Media Analysis

One day in Gaza: Israelis kill 15-year-old Palestinian boy, and 78-year-old farmer

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Israeli soldiers kill a child in northern Gaza
IMEMC 4 Oct — Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian child on Wednesday [3 Oct] when they shot him with a high-velocity gas bomb in the head, and wounded 25 other Palestinians, during protests near Beit Hanoun (Erez) Terminal, in northern Gaza. The child, Ahmad Samir Abu Habel, 15, was shot with a gas bomb which struck him directly in his head, and lodged in his skull. A video [below] shows gas pouring from his skull, where the canister lodged, and a group of young men rushing up to help him to an ambulance.
The soldiers also targeted a Palestinian ambulance with a gas bomb and several live rounds, near the crossing. Furthermore, the soldiers injured 25 other Palestinians, some with live fire who were rushed to the Indonesian Hospital in nearby Beit Lahia. The rest suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.

Israeli soldiers fatally shoot elderly Palestinian farmer in central Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Oct — Israeli military forces shot and killed an elderly Palestinian farmer in the central part of the Gaza Strip, while he was working on his land. Gazan Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra said the 78-year-old Palestinian, identified as Ibrahim Ahmad al-Arrouqi, was transported to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, located over 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) south of Gaza City, where he succumbed to his injuries. In a brief statement, Dr. al-Qedra confirmed that the Palestinian was shot and killed on Tuesday evening [2 Oct] while working on his land east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza….

7 Palestinians, including 2 children, killed in Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Sept — Seven Palestinians, including two children, were shot and killed by Israeli forces during protests across the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Friday afternoon [28 Sept]. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 7 Palestinians were killed, identifying them as 14-year-old boy Muhammad Nayif al-Hum, killed by a live bullet in the chest in the al-Breij refugee camp, Iyad al-Shaer, 18, and Muhammad Walid Haniyeh, 23, from the al-Shate refugee camp, Muhammad Bassam Shakhsa, 25, all residents of Gaza City. The ministry identified the remaining 3 as 12-year-old Nasser Azmi Musbeh, and Muhammad Ali Anshashi, 18, both shot and killed in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, in addition to Muhammad Ashraf al-Awawdeh, 26, who was pronounced dead at the al-Shifa Hospital after sustaining critical injuries at eastern al-Breij refugee camp.
Spokesperson of the ministry, Ashraf al-Qidra, confirmed that some 506 Palestinians were injured during protests, 90 of whom were injured with live bullets, including 3 critical cases. Thirty-five children were among the injuries, in addition to four paramedics and three journalists. Thousands of Palestinians had arrived to the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip as part of the 27th “Great March of Return,” protesters set fire to tires and were able to cross the Israeli security fence multiple times. Protesters also took down a small Israeli drone in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Additional Israeli forces were deployed on the borders as protesters launched several incendiary kites and balloons. The Israeli artillery also fired several shells targeting protesters in eastern Gaza City.  [Each slain Palestinian has a page here]

Classmates mourn boy shot dead by Israeli occupation forces on Gaza border
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza (Reuters) 1 Oct — The school friends of Nassir Al Mosabeh sat tearfully in their classroom in Khan Younis on Sunday and mourned their 12-year-old friend who was killed in a protest on the Gaza border with Israel. Gaza health officials said Israeli forces on Friday shot dead seven Palestinians, who were among thousands who thronged to the fortified border as part of weekly protests launched six months ago. Mosabeh was one of those killed. “I cried for him like I have never cried before. I do not know what the [Israeli] occupation saw in him to kill him? What did he do to them? Did he kill anybody? I do not know what happened,” Mosabeh’s friend, Dia’ Abu Khater said.  Mosabeh’s classmates in the school in the southern Gaza Strip decorated his chair with his picture ringed by red and white flowers and green leaves, the Palestinian colours.  Mosabeh was always at the border to assist medics in the Friday protests, his sister, Eslam, said.  “Nassir always came with us. Everyone in the field hospital knows him and he always helped us. Nassir was our right hand, he would always bring us equipment whenever we needed something. May God bless his soul,” she said….

MOH: 93 Palestinians injured during Gaza protest
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Almost 100 Palestinians suffered injuries at the northern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday, as protesters participated in the naval march setting off from the Gaza seaport against the nearly 12-year Israeli siege. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 93 Palestinians were injured, including 37 injured by Israeli live ammunition. Israeli forces opened fire directly targeting medical crews and ambulances that attempted to reach the area to provide medical aid to those injured. A Ma‘an reporter said that tensions increased during the naval march when Palestinian protesters began to set tires on fire to blur the vision of Israeli snipers deployed at the northern Gaza border; Israeli naval forces then heavily and repeatedly fired rubber-coated steel bullets towards protesting crowds. Many attempts have been made throughout the years to draw the public’s attention to and break the on-going siege of the Gaza Strip whether via ships attempting to sail into Gaza or ships attempting to sail from Gaza.

Gaza night protests step up months of anti-Israel unrest
RAFAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) 2 Oct — It’s nearly 10:00 pm when young Palestinian men begin banging drums and chanting songs, while others attach incendiary devices to balloons — all closely watched by Israeli snipers on the border. For six months, Palestinians have gathered regularly along the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel for often violent daylight demonstrations against Israeli policies. But in recent weeks they have deployed a new tactic: “night confusion units”. Protests can go on until the early hours. Organisers say they aim to force the Jewish state to ease its crippling decade-long blockade of Gaza, but residents in nearby Israeli communities say their lives are being destroyed. Israel accuses Gaza’s rulers Hamas of controlling the protests. Hamas says it backs the demonstrations but is not commanding them and that the idea for nocturnal activity came from protesters themselves. “Every day the young men on the border invent ways to develop marches and the most recent was the night confusion unit,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said. An Israeli military official, who did not want to be named, said the night protests do not pose a new challenge. “Our soldiers, including our snipers, have night vision equipment,” he said. “There are a few dozen, sometimes a few hundred demonstrators (at night)… they burn tyres, throw incendiary bottles and sometimes grenades and do not represent a more important threat than the daytime demonstrations.” … “We will not stop launching incendiary balloons until we break the siege on Gaza,” said Abu Anas, one of the orchestrators of the night’s activities. Anas insisted the movement was independent of Hamas. Saqer al-Jamal, 22, said he and fellow protesters believe Israeli soldiers fear their actions. “The goal is to confuse the occupation and send our message to the settlers nearby that there is no sleep until we achieve our demands of lifting the siege and returning to our country,” he said….

The past six months in Gaza have been like another war / Mohammed Abu Mughaiseeb
Al Jazeera 1 Oct — I am a doctor in Gaza and I have never seen anything like this before — As a doctor living and working in Gaza all my life, I thought I had seen it all. I felt I knew the limits of what Gaza can endure. But the last six months have been the most difficult I have experienced in my 15 years with MSF in Gaza. And I have lived and worked through three wars: in 2008, 2012 and 2014. The human suffering and devastation I saw over the past few months have reached another height. The shocking volume of wounded has been overwhelming. I will never forget Monday, May 14. In the span of 24 hours, the local health authorities recorded a total of 2,271 wounded, including 1,359 people injured by live ammunition. I was on shift that day with the surgical team of al-Aqsa hospital, one of the main hospitals in Gaza. At 3pm we started receiving the first wounded from the demonstration. More than 300 arrived though the doors in less than four hours. I had never seen so many patients in my life. Hundreds were lining up to get into the operating theatre; the corridors were full; everyone was crying, shouting and bleeding. No matter how hard we worked, we could not cope with the huge number of injured. It was too much. Gunshot after gunshot, our team worked for 50 hours straight trying to save lives. It brought back the memories of the 2014 war. But really, nothing could have prepared us for what we saw on May 14.
And what we are still seeing today. Each week new trauma cases continue to arrive, the majority of them young men with gunshot wounds to their legs with high risk of life-changing disabilities. MSF’s cohort of patients continues to grow and right now we are treating about 40 percent of all those wounded by gunshots in Gaza, who are over 5,000 people….

‘This is life in Gaza’
Trocaire [Ireland] 27 Sept by Sister Bridget Tighe — Devoting the last four years to helping the sick and injured in Gaza, Sister Bridget Tighe tells of the devastation she witnesses on a daily basis — Growing up in the small town of Ballindoon in County Sligo, I spent my childhood surrounded by beautiful coastlines and sandy beaches. When you first arrive in Gaza, it too seems just as beautiful – with miles upon miles of blue Mediterranean sea, lovely buildings, hotels and shops full of food. Very quickly, however, you realise that the childhoods in Gaza are worlds apart from ours, and the peace, safety and carefree lives we enjoyed as children just don’t exist here. Standing at the seaside, you smell the stench of raw sewage being pumped into the water making Gaza’s tap water toxic and undrinkable. Although there is food in the shops, people have no money to buy it. And in front of the lovely buildings, children fill the streets, begging for money – the only way many families can afford even a loaf of bread. There is no time for school, and no time for play. Children know nothing about peace or what it means to have a normal and happy childhood. Some have already survived three major wars and have lived through horrors no child should ever know …  In the clinic where I work, we can see up to 100 people a day. Many with wounds that aren’t healing, are getting infected and spreading, leading to amputations. I recently met a young dad with six children who was waiting quietly to be seen by the doctor. Desperate to feed his family, he had brought them to a camp along the border to find food. But instead he was shot at. Can you imagine getting shot searching for food to feed your family? ….

Israel reinforces troops outside Gaza as border protests enter seventh month
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 4 Oct by Jeffrey Heller – Israel said it was reinforcing troops around Gaza on Thursday as a precaution against Palestinian border protests now in their seventh month, and threatened the enclave’s ruling Hamas Islamists with a “very harsh” response in the event of attacks. The Israeli statements did not appear to herald any imminent offensive in Gaza but suggested stronger action at the frontier to foil any further Palestinian attempts to breach Israel’s security fence during the demonstrations, which began in March. Israeli army gunfire has killed at least 193 Palestinians since, Gaza medics say. An Israeli soldier has been killed by a Palestinian sniper. Tracts of Israeli land have been burned up by incendiary materials flown over the border by kite or balloon. Israel accuses Hamas of orchestrating the mass-mobilizations to provide cover for attacks and distract from Gaza’s economic plight, allegations it denies … Israeli media said the new deployment included Iron Dome rocket interceptors, indicating concern that Hamas or other armed factions could attempt cross-border launches. The Israeli military declined to confirm or deny those reports. In an interview published on Thursday in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth daily and Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper, Hamas’s Gaza-based leader Yehya Al-Sinwar was quoted as saying that “a new war was not in anyone’s interest” but “an explosion was unavoidable” unless the “siege” on Gaza was lifted….

Amid spiraling Gaza violence, Bennett lashes government’s ‘failed policy’
Times of Israel/Agencies 30 Sept — Education minister says defense minister’s ‘agreements’ with Hamas ‘have collapsed’ after Friday protest sees over 100 bombs, grenades hurled at troops, 7 Palestinians killed — Israeli ministers exchanged barbs over the weekend over the escalating violence on the Gaza border, with Education Minister Naftali Bennett slamming the government’s policy on Gaza, saying it was insufficiently aggressive toward the Hamas terrorist group. In a Sunday statement, Bennett, the chairman of the Jewish Home party blamed Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman for the continuing violence. Liberman’s coalition Yisrael Beytenu party swiftly responded by mocking Bennett’s “hysteria” and “jealousy.”….

IDF spy drone crashes in Gaza area, prompting search
Times of Israel 2 Oct — A drone operated by the Israel Defense Forces crashed Tuesday in the area of the northern Gaza Strip, with a military spokesperson saying it is believed to have fallen inside Israeli territory. The military was conducting widespread searches for the Skylark reconnaissance drone, the spokesperson said. A similar incident occurred in June, when a miniature UAV crashed in Syrian territory. The army said, as it commonly has after similar past incidents, that there is no risk of sensitive information on the drone being compromised, since footage captured by it is transmitted but not stored on it … The “sky rider,” as it is known in Hebrew, is a tactical surveillance drone created by Israel’s Elbit Systems and operated by the Artillery Corps. The miniature UAV can be launched by one or two people, depending on the model, and once airborne provides a live video feed to soldiers on the ground.

Hamas urges Palestinian president to lift Gaza ‘sanctions’
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 28 Sept — Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers are calling on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to lift what they describe as his “sanctions” on the coastal territory. Friday’s call followed Abbas’s threats to “give up responsibility” for Gaza if Hamas doesn’t respond positively to Egyptian efforts to broker a reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions. Abbas slashed funding to Gaza and cut salaries of Palestinian Authority employees there to pressure Hamas into handing over the territory, making it increasingly difficult for Hamas to govern. Hamas fears Abbas may reduce funding to health care and other services for Gazans. Hundreds of Hamas supporters marched in anti-Abbas protests late Thursday, burning his posters after his speech at the United Nations.

Israel to transfer fuel shipments to Gaza’s only power plant
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — The Israeli authorities are expected to transfer three trucks of fuel, funded by Qatar, to the Gaza power plant, according to Israeli Hebrew-language news sites. Israeli news outlets, however, reported that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is attempting to obstacle the fuel transfer.

UN agency, worried about safety, pulls some international staff out of Gaza
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 1 Oct – The United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees withdrew some of its international staff from the Gaza Strip on Monday, saying it was concerned for their safety, a statement from the organisation said. Anger has mounted in Gaza over the past few weeks among Palestinian employees of UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees). Facing a financial crisis, the organisation has had to cut jobs in Gaza, sparking strikes and protests. “UNRWA today decided to temporarily withdraw part of its international staff from Gaza following a series of worrying security incidents affecting its personnel in the Strip,” the agency said. UNRWA said its director of operations and other international staff would remain in Gaza and that its operations continue there. A source in Gaza said 13 international staff were withdrawn and six more remained in the Strip….

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

In video – Thousands lay brutally killed Palestinian to rest
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Thousands of Palestinians marched in the funeral of slain Palestinian youth, Muhammad Zaghlul Rimawi, 24, on Monday afternoon. Palestinians from the Beit Rima, Deir Ghassana, Nabi Saleh and Deir Nitham villages in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah took part in Rimawi’s funeral in Beit Rima, his hometown. Israeli authorities had returned Rimawi’s body to his family on Sunday evening, after having held the body for 13 days. Muhammad Zaghlul Rimawi, 24, was brutally assaulted and repeatedly beaten in his family home, leading to his death several hours later. An autopsy was performed on Rimawi’s body last Sunday, which confirmed that he was beaten to death as Israeli forces were detaining him; bruises were obvious on different parts of his body, including his chest, right thigh and other parts. Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported that Rimawi is the 3rd Palestinian to be tortured to death by Israel this year; Palestinian Yassin al-Saradih from Jericho was assaulted to death by Israeli forces following his detention on February 22nd, 2018, and prisoner Aziz Eweisat from Jerusalem, who was killed after being assaulted by Israeli “Nahshon” forces inside Israeli jails on May 19th, 2018.

Three racist attacks against Palestinian civilians by Orthodox Israelis in one week
IMEMC 2 Oct by Celine Hagbard — Over the past seven days, three separate hate crimes against Palestinians in Jerusalem have been documented, according to Israeli media sources. On Sunday, the Israeli paper Haaretz reported that “several dozen Orthodox men” began throwing stones, as well as tables and chairs from a sidewalk café, at Palestinian passersby near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, in the al-Misrara neighborhood. At least five Palestinians were injured in the attack, and several vehicles were damaged. No arrests were made. Footage from Twitter [below] shows a large number of men running down the street, shouting anti-Arab slurs:
Last Wednesday, in Gonenim Park in the Katamon neighborhood of southwest Jerusalem, which is traditionally a Palestinian Christian area, a gang of Orthodox men attacked four Palestinian students, all of whom are residents of Beit Safafa neighborhood in Jerusalem. One of the survivors of the attack, law student Islam Agwa, told reporters, “We were sitting there for maybe five minutes when we saw a group of about 30 men, age 20 to 35 – one looked like their rabbi, around 55. They were looking for Arabs and the second they saw we were Arabs their rabbi said a word and they jumped us.” Agwa suffered a broken nose and severe lacerations to his face and neck. Another survivor is in the hospital with a severely injured shoulder from having a cement block thrown at him. Eyewitnesses reported that the assailants used tasers on some of the victims. Four Israelis were arrested Tuesday for questioning in relation to the attack, but were released later the same day. No one has been charged.
And earlier this week, in the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit east of Jerusalem, a Palestinian bus driver was assaulted by a gang of Orthodox youth, and badly beaten. The Israeli anti-racism group Tag Meir told Haaretz, “Dozens of Arab drivers are attacked each year in violent racist assaults. Only a tiny number of these assaults are investigated by the police, and in most cases, the assailants run free.” Such attacks against Palestinians by Israelis are common, and are rarely prosecuted. According to the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, the recent spate of attacks coincides with the Jewish holiday of Sukkot – the paper added that the number of attacks against Palestinians by Orthodox Israelis usually spikes during Jewish holy days. (continued)

In Video – Israeli forces assault, injure Jerusalemite youths
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Israeli forces assaulted a number of Jerusalemites, on Monday evening, leading to several various injuries, near Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli forces surrounded a group of Palestinian youths who were present at Damascus Gate’s square, and began to assault the youths by pushing, kicking and beating them. According to reports, verbal confrontations broke out between youths and Israeli forces, leading to Israeli forces spraying pepper-spray at the youths, which resulted in severe burns in their faces. Locals said that the youths suffered bruising, burns and suffocation due to the assault. Israeli forces chased the youths outside the square towards the al-Musrara Street, detaining two. The two detainees were identified as Izz al-Din Barbar and Mustafa al-Hashlamon.

Israeli settler runs over Palestinian in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — A Palestinian was hospitalized after an Israeli settler “deliberately” ran him over, on Wednesday, at the Ni‘lin Israeli military checkpoint in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, a Palestinian identified as Nassif Saleh Khalifa was run over by an Israeli settler while at the Ni‘lin checkpoint. Khalifa suffered injuries and was immediately transferred to a nearby hospital to receive the necessary medical treatment; his condition remained unknown. Sources added that Khalifa was on his way back home from his work in Jerusalem City when an Israeli settler ran him over at the checkpoint, although Khalifa was reportedly walking on the sidewalk. Incidents involving Israeli settlers hitting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are a relatively regular occurrence, and are usually treated by Israeli security forces as accidents, even in cases when witnesses claim the car rammings were deliberate.

Israeli settler runs over shepherd’s flock of sheep in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — An Israeli settler ran over a flock of sheep, on Thursday, while herding in an open field south of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron. According to local sources, an Israeli settler ran over a flock of sheep belonging to a Palestinian shepherd, identified as Ismail Daim, and causing death to a few of the sheep. The Israeli settler was reportedly driving at a high speed and ran over the flock of sheep while they were herding in an open field.

Israeli media: Palestinian child attempts to stab soldier
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — A Palestinian boy reportedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack against Israeli soldiers deployed at the Beit Horon checkpoint in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, on Thursday. Israeli Hebrew-language news outlets reported that an 8-year-old Palestinian boy threw a knife towards Israeli soldiers at Route 443, between Jerusalem attempted attack occurred at a checkpoint near to Route 443. The child then fled the area; no injuries were reported. Israeli forces are searching the area for the boy.

In Video – Israeli settlers steal olive harvest in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — Israeli settlers stormed Palestinian-owned land and stole the olive harvest, on Thursday, in the Burin village in the southern occupied West bank district of Nablus. Local sources said that Israeli settlers stormed the village’s agricultural lands and were seen stealing the harvest off several olive trees. The land belongs to a number of residents from Burin. The Palestinian Authority (PA) had set October 10th as the official start of the olive harvest season in the West Bank. For hundreds of Palestinian families, olive trees are the main source of income, however when harvest season approaches, Israeli settlers target Palestinian lands and cause severe economic damages….

Israeli settlers uproot dozens of olive trees in Turmusayya village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Oct — Israeli settlers uprooted dozens of Palestinian-owned olive trees, on Wednesday, in the village of Turmusayya north of the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. Locals said that Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlements of Adi Ad and Amichai, which were illegally built on lands belongings to the residents of Turmusayya village, uprooted 40 olive trees. Sources confirmed that the uprooted olive trees belonged to local Mahmoud al-Araj. Israeli settlers constantly harass Palestinian farmers and residents in the village, in attempt to force them out of their lands, as part of an Israeli plan to expand illegal settlements nearby.

Israel claims to arrest Hamas cell over attack plot
JERUSALEM (ANADOLU) 3 Oct — Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, said Wednesday that a three-member Hamas cell was arrested in the occupied West Bank for allegedly plotting attacks. In a statement, Shin Bet said Issa Shaladeh, 21, and Omar Mas‘ud, 20, had been detained on suspicion of being recruited by the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing. It claimed that the pair had planned to carry out attacks against Israelis and to aid in the transfer of funds to the Palestinian group. A third Palestinian, who was identified as 24-year-old Hazem Hamayel, a resident of the northern West Bank, was also arrested for allegedly contacting a Hamas official in Gaza “to organize terror attacks in Israel”, the statement said. There was no comment from Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, on the Israeli claim. Every now and then, Israeli authorities announce the arrest of Hamas-linked cells for alleged attack plot against Israeli targets in the West Bank.

Israeli forces detain 14 Palestinians, including writer
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — Israeli forces detained at least 14 Palestinians, including a writer, across the occupied West Bank on predawn Thursday.  Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) confirmed that Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, they were identified as Ahmad Khalid Hamida, Muatasem Abu Khader and Khalil Abu Srour. In the northern West Bank district of Salfit, Israeli forces detained four Palestinians; PPS identified them as Walid Khalid, who is a writer and journalist, and Saleh Ayman Qasoul, Muath Jamal Nassar and Ali Abu Zahar. In the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians; they were identified as Ahmad Issam Tah and Ayman Salim. In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, PPS confirmed that two Palestinians were detained and identified as Munjed Ragheb Salah and Abed al-Halim Daghlas Abu Taher.  In the northern West Bank district of Tubas, three Palestinians were detained; they were identified as Imad Suleiman Bisharat, Rasoul Abed al-Aziz Odeh and Yahiya Mahmoud Awda.
According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,781 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.


Israel bans 9 Palestinians from Al-Aqsa Mosque
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — The Israeli authorities banned nine Palestinians, on Wednesday, from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in occupied East Jerusalem, for various periods ranging from five days to six months. Locals told Ma‘an that the Israeli authorities summoned nine Palestinians, who are all residents of the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, to the Israeli police station in the Old City and handed them ban orders. The orders informed the Palestinians of being banned from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The banned Palestinians were identified as Raed Zughair, an employee of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Reconstruction Committee, Hussam Sader, also an employee of the committee, and Mahdi al-Abbas, an Al-Aqsa Mosque guard, Shadi Mutawar, the Deputy Secretary of the Fatah movement, Jamil al-Abbasi, Hamza Zughair, Jihad Qaws, Rami al-Fakhouri, and Mahi Abu Asab. Israeli authorities carried out a campaign banning at least 30 Palestinians entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City of Jerusalem under the pretext of “providing security” while Israeli settlers take to the mosque and celebrate Jewish holidays.

Knesset member, dozens of Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — Israeli Knesset member Shuli Mualem, along with dozens of Israeli settlers, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Firas al-Dibs, head of the Public Relations and Media Department at the Islamic Endowment, said that dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in successive groups and among them was MK Shuli Mualem, for the Jewish Home political party. Al-Dibs added that Mualem along with the Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Moroccan Gate, under heavy protection by the Israeli forces, who were also deployed across the compound since early morning. Many of the Israeli settlers performed religious Jewish prayers while in the compound.
Al-Dibs mentioned that Israeli forces and police set up iron barriers at the entrances of the compound and confiscated ID’s of Muslim worshipers before allowing them entry.
It is noteworthy that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to lift a ban that would previously not allow Israeli Knesset members, mostly right-wing extremists who support the demolishment of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead, to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque once every three months, after incursions were banned since October 2015.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Israeli settlers raze Palestinian-owned lands in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Israeli settlers entered, with bulldozers, into the Khirbat Lafjan area east of ‘Aqraba village in southern Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, on Tuesday. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Iatmar entered with bulldozers and began to raze and level lands. Daghlas confirmed that Israeli settlers razed more than 200 dunams (49.4 acres) of land belonging to two Palestinian families, the Sbeih and al-Atout family. Israeli forces did not intervene and told Palestinians that these lands belong to Israelis and will be used for future military training.

Israeli settlers set house on fire in Hebron’s Old City
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Oct — Israeli settlers set a Palestinian house on fire on Wednesday, in the Old City of Hebron, in the southern occupied West Bank. According to the Hebron Reconstruction Committee, Israeli settlers set fire to a house belonging to Palestinian resident Izz al-Din al-Sharabati, in an area declared a closed military zone by Israel near the illegal Israeli outpost of Abraham Avino in center of Hebron’s Old City.  The al-Sharabati family lived in the four-story building for several years until they were forced to leave due to continued harassment by Israeli settlers, who continuously threw rocks at the house and residents. The house has remained empty since then.

Israeli settlers seize historic building in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — Israeli settlers took over a historic Palestinian building in the Aqbat Darwish neighborhood of Jerusalem’s Old City, in the central occupied West Bank, early Thursday morning. Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency reported that residents of the neighborhood were shocked by Israeli settlers seizing the building in the early morning hours of Thursday. Israeli settlers reportedly moved into the building, belonging to the Judeh family; the building was used as a clinic.

Israeli settlers force Palestinian residents out of property in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Oct  — The Israeli settlement group Elad reportedly took over a Palestinian-owned property in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported, in a statement, that dozens of Israeli settlers raided a Palestinian-owned building in the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of the town, under armed security by Israeli forces. The center added that the property belongs to the Fatiha family, who currently live in the United States; Israeli forces, however, forced tenants of the building from the Maswadeh family to evacuate. The Maswadeh family has rented the property from its original owners for 30 years. The center’s statement added that the property consists of two houses, each of a 160-square-meter square area, in addition to an 800-square-meter area land planted with olive trees and figs. Israeli settlers set up poles in preparation to installing a gate to the property. Members of the Maswadeh family who attempted to enter their property were forced out. The family told the center that Israeli settlers forced them out of their houses without allowing them to evacuate their belongings. The family added that they, 7 family members including 3 children, have resided on the property for 30 years, paying rent to the Fatiha family. The Maswadeh family said that the Fatiha family informed them that they had sold their property to settlers several months ago….

Palestinian family left homeless as Israel demolishes Negev home
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — The Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian home, on Thursday, in the Kuseifeh village in Israel’s Negev desert, under the pretext of being built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit. Local sources told Ma‘an that the Israeli crews stormed the Kuseifeh village and demolished the Palestinian home leaving a Palestinian family of ten homeless. Sources confirmed that a Palestinian mother along with her nine children lived in the home. Israel uses the pretext of building without a permit to carry out demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes on a regular basis.

Khan al-Ahmar

Khan al-Ahmar youth stage sit-in near Israeli president’s home
Al Jazeera 4 Oct — Bedouin children from Khan al-Ahmar stage sit-in in Jerusalem, protesting against imminent demolition of their village — A group of Palestinian schoolchildren from the occupied West Bank have travelled to the Israeli president’s residence to protest against the imminent demolition of their village. Khan al-Ahmar, which has captured international attention for its years-long legal battle with Israeli authorities over its survival, is set to be demolished after an Israeli court gave the community’s residents till October 1 to remove their rudimentary shacks and structures. At least 18 children from the Bedouin village, aged 12 or younger, were accompanied by Jewish-American activists and travelled in three Israeli-licensed cars to President Reuven Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem. They passed the al-Zaeem checkpoint, which separates an illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank from a neighbourhood that lies in occupied East Jerusalem, without incident. However, once they arrived in the area in West Jerusalem where Rivlin lived, they were prevented by Israeli police from approaching the residence.
‘We will remain’ Their sit-in on Thursday coincided with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Rivlin’s home, where she had lunch with the president. Her official visit to Israel had been delayed for a year and a half due to disagreements regarding Israel’s settlement policies. On Tuesday, the children of Khan al-Ahmar held a news conference appealing to Merkel to help stop the planned eviction. “I spent my entire life in Khan al-Ahmar,” 12-year-old Sujood Muhammad Jahalin told Al Jazeera. “If I leave, my heart will remain attached to it, and I will not be happy anywhere else. My heart loves this place,” she said….

Haaretz editorial: Bulldozers idling in Israel, but only until Merkel leaves
4 Oct — Netanyahu government should scrap plans to demolish Bedouin village in West Bank, but brief reprieve to avoid embarrassing German chancellor is most anyone can expect — In view of the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which began Wednesday, the government decided to put off the demolition and evacuation of the Jahalin Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar for a few days, so as not to embarrass her. The village residents, exhausted by four months of public and legal struggles and fearing the moment the bulldozers, police and army arrive, have gained another few days of anxiety-wracked waiting. Israel didn’t need an explicit threat from Berlin to conclude on its own that if the demolition and eviction had taken place before Merkel’s arrival, she would have cancelled her visit, as well as the prestigious consultations between the two countries’ ministers. This temporary consideration for the German government shows that the Israeli leadership is well aware of the serious differences in the two countries’ attitudes regarding the proper treatment of Palestinians living in the West Bank in general and the Bedouin in particular. The government seems to understand very well that it has turned its back on the values that were once shared by Israel and Western Europe. The government is prepared to dress up for a few days and behave properly, but once the visit is over, it will return to business as usual.
The period that the Civil Administration gave the Bedouin residents to demolish their simple structures on their own, including the school made of tires, expired on Monday night. Now the Civil Administration is free to implement the demolition orders “in accordance with the ruling by the High Court of Justice.”….

Solidarity buses to set off towards Khan al-Ahmar
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — Islamic and National Forces of the Ramallah and al-Bireh district, in the central occupied West Bank, announced that several buses would set off from various West Bank districts, carrying activists and supporters to Khan al-Ahmar village, east of Jerusalem, on Thursday. The Coordinator of the Islamic and National Forces of the Ramallah and al-Bireh district, Issam Bakr, said that activists and supporters coming to Khan al-Ahmar via the buses, would be stay the night at the village, in order to defend the land against Israeli bulldozers that may demolish the village at any moment and displace its residents. Bakr told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Voice of Palestine radio that delegations from the Salfit and Ramallah districts would arrive to the village on Friday in show of solidarity. In addition, Friday prayers would be performed at Khan al-Ahmar, on Friday noon, before a solidarity march sets off from the village towards the main street. The announcement followed after the evacuation period, which was granted by Israel’s High Court, ended on October 1st, allowing Israeli forces to to carry out the planned demolition.

UNRWA / Palestinian refugees

Jerusalem to remove UNRWA to ‘end lie of Palestine refugees’
Al Jazeera 4 Oct — City’s mayor, Nir Barkat, says cut in US aid creates ‘rare opportunity’ to replace UNRWA with Jerusalem municipality — Jerusalem’s mayor has said he plans to remove a United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees from the city to “end the lie of the Palestinian refugee problem”. Nir Barkat on Thursday said schools, clinics and sports centres, among other services operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in East Jerusalem, will be transferred to Israeli authorities. The municipality did not provide an exact timeline, but it said schools serving 1,800 students would be closed by the end of the current school year. Barkat, who is set to step down following municipal elections at the end of the month, said the US decision to cut $300m in aid to the agency earlier this year prompted the move. “The US decision has created a rare opportunity to replace UNRWA’s services with the services of the Jerusalem Municipality,” he said, accusing the body of operating illegally and promoting incitement against Israel. “We are putting an end to the lie of the ‘Palestinian refugee problem’ and the attempts at creating a false sovereignty within a sovereignty,” Barkat said in a statement, claiming the schools and clinics were illegal and operate without an Israeli license….

EU offers an extra $46 million to Palestinian refugee agency
BRUSSELS (AP) 28 Sept — The European Union says it’s offering an extra 40 million euros ($46 million) to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency to help educate children and provide health care in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The EU move announced Friday is intended to help fill a $217 million budget short-fall left after the United States effectively ended its $350 million contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The deficit led to the elimination of 113 jobs and 584 staff positions being converted to part-time. UNWRA’s Gaza employees went on strike Monday to protest pay cuts and dismissals. The agency serves millions of Palestinians who fled or were forced from homes in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, and their descendants. Israel accuses UNWRA of perpetuating the refugee crisis.$46-million-to-Palestinian-refugee-agency

Money or not, world can’t drop Palestinian refugees, says UN
UNITED NATIONS (AP) 28 Sept by Edith M. Lederer — Facing a financial crisis after the United States cut funding, the head of the U.N. agency that helps 5.3 million Palestinian refugees says the problem of their well-being will continue to exist whether there’s money or not — and especially if it was forced to shut down. While the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, got some good news Wednesday with new pledges of $118 million, it remains $68 million in the hole this year. And in January it will face the problem of trying to find funding for next year’s budget of about $1.2 billion. “Of course, we worry about it,” UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said. “The key question for next year will be whether these countries that have shown themselves so generous in supporting us this year … are they prepared to sustain those contributions?” As Krahenbuhl sat down for an interview with The Associated Press about the agency’s future on Thursday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly that UNRWA is critical to millions of his people but U.S. officials “just want to obliterate it altogether.” UNRWA was established after the war surrounding Israel’s establishment in 1948 to aid the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes. Today, it provides education, health care and social services to 5.3 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon….

Other news

Palestinians: ‘Israel owes us $360 million from 17 years of unpaid taxes’
JPost 27 Sept by Tovah Lazaroff — The Palestinian Authority has demanded that the Israel government transfers $360 million in back taxes it has collected for commercial activity in Area C of the West Bank. Israel stopped transferring those funds in the year 2000, which would have amounted to an estimated $20 million a year, the PA said. It made its demand in a report it issued for Thursday’s meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The meeting, which is held twice a year, deals with donor funding for the Palestinians. This year it is expected to grapple with declining donor funds, particularly the US decision to halt over half-a-billion in payments to the Palestinian Authority either directly or through the United Nations. The sum that the Palestinians are demanding in back taxes, would go a long way to making up for that shortfall. The World Bank, in its report to the Ad Hoc, also spoke of the problems incurred by Israelis decision to withhold funding. The $360 million referenced in the PA’s report, including tax money that Israel should have transferred from 2,000 Israeli companies or individuals doing business in Area C of the West Bank….

PA: We are not targeting Hamas members in West Bank
MEMO 28 Sept — The Palestinian Authority yesterday denied that it is targeting and arresting Hamas members in the occupied West Bank. Security forces spokesman, Adnan Dumairi, said: “The arrest of any person is always based on legal grounds and not on a political background or opinion.” He accused Hamas of “spreading rumours around”. “They [Hamas] should better allow Gazans to express their support to President Mahmoud Abbas,” he added. Hamas recently reported that the PA’s security forces have carried out several arrests against dozens of the group’s members in various areas of the West Bank. The arrests were reported to have included university students as well as several Palestinian prisoners who were recently released from Israeli jails.

Palestinians observe general strike in protest of Nationality Law
[with photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian territory occupied in 1948, and the Gaza Strip observed a general strike on Monday against the Israeli Nationality Law, approved in July, and to organize popular activities expressing people’s unity and resistance against the law.  The National and Islamic forces of the West Bank and the Higher Follow-up Committee of Palestinian Residents of Israel had called upon Palestinians living in Palestine, as well as Palestinians living abroad, to carry out a general strike and organize popular activities. All commercial shops and stores, governmental and non-governmental institutions, in addition to schools and universities closed their gates on Monday in response to the call for strike.
Activities in occupied lands of 1948 began at 9:00 a.m. and would include visiting all graves and shrines, in all Arab cities and villages, of Palestinians killed by Israel in the Intifada of al-Aqsa in 2000, as they commemorate the 18th anniversary of the Intifada. The Nationality Law enshrines the status of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people; it also includes legally preserving Israel’s “democratic” character, its state symbols (national anthem, flag, icon), Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Hebrew as the official language and the right of return for Diaspora Jewry….

Israeli forces injure dozens of Palestinians in West Bank clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Violent clashes broke out, on Monday, between Israeli forces and Palestinians in various areas across the occupied West Bank after protests took place as part of the general strike against the highly controversial Nationality Law, which was approved by the Israeli Knesset in July. A Ma‘an reporter said that in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, violent clashes broke out among Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters, at the northern entrance of Ramallah City, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.  Palestinian youths set tires on fire and threw rocks towards Israeli forces, while soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, as well as tear-gas bombs and sound bombs to disperse them. Sources added that Israeli forces shot and injured three Palestinians, including a journalist, with rubber-coated steel bullets and several others suffered from tear-gas inhalation. The identities and condition of the three injured remained unknown. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, clashes broke out in the villages of al-Eizariya and Abu Dis, during which five Palestinians were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli forces, and 10 others suffered from tear-gas inhalation. Israeli forces stormed the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir in East Jerusalem, which led to clashes to break out with Palestinian residents.  No injuries were reported.…

Hugo Chavez Hospital to open next month in West Bank
MEMO 1 Oct — Palestinian Authority (PA) Health Minister Jawad Awwad yesterday announced that the Hugo Chavez Ophthalmic Hospital is to open its doors for patients next month, the Safa news agency reported. Located in Turmus Ayya neighbourhood near Ramallah, the hospital will provide advanced eye care, according to the health minister. The government of Venezuela donated $15 million to build the hospital, which is constructed by the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) in cooperation with the health ministry. The hospital consists of four floors, with an overall area of 7,300 square feet and is made up of two buildings, connected by an eye-shaped plaza. Designed to be eco-friendly, the hospital’s wastewater will be treated on site. The hospital was named after the late Venezuelan president because he supported Palestinians and their cause.

Israel closes roads for ‘Bible Marathon’ in occupied West Bank
MEMO 28 Sept — Israel has today closed several roads in the occupied West Bank to make way for its “Bible Marathon”, in which settlers and pro-Israel internationals take part. Roads between Salfit and Nablus and Ramallah and Nablus, in the north of the occupied West Bank, were closed to allow runners exclusive access to them. “Palestinians are forced to take alternative roads, which may be rugged and dangerous, to reach their cities following the closure,” according to Quds Press. In a statement the official in charge of the settlement issue in the occupied West Bank, Ghassan Douglas, said that the event constituted “a political message and an attempt to legitimise the settlements and the presence of settlers,” Quds Press added. Citing Israel’s Channel 7, Quds Press also reported that 4,000 runners from 15 countries were participating in the event. Among the participants were members of HaYovel, a group of Christian Zionists who claim the occupied West Bank represents “the historical and spiritual heartland of Israel”. HaYovel raises money to support illegal Israeli settlers who farm Palestinian land and has entered 12 teams of runners into this year’s Bible Marathon. The Bible Marathon is an annual event which sees runners begin in Rosh Haayin, east of Tel Aviv, before running 42 kilometres to the illegal Israeli settlement of Shiloh, situated on the Ramallah-Nablus road in the occupied West Bank. The surrounding area is dense with illegal Israeli settlements, including Ariel, Eli and Ma’ale Efraim. Shiloh also overlooks the nearby Palestinian village of Duma, home to the Dawabsheh family who were murdered in an arson attack on their home in 2015. The attack killed three members of the family, including 18-month-old baby Ali, and left his brother Ahmed orphaned. In August, Israel’s plans to expand the nearby Amichai settlement were revealed. The expansion was intended to incorporate the neighbouring outpost of Adei Ad, previously home to Amiram Ben-Uriel – the extremist Israeli settler who killed the Dawabsheh family….

Bethlehem: Israel denies entry to participants in Jordanian trade fair
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Oct — Israeli authorities have denied entry into the West Bank to more than half of the participants in an exhibition for Jordanian industries, a Jordanian official said on Wednesday. Deputy Chairman of Amman Chamber of Commerce Adnan Ghaith said that 120 Jordanians who have registered to participate in the trade fair that opened on Tuesday, at the Convention Palace in Bethlehem, were denied entry, by Israel, to the occupied West Bank Highlighting the glaring absence of attendees, Ghaith added that only 80 out of 200 Jordanian participants were allowed entry to participate in the 4th Jordanian Industries and Products Exhibition. He slammed Israeli restrictions on guests’ entry to the occupied Palestinian territories as part of Israeli policies aimed at the disruption of such exhibitions aimed to promote Palestinian-Jordanian trade cooperation and exchange …  This year’s edition of the three-day fair is designed to increase the annual share of Jordanian industries in the Palestinian market to $500 million, according to WAFA.

What Netanyahu’s idea of peace looks like
+972mag 27 Sept by Haggai Matar — Although he may publicly reiterate his support for a two-state solution, Netanyahu’s vision for a future Palestinian state is one that would lack nearly all sovereignty —  U.S. President Donald Trump said that he favors two states as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, during a press conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Ne in New York on Wednesday. In response to Trump’s comments, which signaled a change from his previous stance, according to which he would back whichever solution Israelis and Palestinians support, Netanyahu told reporters that “Everyone defines the term ‘state’ differently. I am willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the capability to harm us.” Israel, said Netanyahu, will not “relinquish security control west of the Jordan.” It’s an important issue to discuss, not only because Netanyahu has been repeating this phrase for the past several of years, but because we have a great deal of experience to help us learn what Israel defines as “security control” over supposedly autonomous Palestinian territories. Here are just a handful of examples….

Percentage of elderly is low in Palestine, says Statistics Bureau
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 30 Sept– The Palestinian society is considered a young society where the percentage of young  people is high and the percentage of the elderly is relatively low, said the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on Sunday on the occasion of the World Elderly Day. In 2017, the number of the elderly aged 60 and above reached 233,269 persons (5.0%), (152,443 persons  (5.4%) in the West Bank and 80,826 persons (4.3%) in Gaza Strip). PCBS said even though, the percentage of the elderly will be increasing during the coming years in Palestine, but their percentage will stay relatively low not exceeding 5.0% during the current decade. The elderly percentage may start increasing after year 2020.
About 39% of the Elderly have Difficulties/Disabilities  — 84,194  of the elderly are with difficulties/ disabilities (39.1% of the total number of elderly in Palestine: 35.2% in the West Bank and 45.7% in Gaza Strip).  The most common difficulties among the elderly in Palestine are mobility difficulties/disabilities —  about 23.9% (19.9% in the West Bank and 30.6% in Gaza Strip), followed by seeing difficulties/ disabilities (22.0%) … 185,156 of the elderly aged 60 years and above are covered by health insurance (86.1% of  the total number of elderly). The elderly with health insurance increased in Gaza Strip, where 97.2% of the elderly were insured, compared with 79.4% in the West Bank….

Lost in occupation: How Google Maps is erasing Palestine
+972mag 4 Oct by Henriette Chacar — A new report details the ways Google Maps’ mapping process in the occupied territories serves the interests of the Israeli government, while contradicting the company’s stated commitment to human rights —  When Tariq Asedih plans a trip from his village near Nablus to Ramallah, Google Maps “can’t find a way” for the 36-kilometer journey. Instead, he has to navigate from a nearby Jewish settlement, and even then, the available routes direct Asedih to roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use. Not only does Google Maps not recognize Palestine (the browser instead navigates to an unlabeled area) – its entire user experience ignores the reality of occupation. In doing so, Google is violating its commitment to international human rights, according to a new report by 7amleh, the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media. …

Security Council prepares to visit Palestine in October
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Oct — On Wednesday, Head of the UN Security Council, Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenti Soliz, said that he will seek a visit to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in October. This came during a press conference held by Soliz, in which his country holds the rotating presidency of the Council, at the permanent headquarters of the United Nations in New York. “The council should go to Gaza and the West Bank,” he said. “We will insist on that. We hope the visit will turn into a reality on the ground.” “For more than 50 or 70 years, the United Nations has not fulfilled its promise to establish a sovereign Palestinian state … The Council has visited many regions of the world and we believe that this region is one of the most important.” Palestinian Authority officials have often demanded that a delegation of council members visit the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, “to see the suffering of the Palestinian people.” However, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, the completion of such a visit requires the unanimous approval of all 15 members of the council, which is strongly rejected by the United States of America, a permanent member with veto power alongside Russia, Britain, France and China.

World Court: Palestine files complaint over US embassy in Jerusalem
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) 29 Sept — The International Court of Justice on Friday said it has received a complaint from the “State of Palestine” against the United States, arguing that the U.S. government’s placement of its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem violates an international treaty and it should be removed. The ICJ, known as the World Court, said in a statement Palestine argues the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations requires a country to locate its embassy on the territory of a host state. While Israel controls Jerusalem militarily, its ownership is disputed. In December, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the American embassy in Israel relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the new embassy opened in May. The Palestinian suit requests the court “to order the United States of America to withdraw (its) diplomatic mission from the Holy City of Jerusalem.” The ICJ is the United Nations’ venue for resolving disputes between nations. Palestine was recognized by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 as a non-member observer state, though its statehood is not recognized by either Israel or the United States.

US pulls out of international accord over Jerusalem embassy case
WASHINGTON (AFP) 4 Oct — The United States said Wednesday it was quitting an international accord related to the top UN court after the Palestinians challenged the US move of its Israel embassy to Jerusalem. It was the latest attack on the international justice system by the administration of President Donald Trump, who last month at the United Nations virulently rejected the authority of the International Criminal Court. Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said the United States was pulling out of a protocol concerning the separate International Court of Justice in The Hague, which considers disputes between nations. “This is in connection with a case brought by the so-called state of Palestine naming the United States as a defendant, challenging our move of our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he told reporters at the White House. Bolton said the United States was leaving the 1961 Optional Protocol and Dispute Resolution to the Vienna Convention, which establishes the International Court of Justice as the “compulsory jurisdiction” for disputes unless nations decide to settle them elsewhere. The United States will still remain part of the underlying convention that established the International Court of Justice and “we expect all other parties to abide by their international obligations” on it, Bolton said….

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rejects ‘biased’ US as sole Middle Eastern mediator
UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) 28 Sept – Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas tore into the Trump administration Thursday (Sept 27), refusing to accept the United States as the sole mediator in the Middle East conflict, a day after Donald Trump promised a “very fair” peace plan. The 82-year-old Palestinian Authority president used his address to the UN General Assembly to lambast the United States for closing the Palestine Liberation Organisation office in Washington, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving its embassy and slashing Palestinian aid money. Speaking a day after the US president said he favoured a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and vowed to unveil a new peace plan within months, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump for his “unwavering support” of the Jewish state in his speech from the floor of the chamber. Abbas, however, said Trump had forfeited his right to be regarded as a neutral broker. “We will also not accept sole American mediation in the peace process,” he said, accusing the former real estate tycoon of being “biased” towards Israel since taking office in January 2017. “With all of these decisions, this administration has reneged on all previous US commitments, and even undermined the two-state solution,” Abbas told the world body in a nearly 40-minute speech. “It’s really ironic that the American administration still talks about what they call the ‘deal of the century.’ “But what is left for this administration to give to the Palestinian people? Only humanitarian solutions?”….

Commentary: Abbas misses a chance to help Palestinians / Diana Buttu
Reuters 3 Oct — On September 27, Palestinian Authority President and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addressed the U.N. General Assembly for the 14th time. Among Palestinians, expectations had been high that Abbas’ speech at the United Nations would be “historic,” and that he would articulate a new strategic path forward for Palestinians in the wake of the Trump administration’s near total adoption of Israel’s positions, namely moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, cutting all funding to UNRWA, the U.N. agency responsible for the well-being of Palestinian refugees, and closing the PLO diplomatic mission in the United States.
Yet, once again, Abbas failed to deliver. His “historic” speech turned out to be more of the same: a call for the world to salvage a two-state solution that died years ago, systematically destroyed by Israel as a result of its relentless construction on Palestinian land of settlements deemed illegal by the United Nations … Abbas continues to insist that peace negotiations with Israel are the only path to liberation – even though they have proven time and again to be the path to our further subjugation. Equally alarming, Abbas continued to push in his U.N. speech for international recognition of a Palestinian state….

Historic US military aid package to Israel goes into effect
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Oct — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday, welcomed a historic $38bn US military aid package, negotiated by the previous US administration. Two years after President Barack Obama and the Israeli Prime Minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding, the 10-year military funding deal went into effect on Monday, with the start of the new fiscal year. Netanyahu welcomed the deal as the means to tackle the threat from the Islamic Republic, after the State Department noted that the package is aimed to protect Israel against “all potential regional adversaries,” but, foremost, from the “Iranian regime’s sponsorship of terrorist groups.” “I thank the American administration and the Congress for their commitment to Israel and American aid money in the coming decade,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter, yesterday. “Israel and the world face complex security challenges, first and foremost Iranian aggression. The unreserved support of the United States for Israel’s right to defend itself is one of the pillars of the strong relationship between the two countries,” he added. Under the terms of the deal, outlined in the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, Israel will receive an annual funding of $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for “missile defense.”….

Islamic State announces death of senior militant in Egypt’s Sinai
CAIRO (Reuters) 2 Oct  – Islamic State announced on Tuesday the death of a senior member of the group in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, according to a social media posting, dealing a blow to militants behind a wave of attacks on Egyptian military and civilian targets. The notice, published under the heading “caravan of the Shuhada” or martyrs, showed a picture of a smiling young bearded man it identified as Abu Hamza al-Maqdisi. Maqdisi, a Palestinian, was in charge of the group’s planning and training operations in Sinai, it said without giving any details on how he was killed, when or where. There was no immediate comment from the Egyptian military on the report, but security sources said Maqdisi died along with two other people early on Monday in an air strike on their vehicle near Sheikh Zweid in northern Sinai. The Egyptian military and police have been conducting an operation in Sinai since February to crush militants affiliated with Islamic State.

‘Terrorism’ ad by indicted Republican roils California election
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) 29 Sept by Jennifer McEntee — When a Democrat with Palestinian-Mexican ancestry who had never before run for office was elected to challenge a Republican incumbent in a staunchly conservative southern California congressional district, few gave him much of a chance. But five-term U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, who has been criminally charged with misusing campaign funds, is concerned enough about Ammar Campa-Najjar to issue a YouTube ad accusing his Democratic rival of trying “to hide his family’s ties to terrorism.” It was a reference to his Palestinian grandfather, who was involved in a 1972 plot to kill Israeli athletes at the Olympics and was killed the following year by Israeli commandos. The ad, released on Wednesday, shows Hunter, a former U.S. Marine who followed his father into Congress, dressed in camouflage and saying he approved the message. Campa-Najjar told Reuters on Saturday Hunter’s ad was “racist, xenophobic and rooted in lies.” He noted he had security clearances to work in the White House and the Labor Department under former President Barack Obama. “If Hunter applied for that clearance under indictment, he would be denied, which is why (House of Representatives Speaker) Paul Ryan stripped him of his seat on the Armed Services Committee, because he would have access to confidential materials. That’s the irony of this,” Campa-Najjar said….

Real Madrid football club honours Palestine activist Ahed Tamimi
Al Jazeera 30 Sept — Palestinian activist who spent eight months in Israeli prison is welcomed at Bernabeu stadium by the football club — Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, whose arrest last year drew international condemnation, has been honoured by Spanish football club Real Madrid after she was released from Israeli prison. The 17-year-old was arrested in December 2017 after a video of her slapping and hitting two Israeli soldiers outside of her house in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank went viral. Tamimi and her father Basim Tamimi were hosted at the side’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium in the Spanish capital on Saturday, where she was greeted by former striker Emilio Butragueno and presented with a personalised football jersey. The 17-year-old activist is currently in Europe for a series of political events.

Tunisian president hosts Ahed al-Tamimi
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Oct — After being honored by the Spanish soccer club Real Madrid, 17-year-old Palestinian icon Ahed al-Tamimi was hosted, on Tuesday, by Tunisian President, Beji Caid Essebsi at the presidential palace in Carthage City in Tunisia. Essebsi hosted Ahed, who was imprisoned for eight months for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier, on the 33rd anniversary of Operation Wooden Leg, during which the Israeli Air Force bombed the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) headquarters in Tunisia. The bombing had resulted in the killing of dozens of Palestinians and Tunisians, and injuring many others. Essebsi personally invited Ahed along with her family to Tunisia; during the meeting, he said “Hosting Tamimi symbolizes Tunisia’s recognition of the just Palestinian struggle and its place in the heart of the Tunisian people.” He further emphasized Tunisia’s support for the Palestinians and recognition of the Palestinian fight to establish a sovereign state with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital. “We have great hope that the Palestinian revolution will win. It will win by its children.”…. (listserv)