Army kills two Palestinians, injures 82, including 34 children, 2 journalists, and 3 medics
IMEMC 4 May –Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly Great Return March processions in the Gaza Strip, killing one Palestinian, and injuring 82 others, including 34 children, two journalists and three paramedics. One Palestinian, identified as Ramzi Rawhi ‘Abdo, 31, died from serious wounds he suffered, Friday, after the soldiers shot him with a live round in the head, east of al-Boreij in central Gaza. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has reported that the soldiers killed Ra’ed Khalil Abu Teir, 19, after shooting him with a live round in the abdomen, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. It is worth mentioning that the slain Palestinian was still recovering from an in injury he suffered, last Friday, when the soldiers shot him with a live round in the leg, and was not near the fence when he was killed. Abu Teir was among hundreds of Palestinians, including women and children, who were
near the tents of the Great Return March encampments, hundreds of meters away from the fence. … Four of the injured Palestinians, including one girl, suffered serious wounds. The soldiers were stationed in their sniper posts, and armored military jeeps across the perimeter fence, and fired a barrage of live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and high-velocity gas bombs at the unarmed protesters. The soldiers injured the three paramedics while trying to provide treatment to wounded Palestinians east of Jabalia in northern Gaza, in addition to al-Boreij in central Gaza, and in Gaza city. In addition, the soldiers also targeted a Palestinian ambulance with a high-velocity gas bomb east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The PCHR denounced the systematic Israeli policy of targeting medical personnel and obstructing their humanitarian work in direct violation of International Law.
Two Gazans killed, others injured in renewed Israeli attacks
GAZA (PIC) 4 May 11:27 a.m. — Two citizen were killed and others injured in a spate of Israeli artillery and aerial attacks on Saturday morning in the northern Gaza Strip, provoking rocket response from the Palestinian resistance. The health ministry announced the death of 22-year-old Imad Muhammad Naseer in an Israeli attack on northern Gaza. Later, another citizen was reported dead in the Israeli attacks on northern Gaza. His identity is still unknown. In addition to artillery shelling, Israeli warplanes bombed agricultural lands and a street in Beit Hanoun town in northern Gaza, wounding several citizens. Medical sources [reported] that four citizens suffered different injuries in Israeli attacks on northern Gaza. In retaliation, the resistance responded to Israel’s aggression by firing volleys of rockets at Israeli military targets and settlements near the border with Gaza.
Israeli army kills two Hamas fighters in central Gaza
IMEMC 4 May — The Israeli army fired, on Friday evening, several missiles into a site run by the al-Qassam Brigades the armed wing of Hamas, in central Gaza, killing two fighters; the army said it was retaliating to gunfire that injured two soldiers. The Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has confirmed that the soldiers killed Abdullah Ibrahim Abu Mallouh, 33, from the Nusseirat refugee camp, and Ala’ Hasan al-Bobali, 29, from the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza. The two fighters were in a site run by the al-Qassam Brigades, east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp, when the army fired missiles at it.
The Israeli army said it fired the missiles after Palestinian fighters shot and injured two soldiers near the perimeter fence. According to the Israeli “Jerusalem Post”, the Israeli Air Force “struck a Hamas post, following Palestinian sniper fire that injured two soldiers, one of them is a female.” In addition to killing the two Palestinians, the Israeli missiles caused excessive property damage.
In a statement, the al-Qassam Brigades held Israel responsible for the escalation and the repercussions of the bombing, and said that Israel never stopped the use of deadly force against the nonviolent protests participating in the Great Return March processions in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas chief heads to Egypt after Gaza-Israel flare-up
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 2 May by Fares Akram — Hamas’ leader in Gaza left for talks with Egyptian officials Thursday after a new outbreak of violence, as the militant group accused Israel of slowing down the implementation of Egyptian-mediated understandings aimed at easing the situation in the Palestinian enclave. The visit by Yehiyeh Sinwar to Cairo came hours after the Israeli military struck several Hamas sites in Gaza in response to incendiary balloons with explosives launched from the strip late Wednesday. After the airstrikes, Palestinian militants fired rockets at southern Israel. No injuries were reported on either side. The brief flare-up marked the first Israeli strike in more than a month of relative calm that followed the unofficial deal. Egyptian mediators have been trying to reach a long-term cease-fire during the lull. In a short statement, the Islamic militant group said that Sinwar will meet the director of Egypt’s general intelligence to discuss “ways of alleviating the suffering” of Gaza’s 2 million residents. Hamas says Israel is not abiding by the deal. Under the agreement, Israel had expanded the permitted fishing zone off Gaza’s coast to 15 nautical miles, but scaled back the area to its previous limit of 9 miles this week after a Gaza rocket was fired. Officials from Hamas, which has controlled Gaza by force since a 2007 coup, say Israel did not honor other commitments, such as allowing the transfer of Qatari money to Gaza’s cash-strapped public institutions and taking measures to further ease the territory’s grinding power shortages. During the lull, Hamas kept weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel perimeter fence mostly restrained and suspended the more violent forms of protest, including arson balloons and nighttime skirmishes. Witnesses say balloons were launched again Wednesday….
Wounded Palestinian who burnt himself demanding medical care dies in Gaza
IMEMC 30 Apr — A young Palestinian man, who was shot with several Israeli army live rounds on April 16, 2018, and torched himself two weeks ago after his repeated calls for medical treatment abroad went unanswered, has died from his serious wounds, on Tuesday evening. Media sources said the young man, Bilal Mohammad Masoud, 24, from Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, has succumbed to his serious wounds at the Intensive Care Unit of the Shifa Medical Center, in Gaza. The Palestinian was shot by Israeli soldiers, on April 16th, 2018, who fired live rounds at him, wounding him in his arm and legs, causing serious bone fractures and fragmentation, before he underwent several surgeries, including bone grafting, but his condition never improved. He was shot while participating in the Great Return March … His family said that they have appealed for help from several parties in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas ruling party, in addition to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, to ensure his transfer to a hospital in Egypt or any other country. According to his sister, the family tried to transfer him for treatment in Egypt but was denied entry by the Egyptian authorities.
Navy injures fisherman, detains two others, in Gaza
IMEMC 1 May — Israeli naval forces, Wednesday morning, injured a Palestinian fisherman and detained two others off the shore of al-Sudaniya, northwest of Gaza city. WAFA correspondents reported that the navy opened gunfire and shot water hoses towards a fishing boat sailing three nautical miles off the shore, injuring a fisherman with a rubber-coated steel bullet, in the back. Two other fishermen were forced to strip off their clothes and swim to the naval ships before being detained. The fishing boat was seized and escorted to the Israeli seaport of Ashdod.
Reduction of Gaza fishing zone an ‘illegal collective punishment’
Al Jazeera 30 Apr by Maram Humaid — A decision by the Israeli military to scale down the permitted fishing zone in the besieged Gaza Strip comes as “no surprise” to the enclave’s 4,000 fishermen. “The decision did not come as a surprise. The occupation always backs down from agreements that affect fishermen in the strip,” Zakaria Bakr, head of Gaza’s fishermen’s union, told Al Jazeera. Citing an alleged rocket attack, the Israeli army said on Tuesday fishing in Gaza would only be permitted up to six nautical miles (11km) until further notice. The move came after Israel extended the zone to a maximum of 15 nautical miles on April 1 as part of an Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip. The decision was in response to a rocket fired by the Islamic Jihad group late on Monday, the Israeli army said in a statement on Tuesday, an allegation the Palestinian group denies. “Israel’s accusations are part of a smear campaign against the Islamic Jihad movement,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Mosaab al-Breim told Al Jazeera … Bakr of the fishermen’s union said Israel’s decision comes at a critical time, and that the ceasefire agreement failed to ease Israel’s crippling blockade of the strip.The purpose of the expansion was to boost Gaza’s economy, which relies heavily on the fishing sector. Many fishermen had expressed their content at the rare gesture, especially as the holy month of Ramadan looms. But today, they said, it is a “very sad and difficult” situation. “Israel always makes excuses [to scale down the permitted fishing zone] especially when the fishing season is upon us,” Bakr said. Boats in the Gaza Strip are “more active” during spring than any other time of year, he said, stressing that the move was a continuation of Israel’s “systematic oppression” against Gaza’s fishermen, as well as its nearly two million residents….
Israeli army launches incursion into Gaza, attacks farmers
GAZA (PIC) 1 May — The Israeli occupation army on Wednesday morning carried out a limited incursion into blockaded Gaza and razed Palestinian lands. The PIC reporter said that 8 Israeli bulldozers rolled a few hundred meters into Juhor ad Dik area east of Gaza city and razed farmlands along the border fence. Local sources said that the operation was accompanied by heavy firing of live ammunition and tear gas canisters at Palestinian farmers working in their lands near the border. No injuries were reported.
‘We just want to be heard’: woman in Gaza builds app to help support fellow mothers
The Independent ?29 Apr by Bel Trew — There are few places mothers can turn to for help in Gaza, a war-ravaged enclave stunted by a crippling 12-year Israeli-imposed blockade. Without childcare or support, and with few parenting handbooks available, that frustration, anger and despair can be channelled towards the children. One Gazan mother, Nour al-Khodary, wants to help change that with a new app, Momy Helper. It is the first of its kind in Arabic: at the click of a button mothers can access how-to guides for parenting, be connected to trained specialists, and get support for gender-based violence and other issues faced by women. The former film producer says it is a simple solution to one of the most unspoken taboos in the Middle East: being a mother who cannot cope….
Analysis: Gazans’ only way out is through Egypt – it they can afford it
[behind paywall] Haaretz 29 Apr by Zvi Bar’el — A two-track system offers wealthier Gazans to pay for expedited exit permits to Egypt through middlemen while all the others are left waiting — The honor accorded to Youssef al-Najjar, in whose memory the departure hall at Gaza’s Khan Yunis border processing station is named, has become a symbol of the web of corruption and suffering that is inflicting harm upon thousands of Palestinians seeking to leave Gaza for Egypt. Two categories of people congregate at the site on a daily basis in their hundreds and sometimes even thousands to receive the coveted permit from the Egyptian authorities and from the Hamas Interior Ministry. Some wait weeks and even months until their name appears on the list of permit recipients. But others, who are able to raise the required funds, may get theirs in a few days or even the day after they apply. Applicants have told the media that expedited processing of a permit request can require a payment of from $500 to $3,000 or even more. About 20 percent of the money goes into the pockets of various middlemen, while the rest goes to Egyptian officers in charge of the border crossing … Because there is a daily quota on the number of Gazans entering Egypt, many applicants discover that their names have been deleted or moved down the list to make room for people who have forked over payment to a middleman.
Amputated dreams in Gaza … injured siblings harvest wheat despite their injury
Gaza Post 2 May by Rewaa Abu Helow — A Palestinian brother and sister were wounded by Israeli gunfire during their participation in the Great March of Return protests that have started since almost a year and a month at the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. Suhaib Qudaih, 33 years old, is a father of six children. His leg was amputated after he was shot in the leg by the Israeli snipers’ gunfire. “The protests were peaceful. I didn’t expect to get injured. I came close to the fence to rescue a wounded girl during the protests but Israeli soldiers opened fire towards me, targeting my leg.” Suhaib told Gaza Post. Nazeeha is a 38-year-old unmarried lady. She lives with her “only” brother Suhaib. She used to help him harvest several crops in different seasons to make a living. Farming is the only source of living for them. Nazeeha also lost a leg during her participation in these peaceful demonstrations. And actually, these rallies are just peaceful from our side, the Palestinian side. “I was distributing water bottles among protesters. Then I was filling them again when they are empty. I witnessed the falling of martyrs and injury of protesters. Situations were difficult.” said the lady. Despite the injury of Suhaib and his sister, they went back to work on wheat harvest in their land in Abasan village in the city of Khan Younis in the southern blockaded strip. They faced all these difficulties and decided to live and earn living. Those are steadfast heroes.
Qatar brings Gaza beaches back to life
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 2 May by Rasha Abou Jalal — The Gaza Electricity Distribution Co., in cooperation with Gaza Strip municipalities, completed April 18 a Qatar-funded project designed to connect wastewater treatment plants to new power lines with the objective of supplying the plants with uninterrupted power around the clock, the company’s public relations director told Al-Monitor. The new project seeks to end pollution along the coast that untreated wastewater poured into the sea has caused since 2013, preventing the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip from going to the beach and swimming in the sea in the summer. The crisis came after the wastewater treatment plants stopped operating as power outages hit more than 12 hours a day before climaxing to 20 hours daily in May 2017. The beach water-quality monitoring tests the Environment Quality Authority in the Gaza Strip conducted in April 2018 indicated that 75% of the 40-kilometer (25-mile) coast is polluted and unfit for swimming … Mohammad Thabet, the company’s public relations director, said the project “would ensure that all 11 wastewater treatment plants in the Gaza Strip are supplied with power around the clock, in order to guarantee that untreated wastewater is not poured onto the Gaza beach.”….
UK to contribute 9m pounds for Gaza’s water desalination plant
GAZA STRIP (Ma‘an) 1 May — The United Kingdom announced a contribution of nine million pounds for the water desalination plant in the besieged Gaza Strip, according to Mazen Ghneim, head of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), on Tuesday. The announcement took place at the opening of an international conference on the water desalination project in the Gaza Strip, which was attended by 31 countries and held at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. The conference aims to raise financial funds to be able to kick start the project after raising last year $565 million or 80% of the total cost of the project. Ghneim urged the donors at the opening of the international conference to continue to support the project due to its importance to more than two million people living in the Strip. Ghneim said the PWA completed the large part of the plan for the project and that work will start by the end of 2019. The plant is expected to provide 55 million cubic meters of water a year in the first stage until 2021, but will later expand to provide 110 million cubic meters of water every year.
Ghneim said that the project is expected to help Gaza, where only 3% of its current water is suitable for drinking….
Gaza farmers get €3.7m support package from EU and PA
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Apr — The Palestinian Authority’s programme, “Private Sector Reconstruction Gaza – Agriculture,” is providing an integrated package of support to Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip. This EU-funded programme is helping Palestinian farmers, throughout the Gaza Strip, affected by the Israeli occupation, in restoring their businesses. The new contribution of €3.7 million targets 178 additional farmers and agro-businesses to relaunch, repair or replace damaged businesses. It covers wide range of activities including the acquisition of agricultural supplies, rehabilitation of land and other small infrastructure works. In particular, the Palestinian Authority will rehabilitate 22 water wells, to irrigate about 2800 dunams, supply 15 agricultural tractors, provide 118 livestock farms, including 2,600 heads of livestock, and construct 37 greenhouses units. This brings the total number of beneficiaries of the programme, to date, to 259 farmers….
Photo Gallery: Honey harvest in Gaza
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AA) 29 April — Palestinian apiarists keep bees in order to collect their honey as they begin harvesting honey at a honey filling facility in Rafah, Gaza on April 29, 2019. Honey productivity decreases due to lack of medicines used in beekeeping under Israeli blockade at the Rafah area in Gaza border. (Mustafa Hassona – Anadolu Agency)
I’m a 25-year-old woman in Gaza. Learning to code changed my life
Mercy Corps 7 Mar by Shahenaz Monia — Because of the extreme circumstances we live in, it’s rare for a Gazan to have full control over their life. We have to jump over so many hurdles to choose the life we want to live, the places we want to go, and the universities we want to study in. One of the hardest challenges, however, is finding employment. Currently, 70 percent of young people in Gaza are unemployed. My journey to becoming a software engineer began during my fourth year at university in Gaza City. It was 2015, and though I was about to graduate, I didn’t know where to go or what I wanted to do. One weekend, I participated in a Startup Weekend event at Gaza Sky Geeks, a tech hub and co-working space run by Mercy Corps where teams of students pitch startup ideas to a panel of judges. To my surprise, my team was one of three winners. That meant I became a member of the Gaza Sky Geeks community and began gaining exposure to the many entrepreneurs in Gaza. While I was there, Gaza Sky Geeks launched Code Academy, Palestine’s first full-stack coding boot camp….
Feature: Gaza graduates forced to face tough alternatives due to lack of job opportunities
GAZA (Xinhua) 2 Mau — Abdullah Abu Jamea, a 23-year-old Palestinian young man, works as a barber trying to escape the reality of the high unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip, which has been besieged by Israel since 2007. Abu Jamea, who graduated from the Faculty of Nursing, was pushed to work as a barber and use tools that are quite different from what he had dreamed of for years, due to lack of job opportunities in the Gaza Strip. Abu Jamea told Xinhua that for years he had been looking forward to working in the medical field and wearing white nursing uniforms, which encouraged him to study hard and got the highest grades … “I do not want to surrender to the unemployment reality, so I work in a career that is different from my field of study to earn money and get a decent life,” he said, adding that his family had long worked to support him to graduate from university….
Fact Sheet: Palestinian authorities in Gaza violate the rights to opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and freedom from arbitrary detention
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights 23 Apr — This fact sheet addresses violations by the Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, assembly, and freedom from arbitrary detention. Alarmed by the systematic manner in which these violations are committed, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) releases this fact sheet to highlight the circumstances and frequency of this conduct, which amounts to breaches of Palestinian law and international covenants that the State of Palestine has acceded to. Covering the period of 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2019, this fact sheet provides a succinct overview of violations perpetuated chiefly against journalists, activists, and supporters of the local authorities’ political opponents….
Video: Gaza’s economic crisis sends territory into poverty and chaos
Real News 1 May — Dr. Omar Shaban discusses the World Bank report on the shrinking Gaza economy and how Israeli sanctions and restrictions have destroyed a once thriving economy
Gaza’s strays in good hands with animal lovers
GAZA (Anadolu Agency) 3 May — Despite the many hardships under an Israeli blockade, a group of animal lovers known as the Strays of Gaza is caring for the city’s strays that need immediate medical attention. The group, composed of 14 animal lovers, turned one of the group members’ houses into a cat sanctuary. The group has so far rescued many strays that were injured and brought them back to life – all without looking for any financial benefit. One of the members of the group, Rama Berekat, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the only thing they receive in return of their work is the happiness in the eyes of the animals when they recover. “Besides cats, we also rescue stray dogs and birds,” he said. The Strays of Gaza group has been active since 2015 and mainly operates on Facebook. In addition to caring for strays, the group also teaches their followers how to take care of various animals. Berekat added that despite the decade-long financial difficulties, the animal lover group wants to continue their work. He said their dream is to build an animal shelter where they can offer veterinary services.
Amid deprivation, Gaza youths skate in search of fun
GAZA (Reuters) 30 Apr by Nidal Almughrabi — At a Gaza beachfront skatepark, Palestinian youngsters on skateboards and rollerblades zip around curves and jump over concrete obstacles to the delight of onlookers. Calling themselves the “Gaza skate team”, a group of about 20 youths hold weekly training sessions overseen by two coaches, who watch videos on the internet to improve their skating skills. Skating equipment is hard to come by in Gaza, where poverty runs deep and Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns, maintain tight restrictions along the border….
Israeli press review: Military recommends construction of Gaza industrial zone
MEE 1 May — The Israeli military has recommended building a joint industrial zone in the Karni crossing area, northeast of the Gaza Strip, Maariv newspaper reported. The industrial zone would be similar to the one that was previously operating near the Erez crossing before all operations ceased and the factories relocated when Israel pulled out from the coastal enclave in 2005. Some 5,000 Palestinian workers from the besieged territory would be employed and their movement in Israel would be restricted to the area within the zone, Maariv said. Maariv said the Israeli government hasn’t given the green light on the construction of the zone, but it is already using the project as a bargaining chip in the Egyptian-led talks with the Hamas movement that controls Gaza. It would take five years to build the industrial zone, the paper said.
IDF names new commander after disastrous Gaza operation; his identity is censored
Tikan Olam 28 Apr by Richard Silverstein — Several months ago, I violated Israeli military censorship to report on the death of a senior officer in Israel’s élite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal. He’d been tasked with planting spy devices inside Gaza. Due to major intelligence failures, his undercover unit was interdicted by a local Hamas patrol. The Israelis fought their way out of their predicament, killing nearly 20 Palestinian militants, thanks to a daring helicopter rescue which saved them from being killed themselves. Hamas boasted of its success in exposing the undercover operation, and disseminating pictures of all the IDF participants via social media. It was also proud of its fighters who defended Gaza and killed Lt. Col. Mahmoud Kheireddine. The IDF is used to operating with virtual impunity wherever it wishes in the region, was taken aback by the exposure of its methods, spy gear, and faulty intelligence. As a result, the Israeli military censor desperately sought to suppress all information about the attack. It even pressured social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to censor images of the IDF soldiers. My Facebook account was suspended temporarily and images removed from my feed. Another example, of this failure is the fact that the unit was impersonating an actual Gaza NGO which provided wheelchairs and prosthetic devices to Palestinians wounded by IDF attacks. Thus, the IDF was sabotaging the legitimate humanitarian work of the NGO, and endangering the lives of the workers engaged in this critical work. In doing so, Sayeret Matkal’s “cover” violated the norms of international humanitarian law. No Israeli media outlet could report this freely until well after the operation ended….
West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian dies from serious wounds suffered a week earlier near Nablus
IMEMC 27 Apr — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that a young Palestinian man died, on Saturday evening, from serious wounds he suffered a week earlier [20 April] , after Israeli soldiers shot him at a military roadblock in northern West Bank. The Health Ministry said the young man, Omar ‘Awni Abdul-Karim Younis, 20, died at the Israeli Beilinson Israeli medical center. The soldiers, stationed at Za‘tara military roadblock, north of Nablus, shot the young man with several rounds of live ammunition, reportedly after he attempted to stab them, and prevented Palestinian medics from approaching him. The Palestinian was from Sanniriya town, south of Qalqilia, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. No soldiers were injured in the reported incident.
In video – Dozens of Israeli settlers storm ‘Urif, attack Palestinians
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 May — Dozens of Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar stormed the ‘Urif village, in the south of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, overnight on Thursday. Head of ‘Urif village council, Mazen Shehadeh, told Ma‘an that heavily armed Israeli forces provided protection to dozens of Israeli settlers as they stormed the village and attacked Palestinian residents. Shehadeh added that Israeli forces repeatedly fired tear-gas bombs towards Palestinian residents under the pretext that “unknown individuals” stole sheep from the illegal Yitzhar settlement. Shehadeh also confirmed that Israeli settlers vandalized one Palestinian-owned vehicle, belonging to Urif resident, Muataz Najeh al-Safdi.
Israeli settlers vandalize vehicles, spray death threats near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 May — Israeli settlers vandalized and spray painted racist, anti-Arab slogans, on the walls and doors of Palestinian-owned home and vehicles, on Friday, in Huwwara town, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus. Locals told Ma‘an that they were shocked to find that Israeli settlers spray painted racist, anti-Arab slogans and death threats on the walls and doors of one of the homes and several walls across Huwwara. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that a number of Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar raided the town in the early hours of Friday … Daghlas confirmed that eight of the vehicles, including a truck, were completely damaged. [Haaretz: The Star of David symbol was also spray painted on a Palestinian grave. Israel Police said it had launched an investigation into the matter.]
Israeli settlers destroy more olive trees in occupied West Bank
MEMO 2 May — A group of Jewish Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farms on Wednesday and cut down 150 mature olive trees in the village of Burqa east of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Quds Press has reported. The settlers came from the illegal Atzaf colonial outpost built on Palestinian land, said witnesses, who added that they were protected by Israeli occupation forces. Meanwhile, another group of Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian family and damaged the fence at their house in Tel Al-Rumeida in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Local sources said that the settlers were joined by soldiers of the Israeli occupation army in the attack on the Abu Aisha family home. According to Badie Dweek, the coordinator of Defenders of Human Rights Gathering in Hebron, the fence owned by Radi Abu Aisha, 74, has been coveted by the Israeli military for 17 years. He explained that the Israeli forces detained the elderly man inside the illegal military checkpoint near the area but released him after the intervention of the Palestinian civil authorities. At the same time, Jewish settlers stoned the house of Mohammad Salim in Kafl Haris, north of Salfit, and attacked those inside.
Illegal Israeli colonists destroy gate of a mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City
IMEMC 4 May — A group of fanatic illegal Israeli colonialist settlers attacked, Saturday, Sheikh Makki Mosque in al-Qadisiyah Street in Jerusalem’s Old City, and destroyed its gate. The colonists broke the lock, and sabotaged its gate, for the third time in just a few months, the Palestinian Waqf and Islamic Endowment Ministry has reported. The mosque is on the same road extending from the Sahera Gate towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and is located on the opposite direction of the local al-Qadisiyah School. Husam Abu ar-Rob, the administrator of the Waqf and Islamic Endowment Ministry, denounced the attack, and said that it is part of ongoing Israeli violations targeting the Al-Aqsa Mosque and holy sites in occupied Jerusalem. He added that Israel is ongoing with its excavations under al-Aqsa, along with several parts of Jerusalem, causing serious damage to homes and buildings….
Israeli forces attack Palestinian family, demolish two Silwan houses
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Israeli forces attacked Palestinian residents as bulldozers demolished two Palestinian-owned homes, on Tuesday, in the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces and police, in addition to a number of Israeli bulldozers, stormed the neighborhood and surrounded the two homes, which belong to two Palestinian brothers, Anas and Qusai Barqan. Sources confirmed that Israeli forces and police broke into the homes and physically attacked the Barqan family, including women and children, as well as their neighbors. Israeli forces beat the family and attacked the locals with rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas bombs, and pepper-spray. Prior to the demolition, the Barqan family was forcefully evacuated by Israeli forces. Violent clashes erupted in Silwan as a result of the demolition, during which Israeli forces injured seven Palestinian youths.
Israeli forces destroy water pipeline in West Bank village
NABLUS (WAFA) 2 May – Israeli forces destroyed today a water pipeline that supplies the village of Forush Beit Dajan, east of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, with fresh water. Local witnesses told WAFA that Israeli forces destroyed the water network on which the villagers basically rely for their water supply. The network starts at a nearby water stream known as Ein Shibli and artesian wells until it reaches the village’s land. Forush Beit Dajan suffers from extreme shortage of water, especially in the summer, due to Israeli measures that prevent the village from getting different sources for its water supply.
Shooting toward Israeli hikers in West Bank; suspects arrested, one injured by IDF fire
i24NEWS 29 Apr — A group of Israeli hikers came under fire while traveling by bus near the Mevo Dotan settlement in the northern West Bank on Monday, the army said. Israeli soldiers securing the passenger bus returned fire, injuring one Palestinian suspect. The extent of the suspect’s injuries was not immediately known. He received medical treatment on-site before being evacuated to nearby hospital. IDF forces pursued the second suspect who fled the scene, but the army said in a later statement he surrendered to security forces and was transferred for questioning. There were no injuries reported among Israeli civilians or soldiers.
Elderly man, minor among seven Palestinians detained from West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 30 Apr – Israeli forces detained today seven Palestinians, including a 69-old man and a minor, from various parts of the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS). It said Israeli forces detained four Palestinians, including a 14-year-old minor, from the central West Bank district of Ramallah and al-Bireh. WAFA correspondent elaborated that Israeli military vehicles raided Kafr Nimeh village, west of Ramallah, where soldiers detained three Palestinians, including a former prisoner and the minor. Soldiers deployed at the entrance of the village destroyed a memorial erected in commemoration of Yousef al-Deek and Amir Anqawi, both of whom were killed by Israeli troops at the entrance to the village on March 4. The fourth Palestinian was detained in Silwad town, east of Ramallah. In the northern West Bank, Israeli forces rounded up two Palestinians from Jenin district, including a former prisoner who spent over 15 years in Israeli jails. Another raid was carried in Qalqiliya district, resulting in the detention of a 69-year-old man identified as Ali Kamel Shawahneh.
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct 21 Palestinians in West Bank’
IMEMC 29 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, twenty-one Palestinians from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. One of the abducted Palestinians is the head of the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society and the secretary of Fateh movement in the city. The PPS said the soldiers abducted Nasser Qous, the head of its office in Jerusalem and the secretary of Fateh movement in the city, after storming and searching his home in the Old City. It added that the soldiers also abducted Nasser Salama, Emad Shalloudi and Haitham Hijazi, in the Old City of Jerusalem, and Ayman ar-Resheq from the ath-Thouri neighborhood in Silwan town….
Jewish-American activists beaten and detained by Israeli soldiers in West Bank
HEBRON, occupied West Bank (MEE) 3 May by Megan Giovannetti — Several Jewish-American activists were beaten and forcefully detained by the Israeli army alongside Palestinian and Israeli activists on Friday morning while working to repair a road linking Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills. Those forced to the ground and dragged into military vehicles included several who appeared to be rabbis and several elderly members of the group. The activists were part of a delegation of 42 Jews from the US and Canada who are on a two-week tour of the West Bank organised by the US-based Center for Jewish Nonviolence (CJNV) to promote Jewish and Palestinian co-existence and to resist the ongoing Israeli military occupation.
Israel arrests 18 right-wing activists while evacuating illegal West Bank outpost
[behind paywall] Haaretz 30 Apr by Yotam Berger — Israeli security forces arrested 18 right-wing activists Tuesday morning while evacuating temporary homes at an illegal outpost in the central West Bank. According to the Israeli Border Police, the activists were arrested in Maoz Esther while they “resisted and attacked security forces.” The Civil Administration confirmed that four of the structures were evacuated as they were built on private Palestinian land. The outpost at Maoz Esther is alternately built and demolished on a monthly basis as wooden shacks are erected there, and cleared out repeatedly by the Civil Administration. There are no permanent residents; however, it is often populated intermittently by extreme right-wing activists.
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Video: High Court orders demolition of Palestinian homes
Israel is expected to demolish more Palestinian homes. The Israeli High Court has ruled 60 houses in occupied East Jerusalem should be knocked down. Palestinians say Israel is trying to settle as many Jews as possible on the edge of Jerusalem’s old city and rename an area the Palestinians consider their capital the City of David. Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from occupied East Jerusalem on 1 May.
As Israeli groups expands, Palestinian houses face demolition
JERUSALEM (AP) 4 May by Isabel Debre & Areej Hazboun — For 20 years, Hala Kashour has lived with her husband in what she called “paradise,” a bucolic meadow that rolls through a Palestinian neighborhood of east Jerusalem. The coveted pasture, which Israel calls the “Peace Forest,” lies in the crosshairs of a long-simmering conflict between the city government and its Palestinian residents that flared up on a recent spring morning as Kashour, 47, was jolted awake by the sound of bulldozers crushing her neighbor’s house. Some 60 houses in the grassy quarter, known to its 500 residents as Wad Yasul, are facing demolition by Israeli authorities. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court declined to hear the residents’ appeal against demolition orders, saying the structures were built without required permits in a municipally designated green space. “God willing, we won’t be next,” said Kashour, who claims she built the neighborhood’s first house, a stone cottage ringed with rose bushes, on land her family has owned for 50 years … But the Peace Forest demolitions have drawn particular attention because of accelerating construction by a nationalist Jewish organization in the same park. With the support of Israel’s Tourism Ministry, the City of David Foundation has set up lodging structures, operates a Segway tour through the woodland and is advancing plans for several tourist attractions, including a visitor center and what it bills as the country’s largest zip line. The foundation said it has leased 4% of the park’s total area from the government. Although city regulations forbid construction of any kind in designated parks, the municipality confirmed it was working to alter zoning restrictions and retroactively authorize City of David’s construction and facilitate its expansion … Activists and Palestinian residents say the case of the Peace Forest highlights discriminatory Israeli policies that have propelled a housing crisis in overcrowded east Jerusalem … But critics say the demolitions on one hand, and the green light to City of David on the other, illustrate two sets of standards for Jews and Palestinians in the city. The organization has also drawn sharp criticism for helping to settle Jewish families in Arab neighborhoods, fueling suspicions that its tourism projects mask efforts to erase the line between east and west Jerusalem, and with it, hope for an independent Palestinian state….
Report: Israel implemented 53 settlement projects in the West Bank during April
MEMO 3 May — The Jerusalem Center for the Study of Israeli Affairs has documented 53 settlement projects implemented by Israel in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem during the month of April. The Center’s report issued on Thursday said the Israel settlement projects and activities included the confiscation of Palestinians’ land, sending out demolition notices to Palestinian structures and the actual demolition of tens of residential and commercial establishments, as well as the construction of thousands of settlement housing units in the West Bank settlements. According to the report, the Israeli measures have also affected facilities owned by Arab-Israelis as part of a policy aimed at displacing them.
Israel orders stop-construction of solar panels in Jordan Valley
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Israeli authorities delivered a stop-construction notice to solar panels, in the northern Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank, ordering halt of construction, on Monday. Mutaz Bisharat, a Palestinian official in charge of Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA), said that the Israeli authorities raided the area and delivered a stop-construction notice to solar panels used for providing electricity to Palestinian residents. Bisharat added that the solar panels were supplied through NGO humanitarian projects. Forming a third of the occupied West Bank and with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C, the Jordan Valley has long been a strategic area of land unlikely to return to Palestinians following Israel’s occupation in 1967.
‘Land means life’: Palestinians vow to battle illegal Israeli confiscations
MEE 27 Apr by Shatha Hammad in Ramallah — Palestinians pledge to continue the dream of passing land to their children and grandchildren amid accelerating seizures — Tayseer Ataya stands leaning on his cane and gazing at his plot of land on Risan hill, west of Ramallah. The 65-year-old man has been forbidden from accessing his property for close to a year. In August 2018, Israeli settlers built homes for themselves on parts of Ataya’s 104 dunum (10.4 hectares, 25 acres) of land in the village of Ras Karkar. He says that from that moment onwards he knew his dreams of passing on the land to his children and grandchildren were crushed … On 16 August, a new agricultural settler outpost was built in just two days. Livestock and water tanks were brought in, a new road was paved to serve the Jewish-only community, and Israeli army reinforcements arrived to provide protection. Speaking to Middle East Eye, Ataya says that the confiscation order is not limited to the 100 hectares, but will extend further than that under the pretext of security….
Israel government to fund hotels in illegal West Bank settlements
MEMO 30 Apr — The Israeli government will subsidise hotels in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, as part of a plan to attract more tourists to the area. According to an article in Arutz Sheva, citing a report by Israel Hayom, Israel’s Tourism Ministry “will aid entrepreneurs who want to invest in building or expanding hotels in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank]”. The entrepreneurs can now apply for a grant of up to 20 per cent of their intended investment. Israel Hayom reported that a meeting held earlier this year between senior settler officials and the managers of Israeli travel agencies in the occupied West Bank “showed that the number of guest units is insufficient, causing tourists to avoid staying in the area for more than a day”….
Israeli who sought evacuation of West Bank Bedouin village builds outpost nearby
[behind paywall] Haaretz 1 May by Yotam Berger — An Israeli who has been active in efforts to evict the residents of the contested Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar is setting up an a Jewish outpost without authorization just a few hundred meters from where the West Bank community is located. Boaz Ido is funding the establishment of a large straw and mud brick structure in the vicinity of the Jewish settlement of Mishor Adumim. Ido runs the nearby Genesis Land tourism site and is an active member of the Jerusalem Periphery Forum (“Forum Otef Yerushalayim” in Hebrew), which is seeking to evacuate illegal Bedouin villages in this part of the West Bank….
Army demolishes a home near Hebron
IMEMC 1 May — Israeli soldiers invaded, Wednesday, the ad-Deerat area, east of Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and demolished a Palestinian home. Rateb Jabour, the media coordinator of the National and Popular Committees against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in southern Hebron, said several army jeeps invaded the area, before sealing it and surrounding the home. He added that the soldiers then invaded the home, owned by Jibreel Mahmoud al-‘Adra, and forced the family out before demolishing it. The army claims the property was built without a permit from the Israeli “Civil Administration Office,” the executive and administrative branch of the illegal Israeli occupation in the West Bank. Before demolishing the property, the soldiers invaded the Susiya village, and destroyed a residential tent, inhabited by Hussein Radi Nawaj‘a. It is worth mentioning that the area has recently witnesses a serious Israeli escalation, targeting many homes, sheds and other structures, as part of Israel’s illegal construction and expansion of its colonies.
Israeli court stalls HRW official’s expulsion
JERUSALEM (AFP) 2 May — Israel’s top court has delayed the expulsion of Human Rights Watch’s country director following a petition challenging the move, his lawyer said Thursday. The Jerusalem district court last month rejected an earlier petition against the decision to expel Omar Shakir, a US citizen, ruling he had until May 1 to leave. But just a day ahead of the deadline the supreme court issued an injunction allowing Shakir to remain in Israel for seven days, attorney Michael Sfard said. During this period the interior ministry can submit its response to the appeal which Shakir lodged at the supreme court. After the May 7 deadline the court “could theoretically issue a new decision” on the case, Sfard told AFP. The interior ministry’s decision to deny Shakir his work and residency permits was due to his alleged support of a boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians — a claim accepted by the district court. HRW denied the group or Shakir promoted a boycott of Israel, calling the April district court ruling a “new and dangerous interpretation of the law,” since it equated criticism of businesses operating in the occupied West Bank to boycotting Israel….
In Tel Aviv, Eurovision songfest braces for pro-Palestinian boycott protests
TEL AVIV (Reuters) 3 May by Rami Ayyub et al. — As ‘Eurovision Song Contest 2019’ banners go up across Tel Aviv, behind the glitz of the songfest is the latest manifestation of a bitter row between Israel and an international pro-Palestinian boycott movement. When Israel was selected last year to host the 2019 Eurovision finals, the high-profile, 42-nation event was identified by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign as a target for its campaign to pressure governments, companies, performers and academics to isolate Israel. Even as Israeli workers erect stages and lighting rigs along Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean seafront, some fear that the live broadcasts of the May 14-18 event may be used by boycott activists to mount protests in front of millions watching live. BDS has called on artists and broadcasters to withdraw from the event, arguing that holding it in Tel Aviv amounts to “artwashing – whitewashing through arts” Israel’s policies towards Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza….
New York Univ department votes not to cooperate with study abroad program in Israel
2 April. The following is a statement from the NYU Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. By a majority vote, faculty in NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis have passed a resolution that pledges non-cooperation with the university’s study abroad program in Tel Aviv. Citing the obligation to uphold the university’s Policy of Ethical Conduct on non-discrimination and equal opportunity, the faculty declared non-cooperation with the program until the Israeli state both ends its restrictions on entry based on ancestry and political speech, as well as adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities. Members of the department as well as the NYU community at large have been impacted by these policies and so their right to academic freedom and movement has effectively been constrained.
Other news, especially political and international
Palestinian jobless rate slightly down in West Bank, markedly up in Gaza in 2018: statistics
RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 30 Apr — Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday that unemployment rate has slightly decreased in the West Bank but increased noticeably in the Gaza Strip. A bureau statement issued on the eve of International Workers’ Day said the unemployment rate in Palestine increased to about 31 percent in 2018 from about 28 percent in 2017. The number of jobless people increased to 426,000 in 2018, up from 377,000 in 2017, the statement added. Specifically, the unemployment rate was about 18 percent in the West Bank in 2018, down from 19 percent in 2017, while in the Gaza Strip, the figure was about 52 percent compared with 44 percent in 2017. The young graduates are the group suffering most from unemployment at a rate of about 58 percent, with 40 percent in the West Bank and 78 percent in the Gaza Strip respectively….
Israel and US put financial squeeze on Palestinian Authority ahead of Trump peace plan
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) 1 May — Israel and the United States are putting the financial squeeze on the Palestinian Authority, where opposition to a long-awaited U.S. peace plan and anger over Israeli sanctions remain strong. Analysts see steep cuts in U.S. aid to the Palestinians over the past year as an attempt to draw them toward a blueprint that Washington promises will have economic benefits but which the PA predicts will fall short of endorsing Palestinian statehood. And during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s successful re-election campaign, his right-wing government imposed sanctions that have pushed the Authority toward financial crisis … Palestinian suspicions over the still-secret U.S. proposals, due to be announced in June, and defiance of Israeli sanctions continue to run deep despite the arm-twisting. Khalid al-Asili, the Authority’s economy minister, told Reuters in an interview last week that it has been struggling to manage on just 36 percent of budgeted revenues …
A police officer in Gaza, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Ahmed, said his wages were slashed by 65 percent in March. “Salary cuts? Please say: catastrophic cuts. I haven’t been able to pay my son’s university tuition this semester,” said Ahmed, 39. Donor countries and institutions have stepped in to try to plug the growing budget deficit….
EU contributes €15m for monthly pay to Palestinian civil servants
BRUSSELS (Ma‘an) 3 May — The European Union (EU) announced, on Friday, its contribution of 15 million Euros to the April monthly payroll and pensions of around 57,000 Palestinian civil servants in the occupied West Bank. The EU said in a statement that the EU-funded contribution was a part of direct financial support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) through the PEGASE mechanism. EU Representative Ralf Tarraf said, “The European Union is committed to protecting the future of a two-state solution and creating the foundations of a future Palestinian state, and this requires our political engagement, in addition to our financial support.” … It is noteworthy that the Palestinian government paid only 50% of the March salary to civil servants for the second month in a row.
Palestine to not attend any conference outside international resolution
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 May — Palestinian Presidential spokesperson and Minister of Information Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said that the Palestinian leadership will not attend any conference outside the framework of the international resolution and the Arab Peace Initiative, in a statement on Thursday. Abu Rudeineh spoke at a press conference in Ramallah City, the central occupied West Bank, stressing, “There are suspicious projects in the region that have been rejected, and no project or plan will be legitimized unless approved by the people, the leadership, and the president of Palestine.” He said, “There is a crisis affecting the entire region, especially if the infamous ‘Deal of the Century’ is announced… There are also many suspicious projects in the region that affect the security and sovereignty of some neighboring countries,” he remarked, adding that the Palestinians “will not accept any solutions that do not lead to the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”….
PA returns millions of shekels of incomplete tax revenues to Israel
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 May — The Palestinian Authority (PA) returned the full amount of incomplete tax revenues it had received from Israel, amounting to half a billion shekels, on Thursday. The PA returned the total amount of 660 million shekels ($183,311,700) to Israel, demanding the full repayment of the withheld money collected on behalf of PA and without any deductions. Earlier this week, the Palestinian Cabinet affirmed President Mahmoud Abbas’ position not to receive the cut tax revenues from Israel, particularly the funds of the families of killed Palestinians and Palestinian prisoners. In mid-February, Israel’s security cabinet approved the deduction of $138 million from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA under the Oslo agreement … It is noteworthy that Israel collects funds from imports into the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to other taxes, and forwards a large sum of it to the PA, after deduction of payments for water and electricity.
Analysis: The new Palestinian prime minister hopes to regain the public’s trust – if it’s not too late
[behind paywall] Haaretz 26 Apr by Amira Hass — Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government has pledged to ‘bridge the gaps’ between the leaders and the people, as the AMAN Coalition for Accountability and Integrity details nepotism and poor governance in a new report — The members of the new Palestinian cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, will fly tourist class and suffice with their predecessors’ cars. They won’t be getting new cars, as is customary. These are only two of the initial steps to be announced in the next two weeks heralding a regimen of cutbacks and efficiency for the Ramallah government … The talk of “austerity and rationalization” by the government and its ministers echoes the recommendations made for years by the AMAN Coalition for Accountability and Integrity, a nongovernmental organization that fights government corruption. The group also recently called on the ministers to release declarations on their wealth — a recommendation yet to be acted on. AMAN was established in 2000 as a coalition of nonprofit groups that promote democracy and transparency, and this is the 11th year it’s submitting a comprehensive report on the fight against corruption in the areas of the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip….
Palestinian workers in West Bank, Gaza mark Labor Day, call for rights
GAZA/RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 1 May — Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip marked on Wednesday the Labor Day and demanded their rights. Dozens of workers and leaders of various Palestinian factions and political powers rallied in the West Bank city of Ramallah upon the call of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions to mark the day. The demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and carried banners calling for improvement of their living condition and protection for the rights of Palestinian workers, who have been suffering from a severe recession in the Palestinian territories. Nasri Abu Jeish, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister of Labor, said that his ministry has prioritized the amendment of the minimum wage of workers on its agenda in the next phase … Shaher Saed, secretary general of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, called on the Palestinian businessmen who live abroad to invest in Palestine, adding “investment in Palestine would contribute to reducing unemployment rates.” … In the Gaza Strip which is ruled by Islamic Hamas movement, dozens of workers demonstrated to mark the day.
PA prevents West Bank, Gaza patients from receiving treatment in Israel
Ynet 29 Apr by Rotem Elizera — Palestinian authorities refuse to cover medical costs for those seeking treatment in Israeli hospitals, in response to Israel cutting funds PA allocated for terrorists’ salaries, leaving those in need of urgent medical care locked in the middle of a political dispute … Some 3,500 Palestinians from the West Bank and several dozen from the Gaza Strip are sent for medical care inside Israel each year. Some of the medical facilities lacking in the West Bank can be found in East Jerusalem institutions, while cancer patients and others with more complicated medical issues have to be sent to Israeli hospitals that have more advanced facilities. For instance, radiation for cancer patients is only available in East Jerusalem for West Bank residents; a PET-CT, a necessary tool for the diagnosis of cancer, is completely lacking in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and must be performed in Israel … In response to the medical crisis, the Physicians for Human Rights NGO criticized politicians on both sides, and said “patients can’t become victims of power struggles between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” “Israel has to stop the tax money deduction, and the PA has to leave patients out of this struggle,” said the NGO.
Palestinians to name occupied West Bank street after Jewish man
The National (UAE) 30 Apr — The Palestinians are set to honour a late Jewish man who identified with their cause with a new street named after him in an occupied West Bank city. The move, instigated by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, will rename a street in the city of Al Bireh after Ilan Halevi. He is a late member of the Fatah party, the faction of Mr Abbas that remains at loggerheads with the rulers of Gaza, Hamas. Halevi was born in France but moved to Israel in adulthood. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli War in which Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, he decided to join Fatah. He had been a member of left-wing Israeli groups before his move. Halevi once worked for the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and described himself as “one-hundred percent Jewish and one-hundred percent Palestinian,” according to Israeli media reports … Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee, wrote on Twitter that the decision was “a tribute to a person of courage and principle. In recognition & loyalty”….
Hamas denies plot to infiltrate Palestinian Authority security
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 30 Apr by Ahmad Abu Amer — West Bank security services reportedly uncovered a Hamas plan to infiltrate the services over the past year by bribing or threatening dozens of officers to gain their cooperation — something Hamas denies. “Several high-ranking sources in the Palestinian Authority” (PA) recently revealed that military intelligence had uncovered the spy network several months ago, Yedioth Ahronoth reported April 23. It said a number of officers were arrested and charged with spying for Hamas. The newspaper said Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and abroad hatched the plan. However, spokesman for the Palestinian security services Adnan al-Dumeiri has a different version of the story. He told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa on April 23 that two members of the security services were arrested about two years ago on charges of leaking information to Hamas. He denied the Israeli report about the arrest of dozens of officers….
Israel bans Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs from travel
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 3 May — Israeli authorities prevented Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs, Amal Hamad, from travelling to the Jordanian Kingdom, on Thursday, to take part in the Euro-Mediterranean (Euro-Med) conference on “Launching the Regional Campaign on Zero Tolerance for Violence against Women and Girls.” While addressing the Euro-Med conference via Skype, Hamad expressed regret for not being able to attend in person due to the Israeli ban on her travel and stressed that preventing her from traveling to Jordan to participate in the activities of this conference is “clear evidence of some of the violence Palestinian women experience under Israeli occupation.”Hamad spoke in her intervention on the current political situation in Palestine and the Israeli measures on the ground. She also said that Palestine is committed to international resolutions on women, noting that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ratified the CEDAW agreement without reservations, as well as the Additional Protocol, the International Covenants, the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child … Israeli authorities did not provide a reason for the ban.
Hamas shifts tactics in bitcoin fundraising. highlighting crypto risks: research
LONDON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) 26 Apr by Tom Wilson, Dan Williams — The armed wing of Hamas is using increasingly complex methods of raising funds via bitcoin, researchers say, highlighting the difficulties regulators face in tracking cryptocurrency financing of outfits designated by some as terrorist groups. The Gaza-based Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, which is proscribed by the United States and the European Union, has been calling on its supporters to donate using the digital currency in a fundraising campaign announced online in late January. Originally, it asked donors to send bitcoin to a single digital address, or wallet. However, according to research shared with Reuters by leading blockchain analysis firm Elliptic, in recent weeks it has changed the mechanism, with its website generating a new digital wallet with every transaction….
In Pictures: Ramadan 2019 — UAE and the world prepare for the holy month
The National 3 May — Lights, lanterns and decorations go up across the Muslim world as the faithful prepare for Ramadan
Orthodox Christians mark ‘Holy FIre’ Easter ceremony in Jerusalem
i24NEWS/AFP 27 Apr — Huge crowds of pilgrims on Saturday marked the “Holy Fire” ceremony at Christianity’s holiest site in Jerusalem’s Old City on the eve of Orthodox Easter. Some 10,000 believers holding candles squeezed into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Thousands more crammed the square outside and surrounding streets to receive the flame, representing the resurrection of Christ, which passed from candle to candle and will be taken back to Orthodox churches worldwide. The ceremony at the church — built on the site where according to Christian tradition Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected — is the holiest event for Orthodox Christianity….
338 artists call on UK to issue visas to Gaza artists
MEMO 3 May — Almost 340 artists and academics have called on the UK to reverse its decision to refuse vistor visas for Palestinian filmmakers from the besieged Gaza Strip. Yousef Nateel and Hussein Owda’s have been invited to attend the world premiere of their film “Gazagraph” as part of “The Past in the Present” film programme developed for Creative Interruptions, a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. They were also due to take part in an academic conference and networking events at Sheffield Hallam University, the British Film Institute, Kings College London, Regents University, Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield and HOME in Manchester next month. Signatories said they “are alarmed at the recent trend of rejecting entry to academics and artists from Gaza… Over the last two years there has been a significant increase in the number of rejections.” “In the case of Gaza, the systematic isolation of its artists and academics by the British government not only impedes academic and cultural exchange but also colludes in Israel’s efforts to isolate and inflict collective punishment on the people of Gaza.”
UNSC to informally meet on West Bank settlements ahead of Trump plan
JPost 3 May by Tovah Lazaroff — The United Nations Security Council is set to hold an informal meeting on West Bank settlements next Thursday, in advance of the anticipated rollout of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, expected as early as June. The council last held such a meeting in 2016, under a mechanism known as the Arria Formula, which allows for a gathering of the council upon the request of a member state. No formal action can be taken at such a meeting … In December 2016, the UNSC approved Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlement activity and disavowed Israeli sovereignty anywhere in east Jerusalem, including the Western Wall. The resolution demanded “that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard.” Indonesia is among many UN member states which believe that Israel must comply with the resolution….
Israel summons French envoy for diplomat’s apartheid remark
JERUSALEM (AP) 30 Apr — Israel’s Foreign Ministry says it has summoned the French ambassador to protest remarks made by the former French envoy to Washington, in which he called Israel an “apartheid state.” Former ambassador Gerard Araud on Tuesday replied to reports that Israel had summoned Ambassador Helene Le Gal. Araud defended his comments to The Atlantic magazine, saying on Twitter that he “was referring to the West Bank.” Araud said in an interview with The Atlantic earlier this month that Israel was “in fact already” an apartheid state given the status quo for West Bank Palestinians. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon responded to Araud on Twitter, saying his remarks were “offensive and uncalled for.”
US congresswoman reintroduces bill to promote Palestinian children’s rights
WASHINGTON (Ma‘an) 3 May — United States Congresswoman Betty McCollum reintroduced a historic bill to promote the human rights of Palestinian children, who face detention, interrogation, abuse, and violence by Israel through its military court system in the occupied West Bank. According to Defense for Children International, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, also known as H.R. 2407, seeks to promote justice, equality and human rights by ensuring that US financial assistance provided to the Government of Israel is not used to support widespread and institutionalized ill-treatment against Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces and prosecuted in Israeli military courts lacking basic fair trial protections….
Judge declines to block pro-Palestinian panel at UMass
BOSTON (AP) 2 May — A panel discussion about Palestinian rights at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst will be allowed to move ahead following a challenge by a group of Jewish students at the school. A Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled against the students who argued the forum was anti-Semitic and should be forced off campus. The panel, titled “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights,” is scheduled for Saturday and features Roger Waters, a member of the band Pink Floyd. The panelists are expected to argue pro-Israel groups have tried to silence Palestinian points of view. Judge Robert Ullmann said he couldn’t take action against the forum just because someone may say something “that fits someone’s definition of anti-Semitism.” University officials say UMass is “committed to the principles of free speech and academic freedom.”