West Bank / Jerusalem
Soldiers kill a Palestinian teenage girl near Jerusalem
[with video] IMEMC 31 Jan — Israeli soldiers shot and killed, Wednesday, a Palestinian teenage girl, only 16 years of age, at the Zaim military roadblock, east of occupied Jerusalem, reportedly after she “attempted to stab them.” The Israeli Police claimed that the child, Samah Zoheir Mubarak, 16, was carrying her schoolbag when she “pulled a knife and attempted to stab the soldiers,” when the officers fired several live rounds at her and killed her. Furthermore, the police later abducted Samah’s father, and moved him to the al-Maskobiyya interrogation center in Jerusalem. Media sources said the Samah was wearing an Islamic niqab, and that the soldiers ordered her to uncover her face, but she refused before the soldiers shot and killed her, alleging that she attempted to stab them. She was walking in an area of the military roadblock only designated for vehicles and not pedestrians when she was fatally shot from a close range. The Border Police examined her schoolbag, which was filled with books, and school stationery. Samah was left bleeding on the ground and died from her wounds. She is from Nusseirat in Gaza, but her family moved to Umm ash-Sharayet neighborhood in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and was an eleven-grade school student. It is worth mentioning that Samah had just returned from Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, a few days ago, after performing pilgrimage.
Palestinian girl fatally shot at Israeli checkpoint
Electronic Intifada 30 Jan by Ali Abunimah — Israeli forces killed a Palestinian girl at al-Zaayim checkpoint in the occupied West Bank east of Jerusalem on Wednesday. Israeli police claimed that Samah Zuhair Mubarak attempted to stab a security guard at the checkpoint before she was fatally shot. The Palestinian Authority health ministry gave Mubarak’s age as 16, and media reported she was in the 11th grade. No Israeli soldiers were injured during the incident, as in many previous cases in which an alleged Palestinian attacker was killed. An Israeli police spokesperson tweeted a photo of the knife he claimed Mubarak had carried: Israeli police also released an edited video said to show parts of the incident. The video shows a person wearing all black and carrying a backpack approaching the checkpoint. It then shows an altercation from a distance in which a person appears to stumble or lunge forward, and then fall backwards onto the ground as if shot. The video is edited such that it does not show what happened in the seconds prior to the altercation and shooting. It also shows a soldier handcuffing the clearly incapacitated Mubarak who is lying on the ground while another soldier points a rifle at her … None of the images released by Israeli police or those circulating on social media and seen by The Electronic Intifada appear to show any examination of Mubarak by medical personnel or life-saving efforts taking place. Medical care is habitually denied or actively prevented for Palestinians shot by Israeli occupation forces….
Israeli settlers kill Palestinian father, injure 30 others near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Israeli settlers killed a Palestinian father and injured 30 others after they attempted to raid the al-Mughayyir village, east of the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, on late Saturday. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Hamdi Saadeh Naasan, 38, a father of four children and a former prisoner, arrived to the hospital in critical condition, where he succumbed to his injuries shortly afterwards. The ministry also confirmed that Israeli settlers shot Naasan with a live bullet in his back. The ministry added that Israeli settlers injured 30 other Palestinians, of whom six were shot and injured with live ammunition in various parts of the body. Local sources told Ma‘an that violent clashes broke out among Israeli settlers, who were escorted under the heavy protection of Israeli forces, and Palestinians, to prevent settlers from entering al-Mughayyir village from its northern entrance. Sources added that Israeli forces repeatedly fired live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets, and stun grenades towards the Palestinians to disperse them. Dozens of Palestinians from the nearby village of Khirbet Abu Falah arrived to al-Mughayyir to help its people to confront the Israeli settlers’ attack.
Killing of Palestinian by Israeli settlers ‘shocking’: UN envoy
Al Jazeera 27 Jan — The UN’s Middle East envoy has termed the killing of a Palestinian man by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank “shocking and unacceptable”. Nikolay Mladenov on Sunday called on Israel to “put an end to settler violence and bring those responsible to justice”. Hamdi Naasan, 38, succumbed to his wounds on Saturday near the village of al-Mugheir after Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Adei Ad fired shots. According to the Palestinian health ministry, Naasan was shot with a live bullet in the back…. Ataf Naasan, the slain Palestinian’s cousin, told Al Jazeera that a group of settlers carrying weapons attacked the outskirts of their village on Saturday at noon. Eyewitnesses told Al Jazeera that Naasan was killed while was carrying one of the wounded to an ambulance. “When we came, they started shooting at us,” Ataf said. “They aimed at our heads, our stomachs. They were firing randomly.” “When he put [the wounded man] down, they shot him,” Ataf said. Ataf emphasised that the settlers were carrying extra rounds of ammunition. “I’ve never seen this before,” he said. “They were prepared, and they came to kill.” Al-Mugheir residents told Al Jazeera that the Israeli army witnessed the events from 2km away, but did not intervene….
Palestinian teen hiking with friends was killed in IDF ambush. He posed no danger / Gideon Levy & Alex Levac
[behind paywall] Haaretz 1 Feb — Six teens went to the valley to have a picnic. Israeli soldiers ambushed them from behind an oak tree and fired dozens of rounds at them. Ayman Hamad was killed — The soldiers hid behind the tallest oak tree in the valley. That’s where the six teenagers were headed, as they descended from their town, Silwad, northeast of Ramallah, into the deep, steep valley to hang out together on that Friday afternoon. On the way, they bought potato chips, sunflower seeds and chocolate, and they planned to boil water for tea over a campfire. Suddenly, without warning, a gunshot rang out. The teens had no idea where it came from. Ayman collapsed, rolling over and landing on his back. A bullet had sliced through his chest from the left, below his neck, and exited from his hip. When Mohammed tried to approach, to pull him out of the line of fire, another shot rang out. Mohammed was hit in the arm and ran for his life. Ayman lay on the ground, dying. The firing grew more intense. The shooters emerged from the ambush site behind the oak tree. They were joined by two more soldiers who came out of an Isuzu jeep parked on the other side of Highway 60. Bursts of automatic gunfire, aimed at the teens who were fleeing for their lives, echoed through the valley. The group rushed up the hill on which Silwad – meaning “above the wadi” in Arabic – is perched. That evening, the Israel Defense Forces returned Ayman Hamad’s body to his family. He was 17 years old and was buried the next day in the town…. Many questions remain about what happened this week, and they are very disturbing – even if stones were thrown. The Israel Defense Forces soldiers shot Ayman Hamad from a distance of between 50 and 100 meters, from which he could not have posed any threat. When he was shot, he was also more than 100 meters from the highway, again a distance from which no stone could have hurt anyone traveling on the road. The soldiers fired live ammunition from an ambush with no prior warning, hitting him directly in the chest. They shot to kill, of that there’s no doubt. A teenager, a high-school student, who maybe did throw stones (which hurt no one), or maybe didn’t throw stones, was executed.
Israeli settlers injure Palestinian child, attack homes in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — A group of Israeli settlers attacked and injured Palestinians near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City, in the southern occupied West Bank, on Friday night. According to local sources, a group of Israeli settlers from the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement attacked Palestinians home near the Ibrahimi Mosque and injured a Palestinian father and his 10-year-old by rock throwing. Sources identified the Palestinian man as Hisham Saifan, 48, and his child as Muhammad, 10. Both the father and his child suffered a number of bruises. Saifan confirmed that Israeli settlers from the Kiryat Arba settlement attacked his home, in attempt to force him to leave, as part of a plan to take over the home and the entire street to easily reach the Ibrahimi Mosque in the heart of Hebron’s Old City. The mosque, believed to be the burial place of the prophet Abraham, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and has been the site of oft-violent tensions for decades.
19 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces in al-Mughayyir
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — At least 15 Palestinians were injured with Israeli live bullets, while four others were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, as Israeli forces suppressed protesters in the al-Mughayyir village northeast of the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, on Friday. Israeli soldiers heavily fired live bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters. Hundreds of Palestinians performed Friday prayers in an open village [field?] near the village before taking part in the march. Protesters threw rocks in response to Israeli forces’ fire. Israeli settlers had killed a Palestinian father and injured 30 others after they attempted to raid the village, last week. Residents of al-Mughayyir organize weekly protests in rejection of Israel’s confiscation of the village’s lands and against continuous attacks by Israeli settlers against villagers and locals.
Teen sustains multiple fractures after beating from Israeli soldiers
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Feb — A Palestinian teenager has sustained multiple fractures in his legs after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers near Jenin city, in the northern West Bank, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). PRC official, Mahmoud Saadi, told WAFA that 17-year-old Majdi Abu Ghali, from Jenin, was beaten severely by Israeli soldiers, after he entered the site of the abandoned Israeli settlement of Ghanim, east of Jenin. The teen was reportedly unaware of the Israeli soldiers who had raided the evacuated settlement, and was surprised by soldiers who shortly attacked and brutally beat him for no reason. The teenager was moved to nearby Khalil Suleiman public hospital for medical treatment.
2 Palestinian students critically injured with Israeli live fire in Tuqu‘
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — Three Palestinian students were injured with Israeli live ammunition, on Thursday, in the Tuqu‘ village, southeast of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem. According to local sources, Israeli forces stormed the Tuqu‘ village and surrounded a local high school, leading to clashes among Israeli forces and Palestinian students. Sources said Israeli forces fired live ammunition and tear-gas bombs at the students to disperse them. Three students were shot with live ammunition, while dozens of others suffered from tear-gas inhalation. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) confirmed that its medical crews transferred three Palestinians who suffered injuries in their abdomen, pelvis, and leg, to a nearby hospital. PRCS also confirmed that two of the three students are in critical condition.
Israeli forces brutally attack family in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 31 Jan – Israeli forces Thursday brutally attacked members of the Abu Rajab family at their home in al-Sahla area of the old town of Hebron in the south of the occupied West Bank and destroyed their furniture, according to a family member. Hazem Abu Rajab told WAFA that Israeli soldiers broke into their house, ransacked it, and destroyed its contents, noting that they also beat an elderly woman and seized the vehicle of Ali Abu Rajab. He said that the Israeli forces have constantly brutally attacked the Abu Rajab family, destroyed their furniture, mistreated members of the family and stole money the last time they raided their house in order to get them to leave their house for the benefit of the settlers who claim ownership of parts of the house since 2012. He said the family went to Israeli court to prove that it is the only owner of the three-story house where 14 people live. Abu Rajab said the latest attack came after he refused to sign papers without knowing their content.
Soldiers attack workers at checkpoint
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Jan — A number of Palestinian workers suffered injuries, suffocation and fainting on Sunday morning, as a result of the Israeli occupation forces’ assault, as they were passing through the military checkpoint north of Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers attacked the lines of the workers who were waiting at the 300 checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem while they were going to work in Jerusalem. The space was overcrowded with workers as the soldiers attacked the workers, resulting in many cases of suffocation and bruising. PNN further notes that the workers face daily suffering at the occupation barrier to the north of Bethlehem, and workers often struggle as a result of the crisis caused by the Israeli occupation forces to inspect workers and check the permits of workers inside. Head of the Palestinian Trade Union Federation, Shaher Saad, condemned the assault on the Palestinian workers who have used the checkpoint to reach their places of work since 1948….
Settler attacks Palestinians with axe
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Jan — A Palestinian father and his son were lightly injured on Saturday evening, after an Israeli settler attacked them with an axe, near the village of Deir Estiya, to the north of Salfit, occupied West Bank, according to a local source. Saeed Zaidan, mayor of the village, told WAFA that a Jewish settler from a nearby illegal settlement attacked Muqbil Fares, a local citizen, and his son, Yousif, while they were working on a farm of their own near the village, and lightly injured them. There has been a noticeable increase in attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians and their property, over the past few days. Earlier today, a Palestinian was killed by settlers who attacked the village of al-Mughayer, near Ramallah.
Israeli soldiers abduct a schoolteacher in Jenin
IMEMC 1 Feb — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Friday at dawn, a Palestinian schoolteacher from Kafr Dan village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers invaded Kafr Dan town, west of the city, searched homes and abducted a young man, identified as Maher Tahseen ‘Aabed, before taking him to an unknown destination. The sources added that the abducted Palestinian is a teacher at a local school in the village. The soldiers also interrogated several Palestinians, while inspecting their ID cards, and later withdrew from the town ….
Israeli forces detain secretary of Fatah in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli forces detained the Fatah movement’s secretary, Shadi Mutwar, late Thursday evening. Locals reported that Israeli forces detained Mutwar while at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan, on his way back from a visit to refugee camps in Syria, along with secretaries of the Fatah movement in districts of the West Bank. Israel had temporarily banned Mutwar from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, last October.
Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian minister of agriculture
IMEMC 30 Jan — Israeli soldiers detained, Wednesday, Sufian Sultan, the Palestinian Minister of Agriculture, at a military roadblock near Silwad town, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Media sources said the Minister was on his way to Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, when the soldiers stopped his convoy and detained him. Although the Minister was eventually allowed to continue his way to Hebron, this was not the first time that he, and other government ministers, have been held and detained at Israeli military roadblocks. The Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement that the soldiers pointed their guns at Sultan’s face and threatened to open fire at his car.
Israeli soldiers abduct 18 Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 28 Jan — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, 18 Palestinians from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The invasions targeted many cities, villages, towns and refugee camps across the West Bank, after the soldiers invaded them and surrounded entire areas. The PPS stated that the soldiers invaded and violently searched dozens of homes across the West Bank and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. The soldiers installed roadblocks, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and also interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded the Jenin office of the Popular Struggle Front in Jenin city, after smashing its main door, and violently searched it causing damage, in addition to confiscating computers. Sixteen of the abducted Palestinians have been identified as:….
Palestinian children’s education deeply impacted by ‘interference’ around West Bank schools, UN warns
UN News 30 Jan — Alarmed by a high number of reported incidents of interference in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank since the beginning of the school year in September, the UN called on Wednesday for them to be better protected from the effects of Israeli occupation. … Highlighting the impact of the incidents on safe access to education, the statement noted “threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions”. In 2018 alone, the UN documented 111 different cases of interference to education in the West Bank affecting more than 19,000 children. “Children should never be the target of violence and must not be exposed to any form of violence”, said the two senior UN officials in the region, appealing for a safe learning environment and the right to quality education for thousands of Palestinian children.
On 45th Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli forces wound 98 civilians, including 15 children, 4 women, two of them paramedics, and 1 journalist
PCHR-Gaza 1 Feb Press Release — On Friday afternoon, 01 February 2019, in use of excessive force against peaceful protesters on the 45th Friday of the Great March of Return in the eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 98 civilians, including 15 children, 4 women; 2 of them are paramedics, and a journalist. The injuries of 7 of those wounded were reported serious, including a 17-year-old girl who was shot with a bullet to the chest in eastern Khan Younis. According to observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers, though the demonstrators were around tens of meters away from the border fence, the Israeli forces who were stationed in prone positions and in military jeeps along the fence continued to use excessive force against the demonstrators by opening fire and firing teargas canisters at them. As a result, dozens of them were hit with bullets and teargas canisters without posing any imminent threat or danger to the life of soldiers. On this Friday, the Israeli forces continued to target the medical personnel in field and wounded 2 female paramedics in eastern Gaza City and Rafah when a PRCS ambulance was targeted with a bullet. This indicates an Israeli systematic policy to target the medical personnel and obstruct their humanitarian work that is guaranteed with protection under the international humanitarian law….
A picture and its story: a boy injured in clashes in Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) 29 Jan — More than two weeks after a projectile struck Mohammad An-Najjar‘s right eye during a Gaza border protest, the 12-year-old boy has only just learned that he will never see through it again. Lamia Abu Harb said that Palestinian medics told her that her son may need a glass eye. The doctor who treated Najjar told Reuters that his retina was damaged beyond repair in the Jan. 11 incident, the aftermath of which was captured on camera by Reuters photographer Ibraheem Abu Mustafa. It had been one of the quietest weeks in nine months of Gaza border protests before that Friday, when Najjar and his friends left their homes in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, and went to the nearest border protest site, as they often did on the weekend. The boy said he did not take part in throwing stones or rolling burning tires, and that he went with his friends “out of boredom.” When Abu Mustafa arrived on the scene, east of Khan Younis, he took up position at what he felt to be a safe distance, in a place that by now he knew well … Switching between lenses for distance shots and close-ups, Abu Mustafa began taking images. Some protesters covered their faces with T-shirts to protect against tear gas as some others ran away. The first he knew that something happened was when people began shouting “An injury, an injury,” the photographer recalls. “I continued to shoot pictures. A man was carrying a boy in his arms, and blood was coming from the boy’s eye as he screamed,” he said. “Some images can still shock me,” he added….
Injuries reported as Israel suppresses weekly naval protest in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Jan — At least five Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces’ gunfire as they suppressed the weekly naval march in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, on Tuesday afternoon. Medical sources confirmed that those injured were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital for medical treatment, while a Palestinian driver of a bulldozer, who was among injured protesters, was transferred to the al-Shifa Hospital as he was in a critical condition. Palestinian protesters gathered at the northern borders of the Gaza Strip to take part in protests in an attempt to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. Israeli war boats opened live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs to suppress protesters and boats attempting to break the siege. Twenty boats, along with hundreds of Palestinian protesters, had set off from the Gaza seaport towards the Israeli “Zikim” beach.
Israeli soldiers injure a child in central Gaza
IMEMC 26 Jan — Israeli soldiers injured, on Saturday evening, a Palestinian child, and caused many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza. Media sources said the soldiers, stationed near a gate of the perimeter fence, east of the refugee camp, fired a barrage of gas bombs at a group of children and young men, on Palestinian lands in the area, allegedly for “approaching the fence.” They added that the child, only 13 years of age, was shot with a high-velocity gas bomb in his leg, while several others suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
Palestinian shot, injured by Israeli forces in Khan Younis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Jan — One Palestinian was shot and injured by Israeli forces’ live fire, late Monday, in eastern Khan Younis in the southern besieged Gaza Strip. Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers opened fire towards a Palestinian youth who was walking near the Israeli border fence in eastern Abasan al-Jadida. The youth was injured and transferred to a hospital for treatment.
Trapped in Gaza, star of Sundance doc misses film festival
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 30 Jan by Fares Akram — A new documentary called “Gaza” is hitting the screens at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival this week, providing a colorful glimpse of life in the blockaded Hamas-ruled territory. But one of its main subjects, Gaza actor and playwright Ali Abu Yaseen, won’t be attending the gathering due to the very circumstances depicted in the film. Abu Yaseen had hoped to make his first-ever trip to the U.S. to take part in the festival. But the continued closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt, and Hamas’ bureaucratic inefficiency, made it impossible for him to reach Cairo in time to receive a visa from the American Embassy needed to travel to Utah. After missing Tuesday’s premiere, Abu Yaseen has all but given up hope of reaching Utah on time. The film’s final screening is on Saturday … “Gaza,” a 90-minute film, is among 12 contestants in the World Cinema Documentary competition at Sundance. Directed by award-winning Irish film makers Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell, the work takes a look at everyday life in Gaza, from wars and their traumas to young people’s pastimes and aspirations. Plays written by Abu Yaseen and stage performances by his students appear in the film. Abu Yaseen, one of Gaza’s most famous entertainers, said the film shows that Gazans “can sing, present an important theater and smile in the face of the unjust world.” “The bizarre, wonderful fantasy of Gaza was our message of love to the world, which sees Gaza as Tora Bora,” Yaseen said, referring to the stronghold of Taliban extremists in Afghanistan … Iyad al-Bozum, spokesman for Hamas’ Interior Ministry, said he was unaware of Yaseen’s case, but noted that the crossing can only handle a small fraction of applicants. He said 15,000 Gazans are currently in urgent need to travel, while only 200 can make it out on a single day when the crossing is working. “There are patients who died in Gaza waiting to travel. There are students who missed their scholarships, and there are people whose residency permits in outside countries expired,” he said. “This is disaster for every Palestinian in Gaza.”….
Gaza’s ruling group Hamas seeks funding in Bitcoin to combat financial isolation
Cointelegraph 30 Jan by Marie Huillet — The militant arm of Hamas — the de facto ruling authority of the Gaza Strip in Palestine — has appealed to its supporters to send it funds using Bitcoin (BTC). The appeal was made via the official Telegram channel of Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, on Jan. 29. Hamas — which comprises social service arm “Dawah” and militant faction “Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades,” is deemed to be a terrorist organization, in whole or in part, by several countries and international organizations — including the United States and the European Union. Russia, Turkey and China are among those major world powers who do not designate the group as a terrorist entity. In his message, Abu Obeida called upon “all lovers of the resistance and the supporters of our righteous cause to support the resistance financially using ‘Bitcoin’ currency,” adding that an exact funding mechanism for transacting the crypto would be announced later … Aside from the Gaza Strip blockade, given Hamas’ designation as a terrorist entity in many Western countries, many global banks bar services to the group via their anti-money-laundering (AML) and illicit terror financing prevention mechanisms….
Gaza to get recycling plant on site of former settlements
Ynet 29 Jan by Matan Tzuri — The Gaza Strip is to receive its first-ever waste recycling facility, which will be situated on the ruins of Gush Katif, the Israeli settlement bloc evacuated in the 2005 disengagement. The plant, which costs tens of thousands of shekels, was approved by Israel after mountains of garbage close to the Gaza border started causing serious sanitary problems and nearly ignited a clash between the IDF and Hamas. At least three such landfill sites have been established along the Gaza border in recent years, and the massive piles of rubbish can be clearly seen from Israel. The garbage creates foul smells, and has deemed 90 percent of the Strip’s groundwater undrinkable … The landfills are derelict as dry and wet waste gets mixed up and subsequently burned, increasing the environmental impact. Insects and rodents that breed in the landfills then also make their way across the border, infesting the Israeli communities. In addition, disease-ridden cats and dogs that feed off the landfill constantly breach the fence, engendering the local residents. “It’s a daily war, and even though it may sound as something insignificant, swarms of mosquitoes invading from Gaza could result in a disaster for Israel,” said a source in the Water Authority. Furthermore, due to the dire economic situation in Gaza, the wastewater plant cannot undergo the needed treatments, prompting Palestinians living in the northern neighborhoods of the Strip—Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia—to drain sewage into Nahal Hanun, which crosses Israel and empties into the sea, polluting the groundwater in the process. The new facility is set to be located on the remains of the former Gush Katif settlement bloc. The estimated cost of tens of thousands of shekels is being met by the United Nations, which is helping Israel to coordinate the endeavor in the Gaza Strip. The recycling facility is expected to create precious jobs for Palestinians, and supply compost for the deteriorating agricultural sector in the Strip…. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5454545,00.html
Palestine refugee crisis ‘expanding’, leaving highest number at risk this century across Gaza
UN News 29 Jan — In an appeal for $1.2 billion to fund vital services and life-saving aid for 5.4 million Palestine refugees in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl explained that people’s basic needs had worsened considerably since the turn of the century. “We provide food assistance to a million people in Gaza, which is half of the Gaza population. UNRWA provides that food assistance every three months,” he explained. “That is a figure the world should be shocked about, because in the year 2000, we used to provide food assistance to 80,000. So, we’ve moved from 80,000 people on our food assistance list to one million. Why? Because the whole dynamic of the conflict and the blockade has wiped out entire sectors of the Gaza economy.” Speaking in Geneva, Mr Krähenbühl praised the generosity of Member States in supporting the agency’s work, following the withdrawal of funding by the United States, historically its biggest donor by far for decades….
Japan funds four grassroots projects in Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 30 Jan — Grant contracts for four Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) were signed on Tuesday in Gaza by Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador for the Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, and representatives of Never Stop Dreaming Charity Association, Nasser Medical Complex at Khan Younis, Al-Shatee services center at Beach Camp, and Joint Service Council for Solid Waste Management in Khan Younis, Rafah and the Middle Area (JSC-KRM). The signing ceremony took place at the UNDP Headquarter in Gaza for a total amount of $341,348 … Nasser Medical Complex will use a fund of $87,426 for providing the physiotherapy and rehabilitation department at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis with modern medical therapeutic equipment and maintenance of physiotherapy and rehabilitation department to enhance the capacity of the department to respond to the increased needs for the services of this department….
In video — Glick performs wedding ritual inside Al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Jan — Israeli ultra-Orthodox Knesset member Yehuda Glick stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday morning, to perform a wedding ritual inside the compound in violation of standing rules. Locals told Ma‘an that Glick, who was escorted by other Israeli settlers, performed and filmed a wedding ritual inside the compound alongside his fiancée.
An Al-Aqsa guard described the step to Ma‘an as a provocative and dangerous challenge to the feelings of Muslims and worshipers. Palestinian Minister of Islamic Endowment, Youssef Ideis, said that Israeli violations of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque have reached a serious stage. The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Palestinian partially demolishes home on Israeli order
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — A Palestinian from the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem demolished parts of his own home, on Friday morning, upon order by the Israeli authorities. A Ma‘an reporter said that Mahmoud Omar Jaafreh implemented an order by the Israeli authorities’ Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem to demolish parts of his home. Israel had allowed Jaafreh until February 4th, 2019 to carry out the demolition himself, otherwise, the municipality would carry out the demolition, charge Jaafreh for costs and fine him. Jaafreh told Ma‘an that the Israeli authorities and courts ordered the demolition of half of his home, adding that he had attempted to freeze the order. He pointed out that the area on which the building is located has the necessary license paper for buildings. Jaafreh’s home, in which 13 family members live, is around 200 square meters, the demolished part was built in 2016.
Palestinian school served with demolition order after being rebuilt once
IMEMC 31 Jan by Ali Salam — Israeli soldiers served, Wednesday, a demolition order targeting a school in Masafer Yatta town, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The population lives in “Area C”, under full Israel civil and military control. On Wednesday, the director of the Ministry of Education in Yatta, Yasser Saleh, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers hung the demolition order on the door of Khalat al-Dabe school. Saleh said “Israel demolished the school that serves several marginalized communities Masafer Yatta in July and seized all its furniture but that the Ministry of Education and the residents cooperated in rebuilding it.” In a joint statement, Wednesday, Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator, the UNICEF Special Representative, Genevieve Boutin, and UNESCO, conveyed their “deep concern” at ongoing Israeli interference and obstruction of Palestinian education, WAFA reported.
Road linking villages in south of West Bank demolished
HEBRON (WAFA) 31 Jan – Israeli army bulldozers Thursday razed a road that was recently opened to link remote and isolated villages in the south of the West Bank, according to Rateb Jabour, of the Popular and National Anti-Settlements Committees. He told WAFA that Israeli forces destroyed the road that was opened to connect Shaab al-Butom to Masafer Yatta villages in order to facilitate movement of local residents to their fields and homes in the area. The villages are located in area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under full Israeli military control.
Commercial structures demolished while under construction in Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 31 Jan — Israeli occupation bulldozers, on Wednesday, demolished foundations and columns of commercial warehouses under construction in the town of Huwwara, to the south of Nablus, northern occupied West Bank. According to warehouse owner, the bulldozers demolished the foundations and columns of warehouses which were being built on the main street in the town, under the pretext of building without a license. He explained, according to the PNN, that the construction is located in the area classified as “B” according to the Oslo agreement, and the issuance of a construction permit before the Israeli courts, but the latter was modified in the master plan and claimed that the construction is located in area “C”, noting that the occupation forces demolished the building. He estimated the size of the losses at 15 thousand Jordanian dinars, noting that the occupation forces had previously seized a concrete mixer while it was being used in the building.
Al-Arakib Bedouin village demolished for 139th time
IMEMC 31 Jan — Israeli soldiers, police officers and personnel of the so-called “Negev Development Authority” invaded, Thursday, the al-Arakib Bedouin village, in the Negev, and demolished it for the 139th consecutive time. The villagers stated that dozens of soldiers and police officers invaded the community, accompanied by bulldozers, and demolished the tents, barns and sheds. They added that the officers attacked many of the villagers, before forcing them out of their dwellings, despite the cold weather. The police also abducted the head of the Popular Committee in al-‘Arakib, Ahmad Khalil Abu Mdeighim, in addition to three women. They were released several hours after the soldiers demolished the village and withdrew from the area. Israeli demolitions of al-Araqib are carried out in the attempt to force the Bedouin population to relocate to government-zoned townships….
Israel to displace Bedouin citizens to expand military training area
HAIFA (WAFA) 30 Jan — Israeli authorities announced on Monday a plan to forcibly transfer 36,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in unrecognized villages in the country’s southern Naqab (Negev) region in order to expand military training areas and implement what it called “economic development” projects, the Haifa-based Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel said in a press release on Wednesday. The implementation of the plan is slated to commence in the coming year and will be carried out over the course of several years. The plan provides clear confirmation that Israel’s Authority for the Development and Settlement of the Bedouins in the Negev overtly discriminates against the Bedouin population, and considers them an obstacle that must be removed from the landscape in order to clear a path for Jewish settlement and “development”. The government plans to move these citizens to poverty-stricken, government-planned townships in other areas of the Naqab….
Report: Israel stealing resources and manipulating native population in occupied Golan
GOLAN HEIGHTS (PNN) 31 Jan — Al-Marsad has published a new legal report that investigates the implications of a recent Israeli project that proposes to develop a massive wind farm in the occupied Syrian Golan (‘Golan’). The report highlights the consequences of Israel’s latest attempt to tie itself to the Golan by stealing the region’s resources and manipulating its native population. Although the report focuses on one specific project, it identifies many of the common characteristics of settlement businesses in the Golan, which violate international law and harm the native community immensely….
BDS / Solidarity with Palestinians / Foreign opposition to Israeli policies
US Senate advances controversial anti-BDS legislation
Al Jazeera 28 Jan — The US Senate has advanced legislation addressing security policy in the Middle East, including new sanctions on Syria and a measure taking aim at boycotts of Israel. Democrats had blocked the package in the Senate during the 35-day partial government shutdown, saying the chamber should first consider legislation to reopen the government. But after Friday’s agreement to end the shutdown at least until February 15, most of the Senate’s Democrats on Monday joined Republicans in favour of taking up the legislation, introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio. The measure is still several steps from becoming law, and may never get there. Even if passed by the Senate, it must also be approved by the House of Representatives, where Democrats hold a majority of seats … However, the act also includes a controversial measure that combats the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian non-violent campaign for human rights. It would allow US states and localities to retaliate commercially against companies or individuals supporting BDS. Opponents consider the BDS provision an impingement of free speech….
Israel accuses EU of funding NGOs backing BDS
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Jan — Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry accused the European Union of funding organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to the tune of millions, urging Brussels to make any financial aid to NGOs contingent on an explicit commitment to opposing boycotts of Israel. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs published a 34-page new report, stating that certain non-governmental groups that support the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel receive EU funding. The report entitled “The Money Trail: European Union Financing of Organizations Promoting Boycotts against the State of Israel,” read that the EU had given more than €5 million to at least 10 NGOs that promote boycotts against Israel. The report also showed that two prominent pro-Palestinian NGOs, al-Haq and al-Mezan, were awarded a multiyear grant of €750,000 in 2018. The report stated that funding for “seemingly legitimate causes enables BDS-promoting NGOs to channel other funds to advance the delegitimization and boycott of the State of Israel.”….
More than 60 LGBTQ+ groups call for boycott of song contest in Israel
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Jan — More than 60 queer and trans liberation organizations, from nearly 20 countries across Europe and beyond, are calling on global LGBTQIA communities to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. The signatories condemn Israel’s “shameful” use of Eurovision, which has a strong following among LGBTQIA communities, to “distract attention from its war crimes against Palestinians” and “forward its pinkwashing agenda, the cynical use of gay rights to distract from and normalize Israel’s occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.” The statement, initiated by Palestinian queer groups, recalls the 1969 Stonewall Riots symbolizing LGBTQIA resistance against daily harassment and violence, drawing parallels with the tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza protesting, through the Great March of Return, decades of Israel’s violent oppression and denial of fundamental rights….
Canadian Jewish group’s charity status revoked: Report
Al Jazeera 28 Jan — A Canadian Jewish organisation has been stripped of its charity status following a government audit which found it provided support to the Israeli armed forces, Canadian Global News has reported. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) found that the Beth Oloth Charitable Organisation had been funding activities that aren’t charitable under Canadian law, including “increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Israeli armed forces”, the Global News website reported. The Beth Oloth Charitable Organisation based in Toronto has been a registered charity since 1980 and was one of Canada‘s richest, with more than 60 million Canadian dollars ($45m) in revenues in 2017 … Activities included funding educational programmes known as mechinot that prepared high school students for Israeli military service, Global News reported. The programmes provide weapons training, physical and martial arts training, mentoring by Israeli forces officers and visits to army bases and sites of landmark battles, the CRA wrote … The CRA said that Beth Oloth was acting as a “conduit” that issued tax receipts to donors in Canada in order to fund programmes of others….
CAF rejects tender for Jerusalem’s railway as it traverses ’67 border
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Spanish rail equipment manufacturer CAF announced, on Friday, that it had refused to participate in a tender to build a section of the railway in occupied East Jerusalem as it violates international law. An international tender to build and operate Jerusalem’s second light rail line has many companies rejecting to participate as they are fearful of arousing political opposition, since the proposed “Green Line” runs into parts of the city occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. The proposed Green Line, a project that could cost as much as 5 billion shekels ($1.4 billion) and stretch along 22 kilometers, proved to be problematic as it reaches Mount Scopus and Gilo. The company, which is one of the most important Spanish companies in the field of railways, said it “refuses to build a section of the railway in Jerusalem because the Israeli government included in the section a Palestinian land that will be confiscated in violation of the resolutions of international legitimacy.” Representatives of the company’s workers who objected to the company’s participation in the construction of the section explained that the problem lies in the fact that the railway will pass through Palestinian lands to serve illegal settlements in East Jerusalem….
Malaysia defiant despite being stripped of Paralympic event
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) 28 Jan — Malaysia’s government has remained defiant despite losing the right to host the World Para Swimming Championships after it banned Israelis from competing in the event, a qualifying competition for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was unapologetic. “We stand by our principle, which is that Israel is a criminal nation. It has been breaking international law without anybody saying anything,” he said Monday. “We have a right to voice our feelings and to have our own policies.” Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said Malaysia will not compromise on its decision “on the ground of humanity and compassion for the Palestinian plight.” The ban prompted the International Paralympic Committee on Sunday to withdraw Malaysia’s hosting rights. The event involves about 70 countries and was to be staged July 29-Aug 4….
Airbnb ‘profiting’ from illegal Israeli settlements: Amnesty
Al Jazeera 30 Jan — Digital tourism giants Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor are profiting from “war crimes” by offering services in illegal Israeli settlements, said a report published on Wednesday. Amnesty International’s Destination: Occupation study called on the companies to stop listing tourist accommodation, activities, and attractions in settlements in the occupied territories. “They are doing so despite knowing that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is governed by international humanitarian law under which Israeli settlements are deemed illegal,” said the report … In November 2018, Airbnb announced it would remove all listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank “that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”. The move was decried by Israel and praised by advocates of Palestinian rights when it was announced. Amnesty, however, criticised the fact Airbnb did not extend that decision to East Jerusalem….
Airbnb sued for discrimination over plans to delist West Bank settlement homes
JTA and Times of Israel staff 27 Jan — Five American Jewish plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Airbnb alleging the company’s policy to ban listings from Jewish West Bank settlements discriminates against Jews. Two of the five plaintiffs also are Israeli citizens and live in the West Bank settlement of Efrat. The lawsuit was filed last week in San Francisco, where Airbnb is based. It alleges that Airbnb’s policy is discriminatory, because it applies only to West Bank Jewish residents and leaves untouched listings from Arab or Palestinian towns there. Airbnb announced in November that it would delist 200 properties and cease its operations in Israeli settlements “that are at the core of the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians.” Last week, the vacation rental company delisted properties in South Ossetia and Abhkazia, two contested autonomous areas in the republic of Georgia … A visit to the Airbnb website shows that rentals in Jewish settlements remain posted. The company said last week in a statement that it is “working with experts to develop and validate the means to implement our policy.”
Florida sanctions Airbnb over West Bank policy
Tallahassee Democrat, 29 Jan by James Call — Gov. Ron DeSantis and the State Board of Administration voted Tuesday to sanction Airbnb for its decision not to list properties in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The vote made Airbnb the first American company to be placed on a “scrutinized” list of businesses that boycott Israel. DeSantis said the short-term rental company’s policy is not applied even-handedly across the disputed territories and runs afoul of Florida law. The company quickly expressed disappointment with the vote and rejected the argument that it is part of a “boycott, divest and sanction” campaign against Israel….
Screening ban of pro-Palestinian film casts shadow over Spain’s Goya awards
MADRID (HR) 1 Feb by Jennifer Green — The Cardinal of Madrid cancelled a planned screening of a Goya-nominated short film that has received support from the pro-Palestinian BDS group — The documentary shorts category rarely grabs headlines at awards show, but the night before Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars, the Goyas, everyone is talking about an 18-minute film about life in the Gaza Strip. Gaza has become the center of a controversy after a planned screening of the film in Madrid on Friday was canceled, with critics accusing the film of anti-Semitism and the filmmakers making claims of threats and censorship. The pro-Palestine activist group BDS, which provided promotional support for the film, organized the screening. BDS, whose initials stand for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions has called for the global community to cut cultural ties with Israel in protest of the country’s treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories. BDS has been in industry news in recent months over its support for different cultural boycotts of Israel, including the annual pan-European song competition Eurovision, slated to take place in Tel Aviv in May. On the eve of the Goyas, BDS had organized a screening of the short film in a pastoral center in Madrid. But the center put out a statement midday on Friday saying they had been ordered by the Cardinal of Madrid to cancel the screening. Representatives for the office of the Archdiocese of Madrid confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter they had asked the center not to show the film but declined to comment further….
‘Gaza’: Film review | Sundance 2019
[with 2:21 trailer] Daniel Fienberg — Directors Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell show what ordinary life looks like in Gaza in a beautifully shot, increasingly manipulative documentary. For much of its running time, Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell’s Sundance documentary Gaza achieves its ambitious professed goal, namely opening eyes to the side of Gaza that isn’t usually seen in the news, the ordinary lives of people living in an extraordinary place that one subject calls “a big, open prison.” That it begins by asking “What do the people do when they’re not under siege?” and ends by surrendering to what is basically propaganda, not just the footage and view of Gaza we see in the news, but a manipulative and disingenuous version of that view, isn’t a surprise. Within the context of the doc, it seems almost inevitable, but I still watched for at least 50 captivated minutes hoping for restraint I probably should have known would eventually be surrendered … The directors illustrate Gaza’s day-to-day life through a series of characters from all walks of life. We see how they live, hear their war-torn histories and watch them stare out into the sea….
Palestinian President Abbas accepts PM Hamdallah’s resignation
Al Jazeera 29 Jan — New government is expected to be made up only of parties that are members of PLO, excluding Hamas and the Islamic Jihad — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his cabinet, according to the official news agency Wafa, in a move seen as a bid by Abbas to strengthen his position as a decade-old political split deepens. Hamdallah was later appointed caretaker prime minister by Abbas until a new cabinet is formed. Replacing Hamdallah after five years is seen by analysts to be part of Abbas’ efforts to further isolate his political rival Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. Earlier on Tuesday, Hamdallah announced that he is submitting the resignation of his cabinet, following a recommendation by the Central Committee of Fatah group, in order to form a new government from the factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and independent figures. Fatah justified the move with the “intransigence of Hamas and its refusal to deal with the government of national reconciliation”. But a Hamas official condemned it as an attempt to marginalise and exclude the group from Palestinian politics….
Video: Social security tax: Palestinians protest the law
President Mahmoud Abbas‘s Fatah party has frozen the implementation of the Social Security Act – pending cabinet confirmation. This comes as part of an announcement from Abbas’s Fatah party that it wants to set up a new government. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.
US aid to PA security forces to stop on February 1, says Erekat
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 31 Jan – Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said on Thursday that US aid to the Palestinian security services will come to an end as of Friday, February 1, 2019, at the request of the Palestinian leadership. In a joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Erekat said that Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has sent a letter to the US State Department asking them to end the US aid as of January 31 to avoid any lawsuits against the Palestinian leadership under the Anti-Terrorist Act passed last year by the US Congress. The Act will enter into force on February 1, 2019. “We do not want to receive any money if it will cause us to appear before the courts,” he said, adding that the new US law states that any government that receives funding will be subject to US counterterrorism laws….
USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased: US official
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 1 Feb by Stephen Farrell & Maayan Lubell — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has ceased all assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, a U.S. official said on Friday. The halt was requested by the Palestinian Authority but is certain to bring further hardship to people in the already deprived territories. The deadline also sees the end of about $60 million in U.S. aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative quiet in the West Bank. [USKCN1PO14] The decision was linked to a Jan. 31 deadline set by new U.S. legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits …
It was unclear how long the cessation would last. The official said no steps were currently being taken to close the USAID mission in the Palestinian territories, and no decision had been made about future staffing at the USAID mission in the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. USAID is the main agency administering U.S. foreign assistance in the Palestinian territories. According to its website, the agency spent $268 million on public projects in the West Bank and Gaza as well as Palestinian private sector debt repayment in 2017, but there were significant cuts to all new funding through the end of June 2018. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “The suspension of aid to our people, which included critical sectors such as health and education, will have a negative impact on all, create a negative atmosphere, and increase instability.” ….
Activists pulled off bus for protesting racial profiling at Israeli hospital
+972 mag 20 Jan by Edo Konrad — Security guards at an Israeli hospital detained 10 Arab and Jewish activists Sunday for an act of civil disobedience protesting a policy to single out, remove, and inspect Palestinians on a public bus line in southern Israel. The activists, from the grassroots protest movement Standing Together, were removed from the bus at the entrance to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, after refusing to show their identification cards and demanding to know why non-Arab passengers weren’t asked to show theirs. For several months now, security guards at the hospital have been asking passengers deemed to appear Arab to show their IDs. If they are Palestinian, the guards make them step off the bus and are only allowed back on as it leaves the hospital premises, Local Call first reported last week. The hospital and bus company both confirmed that the new practice is taking place, but insisted it is “carried out respectfully.”….
Adalah: Israel still preventing 70-year-old Palestinian grandmother with ailing health from visiting grave of father she never met
IMEMC 26 Jan — Israeli authorities are preventing a 70-year-old Palestinian grandmother with ailing health from visiting the grave of her father – who died before she was born – in a Christian cemetery now surrounded by an Israeli military base on the site of a destroyed Palestinian Galilee village. Israeli forces occupied Ma‘alul, located not far from Nazareth, in July 1948, expelled its Palestinian residents and destroyed the entire village with the exception of two churches and a mosque. An Israeli air force base was subsequently built around Ma‘alul’s Christian cemetery and the displaced residents have been barred by Israeli authorities from visiting their families’ graves ever since. The military has, additionally, desecrated the cemetery. Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a petition, prepared by Adalah Deputy Director Attorney Sawsan Zaher, to the Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday, 13 January, 2019, on behalf of 70-year-old Salwa Salem Copty and 93-year-old Subhi Mansour. Mansour, who is Salwa’s uncle, is the only living displaced resident of the village who can identify the location of the grave of Copty’s father Fares Salem. Both are Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Palestinians say Israel removing witnesses by ejecting Hebron monitors
HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) 29 Jan by Yosri Al Jamal — Palestinians in Hebron accused Israel on Tuesday of trying to rid the flashpoint city of witnesses to its actions in the occupied West Bank by ejecting a foreign observer force that helps safeguard residents. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he will not renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), accusing the observers of unspecified anti-Israel activity. Norway, which has headed the multi-country observer mission for the past 22 years, said “the one-sided Israeli decision can mean that the implementation of an important part of the Oslo accords is discontinued”. “The situation in Hebron is unstable and characterized by conflict,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement to Reuters, adding that the end of the observer mission was therefore “worrying”. Hebron, a Palestinian city of 200,000 people, is home to a community of around 1,000 Israeli settlers who are heavily guarded by a large Israeli military presence. The TIPH was set up after a Jewish settler killed 29 Palestinians at a Hebron shrine holy to both Muslims and Jews in 1994. The city has also seen stabbing and shooting attacks against settlers and Israeli soldiers by Palestinians…. “The settlers’ attacks will increase,” said Aref Jaber, a Palestinian resident of Hebron. TIPH’s presence was particularly helpful to schoolchildren, he added, because they patrol the city “in the morning and the afternoon, when they go to and return from school.” The United Nations said it regretted Israel’s decision….
Palestinians ask UN to deploy observer force in West Bank
HEBRON, West Bank (AP) 29 Jan by Eyad Moghrabi & Moshe Edri — The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday asked the United Nations to deploy a permanent international force in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, after Israel announced it was suspending operations of an observer force that had been in the city of Hebron for more than 20 years. The U.N. should “guarantee the safety and protection of the people of Palestine” until “the end of Israel’s belligerent occupation,” said Palestinian official Saeb Erekat.
Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, and the Palestinians want both to be part of a future state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Monday it would not extend the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, saying “we will not allow the continuation of an international force that acts against us.” … Ishay Fleisher, a spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron, said the force has finished its job and should go home. “We want a sense of normal life. When you have these foreigners walking around in uniform it’s a kind of feeling like they’re watching you like you’re an animal in a zoo,” he said. “TIPH and these kinds of elements actually serve to be the opposite of peacemakers. They become provocateurs.” …
There was no immediate U.N. reaction to the Palestinian plea for a new force. But the U.N. human rights office in Geneva said that Israel, as the occupying power, must protect Palestinian civilians from settler violence, decrying an attack in which a Palestinian father of four was killed over the weekend….
Palestinian genetics doctor wins medical research award in Switzerland
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Jan — Lina Osama Quteineh, a doctor in genetics from occupied East Jerusalem, won the second prize in Switzerland for best published research in organ transplant in 2018. In the 14th annual conference, physicians in organ transplant in Switzerland evaluated 19 published studies in organ transplant and selected the best three among them, including the study by Quteineh. Quteineh’s study was published in the American Journal of Transplantation in June 2018 entitled “Genetic immune and inflammatory markers associated with diabetes in solid organ transplant recipients.” In another session, transplantation doctors attended presentations from the three winning studies. Quteineh’s study won the second prize in best clinical research, which included a financial award….
Human Rights Watch Film Festival to feature Palestinian film ‘Screwdriver’ (with trailer)
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Feb — The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will be presented in London from March 13-22, 2019, featuring 15 award-winning documentary and feature films, Human Rights Watch said today. The international line-up of films from Venezuela, South Africa, Palestine, Thailand, and more offer critical insight into local and global human rights concerns impacting people around the world today, PNN reports … Shot entirely on location in the West Bank with a largely Palestinian crew, the award-winning director Bassam Jarbawi’s debut feature Screwdriver highlights the universal trauma of reintegration after incarceration. Ziad returns home after 15 years in an Israeli jail. Hailed as a hero, with high expectations to settle back quickly into work and love, he is lost in a world he barely recognizes. Effectively capturing this unsettling inability to distinguish reality from hallucination and the haunting of memory, the film immerses viewers in a distinctly Palestinian story….
Cheers and calls for Arab solidarity as Gaza watches Qatar win Asian cup
MEE 1 Feb by Mohammed al-Hajjar in GAZA CITY — Waving flags, singing songs and cheering three goals, fans of the Qatari football team were jubilant on Friday as the team claimed a 3-1 victory over Japan in the Asian Cup final. These fans, however, were not in Doha but in Gaza City, 1,800km away from the Qatari capital. On Friday, Palestinians gathered at a tourist complex on a beach in the Gaza Strip, where the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports in Palestine held an event screening the match. In large part drawn by a sense of Arab solidarity, the football fans also flocked to the screening out of gratitude for the emirate’s support for Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave….
Jacob’s Well: Meet the priest who protects this biblical sanctuary in the heart of the Holy Land
The National (UAE) 27 Jan by Miriam Berger — The main road through Balata, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is rough and worn. Balata, near to the Palestinian city of Nablus, is infamously tough and troubled. But take a sharp right off the main street, head towards some high-gated and graffiti’d walls, step through a heavy door – and suddenly you are in a quiet, calming and colourful abode. You are in St Photini’s Greek Orthodox Church, which is built on top of Jacob’s Well, and serves as priest Archimandrite Ioustinos’s home. White-bearded cleric Fr Ioustinos, 77, has been the custodian of Jacob’s Well and of the surrounding church complex since 1980. Jacob’s Well is holy in Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Samaritan teachings. Tradition says it is where Jacob once camped 4,000 years ago, and where Jesus also passed through, holding a conversation with a Samaritan woman, after whom the church is named … In the early 20th century, an earthquake damaged much of the church’s foundations. Fr Ioustinos said he had sought a permit from the Israeli authorities to rebuild the church but they refused and even prosecuted him when he started to dig anyway. After the chaos of that second uprising, when the Palestinians took control of the city under the Oslo Accords, Yasser Arafat – then the president of the Palestinian Authority – gave Fr Ioustinos a permit to build. Arafat even offered money to cover the costs but Fr Ioustinos says he refused the funding to preserve the church’s independence….