terrified and suffered from shock as a result of the attack that almost killed them all. Settlers last week killed a Palestinian mother of eight in a similar incident nearby when they threw stones at a car she was in with her husband and daughters.
Two shot with live bullets after Israeli soldiers raid Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Wafa) 25 Oct – Two Palestinians were shot and injured early Thursday after Israeli soldiers raided Dheisheh refugee camp in the south of Bethlehem and clashed with residents. The Red Crescent said two people were shot in the thigh with live ammunition and brought to hospital. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers raided the camp to arrest activists but were confronted by residents. The soldiers fired at random at the Palestinians injuring two. One person, a 24-year-old former prisoner, was also detained after the soldiers raided and searched his family home in the camp.
Army raids Tulkarem neighborhood in pursuit of alleged attacker, harasses residents
TULKAREM (Wafa) 22 Oct – Israeli soldiers raided in the early Monday hours the Shweikeh neighborhood of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem in pursuit of a Palestinian resident of the neighborhood who allegedly attacked and killed two Israelis in the illegal West Bank settlement of Burkan two weeks ago, according to local reports. They said soldiers raided the area where the family of Ashraf Naalweh, the alleged attacker, lives, threw stun grenades and tear gas at random and raided homes of Naalweh relatives while interrogating them. Youths threw stones at the soldiers, who fire tear gas and stun grenades at the youths and at the neighborhood causing panic and suffocation. Soldiers also raided an apartment building, searched the various apartments and interrogated dwellers before leaving it. They also raided a print shop and searched it. They also searched open fields in the city using dogs before leaving the neighborhood and the city three hours later.
Israeli soldiers shoot a Palestinian, abduct a teenage boy, in Bethlehem
(IMEMC) 23 Oct — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, Doha town, west of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, and shot a young man, in addition to abducting a teenage boy in the Deheishe refugee camp, south of the city. Several armored Israeli military jeeps invaded Doha town, and fired many live rounds, gas bombs and concussion grenades at Palestinians, protesting the invasion. Medical sources said the soldiers shot a young man with a live round in the leg, before he was rushed to a hospital in Bethlehem, suffering a moderate wound. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded homes in Deheishe refugee camp, and searched them, before abducting Mahmoud Salah Hammash, 17. The soldiers also invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, searched homes and interrogated several Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, and withdrew later.
Army seriously injures a Palestinian in al-Biereh
(IMEMC) 29 Oct — Israeli soldiers seriously injured, Friday, a young Palestinian man after shooting him with live fire in the chest, in Jabal at-Taweel area, east of al-Biereh city in central West Bank. Medical sources said the young man is in a very serious condition, due to a gunshot wound to the chest, and adding that he is receiving treatment at a local hospital. The incident took place after dozens of soldiers invaded Jabal at-Taweel area, where dozens of Palestinians held a procession. The soldiers came from their base in Psegot illegal colony, which was built on private Palestinian lands in al-Biereh. They fired many live rounds, gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters, and at many surrounding homes.
Two soldiers accused of sexual assault, stealing cash at West Bank checkpoint
(Times of Israel) 21 Oct — Military prosecutors filed indictments Sunday at the Jaffa Military Court against two IDF soldiers for allegedly stealing money from Palestinians at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem, and for at least on two occasions forcing female tourists at the crossing to remove their shirts. The two corporals in the Military Police’s Border Crossings Unit allegedly stole cash from Palestinians undergoing security checks at the crossing. According to the indictment, they also asked two female tourists on two separate occasions to remove their shirts during a security check when there was no clear security need to do so and in violation of standing orders at the crossing that prohibit male guards from strip-searching female civilians. They were charged with looting, attempted looting, indecent assault, and improper use of authority. The indictment also ascribed to the soldiers a racist motive, saying the two believed that “since Palestinians are hurting Jews, it is legitimate to take their property.” The indictment said the two began planning to steal cash from Palestinians after one day finding large sums of money in the luggage of a Palestinian woman passing through the checkpoint….
In video – Israeli settlers attack Palestinian homes near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Oct — Five Palestinians were injured as Israeli settlers threw rocks at Palestinian homes in the Burin village, south of Nablus City of the northern occupied West Bank, on Saturday. The Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din, reported that Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar threw rocks at Palestinians working in their lands, in the Burin village. Meanwhile, more than 30 Israeli settlers from Givat Ronen attacked Palestinian homes in the same village and destroyed agricultural lands near it. During both attacks, Israeli forces intervened to provide protection to Israeli settlers and attacked the Palestinian residents by firing tear-gas bombs towards them, while settlers continued to throw rocks. Yesh Din confirmed that five Palestinians from Burin had suffered light injuries due to the two various attacks. Yesh Din also reported that since the start of October, Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar settlement and from the illegal Israeli outpost of Givat Ronen have carried out about seven attacks against Palestinians from the Burin village and other surrounding villages.
Israeli colonists puncture tires, write racist graffiti near Salfit
(IMEMC) 22 Oct — A group of fanatic illegal Israeli colonialist settlers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the village of Marda, in the West Bank governorate of Salfit, punctured tires of parked cars and wrote racist graffiti. Bassam Ebdah, the deputy-head of Marda Village Council, said the colonists infiltrated into the village, and wrote anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian graffiti on several walls and cars. He added that the assailants also punctured the tires of Palestinian cars in the village, owned by Omar Sidqi Khoffash, Nash’at Khoffash, Hussein Hasan Sa’id, Ahmad Saleh Ebdah, Sameeh Ebdah, Mohammad Ebdah and Sa’ed Taha Ebdah.
Israeli forces detain youth for wearing shirt of Palestinian flag
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Israeli police forces detained a Palestinian youth, on Saturday [20 Oct], in Jerusalem City in the central occupied West Bank for wearing a shirt of the Palestinian flag. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces prevented a Palestinian youth, identified as being from Palestinian lands occupied by Israel in 1948, from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque reportedly for wearing a shirt of the Palestinian flag. Israeli police forces stopped, searched and detained the youth from inside the Old City of Jerusalem and transferred him to an Israeli police station in the Salah al-Din Street. Witnesses added that the youth was pushed and assaulted as he was taken to the police station. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center posted a video and pictures of the incident on the center’s Facebook page.
Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians on predawn Tuesday, during raids particularly in the northern occupied West Bank. Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Hebron; they were identified as Muhammad al-Titi and his brother Jihad. In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, one Palestinian was detained and identified as Hussein Jalal Matawwa. In the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces detained one Palestinian, he was identified as Rami Ghazawi, 26. In the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem, eight Palestinians were detained; PPS identified them as Muhannad Muhammad Kawwa, 47, his son Jamal Kawwa, Mahdi Adib al-Hajj Ibrahim, Muhammad Firas Mahdawi, 20, Hamam Amer al-Masri, 19, Ibrahim Hussein al-Mahdi, 22, Mumen al-Sharfa, and Amjad Azmi Amar, 24. It is noteworthy that since October 7th, 70 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli forces in the Tulkarem district.
Residency / Restriction of movement
Israel seeks to deport to Brazil man who has lived almost entire life in West Bank
[behind paywall] (Haaretz) 13 Oct by Amira Hass — The case highlights problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians under constant threat of deportation, due to Israel’s freeze of family reunification requests — A young man who has been a resident of the Jenin refugee camp since the age of three has been detained at an Israeli prison for illegal aliens for the last 20 months. Israel is seeking to deport him to Brazil, where he was born. Maen Abu Hafez speaks only Arabic and knows no Portuguese or anyone in Brazil. He hasn’t been in that country since his early years and has no valid Brazilian passport. He was detained in February 2017 at a mobile checkpoint set up between the West Bank towns of Tulkarem and Jenin. He was transferred to Israeli immigration detention when it turned out that he had no identification documents other than a letter from the Palestinian Authority confirming that a request for family reunification in the West Bank had been filed for him.
US student’s lawyer says ‘battle goes on’ over Israel anti-boycott law
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 19 Oct — A U.S. student’s court victory against the Israeli government’s attempt to bar her from the country may prove only a short reprieve in the “battle” over a law targeting some pro-Palestinian activists, one of her lawyers said on Friday. Lara Alqasem, 22, was allowed out of Tel Aviv airport on Thursday after Israel’s Supreme Court overturned her Oct. 2 detention there on suspicion of being active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – charges she denied … “We’re celebrating, but yesterday was an intermission and the battle goes on,” the lawyer, Leora Bechor, told Reuters. Bechor said Israeli legislators appeared poised to draft even tougher laws against suspected pro-Palestinian boycotters. “The court decision rules that thought-policing has zero place in Israeli democracy. Unfortunately, the court decision fell on deaf ears,” she said. Alqasem, who was due to enroll for a year-long master’s program at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, voiced relief, in a brief statement issued by her lawyers, at being let into Israel….
Hasharon Prison imposes new sanctions on female detainees
(IMEMC/Agencies) 23 Oct — The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) informed that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) of Hasharon has imposed many sanctions on Palestinian female detainees who protested against surveillance cameras and refused to go out to the daily “break” for 48 days in a row. PPS noted that the IPS has prevented many Palestinian detainees from meeting with their families and disconnected some Arab channels. The detainees complain of bad treatment they receive at the clinic, so and IPS has cut their visits for the past two weeks. PPS mentioned that the IPS turned off the surveillance cameras a long time ago, after the prisoners protested against them. However, the cameras have returned, water has been reduced and thousands of books have been withheld, following the visiting of Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilaad Arad, who created a special Committee to withdraw the achievements of detainees. 31 female detainees are held in Hasharon prison, in addition to 20 others in Damon prison.
Adnan faces serious complications as he continues hunger strike
(IMEMC) 22 Oct — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that detainee Khader Adnan, who has been holding a hunger strike for fifty consecutive days, is facing serious health complications. The head of the Legal unit of the PPS, attorney Jawad Boulos, said Adnan has suffered a very serious weight loss, and is facing constant fatigue, vomiting blood, in addition to having problems in his left eye. Boulos managed to visit Adnan, Monday, at the Ramla prison, and said the detainee informed him that he is still refusing medical checkups, vitamins and boosters, adding that his strike continues until he is freed again….
Legislator Jarrar receives another administrative detention order for three months
(IMEMC) 22 Oct — The Israeli Authorities renewed, Sunday, the arbitrary Administrative Detention orders against Palestinian legislator, Khaleda Jarrar, for three more months, for the fourth consecutive time. The Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs issued a statement strongly denouncing the continued imprisonment of Jarrar, holding her captive under arbitrary orders without charges or trial. The Ministry said that “Israel continues to violate the basic principles of International Law, and all related human rights resolutions,” and condemned the ongoing abduction and imprisonment of many elected legislators, and political leaders …
Israel is still holding captive five democratically elected Palestinian legislators, under dire conditions and constant violations.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli authorities have issued, Sunday, 40 Administrative Detention orders against Palestinian detainees; 32 of the issued orders were renewal of existing orders, and the remaining are first-time orders. The Addameer Association has reported that Israeli is holding captive 5640 Palestinians, including 53 women and 270 children; 50 of the children are under the age of 16.It added that among the 5640 detainees are 465 who are imprisoned under the arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, without charges.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli cabinet postpones evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — The Israeli Security Cabinet approved the postponement of the evacuation of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, for several weeks, on Sunday. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, the Israeli Security Cabinet held a meeting, on Sunday, for over two hours regarding the issue of Khan al-Ahmar’s evacuation and approved its postponement. Sources confirmed that the Cabinet approved the postponement of Khan al-Ahmar’s evacuation for several weeks, in order to exhaust the negotiations for a consented evacuation. While the majority of the Security Cabinet approved the postponement, The Jewish Home, an ultra-Orthodox Zionist political party, objected to it. The Israeli Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, head of The Jewish Home, swore that he would ensure the demolition of the village, adding “Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated. This is an illegal construction whose destruction was approved by the Israeli Court.” An official statement by the Cabinet read, “In accordance with the recommendation of professional elements, the Security Cabinet has granted an extension of several weeks in order to exhaust the negotiations for evacuation by agreement.” Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to request postponement of the demolition of the village and for the Security Cabinet to approve a time frame for its evacuation. Netanyahu stressed “The timetable will be short,” regarding the evacuation of the village….
Israel to confiscate thousands of dunams to expand Route 60
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — The Israeli government approved a project for the expansion of Route 60 connecting the occupied West Bank districts of Jerusalem and Hebron. Head of the Anti Wall and Settlement Committee in Bethlehem, Hasan Breijieh, said that the Israeli Minister of Transportation ordered the expansion of Route 60 via four lanes, which would confiscate thousands of dunams of Palestinian lands of the al-Khader town, Beit Jala City and al-Ma‘asara village in the central West Bank district of Bethlehem, and the Beit Ummar town in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. Breijieh added that the project would widen the route up to 100 meters in width.
For years, taxpayer money reportedly used to fund illegal outposts
(Times of Israel) 22 Oct by Stuart Winer — Haaretz obtains documents showing the World Zionist Organization Settlement Division funded loans for settlers….
Israeli authorities notify to stop construction work on ‘Tahadi 10’ school in Tubas
TUBAS (Wafa) 23 Oct – Israeli authorities notified to stop the construction work on the school of late Marwan Majli, known as “Tahadi 10”, in the area of Khirbet Ibiziq, a locale to the north of Tubas, in the occupied West Bank, said a local activist. Mutaz Bsharat, who monitors settlement activity in the Tubas district [in the Jordan Valley], said the notices ordered to stop the construction work on the school premises, including works on the classrooms, walls, yards, and the 500-meter-long road leading to the school, under the pretext the land is an ‘archaeological site’. Earlier Tuesday, Israeli forces dismantled and seized educational caravans belonging to the school.
Israeli forces uproot 320 trees in Hebron-area land
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — Israeli forces razed and leveled 14 dunums of Palestinian-owned lands in the Jamrura area in western Tarqumiya of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, on Monday afternoon. One of the land owners, Ali Fatafta, told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency that Israeli forces destroyed two water wells and uprooted 320 olive and almond trees. Israeli forces raided Fatafta’s family land, razed it and uprooted 320 olive and almond trees without any prior notice. He added that Israeli forces prevented landowners and others from reaching their land, which they cultivate every year and live off of its crops. Fatafta said that the trees are aged between 5 to 7 years, pointing out that the family was preparing to harvest the trees as the olive-picking season has begun.
Illegal colonialist settlers uproot Palestinian lands near Bethlehem
(IMEMC) 21 Oct — On Sunday, a number of illegal extremist Israeli colonialist settlers, accompanied by soldiers, invaded Palestinian lands in Khallet al-Nahla area near Khalayel al-Louz, southeast of Bethlehem, and bulldozed them. Hasan Breijiyya, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and colonies in Bethlehem, said the colonists brought bulldozers into the area, and uprooted lands owned by members of the Obeyyat family. Breijiyya added that the colonists bulldozed the lands to establish a bypass road, in addition to rooms and hothouses on the Palestinian lands after illegal confiscating them. It is worth mentioning that the area has been subject to frequent violations by the soldiers and the colonialist settlers.
Gaza child drowns to death as immigrants’ boat capsizes
(IMEMC) 23 Oct — A boat filled with immigrants capsized off the coast of Bodrum resort town, northwest of Turkey, leading to the death of two children, including a Palestinian child from Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The Turkish Coast Guard has confirmed that the boat capsized near Bodrum, leading to the death of two children. One of the slain children, identified as Malak Rabah Abu Jazar, only four years of age, is from Rafah city, while several members of her family were injured in the incident. A second child, a seven-year-old girl, was also killed in the incident…
In a Facebook post, the Abu Jazar family has confirmed Malak’s death, and said that Rabah Abul-Ghani AbuJazar, and Aa‘ed Abdullah Abu Jazar, along with their families, were rescued. The Turkish coastal police launched an investigation and reportedly detained four suspects, whose identities were not revealed, but are believed to be smugglers helping the migrants sneak out of Turkey and into Greece, Daily Sabah has reported. It added that the capsized boat had the capacity to carry ten persons, but was instead carrying 34….
3,894 Palestinians killed in Syria since 2011
(IMEMC/Agencies) 22 Oct — Some 3,894 Palestinian refugees have been killed in Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011, Action Group for Palestinians in Syria said, on Sunday. The NGO said that its teams reportedly documented the killing of 1,408 Palestinian in Yarmouk and 263 in Daraa, 202 in Khan Al-Sheikh, 167 in Al-Nirab and 123 in Al-Husayniyeh. According to the report, 1,198 were killed in airstrikes and artillery bombings, 1,063 were killed in direct gunfire and 558 were killed under torture. In addition, thousands of the Palestinian refugees were wounded and maimed across Syria.
Palestinians furious as US merges authority’s diplomatic mission in Jerusalem into Israeli embassy
(The Independent) 21 Oct by Bel Trew in Jerusalem — The United States has placed its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians under the authority of the US embassy in Israel, a downgrade that has sparked uproar among the West Bank leadership. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the consulate general, which is currently a separate office in Jerusalem, would be closed down and replaced by a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside their embassy which the US controversially moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem earlier this year. The move would effectively mean the Palestinians are forced to recognise the US’s decision to label Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It would also make David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, who is hated by Palestinians over his support for Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the main interlocutor with the Palestinian leadership. It follows a series of decisions by President Donald Trump that the Palestinians say proves the Americans have sided with Israel and are no longer objective mediators … In Israel, the move was celebrated. Michael Oren, deputy minister for diplomacy and a former Israeli ambassador to the US, said it was “great day for Israel, Jerusalem and the US”….
Jewish peace group slams US ambassador’s visit to Israeli settlement
(MEMO) 19 Oct — A Jewish-American peace group has slammed US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for visiting the Israeli settlement of Ariel built north of the occupied West Bank. In response to Friedman’s visit, J Street Vice President of Government Affairs Dylan Williams issued a statement in which he said that “by making an official public appearance at an event in an Israeli West Bank settlement, Ambassador Friedman once again crossed a major, longstanding red line of bipartisan US policy.” “The Trump administration continues to send a clear message of support for the settlement movement and the agenda of the Israeli right. Indeed, the ambassador, himself a longtime benefactor of the settlement movement, has actively worked to erode the distinction between Israel and the occupied territory it controls beyond the Green Line,” he added. Williams warned that with such unprecedented actions like these, “the Trump administration is driving home the point that they have no real interest in promoting a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — now or in the future.”….
US Greenblatt reveals plan to unite West Bank, Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — The United States’ Middle East Peace Envoy, Jason Greenblatt, stressed that the United States is involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to help “all Palestinians, in both the West Bank and Gaza,” and revealed intentions of unification of the West Bank and Gaza, on Tuesday. According to a Hebrew-language news outlet, Greenblatt said “The White House’s peace plan entails intentions to unify the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” Greenblatt, along with Jared Kushner, a senior adviser and son-in-law of US President Trump, have been working on the peace plan, also known as the “Deal of the Century” for nearly two years. Greenblatt added “Let’s be clear about something: Gaza and the West Bank have been separated for 10 years, not only physically, but politically — between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. It’s absurd to deny that reality.” He stressed “In contrast, our peace plan intends to bring them together. Make no mistake; we are in this to help all Palestinians, in both the West Bank and Gaza. The type of disinformation being spread by some parties who have not even seen the plan yet wish to be spoilers does nothing to benefit ordinary Palestinian lives.”….
B’Tselem head speaks at Security Council, denounced as traitor by Israeli ambassador
(i24News) 18 Oct — Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights NGO, spoke at the UN Security Council Thursday where he told the international community that the time had come for action on the Palestinian situation. His speech was critical of various Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians, which he compared to the policies of apartheid-era South Africa. He urged the international community to take action on behalf of Palestinians. The Security Council session invited El-Ad to speak on the behalf of Israeli civil society organizations. The discussion was led by UN Middle East Envoy Nikolay Mladenov, who cautioned Thursday of the dangerous situation on the brink of exploding in Gaza. El-Ad said “it is difficult and perhaps impossible to convey the force of the humiliation, rage and pain that is the fate of a people who have been denied their human rights for over fifty years.” El-Ad told the Council that the time had come for action …
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon reacted harshly to El-Ad’s statements, at one point switching to Hebrew in the middle of the Security Council session to accuse El-Ad of cooperating with Israel’s enemies. “Mr. El-Ad, you are a citizen of the State of Israel who serves our enemies. They use you against us. The IDF soldiers are guarding you and you are coming here to defame them,” Danon exclaimed in Hebrew. “Shame on you, collaborator!”….
5th Palestine Cinema Days festival launches in West Bank
(MEMO) 19 Oct — Nearly 1,000 people attended the launch of the annual Palestine Cinema Days festival at the Cultural Palace in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday. The 5th edition of the festival is screening in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nablus and Gaza between 17-23 October with more than 60 films from Palestinian, Arab and international filmmakers. Two Oscar nominated films will also be shown throughout the seven days of the festival. “We believe that cinema is an important tool to raise our voices as a people under occupation and to raise all the voices of Palestinians wherever they are in the refugee camps,” Palestine Cinema Days spokesperson Khulood Badawi told MEMO, adding that the festival aims to revive cinema culture in Palestine and encourage the making of Palestinian films.
Palestinian photojournalist wins first place in French photo awards
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 Oct — The top photo prize of the 25th edition of the Bayeux-Calvados-Normandy Award for War Correspondents went to Palestinian photojournalist, Mahmoud Hams. Thirty-eight-year-old Hams won for his picture of a Palestinian protester on a wheelchair in the besieged Gaza Strip, preparing to throw a rock using a slingshot at Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border fence with Israel. The winning picture, taken on May 11th 2018, featured Saber al-Ashqar, 29, with amputated legs, swinging a slingshot with black smoke in the background as part of the weekly “The Great March of Return” protests waged at the border since March 30th. Over 200 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured in the Israeli army crackdown on the protests. Hams, a resident from Gaza, works for the French news agency, AFP, and had covered a number of conflicts and demonstrations in Gaza. It is noteworthy that fifty war correspondents from all over the world have competed for the awards this year.
Palestinian protest icon goes from jail cell to VIP suite
JERUSALEM (AP) 21 Oct by Mohammed Daraghmeh & Josef Federman — When Israel locked up Ahed Tamimi for slapping a soldier last year, it hoped to finally silence the teenage Palestinian activist. Instead, it created an international celebrity. Less than three months after walking out of prison, Tamimi is on a victory tour, crisscrossing Europe and the Middle East as a superstar of the campaign against Israeli occupation. She has spoken to throngs of adoring fans, met world leaders and was even welcomed by the Real Madrid soccer club. The VIP reception has dismayed Israeli officials and is prompting some to ask if Israel mishandled the case. “We could have been smarter,” said Yoaz Hendel, a media commentator and former spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu … Israel faces a dilemma — wanting to respond but fearing criticism will attract even more attention. Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for public diplomacy and a former ambassador to the United States, learned a bitter lesson when he acknowledged earlier this year leading a secret investigation into whether the Tamimis were “real” Palestinians. He said their light features, Western clothes and long history of run-ins with Israeli forces suggested that they were actually paid provocateurs out to hurt the country’s image. The investigation concluded that the family was indeed real — prompting mockery and racism accusations from the Tamimis….
HRW: Palestinian authorities committed abuses, torture
(Al Jazeera) 23 Oct by Ali Younes — Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the “systematic arbitrary arrests and torture” carried out by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. In a report published on Tuesday, the international rights group demanded the Palestinian governments hold those responsible to account and also called on donors to the Palestinian authorities to suspend aid to the agencies implicated in abuses until action is taken. The findings of the report were rejected by both PA and Hamas as inaccurate and “biased”. Titled, Two Authorities, One Way, Zero Dissent: Arbitrary Arrest and Torture under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the 149-page document evaluated “patterns of arrest and detention conditions” in the West Bank and the Gaza strip. The report is the result of a two-year investigation of 86 cases and interviews with 147 people who were mostly ex-detainees, family members, lawyers and NGO officials….
King says Jordan to reclaim land held by Israel under 1994 deal
[with map] (Al Jazeera) 22 Oct by Ali Younes — Jordan has told Israel that it intends to reclaim two tracts of territories remained in Israeli private ownership under a 1994 peace treaty, King Abdullah II has announced, in a move that was welcomed by activists and civil society groups opposing the deal. As part of the agreement, Israel leased about 405 hectares of agricultural land in the southern sector of its border with Jordan called al-Ghumar, as well as the small al-Baqura area near the confluence of Jordan and Yarmouk rivers. The areas are currently regulated through a “special regime” in the peace treaty where Israel recognises Jordanian sovereignty with Israeli private land ownership. The territories – water-rich farmlands currently cultivated by Israeli farmers, kept in Israeli hands for 25 years, with a 12-month notice period needed to prevent an automatic extension. The deadline for renewing the leases is Thursday, October 25. “We have informed Israel of an end to the application of the peace treaty annexes regarding al-Baqura and al-Ghumar,” the king said on Sunday, according to the Petra state news agency. “Al-Baqura and al-Ghumar have always been on top of my priorities. Our decision is to end the annexes of the peace treaty based on our keenness to take all that is necessary for Jordan and Jordanians,” the king added. “Al-Baqura and al-Ghumar are Jordanian land and will remain Jordanian.”
Following the king’s announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would negotiate with Jordan an extension of the leases, which expire next year. “We will enter into negotiations with [Jordan] to option an extension of the existing lease agreement,” Israeli media quoted him as saying. It is unclear how and when the territories will be returned back to Jordan’s ownership. The territories have been under Israeli control since 1948….
US midterms ads accuse Democrats of ‘terror’ ties
(Al Jazeera) 16 Oct — A number of midterm campaign ads have attempted to link Democratic candidates in tight Congressional races to “terrorism.” Slated for November 6, the midterm elections are largely viewed as a referendum on President Donald Trump. Voters will decide all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the Senate and 39 governorships in US states and territories. Although campaign ads attacking opponents’ records are common from candidates on all sides of the political spectrum, a number of ads – many funded by a leading Republican super PAC – have drawn a backlash from watchdogs, fact-checkers and rights groups. Most recently, California Republican Duncan Hunter, who has been indicted on charges of violating campaign finance laws, has drawn criticism over ads his campaign ran attacking his opponent’s Palestinian background….