Media Analysis

At the ‘worst checkpoint in the West Bank,’ Palestinians begin lining up at 3 a.m.

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West Bank

Israel’s Checkpoint 300: Suffocation and broken ribs at rush hour
BETHLEHEM, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 13 Mar by Jaclynn Ashly — Palestinian workers say conditions at the notorious checkpoint in occupied West Bank have worsened over the last months — Frantic clamouring disrupts the usual noises at Israel’s Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem, where thousands of Palestinian workers queue for hours, starting at 3 am, to make it on time for their jobs in Israel.  Workers chat, bicker, joke, frustratingly shout, bang on the steel bars, and rattle the turnstiles that Israeli border police officials intermittently lock amid the heavy traffic.  “He has fainted. Everyone move! Call an ambulance!” The crowd becomes louder as a young man is carried outside the checkpoint. Numerous workers surround the man’s limp body stretched out on the ground, and others attempt to resuscitate him – to no avail …  An ambulance arrives, and the young man is lifted onto a gurney and rushed to the hospital. The workers continue on through the single cement lane, sipping on small paper cups of coffee to push past their exhaustion. One worker looks at Al Jazeera and says: “Israel treats animals better than us.” It’s a typical morning at Checkpoint 300…

Bus stop near Damascus Gate, to Bethlehem Checkpoint

Suffocation, broken ribs and death Palestinians have long complained of the volatile conditions at the checkpoint – also referred to as the Gilo checkpoint. However, Palestinian workers tell Al Jazeera that the conditions at the crossing have worsened over the last two months. The checkpoint was built more than a decade ago as part of Israel’s separation wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2004. EAPPI, an organisation that monitors Israel’s checkpoints, tells Al Jazeera that 300 is “the worst (checkpoint) in the West Bank”. Thousands of Palestinians from the southern occupied West Bank must cross this barrier to work in occupied East Jerusalem – part of the occupied Palestinian territory – or Israel. It can take up to three hours to cross the checkpoint during the rush hour. When traffic is less during the day, the journey takes just a few minutes….

Palestinian killed, 40 others injured by Israeli forces in Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — 23-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Jamil Shaheen was shot and killed by Israeli forces in Salfit City, in the northern occupied West Bank, on Tuesday evening. A Ma‘an reporter said that large numbers of Israeli forces raided Salfit City and confiscated camera recordings from streets and commercial shops, causing violent clashes to erupt. Sources confirmed that Israeli forces opened heavy fire towards Palestinian youths, killing Shaheen and injuring 40 others. Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear-gas bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets during the clashes. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that Shaheen was shot dead with Israeli live ammunition, while the 40 Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs.

Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian in Hebron
IMEMC 12 Mar — Israeli soldiers killed, Tuesday, a Palestinian from Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, reportedly after he attempted to stab them. Palestinian sources have confirmed that the slain man as distributing notices from the Sharia Court in the city, when the soldiers shot him.  The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the soldiers shot and seriously injured Yasser Fawzi Shweiki, 36, and prevented its medics from approaching him.  Eyewitnesses said the Palestinian was left bleeding on the ground, after the soldiers shot him in the chest, and later dragged his corpse into the nearby Rajabi building.  His father, Fawzi Shweiki, said that he heard the gunshots, but did not know that it was his son, who works for the local Sharia court and was distributing notices, was the victim. Israeli sources claimed that the soldiers shot the Palestinian after he attempted to stab them with a knife.  After his death, groups of illegal fanatic colonialist settlers, including children, “celebrated his death” by dancing and chanting in the streets of the occupied city. [See video]

Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian near Jericho
IMEMC 10 Mar — Israeli soldiers killed, on Sunday at dawn, a young Palestinian man, driving through a military block on Road #90 in the Jordan Valley area, near Jericho in the occupied West Bank.  Media sources said army informed the Palestinian District Coordination Office that the young man, Salama Salah Ka‘abna, 22, was shot dead while bypassing a vehicle which was stopped by the soldiers, who were inspecting it.  According to Israeli sources, the soldiers were in the process of inspecting a Palestinian vehicle at the roadblock, but another speeding vehicle “drove behind it and rushed towards soldiers who ordered him the driver to stop.”  The army claims that the Palestinian driver did not heed to the soldiers’ orders to stop, before they opened fire at him a car, seriously wounding him, but he died from his wounds shortly afterwards.  In addition, the army said two other Palestinians were in the car, but managed to escape, and added that an inspection of the car showed that it was stolen.  The slain Palestinian was from Fasayel area in the Al-‘Auja village near Jericho.

Army injures several children in Hebron
IMEMC 13 Mar — Israeli soldiers invaded, Wednesday, the southern area of Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and fired gas bombs at schoolchildren heading to their educational facility. Media sources said the soldiers fired many gas bombs at students of Hebron Preparatory School for Boys, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, and others suffered severe anxiety attacks.  They added that the soldiers surrounded the school, and prevented the Palestinians from entering or leaving it, leading to the disruption of the school day, especially after the soldiers fired several gas bombs into the school campus. It is worth mentioning that the army repeatedly attacks the school, which hosts 370 students, and invades it, similar to violations targeting several other schools in Hebron governorate.

Israeli forces physically attack Palestinian activist in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Mar — Israeli forces attacked and injured Zeidan al-Sharabati, an activist with the group Human Rights Defenders, near his home on the al-Shuhada Street, the Old City of Hebron, in the southern occupied West Bank, on late Monday. The Human Rights Defenders group confirmed that Israeli forces attacked Zeidan and repeatedly beat him near his family home on al-Shuhada Street. Sources added that Zeidan was taken to Hebron Governmental Hospital to receive necessary medical treatment. Zeidan suffered from a brain bleed and his medical condition was described as moderate.

Israeli settlers seal mosque in al-Quds amid rise of violence against Palestinians
PressTV 11 Mar — Israeli settlers have sealed a mosque in the Old City of the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, a month after a United Nations report revealed that violence and vandalism committed by Israelis against Palestinians and their property have increased since the beginning of this year. According to a report by the Palestinian Ma‘an news agency on Monday, Israeli settlers spread an adhesive substance mostly on the lock of the door of earlier in the day, virtually making the door sealed shut. The report, citing those responsible for maintaining the mosque, said the police were immediately informed of the incident and later on the substance was removed with some effort and the door reopened before taking some pictures of what was described as an act of vandalism against Muslims. Last month, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report, which covered the period from January 29 to February 11 this year, showed a weekly average of seven Israeli attacks resulting in injuries or property damage compared to an average of five in the same period in 2018 and three in 2017. It said that the Israeli settlers also attempted to torch a local mosque in Deir Dibwan Village in Ramallah during the period….

Settlers assault farmers in Burin
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Mar — A horde of extremist Jewish settlers, on Monday afternoon, attacked Palestinian farmers in Burin town, to the south of Nablus, as they were working their lands.  Burin mayor Yahiya Qadous said that more than 25 settlers, from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar, brutalized a group of farmers as they were plowing their plots of land in al-Mayadin area, south of the town, and tried to expel them from their own lands.  After obtaining a permit from the Israeli military authorities, the farmers had brought agricultural tractors to the land, in the morning, in order to plow them.  They have been prevented many times, by the Israeli army, to reach their lands, as they are located near the Yitzhar settlement.

Israeli forces detain 3 shepherds in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Israeli forces detained three Palestinian shepherds, on Wednesday afternoon, in the northern Jordan Valley. Mutaz Bisharat, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the Jordan Valley/Tubas district, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained three Palestinian shepherds in the Tel al Hema area.  Bisharat identified the detained shepherds as Hani Mahmoud Awad Abwab, Hassan Salem Abu Zahou along with his brother Ibrahim.

Israeli soldiers abduct a Palestinian, conduct military drills in Jenin
IMEMC 14 Mar — Israeli soldiers abducted, Thursday, a young man, and conducted military drills on Palestinian lands in Jenin governorate, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.  Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers abducted a young man, identified as Rami Jamal Yassin, after invading and ransacking his home in Deir Abu Da‘if village, east of Jenin. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Palestinian agricultural lands close to the military base near Barta‘a roadblock, southwest of Jenin, and conducted live-fire military drills. The soldiers closed the roadblock throughout the military training, which lasted for about two hours.

Soldiers abduct three Palestinians, including Aqsa Mosque guard, in Jerusalem and Hebron
IMEMC 14 Mar –… The Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said dozens of soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in the city, in addition to Doura, Ethna and as-Sammoa‘ towns, before breaking into many homes and searching them.  It added that the soldiers abducted Amjad Sa‘id Amro, from Doura town, south of Hebron, and Sa‘id Abu Sneina from Hebron city.
In related news, the soldiers abducted Samer al-Qabbani, a civilian guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, after stopping him near the Bab an-Nather, one of the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and took him to a police station in the Old City. Also at dawn, the soldiers abducted four young men from their homes, in several parts of Bethlehem governorate, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.

‘Endless trip to hell’: Israel jails hundreds of Palestinian boys a year. These are their testimonies
[behind paywall] Haaretz 16 Mar by Netta Ahituv — They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Every year Israel arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13 — It was a gloomy, typically chilly late-February afternoon in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. The weather didn’t deter the children of the Abu-Ayyash family from playing and frolicking outside. One of them, in a Spiderman costume, acted the part by jumping lithely from place to place. Suddenly they noticed a group of Israeli soldiers trudging along the dirt trail across the way. Instantly their expressions turned from joy to dread, and they rushed into the house. It’s not the first time they reacted like that, says their father. In fact, it’s become a pattern ever since 10-year-old Omar was arrested by troops this past December. The 10-year-old is one of many hundreds of Palestinian children whom Israel arrests every year: The estimates range between 800 and 1,000. Some are under the age of 15; some are even preteens. A mapping of the locales where these detentions take place reveals a certain pattern: The closer a Palestinian village is to a settlement, the more likely it is that the minors residing there will find themselves in Israeli custody. For example, in the town of ‘Azzun, west of the Karnei Shomron settlement, there’s hardly a household that hasn’t experienced an arrest. Residents say that in the past five years, more than 150 pupils from the town’s only high school have been arrested …
About half of the arrests of Palestinian adolescents are made in their homes. According to the testimonies, Israel Defense Forces soldiers typically burst into the house in the middle of the night, seize the wanted youth and whisk him away (very few girls are detained), leaving the family with a document stating where he’s being taken and on what charge. The printed document is in Arabic and Hebrew, but the commander of the force typically fills out the details in Hebrew only, then hands it to parents who may not be able to read it and don’t know why their son was taken….–1.7021978

Israeli policies force family separations
Real News 13 Mar — Al Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin discusses a new report exposing the complex system of restrictions Israeli authorities impose to control access to Palestinian territory and to stop family reunification. The consequence is to slowly force Palestinians out to preserve a Jewish majority in areas controlled by Israel….

On beauty in Al-Khalil
HEBRON (International Solidarity Movement, Al-Khalil Team) 27 Feb — I have spent about 30 days in Al-Khalil this year. A short stay by ISM standards, and nothing compared to the tens of thousands of people who call this place home. Despite this, I already feel that the city has got under my skin. The beauty of Al-Khalil creeps up on you. First impressions can be rough; the soldiers, the police, the armed settlers, the wire and halogen lamp monsters that are the checkpoints, but after a while you begin to see it. The limestone brickwork glowing in the sunlight, the echoes of conversation that bounce up and down the tunnels of the old city souk. It creeps out and makes itself visible. The more you look for it, the more you see. Places have energy and tell stories, but these places would be nothing without the people. Above all else it has been the people of Al-Khalil that have made this place beautiful for me. The smiles as warm as the sun on the buildings, the shouts of “welcome!”, “ahlan wah sahlan!” and the endless offers of coffee make it hard to go anywhere fast, but they make your heart sing. Some people call Ireland the land of a hundred thousand welcomes, but I think that Palestine is more deserving of that title. There is so much beauty in the warmth and openness of the people here, but there is beauty in the daily acts of resistance against the occupation too….

Photos: Palestinian woman takes care of cats in West Bank city of Hebron
Xinhua 8 Mar Ed: xuxin  – Cats stay at the house garden of Palestinian woman Heba Al-Junaidi, 25, in the West Bank city of Hebron, March 7, 2019. Al-Junaidi made a shelter for about 50 stray cats at her house. She hopes that there could be specialized clinics and veterinarians to provide better care for sick cats. (Xinhua/Mamoun Wazwaz)


Gaza postpones 51st ‘Great March of Return’ protest
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Mar — The National Committee for Breaking the Siege decided to exceptionally suspend “The Great March of Return” on its 51st Friday alongside the eastern border fence of the besieged Gaza Strip. The committee said in a short statement that protests for the 51st Friday were postponed in order to save the lives of protesters amid Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip, and in preparation for Land Day protests on March 30th, as it would mark one year of “The Great March of Return” protests. This is the first time the committee suspends “The Great March of Return” protests since its beginning on March 30th, 2018.

Israeli missiles injure four, including a husband and his wife, in Gaza
IMEMC 15 Mar — The Israeli army has announced it fired missiles against 100 targets in several parts of the Gaza Strip, in a serious violation that led to excessive property damage, and despite military claims of “targeting Hamas sites,” a husband and his wife were among four Palestinians injured. The Al-Quds brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, declared a state of readiness among all its fighters, and vowed “fierce retaliation.” “It seems that the enemy has mistaken our silence for idleness,” the brigades said in a statement, “This enemy needs to get the message straight; we will not be silent while it targets our people and continues its aggression, escalation.” On its part, the Popular Resistance Committees said that the resistance will not allow Israel to turn Gaza into the battlefield as part of its corruption and election campaign. Israel is scheduled to hold general elections on April 9th. “We will defend our people, and we will not remain silent,” it added.
According to a statement by the Israeli army, four projectiles were reportedly fired from the Gaza Strip into Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council of Settlements, while the Iron Dome interception system managed to strike three of them. Although Hamas, and other armed resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip, have completely denied any relation to the reported shells, the Israeli army and the political leadership in Tel Aviv, held the movement responsible for the escalation. Israeli daily Haaretz has reported that, for the first time since the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, two rockets, reportedly originating from Gaza, were fired at Tel Aviv, and “apparently landed in open areas, causing no damage or injuries.” Haaretz has confirmed that the army attacked 100 targets overnight, “in response for two rockets fired at Tel Aviv.” … When Israel started the bombardment of Gaza, late on Thursday at night, the missiles struck seven different locations, including a wedding hall in Khan Younis.

Israel-Gaza fighting ebbs, Gaza rockets reportedly a misfire
JERUSALEM (AP) 15 Mar by Josef Federman & Faris Akram —  Cross-border fighting between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas group appeared to be winding down Friday, amid reports of an Egyptian-brokered truce and Israeli media saying a misfire was believed to be responsible for the rare Gaza rocket attack on Tel Aviv that triggered the exchange.  The two rockets had struck late Thursday, taking Israel’s military by surprise. Overnight, Israeli warplanes hit some 100 Hamas targets in Gaza …  In Gaza, health officials reported that four people were wounded, including a husband and wife in the southern town of Rafah. There were no further details …  On Friday, Israeli media quoted defense officials as saying a preliminary investigation indicated the rockets were fired from Gaza by mistake. It was not immediately clear if it was a technical malfunction or human error. The Haaretz daily quoted the officials as saying the rockets were fired during maintenance work. The Israeli military had no immediate comment. Also Friday, a Hamas official said an agreement to restore calm has been reached. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because Hamas has yet to announce the deal, said Egypt led meditation efforts “that have apparently paid off.”….

Palestinian dies from wounds suffered on March 1 in Gaza
IMEMC 12 Mar — The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has confirmed, Tuesday, that a young man, who was shot and seriously injured by Israeli army fire, on March 1st, during the Great Return March processions, has died from his wounds.  The Health Ministry said the Palestinian, identified as Mousa Mohammad Mousa, 23, was shot with a live round in his back, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza.  It added that the Palestinian remained in a very serious condition at the Intensive Care Unit, until he succumbed to his wounds in the early dawn hours, Monday.  The slain Palestinian was from Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza; his death brings the number of Palestinians, killed by Israeli army fired since the Great March procession started in the Gaza Strip, on Palestinian Land Day, March 30th, 2018, to 271 Palestinians, including children, journalists and medics.  The number of Palestinians, who were injured by army fire, has exceeded 29.000, including dozens who suffered serious wounds, in scores of residents who suffered amputations of their limbs.

Palestinian dies from serious wounds suffered in February
IMEMC 11 Mar — The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has reported that a young Palestinian man died, on Monday morning, from serious wounds he suffered by Israeli army fire, on February 22, 2019.  The Health Ministry stated that the young man, Bassam Sami Othman Safi, 22, was shot with a high-velocity gas bomb which struck him directly in the head, causing a very serious injury.  It added that the young man, who was injured during the Great Return March, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip,  remained unconscious and in a critical condition, until he succumbed to his wounds, on Monday morning, despite all efforts to save his life.

Israel to investigate killings of further 8 Palestinians in Gaza protests
MEMO 14 Mar — Israeli authorities have announced new investigations into the killings of eight Palestinians during Great March of Return protests in the occupied Gaza Strip, reported Haaretz.  Israeli investigations into the killings of Palestinians by its armed forces have been denounced by Palestinian, Israeli and international rights experts as a whitewashing exercise.  According to the report, Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek “has instructed the Military Police to open criminal investigations into the deaths of eight Palestinians in three incidents” that occurred last year during the Gaza protests.  Three criminal investigations are already open into the deaths of paramedic Razan Al-Najjar, ‘Abd al-Nabi and Othman Halas, Haaretz added.  “Of the eight Palestinians whose deaths will now be probed, three were killed March 30, during the first of what became weekly protests along the border. Three died in the eastern Gaza Strip on April 20, while two were killed on May 15,” the paper stated.  Last month, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry found that Israeli forces had deliberately targeted unarmed civilian demonstrators, killing and maiming Palestinians who posed no threat. The commission’s findings were rejected by the Israeli government, who condemned the inquiry as a product of “hypocrisy” and “obsessive hatred for Israel”….

Israeli navy abducts two fishermen in Gaza
IMEMC 11 Mar — Israeli navy ships attacked, Monday, Palestinian fishing boats in the Waha Sea area, northwest of Gaza city, and abducted two fishermen. Media sources said the navy fired many live rounds at the fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters, in addition to using water cannons, and surrounded one boat before abducting two fishermen, identified as Mohammad Adnan Sultan and Hasan Akram Zayed. The attack is part of ongoing violations against the fishermen in the besieged Gaza Strip, in addition to constant violations targeting farmers and shepherds on Palestinian lands close to the perimeter fence, in the eastern parts of the coastal region.

Gantz: We will renew targeted killings if necessary
i24NEWS 13 Mar — If Blue and White emerges as winners of Israel’s upcoming elections on April 9, the new government would consider reintroducing targeted killings of Hamas leaders, co-leader of the newly formed alliance, Benny Gantz, said on Wednesday. “In the 3.5 years after (Operation) Protective Edge there was complete calm. No rockets, balloons or kites,” Gantz said in a reference to the Gaza war in 2014 in which he was IDF chief of staff. “When we form the government we’ll change this tired policy and implement a very firm and tough one. If they attack us or violate our sovereignty, we’ll implement a tough policy. If there is a need we will return to a policy of targeted killings. Hamas knows precisely what we mean by that,” Gantz warned. Targeted killings refer to a tactic used by the Israeli military to prevent imminent terror attacks of being carried out by killing the suspects involved. The tactic is believed to have been in applied in the West Bank, Gaza and other countries as well, although Israel rarely confirms such killings.

Trapped in Gaza: a day in the life of a rapper who has never left the strip- VIDEO
12 Mar — Khaled al-Nairab belongs to a generation in Gaza who have spent their entire lives in the fenced-off enclave.  On the surface, Nairab can live a somewhat normal existence in between rounds of bombings. But like all young people in Gaza, the 22-year-old rapper has no real control over his life as the ongoing land, sea and air blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt affects even the simplest task.  Oliver Holmes, Hazem Balousha, Mohammed Majdalawi, Bruno Rinvolucri, Marina Costa and Katie Lamborn, Source: The Guardian.

Opinion: Little ghosts from Gaza / Hagai El-Ad
[behind paywall] Haaretz 11 Mar — As long as life in Gaza is governed by Israeli drones, artillery and snipers, this cruelty will continue to kill bodies there – and souls here too — Four and a half years after that summer in Gaza, the character of Rani is the one, in the closing episode of the Kan TV series “Muna,” who found the exact words, which he says to Yaniv: “You never really went in there. And you’ll never really leave. You’re there. You’re there and Gaza is here. Like your ghosts. All of our ghosts. In fact, it never really begins, and it never really ends. It’s an endless loop. We’re done for.” In that summer in Gaza, with missiles, smart bombs and stupid artillery shells we killed more than 500 of their children. And since then, where will we take the horror? The ghosts of 1-year-old Ranim al-Ghafoor and 2-year-old Muhammad al-Nawasrah – both killed on July 9, 2014, the second day of the “operation”, in different attacks from the air – float in our consciousness. There, and here too….

Hopeless Gaza Strip ripe for Islamic State, says UN head
GAZA STRIP (EUObserver) 12 Mar by Nikolaj Nielsen — The Islamic State may gain a foothold in the Gaza Strip given the widespread desperation and hopelessness among the trapped Palestinian youth, says a senior UN official. “A scenario where extremist elements that are linked to Isis gain more ground is completely possible and realistic,” Matthias Schmale, who leads the UN office for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), told reporters in his Gaza Strip office last week. Schmale said social unrest following an intensified Israeli-imposed blockade in the Gaza Strip over the past decade, coupled with massive unemployment and zero prospects from the Palestinian leadership, are among the factors that will create a space for the Islamic State to exploit … “The worst thing in Gaza is the loss of hope, mainly among the youth,” said Amjad Shawa, who heads Palestinian NGO’s Network, a civil society umbrella group in the Gaza Strip.

Instead of cash-filled suitcases: Israel’s new method for pumping cash into Gaza
[behind paywall] Haaretz 10 Mar by Yaniv Kubovich — The next payment of Qatari money to Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip will be transferred under the guise of payment for “authorized projects,” in order to minimize embarrassment faced by the Israeli government over previous cash payments in suitcases, according to defense sources.  The decision was made following an agreement between the UN and Qatar. Fears are meanwhile rising in Israel that the Palestinian Authority’s weakness paired with the crisis at the Temple Mount will lead to a violent escalation in Gaza and the West Bank at the end of the month, around  the anniversary of the weekly Hamas-sponsored border protests. Photographs depicting Qatari cash circulating in the streets of Gaza hurt the image of the Israeli government, which was accused of capitulating to terror, while Islamic Jihad accused Hamas of abandoning the fight against Israel for Qatari cash….

Euro-Med condemns repression of protests in Gaza
Scoop 16 Mar — Press Release — The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor denounced the attack by the security services of the Hamas authority against citizens in the Gaza Strip who were practicing their right to peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion and expression. The Geneva-based NGO condemned the arrest and summons of dozens of protesters in different areas of the Gaza Strip over the call to demonstrate against poverty and difficult economic conditions.  The International Human Rights group said that its field team–which was present at the scene–monitored the gathering of some 600 demonstrators in the “Trans” area of the Jabaliya Refugee Camp in the northern Gaza Strip in response to calls launched on the internet to protest against the difficult living conditions. The Euro-Med explained that the venue of the demonstration witnessed an intense security presence even before the participants gathered at 4:00 PM, where the security forces began to warn the participants of the need to leave the area immediately before masked security forces dressed in plain clothes and carrying batons began suppressing and dispersing demonstrators, detaining a number of them….

Italy doctor-to-be picks Gaza for semester abroad
GAZA CITY (AFP) 15 Mar — Seated with other students on the steps at the Islamic University of Gaza with his backpack, the young Italian doctor-to-be draws looks from passersby.  Riccardo Corradini is the first exchange student in the Gaza Strip under a popular European programme known as Erasmus and hopes to gain a unique experience in emergency surgery.  When his university in Siena, a city in central Italy’s Tuscany region, announced a year ago that a spot was open to spend a semester studying in the impoverished Palestinian enclave, he didn’t have to think long.  Still, he was the only one to apply …  “I came here for many reasons,” said the young Italian who receives training at three Gaza hospitals.  “The first reason is because I want to specialise in emergency surgery, so coming here, I can see with my own eyes unfortunately how emergency surgery is really,” he added, giving the example of a 16-year-old who underwent an amputation …  “Of course, it’s not easy… to live here,” he said, pointing to shortages of medicines and medical equipment on top of the insecurity of daily life.  “Maybe you cannot have some medical tools that you need for therapy or stuff.”  But he said he had been warmly welcomed …
In his office overlooking the campus, Ahmed Muhaisen, in charge of external affairs for the university, said he “hopes that other students from other universities will follow”. Three Gazans are currently studying abroad in Siena…. Since he arrived in February, at least four Italian universities have applied to the Erasmus programme in Gaza, said Meri Calvelli of Italian NGO ACS, which helps facilitate the exchanges. She says it is important that the rest of the world see Gaza beyond the conflict-stricken zone it appears as in news stories. y, at least four Italian universities have applied to the Erasmus programme in Gaza, said Meri Calvelli of Italian NGO ACS, which helps facilitate the exchanges.She says it is important that the rest of the world see Gaza beyond the conflict-stricken zone it appears as in news stories. his office overlooking the campus, Ahmed Muhaisen, in charge of external affairs for the university, said he “hopes that other students from other universities will follow”. Three Gazans are currently studying abroad in Siena. Muhaisen said it is “a way of showing the world that there is an excellent level of academia” in Gaza.

Court actions / Prisoners

VIDEO released of Israeli soldiers beating Palestinians in custody
MEMO 13 Mar — A video showing Israel Defence Forces soldiers laughing as they beat a Palestinian father and son while holding them in custody has been released by an Israeli military court. The Jaffa Military Court – which last week convicted three soldiers of aggravated assault and aggravated battery – yesterday cleared the video for publication, lifting a gag order imposed by the IDF, the Times of Israel has reported.  Though the faces of both the soldiers and their victims have been pixelated to hide their identity, the soldiers can be seen hitting the two Palestinians on the head in the back of an army truck. The two Palestinians can be seen lying on the vehicle’s floor with their eyes covered, while the soldiers laugh and joke for the camera. “It’s your party, say hello,” the soldiers tell the father and son, while forcing them to say hello to the camera. The Palestinians cry out in pain as they are hit repeatedly.  The video served as the key piece of evidence in the soldiers’ trial, which came to a close on Sunday. Three of the soldiers investigated for the incident were handed 190-day jail terms and demoted to the rank of private after they “expressed remorse” for their actions and reached a plea bargain. The soldiers are, however, expected to be treated leniently and will be allowed to go home for the Jewish Passover holiday in April as well as have three months’ probation.

Israel extends Palestinian human rights defender’s detention without charge
MEMO 13 Mar — An Israeli military court has extended the detention without trial of Palestinian human rights defender Ayman Nasser, coordinator of the legal unit at prisoners’ rights group Addameer.  The court issued its decision on 6 March, extending Nasser’s administrative detention for an additional six months.  The extension was imposed just two days before the end of his current administrative detention, which ended 8 March.  Israeli occupation forces arrested Ayman Nasser from his house in the village of Safa, west of Ramallah, in September last year, Addameer stated. According to Addameer, “the arrest of Ayman Nasser is part of the systematic policy of targeting Palestinian human rights defenders by the Israeli occupation forces, in order to suppress human rights activists in the Occupied Territories”, a policy “aimed at undermining the ability of the Palestinian society in general to face daily violations of the occupation.”….

Israel slammed for releasing settlers following arson attack on church
MEMO 13 Mar – The Islamic-Christian Committee for Protecting Jerusalem and Holy Sites condemned an Israeli court’s decision to withdraw indictments against two extremist Jewish citizens of torching churches in 2015 and 2016, Assabeel reported yesterday. The Committee said that the decision is deemed “clear and official encouragement of attacking holy sites and Christian worship houses across the Palestinian territories.” In addition, the Committee called for stopping the continuous attacks carried out by extremist Jewish settlers, on places of worship and stressed the need to respect all religions. One of the suspects, Yinon Reuveni, a 23-year-old resident of the illegal West Bank outpost of Baladim, was convicted of the June 2015 arson of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Taghba, on the Sea of Galilee. Reuveni’s suspected accomplice was a minor when the arson was committed. He was arrested, but not indicted.


In video – Israeli forces seal off Al-Aqsa gates, assault worshipers
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Mar — Israeli forces assaulted dozens of worshipers and sealed off all of Al-Aqsa Mosque gates, on Tuesday afternoon, upon a fire breakout at a nearby Israeli police station in Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli forces immediately sealed off all of the mosque’s gates.  Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, confirmed that Israeli forces physically assaulted several employees from the Islamic Endowment Department, in addition to the director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani.  Al-Dibs stressed that large numbers of heavily armed Israeli forces also stormed the Dome of the Rock and repeatedly assaulted Muslim worshipers, both female and male, performing prayers inside, as well as throughout the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.  A number of detentions were carried out by Israeli forces across the compound. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, unidentified individuals allegedly threw Molotov cocktails towards the Israeli police station, causing a fire to erupt.

Palestinians perform prayers at al-Aqsa after reopening of gates
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A large number of Palestinian worshipers performed predawn prayers, on Wednesday, after Israeli forces reopened Al-Aqsa Mosque gates. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Endowment Department and Al-Aqsa Affairs, said that the gates of Al-Aqsa were reopened since predawn prayers and that a number of Waqf employees, as well as worshipers managed to enter into the compound to perform prayers. On Tuesday afternoon, Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, including the Dome of the Rock, and physically assaulted Muslim worshipers, both women and men, before forcing them to leave the compound and sealed off all its gates.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Palestinian land seized by Israeli army, given to settlers: NGO
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Mar — Israel grabbed over 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) of Palestinian land in the past 50 years, citing security needs, but nearly half has gone to its West Bank settlements, an Israeli NGO said Thursday.  A report by Kerem Navot, which monitors Israeli settlement and government land appropriations in the occupied West Bank, covers seizure orders issued between 1969 and 2014.  It says that nearly 47 percent of the land requisitioned under rules permitting seizure for “urgent military needs” is today used for settlement housing or access roads.  Some was initially used to house military infrastructure that was later passed to settlers, it says. Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day war and today about 450,000 Israelis live there in settlements deemed illegal under international law …  The report’s author, researcher Dror Etkes, said that the first wave of settlement took place under the relatively doveish Labour party …  Seizures peaked, however, between 1979 and 1983 under the right-wing Likud, he said. Kerem Navot says that under humanitarian law such requisitions must be temporary and the owners must be compensated. But it says that its research shows that 60 percent of the Palestinian land appropriated by Israel is being held indefinitely and there is no “fair compensation mechanism” …  And in the rare case when seizures were cancelled, “not once was the land returned in the same state it had been prior to confiscation,” he said.

Two Palestinian families homeless after Israel orders homes demolished
IMEMC 11 Mar by Ali Salem — The Israeli municipality ordered 2 Palestinian families to demolish their own homes on Saturday – one in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood, and the other in Silwan neighborhood, both in occupied East Jerusalem. Ali Jaabis, one of the 8 members of the Palestinian family from Jabal al-Mukabbir, newly homeless, described Israel’s threats of fines, and demolition costs if they did not demolish it themselves. Ali Jaabis told Ma‘an News Agency that the family had been trying to obtain a permit for several months, adding that they already paid the fine for building without a permit. Israel enforces home demolition under the pretext that the homes are built without a permit, a permit which is next to impossible for Palestinians to obtain from the Israeli authorities. Atallah Eleiwat, also demolished his own home on Saturday, in Silwan, where their family of 7 lived. Eleiwat told Ma‘an that he has been unable to obtain a license, after 8 years of trying.

Palestinian family ordered out of their home for Israeli settlers
IMEMC 12 Mar by Ali Salam — A Palestinian family from occupied East Jerusalem was notified on Monday that their home will be awarded to illegal Israeli colonialist settlers. According to a statement by Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic), an Israeli court informed Mariam Abu Zuweir that she and her children must leave their home by March 31, 2019. The Information Center also noted that the Israeli settler group that petitioned the court to grant them ownership of the home presented false documents in their petition. Nihad Siam, the owner of the home of Mariam Abu Zuweir, living there with her four children, has been contending with Israeli courts for more than 22 years to maintain ownership of her inherited home. Silwanic revealed that the eviction  notice was issued after a petition from El Ad group, an Israeli establishment that advocates for construction of illegal Jewish-only colonies in East Jerusalem….

Israeli forces raze debris of Palestinian school in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Mar — Israeli forces razed and leveled the debris of a Palestinian elementary school in the al-Simiya village in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, on Monday. Israeli forces also took down the al-Tahaddi 13 School sign and sealed off the road leading to the school with dirt mounds. The school, which is made up of mobile classrooms, was built by the Palestinian Ministry of Education in late 2018, at a cost of €40, 000, and was scheduled to open in December before being demolished by Israel. …

Palestinian refugees – Syria, Lebanon / UNRWA

Report: Female Palestinian refugees repeatedly raped in Syria prisons
MEMO 9 Mar — Families of female Palestinian prisoners in Syrian jails have said that their daughters were repeatedly raped and severely tortured, but their plight is being ignored.  According to the Task Group for Palestinians in Syria, the families sent a message to international bodies and rights groups criticising the negligence surrounding the issue, Shehab reported yesterday.  The Task Group – which received a copy of the message – said that the families called for international bodies and rights groups to work towards stopping torture and violations inflicted on their daughters inside Syrian intelligence services prisons, as well as to do their best to release them.  Female ex-prisoners have said that they were subject to “all form of torture inside Syrian prisons, including electrocution, hanging, being beaten with iron poles and whips, as well as being repeatedly raped by their jailers”. Sources have documented 1,730 Palestinian refugees inside Syrian jails, including 110 women, stating that they do not have any information about their situation. According to the Task Group, the number of Palestinian detainees inside Syrian jails is larger than this, noting that some families of prisoners are afraid to revealed that their children are imprisoned or to give details about their whereabouts. Meanwhile, the Task Group has documented the deaths of several female Palestinian refugees who passed away after being tortured, noting that the total number of Palestinian refugees who were tortured to death is 478.

Hamas: Lebanon’s policies forcing Palestine refugees out
MEMO 15 Mar — Hamas’ Office of Refugee Affairs said that restrictions imposed on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria have meant their numbers have forced them to flee.  In its sixth annual report on Palestinian refugees who fled the war in Syria to Lebanon, the office said that lack of food, health care and shelter as well as the costs of correcting the refugees’ legal situation, the spread of unemployment and the reduced relief have played a key role in reducing the Palestinian refugees’ numbers in both countries.  The report noted that last year saw a significant decline in the number of Palestinian refugees by about 18,000 refugees according to estimates….

UN Palestinian aid faces funding battle without US help – agency
BRUSSELS (Reuters) 14 Mar by Robin Emmott — The U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees said on Thursday it needed $1.2 billion in funding for 2019 as it faced its first full year without U.S. support.  Pierre Krähenbühl,  who heads the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinians across the Middle East, said it had had to turn to countries as poor as Afghanistan last year for help after Washington withdrew its funding in August.  “There is no U.S. funding for the first time and no indication that they are reconsidering,” he told Reuters on the margins of a donors conference for Syria.  “I can’t think of a time, even in the 1950s, 60s or 70s, when we were without the U.S. … they built schools, health centres and that is very important to recognise,” Krähenbühl said. Washington’s decision to pull all funding further heightened tensions between the Palestinian leadership and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.  Trump at the time cited U.S. and Israeli criticism of UNRWA’s method of counting people as refugees – which they say has created a growing number of agency beneficiaries….


Rashida Tlaib backs students in crucial BDS movement in US college
MEMO 14 Mar — Democratic representative Rashida Tlaib is backing a pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) move by an American university. The Council of Pitzer College in Southern California is today expected to vote on if the university will continue its study abroad programme in conjunction with the University of Haifa in Israel. In November, the faculty voted on a motion to discontinue the programme until the Israeli government ceases its ban of BDS supporter from entering the country … Tlaib, a Palestinian-American serving her first term in Congress, has endorsed the BDS movement and is only of two US politicians to come out in its support. She highlighted her desire to fight “issues such as racism and Israel’s violations of the Palestinians’ human rights”, for her endorsement of BDS ….

Israeli deportation hearing focuses on Human Rights Watch official’s tweets
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 11 Mar by Dan Williams — An Israeli appellate court deferred a ruling on Monday over the deportation of the director of the local office of Human Rights Watch, accused of promoting pro-Palestinian boycotts of Israel, which Israel has banned. The judge said she wanted more time to study the Twitter history of Omar Shakir, who is contesting the revocation of his work permit last year. The New York-based rights watchdog has cast the case as a bid to suppress global criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Israel says that Shakir, a U.S. citizen, supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israel has criminalized BDS and has lobbied Western powers to follow suit. The case hinges in part on Shakir’s pro-BDS tweeting before he became Human Rights Watch’s director for Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2016, and whether his statements after the appointment also constitute such support. Human Rights Watch says it does not support boycotts of Israel….

Other news

PA condemns Israel’s field executions of Palestinians
MEMO 14 Mar — Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned field executions carried out by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda newspaper reported. The ministry called for the rights groups to document these crimes and raise them in specialised international courts, including the ICC. n a statement, the ministry noted that Israel’s field execution of Palestinians had increased, citing the execution of three Palestinians this week in besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank. According to the statement, Israeli occupation forces execute Palestinians under “fake” claims, which are reported by the Israeli “propaganda machine” as if they are facts in order to justify the killings….

Hamas condemns Greenblatt’s threats against deputy chief Saleh Al-Arouri
MEMO 13 Mar — Hamas yesterday slammed US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt’s call for the capture of the group’s deputy chief Saleh Al-Arouri.  Greenblatt’s call “reflects the policy of terrorism practiced by the US administration in the region,” Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Al-Qanua said in a statement. He said the envoy’s call “proves that Washington is teaming up with the [Israeli] occupation in targeting the leaders of our people.” On Monday, Greenblatt accused the Hamas deputy leader of committing “abhorrent crimes” … Last year, the US State Department officially offered cash rewards for any information leading to the capture of Al-Arouri, along with two leaders of Lebanese group Hezbollah, Khalil Yousef Harb and Hisham Ali Tabtbaie. In 2015, the US Treasury Department added Al-Arouri’s name to its list of “terrorists”.

Israel has highest rate of poverty of any OECD country — new report
MEMO 14 Mar — Israel “has the highest rate of poverty of any Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country, according to a National Insurance Institute report”, the Jerusalem Post reported today. Poverty and “near poverty” rates are particularly acute amongst Palestinian citizens of Israel who have faced systematic discrimination since the state’s establishment in 1948. “Israel has the highest rate of poverty of any OECD country, according to a National Insurance Institute report published in December 2018”, the paper reported, “with the poverty line defined as half of the median disposable income, weighted by household size”.  A new study published yesterday by Adva Centre “has revealed that the situation of those living in ‘near poverty” – those whose income lies between the poverty line and 25 percent above it – is not much better,” said the Jerusalem Post.

Israeli Arabs have 22 nation states, no need for another one, claims Netanyahu
MEMO 13 Mar — Israel’s Prime Minister reiterated on Tuesday that Israel is a Jewish state for the Jewish people alone, Israeli media have reported. The so-called Israeli Arabs, insisted Benjamin Netanyahu, do not need another state. “The Arab citizens [in Israel] have 22 nation states around them and they do not need another,” he answered in response to a question about the controversial Jewish Nation-State Law. “We define Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, the nation-state of the Jewish people.” All Israeli citizens, he added, enjoy “equal rights”. Legislation in Israel and the state’s policies on the ground suggest otherwise. Palestinian citizens of the state complain bitterly of what they believe is entrenched discrimination within Israel, official and unofficial. Netanyahu claimed that the controversial legislation does not relate to the rights of the individual, because there are equal rights for all. “The Basic Law deals only with fundamental questions of the rights of the Jewish people, a blue-and-white flag, the Hatikva [national anthem] and so on.”

Israel: Wonder Woman star Gadot calls in Netanyahu to love thy neighbor
MEMO 12 Mar– “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot has called on the Israeli prime minister to “love thy neighbour as thyself” in reference to Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Israeli actress spoke out after Benjamin Netanyahu hit back at TV star Rotem Sela’s social media post asking: “When the hell will someone in this government broadcast to the public that Israel is a country of all its citizens? And the Arabs, God have mercy, are also human beings. So are the Druze, so are homosexuals and by the way so are lesbians….and, shockingly, the left.” Netanyahu replied with an “important correction”, adding: “Israel is not a country of all its citizens. According to the Nation-State Law that we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish nation – and its alone.”

US Jewish group to offer alternative Birthright trips to Israel, West Bank
MEMO 14 Mar — US Jewish group “J Street U” is to offer trips to Israel and the West Bank in a bid to challenge Birthright’s erasure of the Palestinian narrative. J Street U is the university campus arm of J Street, a non-profit organisation which advocates for an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict and is popular with liberal Jewish-American youth.  The group yesterday announced it is launching a free ten-day trip to Israel, with the first trip slated to take place in July. The initiative will be funded by J Street donors as part of the organisation’s #Let Our People Know campaign which, in its own words, “pushes to end erasure of Palestinian voices on organized Israel trips”. The trip plans to tackle issues such as Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, its illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank and Palestinian citizens of Israel, topics which are overwhelmingly ignored by Birthright trips that have for 20 years sent young Jews to Israel….

Trump cuts leave military aid to Israel untouched
WASHINGTON (Globes) 12 Mar by Ran Dagoni — Israel can rest easy: The spending cuts axe being wielded by US President Donald Trump has so far spared military aid to Israel. Israel is due to receive $3.3 billion under the 2020 budget proposal that the White House sent to Congress yesterday….

My Turn: A man of peace, detained as an enemy of America
Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor 10 Mar by Joel Berman — …we met amazing, heroic people on both sides of the conflict who are working together to create small-scale victories on the ground. Two such people are Osama Elewat, a Palestinian Muslim, and Ella Naor, an Israeli Jew. Members of Combatants for Peace, they spoke to us at a Christian guest house in Jerusalem’s Old City … On Feb. 26, Osama was scheduled to give a public presentation at Friends Forever International in Durham [N.H.], along with his Israeli counterpart, former IDF officer Michal Hochberg. Michal arrived without incident, but Osama never made it to New Hampshire. Although he has a valid passport and visa and visited New Hampshire as recently as last May, he was unexpectedly detained at JFK Airport by U.S. Border Patrol agents. During his 13-hour interrogation, Osama’s phone was taken away and he was denied food and water … After red-stamping his visa invalid, the agents handcuffed Osama and put him on a plane back to Amman. Three days after beginning his journey, he returned to his home in Jericho in the West Bank. For those of us who attended the Friends Forever presentation, the significance of Osama’s absence was almost as powerful as his presence might have been. This wasn’t the Israeli government intimidating him, it was our own. The Department of Homeland Security apparently believes that Osama’s message – that peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians is indeed possible – is too dangerous for Americans to hear….

US drops reference to ‘Israeli-occupied’ Golan Heights in annual rights report
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 13 Mar – The U.S. State Department changed its usual description of the Golan Heights from “Israeli-occupied” to “Israeli-controlled” in an annual global human rights report released on Wednesday. The move came amid intensified efforts by Israel to win U.S. recognition of its claim to sovereignty over the strategic plateau it captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and effectively annexed in 1981, a step not recognized internationally. There was no immediate comment from Israeli leaders on the U.S. terminology change, which stopped short of a formal declaration accepting the territorial claim….

Japan’s new assistance to Palestinian people amounts to $$33 million
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — The Government of Japan contributed a new assistance for 2019 of $32,983,034 to the Palestinian people for projects to be carried out through mainly United Nations organizations and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), on Thursday. According to a press statement by the Representative Office of Japan to Palestine, in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, the new contribution, which will be disbursed for all projects by the end of March, includes assistance for Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Near East (UNRWA) at the amount of over $17.7 million, most going for emergency response for humanitarian assistance in the besieged Gaza Strip at a total of $13.2 million. A total of $3.3 million will go towards the installation of solar energy panels to mitigate the energy crisis in Gaza and the West Bank, in addition to urgent support for health and protection needs through, information and communication technology sector development, as well as employability and technical skills for resilient Palestinian youth through … Since 1993, the Government of Japan has extended its official development assistance amounting to approximately $1.9 billion to Palestine.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro to visit Israel with embassy move still undecided
BRASILIA (Reuters) 13 May by Lisandra Paraguassu – Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro will visit Israel at the end of the month but he may not be able to deliver on a promise to move Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem, a move opposed by military officers in his cabinet. A government official told Reuters on Wednesday that no decision has been taken on the embassy move, which could give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s standing a boost a week before Israel’s elections….

Palestinian wins EU-funded MedReset young writer award
MEMO 9 Mar — A Palestinian graduate has won the Young Writers Prize of MedReset, a European Union (EU) funded project. Twenty-three-year-old Omar Shanti graduated from Northwestern University in Illinois, USA, in 2018 with a degree in computer science, economics and Middle East and North Africa studies. He was born in the UK to Palestinian parents, before living for some time in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) …  Shanti spoke at length about the paper for which he was awarded the prize … He explained that, by exploring the themes of migration and Maghrebi identity, his paper hoped to challenge the dominant representation of Maghreb migrants and refugees that has developed in the wake of Europe’s so-called migrant crisis, which has seen thousands attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea since 2013 … Maghreb countries regularly express their support of Palestine and the Palestinian cause. In February, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said that the Palestinian issue would be a “top priority” on the agenda of the upcoming Arab summit, due to take place later this month…

‘Hello brother’: Muslim worshipper’s ‘last words’ to gunman
Al Jazeera 15 Mar —  A Muslim worshipper who was among the first people to be killed in New Zealand’s worst ever mass shooting appeared to say “Hello, brother” to the attacker just moments before he was shot dead.  According to a live stream video of the attack, the man, who is yet to be identified, could be overheard saying “Hello, brother” as the gunman approached the entrance of the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch …  As the attack shocked New Zealand, a nation where violent crime is rare, several social media users hailed the Muslim man who greeted the attacker before he was murdered.  “‘Hello, Brother’ were the last words of the first New Zealand victim. As he faced a rifle, his last words were peaceful words of unconditional love. DO NOT tell me that nonviolence is weak or pacifism is cowardice,” one Twitter user said.  “‘Hello brother’ a word came out of a pure soul filled with a peaceful faith. ‘Hello brother’ was said to a killer with a rifle pointed to this greeting. ‘Hello brother’ he said thinking that he is talking to a human with soul and feelings. ‘Hello brother’ was shot dead,” another wrote. “Hello brother and the reply was three bullets…. (listserv)

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Only sadists will inflict this pain and suffering on innocent people.