Updated: “Army kills a child, injures at least thirty Palestinians in Gaza”
IMEMC 12 Apr — Israeli soldiers attacked, on Friday evening, the weekly Great March Processions in the besieged Gaza Strip, killing one child, and injuring at least 55 others, including one who suffered serious wounds, and two medics. The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that the soldiers shot a child, identified as Maisara Mousa Ali Abu Shallouf, 15, shooting him with live fire in the abdomen, east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The soldiers also fired live rounds and gas bombs at medics trying to reach the child to provide him with the urgently needed medical help, before he succumbed to his wounds. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry In Gaza, said the soldiers shot 66 Palestinians, including 15 children and six women, in addition to two medics. It added that one of the wounded Palestinians suffered life-threatening wounds. The Health Ministry also stated that the soldiers shot two medics and caused others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The protests took place in five areas in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip, from Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun and Jabalia, in the northern part, to Gaza city and central Gaza, in addition to Khan Younis and Rafah, in the southern part of the coastal region. Media sources in Gaza said the army used high-velocity gas bombs, and live fire, targeting many areas far away from the perimeter fence. They added that the soldiers also targeted several ambulances, medics and journalists, with sniper fire, in addition to the high-velocity gas bombs. The protests this week were also in support and solidarity with the hunger striking detainees in Israeli prisons, facing constant violations and denied basic rights.
Palestinian doctors take bullet from heart of Gaza child
MEMO 11 Apr — A team of Palestinian surgeons at Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem led by professor Nizar Hajja took out a bullet from the heart of a Gazan child, Al-Watan Voice reported yesterday. Eight-year-old Ibrahim was shot while playing with his friends in courtyard outside his house in the north of the Gaza Strip two weeks ago. Due to the lack of medical equipment in Gaza, Ibrahim was transferred to Al-Makassed where he had a six-hour laparoscopy which allowed doctors to remove the bullet. “The bullet was in a sensitive place near the heart and the operation was very dangerous because we did not want to waste the fluid around the heart,” Hajja said. “At the end, we took the bullet off successfully,” he added.
Medical NGO: What would be unimaginable elsewhere has become normal here in Gaza
MEMO 5 Apr — An international medical charity has described the violence meted out on Palestinian protesters in the occupied Gaza Strip by Israeli soldiers as “unimaginable”. In an article published yesterday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) field communications manager in Jerusalem, Jacob Burns, described the work of the organisation’s medics in Gaza, as health professionals struggle to deal with casualties from the Great Return March protests. “What would be unimaginable elsewhere has become normal here in Gaza,” Burns wrote, reflecting on the events of 30 March, when one-year-anniversary protests were held. “A day on which four people are killed and 64 shot with live ammunition is one on which we feel almost happy because it was not the two or three hundred – or even more – we had feared it might be,” he added. “We must fight against this sense of normality. It is not normal to see so many young people arrive at hospital all at once with bullets in their legs,” Burns wrote. “It is not normal for our surgeons to work on a 25-year-old man who needed all his blood replaced because a bullet tore through both the main artery and the main vein in his chest. It is not normal for them to remove the kidney of a boy because to try to save it would mean he bleeds to death.”….
Egyptian authorities release 4 Palestinian fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Egyptian authorities released, on Sunday evening, four Palestinian fishermen who were detained while fishing off the coast of Rafah, south of the besieged Gaza Strip bordering Egypt, last week. A security source at the Rafah border crossing confirmed that the Egyptian authorities released four fishermen identified as Sahib Abu Suleima, Khaled Kanaan, Raafat Kanaan, and Musaab Kanaan. Their release came after intensive talks between the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza and the Egyptian security delegation. Earlier last week, Egyptian naval forces entered 300 meters into Palestinian waters and attacked a fishing boat with five Palestinian fishermen aboard. One fisherman was injured during the attack and managed to flee the area, however, the remaining four were immediately detained.
Israeli forces open heavy fire at Gazan farmers, fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Israeli forces opened heavy fire towards Palestinian farmers and fishermen, on Sunday, in the besieged Gaza Strip. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli forces deployed in military watchtowers opened fire towards Palestinian agricultural lands east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, targeting farmers. Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces also opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, while working off the northwestern coast of Gaza, forcing fishermen to sail back to the shore. No injuries were reported from both incidents.
Israeli bulldozers raze lands in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Several Israeli military vehicles raided Palestinian lands along Zikim beach in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday. A Ma‘an reporter said that six large D-9 Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into Palestinian lands, Zikim beach area near northern Gaza. Sources added that Israeli military bulldozers razed and leveled the lands while drones flew overhead. No shootings were reported.
Meanwhile, the Israeli navy opened heavy fire towards Palestinian fishing boats in northern Gaza. Sources said that fishermen were forced to sail back to shore in fear for their lives. No injuries were reported.
Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinians near Gaza border fence
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians, on Thursday afternoon, from near the Israeli security fence in the northern besieged Gaza Strip. Spokesperson of the Israeli army reported that Israeli forces detained two unarmed Palestinians after “suspecting” them while near the Israeli border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The detainees were transferred for interrogation.
Palestinian arrested after infiltrating into Israel from Gaza
JPost 10 Apr — The IDF confirmed on Wednesday that a Palestinian from Gaza was arrested on the Israeli side of the border security fence after infiltrating illegally in the early hours of the morning. The Palestinian was searched and found to be unarmed. He was transferred for questioning.
Gaza: Israeli occupation targeted Marches of Return with lethal gas bombs
MEMO 9 Apr — Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said that the levels of injuries of people who arrived at the hospitals during the March of Return and breaking the siege reveal the occupation’s deliberate intentions in killing and mutilation. Ashraf Al-Qudra, the ministry’s spokesperson, added: “The Israeli occupation forces’ use of lethal force against civilians in the east of Gaza Strip has resulted in the martyrdom of 271 citizens and the injury of 16,500 others.” Al-Qudra revealed that the occupation had used different types of live bullets, in addition to unidentified and non-coded gas bombs that cause health repercussions for the injured people. Al-Qudra stressed that the occupation has developed its repressive methods using metal and tear gas bombs as a tool for killing and maiming, which resulted in the death of 6 citizens, including four children, as well as the injury of dozens by various distortions.
PA accused of halting medical shipments to Gaza
MEMO 10 Apr — The Palestinian Authority (PA) has stopped sending medicines to the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza claimed yesterday, noting this caused acute medical shortages, Al-Wattan Voice reported. Director General of Pharmacies in the Ministry of Health Munir Al-Borsh said: “The ministry in Gaza has not received any medicine from Ramallah [PA] since the start of this year,” noting that 48 per cent of medicines have run out in the Strip. He also said that 249 basic medicines are no longer available in Gaza and 79 kinds of medical supplies related to cancer and blood diseases are also unavailable, stating this is putting patient care at risk. However, the spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Ramallah Osama Al-Najjar denied that a decision had been made to stop sending medicines to Gaza. “Due to the huge debts owed to the medical companies, they suspended supplies of medication to the ministry, causing a crisis in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Opinion: How the left also dehumanizes Palestinians in Gaza / Susan Abulhawa
Al Jazeera 12 Apr — By imbuing Gazans with mythical bravery, the left is failing the task of recognising Palestinian humanity –…From the left, the stories are the stuff of legends, portraying unfathomable Palestinian heroism, courage and “sumud”, an Arabic word romanticised in English to convey epic Palestinian steadfastness. At both ends of the spectrum, defenceless Palestinians are larger than life, unlike other humans, either superhumanly posing a threat to highly armed soldiers several football fields away, or displaying supernatural courage and fearlessness before near-certain death. The latter narrative, which manages to sentimentalise unspeakable misery is so enticing that even Palestinians have taken up this framing.
Nothing to lose — Just days ago, I watched a video of a young man who was shot in the legs. He limps along, falls and gets up, only to be shot again. The scene repeats over five or six bullets before the man cannot get up again and others come to evacuate him. The headline and comments extolled the “brave young man” who continued to stand up to his oppressor despite being hit multiple times in his legs. As a Palestinian mother, I saw something else in that man, young enough to be my son. Maybe he was utterly divested of hope and robbed of the will to live a life encased in the barbaric, malicious, and creative savagery of Israel’s siege on Gaza. … Maybe a young man with nothing to lose, someone already bled of his rightful life, attempting a single moment of dignity in defiance, knowing, and maybe hoping, it would be his last. And maybe this is what the soldier saw, and chose instead to add the trauma of amputated limbs to a tortured man feebly raising a small rock with no will or energy to even throw it….
Artificial limbs change lives for wounded Gaza protesters
GAZA (Reuters) 8 Apr by Nifal al-Mughrabi — Walking up and down stairs at a Gaza medical center, Palestinian amputees are learning to use their new artificial limbs after being wounded by Israeli fire at border protests. The Health Ministry in the Hamas Islamist-run territory said 136 wounded Palestinians have undergone amputations since the demonstrations began in March 2018. “It was only one bullet, one bullet turned my life upside down,” said Abdallah Qassem, 17, struggling to stand steady while trying on his new artificial legs. Qassem said the bullet struck one leg and then penetrated the other as he sat on the ground with friends at a rally on May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, fuelling Palestinian anger. “I had dreamt of becoming a photojournalist but I aim to study computer science,” he told Reuters … The World Health Organization said 6,872 Gazans suffered gunshot wounds, mostly to the limbs, in the past year of protests. With funding from the European Union, the WHO is helping Palestinians set up a limb reconstruction unit in Nasser hospital in southern Gaza. It is expected to open as early as next month. “This center is focused around restoring people’s lives, preventing amputations, and making sure that they are able to move again,” Sara Halimah, WHO trauma manager, said….
Netanyahu: Killing 300 Gaza protesters was ‘wise’ decision
MEMO 6 Apr — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel used force “wisely” in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli soldiers have killed “more than 300” Palestinians near the eastern fence of the besieged enclave. In an interview with Israel Hayom, Netanyahu said: “More than 300 Palestinians have been killed near the border when they tried to breach the fence and abduct our soldiers. We have used force wisely, and powerfully.” Netanyahu also said that his government’s policy led Hamas, the ruler of the besieged Strip, to suffer the severest economic crisis. “They [Gazans] are in enormous economic distress, and Hamas is in check and wants some quiet so it can stand up to the huge pressure in Gaza,” he said … Asked how to “deal” with Gaza, Netanyahu replied: “The real choice is to occupy and govern Gaza. You don’t have anyone to give it to. I won’t give it to Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas]. “The connection between Gaza and [the occupied West Bank] has been broken. They are two separate entities, and I think that in the long term, that’s not something that’s bad for Israel,” he added. “Abu Mazen brought that upon himself. He cut back the influx of PA funds [to Gaza]. He thought that by doing so, he could send Gaza up in flames. We would pay for the occupation of Gaza with a heavy loss of life, and on Israel’s back he [Abbas] would get Gaza on a silver platter. That won’t happen.”….
Gaza holds football tournament for amputees
TRT World 13 Apr — When 12-year-old Abdel Rahman Nofel was shot in the leg near the Gaza border fence with Israel, he thought he would never play football again. But on an artificial pitch in the coastal enclave, the young amputee controlled the ball, leaned heavily on his crutches and took a shot. He is one of dozens of players preparing for kick-off Saturday in Gaza’s first football tournament for amputees … Nofel, the youngest in his team, said he was shot during a kick-about near where protestors were clashing with Israeli forces. He was transferred to the occupied West Bank for treatment and eventually given an artificial limb. “I hadn’t thought of playing again,” he said. But his father received a phone call from a member of the team. “They told him there’s a match for people with amputations,” Nofel said. Gaza’s first football team for amputees pre-dates the protests, with most players either born disabled or losing limbs in the three wars between Israel and Gaza’s rulers Hamas….
Photos: Children of Gaza: the things they do
TRT World 11 Apr by Belal Khaled — Braving all the odds in what’s known as an open air prison, the children of this besieged city are expressing themselves in every possible way. TRT World captures some moments of joy and innocence.
In pictures: Palestinian beekeepers working at bee farm in Gaza Strip city
Xinhua 6 Apr — A Palestinian beekeeper uses a smoker to calm the bees before removing trays from a beehive to collect honey at a bee farm in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, April 5, 2019. There are 150 beehives at this bee farm. It produces honey once a year and the products are sold only in the Gaza Strip. (Xinhua/Khaled Omar)
More than 40 zoo animals evacuated from Gaza Strip
[with short video] RAFAH (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 7 Apr — More than 40 animals, including five lions, were evacuated from squalid conditions in a Gaza Strip zoo on Sunday to be taken to Jordan, an animal welfare group said. Thin and weakened, the 43 animals, including a wolf and monkeys, had been living in “terrible conditions,” said the Four Paws association, which organised the transfer. The Rafah zoo in the southern Gaza Strip is the oldest in the enclave, which has been under an Israeli blockade for more than 10 years. The animals were not in great shape, but were stable enough to be transported to a reserve in Jordan, some 300 kilometres (190 miles) from the Palestinian enclave, said Martin Bauer, spokesman for the Vienna-based welfare group. The animals were sedated to be put in cages for the transfer through Israel. Two of the lions would be sent to South Africa….
West Bank / Jerusalem
2 Palestinians injured, 7 detained during Israeli West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli forces detained at least seven Palestinians from areas across the occupied West Bank, on predawn Friday. Hebrew-language news outlets reported that the Israeli army detained 7 Palestinians and transferred them for interrogation. The Israeli army also reportedly confiscated weapons from the Sair town in northeastern Hebron in the southern West Bank. Additionally, two Palestinians were shot and injured, on predawn Friday, during clashes with Israeli forces in [Qabatiya, south of] Jenin in the northern West Bank. Dozens of locals suffocated with tear-gas as Israeli forces fired tear-gas bombs during clashes. Israeli forces also fired live bullets and stun grenades to suppress youths, injuring two with live bullets in the legs. The two injured were identified as Iyad Hamza Sabaaneh and Youssef Jasser Nazzal. One Palestinian was detained and identified as Muhammad Ahmad Abu Mualla.
Israeli settler rams vehicle into Palestinian on Route 60
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — An Israeli settler ran over a Palestinian youth on Route 60 near the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem. Muhammad Awad, head of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), confirmed that the Palestinian youth, identified as Hamza Shihadeh Najajra, from the Nahhalin village in the Bethlehem district, was run over by an Israeli settler. Awad said that Najajra suffered a critical injury in the head and was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem City, in the central West Bank. Local sources said the Israeli settler fled the scene.
Illegal Israeli colonists injure two Palestinians near Ramallah
IMEMC 8 Apr — A group of illegal Israeli colonists invaded, late on Sunday at night, the village of Jibiya, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and injured two Palestinians. Media sources said many colonists infiltrated into the village, but the locals noticed them, before the colonists started throwing stones at the villages, wounding two, while many Palestinians responded by hurling stones at them. The invaders were hiding behind trees, and throwing stones at the Palestinians, their homes and cars. The village’s mosque used its loudspeakers to warn the locals about the invasion, and called on the villagers to remain alert, especially in the invaded area.
Israeli settlers assault Palestinian shepherds in Tubas
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — A group of Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinian shepherds, on Sunday, in the northern Jordan Valley, in attempt to seize Palestinian-owned land for illegal settlement expansion. According to Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the area, heavily armed Israeli forces provided protection to Israeli settlers, who stormed an open field in the northern Jordan Valley and assaulted several Palestinian shepherds. The assaulted shepherds fled the area in fear for their lives.
Israeli army causes dozens of schoolchildren to suffer effects of teargas inhalation in Hebron
IMEMC 7 Apr — Israeli soldiers attacked, Sunday, schoolchildren while standing in line before the beginning of the school day in Hebron Elementary School, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. Adnan Da‘na, the principal of the school, told the WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs into the school’s yard as the students were standing in line ahead of the start of their school day. He added that dozens of schoolchildren, and several teachers, suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, while some of them were rushed to al-Mohtaseb Hospital in the city, due to the severe effects that made them unable to breathe. The attack is part of repeated Israeli violations targeting schoolchildren, and educational facilities in Hebron, and in several parts of the occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces assault and detain teen missing one-third of his skull
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Apr — Israeli forces, at dawn on Friday, detained a Palestinian teen with a third of his skull removed as a result of Israeli gunfire, from Nabi Saleh village, in the northwest of Ramallah. Muhammad Tamimi, a member of Nabl Saleh’s Anti-Settlement and Wall Committee, told WAFA that Israeli forces assaulted and detained Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, after ransacking his family’s home. The 16-year-old teen had had a third of his skull removed in a surgery, after being shot and seriously injured in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet, at close range, by Israeli forces in December of 2017. Tamimi added that soldiers assaulted a man with pepper-spray, requiring him to be rushed to a hospital for medical treatment. He reported that medics confirmed the man underwent a catheterization, in the aftermath of the assault.
Army continues isolation of ‘Azzoun village
IMEMC 11 Apr — The Israeli army continued the isolation of ‘Azzoun town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, for the fifteenth consecutive day, after the military closed its main road with concrete. Riyad Hannoun, the mayor of ‘Azzoun, said the Israeli army has been conducting daily invasions, violent searches of homes and many abductions among the residents, especially the young men. Hannoun added that the closure of the main road has forced the Palestinians to take long, rough and unpaved roads, just of be able to leave their village or reenter it. He also said that the Israeli army has been conducting serious violations against the residents, including isolating large areas of their farmlands, to build and expand Israel’s illegal colonies.
Israeli forces seal off al-Fawwar refugee camp
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Israeli forces sealed off the entrance of the al-Fawwar refugee camp in southern Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, on Thursday. Locals reported that Israeli forces sealed off the main entrance of the al-Fawwar refugee camp with an iron gate, preventing Palestinian vehicles from passing. Israeli forces also raided and searched a Palestinian home in the Bani Naim town; the home was identified as belonging to Omar Yahiya Basal. Israeli forces also raided the Sair and Beit Ummar towns.
Shots fired at IDF post in West Bank, none injured
Times of Israel 9 Apr — Shots were fired at an Israeli army post near the northern West Bank village of Ya‘bad on Monday night. There were no injuries and troops were searching the area for the shooter, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. The attack occurred shortly before the IDF closed border crossings into Israel from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for national elections, as is standard practice during festivals and holidays.
Israeli soldiers abduct 19 Palestinians injure many others, in West Bank
IMEMC 8 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, many Palestinian communities across the occupied West Bank, searched and ransacked dozens of homes, and abducted at least nineteen Palestinians, in addition to wounding several others, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The PPS office in Ramallah, in central West Bank, said the soldiers abducted Mohammad Bassem Tamimi, 15, Moayyad Hamza Tamimi, 20 Abdul-Fattah Hamed, Tareq Khdeira and Mohammad Abu Safiyya, 16. It is worth mentioning that Abu Safiyya was recently injured by army fire in his leg and shoulder and is still recovering from his wounds….
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinians launch mass hunger strike against prison repression
EI 12 Apr by Tamara Nassar — Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners entered day five of their mass hunger strike in several Israeli prisons on Friday. On 8 April, 400 Palestinians launched an open-ended mass hunger strike with a long list of demands, including improved medical care and conditions, more family visits and access to a public telephone, among others. Prisoners are also calling for an end to repressive measures imposed by a newly formed committee headed by Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan to worsen conditions for detained Palestinians and reduce their standard of living to “the minimum required,” including imposing water rations. The strike, taking place in the Israeli prisons of Ofer, Gilboa, Megiddo, Eshel, Ketziot, Rimon and Nafha, was announced weeks ago by the Hamas prison leadership, to begin two days before Israeli elections on 9 April …
Why are prisoners on strike? Israeli prison authorities began implementing the Erdan committee’s plan to worsen conditions in September when they turned on surveillance cameras in the HaSharon women’s prison yard after a visit by Erdan….
Israel imposes high fines on detained children
IMEMC 7 Apr — The Palestinian Detainee’s Committee has reported that Israeli soldiers have abducted, in March alone, at least 34 children; some of them were assaulted and tortured, in addition to imposing severe fines on them and their families. The Committee stated that Israeli courts have imposed more than 37.000 Shekels in fines on the detained children, and added that they were moved to Ofer prison, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. It said that the army abducted twenty Palestinian children from their homes, after the soldiers stormed and ransacked them, mainly during the night or at dawn, in addition to 11 children who were taken prisoner after being stopped by the soldiers in the streets, one who was abducted at a military roadblock, one for entering Jerusalem without a permit, and one after summoning him for interrogation. One of the detained children was shot and injured by the soldiers prior to his abduction, and at several others who were repeatedly assaulted after their abduction and during interrogation….
Hamas West Bank leader given six-month detention without trial
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 Apr — Israel on Monday handed down a six-month detention order without trial for a West Bank leader of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, his family and an Israeli intelligence service said. Hassan Yousef, a co-founder of Hamas, was arrested on April 2 at his home in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club NGO. He was given a six-month administrative detention order Monday, his family said. The Israeli Shin Bet intelligence service confirmed the decision. Yousef had been released from a previous imprisonment in October 2018. “We condemn this decision. He suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure,” his son Owais said, pointing out he had spent around 20 years in prison. A co-founder of Hamas and a member of the defunct Palestinian parliament, 64-year-old Yousef has been arrested multiple times by Israel … In total around 500 Palestinians are currently being held under administrative detention orders, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club….
Teen suspect in Dawabsheh case offered plea deal, right-wing activists urge not to sign
MEMO 12 Apr — Right-wing activists are pressuring a teen suspected of involvement in the Dawabsheh family’s 2015 murder not to sign a plea deal offered by Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office. Last week it emerged that Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office was in talks with the teen – who cannot be named because he was a minor at the time the offence was committed – to offer him a plea bargain in return for confession of his involvement in the case. The teen was indicted in 2016 on charges of conspiring to commit a racially motivated crime, six counts of arson and racially motivated vandalism, but these could be reduced if he agrees to sign the deal. Notably the teen has not been charged with attempted murder or murder, despite the fact that three members of the Dawabsheh family – father Saad, mother Riham and their 18-month-old son Ali – all died as a result of the arson attack on their home in the West Bank village of Duma. The only survivor of the attack, then-five-year-old Ahmed, was left orphaned. However, yesterday it emerged that right-wing activists are pressuring the teen not to sign the plea bargain. Israeli journalist Carmel Dangor, who reports for Israel’s Kan 11 News, yesterday tweeted: “In recent days, extreme right-wing activists have been pressuring the minor not to sign the plea bargain. The family of the central defendant, Amiram Ben-Uliel, also objects to the arrangement. At the beginning of the week, Rabbi Eliyahu entered the picture and was asked to bridge [the gap] between the sides.” ….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
In video – Palestinian forced to demolish own home near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Apr — A Palestinian from Beit Jala City, in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, was forced to demolish his own home upon order by the Israeli authorities, on Tuesday. Locals said that resident of the Bir Ouna area, Ayman Zreineh, demolished his own two-floor home upon receiving an order by the Israeli authorities to carry out the demolition within 48 hours, under the pretext that the house was built without an Israeli-issued building permit. Sources added that six houses belonging to the Zreineh family were recently demolished in the Bir Ouna area. Israeli bulldozers had demolished another Palestinian home in the area one week ago, under the same pretext.
Israel delivers demolition notices to 13 ‘Issawiya homes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem delivered demolition notices to residential structures in the ‘Issawiya neighborhood, on Wednesday. Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, member of a local follow-up committee, said that joint teams from the Israeli municipality and police raided the neighborhood and delivered demolition notices, summons for 13 residential structures, under the pretext that they were built without the Israeli-issued building permits. Abu al-Hummus pointed out that some of the notified buildings were built more than 15 years ago. Some of the buildings were identified as belonging to the Mahmoud, Darwish, Hamdan and al-Zaatari families. Abu al-Hummus added that the Israeli municipality inspector took footage of dozens of buildings and homes in the neighborhood. Tensions increased in the neighborhood following the delivery of notices.
Israel delivers demolition notices to home, steel structures in Yatta
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Israeli forces delivered demolition notices to a Palestinian-owned home and eight steel structures, east of Masafer Yatta, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, on Sunday. Rateb al-Jbour, coordinator of the National and Popular Committee in southern Hebron, said that Israeli forces raided two areas in the Masafer Yatta area and delivered a total of nine demolition notices to a number of Palestinian residents. Al-Jbour said that the demolition notices were delivered to Raed Khalil al-Hamamda, Mourad Khalil al-Hamamda, Amer Khalil al-Hamamda, and their sister, who remained unidentified. In addition, demolition notices were delivered to Mahmoud Hussein al-Hamamda, Muhammad Hussein al-Hamamda, and the widowed wife of Maher Khalil al-Hamamda. Recently, demolition campaigns have increased in the area, in attempt to depopulate the land of its Palestinian residents and to replace them with illegal Israeli settlements.
FILM: A Rock and a Hard Place: What is it like to live in Jerusalem? (2 parts)
7 Apr — In this two-part film, Al Jazeera’s Awad Joumaa follows a cast of characters – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – that call Jerusalem home. A Muslim scholar; a Christian Palestinian researcher; a former Israeli soldier and former Zionist turned professor; a self-described Zionist settler; a peace activist; an actress and her artist son; and a father, whose son is under home detention, fighting to hold on to his house in the Old City. These are some of the key characters, sharing their stories and thoughts on the city’s past, present and future. This is the story of Jerusalem as told through its own people.
Israeli settlers seal door of Jerusalem mosque for 3rd time
JERUSALEM (Ma ‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli settlers sealed the door of the Sheikh Makki Mosque in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem with adhesive substance, on Monday, for the third time in a row. Witnesses told Ma‘an via phone call that the man responsible for opening and closing the mosque was shocked as he arrived to the mosque to open it as he found an adhesive substance and nails on the door and its lock. Israeli settlers had attacked the mosque twice during March, by sealing its door using an adhesive substance in an attempt to prevent worshipers from opening the mosque in time for prayers.
Palestinians lament ‘clear discrimination’ as Israel’s minority
JISR AL-ZARQA, Israel (Al Jazeera) 6 Apr by Mersiha Gadzo — Cookie-cutter homes dotted with swimming pools, well-tended gardens and spacious playgrounds for children. The city of Caesarea, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu owns a house, has long been associated with luxury villas and the super-rich. But for the Palestinian citizens of Israel living just across the other side of the city’s land barrier, the reality is markedly different. Jisr al-Zarqa, the last remaining Palestinian town on Israel’s coast, is among the poorest and most densely populated in the country. Here, buildings are packed on every available plot of land, with barely any trees left. Home to 15,000 Palestinians, Jisr al-Zarqa has for years faced a serious housing crisis, its land swallowed to make room for government infrastructure projects such as a highway that connects Tel Aviv to Haifa. In the past 20 years, Israeli authorities also declared some of Jisr al-Zarqa’s land as protected nature reserves, making the remaining land unusable….
Israel converts historic mosque into a bar and events hall
MEMO 11 Apr — The Israeli municipality in Safed has turned Al-Ahmar Mosque into a bar and events hall, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported yesterday. As one of the most historic mosques in the Arab city, which was occupied by the Jewish gangs in 1948, the building was first turned into a Jewish school, then into a centre for Likud’s elections campaigns and then into a clothes warehouse before finally being converted into a nightclub. The London-based newspaper reported that the mosque was turned to a bar and wedding hall by a firm affiliated to the Israeli municipality. Its name was changed from Al-Ahmar Mosque to Khan Al-Ahmar. Khair Tabari, secretary of Safed and Tiberias Islamic endowment, said that he had been waiting for the Nazareth court to take a decision regarding a complaint he filed requesting the evacuation of the mosque and returning it to the endowment … Safed was once home to 12,000 Palestinians who were forced out of their homes in 1948. Tabari said that the mosque is now open for use for everything except prayers by Muslims.
Israel OKs medical school at West Bank university
JERUSALEM (JTA) 11 Apr — The third vote was the charm for a medical school at a West Bank university. Israel’s Council for Higher Education approved the establishment of the school at Ariel University on Thursday in a 13-5 vote. In February, the council voted against opening the school after initially approving it in July. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered the second vote after discovering that one of the voting members had a conflict of interest. The mirror Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria voted in February to approve the school. The two councils have since combined. The Ariel school is planning an October launch with 70 students. Without government accreditation, its students would not have been able to train at hospitals in Israel. There are five other medical schools in Israel, an insufficient number to train the number of doctors needed in the country. Ariel had fought for many years to be considered a full-fledged university, and faced opposition from Israel’s other public universities, which feared splitting government funds more ways, and an increase in calls for academic boycotts of all Israeli professors because of its West Bank location. American casino magnate and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson donated $20 million to the university in 2017 to expand, including building the medical school that is to be named for him and his wife, Miriam, a physician who was born in Israel….
US denies entry to BDS founder Omar Barghouti
WASHINGTON, DC (Al Jazeera) 11 Apr by Ola Salem — A prominent Palestinian human rights activist and cofounder of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement was denied entry to the United States on Wednesday, despite holding valid travel documents. Omar Barghouti was travelling to the US on the invitation of the Arab American Institute (AAI) in Washington to speak at New York University’s DC campus. Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Barghouti was told by airline staff that the US Consulate in the city was directed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deny him travelling to the US due to an “immigration matter”. Barghouti holds valid travel documents and a US visa valid until 2021 … “This US entry ban against me, which is ideologically and politically motivated, is part of Israel’s escalating repression against Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights defenders in the BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality,” Barghouti said …
Zoha Khalili, a staff lawyer with Palestine Legal, a US-based advocacy group, said “the effort to block Omar Barghouti’s speaking tour demonstrates a coming together of two important strains of government overreach that we’ve seen ramp up especially under the Trump administration: the politicisation of our borders and the push to censor and punish the movement for Palestinian rights.” At least 27 states in the US have introduced laws to combat BDS activism, according to Palestine Legal….
Judges hear landmark case on labelling of wine from West Bank and Golan
Jewish News 10 Apr — Judges in Europe’s highest court have heard a “landmark” case focused on a French law regarding the labelling of goods from the Golan Heights and the West Bank. The case was brought by Psagot Winery Ltd, located in the West Bank, against an opinion published by the French Minister of Economics and Finance in November 2016. It was heard last year before the French Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest court, which referred it to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. This stated that products from the Golan Heights or West Bank have to be labelled as coming from Israeli settlements – “colonies Israéliennes” – or equivalent terms. At the European Court of Justice (ECJ), lawyers for Psagot – supported by the US-based Lawfare Project – argued that applying the label “colonies Israéliennes” goes beyond the law. They said the law was not designed for political labelling but for clear consumer information and that applying the law in this way opens a “Pandora’s Box” requiring complex labelling for products from disputed territories around the world. “I am confident that the ECJ will be very careful to keep its interpretation of EU law within a legal framework, without making foreign policy,” said Psagot lawyer Francois-Henri Briard….
Palestinian refugees / UNRWA
30 Palestinians missing off coast of Greece
MEMO 11 Apr — At least 30 Palestinians from Gaza were on board a refugee boat that capsized off the coast of Greece, Al-Quds newspaper reported yesterday. According to the paper at least nine minors were lost, noting that there had been efforts to locate the area where they were lost at sea between Turkey and Greece. Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Turkey Fayid Mustafa to Al-Watan Voice that the embassy had been in touch with all sides to gather information about the incident. He stated that all the news reports about the incident did not report official sources so are as yet unconfirmed.
Saudi Arabia distributes $23m in aid to UNRWA
MEMO 12 Apr — Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay $23 million in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the organisation announced yesterday. The fund was said to have been provided by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). In an official statement, UNRWA said it would “embark on large-scale maintenance projects that will ensure that 268 schools and health centres in Syria, Jordan, Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have sound construction and are accessible to all visitors.” … Saudi Arabia is UNRWA’s third-largest donor, having contributed more than $800 million since 1994, a move described by the humanitarian organisation as a “clear sign of support to Palestine refugees and to their dignity and wellbeing.”
Remembering the massacre at Deir Yassin
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Apr — On this day, 71 years ago, some 120 members of underground Jewish paramilitary groups invaded the Palestinian Arab village of Deir Yassin, killing between 100 and 250 people including men, women, children and the elderly. With reports of mutilations, rapes and survivors being paraded through Jewish neighbourhoods before being summarily executed, the massacre remains one of the most brutal in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Seven decades later, Palestinians continue to be killed with apparent impunity, as ongoing events in the Gaza Strip demonstrate.
What: The massacre at Deir Yassin
When: 9 April 1948
Where: The village of Deir Yassin on the outskirts of West Jerusalem
What happened? The massacre took place against the backdrop of the bitter conflict that preceded the end of the British Mandate in Palestine, Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency reports. Just months before, in November 1947, the UN had proposed the division of Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem administrated independently of either side by an international body. The Arabs rejected the UN proposal and the conflict became even more intense. Deir Yassin was a peaceful village of around 400 people that had signed a non-aggression pact and was excluded from clashes elsewhere. Due to its proximity to West Jerusalem, it came under the UN Partition Plan as part of the independent Jerusalem area. The Jewish forces that invaded Deir Yassin belonged mainly to two extremist, underground, paramilitary groups, the Irgun (National Military Organisation) and the Lehi (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, also known as the Stern Gang), both of which were aligned with the right-wing Zionist movement; they have been described as “Jewish terrorist” groups….
Hamas deputy chief denies secret negotiations with Israel
MEMO12 Apr — Deputy head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Saleh Al-Arouri, yesterday denied holding secret talks or negotiations with Israel either directly or indirectly. Speaking to a number of Hamas supporters at Birzeit University in the West Bank ahead of the annual student council elections, Al-Arouri said that secret negotiations are not part of the movement’s ethics, stressing that Hamas will not accept any solution that recognises the “Israeli occupation”. “Hamas is the real wall in front of the ‘deal of the century’, and it will not pass through us at any cost,” he added in reference to the US peace deal which is thought to be expected to pass through in the coming months. Al-Arouri said a truce in Gaza Strip is not a peace agreement but aims to restore some of the Palestinians’ right to live a decent life….
Hamas condemns PA attacks on West Bank student activists
MEMO 8 Apr — The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, condemned on Sunday the brutal attacks carried out by Palestinian Authority security forces on student activists in the occupied West Bank. The statement from Hamas came after undercover PA forces kidnapped student Musa Dweekat, an activist in the Islamic Bloc at Al-Najah University. Dweekat’s arrest is part of a wide-scale PA-Israel joint campaign against Hamas-affiliated students in West Bank universities during the student election season. According to Hamas, it was a “violent and brutal” undercover operation which led to the student’s arrest. “The scene reflected the fact that the Palestinian people are now ruled by a gang that has no morals or values.” Dweekat was not the first student to be arrested by the PA at Al-Najah University; his detention followed that of Ibrahim Shalhoub. Al-Quds University’s Abu Dis Campus then banned the Islamic Bloc and the PA restricted the freedom of the Bloc to organise at Al-Najah. “All of these measures,” said Hamas, “demonstrate that the PA suppresses freedoms and democracy in the West Bank.” The movement called for human rights groups to highlight the PA’s oppression and suppression of freedom of speech….
Fatah official attempted to assassinate Egypt, Qatar envoys in Gaza
MEMO 8 Apr — Egyptian intelligence arrested Fatah leader Zaki Al-Sakani in Cairo over plans to blow [up?] the convoys of Egyptian and Qatari delegations in Gaza, senior security source revealed to MEMO yesterday. Al-Sakani, who lives in Cairo, disappeared earlier this month. A Palestinian security source told MEMO: “He was planning to target the convoy of the Egyptian intelligence delegation and the Qatari ambassador who visit Gaza from time to time.” Regarding the reasons for his plans, the security source told MEMO: “He wanted to mix the cards. His plan is part of a wider one which aims to undermine the Egyptian mediation and the Qatari efforts related to facilitating the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza.” Al-Sakani spent eight years in prison in Gaza after being found guilty of taking part in making, planning and carrying out an attack that killed a number of Hamas leaders in 2007….
Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank settlements
TEL AVIV (Breitbart) 7 Apr by Deborah Danan — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed over the weekend to annex West Bank settlements if he is reelected in Tuesday’s elections. The incumbent prime minister also said he had told President Donald Trump that would not evacuate “a single person” from the 400,000 or so Jews residing in the West Bank. Palestinian statehood would “endanger our existence,” Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 12. When asked why he hadn’t already extended Israeli sovereignty over settlements, he said, “Who says we won’t do that? We’re on the way. … The next term will be fateful.” “We’ll go to the next stage.” When pushed further, Netanyahu said: “I am going to apply Israeli sovereignty, but I don’t distinguish between settlement blocs and isolated settlements. From my perspective, each of those settlement points is Israeli. We have responsibility [for them] as the government of Israel. I don’t uproot any, and I won’t transfer them to the sovereignty of the Palestinians. I take care of them all.” Netanyahu said he was talking with the U.S. to ensure that Israeli sovereignty was extended over the large settlement town of Maale Adumim, among others….
Pompeo refuses to say what US would do if Israel annexes West Bank
WASHINGTON (NY Times) 9 Apr by Edward Wong & Catie Edmondson — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to tell Congress on Tuesday what the United States would do if the Israeli government tried to annex the West Bank, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently promised to do if re-elected. Mr. Pompeo’s silence on the issue is a break from the actions of previous administrations. Senior American officials have long and explicitly discouraged any formal attempt by Israel to extend sovereignty over some or all of the disputed territory of the West Bank and its population of 2.6 million Palestinians. In a last-minute bid to win votes in Tuesday’s neck-and-neck Israeli elections, the conservative Mr. Netanyahu said in a weekend interview that he would “apply sovereignty” to some or all of the West Bank. Mr. Netanyahu has hinted that he would get a nod for any such action from President Trump, who last month recognized Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights and earlier moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a contested city….
Reform, Conservative movements ask Trump to oppose Netanyahu annexing West Bank
WASHINGTON (JTA) 12 Apr by Ron Kampeas — Nine Jewish groups, including five associated with the Reform and Conservative movements, wrote to President Donald Trump asking him to preserve the two-state solution in the face of a pledge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex West Bank territory. The letter is unusual, if not unprecedented, in mainstream Jewish groups pleading with a U.S. president to take steps to restrain an Israeli prime minister. “We believe that it will lead to greater conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, severely undermine, if not entirely eradicate, the successful security coordination between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and galvanize efforts such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that are intended to isolate and delegitimize Israel,” said the letter released early Friday to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “It will create intense divisions in the United States and make unwavering support for Israel and its security far more difficult to maintain.”….
Four Jewish Democrats warn Israel not to annex West Bank territory
WASHINGTON (JTA) 12 Apr by Ron Kampeas — Four Jewish Democrats in the US House of Representatives known for their ties to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee warned Israel not to annex West Bank territory, days after Benjamin Netanyahu’s election-eve pledge to do just that. The statement by Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Ted Deutch, D-Fla. and Brad Schneider, D-Ill., did not name the Israeli prime minister, but alluded to his pledge on the eve of elections that he would extend Israeli law to all Jewish settlements in the West Bank, even those in remote areas, that would diminish the prospects of a contiguous Palestinian state. Netanyahu won the elections. The statement signaled a warning from the party’s most pro-Israel wing that retreating from the two-state solution would be catastrophic for efforts to maintain close ties between Democrats and Israel. There is an emerging argument among Democrats on whether to become more sharply critical of Israel under Netanyahu….
Likud PR company with settler links boasts secret cameras caused low Arab-Israeli turnout
MEMO 11 Apr — An Israeli public relations firm has admitted that it was behind the Likud campaign to place secret cameras in Arab-Israeli polling stations during Tuesday’s election, boasting that the move caused low turnout among Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Kaizler Inbar PR company said yesterday on its Facebook page that it had orchestrated the stunt, explaining: “After a long preparation period, an amazing logistical base and deep and close partnership with the best people in Likud, we put together an operation that contributed crucially to one of the most important achievements of the right-wing bloc: Keeping the Arab vote legal!” The firm then went on to brag that “thanks to us placing observers in every polling station, we managed to lower the voter turnout [among Palestinian citizens of Israel] to under 50 percent, the lowest in recent years,” Haaretz reported … Kaizler Inbar’s revelation came after Netanyahu’s Likud party admitted during Tuesday’s election that it had given over 1,000 cameras to activists to guarantee a “kosher” voting process in Arab-Israeli towns….
Airbnb reverses ban on West Bank settlement listings
BBC News 10 Apr — Airbnb has reversed its decision to remove rental listings of homes located inside Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The move will settle legal action brought by hosts, potential hosts and guests against the US firm. Airbnb said it would now donate all proceeds from rentals in the West Bank to humanitarian organisations. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this. Airbnb released a statement that said: “We understand the complexity of the issue that was addressed in our previous policy announcement.” “Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli businesses, or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts who are active on the Airbnb platform. We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal,” it added … Last November, the firm announced that following an evaluation it had removed 200 listings because the settlements were at the “core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”….
Groups protest in Midtown, say Israeli ‘Birthright’ tours ignore plight of Palestinians
NY Daily News 5 Apr by Mikey Light & Graham Rayman — Protesters flooded a Midtown street early Friday to criticize a longstanding program that provides free tours to Israel for young American Jewish people. Demonstrators say the program is partially funded by the Israeli government and ignores oppression of Palestinians and the continued occupation of the West Bank. About 200 protesters gathered outside the Birthright Israel North America offices on Third Ave. near E. 45th St. Some blocked the entrance and staged sit-ins over a two hour periods. The protesters also linked arms and blocked traffic along Third Ave., causing some minor gridlock. Police were called the scene around 9 a.m. to try and corral the roughly 50 protesters. They arrested 15 people, authorities said….
South Africa will not reinstate ambassador to Israel recalled over Gaza deaths
Haaretz 6 Apr by Noa Landau — South Africa will not reinstate its ambassador to Israel, who was recalled in 2018 in protest of the high death toll in Gaza, South African Foreign Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Friday. Since the South African envoy was recalled, a move that weakened ties between the two countries, the embassy has been functioning as a representative office, mainly providing consular service. Ngombane’s roles have been fulfilled by the embassy’s consultant. “The South Africa government condemns in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement released in 2018 … Although condemnations of the deadly outcome of protests in Gaza has been widespread, South Africa was the first country to take concrete steps against Israel in its wake.