Israeli press review: No compensation for Gaza doctor over children’s killing
MEE 6 Dec — An Israeli court ruled that the defence ministry did not owe anything to a Gaza doctor after three of his children were killed in their home by Israeli tank fire during an attack on the small blockaded enclave a decade ago, Kikar Shabbat reported. Izz al-Din Abu al-Aish became one of the faces of Palestinian suffering during Israel’s 2008-9 assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, when three of his daughters and a niece were killed at the exact moment he was giving an interview to Israeli television on 16 January 2009. Abu al-Aish’s voice had been sought out by Israeli media as he is a fluent Hebrew speaker, having previously worked as a physician at the Sheba Medical Center in central Israel. In court, Abu al-Aish’s legal team argued that his kin had been unjustly targeted by tank fire, as they were situated in Jabaliya in northern Gaza, kilometres from any Israeli army presence on that day. The court, however, deferred to testimony from the commander of the tank team that fired the fatal missiles, who said he gave the order because he thought figures spotted on the roof of the building were relaying information about Israeli troop movements to Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza. It later emerged that the people seen on the roof had only been members of the Abu al-Aish family. In 2017, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem issued a report examining Israel’s routine avoidance in paying financial compensation to Palestinians harmed by Israeli forces in the occupied territory.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers kill a mentally disabled Palestinian in Tulkarem
IMEMC 4 Dec — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, Tulkarem refugee camp and Tulkarem city, in northern West Bank, killed a mentally disabled Palestinian, and injured several others. Media sources said the soldiers killed Mohammad Husam Abdul-Latif Habali, 22, from Tulkarem city, and injured another young man, after shooting them with live fire. They added that the soldiers shot Mohammad, who was mentally disabled, from a very close range, and that he died almost instantly\, from gunshot wounds to his head and limbs. The soldiers also injured several Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, and caused many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. It is worth mentioning that dozens of soldiers, many of them in jeeps and others on foot, invaded several neighborhoods in the refugee camp, and Tulkarem city, especially in the Western Neighborhood, and fired dozens of live rounds and gas bombs, during ensuing protests. The protesters were unarmed, and faced the invading military weaponless, chanting and telling the soldiers to be ashamed of what they were doing and to go home….
Israeli forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinian minors in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) updated 6 Dec — Two Palestinian minors were shot and injured with Israeli live ammunition on their way home from school in the Jab‘a neighborhood, east of the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, on Wednesday. A Ma‘an reporter said that the two injured minors, aged 14 and 15, were immediately transferred to Ramallah Hospital to receive necessary medical treatment. According to medical sources, one of the minors was shot and injured in his shoulder, while the other in the leg. The reason for the shooting remained unknown.
Palestinian elderly woman run over by Israeli settler
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — A Palestinian elderly woman was run over by an Israeli settler, on Wednesday, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat, south of Bethlehem City in the southern occupied West Bank. Head of the Palestinian Red Crescent First Aid and Emergency Department, Muhammad Awad, said that a 70-year-old Palestinian woman, identified as Fatima Issa, from the Jurat al-Shamaa village, was transferred to the al-Yamama Hospital, in the nearby al-Khader village, for treatment after she was run over by an Israeli settler. Awad added that the woman suffered bruises and a dislocation in her shoulder.
Israeli forces assault Palestinians, demolish house in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Dec — Israeli bulldozers demolished an under-construction house in the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir in occupied East Jerusalem, on Tuesday. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces along with bulldozers stormed the neighborhood and surrounded an under-construction house, sealing off the area and preventing residents from reaching it. Israeli bulldozers carried out the demolition without the owner receiving any prior notice. The reason for the demolition remained unknown.
Sources added that Israeli police forces obstructed the movement of Palestinian students exiting a school nearby, in addition to physically and verbally assaulting an entire Palestinian family that lives in the same area. The family was beaten and cursed by Israeli police forces.
Israeli forces violently subdue peaceful protest in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Dec — Israeli forces, on Saturday, quelled a peaceful demonstration on al-Zahra St, in central occupied Jerusalem, that was held in support of wounded Palestinian detainee Israa Jaabis. Jaabis, 33, a mother of a baby child and a resident of Jabal al-Mukkaber neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, was sentenced to eleven years in jail after she was charged with attempting to blow up an Israeli army checkpoint outside of Jerusalem, in October of 2015. WAFA correspondence said that Israeli police and special forces attacked dozens of Palestinian protesters who were demanding the release of Jaabis, with tear gas canisters and stun grenades. No injuries or arrests were reported.
Jaabis, who is married to a Palestinian from Jericho, had a gas cylinder in her car when it blew up, apparently accidentally, when she was only meters away from the checkpoint to the east of Jerusalem. Her family said that, at the time, she was moving her belongings from Jericho to a new place in Jerusalem, and the cylinder blew up by accident. The army, however, decided otherwise and said Jaabis was intending to blow up the checkpoint. The Jerusalem resident was seriously hurt in the accident, and left with third degrees burns on 60 percent of her body and face. She also lost eight fingers. Jaabis’ medical condition has worsened severely, since her arrest, due to medical negligence by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS).
Video shows Israeli soldier firing tear gas into Palestinian school in West Bank
PressTV 6 Dec — An Israeli soldier has been caught on camera shooting tear gas into a Palestinian school in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) during school hours, amid denials by Israel’s military of such attacks. The video, obtained by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper on Thursday, shows an Israeli soldier throwing a canister into the school’s yard, followed by tear gas rising from it. Palestinians have reported that the occupation forces shoot tear gas and stun grenades into schools on several occasions, but the Israeli military denies such incidents. Last week, Palestinians reported to Breaking the Silence — an anti-occupation Israeli NGO that collects reports about abuses by the regime soldiers in the Palestinian territories — an increase in the scope of tear gas launched at al-Khalil schools, including primary schools. In response to a query posed by Haaretz to the Israeli military last week, the army spokesperson claimed the military does not launch stun grenades or tear gas into schools. However, the video, which was taken on November 18 outside the al-Khalil School for Boys, countered the Israeli official’s claim. Moreover, teachers told Haaretz that Israeli troops throw canisters at the school on a daily basis. The school’s manager keeps a box with dozens of used grenades and canisters, which he says were thrown at the school over the past couple of months, according to Haaretz….
Tires slashed on 30 cars in Arab town, truck sprayed with ‘Jews won’t be silent’
Times of Israel 2 Dec — Police opened an investigation Sunday after the tires of some 30 vehicles were slashed in the central Israeli Arab town of Kafr Kassem, in an apparent hate crime. One truck was spray-painted with the slogan, “Jews will not be silent.” On Friday police said they were investigating the similar vandalism of a building and vehicles in a Palestinian village near Bethlehem. Residents of the West Bank village of Jab‘a, southwest of Bethlehem, said they discovered graffiti spray-painted on homes and cars in the morning, and the tires of nine vehicles had been punctured. The graffiti included Stars of David and the words “Bat Ayin evacuation — revenge.” The previous day, police had demolished an illegally constructed toilet facility near a synagogue in the nearby settlement of Bat Ayin….
Woman, minors among 28 detained in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Dec– Israeli forces detained at least 28 Palestinians, including minors, on predawn Tuesday, across the occupied West Bank. According to Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. They were identified as Muhammad Abed al-Athim Abu Tarek, Juwad Abu Aysha, Ibrahim Zeidan al-Rajbi, Mahmoud Abed al-Afu al-Amla, Abed al-Nasser Abu Mariah, 20, Qasi Ahmad Abu Hashem, 18, Amro Arefat Zaaqiq, 16, Majdi Mursheq Awad, 14, and Salim al-Rajbi. In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, three Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces. They were identified as Muhammad Fayez Salhab, Muhammad Ibrahim Najajra, and Raed Muhammad Ayyesh, who is a former prisoner. … In the northern West Bank district of Salfit, Israeli forces detained a 27-year-old woman, whom PPS identified as Thaera Moussa al-Dik … According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,554 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 51 are female prisoners, 230 are child prisoners and 31 are under the age of 16 years.
33 Palestinians injured during 37th Friday of Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Thirty-three Palestinians were injured during the 37th Friday of “The Great March of Return” along the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. A Ma‘an reporter said large crowds of Palestinians gathered by the return camps near the eastern Gaza border, in order to participate in the weekly protests to break the ongoing Israeli siege. Israeli forces repeatedly fired live ammunition and tear-gas bombs directly towards protesters gathered near the Israeli security fence, which led to injuring 33 Palestinians. Sources added that Israeli snipers were deployed across the eastern border….
Israeli bulldozers raze lands; shots fired at Palestinians in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into eastern Beit Hanoun, in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, on Wednesday. A Ma‘an reporter said that four Israeli D-9 bulldozers razed and leveled lands as Israeli drones flew overhead. Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli forces deployed at the Nahal Oz military site in eastern Gaza City had opened fire towards two Palestinians. Witnesses reported that Israeli forces had opened fire at two Palestinians outside of the “buffer zone.” No injuries were reported.
9 Palestinians injured as Israel suppresses 18th naval march
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — At least nine Palestinians were injured with Israeli live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens of others suffered from tear-gas inhalation, on Monday, as Israeli forces suppressed the 17th naval march setting off from the Gaza seaport in an attempt to break the nearly 12-year Israeli siege. A Ma‘an reporter confirmed that nine Palestinians, 1 with injured with a live bullet, 4 with rubber-coated steel bullets and 4 injured by tear-gas bombs, were transferred to hospitals for treatment. He added that dozens of others suffered tear-gas inhalation. Some 30 boats, along with hundreds of Palestinians arrived to the northern border to participate in the 18th naval march. Israeli forces fired live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs towards Palestinian crowds while the Israeli navy opened fire at Gaza boats attempting to break the siege. Member of the politburo of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Talal Abu Tharifeh, said that naval marches would continue until their goals are achieved….
PCHR: On 36th Friday of the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli forces wound 58 civilians, including 14 children and paramedic
2 Dec — On Friday evening, 30 November 2018, Israeli forces wounded 58 Palestinian civilians, including 14 children and a paramedic in the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip, despite the decreasing intensity of the demonstrations there for the fifth week consecutively and absence of most means usually used during the demonstrations since the beginning of the Return and Breaking the Siege March 7 months ago. According to observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers, for the fifth week since the beginning of the Return March on 30 March 2018, the demonstrators abstained from setting fire to tires while the attempts to cross the border fence and throw stones and incendiary balloons were completely absent. Though the demonstrators were around tens of meters away from the border fence, the Israeli forces who stationed in sniper positions and military jeeps along the fence continued to use excessive force against the demonstrators by opening fire and firing teargas canisters at them, without the latter posing any imminent threat or danger to the life of soldiers. At approximately 14:30, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to the five encampments established by the Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege adjacent to the border fence with Israel in eastern Gaza Strip cities and raised flags, chanted national songs in addition to organizing sportive and folklore performances inside the encampments and its yards … The following table shows the number of civilian victims due to the Israeli forces’ suppression of the Great March of Return since its beginning on 30 March….
Palestinian farmers, fishermen demand unity, end to Israeli siege
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Hundreds of Palestinian farmers and fishermen protested, on Monday, at the al-Saraya Square in Gaza City in the besieged Gaza Strip, demanding an end to the siege and the Palestinian division. The protest march set off from the al-Saraya Square towards the Unknown Soldier’s Square in Gaza City. Protesters called slogans demanding Palestinian unity and held signs condemning the division and the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Gaza sinking in polluted seawater and untreated sewage
CGTN 5 Dec by Khaled Alashqar — Hundreds of Palestinian young men and women in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday formed the largest human chain in what extended for dozens of meters along Gaza’s sole seaport. The initiative, entitled “It will come back to you,” was part of a campaign aimed at protecting the basin of the Gaza harbor from growing levels of pollution due to the accumulation of large amounts of solid waste on the shore and under water … Sports teams, fishermen and divers also participated in the clean-up event. The divers jumped into the basin below the harbor and collected as much solid waste as possible … Hilles blamed the situation on Israel and its blockade which deprives Gaza from building waste recycling plants to get rid of the accumulating waste pumped into the sea every day.
Qatar steps in to pay civil servants’ wages in Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) 7 Dec by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Qatar paid the salaries of nearly 30,000 Gazan civil servants on Friday, delighting the impoverished workers but angering some in the deeply divided Palestinian leadership who balked at the intervention of a foreign power. Thousands queued in the winter cold to get their cash at post offices – one of which was decorated with a large mural of Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the message “Thanks Qatar”. “If the Qatari donation stops, we will be destroyed,” said 45-year-old civil servant Ammar Fayyad, the main bread-winner in his 13-strong family. Palestinian sources said Friday’s payout, thought to be around $15 million, was part of a $90 million Qatari donation that began in November and is due to be paid into Gaza over six months. The civil servants have become a symbol of a bitter and protracted power struggle between the two most powerful Palestinian factions, the Hamas Islamist movement which controls Gaza, and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas that controls the West Bank. The employees were hired by Hamas after it unexpectedly won elections in 2006, and seized military control of Gaza the next year. Hamas complained that it inherited a civil service beholden to Abbas – so it installed thousands of Hamas loyalists, effectively creating two parallel civil services in Gaza….
Report: Israeli Special Forces’ cover was blown in Gaza because of their accents
Haaretz and Jack Khoury 3 Dec — Israeli special forces who entered Gaza last month to carry out an operation that fell through were reportedly exposed by Hamas fighters because of their accents, British online newspaper The Independent reported Sunday. The Israeli special forces tried to disguise themselves in the Strip by entering as medical team with ID cards of Gaza residents, the report alleged. Meanwhile, Hamas announced on Sunday that its security forces arrested several people suspected of collaborating with Israel in the Khan Yunis operation … The military court in Gaza announced that it has sentenced six people to death over collaboration in other cases, and sentenced an additional seven to life in jail with forced labor. … Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said that the Israeli forces were posing as NGO workers. He also told The Independent that Palestinian security forces had questioned the Gazans whose IDs were found in the destroyed military vehicle that was left behind by the Israeli troops. “They had detailed but fake ID cards of Gaza residents which were found [in the wreckage]. Those who the Israelis were posing as were detained but they had no idea their names had been used,” Qassem said. Qassam refused to comment on the purpose of the Israeli operation in Gaza.
IDF special forces discovered by Hamas had been in Gaza Strip for weeks – report
Times of Israel 6 Dec — An Israel Defense Forces special unit, which last month fought its way out of the Gaza Strip in a deadly gun battle after being discovered by Hamas security personnel, had been operating inside the Palestinian enclave for weeks, Hadashot television news reported on Wednesday. The Israeli team rented an apartment and was posing under the cover of workers in a non-government medical equipment charity, “Bamasa,” which has two branches, one in Khan Younis and one in Gaza City, according to a Palestinian source familiar with the Hamas investigation into the incident cited by Hadashot. The Times of Israel could not independently confirm the existence of a charity by that name….
Turkey’s Red Crescent donates 8.5 tons of medical aid to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — The Palestinian Ministry of Health dispatched from its warehouses in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, about 8.5 tons of medical aid donated by the Turkish Red Crescent to the besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday. According to the Palestinian Health Minister, Jawad Awwad, the ministry dispatched two truckloads of medical supplies worth $274,000, which included medicines to treat chronic diseases such as cancer and kidney diseases. Awwad praised Turkey’s continued support to Gaza, pointing to the many vital projects that have been provided by Turkey to Palestine in all fields….
Photos: Strawberry picking in Gaza
MEMO 3 Dec by Mohammed Asad — Palestinian farmers began harvesting strawberries readying their first shipments of the fruit to the occupied West Bank. “The past years have seen a significant decline in the cultivation of strawberries because of delayed export and closure of the crossings on a continuous basis and the high cost of planting,” the Ministry of Agriculture said. It added that the cultivation of one hectare costs about $2,500. The export of strawberries from the Gaza Strip is described as “an adventure” and will prevent farmers from suffering large losses. The goods are expected to be sent to Europe from the West Bank….
‘Life is all about trying’: Disabled Palestinians defy challenges
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Dec by Mersiha Gadzo — Some laughed at him, others told him that he wouldn’t succeed. But with a strong will and positive attitude, Abdulrahman Abu Rawaa proved them wrong. With just one arm and a leg each, he can easily ride his bike along Gaza’s sandy streets. He took off the pedal and chains to adjust the bike to his needs, allowing himself to easily balance on the bike and push himself forward. It’s the easiest way for him to get around his neighbourhood in the “Bedouin Village”, in the northern Gaza Strip. “Learning how to ride a bike has been my greatest accomplishment. It might not look so, but it really is,” Abu Rawaa said. “Everyone told me it’s dangerous; some people criticised me [for trying] and even made fun of me at first. But I challenged all of that. I’ve proven to myself and to others that my disability isn’t really going to ‘disable’ me.” For the 23-year-old, life has always been about trying. Having been born without an arm and then losing his leg after two surgeries, he hasn’t allowed his physical disability to prevent him from trying to live life to the fullest …
It has become a common sight today on the streets to see Palestinians with missing limbs. Unlike Rawaa, who was born with a disability, they face a harsh learning curve in adapting to their new life. Alaa Aldali, 21, has been trying to persuade himself that he was born without a leg to adjust more easily. Israeli forces shot his leg with an expanding “butterfly” bullet on March 30, the first day of the Great Return March demonstrations….
Feature: Street carnival shows beautiful, peaceful face of Gaza
GAZA (Xinhua) 29 Nov by Saud Abu Ramadan — The image that comes out from the Gaza Strip to the world is usually bleak, sad and violent. However, the world might be amazed and shocked to see an image of a street carnival in Gaza City gathering 120 clowns, artists and musicians from the besieged coastal enclave. The Gaza Street Carnival kicked off on Thursday afternoon with participants joining and marching in the main street. The carnival was made jointly with another activity, the Street Museum, a one-hour exhibition of 24 portraits painted by Palestinian and European painters and artists. A local Gaza music band and a Palestinian traditional dancing group also joined the carnival … According to the carnival’s organizers, a group called “Youth without Borders” in Gaza City organized the carnival and exhibition in partnership with Palestinian Vision Association. The whole project was funded by the European Union. Mohamed Abu Rjeila, the carnival’s coordinator, told Xinhua that holding the carnival aims at integrating Palestinian and European cultures….
The war against Hamas tunnels
Ynet 29 Nov by Yoav Zitun — IDF predicts that Hamas will rely on its tunnels in the next military round in Gaza, in an attempt to draw soldiers to an underground city located deep beyond enemy lines; to thwart the tunnel threat, IDF’s Combat Engineering Corps has acquired groundbreaking technologies capable of locating and dismantling Hamas’s tunnel capability….
Israel allocates $187m in support for settlements near Gaza
MEMO 4 Dec — The Israeli government has allocated 700 million shekels ($187 million) in support of Israeli Jewish settlers in the illegal settlements near the Gaza Strip, local media reported yesterday. The Times of Israel reported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that this allocation was meant for economic programmes that “strengthen the resilience” of the settlers. “The resilience of the residents of the Gaza area [settlers] is an important component of national strength,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting, according to the Times of Israel. He added: “We will invest an additional NIS 700 million in the plan for the welfare of the residents of the area. They are steadfast and we support them.”….
Book review: Rebel in Gaza by Asmaa al-Ghoul — a love letter to an unloved place
The Guardian 5 Dec — …Taken together, this is the world’s image of Gaza: a place of violence, hopelessness, extremism and death. It is not inaccurate, but it is profoundly incomplete. Asmaa al-Ghoul, who was born in the Rafah refugee camp at the southern end of the Strip, writes with clarity and tenderness of these realities and others that are less widely reported. Despite it all, she insists: “People continued to laugh in Gaza.” Her own laughter bubbles through the pages of A Rebel in Gaza: a stubborn, defiant joy in living, as keen as her rage or her grief. Ghoul, who has travelled widely and lived abroad, understands why so many of her friends have chosen to emigrate, but the cities of the west, “oozing with indifference”, hold little attraction for her. Her Gaza is a place of suffering but also of magic, as if its isolation and its privations bring the humanity of its inhabitants into sharper relief. “Life in Gaza has a strength that makes you feel that death doesn’t exist,” Ghoul writes. “Except in war.” A Rebel in Gaza is a love letter to an unloved place, a memoir written in collaboration with the Lebanese novelist Selim Nassib….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel demolishes Palestinian school in southern Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — The Israeli authorities demolished an elementary Palestinian school in the al-Simiya village in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, on Wednesday morning. The al-Tahaddi 13 School, made up of mobile classrooms, was recently built by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, at a cost of €40, 000, and was scheduled to open in two days. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces demolished the school and dismantled the “artificial walls” of the school and confiscated a power engine, drinking-water tank and other equipment. Head of the Directorate of Education in Hebron, Khalid Abu Sharar, said that the ministry decided to build this school to lessen the pressures that Palestinian students of the al-Simiya village suffer from. He added that students of the village continuously face violations by Israeli soldiers on their way to and from school to the nearby al-Samu ‘ town, pointing out that they also have to cross a main highway which endangers their lives….
Land collapses in Silwan due to Israeli excavations
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Palestinian lands located in the Silwan town in occupied East Jerusalem, in the central West Bank, collapsed due to Israeli excavations and digging in the area, on Friday. The Silwan-based watchdog the Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that collapses occurred in a land located behind the “Ein Silwan” mosque in Wadi Hilweh due to the continuous Israeli excavations in the neighborhood. The center told Ma‘an that the Israeli authorities have been carrying out continuous excavations in the neighborhood for years, which causes collapses and fractures in the foundations of houses and streets of the neighborhood. In 2017, Palestinian residents of three houses in Wadi Hilweh, that Israel had ordered the evacuation of due to severe structural damage, refused to leave their homes and accused Israel of indirectly attempting to expel them from Jerusalem City. Israel frequently allows excavations and archaeological digs that threaten the structural integrity of Palestinian homes and holy sites in the area.
Israel issues military order against Khan al-Ahmar
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Israeli authorities issued a military order, on Monday, to extend the period of the closure of roads leading to the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem district in the central occupied West Bank. According to the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee, the Israeli military order seeks to seize Palestinian-owned lands for military purposes. The closure will continue until January 15th 2019. The military order included controlling lands which measure about 1.4 dunams (0.34 acres), in the nearby ‘Anata village, located in the same area. The committee mentioned that the 1.4 dunams of land would be controlled by the Israeli authorities for “urgent security purposes.” Following the Israeli High Court’s approval for the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, the village has been in danger of being demolished by Israeli forces at any moment, which would displace 181 people, half of whom are children.
Why Israel still hasn’t evacuated the Bedouin village that sparked a diplomatic firestorm
[behind paywall] Haaretz 2 Dec by Noa Landau & Yotam Berger — One look at Khan al-Ahmar tells the story of the impasse that has been reached in the government’s war to demolish this small Bedouin village in the West Bank. The roads that were built in preparation for the eviction remain empty … Khan al-Ahmar has become an international symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian battle for control over Area C, the part of the West Bank assigned to full Israeli control by the Oslo Accords. And ostensibly, the freeze on the eviction proceedings is meant to allow the state to resume negotiations with the residents, due to heavy diplomatic pressure and fear of proceedings at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But in practice, there’s no evidence of any such talks. The assessment in political and diplomatic circles is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is mainly trying to buy time until one of the two main sources of pressure — the ICC and the settlers — eases off….
Bedouin communities on the West Bank are using their heritage as a form of resistance
The Independent 28 Nov by Elly Harrowell, Patricia Sellick — …“Care about being a researcher for your community. You have to document your ancestors and their lives here in this village from before the occupation. You have the right and you must prove that the occupation doesn’t have the right to be here – the occupiers want to displace you. Defend your rights to be here by giving evidence that documents your heritage.” These are the words of a 21-year-old youth researcher from the South Hebron Hills – and they herald a new form of resistance, one that may help to protect vulnerable communities … The crisis in Khan al-Ahmar has once again highlighted the precarious lives faced by Bedouin communities in the occupied Palestinian territory. Marginalised within both Palestinian and Israeli society, and repeatedly displaced from their lands – the Bedouins in Khan al-Ahmar, for example, originally were expelled from the Naqab desert in 1948 – these communities are fighting for their very survival….
Leftists on tour of Hebron confirmed in view that settlers have ‘already won’
Times of Israel 2 Dec by Jacob Magid — As army appears to take directives from locals, members of group led by Breaking the Silence are convinced there’s no turning back Jewish presence in flashpoint West Bank city….
Tightening the ring around the Old City Basin while advancing plans in the northern corridor of East Jerusalem
Ir Amin (Israel) 5 Dec — The District Planning and Building Committee is fast tracking two Arieh King-promoted plans in the heart of the Um Haroun section of Sheikh Jarrah, where approximately 45 Palestinian families are living under threat of eviction. On December 23, the Committee will discuss objections to plans for two buildings that would necessitate the tear-down of existing buildings and the subsequent eviction of 5 Palestinian families. Advancement of these plans demonstrates the acceleration of new facts on the ground to tighten Israel’s ring of control in and around the Old City, deepening tensions in the band of Palestinian neighborhoods outside of it. In Sheikh Jarrah alone, there are roughly 75 families at risk of eviction and in Silwan, just south of the Old City, approximately 85 additional families are at risk in Batan al-Hawa, site of a massive takeover campaign by the Ateret Cohanim settler organization. Legislation enacted last month is anticipated to open the floodgates for settlement expansion in the Elad settler stronghold of Wadi Hilweh, where some 70 families have been evicted. Roughly 2,500 radical settlers are now embedded inside the Old City and around its walls, primarily in the neighborhoods of Silwan, Ras al-Amud, At-Tur, Sheikh Jarrah….
Palestinian demolishes own structures in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Dec — A Palestinian resident of the Silwan neighborhood in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem demolished structures he owns upon order by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem, on Monday evening. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that Ahmad Siyam was forced to demolish his property of a storehouse, a garage and stairs, in the Ein al-Luza area, upon order by the Israeli municipality, under the pretext that the structures were built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit. The center added that municipality staff had raided several areas in Silwan; they allowed Siyam 48 hours to carry out the demolition before the municipality would demolish the structures.
Israel demolishes 5 commercial buildings in Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 4 Dec — Israeli bulldozers demolished five Palestinian-owned commercial buildings, on Tuesday, in the Haris village, west of the northern occupied West Bank district of Salfit. Local resident, Muhammad Suleiman, told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers demolished five commercial buildings, a laundry place, carpentry workshop, blacksmith workshop, aluminum workshop, greenhouses, under the pretext that the structure was built in Area C without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit. Suleiman confirmed that the demolished buildings belonged to his three brothers, Fadi, Nadi, and Salah.
Israel delivers demolition notices to Palestinians in ‘Issawiya
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — Israeli municipality staff delivered demolition notices and summons to Palestinians in the ‘Issawiya neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, on Thursday. Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, member of a local follow-up committee, said that Israeli forces escorted the staff of the municipality who took pictures of buildings, houses and streets of the neighborhood, before hanging demolition notices and summons to meet with the municipality for owners of those structures. The notices claimed that the structures lacked permits. Abu al-Hummus added that these structures were built years ago. He pointed out that the staff of the municipality raids the neighborhood, escorted by Israeli soldiers, on a weekly basis delivering similar notices which raises tensions in the area.
Al-Aqsa / Ibrahimi Mosque
Jordan to hold international conference about Al-Aqsa Mosque
MEMO 4 Dec — Jordan’s Minister of Endowment Abdel Nasser Abul Basal announced yesterday that his ministry is planning to hold an international conference about Al-Aqsa Mosque on 20 December, Quds Press reported. The conference will be held under the patronage of King Abdullah II and is titled “A Call from the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque”. In a statement, Abul Basal said that his ministry is to hold the conference in cooperation with the parliament’s Palestine Committee. “Al-Aqsa Mosque is being subject to daily dangerous raids and violations that provoke the feelings of the Muslims and Arabs,” Abul Basal said. “These raids and violations have recently increased unprecedently,” he added, noting that this proves that there is a “pre-prepared plan by the [Israeli] occupation to change the historical and legal status quo” in Jerusalem. “It is our duty to inform the whole world about the dangers facing the holy site through an international conference,” the minister said, stating that the conference will discuss the dangers Christian sites in Jerusalem are also facing.
Over 100 Israeli settlers tour Al-Aqsa for Hanukkah
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Over a hundred Israeli settlers toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, for the third day of Hanukkah, on Wednesday. Firas al-Dibs, head of the Public Relations and Media Department at the Islamic Endowment, said that 152 Israeli settlers entered the Al-Aqsa compound through the Moroccans Gate. Al-Dibs added that Israeli police forces were deployed across the area, as settlers provocatively toured the compound. Witnesses mentioned that Israeli settlers also performed Jewish religious rituals. Israeli right-wing groups called for increasing visits to the Al-Aqsa compound during the holiday … While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Israel bans call to prayer in Ibrahimi Mosque 47 times in November
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Israeli authorities banned Palestinian mosque employees from playing the Muslim call to prayer through the speakers of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron 47 times in November, the Minister of Endowment, Youssef Ideis, said on Sunday. Ideis said that the restrictions are attempts by the Israeli occupation to give the impression that the mosque is Jewish property … Ideis stressed, “Israel has been using various means to harm the Ibrahimi Mosque and its worshipers in order to tighten their grip on the mosque as they have done with other mosques in Hebron’s Old City.”….
Palestinian refugees / UNRWA
Euro-Med HRM: ‘Dozens of Palestinian refugees detained by Algerian authorities
MEMO 7 Dec — The Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called on the Algerian authorities to assume their responsibility in protecting Palestinian asylum seekers who arrived in Algeria from the Gaza Strip at the beginning of last October. According to a statement issued by Euro-Med HRM, the Algerian authorities “have detained since last October Palestinian asylum seekers at a refugee camp located in Tamanrasset Province, southern Algeria, and informed them that they will be deported to Gaza through Egypt, which may expose them to serious abuses and violates their rights as asylum seekers.” Euro-Med HRM indicated that the refugees, estimated to be 53, including children, “arrived in Algeria illegally after they had left the Gaza Strip, and crossed Egypt till they arrived in Mauritania. Afterwards, they were smuggled from the Mauritanian territories to the Sahara of Mali. They went on a perilous trip, which lasted seven days until they reached the Algerian borders on 1 October.” The human rights organisation quoted one of the refugees, whose identity was kept anonymous, saying: “When we left Gaza and crossed Egypt, we went to Mauritania, as Mauritanian authorities did not require Palestinians to get a visa. After a while, we headed toward the Sahara of Mali, where the journey of our suffering lasted for a week, as we were stripped off all our belongings and robbed by bandits. Consequently, we had no other choice but to eat dead animals so that we can survive.” Euro-Med HRM stated that the Algerian authorities had taken the fingerprints of these asylum seekers and brought them to trial for illegally entering the country. They were sentenced to three months suspended imprisonment, with a period to settle their problematic situation. However, “the refugees were placed in a refugee camp, and they were prevented from moving freely….
Saudi Arabia donates $63m to UNRWA projects
ABU DHABI (Gulf Today) 30 Nov — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), has contributed $63 million for projects to be implemented in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan. Four agreements were signed on 28th November by the SFD Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Dr. Khalid Sulaiman Alkhudairy, and the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krahenbuhl. The first agreement, valued at $31 million, will support ongoing projects, including the reconstruction of shelters, construction of new health centers and two UNRWA schools, maintenance of schools and fuel supply in Gaza. The second agreement, valued at $17 million, will assist UNRWA in the reconstruction and furnishing of several health centres, camp offices and schools in the West Bank,….
Two US police departments cancel training with Israel
MEMO 2 Dec — Two police departments in the New England region of the United States canceled their annual visit to Israeli police forces and engagement in training, amid pressure from organisations affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Vermont State Police and the Northampton Police Department in Massachusetts both canceled their planned trip to Israel for a training program just days before it was supposed to start. A number of groups in opposition to the program, including some affiliated with the BDS movement, mounted pressure on the local police forces to back out of the trip over increasing concerns about US law enforcement’s treatment of asylum seekers in the country. A coalition of organisations, including the Vermont National Lawyers Guild, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, announced in a press release Thursday that Vermont State Police Director Colonel Birmingham canceled the trip in response to a petition created against it … The program, called Resilience and Counter-Terrorism, was first created in 2002 and entails a week-long seminar in Israel where local US law enforcement trains with Israeli military, police, and secret service. It is funded and organised by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the decision marks the first time police departments decided to cancel their trip in the program’s nearly 20 years. Previous participants to the program include the former Deputy Director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), along with other top ranking law enforcement officials, according to JVP. The ADL told the Haaretz newspaper on Friday that the program did not provide tactical training to US officers, but would train them to “enhance their effectiveness in preventing and responding to extremism and terrorist threats and violence.” Organizers declared the decision a victory against the ADL-funded program, and then sent a letter to the Boston Police Department to follow suit….
Video: Thousands gather for Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Thousands of people attended the annual Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Saturday night to mark the start of the holiday season. Among the speakers at the night’s events was Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who said in his remarks that “With all the joy and hope that is here tonight, we open our hearts and together light this Christmas tree. The tree lighting marks the start of the cheerful holiday celebrations in all of Palestine.” Hamdallah added, “Happy holidays to all.”….
In video: Bethlehem commences 18th annual Christmas market
[with many photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Dec by Jennifer Janineh — Bethlehem City, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, has commenced its Christmas preparations, on Sunday, through its 18th annual Christmas market, taking place in the Manger Square in front of the Nativity Church. The Christmas market consisted of a total of 45 booths, selling cookies, cakes, children’s toys, books, hand-made jewelry, clothing items, Christmas decorations, carved olive wood items, mulled wine, beer, and hot chocolate. Sixteen of the booths were international participants from Switzerland, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Russia, Egypt, Poland, Norway, France, Sweden, Hungary, Armenia, and others….
Israel will no longer recognize degrees from Al-Quds University
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Dec — After the initial hope that degrees from Al-Quds University, located in Abu Dis town, East Jerusalem, would be officially recognized by the Israeli government, the latter’s Ministry of Labor and Welfare Services has revoked its decision. This retracting decision comes within the pretext that the Palestinian Authority-administered college named after Jerusalem allegedly supports terrorism against the state of Israel. Israeli Minister of Welfare and Social Services, Haim Katz, said that the ministry “will not grant recognition to an institution that supports terrorism”, after it had initially lobbied to acknowledge the validity of social work degrees due to the lack of staff in Israel. However, despite the shortage of social workers in Israeli and Arab neighborhoods, the official recognition of the degree has been halted, as Katz alluded to not wanting to tarnish Israel’s integrity by employing people from institutions that have been deemed anti-Israeli and who “undermine the legitimacy of Israel.” The university, which is surrounded by the Israeli separation wall and in C area of the West Bank (controlled by Israeli Occupation Authorities), has over 20,000 students studying at the University for bachelors and masters degrees, according to the PNN.
New school raises hope of higher education for West Bank’s hearing-impaired
Al-Monitor 30 Nov by Rasha Abou Jalal — Al Amal Association for the Deaf is set to open the first high school for the deaf in the West Bank by spring 2019, which would give hearing-impaired students the chance to continue their education — The construction of a new high school, a stone’s throw away from the separation fence along the Green Line, is a dream come true for Moujahed Abu al-Tin. The 16-year-old who can’t hear or speak and hails from the village of Kafr Qaddum in the West Bank had long given up hope of continuing his education beyond elementary school. There are no high schools for the hearing-impaired in the West Bank, so most students turn to vocational training instead….
Palestinian court extends detention of Palestinian-American
JERICHO, West Bank (AP) 6 Dec by Isabel Debre — A Palestinian court on Thursday extended the detention of a hunger-striking Palestinian-American activist who claims she was tortured in captivity. Suha Jbara, 31, a U.S. citizen born in Panama, shuffled into the Jericho courtroom with her head down, appearing ashen and weak. Her father and son reached out to embrace her but were restrained by Palestinian authorities. The court ordered that Jbara remain in custody 15 more days on suspicions she funded “illegal organizations” and “worked with the enemy.” Palestinian authorities refused to elaborate on the accusations. Jbara insists the only organizations she supports are Islamic charities advocating for Palestinian prisoners in Israel. When the judge announced her extended detention, her youngest son, Mohammed, erupted into sobs and her father shook his fist, wailing, “Shame on you! I swear this is not justice!” as security officials ushered him out of the courtroom. Jbara started a hunger strike two weeks ago to protest what she says is unjust treatment by Palestinian authorities. She told her lawyer on Thursday that she will continue striking for her remaining days of detention in hopes of bringing attention to her plight….
Palestinian governor of Jerusalem banned from entry to West Bank
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — The Israeli intelligence handed an order to the Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, banning him from entry to the occupied West Bank for six consecutive months, on Thursday. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli intelligence summoned Ghaith for interrogation and handed him a six-month ban order under the pretext of participation in “illegal and violent activities.” Sources added that the Israeli intelligence told Ghaith he will receive another order next week, which would include additional details of the ban. The ban comes after several days following Ghaith’s release from Israeli detention.
Israel furious as prestigious French human rights award goes to B’Tselem, Al-Haq
MEMO 7 Dec — Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups B’Tselem and Al-Haq have both received a prestigious French award, prompting a furious response from Israeli officials. The five laureates of the 2018 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic were announced on Wednesday, an award which honours individuals or organisations that promote human rights … Responding to the news, B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad said it was “a particularly special honour to receive this award – together with our colleagues from Al-Haq – on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” General Director of Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin said: “It is a great honour for Al-Haq to receive this prestigious award jointly with our colleagues at B’Tselem, who are our partners in the struggle for justice and a better future free from oppression and occupation.”…
Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev slammed B’Tselem as “a Trojan horse”, and said the NGO should be ashamed to receive a prize with Al-Haq. “Once again B’Tselem is celebrating an achievement against Israel and IDF soldiers. This is an organisation that should be rejected and its activities should be stopped,” she added. Deputy minister Michael Oren, meanwhile, accused France of giving “its highest award to B’Tselem and al-Haq organisations that accuse Israel of apartheid, delegitimise us internationally, defend terror, and support BDS”, adding: “The same France cannot claim that it fights anti-Semitism.”
Int’l court prosecutor reports progress in Palestinian probe
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) 5 Dec by Mike Corder — International Criminal Court prosecutors intend to complete “as early as possible” a long-running preliminary investigation into allegations of crimes in the Palestinian territories, according to a report issued Wednesday. The annual report by ICC prosecutors on progress in nine so-called preliminary examinations underway at the court, said that the Palestinian territories probe “has advanced and significantly progressed” analysis of whether legal conditions for opening a case have been met. Those legal conditions include whether alleged crimes were serious enough to be dealt with at the global tribunal and whether local authorities are investigating and prosecuting the crimes. The ICC is a court of last resort that only takes on cases when local courts cannot or will not prosecute. ICC prosecutors have been conducting a preliminary inquiry since 2015 in the Palestinian territories, including Israel’s settlement policy, crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict and Hamas rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians. Israel is not a member of the court and doesn’t accept ICC jurisdiction. But Israeli forces could face charges if they are suspected of committing crimes on Palestinian territories. The court has accepted the “State of Palestine” as a member.
UNGA adopts five resolutions in favor of Palestine
NEW YORK (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favor of five resolutions regarding Palestine and a sixth resolution on the Golan Heights, on Friday evening. One of the most important resolutions adopted called upon member states not to recognize any measures taken by Israel in Jerusalem and to maintain the current status-quo in the holy city … UNGA also adopted a sixth resolution on the occupied Syrian Golan, demanding the withdrawal of Israel from all of the territory and affirming Syria’s sovereignty over it, in line with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
In a twist, Trump fights to keep some Palestinian aid alive
WASHINGTON (AP) 30 Nov — For two years, the Trump administration has unabashedly slashed U.S. aid to the Palestinians. Now, amid signs it may finally roll out its long-awaited Middle East peace plan, the administration is scrambling to save what little remaining Palestinian assistance it provides. The striking turnabout is the result of the belated realization that an obscure new law will likely force the U.S. to terminate all aid to the Palestinian Authority, including security assistance supported by Israel, by the end of January. Eliminating such aid, which totaled $61 million this year even as other assistance was being cut, would deal a blow to Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation that both sides value. The law would also require the Jerusalem offices of the U.S. Agency for International Development to close. To avert that possibility and remove a potentially lethal complication to the promised peace plan, the administration is rushing to find a solution. It will dispatch Army Lt. Gen. Eric Wendt, who serves as U.S. security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to Congress in the coming days to urge lawmakers to come up with a fix to the law, known as the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018, to allow the aid to continue….
Haley fails in UN bid to condemn Palestinian Hamas movement
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 6 Dec — A bid championed by US Ambassador Nikki Haley to condemn the Palestinian Hamas movement at the United Nations for firing rockets at Israel failed to secure enough votes for adoption on Thursday. The US-drafted resolution won 87 votes in the General Assembly, falling short of the two-thirds majority required for adoption. Fifty-eight countries opposed the measure and 32 abstained. Haley, who steps down from her post at the end of the year, has repeatedly accused the United Nations of having an anti-Israel bias and has defended Israel in its latest confrontation with Hamas, the Islamist militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007. “The resolution proposed by the United States would right a historic wrong,” Haley told the assembly ahead of the vote. “More importantly, it would put the General Assembly on the side of truth and balance in the effort to achieve peace in the Middle East.” It was the first-ever proposed resolution condemning Hamas to be presented to the 193-nation assembly….
Rejecting Israel lobby’s influence over Congress, Rashida Tlaib plans to lead delegation to Palestine
The Intercept 3 Dec by Alex Kane & Lee Fang — Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic representative-elect from Michigan, belongs to a cohort of incoming members of Congress who’ve vowed to upend the status quo — even on third-rail issues in Washington like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To that end, Tlaib is planning to lead a congressional delegation to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, she told The Intercept. Her planned trip is a swift rebuke of a decades-old tradition for newly elected members: a junket to Israel sponsored by the education arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby group.
The AIPAC trips are among the lesser-known traditions for freshman members of Congress. They’re typically scheduled during the first August recess in every legislative session and feature a weeklong tour of Israel and meetings with leading Israeli figures in business, government, and the military. Both critics and proponents of the AIPAC freshmen trip say the endeavor is incredibly influential, providing House members with a distinctly pro-Israel viewpoint on complex controversies in the region. In recent years, the Democratic tour has been led by incoming Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Incoming Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., traditionally leads the Republican trip….
Germany allocates €55 million to Palestinian development projects
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Germany allocated 55 million Euros to be disbursed to Palestinian development projects in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip in 2019. Klaus Kramer, the Head of Division in the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, told reporters in Ramallah that it was agreed, in coordination with various ministries in the Palestinian government, that the money will go to mainly three sectors: sustainable economic development, infrastructure such as water projects and local governance, including projects with municipalities….
IDF says exposed Hezbollah tunnel far larger than Hamas tunnels in Gaza
i24NEWS 4 Dec — The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that a cross-border tunnel dug by Hezbollah into Israeli territory and exposed Tuesday as part of a large-scale operation against subterranean passageways from Lebanon is significantly larger that those tunnels dug by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hours after launching “Operation Northern Shield” on Tuesday morning, the IDF said it was readying to destroy a Hezbollah tunnel burrowed some 40 meters into Israeli territory. The tunnel, in total approximately 200 meters long, originated from underneath a house in the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila just north of the border. The passageway was some two meters tall and two meters wide and was dug 25 meters below the ground. The IDF said that the tunnel was equipped with electrical and communication lines and would have taken some two years to build, likely due to the harsh terrain along the border….