West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian child near Bethlehem
IMEMC 31 May — Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, a Palestinian child near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and injured a young man from Hebron, while [they were] trying to enter Jerusalem for Friday prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Media sources said the soldiers shot and killed Abdullah Luay Gheith, 16, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, after opening fire at him and several other Palestinians who were trying to enter Jerusalem from Wad Abu al-Hummus area, near the villages of al-Khas and an-No‘man, east of Bethlehem.[by climbing the border fence, acc. to Reuters]. The slain Palestinian child was shot with a live Israeli army round in his heart, and died instantly after the soldiers shot him. They added that the soldiers also shot and seriously injured a young man, identified as Mo’men Abu Tbeish, 21, in the same incident. The seriously wounded young man, from Hadabat al-Fawwar area, near Hebron, was rushed by Palestinian medics to Beit Jala governmental hospital. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers, stationed at Mazmouria military roadblock east of Bethlehem, opened fire at many Palestinians, who were not granted permits to enter occupied Jerusalem, and were trying to enter the city for prayers in Al-Aqsa.
Israeli police kill a Palestinian after he reportedly stabbed two Israelis
IMEMC 31 May — Israeli police officers killed, Friday, a Palestinian teen in occupied East Jerusalem, after he reportedly stabbed and injured two Israelis, and attempted to attack a police officer. The Palestinian was later identified as Yousef Wajeeh Sohweil, 18, from Abwein village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Israeli sources said the Palestinian came from the West Bank to attend Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the last Friday of Ramadan. Israeli online daily, The Jerusalem Post, said an Israeli man, in his fifties, suffered critical wounds, and added that a teen, 16 years of age, suffered moderate-to-severe wounds. It quoted the Superintendent of the Israeli Police in Jerusalem Micky Rosenfeld telling its reporter that one Israeli was stabbed and critically injured at Damascus Gate, and that the second Israel was stabbed and moderately injured when the Palestinian managed to make his way to the Old City, before the officers shot him dead. Following the incident, the Israeli army and police significantly increased their deployment in the Old City, and all areas leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The soldiers started searching hundreds of worshipers, after ordering them out of several buses in Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood, and forced them to walk a large distance towards the mosque.
Off-duty Israeli soldier caught on video torching Palestinian farms
IMEMC 28 May — A video released by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem shows a group of Israeli settlers attacking Palestinian villagers and setting their farms on fire on May 17th – and today, the group managed to identify one of the arsonists in the video as an off-duty Israeli soldier. According to B’Tselem, on Friday, 17 May 2019, Israeli paramilitary settlers torched Palestinian farmers’ fields in Burin and ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah. In both villages, the settlers threw stones at the residents’ homes. In ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah, where the area is controlled by military watchtowers, a settler even fired shots in the air. Soldiers nearby did not arrest the attackers and prevented the Palestinians from approaching their burning land … The fire-setting by the Israeli soldier is especially disturbing given that it took place in the midst of an extremely dry season in Israel and Palestine, with wildfires having burned hundreds of acres in Israel over the past several weeks, and burn bans in place across the country to try to prevent the spread of any more fires …
According to the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, two separate Israeli security services verified to their reporters that the arsonist was an off-duty soldier. However, the Israeli military claimed that the incident would be handled by the Israeli police, and the Israeli police claimed that it would be handled by the military. Neither the army nor the police have arrested the perpetrator, although he was clearly identified and both forces confirmed his identity.
Police: Settlers hurl rocks and slash tires of response force in West Bank
Times of Israel 25 May by Jacob Magid — Dozens of masked settlers attacked a police convoy in the northern West Bank on Saturday afternoon, requiring security forces at the scene to request backup after far-right activists hurled stones at them and slashed the tires of their vehicles, authorities said. Police said that forces were responding to a report of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in the area of the Kipah Srugah outpost, north of the settlement of Yitzhar. Authorities broke up the clashes and were making their way out of the area when they came under attack by settlers, police said. The forces called for police and military backup, but the suspects managed to flee the scene. Photos provided by police showed the tires of two vehicles completely gashed and the side mirrors smashed by the far-right activists, who were armed with knives and stones. In a statement recapping the “serious and violent incident,” police said they were working to track down the assailants. The Yitzhar secretariat released a statement categorically rejecting the police’s account of the Saturday afternoon incident….
Israeli soldiers injure 25 Palestinians in Nablus
IMEMC 31 May — Israeli soldiers, accompanying buses loaded with illegal colonists, invaded late on Thursday at night, the northern West Bank city of Nablus, heading to Joseph’s Tomb, before the army injured 25 Palestinians during ensuing protests. Medical sources said the soldiers shot a young man with a live round in his leg, eight others with rubber-coated steel bullets to several parts of his body, and caused 16 others to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. The protests took place in Amman Street, east of Nablus city, after the army jeeps and several buses invaded it.
Four Palestinians injured by Israeli forces at weekly Kufur Qaddoum protests
IMEMC 1 June by Ali Salam — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies, in the northern West Bank village of Kufur Qaddoum, east of Qalqilia city. Media coordinator of the Popular Committee, Morad Eshteiwi, said that the peaceful demonstration was attacked by Israeli forces, who shot rubber-coated steel bullets and high-velocity tear-gas canisters, injuring four Palestinians. Eshteiwi added that all the injured protesters were treated at the scene, while many others suffered the suffocating effects of tear-gas inhalation. Since 2011, villagers from Kufur Qaddoum and surrounding villages have organized a nonviolent demonstration on Fridays, to object to the illegal Israeli colonies, and to call on the Israeli occupation authorities to reopen the village’s main road, which has been closed by the army since 2002.
Soldiers abduct father of slain Palestinian
IMEMC 1 June — Israeli soldiers invaded, Saturday, the village of Abwein, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and abducted the father of the young Palestinian man who was killed a day earlier in occupied Jerusalem, after he reportedly stabbed and injured two Israelis. Media sources in Ramallah said dozens of soldiers invaded the village, before storming and ransacking the home of Wajeeh Sohweil, the father of Yousef, 18, who was killed in Jerusalem, and abducted him. The Israeli army apparently intends to demolish the home in an act of illegal collective punishment, similar to previous incidents where homes of Palestinians who attacked or were believed to have attacked Israelis, including soldiers, were destroyed. The army also constantly abducts and imprisons family members, and in some cases friends, of Palestinians who are believed to be behind attacks against the military or Israelis in general. The sources added that the soldiers fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at dozens of Palestinian youngsters, who protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the invading army jeeps.
Israeli soldiers abduct 26 Palestinians in Jerusalem
IMEMC 2 June — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Saturday evening, twenty-six Palestinians, including the secretary of Fateh movement, in occupied Jerusalem, and moved them to several detention and interrogation facilities in the city. The soldiers abducted Shadi Mitwer, the Secretary of Fateh Movement in Jerusalem, before cuffing and blindfolding him, and took him to an interrogation facility. It is worth mentioning that Mitwer is a former political prisoner, who was repeatedly detained and imprisoned by Israel for his political and social activities in the occupied city. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted 25 former political prisoners from many parts of Jerusalem, and took them to several interrogation centers. The attacks and abductions took place while more than 400 illegal colonialist settlers started provocative tours in the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, to celebrate the occupation and the so-called unification of the city. The Israeli army and police also closed the gates of al-Qibli Mosque, in the Al-Aqsa Compound, locking dozens of worshipers inside. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also abducted eight Palestinians from the Nablus governorate, in northern West Bank, while heading back to their homes from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and took them to Ofer prison, near Ramallah, in central West Bank.
Injured minor among 21 Palestinians detained from West Bank
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 May – Israeli forces detained 21 Palestinians, including an injured minor, in multiple overnight raids across the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS confirmed that Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians after storming their houses in Hizma town, east of Jerusalem. WAFA correspondent identified one of the detainees as 15-year-old Ahmad al-Khatib, who was shot and injured by Israeli live fire in his left leg in his hometown of Hizma on April 16. Meanwhile, Israeli forces rounded up three Palestinians, including a former prisoner who spent 15 years behind Israeli bars, from the southern West Bank district of Hebron. In the northern West Bank, PPS said that five Palestinians were rounded up from Nablus district.
Video: Palestinian school children living with stress and danger
More than 45 Palestinian school children were killed by Israeli fire last year in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip. Since 2018, the Palestinian Ministry of Education estimates that some 20,000 students have suffered through different Israeli violations. Now teachers and students are trying to find ways to protect themselves from violence by Israeli settlers and security forces. Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reports from Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
IDF finds various operational failures in West Bank attack that killed two Israelis in March 2019
i24NEWS 29 May — The assailant stabbed a soldier at Ariel Junction and managed to grab his gun, which he used to kill another. After completing an investigation of the stabbing and shooting attack near the West Bank’s Ariel Junction back in March in which a soldier and a rabbi were killed, the Israeli army revealed “various operational forces related to the operational discipline of the force.” Several soldiers were removed from their combat positions and both the battalion and company commanders were given command notes on their handling of the situation. The debriefing pointed to activities that failed to adequately prepare the soldiers for the mission, while freshly minted Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi also indicated that the force operated defectively during the event itself, failing to perform as expected of combat soldiers at the scene of an attack….
Soldiers attack, injure many Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque
IMEMC 2 June — Dozens of Israeli soldiers and police officers invaded, on Sunday morning, the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem, and attacked the Muslim worshipers, wounding dozens, including one of the civilian guards of the holy site, and detained another. The soldiers and police were accompanying large groups of illegal colonialist settlers, who were conducting provocative tours in the courtyards of the holy site. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that the soldiers and the police stormed the al-Qibli Mosque in Al-Aqsa, desecrating the site with their full military gear, and assaulted many Palestinians while trying to remove them from the holy site. The police then left the mosque, and the worshipers closed its gates, before dozens gathered in front of it, while chanting and condemning the provocative invasions. Shortly afterwards, the police attacked and clubbed dozens of worshippers, and tried to remove them to allow more groups of colonists to conduct their tours. The soldiers also closed Bab al-Asbat and Bab Hotta gates leading to the holy site, and prevented the Palestinian worshipers from crossing. Furthermore, the soldiers assaulted and injured one of the guards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, identified as Khalil Tarhouni, causing many cuts and bruises, especially to the head, and prevented the medics from approaching him for more than an hour….
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian child sentenced over stone throwing
IMEMC/Agencies 30 May — Israel’s Salem military court, on Tuesday, sentenced Palestinian child Abdul-Jaber Yasin, age 15, to four months in jail, and ordered him to pay a 3,000 NIS fine. Yasin’s family said that the Israeli court accused their child of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers during a raid on ‘Asira al-Qibliya village, to the south of Nablus. Israeli forces abducted Yasin on 3 May, after violently beating him during confrontations in ‘Asira al-Qibliya, Days of Palestine reports.
Palestinian prisoners in Etzion prison suffering miserable conditions
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 May – The Palestinian Authority’s Detained and Ex-Detainees Commission said today that the Palestinian political prisoners in the Israeli prison of Etzion, near Bethlehem city in the occupied West Bank, have been suffering unbearable imprisonment conditions, particularly with regard to the meals they get for the break of their daily Ramadan fast. According to the Commission, instead of fasting only from sunrise to sunset every day during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, the prisoners are compelled to fast for many consecutive days without a break because of the extremely bad meals – in terms of quality and quantity – they get from the prison administration, which has forced many of the prisoners to refuse to receive them. For instance, the Commission adds, the prison administration provides the prisoners with badly cooked food, such as rotten boiled eggs that are cooked a long time before being served to the prisoner.
Health of Palestinian hunger-striking detainee in Israeli jail is very critical, says prisoners’ society
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 27 May – The health condition of Palestinian detainee Hasan Ewaiwi has become severally critical after being on a hunger strike for 56 days in protest of his administrative detention without charge or trial in Israeli jails, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS said the health status of Ewaiwi, who is currently being hospitalized in Kaplan Medical Center (KMC) in Israel, has reached a very critical stage. Ewaiwi, a 35-year-old father of three children, was detained on January 15, 2019 and had spent years in Israeli detention. PPS noted that three other prisoners are continuing their hunger strike for the same reason. They were identified as Tha’er Bader, 43, Bassam Abu ‘Aker, and Ahmad al-Hroub, 30.
Seven Palestinians, including a child, shot and injured in Gaza protests
IMEMC 1 June by Ali Salam — According to medical sources, seven Palestinians, including one child, were injured by live ammunition on Friday, as Israeli forces attacked the hundreds of protesters participating in the weekly Great March of Return at the eastern border of the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Palestinian protesters gathered at several locations along the Israeli/Gaza border, while Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets from border watchtowers and armored military vehicles, reported WAFA News Agency. Some of the protesters hit with live bullets were treated in field hospitals, while others were transferred to the nearest medical facility in Gaza. Since the beginning of the Great March of Return protests at the Gaza border on March 30, 2018, Israeli forces have been responsible for the killing of more than 250 Palestinians, and injuring over 23,000. Many Palestinians have suffered debilitating injuries, including limb amputation….
Israel reinstates Gaza fishing zone restrictions
[with map] Al Jazeera 29 May — Israel announced on Wednesday it had tightened restrictions on Palestinian fishing off the blockaded Gaza Strip after more balloons fitted with firebombs were floated from the enclave into its territory. The zone it allows Gaza fishermen was reduced to a maximum of 10 nautical miles from 15, COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry unit that oversees such regulations, said. The move came just days after Israel restored the fishing limit to the 15 nautical mile maximum after a previous cut in response to fire balloons last week … Under the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, Israel is obligated to permit fishing up to 20 nautical miles, but this has never been implemented. In practice, Israel only allowed fishing up to 12 nautical miles until 2006, when the fishing zone was reduced to six and later to three….
After 6 months apart, Gaza mother to join baby daughter in Jerusalem hospital
Times of Israel 29 May by Stuart Winer — A woman from the Gaza Strip who was separated from her newborn baby girl for six months as the infant lay in an East Jerusalem hospital will finally be reunited with her daughter, after she was granted a permit to return to Israel, Channel 13 news reported Tuesday. The woman had been unable to return to Jerusalem after traveling to Gaza for the funeral of the baby girl’s two siblings, who did not survive when the triplets were born at the Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. According to the report, bureaucratic red tape had held up her return to Jerusalem. However, following inquiries by Channel 13, Israel’s military liaison with the Palestinians approved the mother’s permit request, granting her entry to Israel. The report did not say when she was due back in Jerusalem.
Incendiary balloon sparks blaze in Gaza border region
Times of Israel 28 May — A fire that broke out Tuesday in an area close to the Gaza Strip was caused by an incendiary balloon, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services said in a statement Tuesday. The brushfire was in the Eshkol Regional Council area. There were no reports of injury or damage to property.
Israeli army vehicle targeted by drone: Islamic Jihad
GAZA CITY (AA) 30 May by Nour Abu Aisha — The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Gaza-based resistance faction Islamic Jihad, says it targeted an Israeli military vehicle with an unmanned aerial drone during a three-day conflict in Gaza early this month. On Thursday, the Brigades posted video footage on its website purporting to show an Israeli armored vehicle coming under attack by an armed drone. It is not clear, however, whether or not rockets fired by the drone struck the targeted vehicle. The Brigades did not provide any information regarding what kind of drone was used in the alleged attack. The Israeli army, for its part, has yet to comment on the footage. In early May, the Israeli military pounded the Hamas-run Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery fire, leaving at least 27 Palestinians dead. Gaza-based resistance factions responded by firing dozens of rockets into Israeli territory, reportedly killing four Israelis.
View the Frontline documentary on Gaza that PBS pulled
If Americans Knew 22 May by Alison Weir — Recently, hundreds of PBS stations around the United States were scheduled to broadcast a powerful new Frontline documentary: One Day in Gaza. But viewers tuning in found that it had been replaced by a slightly updated Frontline report on Robert Mueller that had been broadcast two months before and had been streaming online ever since. PBS no longer has the Gaza film listed on its schedule. The documentary was to be aired on the one-year anniversary of events that took place on May 14, 2018, when tens of thousands of men, women, and children in Gaza gathered with the intention of deploying the tactics Gandhi had used in freeing India from British control. The demonstration that day was the 8th march in what Gazans named the Great March of Return. …
Powerful but flawed The Frontline documentary One Day in Gaza is an extremely powerful, if flawed, record of the events of May 14, 2018. It provides Israeli views, Palestinian views, and riveting, often tragic footage of the day’s events. However, perhaps because of its striving to be “balanced,” or due to constraints imposed by Israel’s powerful lobbies in England and the U.S., the film often leans toward the Israeli narrative and obscures some important points. The Israeli interviewees in the film are calm, articulate, and seem well-trained in presenting their talking points. Perhaps this is not surprising given that one is an army spokesman, a second is a high-ranking officer, and two are Americans who immigrated to Israel (although this fact is not revealed in the film). Not interviewed in the film are any of the members of the Israeli group, Breaking the Silence, composed of former Israeli soldiers who describe widespread military practices of gratuitous violence and cruelty … Most important, the Palestinian journalist and peace activist who originated the march and is interviewed in the film, Ahmed Abu Artema, says that the film attributed far too much significance to Hamas, and neglected the “primary role played by civil society activists in Gaza.” In a detailed critique of the film, he writes: “The documentary did not show the reality of the prison that Gaza has become. One shot of the cattle market that exists at the Erez crossing would have been enough to convey the reality of this cage, where there is no freedom of movement, no economic growth, no future prospects – no hope.”….
Baby clothes store destroyed by Israel
EI 28 May by Sarah Algherbawi — Earlier this month, I went shopping so that my baby son Khalil would have something new to wear for the holiday of Eid. It never occurred to me that the store where I bought his clothes would be attacked one day later. Run by Husam al-Haddad, it was one of many shops and offices located in Gaza City’s al-Khuzundar building. On 4 May, Israel fired four missiles at the building, which also hosted a Turkish charity aiding Palestinian orphans. The attack was a “real disaster,” according to al-Haddad. He had spent $90,000 buying new stock ahead of Eid. “We were already living in difficult economic conditions,” he said. “With this, we’re totally destroyed.” Five people were employed in his store. One of them, 23-year-old Muhammad Jarada, took a call from an Israeli number five minutes before the attack. The caller said he was part of the Israeli military and warned that the building must be evacuated within 60 seconds … Ten stores in the al-Khuzundar building were destroyed by Israel, with another 37 damaged….
Executive summary – Multisectoral nutrition assessment – WFO, UNICEF and Save the Children
World Food Programme 27 May — The Key findings are the following:
Half of the vulnerable households in Gaza have poor or barely acceptable food consumption. Almost all of those households (93%) are not eating enough iron rich foods, increasing the risk of anaemia. Malnutrition is high among pregnant women (18%) and mothers of young infants (14%) putting at risk the life and growth of the unborn child. Nearly one third (30%) of pregnant women are not taking much-needed micronutrient supplements. Access and steady availability of supplies are of concern … Only 14 percent of the children are able to consume an acceptable diet which ensures an adequate number of meals and variety of food….
Gaza suffers worst medicine shortage with deficit at 52%
RAMALLAH (Asharq Al-Awsat) 26 May — The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza Strip warned of the dangerous consequences on Gaza Strip patients due to a severe medicines shortage. The ministry said that the deficit in medicine and medical supplies exceeded 52 percent. Director of Al-Shifa Hospital, the biggest public hospital in Gaza, Medhat Abbas said the facility has run out of several vital medicines and antibiotics. Most of the medical items are unavailable in public and private pharmacies, he revealed, warning that the shortage threatens the lives of patients. He called on all supporters of the health sector to intervene to save Gaza patients. Health facilities in the coastal enclave had not received medicine shipments since the beginning of the year….
Video: Gaza sweets factory integrates deaf workers
EI 21 May — This sweet factory in Gaza is run by workers who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Hanan Sweet Factory produces Arab candies and desserts in Gaza City. “At first I thought it would be difficult, I didn’t know how I would communicate with him,” Muhammad al-Ghazali, the owner of the factory, told The Electronic Intifada about hiring the first worker. “But when he came to work I found he had high concentration and very good talent.” “When I first came here, my job was to put nuts on sweets. But I learned and developed new skills and started making them from scratch,” says Mouin al-Siksik, a worker at the factory. Video by Mohammed Asad.
A league of champions: Gaza amputees tackle despair with football
[with video] DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza (The Independent) 25 May by Bel Trew — The crowd around him scattered like shattering glass. In shock, Bahaa, 20, from Gaza, did not at first understand why, or why some of his friends were lying motionless on the ground beside him. Then he saw his own leg limply hanging off his blood-stained trousers. He had been just 400m away from the border fence between Gaza and Israel on 14 May 2018, the day Donald Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem, thereby recognising it as Israel’s capital. That afternoon Israeli soldiers shot dead nearly 60 Palestinians and injured over 2000 more as protests against the White House’s contentious decision turned violent. Gaza’s main al-Shifa hospital, overwhelmed by the nearly 1300 people who had been wounded by live fire, could not save Bahaa’s right leg. The young and impoverished clothes vendor, trapped in the 25-mile-long enclave that is crippled by an Israeli blockade, felt like he hadn’t just lost a leg, but his entire future. That was until he was approached by Gaza’s first amputee football team … Gaza is in the process of applying to join the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF), which has players from across 46 nations….
UK to provide £1.6m aid package to help save limbs in Gaza
LONDON (Arab News) 29 May — Britain is to provide a £1.6 million aid package to help build a limb reconstruction center in Gaza. The funds will go to the World Health Organization and will provide life-saving medical treatment for more than 380,000 people, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said. Gaza’s ailing health service has been plunged into further crisis by the thousands of Palestinians injured from Israeli live fire during more than a year of protests near their shared border. At least 190 people have been killed and 6,800 wounded during the weekly protests and the United Nations warned last week that an additional 1,700 people could lose limbs without an injection of funds….
Qatar to send technical team to resolve Gaza energy crisis
MEMO 28 May — Qatar will be sending a specialised team of technicians to resolve the Gaza Strip’s electricity crisis, the Gulf state’s envoy announced yesterday. Ambassador Mohammed Al Emadi, Chairman of the Qatar National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, announced said: “The technical team scheduled to arrive in Gaza immediately after Eid Al-Fitr will hold discussions with the concerned parties to discuss the mechanisms of operation of the power line by the Israeli side.” Eid Al-Fitr will be celebrated by Muslims next week to mark the end of the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan. During his last visit to the Gaza Strip earlier this month, Al Emadi said Qatar is continuing its efforts to solve the growing electricity crisis faced by the besieged Strip in its effort to alleviate the suffering of its residents. To this end, he continued, Qatar has allocated funds for fuel to be supplied to the enclave’s electricity company. Adding that Doha will continue to supply the only power plant in the Gaza Strip with the necessary fuel to operate until the end of this year.
Fatah delegation arrives in Hamas-run Gaza Strip
MEMO 29 May — A delegation from Palestine’s Fatah movement on Wednesday arrived in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip to discuss prospects for inter-Palestinian reconciliation, Anadolu reports. According to Fatah’s media office, the delegation — which included Fatah Central Committee members Rawhi Fattouh and Ismail Jabr — entered the blockaded territory via the Beit Hanoun border crossing. On Monday, leading Hamas member Suhail al-Hindi told Anadolu Agency that Egypt had recently renewed mediation efforts between Hamas and Fatah, voicing hope for a breakthrough “soon”.
Gaza court bans distribution of pro-Abbas newspaper
MEMO 27 May — A court in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip has banned the distribution of Al-Hayat al-Jadida, a newspaper close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine’s WAFA news agency reported Monday. According to WAFA, the decision was made after Gaza’s Interior Ministry accused the newspaper of “publishing materials that promote sedition and incitement”. Neither the public prosecutor’s office in Gaza nor the Hamas-run government’s media bureau have yet to comment on the decision … The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, for its part, condemned the move, warning Hamas of “the potential consequences of its decision”. “The syndicate confirms its total rejection of this court verdict,” it said in its own statement.
Japan funds project for construction of Green Area in Khan Younis Refugee Camp
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 30 May — Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador for the Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, visited Khan Younis Refugee Camp in Gaza Strip to celebrate the completion of the project funded by the Government of Japan through Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP), a press release said on Thursday. A grant of $88,665 was extended to the Never Stop Dreaming association and used to build four safe green areas inside Khan Younis camp and to rehabilitate these areas for children use by installing games, seats and planting grass and trees. About 10,000 residents benefit from the safe green areas … Since 1993 the Government of Japan has extended its official development assistance to approximately USD 1.86 billion, to the Palestinians.
During Ramadan, late-night gyms boom in the Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 31 May by Fares Akram — It’s past midnight, but a dozen Palestinians are still running and sweating at a gym in the Gaza Strip. During Islam’s holiest month of Ramadan, Techno-Gym transforms into a late-night hot spot for young men struggling to stay in shape. In addition to self-discipline and prayer intended to bring adherents closer to God, the month is famed for its lavish meals and heavy desserts that follow a daylong fast. “I come here during Ramadan to maintain the vitality of my body,” said Anas al-Najjar, a music teacher, on a break from a set of back-muscle exercises. “As I have been training for a while, it’s not good for the body to stop in Ramadan.” On a recent night, pop music mingled with the clanging of dumbbells and metal weight plates as fitness enthusiasts grunted and panted. The gym’s black-and-yellow color scheme and bright blue lighting had a disorienting effect as the clock ticked into the early hours … The upscale Techno-Gym opened three years ago, complete with a swimming pool, steam and sauna rooms and modern bodybuilding equipment imported from Italy. The gym, which primarily caters to workers in banks, telecom companies and aid agencies who have the cash to spend, serves as a rare respite from the misery of life in the enclave, where unemployment surpasses 50%, tap water is undrinkable and electricity cuts are routine. The frequent cycles of bloody clashes with Israel have compounded daily struggles….
Land and property theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
What a Palestinian woman has to do to visit her native W. Bank village
[behind paywall] Haaretz 1 June by Amira Hass — Living in legal limbo for more than 40 years, Maryam Ibrahim has not been allowed to live in her native West Bank village of Beit Furik with her husband and in recent years, Israel hasn’t allowed her to visit — Sa‘adi Khatatbeh and Maryam Ibrahim have been married for 40 years. He is 62 and she is 59. They have five children and many grandchildren. They were both born in the village of Beit Furik southeast of Nablus in the northern West Bank and belong to the same extended family. With the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day War, in which Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan, the Ibrahim family was in Amman. They remained there in the period following the war and were not included in the West Bank population registry that Israeli authorities created based on a population census carried out during the summer that year. Maryam Ibrahim is therefore a Jordanian citizen, while Khatatbeh, her husband, who was in the West Bank at the time, has permanent resident status there. Marriage within the same extended family or among residents of the same village is very common in the West Bank and 40 years ago it was even more prevalent. The custom is stronger than the artificial boundaries created by wars, as demonstrated by tens of thousands of other Palestinians who did what Khatatbeh and Ibrahim did, marrying despite the boundary separating the West Bank and Jordan. And like tens of thousands of other “mixed” families in which either the husband or wife is not a permanent resident of the West Bank, they live in legal, social and psychological limbo….
First Israel locked this Palestinian family out of their home. Now it locked the gate connecting them with their village
[behind paywall] Haaretz 27 May by Nir Hasson — The Hajajlas’ house is located on the Israeli side of the separation barrier, which separates it from their Palestinian village. After the family placed a bell on the gate to ease movement, Israel locked it due to ‘security threat’ — A Palestinian family was cut off from its village for a week after the Border Police claimed the father had vandalized the security gate that separates the family’s home from the village. The vandalism consisted of installing a bell so his children could call their mother to open the gate for them. The case of the Hajajla family of al-Walaja, south of Jerusalem, stands out among the many problems created by the separation barrier. The family lives in the only house in the village that is on the Israeli side of the barrier, which cuts off the family from their village. For years the Defense Ministry and other agencies had tried to get the family to move, but to no avail. In the end, the ministry was forced to build the family a special passage underneath the barrier so it could reach the village. The tunnel cost 4 million shekels (currently $1.1 million)….
Report documents 130 violations by Israel against Palestinians in Jerusalem during April
GENEVA (WAFA) 1 June — The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) said in a new report that it documented 130 violations by Israel against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem during April. The report, which details Israel’s unjust policies against Palestinians, including arbitrary detention, expulsions, demolitions of residential and other buildings and facilities, evictions, home raids and restrictions on public freedoms throughout April, said there is ample evidence to Israel’s discriminatory policies in Jerusalem against Palestinians, including on the seizure of lands and denial of building permit. Titled “Deprived of Life”, the report documents Israel’s escalating policies and practices of human rights violations against Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem that have increased in size and intensity following US President Donald Trump’s decision in late 2017 to transfer the US Embassy to Jerusalem as the unified capital of the State of Israel….
EU criticizes Israel over planned auction of seized West Bank aid
AFP 1 June — The European Union on Friday criticized Israel over apparent plans to sell aid given [by the EU] to Bedouin villages in the West Bank which was seized by Israeli authorities. The tents and other humanitarian structures will be put up for auction within days by COGAT, the Defense Ministry unit which oversees civilian activities in the Palestinian territories, according to the EU’s spokesman in Jerusalem. The supplies include “two school structures that had been consigned to Ibziq community; and two tents and three metal sheds to the al-Hadidiya community,” Shadi Othman said in a statement. The aid was seized in October and November by Israeli authorities and is worth 15,320 euros ($17,100), according to Othman. COGAT did not immediately respond to confirm a May 6 advertisement in the Maariv newspaper which detailed the sale of “seized property” from the West Bank….
The European Union hosts a Ramadan iftar in the Old City of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 1 June — Representatives of the European Union (EU) joined more than 150 Palestinians for a Ramadan Iftar, breaking the fast at sunset, at Burj al Luq Luq Social Center inside Jerusalem’s Old City. The event involved EU partners in East Jerusalem and beneficiaries of EU projects in the city. An EU press release said 34 kindergarten kids accompanied by their families attended the Iftar together with 50 football and basketball players from Burj al Luq Luq Society Center. The Iftar was followed by a number of cultural activities and performances. The Iftar event also gathered EU partner organizations working on EU funded projects in East Jerusalem, under the EU East Jerusalem Program. Burj al Luq Luq is one of the partners, who has collaborated with the International Committee of the Development of Peoples (CISP) on an EU-funded project to foster socio-economic empowerment and protection of vulnerable Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem….
Israeli settlers upgrade West Bank springs to usurp Palestinian land
[behind paywall] Haaretz 31 May by Yotam Berger — Settler councils grab more and more privately held territory through investment in infrastructure as the Civil Administration looks the other way — Ma’ayan Hagvura (“Spring of Courage”), as it’s called by the settlers of nearby Eli, is situated in the midst of private and cultivated Palestinian land in the central part of the West Bank. Yet during the intermediate days of Passover, as on other holidays, the spring was full to the brim with Israelis … However, the spring is not in an area that is under the council’s jurisdiction, and it has no authority there. In practice, all six regional councils across the West Bank operate without authority, investing in the development of thousands of acres that belong to Palestinians, or in areas designated as military fire zones. The investments are not limited just to upgrading springs or other tourist attractions lying on Palestinian land or in closed military areas. They include providing infrastructure to illegal outposts lying within their jurisdiction, despite their being unauthorized to do so … An investigation by Kerem Navot shows that in fact, the councils, in contravention of the ordinance, have taken over 50,000 acres in the southern Hebron hills, and 200,000 acres in the Jordan Valley area.
Israeli forces demolish residential, agricultural structures in northern Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 30 May – Israeli forces demolished residential and agricultural structures belonging to a Palestinian resident in al-Hadidya area in the northern Jordan Valley, said a local activist. Omar Fuqaha, the field coordinator of Tubas Governorate, said Israeli forces demolished two residential tents and three barns belonging to local resident Najeh Ka‘abneh. Earlier today, Israeli forces stormed Ras al-Ahmar area in the northern Jordan Valley and demolished two residential tents, a barn, and a fodder storage place belonging to local resident Jihad Bani Odeh.
Israeli forces demolish agricultural structure near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 27 May – Israeli forces Monday morning demolished an agricultural structure in the Shushahla area of al-Khader town, to the south of Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank. Muhannad Salah, a villager, told WAFA that an Israeli military force, escorting a bulldozer, stormed the area, where they proceeded to demolish an agricultural structure that belonged to local resident Mohammad Salah. The Shushahla area is located in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which accounts for over 60 percent of its area and falls under full Israeli military control.
Palestinian families ordered to leave homes in Jordan Valley for military drills
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 29 May – Israeli forces ordered 15 Palestinian families to evacuate their homes to make room for military drills in the northern Jordan Valley. Aref Daraghmeh, former head of council of a Jordan Valley village, said that Israeli military vehicles raided Khirbet Humsa, Wadi al-Malih, Khirbet Samra and the outskirts of Ras al-Ahmar in the early morning hours and forced out 15 families to make room for military drills. The families were forced out of their homes amid hot weather conditions with temperature reaching as high as 42°C and prevented from herding their livestock. Daraghmeh added that with the military exercises taking place on a daily basis for the last 15 days, hundreds of dunums of barley and wheat were burned by Israeli artillery shells. Had the families refused to evacuate upon the military order, they would have risked forced removal, expropriation of their livestock and retroactive fines. Under international law, driving residents of an occupied territory from their homes is considered forcible transfer of protected persons, which constitutes a war crime….
Israeli human rights activist calls for supporting BDS
ISTANBUL (WAFA) 26 May – An Israeli human rights activist has called for boycotting the state of Israel and supporting the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel. “Almost every single day, another home in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the Muslim Quarter, is being taken by [Israeli] settlers,” Miko Peled, author of “The Israeli Army General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine”, said during a seminar in Istanbul on Friday. “Unless we act, their successes are going to continue,” Peled was quoted by the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency. “We need to start imagining a day when we will not see the golden dome in the old city of Jerusalem. We need to have that in our mind,” he stressed, calling for taking action against Israeli violations. He recalled that over 30,000 Israeli Jews entered Al-Aqsa Mosque last year “in order to instigate, to present themselves as new masters of the land… Their intent is absolutely clear: To destroy what exists today in the holy sanctuary in Jerusalem.”….
Cabinet: Eid al-Fitr holiday from 3 to 6 June
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 27 May – The Palestinian cabinet, in its weekly meeting held on Monday in Ramallah, set the end of Ramadan holiday from Monday morning, June 3rd through Thursday, June 6th. A cabinet statement said work will resume on Sunday, June 9th, as per the regular pre-Ramadan work hours.
Palestinian patient referrals to Israeli hospitals have dropped dramatically, says WHO
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 1 June – Out of 2,489 Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) referrals in April for Gaza patients and 5,577 referrals for West Bank patients to non-MoH facilities, there were only four referrals for Gaza patients and 71 referrals for West Bank patients to Israeli hospitals, reflecting the Palestinian MoH’s decision in March to stop referrals to Israeli hospitals, apart from exceptional cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). For comparison, in 2017 there was an average of 346 referrals for Gaza patients and 1,010 referrals for West Bank patients to Israeli hospitals each month. The Palestinian Authority (PA) decided to reduce referrals to Israeli hospitals in response to Israel’s unilateral deduction of arbitrary amounts of money from the PA’s monthly tax clearance fund….
Government to pay 60% of monthly payroll to civil servants
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 May – The Ministry of Finance announced that the government will be paying only 60% of the monthly payroll of the civil servants for the month of May 2019 following Israel’s decision to deduct 502 million shekels ($138) a year from the Palestinian tax revenues. The Ministry said in a statement that it will disburse 60 percent of the basic salaries of civil servants, military personnel and retirees in the West Bank and Gaza with a minimum of 2000 shekels ($554) in addition to fixed transportation allowance for all civil servants….
Richest Palestinians stump up millions to bail out government
Bloomberg 29 May by Fadwa Hodali & Michael Arnold — Wealthy Palestinian businessmen are offering President Mahmoud Abbas’s West Bank-based government tens of millions of dollars in emergency loans after a standoff over payments to Palestinians involved in attacks on Israelis pushed its finances to the brink of collapse … Munib R. Masri, one of the richest men in the West Bank, has mobilized two dozen peers to lend the Palestinian Authority money in the interim. The private sector can marshal as much as $210 million over the next three months, he said at a meeting in Ramallah to discuss how to structure support. “The private sector has a duty and a responsibility and is a partner at such times,” Masri said … Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior official from the governing Fatah faction, said Abbas had accepted Masri’s proposal for bridge loans. “The Palestinian Authority will not collapse in July as everyone is saying,” said al-Ahmad, who also attended the consultations. Abbas “gave his guarantees that once the tax money Israel is holding is released, he can pay them back.”….
EU contributes €15 million to PA payment of May salaries and pensions
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 30 May — The European Union made today a contribution of €15 million to the payment of May salaries and pensions of nearly 56,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank, said a press release issued by the EU representative office in Jerusalem. This contribution is funded by the European Union as part of its Direct Financial Support to the Palestinian Authority channeled through the PEGASE mechanism. “We are aware of the fiscal crisis the Palestinian Authority is facing and the potential human, social and security consequences. The European Union has been in touch with both parties and expressed our clear expectation that economic and fiscal agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should continue to be fully implemented, including Israel’s obligations under the Paris Protocol,” said the said the Deputy European Union Representative Tomas Niklasson….
EU equips new Palestinian police training center
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 1 June — As part of the Mission’s contribution to the development of the Palestinian Civil Police, EUPOL COPPS, the European Union Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support, has handed over equipment to the recently established training center of the Department of the Special Police Forces in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to a press release. Two classrooms in the new training center were equipped with smart televisions, projectors and air-conditioning systems. The equipment will enable a more diverse delivery of theoretical training and improve the indoor working conditions. To support practical training and enhance the tactical training capacity, EUPOL COPPS is also equipping the training center with 10 body cameras….
Demonstrations in 30 countries on Quds Day
MEMO 1 June — People in 30 countries around the world have organised demonstrations to mark Al-Quds Day, the last Friday of each Ramadan. Several Palestinian and international organisations called on people to join the demonstrations in support of Jerusalem and the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as to highlight Israel’s aggression against the city and its holy sites, Al-Resalah newspaper reported. The demonstrations were launched in Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Iraq, 19 Indian cities, 24 Pakistani cities, 12 US states, eight European countries and 11 African countries, in addition to the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Hundreds of African, Asian and European cities take part in the demonstrations each year.
US says Mideast conference in Bahrain to go ahead despite Israel election
WASHINGTON (AFP)30 May — A US-led conference on economic aspects of a Middle East peace plan will go ahead next month in Bahrain despite Israel’s snap elections, the State Department said Thursday. “We are not anticipating any changes. It’s set for June 25 and 26,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters. Another US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a separate rollout of the political elements of the plan would take place “when the timing is right.”….
Report: US to propose to dismantle UNRWA during Bahrain conference
MEMO 28 May — The United States plans to propose to dismantle the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) during the “Peace to Prosperity” conference scheduled to take place in Bahrain next month. Israel Hayom newspaper reported that the United States will seek to withdraw the mandate Israel had granted to UNRWA to work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the conference, adding that Israel is reluctant to see this come into effect. According to the paper, the United States will, in turn, offer to renovate the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank, build them as permanent cities, and “that UNRWA’s education and food distribution activities be replaced by development programs implemented by international NGOs but run by the Palestinian Authority”. The newspaper pointed out that US envoy to the region, Jason Greenblatt, has recently proposed similar plans, saying that replacing UNRWA and terminating its work will be central to the deal, pointing out that UNRWA only perpetuates the conflict….
Palestinians in Latin America slam US-sponsored economic workshop in Manama
BUENOS AIRES (WAFA) 28 May – Representatives of the Palestinian diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean slammed the US-brokered economic workshop scheduled to be held in the Bahraini capital, Manama, later in June as intended to liquidate the Palestinian question. The Confederation of Palestinian Communities in Latin America and the Caribbean (COPLAC) expressed in a statement its absolute rejection and condemnation to the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ economic workshop, scheduled on June 25-26 in Bahrain’s capital, Manama. COPLAC urged Arab states not to participate in the workshop, which it described as “a US-Israeli maneuvering designed to wipe Palestine from the map and liquidate the rights of the Palestinian people.” It also slammed the workshop as a new attempt to eliminate the Palestinian cause which constitutes a part of the US-touted Mideast plan, whose main purpose is to empty the Palestinian demands of their political essence, reduce them to crumbs of economic assistance and destroy the Palestinian people’s right to their own independent state.
Abu Dis to be Palestine capital under ‘deal of the century’
MEMO 1 June — A senior Israeli source has revealed that Abu Dis would be the capital of any future Palestinian state under the “deal of the century”. According to a report by Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon yesterday, preparations are being made to unilaterally hand over Abu Dis – a district of Jerusalem located beyond Israel’s Separation Wall – to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA is expected to reject this step. Abu Dis is classified as part of Area B under the Oslo Accords, meaning it is under civil and administrative sovereignty of the PA but security control of Israel. The newspaper reported that PA President Mahmoud Abbas in 2018 refused a US and Israeli offer to withdraw from Abu Dis in order for it to become the Palestinian capital….
OIC summit condemns any decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
CAIRO (Reuters) 31 May — The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said it condemns any position adopted by an international body that supports prolonging occupation of Palestinian territories, including a U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The OIC summit in Mecca said in its final statement on Saturday that it opposes all illegal Israeli measures aimed at changing facts in occupied Palestinian territories including Jerusalem, and undermining the two-state solution. It urged member countries to take “appropriate measures” against countries that move their embassies to Jerusalem. The OIC also refused to accept any proposal for peaceful settlement that did not accord with Palestinians’ legitimate inalienable rights, the final statement said. The OIC stressed the importance of amassing support for the budget of the Palestinian government to continue its work.
VIDEO: As Israel basks in the glow of Eurovision, anti-Occupation activists show tourists the West Bank
The Intercept 26 May Video by Jack Dodson
Eying Trump, Palestinians, settlers hold kosher Hebron Iftar celebration
JPost 25 May by Tovah Lazaroff — With an eye toward the White House, settlers and Palestinians held a kosher Iftar celebration in the contentious West Bank city of Hebron on Monday. Sitting in a spacious tent set up outside the home of businessman Ashraf Jabari, settler leaders shook hands and embraced Palestinian and Israeli-Arab businessmen, wishing them ‘Ramadan karim’, just as if peace had already sprung. Then everyone enjoyed a kosher banquet of chicken, rice, potatoes and string beans catered from the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba for the traditional evening feast by which Muslims break their dawn to dusk fast during Ramadan. Among the Jewish guests, many of whom wore skullcaps, was Hebron Jewish community spokesman Noam Arnon, who was respectfully referred to as an unofficial “foreign minister.” “We drank [Turkish] coffee together. We all love the same coffee,” Arnon said in Hebrew, which was translated into Arabic. “I think we have arrived at the days of the Messiah,” he added. The event was organized and sponsored by the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group that wants to strengthen economic ties between Palestinians and Jews in the West Bank….