Riding, despite Gaza: Palestinian cycling champion Alaa al-Dali
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 2 June by Flavia Cappellini — Tiny and overcrowded, Gaza is one of the least suited places for road cycling in the world. Yet that is where Alaa al-Dali, Palestine’s top cyclist, lives and trains. It is remarkable that an endurance sport like cycling has found a passionate base of devotees on streets potholed by bombs … The cyclist rose up the rankings of the small Palestinian cycling scene, winning a gold medal at the National Cycling Championship in 2018. Even if athletes from Gaza are formally eligible for an exit permit, Alaa was never able to leave the strip: “We were invited many times to compete abroad but we can’t travel because of international relations between Gaza and other countries … On March 30, 2018, al-Dali went to the March of Return with his bike, wearing his cycling gear. An Israeli sniper shot him in his right leg as he stood alone watching the demonstration approximately 300 metres from the separation fence, according to a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report … After his permit to exit Gaza for healthcare was denied by Israeli authorities, al-Dali was told he would still die if his leg was not amputated above the knee … Less than three months after his injury, he announced his plans to become the first para-cyclist in Gaza. If cycling is a niche sport in Gaza, para-cycling is definitely off the radar. However, three major wars in the last 10 years have sadly produced about 130,000 disabled people in the coastal enclave….
Notes from Gaza // Child beggars are the face of poverty in the Gaza Strip
Haaretz 5 June by Rima Fathi — …There’s a fine line between being a peddler and beggar. The peddlers offer bunches of fresh mint, cookies, gum and tissues. When you refuse, they plead: “Please, give me something.” Many of the peddlers are children, who are up late in any event during Ramadan. They could be seen walking around after 1 A.M. hawking their small supply of wares. One child, dark-skinned and with an angry face, who looked no older than 8, offered us candy that he whipped out of a backpack. I bought some for my little brother. I had just purchased hot corn on the cob for myself and my brothers, and something in his eyes prompted me to offer him one. He took it, walked away limping on his left foot and stopped not far away. I watched him from the corner of my eye, not wanting to embarrass him. I saw him devour the corn and then resume looking for customers for his candy … There are child beggars everywhere on the city’s streets, particularly near banks, ATMs, supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants, where they congregate in groups. Customers leaving any of these establishments are instantly pounced upon by children – and adults – who plead that they buy something. The phenomenon surfaced in recent years. It haunts us all, making us feel like we’re in a vintage Egyptian movie. A few children beg at the entrance to Al-Azhar University in Gaza City….
Gaza officials warn of escalation over ‘foot-dragging’ in implementing ceasefire agreements
Haaretz 5 June by Jack Khoury — Hamas’s rocket stockpile will surprise Israel, military commander says — Officials in Hamas and other Gaza-based organizations warn of escalation in this week’s planned demonstration along the border fence with Israel, over what they describe as foot-dragging in implementing agreements reached with Israel. A senior official in the organizing committee of the weekly March of Return demonstrations told Haaretz that Palestinian factions, including Hamas, are demanding the transfer of additional funds from Qatar, a further easing on the import of dual-purpose goods from Israel, meaning goods which can be used for civilian or military purposes, and progressing with humanitarian projects. Some in Gaza say that although the security situation is calm, their conditions, other than added hours of electricity and expansion of the fishing zone in the Mediterranean, have not improved since the last round of clashes ended in early May. A Gaza resident who works for an international aid organization said that ahead of the end of Ramadan, he saw long lines forming outside banks. He said that these were Gazans who were waiting to withdraw money sent to them by relatives abroad for the holiday. “It was a harsh scene, showing that increasing numbers of people are relying on help from their relatives, or on monthly sums of $100 from the Qatari money,” he said. “It’s painful that Gazans are now supported by people in other countries. It’s just getting worse,” he added….
Army chief says Gaza deal for calm is working, violence along border is down
Times of Israel 7 June — Israel’s top general said on Friday an unofficial deal with Gazan terrorists for calm along the border was proving effective, but appeared to warn that the army would not let Palestinians launch arson balloons into Israel indefinitely. Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi made the comments to the heads of communities near the normally restive Gaza border … Kohavi said there had been a decrease in the number of incendiary devices flown into Israel and violence along the border fence had calmed significantly from earlier this year, when clashes between protesting Palestinians and Israeli troops had been a near-daily occurrence. “The decrease… is not coincidental,” he said, according to Hebrew-language media. “Right now, we prefer to give the arrangement a chance.” Despite several fires in the area being blamed on incendiary devices attached to balloons launched into Israel from Gaza, the region has not seen any major bouts of fighting since a since a deadly two-day flare-up in early May that saw almost 700 rockets fired into Israel and hundreds of retaliatory airstrikes. Kohavi’s comments appeared to confirm the existence of a ceasefire deal with Hamas and other Gaza based terror groups to ease conditions in the Strip in exchange for calm along the border, reached in the wake of that clash on May 4 and 5….
Israeli report warns of environmental implications of Gaza crisis
MEMO 4 June — A report prepared by Israeli experts has warned that “the collapsing water, sewage and electricity infrastructure in the Gaza Strip pose material danger to Israel’s groundwater, seawater, beaches and desalination plants”, reported Haaretz. The study was prepared by scholars from Ben-Gurion University and Tel Aviv University for the environmental organisation EcoPeace Middle East, and was presented Monday at the annual Conference of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians and Schools of Public Health. One upshot of the reduced electricity supply to the blockaded territory “is that sewage plants aren’t operational and thus 70 percent of Gaza’s untreated sewage goes straight into the sea”. In addition, “Gaza is also over utilising its aquifers and consequently, most of the underground water is already contaminated. By next year zero percent of the Gazan groundwater will be fit for human use, according to standards of the World Health Organisation”, Haaretz added. The report authors say “sewage dumping already caused Israel’s desalination plant in Ashkelon to shut down three years ago”, while “dumping in Gaza can increase bacterial concentrations as far north as Ashdod”. In addition, “sewage contamination also endangers an important source of groundwater for Israel southeast of Ashkelon”….
Analysis: At odds with military, Netanyahu uses Gaza’s fishing zone for collective punishment / Yaniv Kubovich
[this one is behind a paywall] Haaretz 5 June — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also serving as Israel’s defense minister, has been tailoring restrictions on the size of Gaza’s fishing zone in which Israel allows fishermen to operate in response to incendiary balloons that have been launched from Gaza over the border into Israeli territory. Fishing is vital to the economy of the Hamas-controlled territory and an important source of food for residents of the Strip. Over the course of the month of May, Netanyahu issued a range of orders that in turn expanded and limited the fishing zone a large number of times. In practice, the prime minister linked access to this important source of food in Gaza to quiet along the Gaza border despite the fact that the fishermen themselves have no control over what happens along the border … Over the past year, which has seen mass demonstrations on the border and the launching of incendiary devices, COGAT has repeatedly tried get the Israeli government to agree to expand the fishing zone, a position that has had the support of the army itself. Defense officials have also said that the size of the fishing zone should not be used as a means of applying pressure on Gaza due to the importance of fishing as a source of employment and food there … In practice, the curbs have only limited the operations of the small number of fishing ships that are capable of sailing 15 miles from the Gaza shore, but these are the vessels that bring in the big fish and haul them in in quantities that significantly boost fish supplies for Gaza’s residents. The fishermen’s union in Gaza reported that there are only 12 ships that are authorized and capable of sailing 15 miles offshore….
WHO: 3 children a month in Gaza left disabled for life
MEMO 3 June — At least three children in the Gaza Strip are left permanently disabled every month as a result of armed conflict and Israeli violations, data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed. The report by the WHO, released on Friday, cited data collected between March 2018 and March 2019, and stated that in the past year alone, a total of 172 Gazans were injured in such a way that they were left disabled for life, 36 of whom were children, meaning that one person is affected every other day. Amputations make up an overwhelming proportion of permanent disabilities, with the most common cause being high-intensity gunshot wounds resulting in 121 amputations. Health agencies and organisations have warned that the number could rise if Gaza’s medical services are not urgently upgraded. The report stated that these upgraded health services would cater for between 1,209 and 1,746 patients who have required specialised tertiary treatment in order to recover from their injuries, and warned that “without this treatment being made available in Gaza, the number of amputations may drastically increase in 2019.”….
Israel gave this Gaza family a five-minute warning. Then it bombed their house
[behind paywall] Haaretz 6 June by Gideon Levy — At 4:40 P.M. on Sunday, May 5, the ringing of a cell phone woke Hamis Ziada from his nap. It was an unidentified number. A voice on the other end said, “Am I speaking with Hamis Ziada? You’re talking to the Israeli Shin Bet. There’s a school opposite your house. Are there people in it at this time of the day?” Ziada replied that there was no one in the school in the late afternoon on that particular day, the first day of the Ramadan fast, and in any case school had been canceled because of the Israeli bombing raids. The security service agent continued, “Are you sure there are no women and children in the school? Are you positive there’s no one?” And then, “I’m giving you five minutes to tell your family and everyone in the residence you live in to go outside. We have to blow up the building in another five minutes.” Dumbstruck, Ziada tried to protest. He explained to the mysterious caller that it was impossible to evacuate a seven-story building – where 15 families, including some with children and elderly people, lived – within five minutes. The Shin Bet man replied: “That’s of no interest to me. I already told you: You have five minutes.” Thus began the most nightmarish five minutes in the life of Hamis Ziada, 54. After they ended, his home was destroyed, his world fell apart, and his life was ruined. In the month since then, he has lived in a lean-to, together with his two wives and 12 children, the youngest of whom is 4 … What does he miss most? “The photos,” says Ziada. “The photos of my father, of my mother, of my wife and of the children. Everything that reminds me of the days that are gone….
Army invades agricultural land in southern Gaza
IMEMC 4 June — Several Israeli army vehicles carried out, on Tuesday morning, Palestinian agricultural lands east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Media sources said the invasion was carried out by four armored military bulldozers, before they advanced dozens of meters into the lands in the Nahda neighborhood, east of Rafah. They added that the soldiers leveled sections of the invaded lands, especially near the perimeter fence, while military drones flew overhead. The invaded area is one of many lands near the fence that are subject to repeated invasions, which also include bulldozing and uprooting them.
Palestinian self-made weaponry on the rise
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 5 June by Entsar Abu Jahal — Palestinian armed factions may have some major surprises in store for Israel in any coming confrontation, political analysts close to the groups predict. The factions have improved their intelligence resources and increased the size of their weapons cache by producing their own arms, sources told Al-Monitor recently. That has allowed them to cause unprecedented destruction; they were able to fire nearly 700 rockets in the last escalation in a short period of time, killing four and wounding dozens. Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has said publicly that Iran has supplied Hamas with weapons, and Tehran is also thought to be providing weapons to the Islamic Jihad or at least helping it manufacture weapons. However, analyst Hamza Abu Chanab, an expert on Palestinian factions, told Al-Monitor that the factions’ military manufacturing relies on local capabilities and creativity: “Although the resistance had relied on the smuggling of missiles in the past, it is now relying on itself.”….
IDF says it foiled attempt to smuggle rocket material to Gaza by boat
Times of Israel 8 June — Four suspects arrested while trying to sail out of Strip, accused of heading for Egypt as part of plan to bring in fiberglass, used in making missiles — …The incident occurred on May 11, but was only cleared for publication on Friday. According to a statement released by the Israel Defense Forces, the four were attempting to reach the coast of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where they were to pick up 24 drums of fiberglass material … The military released an edited video showing the operation to stop the boats, including a high-speed chase on the water off the Strip….
‘Miles of Smiles 36’ aid convoy arrives in Gaza through Rafah border crossing
MEMO 4 June — The second group of the medical aid convoy, “Miles of Smiles 36” arrived in the Gaza Strip through Rafah Border Crossing, Monday. Khaled Al-Yousef, the coordinator of the Miles of Smiles convoy in Europe, said that the aid received by the Ministry of Health in Gaza include 100,000 units of intravenous feeding solutions that are enough for more than three months. Issam Yousef, the head of the Miles of Smiles convoys, said that these medical aid are part of the humanitarian aid being brought into the “Miles of Smiles 36” convoy that arrived in Gaza in early May. Yousef stressed that the convoy is working to introduce vital medicines to Gaza in the upcoming days, noting that the convoy delegation has been briefed on the tragic and challenging health conditions during its recent visit to Gaza. The convoy is designed to support the health sector in Gaza. Just before its arrival, the caravan brought in large quantities of medical solutions and supplies and medicines into the Gaza Strip, along with vehicles and wheelchairs for people with special needs, as well as several ambulances.
UK pharma company donates drugs worth £85,000 to hospital in Gaza
Pharmacy Biz 6 June by Lakshmi PS — East Midlands-based Morningside Pharmaceuticals has donated £85,000 worth cancer medicines to a Palestinian hospital. The company handed over 3,000 packs of Capecitabine tablets to International Health Partners (IHP), who will dispatch the medication to Shifa Hospital in Gaza Strip via a local charity. Chief Executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, Dr Nik Kotecha, said: “Morningside Pharmaceuticals is proud to have distributed quality medicine to more than 100 countries worldwide over the past 28 years, many of which are low/middle-income countries. We are delighted to have been able to make this significant donation, which we hope will help treat and save hundreds of patients.” Shifa Hospital was chosen because it is the only hospital in the Palestinian territory which has an oncology unit.
Harold C. Smith Foundation grant to Gaza’s Ahli Arab Hospital will double access to free community clinic
ENS 6 June –While the leaders of Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza rarely start the day with good news, one morning in mid-May was the exception for Ahli’s director, Suhaila Tarazi. She awoke to word that the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) was awarded a grant from the Harold C. Smith Foundation to enable the hospital’s free community clinic to expand from one day to two days each week to allow an additional 4,500 patients to be cared for over the next 12 months. Founded in 1882 and run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem since the 1950s, Ahli Arab Hospital is the one of the few charitable hospitals and the only Christian hospital in the Gaza Strip … The grant, which totals $468,572, will extend the access for assessment and treatment of underweight and malnourished children to an additional 400 children and offer care to 300 children with severe burns. By expanding the clinic to a second day 650 more children and 300 caregivers will receive psychosocial support for trauma, and 800 additional women will be screened for early detection of breast cancer….
‘To sing is not a right in the Gaza Strip’
GAZA CITY (+972 Mag) 6 June by Hind Khoudary — Abed Nasser, the owner of Cedar restaurant in Gaza City, broke the news to his customers in a Facebook post: the highly-anticipated music night scheduled for later that Ramadan evening had to be cancelled due to harassment and interference by the Hamas government. According to Nasser, the police sought to prevent mixed attendance. They ordered him not to let men participate, except if they were part of a family taking part in the event. Nasser was asked to report to the police’s intelligence branch in Gaza, but he refused. Music is increasingly becoming a way for young Gazans to channel stress and trauma — Palestinians in Gaza have had to endure violence and human rights abuses for decades, particularly since Israel imposed a blockade on the strip in 2007. But with mounting social, political, and religious restrictions under Hamas rule, opportunities for musicians are limited, as the government prevents groups and businesses that give performers a stage from doing so….
Video: The Gaza gas deal
Al Jazeera World 5 June — The untold story of how behind-the-scenes deals prevented Palestinians from exploiting valuable natural resources — Natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean is a highly-prized commodity. In 1999, geological surveys revealed that there were natural gas fields off the coast of Gaza. But through a series of poor decisions, questionable leadership and regional geopolitics, the so-called Gaza Marine gas field has lain dormant for 20 years. So why has Gaza’s gas not been exploited for decades? And why has such a major story received relatively little media attention? While making this film, Al Jazeera obtained exclusive documents revealing correspondence between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and other bodies involved in the negotiations. When mineral engineers first told Yasser Arafat about the potential gas resources off Gaza, he proclaimed it “a gift from God to the Palestinian people”….
Gisha helps Gazans in dire straits with a unique approach
JPost 3 June by Patricia Golan — It seemed like a straightforward request: two Palestinian brothers living abroad wanted to visit their critically ill mother in Gaza. Monir and Asham Elrayes, both Canadian citizens, applied to the Israeli authorities for permission to enter Gaza. They included all the relevant medical documents as required, but received no response. Two months later when they learned their mother was dying, they flew to Israel together with Monir’s son, Nahedh. Their now urgent renewed request to enter Gaza was taken up by the Israeli non-profit Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, but there was still no reply from Israeli authorities. While they were waiting their mother died. Only after an additional formal request was filed by Gisha were they allowed to enter Gaza to attend the funeral. Responding to The Jerusalem Report’s query, Israel’s Coordination and Liaison Administration for Gaza (CLA) said that a “malfunction caused a delay in response after the initial request” and that the family was granted a permit to enter Gaza three days after the mother had died. The Elrayes incident is one of hundreds of human rights cases involving movement to and from Gaza that the not-for-profit Gisha deals with annually. The organization, whose name means both “access” and “approach,” has its goal being the protection of the freedom of movement of Palestinians, mainly those living in the Gaza Strip….
Skyping Gaza: How a Ramadan scheme is connecting Americans to besieged Palestinians
GAZA CITY 3 June by Bel Trew — With that bewildering speed of an excited teenager, Nawar Diab, 16, from Gaza, flits between chatting about surviving three wars with Israel to her desperation to learn the cello. We are seated on the floor of her family home in Gaza City, trying to fix the battered instrument, which is too small for her and has ancient strings that have come loose. The pressure is on, as Nawar is anxious to play for a surprise American guest, who will Skype the family as they gather to break their fast for the holy month of Ramadan. The meeting is part of an initiative organised by Gaza’s Youth Committee, a rights group that gives people in the States an opportunity to “meet” Gazan families who cannot leave the besieged Strip because of a 12-year-old Israeli-imposed blockade. This Ramadan, the committee has organised 25 different Skype sessions during iftar, connecting families from one of the most inaccessible places on earth with people from Wisconsin to Texas. In the sessions, Palestinian electronics graduates, entrepreneurs, swimming coaches, comedians and seamstresses have chatted with American software developers, student civil engagement bodies, academics, and in this case Mitchell, 21, a Jewish history student from Dallas. “I want to show Mitchell we are not fighters and terrorists,” Nawar says….
‘Fauda’ co-creators on hit show depicting Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘We’re here to tell the story’
[with video] Fox News 5 June by Yonat Frilling — Rockets launched from Gaza strip into Israel. Secret Hamas tunnels illegally entering the country. A deadly incident between Israeli Special Forces and Palestinian militants. This has been the reality for Israel the past 18 years, but it is also the outline for the third season of Israeli thriller “Fauda.” Fox News met with crew members of the hit show in an underground parking lot in Tel Aviv as they wrapped up filming the season. The parking area had been turned into an underground Hamas headquarters … The show’s name, “Fauda,” means “chaos” in Arabic, and it is the commandos’ code for when something goes awry. How Israeli TV show ‘Fauda’ is bridging the gap between Arabs and Jews Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff co-wrote the plot based on their service in the Israel Defense Forces, which is mandatory for all Israeli citizens, and Issacharoff’s experience as a correspondent in the West Bank. It tells the story of Doron, a commander in a Special Forces unit that operates undercover in the West Bank in pursuit of Palestinian assailants and militants. Both Raz and Issacharoff think the success of their series lies in its authenticity. “We show the Arab culture, and we approached it with great respect for them, their language and customs. We wrote the Palestinian characters not as just villains – not only as the bad guys, but as complex human beings, who have appealing traits, and are in love, and have families and have dilemmas and struggles just as the Israeli characters,” Raz said. Raz said he gets emails from Palestinians and people in Arab countries who tell him “this is the first time… that they feel compassion for the Israeli side.” [likewise for the Israeli side]
West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
Israeli forces invade Jabal al-Mukabber, abduct 5 Palestinians
IMEMC 8 June by Celine Hagbard — Israeli occupation forces stormed the village of Jabal al-Mukabber south of Jerusalem on Friday evening and abducted a girl and four boys. Eyewitnesses told Agence France-Presse that the occupation forces stormed the village of Jabal al-Mukabber and threw random sound bombs and rubber bullets. They then abducted four Palestinian teen boys and one minor girl and took them to the Israeli police station “Oz” for interrogation. Witnesses added that one of the detainees was injured after being beaten by the Israeli occupation forces. The village of Jabal al-Mukaber is subject to frequent Israeli invasions and collective punishment due to its location in East Jerusalem, in an area that Israeli municipal authorities have pledged to annex into Israel through the use of military force.
Army abducts one Palestinian from Jenin, prevents farmers from entering their land in Hebron
IMEMC 6 June — Israeli soldiers abducted, Thursday, a young Palestinian man from Jenin, in northern West Bank, and prevented farmers from entering their lands, south of Hebron, in southern West Bank. Media sources said the soldiers, stationed at the al-Hamra military roadblock, between the West Bank districts of Jericho and Nablus, abducted a young man, identified as Ahmad Mohammad Wishahi, 33. They added that the abducted young man is from Mothallath ash-Shuhada village, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
In addition, the soldiers invaded Palestinian agricultural lands in Masafer Yatta village, south of Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank, and prevented the farmers from entering them. Rateb Jabour, the coordinator of the Popular Committees against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in southern West Bank, said the soldiers prevented the farmers from entering their lands to harvest them. He added that the lands are near Susiya colony, which was built on illegally confiscated Palestinian lands.
Police open probe after Israeli extremists filmed vandalizing West Bank village
[with VIDEO] Times of Israel 5 June by Jacob Magid — Footage shows nearly a dozen youth gathering at edge of Yasuf, near Kfar Tapuah settlement, and throwing stones at cars in broad daylight — Police on Wednesday opened an investigation into an apparent hate crime attack, after a dozen Israeli youths were caught on security cameras in the northern West Bank Palestinian village of Yasuf hurling rocks at homes and parked vehicles. Police said that several cars and homes were damaged in the attack at the village, which is adjacent to the Kfar Tapuah settlement. CCTV footage showed the masked activists, some wearing tzitzit (ritual fringes), walking up to a car on the edge of Yasuf, puncturing its tires and hurling dozens of stones at it and at various other targets in the area. Police said they had collected the security footage and were working to apprehend those responsible.
Last week, police announced that they had arrested two Israelis suspected of vandalizing Palestinian property in hate attacks. The suspects — one a resident of Jerusalem and another from the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar — were given conditional release by a Rishon Lezion magistrate. Despite the dozens of hate crimes targeting Palestinians and their property in recent months and years, arrests of perpetrators have been exceedingly rare, with the last reported one having been in December. Rights groups lament that convictions are even more unusual, with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped.
Illegal colonists burn Palestinian farmlands near Nablus
IMEMC 5 June — Several illegal Israeli colonists invaded, Wednesday, Palestinian farmlands in Jaloud village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and set them ablaze. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s colonialist activities in northern West Bank, [said they] burnt large areas of olive orchards, and in addition to other trees and plants. Daghlas added that the assailants came from ‘Adei Ad and Ahiya colonies, which were built on illegally confiscated Palestinian lands south of Nablus.
In related news, many illegal colonists invaded the archaeological area in Sebastia Palestinian town, north of Nablus, before the soldiers forced the Palestinians away.
Army claims abducting a Palestinian who injured a colonist
IMEMC June — The Israeli army claimed that it recently abducted a Palestinian who reportedly attacked and injured a colonialist settler. According to the military, the soldiers arrested Ahmad Ibrahim Suleiman Nasrallah, from Teqoua town, east of Bethlehem, who reportedly threw a hammer at a car of a colonialist settler in April of this year, mildly wounding him. It added that the Palestinian is a former political prisoner, who was released in May of 2018, and that he currently faces very serious charges.
In related news, the Israeli Security Agency stated that the soldiers detained, this month, a Palestinian who hurled Molotov cocktails at Etzion colony, south of Bethlehem, on May 4th, 2019. It added that the army also detained three Palestinians on suspicious of throwing Molotov cocktails at Etzion.
Israeli soldiers shoot a Palestinian in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 7 June — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly procession in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and shot one Palestinian, in addition to causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. Morad Eshteiwi, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force against the protesters, before some youngsters hurled stones at them. He added that the soldiers fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades, shooting a young man in the leg, and causing many protesters to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Israeli soldiers assault two young men, abduct a child, in Hebron
IMEMC 7 June — Israeli soldiers assaulted and injured, Friday, two young Palestinian men, and abducted a child, in Hebron governorate, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Media sources said the soldiers stopped a young man, identified as Ra‘ad Mohammad al-Haddad, 29, in the southern area of Hebron city, causing many cuts and bruises, before he was rushed to Alia Governmental Hospital. They added that the soldiers assaulted and clubbed Mohammad Ibrahim Abu Mariya, 19, at the main entrance of Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, before he was rushed to a local hospital. In addition, the soldiers invaded and searched homes in the southern area of Hebron city, and abducted a child, identified as Hussein Nafeth Rajabi, 15.
Israel cop charged with breaking leg of Palestinian activist
MEMO 3 June — An Israeli police officer was charged yesterday with fracturing the leg in May 2018 of prominent Palestinian activist Jafar Farah during a demonstration in Haifa, reported Haaretz. According to paper, in addition to being charged with “causing serious bodily harm” in breaking Farah’s leg, the police officer Lior Hatam, “is accused of assaulting seven other men who had been brought to the Haifa police station that day”. Hatam has denied the accusations, a statement provided by his lawyers said. Farah, who is the director of the Mossawa Advocacy Centre for Arab Citizens in Israel, was arrested at the end of a protest against Israeli crimes in the occupied Gaza Strip. According to the indictment, “Hatam kicked Farah forcefully in the left leg and then lifted him up, handcuffed him and knocked him over, fracturing his leg.” The indictment states that “Farah only received medical treatment the following day, despite repeated requests for medical care,” and “he was only referred for medical treatment when it became clear that he could not walk and needed two policemen to support him.” Hatam also allegedly threatened detainees, telling them: “Today we’re going to have our way with you. I’ll screw you.”….
Israeli soldiers abduct two Palestinians in Jerusalem and Qalqilia
IMEMC 3 June — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday morning, two young Palestinian men, in Jerusalem and Qalqilia, in the occupied West Bank. One of the abducted Palestinians is the son of the Fateh Movement secretary in Jerusalem. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers abducted Jihad Nasser Qous, from his home in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem. Jihad is the son of Nasser Qous, the secretary of Fateh movement and the head of the Jerusalem office of the PPS. In addition, the soldiers abducted Abdul-Fattah Nidal Harb, 23, from his home in Qalqilia city, in northern West Bank.
Army abducts a woman at Al-Karama border crossing
IMEMC 3 June — Israeli soldiers abducted, Monday, a Palestinian woman at the al-Karama Border Terminal, while returning to the occupied West Bank. Media sources said the soldiers abducted Lana Tawfiq Nazzal, in her thirties, and took her to an interrogation facility. The woman, who was visiting family in Jordan, is from Qabatia town, south of Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.
Palestinians wary of Israel’s checkpoint changes
RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 4 June by Jaclynn Ashly — Israel says renovations could boost West Bank economy but Palestinians say measures are self-serving propaganda — Blue and white lights – the colours of the Israeli flag – and half-crescent moon decorations adorned the Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah last week, in recognition of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Located between the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, the checkpoint is used daily by tens of thousands of permit-holding Palestinians who work in Israel. During Ramadan, Israel issued more travel permits for Palestinians to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque, leading to extra foot traffic at the crossing. For years, workers would routinely spend up to three hours crossing checkpoints, including Qalandia, across the occupied West Bank, arriving in the pre-dawn hours in order to make it to work on time. The crowded conditions would sometimes lead to people fainting or sustaining injuries. But in recent months, Israel has renovated Qalandia and Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem, creating more lanes and introducing automatic gates in which Palestinians tap biometric entry permits to pass … “Before four months, it took more than one or two hours to pass the checkpoint, but now it just takes about 10 minutes,” said Rauf Akram, 55, who works in construction in Israel. “It’s a new building with new facilities, so it’s more comfortable for people, especially the elderly,” he said, adding that Palestinian workers are able to leave their homes for work later. Nevertheless, “it’s still all political,” he said. “We are under a military occupation, so all these shows of respect mean nothing.” … Palestinian workers interviewed by Al Jazeera were aware of these policies, with one worker who did not want to be identified saying: “The main interest for Israel is to relieve some of the pressure on Palestinians. They are interested in giving us an easier life solely so that we don’t explode.”….
New evidence backs Arab MK’s claims that police shot him
+972 Mag 5 June by Oren Ziv — New evidence suggests Israeli police shot Palestinian Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh in the head with a sponge-tipped bullet during a home demolition in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in 2017, according to a final investigation report published earlier this week by the London-based Forensic Architecture research center. According to a digital analysis based on footage provided by the police, Israeli journalists, and left-wing activists, Odeh was hit just moments after police shot Umm al-Hiran resident Yacoub Abu al-Qi’an on January 18, 2017. According to the Forensic Architecture investigation, Abu al-Qi’an lost control of his vehicle after police shot him and subsequently careened into Israeli police officer Erez Levy, killing him. The police immediately labeled the incident an ISIS-inspired “terror attack,” while simultaneously claiming that Odeh had been hit in the head by a stone thrown by one of the Bedouin youth at the police officers … The latest report supports the version of the events as described by MK Odeh and additional activists who were also shot by sponge-tipped bullets, while suggesting that the Police Internal Investigations Department withheld crucial information from the attorneys representing the Abu al-Qi’an family….
VIDEO: Palestinian boy’s pain as Al-Aqsa Mosque is stormed
MEMO 3 June ‘We will never forget’ Palestine will return from the river to the river. A free Arab state despite your efforts.
Israeli soldiers assault a Palestinian woman in Jerusalem
IMEMC 3 June — Israeli soldiers assaulted, on Sunday evening, a Palestinian woman, in occupied East Jerusalem, causing various cuts and bruises, and abducting two other women. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the woman suffered cuts and bruises to several parts of her body, especially her head, and was moved to the al-Makassed Hospital, in Jerusalem. It added that its medics were called to the scene, and faced numerous difficulties while trying to reach her, especially after the soldiers stopped the ambulance and prevented them from entering the areas surrounding the Old City. Eyewitnesses said the woman was injured after the soldiers prevented many Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and its surrounding areas. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted two Palestinian women, identified as Hala Sharif and Sondos Obeid, in Nablus Street, in Bab al-Amoud area, in Jerusalem. They were taken prisoner after the army prevented dozens of Palestinians from entering Al-Aqsa, while groups of fanatic colonists, conducted provocative tours in its courtyards.
Jordan calls for immediate halt of Israeli provocation at Al-Aqsa Mosque
AMMAN (Anadolu) 2 June — Jordan has called for an immediate halt to Israeli “provocations” at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, warning of a new cycle of violence in the Middle East. Hundreds of settlers forced their way into the flashpoint site on Sunday, in a rare tour in the final days of the fasting month of Ramadan, which ends this week. The tour has triggered clashes between Muslim worshipers and Israeli police, which chased assaulted a number of worshipers during the violence. In a statement, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry warned of the “dangerous consequences of Israel’s provocative and repulsive escalatory Israeli practices, which will drag the region into a new cycle of violence that may threaten the security of the region as a whole” … The Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority is tasked with overseeing holy sites of Muslim and Christian in Jerusalem. Sunday’s violence came following calls by Jewish groups for settlers to converge on the site to mark what they call the “reunification of Jerusalem”….
Separation of families
Palestinian photojournalist at risk of deportation
IMEMC/Agencies 2 June — For the past five months, Mustafa al-Kharouf has been languishing inside Israel’s Givon prison, away from his wife Tamam and their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Asia. But, now, he faces deportation to Jordan. The 32-year-old photojournalist, son to an Algerian mother and a Palestinian father, has been living in Jerusalem since 1999, when his family returned. Despite repeated attempts, over the past decade, he has been denied permanent residency status, which he is entitled to, thus rendering him stateless. By the time Kharouf’s family met the conditions set by the policy, to get residency, Mustafa was 18 years old and his family was not able to submit an application for either reunification or child registration, on his behalf. In January, Mustafa, who worked with Anadolu Agency, was detained after his lawyer challenged the Israeli interior ministry’s decision to reject his request for legal status. His fate is now in the hands of an Israeli high court, which will decide if he will be deported to Jordan, a country he has no ties to. In order to attain their “legal” status as Palestinians in the city, Kharouf’s family applied for family reunification, Al Jazeera/Al Ray further reports…. Adi Lustigman, Kharouf’s lawyer from the Israeli rights organization HaMoked, told Al Jazeera that Kharouf tried to regulate his status in Jerusalem for years, but to no avail. “He had an interim order during some periods, but, the rest of the times, he has just managed, like many other stateless and status-less Jerusalemites do,” Lustigman said. “It is, of course, enormously difficult to be a person with no rights, no work permit, and nowhere to go, in order to be legal.”….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Illegal colonists occupy private Palestinian lands near Bethlehem
IMEMC 6 June — Several illegal Israeli colonialist settlers invaded and illegally occupied, Thursday, privately owned Palestinian lands in the al-Makhrour area, in Beit Jala city, west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Hasan Breijiyya, the coordinator of the National Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Bethlehem, said the colonists invaded and illegally occupied 4 Dunams (0.988 Acres) of Palestinian lands. He added that the colonists mounted barbed-wire fences around the illegally occupied Palestinian lands, and started preparing for installing mobile homes, and infrastructure. Breijiyya stated that the violation is part of illegal Israeli plans to occupy large areas of Palestinian lands in al-Makhrour and al-Qaseer areas, west of Bethlehem, to build and expands its colonies.
Israeli army confiscates 511 dunams of private Palestinian lands near Nablus
IMEMC 2 June — The Israeli army has issued orders, Sunday, for the illegal annexation of 511 Dunams (123.5 Acres) of privately owned Palestinian lands near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, to expand an illegal colony in the area. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the army has decided to confiscate 511 Dunams from Basin #15 in the Palestinian areas of Khallet Sheikh Ahmad and al-Mashaleh, owned by Palestinian residents of Burin, Iraq-Burin and Kafr Qallil villages, near Nablus. He added that the annexation is part of Israel’s plan to expand its illegal Bracha colony, which was built on Palestinian lands.
EU rewards Israel for selling classrooms donated to Palestinians
EI 3 June by Ali Abunimah — Last week, Israel announced that it would auction off two prefabricated buildings that had been donated to Palestinians by the European Union. In October, Israeli occupation forces confiscated the structures that were part of a school for dozens of children in Ibziq, a community in the north of the occupied West Bank. Israel’s brazenness generated consternation on social media. Even the EU’s foreign policy spokesperson Maja Kocijančič tweeted that the decision was “incredible.” But when Kocijančič delivered the EU’s official response at a press briefing on Monday, she indicated that it would be business as usual: Israel can do as it likes and the EU will take it lying down….
Israel delays auction of Palestinian classrooms donated by EU
MEMO 5 June — Israeli occupation authorities have postponed the public auction of prefab classrooms donated by the European Union (EU) to Palestinians, reported Haaretz. The classrooms, as well as other equipment, were confiscated on the grounds they had been erected ‘illegally’. Israel routinely denies Palestinians in ‘Area C’ of the West Bank permission to build. According to Haaretz, the one-month postponement of the auction came after the EU “rejected a deal whereby the structures would be returned to the Europeans in return for their commitment not to restore them to the West Bank without proper building and planning authorization”. Israeli officials reportedly hope “the postponement will allow time for Israel and the EU to negotiate a solution and head off further deterioration in diplomatic relations between the two sides”. The structures in question were dismantled and confiscated by Israeli occupation forces and officials in October and November 2018, including two prefabricated buildings used as classrooms for 49 Palestinian schoolchildren in Ibziq near Nablus. The paper noted that Israeli occupation officials “routinely auctions off items that have been seized after 90 days”, adding that EU sources are reportedly “concerned that the structures in question might be sold to settlers if auctioned”. An Israeli defence ministry spokesperson “said the postponement was made for ‘technical’ reasons and was not related to pressure from the EU”.
Bedouin women capture village’s final moments before Israel demolishes it
MEMO 2 Apr — Bedouin Palestinian women in the village of Umm Al-Hiran are using a photo book to capture the final moments of their community before it is demolished by Israeli authorities. According to Haaretz, the recently-published book “Umm al-Hiran – Moments of Farewell to the Village” “features a collection of snapshots taken by women who live in the village that they will soon have to leave forever”. The Israeli government is set to demolish Umm Al-Hiran, forcibly displacing its residents, in order to establish a new Jewish community – Hiran – in its place. Hundreds of families are being relocated to the Bedouin town of Hura, as part of a “compensation” agreement “signed under duress”. The paper reported that “the sad period of bidding farewell to their soon-to-be-abandoned village has been documented by a group of Bedouin women who have been taking part in the Yusawiruna – Photographing for Human Rights, a project the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality has run for the past four years”. “My biggest fear is what will be forgotten. It’s important to me to photograph in order to preserve memories from the village and my home,” says Rimal Abu Al-Kiyan, 35, a mother of five who was born and raised in Umm Al-Hiran… “I feel like an alien in Hura. My home is here. This is where I was born. I belong to Umm Al-Hiran. It hurts to leave,” says Abu Al-Kiyan….
Palestinians prove fraud, regain land after decades
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 2 June by Ahmad Melhem — The town of Biddya in the West Bank’s Salfit governorate is building agricultural roads in mountainous areas to allow citizens to reach their newly reclaimed lands. Construction began a few days after the landowners recovered over 190 dunams (over 47 acres) of land from Israeli company Yakir Investments, after lawyers from the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission proved in mid-May the company forged the title deeds … Azmi Abu Hamde expressed the happiness of his family, which owns around 57 dunams of land in Biddya. He told Al-Monitor the land had belonged to his late grandfather, Mustafa Hamdan. In the next few days, the land will be divided among the heirs, who have vowed to cultivate the land quickly to preserve it….
‘Conquer and Divide’: Israeli NGO launches interactive map highlighting 52 years of occupation
RT 5 June — To mark the 52nd anniversary of Israel’s territorial encroachment into the West Bank, human rights NGO B’Tselem has unveiled a new interactive map creatively illustrating the decades-long history of the occupation. The organization says that their new project “traces how government resolutions, military orders and state planning” came together to create an ever-expanding system of settlements and military check-points, helping Israeli authorities “promote [their] interests at the expense of Palestinians’ rights.” The project was created in tandem with the independent research agency Forensic Architecture, and launched on Wednesday. The project’s sleek website documents not only the boundaries of Israel’s expansion into the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, it also indicates a variety of specific details; from closed military zones to areas where the authorities forbid fishing. The map also highlights important events in the history of the occupation….
Israel evacuates unauthorized West Bank outpost: Watch
JPost 6 June — Engineering forces as well as a civilian building manager have begun evacuating Jewish settlers from multiple structures in the Givat Habaladim outpost, located in the West Bank north of Ramallah. Hundreds of policemen and soldiers began demolishing agricultural farms near Kochav Hashahar on Wednesday morning.“As of now, one farm has been evacuated and the second farm is being evacuated,” a spokesperson for the area said in a statement. “The farms were established near Kochav Hashahar in order to prevent further takeover by dozens of Bedouin encampments in the vicinity of state lands in the area.”
The settlers claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been busy evacuating Jews in the last few weeks, whereas there are hundreds of “illegal” Bedouin villages that have been left alone during the recent evacuations. “In contrast to the dozens of illegal Bedouin encampments that are developing in the area undisturbed, and the failure to implement the promise to evacuate nearby Khan al-Ahmar, [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu has chosen to destroy the Jewish-owned farms that were established to stop the Bedouin takeover,” the residents said. Two people have been arrested since the start of Wednesday’s outpost evacuation.
Prisoners / Court actions
Hunger-striking detainee moved to hospital
IMEMC 6 June — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that a Palestinian detainee who started a hunger strike 66 days ago was moved to a hospital after a sharp deterioration in his health condition. The PPS said the detainee, Hasan Abdul-Salam al-‘Oweiwi, 35, from Hebron in southern West Bank, was rushed from Nitzan al-Ramla prison to Barzilai Medical Center, Thursday, after a serious health deterioration. It added that the detainee started his strike on April 2nd, 2019, protesting his continued arbitrary Administrative Detention, without charges or trial. It is worth mentioning that al-‘Oweiwi, a father of three children, was abducted on January 15, 2019, and is a former political prisoner who spent years in Israeli prisons.
Israel covered up killing of Palestinians in Umm Al-Hiran
MEMO 7 June — Israel covered up the killing of Palestinian teacher Yacoub Abu Al-Qiyan in Umm Al-Hiran in 2017, a new report has revealed. The incident took place in January 2017 during the forcible evacuation of Umm Al-Hiran, a Bedouin village located just outside Beersheba in the Negev desert, southern Israel. Several homes in Umm Al-Hiran – like many villages designated “unrecognised” by Israel – had been slated for demolition, one of which belonged to Musa Hussein Abu Al-Qiyan, the elderly father of 47-year-old teacher Yacoub. During the pre-dawn demolition raid, Israel claimed that Yacoub had tried to ram his car into Israeli policemen, killing one of them. The incident was subsequently labeled as a Daesh-inspired “terror attack”, to which the Israel Police responded in “self-defence”. Abu Al-Qiyan was shot dead at the scene. However, an exclusive report by Haaretz today revealed that one police officer – known only as S. – admitted a matter of hours after the incident that he did not believe his life or the lives of his colleagues were in danger as a result of Al-Qiyan’s driving. This remark, the Israeli daily pointed out, was made to a Shin Bet coordinator known as “Taher” and contradicted his testimony later given to investigators from a unit of Israel’s Justice Ministry which probes police misconduct … The report continues: “Despite changing his statement and the Justice Ministry’s demand that S. be investigated on suspicion of negligent homicide, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan decided to close the case and not investigate any of the police officers involved in the fatal shooting.” Haaretz notes that Nitzan decided to close the case chiefly as a result of pressure from then-Police Commissioner, Roni Alsheich….
Supreme Court freezes expulsion of HRW director as it considers his appeal
Times of Israel/Agencies 2 June — The Supreme Court has issued a ruling allowing the local director of Human Rights Watch to remain in Israel while he fights a deportation order. A lower court in April upheld Omar Shakir’s deportation by the Interior Ministry, saying his activities against West Bank settlements amounted to a boycott of the country. Israeli law bars entry to those who have publicly supported a boycott of Israel or its settlements. Shakir, who is a US citizen, had appealed to the court to allow him to stay for the duration of the proceedings. In Sunday’s ruling, the Supreme Court did not set a date, but said the appeal should be heard in the current court year ending July 21. The Interior Ministry’s May 2018 decision to deny Shakir his work and residency permits was due to his alleged support of a boycott of Israel over its policies toward Palestinians — a claim accepted by the district court … UN rights officials and Democratic congressmen urged Israel not to deport Shakir, warning of the implications to Israel’s openness and freedom of expression…..
Palestinian refugees / UNRWA
As UN budget dries up, Palestinian classrooms swell in size
HEBRON, West Bank (AP) 3 June by Isabel Debre — Majed Jameel was overwhelmed. This wasn’t the kind of pressure he’d grown accustomed to as a teacher in the volatile West Bank city of Hebron. On a recent, not uncommon occasion, clashes erupted between students and Israeli soldiers, sending volleys of tear gas into the playground. That he could handle. This was a different stress. After the Trump administration slashed funding last year to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, Jameel saw his classes nearly doubled in size. His disciplined social studies class at the Hebron Boys’ School had become a crowded, unruly scene: Four children squeezed at desks made for two, dozens of hands shooting in the air at the same time, noise snowballing when he paused for questions. He said the classroom is louder and filled with distractions. “You spend most of the class time restraining student interactions or fights and have no time left to track their homework and classwork … or give one-on-one help.” The effects of U.S. aid cuts have rippled throughout UNRWA’s operations, but its sprawling school system, serving 500,000 children across the Middle East, has been hit hardest … Peter Mulrean, the agency’s New York representative, said average class sizes in the West Bank have grown from 30 students a year ago to 50.
The day after UNRWA / Marilyn Garson
Counterpunch 5 June — UNRWA needs $60 million in June to buy relief food for one million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, while Trump’s Middle East envoy is agitating for the UN to close the agency. UNRWA’s mandate does not belong to Trump. But it’s time to ask, what will happen on the day after UNRWA’s money runs out? In 2011-12, poor Gazan households received relief food. Then they spent up to half of their incomes to buy the rest of the food that they needed to survive. That was 2011, before the tunnels were blown up, before the 2014 bombardment all the subsequent punishment. Before all that, the poorest group of Gazans were spending half of their incomes to feed their families, including their relief food. They were already straining every kind of informal mutual assistance. The failure of UNRWA food relief would not be just another hardship. For the poorest Gazans, food relief is a matter of survival. On the day that UNRWA becomes unable to place food on half of Gaza’s tables, Israel will not loosen the blockade. States will not recognize Hamas as an interlocutor or funding channel. If Trump can succeed in disabling or dismantling UNRWA, Gaza will lose its primary public service provider, its largest non-military employer and economic actor, its most experienced blockade logistician, and its chief humanitarian actor – and no one will be able to replace it….
The EU and Israel’s killing partnership
EI 5 June by Ali Abunimah — More than 150 European academics and researchers are demanding an end to EU funding of Israeli weapons firms under the guise of supporting research. In a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and research chief Carlos Moedas on Tuesday, the researchers decry how funds are granted to Israeli arms makers such as Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, “the producers of lethal drones that were used in the Gaza military assaults against civilians, together with numerous academic institutions that have close ties with Israeli military industry.” “We appeal to the European Union to impose a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, as long as Israel continues to blatantly violate human rights,” the researchers add. “We are deeply disturbed that public funds contributed by European taxpayers are channeled to a country that not only disregards human rights but also uses the most advanced knowledge and technology for the very violation of human rights.”….
Settler leader: McDonald’s boycotts settlements, keep it out of airport
Ynet 3 June by Elisha Ben Kimon — Settler leaders are trying to stop McDonald’s from participating in a government tender for the duty free hall at Ben-Gurion International Airport over what they say is an unofficial boycott of the settlements by the fast food chain. The head of Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, wrote a letter to the finance and transportation ministers claiming that McDonald’s Israel, under the guidance of owner Omri Padan has continuously refused to open any McDonald’s branches in the West Bank, and therefore effectively boycotting Israeli citizens….
More Than 100 Commercial, Cultural and Sporting Activities in Italy Declare Themselves Free of Israeli Apartheid
BDS Italy 5 June — Trade unions, movements, artisans, businesses and cultural, recreational and sports centers join campaign for Palestinian rights in what is also a clear stand against the mounting racism and nationalist closure that is fomenting hatred and intolerance across Europe and around the world….
Palestine in Pictures: May 2019
Electronic Intifada 2 June
VIDEO: Palestinians mark 52nd year of Naksa Day amid Israeli occupation
TRT World 5 June — The Naksa or “the day of the setback” refers to the annual commemoration of the 1967 war in which Israel invaded Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem — The “Naksa,” Arabic for “the setback,” refers to the displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinians as a result of the Israeli invasion of 1967. Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan. Israel brought more than one million Palestinians under its direct control in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. By the end of the war, it had expelled 300,000 Palestinians from their homes. “While we were running my father-in-law told me that it is better to die in our home than to run away. So we came back,” said Beit Safafa resident Lahva Eleyyan who witnessed two wars, the one that followed the creation of Israel in 1948, and the Six Day war in 1967. TRT World’s Mustafa Fatih Yavuz reports from occupied East Jerusalem.
Anger at Palestinian Authority secret ministerial pay rises
Al Jazeera 6 June — Anonymous online group ‘Against the Current’ exposed PA government salary hikes despite desperate financial shortfalls — The cash-strapped Palestinian government has pledged to suspend a secret increase in ministerial salaries, the United Nations envoy on the Israel-Palestinian conflict said Thursday, after reports of the raise sparked anger. Documents leaked online appeared to show that in 2017, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had quietly agreed to increase monthly salaries of ministers by a 67 percent, from $3,000 to $5,000, as well as boosting the prime minister’s salary from $4,000 to $6,000. According to The Associated Press, the raises were kept secret from the public and approved by Abbas, two senior officials said, overriding a 2004 law that fixed ministers’ salaries. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue with the media….
The West Bank is drowning in shekels
The Media Line 3 June by Dina Abumaria — Israeli law aimed at shrinking ‘shadow economy’ causes headaches for Palestinian banks — The Palestinian Territories’ struggling economy faces a major new problem: There are too many shekels in the market due to an Israeli decision limiting cash transactions. An Israeli law passed in 2018 took effect this year, forbidding businesses and employers in the country from paying cash for wages and other financial transactions over a value of NIS 11,000 (around $3,000). In this way, Israel aims to combat tax evasion, money laundering, illegal trade and counterfeit currency trade, in addition to reducing the cost of cash management. All this means the accumulation of cash in bank coffers. Due the nature of the Palestinian economy and its strong connection to the Israeli economy, the Palestinian market has become the destination of much of this surplus cash and the Palestinian Monetary Authority faces significant challenges in dealing with the issue….
Senior Hamas delegation meets Emir of Qatar in Doha
MEMO 3 June — A senior delegation from Hamas met Qatar’s Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani at his palace in Doha on Saturday, Qatari News Agency has reported. According to the agency, the Hamas delegation included the former Head of the movement’s Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal; Deputy Leader Mousa Abu Marzook; Izzat Al-Resheq; Mohammad Nazzal and Hussam Badra. They discussed the latest developments in the Palestinian issue with Emir Tamim, who stressed his country’s support for the “Palestinian brothers and their just cause”. The Hamas delegation expressed thanks and appreciation to the Emir for Qatar’s “continuous” support for the Palestinian people at all levels. Speaking to Arab21.com, Nazzal pointed out that the delegation expressed the movement’s rejection of the US “deal of the century”, which is rejected by all Palestinians. He also condemned the normalisation of ties with Israel.
Access to clean water is a human right, so why is Palestine an exception?
Palestine Chronicle 31 May by Ramzy Baroud — There is a water crisis affecting the whole world, and it is most pronounced in the Middle East. Climate change-linked droughts, unpredictable rainfall, lack of centralized planning, military conflicts and more have resulted in unprecedented water insecurity. The situation is even more complicated in Palestine, though, where the water crisis is related directly to the more general political context of Israel’s occupation: apartheid, illegal Jewish settlements, siege and war. While much attention has rightly been given to the military aspect of the Israeli occupation, the state’s colonial policies involving water receive far less attention, but they are a pressing and critical problem. … total water control was one of the first policies enacted by Israel after the establishment of the military regime following the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip in June 1967. Israel’s discriminatory policies – its uses and abuses of Palestinian water resources – can be described as “water apartheid” … The “Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”, known as the Oslo II Agreement, signed in Taba, Egypt in September 1995, crystallized the unfairness of Oslo I, which was signed in September 1993. Over 71 percent of Palestinian aquifer water was made available for Israeli use, with just 17 percent allocated for Palestinian use. Even more appallingly, the new agreement invited a mechanism that forced Palestinians to buy their own water from Israel, further cementing the client-owner relationship between the Palestinian Authority and the occupying state …
The US-based RAND Corporation found that one-fourth of all diseases in the besieged Gaza Strip are waterborne. RAND estimations are no less dramatic. It reports that, based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, 97 percent of Gaza’s water is not fit for human consumption. In terms of human suffering, this reality can only be described as horrific. The hospitals in the Gaza Strip are trying to fight the massive epidemic of illness and disease caused by dirty water while underequipped, suffering electricity cuts and lacking any clean water themselves. “Water is frequently unavailable at Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza” the RAND report continues. “Even when it is available, doctors and nurses are unable to sterilize their hands to carry out surgery because of the water quality.” According to the environmental media platform Circle of Blue, out of Gaza’s 2 million residents, only 10 percent have access to clean drinking water….
FIFA attacks Palestinian football
EI 6 June by Asa Winstanley –FIFA has launched an investigation into Palestinian football based on allegations made by an anti-Muslim activist and West Bank settler, The Electronic Intifada has learned. The ethics committee of world football’s governing body wrote to the Palestinian Football Association’s president in January laying out the allegations in a report by discredited Israeli group Palestinian Media Watch. In his letter, FIFA’s Martin Ngoga wrote that Palestinian football’s president Jibril Rajoub had been accused of “incitement” and “glorification of terrorism” or of “not having condemned” supposed terrorism. You can read the full letter below. FIFA’s letter encloses the Palestinian Media Watch report from 2017, which can be read online. Ngoga did not reply to an email from The Electronic Intifada asking why FIFA took allegations from such an organization seriously, and why it had apparently taken two years for FIFA to launch its investigation. The report was co-authored by Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch….
Court orders Al-Ashqar be returned to US from Israel
MEMO 7 June — The wife of Palestinian Professor Abdul-Halim Al-Ashqar said his lawyers succeeded in obtaining a court verdict ordering the US security authorities to bring him back immediately from Israel. In remarks to the Palestinian Information Centre (PIC), Asma Muhanna said that the court order banned Al-Ashqar’s transfer to Israel, adding that he was flown back to the US from Ben Gurion airport and sent to a jail in Virginia. A few days ago, Al-Ashqar was kidnapped illegally by the FBI and taken aboard a plane to Ben Gurion airport in Israel in order to hand him over to the authorities there, but he was kept on the plane following a US court order. Later, Al-Ashqar was returned to the US aboard the same plane after a US court issued a decision in this regard. In November 2007, the American authorities had sentenced Al-Ashqar to 11 years in prison after placing him under house arrest for nearly two years. He was sacked from his teaching post at Washington University in August 2004. He was subsequently arrested and accused, with no evidence, of illegally collecting funds for Hamas, and placed under house arrest. Ashqar nominated himself as an independent presidential candidate in the Palestinian election held on 9 January 2005. He was one of ten contenders seeking to succeed Yasser Arafat.
Growing number of US Jews support evacuation of all West Bank settlements
[behind paywall] Haaretz 2 June by Judy Maltz — Fewer American Jews consider “caring about Israel” an important part of being Jewish, a survey published on Sunday by the American Jewish Committee finds. Those questioned also indicated that they do not believe a thriving state of Israel is “vital” to the long-term future of the Jewish people. A growing number of American Jews, the survey shows, are also unhappy with Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and support a full evacuation of West Bank settlements….
Even some Trump allies want Kushmer to ice his peace plan
Politico 3 June by Nahal Toosi — Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan isn’t even out yet, but there are already intensifying calls to scrap the rollout — including from some Trump allies. Prominent conservative and pro-Israel voices close to the White House are increasingly sharing their fears, which range from the possibility that the peace proposal could trigger violence to worries that its offerings could forever kill efforts to craft a two-state solution. Many hoped the plan would get shelved even before the latest political turmoil in Israel prompted the scheduling of new elections in the fall. Now, some are going on the record to urge the Trump administration to set aside the plan indefinitely, even though few people have seen the closely held proposal. “Releasing the plan now would make the U.S. seem unserious,” James Carafano, a senior foreign affairs scholar with the conservative Heritage Foundation who usually sides with the administration, said in an email. “It’s better to wait, perhaps even until after the U.S. elections.” Trump himself conceded Sunday that Kushner’s proposal might not be workable, agreeing with an unvarnished private assessment Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave in a meeting last week that was recorded and leaked to The Washington Post….
Rashida Tlaib tears up during testimony where US ‘war on terror’ is exposed as discriminatory
MEMO 7 June — The US “war on terror” was labeled racist and discriminatory for its failure to address the growing threat of white supremacy during a hearing in which Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib broke down in tears. The hearing, which took place earlier this week, saw Tlaib giving testimony at a House Oversight Committee hearing on white supremacy and domestic terrorism. Her testimony took an emotional turn when the Michigan representative began to convey details of the kinds of threat and abuse she has received since taking office. Questioning Michael McGarrity, assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, about the Justice Department’s handling of domestic terrorism, Tlaib, who is the first Palestinian Muslim to be elected to Congress, began to read out one of the death threats she had received. “Attention, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and ragheads Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar,” said the author of the email. “I was totally excited and pleased when I heard about 49 Muslims were killed and many more were wounded in New Zealand. This is a great start. Let’s hope and pray that it continues here in the good old USA. The only good Muslim is a dead one.”….
Anti-Palestinian groups fail to censor children’s book event
EI Lobby Watch 5 June by Nora Barrows-Friedman — Toddlers and their families will be able to attend a book event at a New Jersey public library despite attempts by Israel supporters and an anti-Palestinian lawmaker to censor the book and its author in recent weeks. The reading and author signing for P is for Palestine, an alphabet book that celebrates Palestinian heritage and culture, had been the target of an aggressive smear campaign by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn assemblyman who has ties to extremist right-wing groups. The event at the Highland Park library, sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, was originally scheduled for 19 May but was canceled by the library’s administration after complaints from Israel supporters. On Tuesday evening, the library’s board of trustees announced that the event will go forward and author Golbarg Bashi will be able to read from her book. However, the library also announced it would plan an event around the alphabet book I is for Israel – an apparent attempt to promote a false equivalence narrative only applied to Palestinians….