West Bank / Jerusalem
100 bullet fragments in brain of Palestinian child shot in northern West Bank
[with video] QALQILYA, occupied Palestine (ISM) 13 July — Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian child in the head with live ammunition at close range at around 3pm today during a protest against settlement expansion in the town of Kafr Qaddum, northern West Bank. Abdul Rahman Yasser Shteiwi, 10, was rushed to Rafidia hospital in Nablus and was operated on immediately. The leader of the popular resistance committee in Kafr Qaddum, Murad Shtaiwi, told ISM that doctors found over 70 bullet fragments lodged in the child’s brain. An X-ray scan of Abdul’s skull (pictured below) appears to show dozens of metal pieces throughout his brain. The 10-year-old is in a critical condition, although doctors managed to stop the bleeding a few hours after he was admitted, according to Mr Shtaiwi, who has been in the hospital since the shooting. Mr Shtaiwi said: “I don’t have words to explain the sadness I feel. “The army practised a very big fault if they think that what they did today will make the demonstration go down. No never.”
The Israeli army has claimed that no live ammunition was used against protesters; however the doctors treating Abdul said that the bullet fragments in his brain are from a live round. ISM activists also found a 5.56 bullet case on the ground where protesters had been standing some 15 minutes before. The case was hot to the touch suggesting it had been fired that afternoon. Dozens more bullet cases were also found by villagers following the protest. Rubber coated steel bullets were fired at the crowds as well as sound bombs. At least two people were injured by rubber bullets including a child who was shot in the arm and a man who was also hit in the arm….
Soldiers shoot two Palestinians, abduct one, in Deheishe refugee camp
IMEMC 11 July — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, shot and injured two Palestinians, and abducted one. Media sources in Deheishe said the soldiers first infiltrated into the camp using two civilian cars, before many jeeps invaded it and attacked Palestinian protesters with live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. They added that the soldiers injured two young Palestinian men with live fire, caused several others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, and abducted a young man, identified as Ismael Sami al-Ja‘fari. In related news, the soldiers invaded the Shiokh [Shuyukh] town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and violently searched many homes.
Israeli soldiers shoot and injure Palestinian at checkpoint near Jenin
IMEMC 9 July — A Palestinian man was shot and severely wounded by Israeli forces stationed at the Salem military roadblock near Jenin, in northern West Bank. The man is in his fifties, and after he was shot in the lower extremities, he was taken into custody by the army. No injuries were reported among the soldiers. Although Israeli military sources claim that the man threw a flaming object toward the soldiers at the checkpoint, that was not confirmed by local sources and eyewitnesses. It should be noted that Israeli forces often make false claims about Palestinian civilians that they shoot at checkpoints, which are later retracted when proven to be false. Following the shooting, the Israeli forces shut down the roadblock, leaving hundreds of Palestinians stranded, with no way to reach their destinations in the northern West Bank.
Soldiers abduct a father and son for allegedly ramming soldiers with car
IMEMC 7 July — The Israeli army abducted, late on Saturday at night, a young Palestinian man and his father, allegedly for deliberately ramming Israeli soldiers with their car, wounding five. In a statement, the Israeli army claimed that the incident, which took place late on Saturday evening at Hizma military roadblock, north of occupied East Jerusalem, “was a deliberate ramming attack and not an accident.” Five Israeli soldiers were injured in the incident, two suffered moderate wounds, and three were mildly injured. Israeli daily Haaretz said both the father, and his son, were taken for interrogation, and added that the “suspect” who was driving the car is the son, and that he and his father were driving at the roadblock from the direction of Hizma town, and then returned to the West Bank after the incident … Palestinian media outlets said dozens of soldiers surrounded Hizma town, and closed all its entrances, before the army invaded its main streets. They added that, despite the Israeli allegations, the incident was likely a traffic accident and not an intentional ramming attack, and that the driver apparently fled the scene to avoid being shot and killed by the soldiers, to avoid what happened in previous similar incidents in the West Bank, such as the case of Yousef Raed Anqawi, 20, and Amir Mahmoud Darraj, 20, who were killed by the soldiers, when the army claimed they deliberately rammed soldiers with their cars.
Israeli soldiers remove solidarity tent in Jerusalem, injure dozens of Palestinians
IMEMC 11 July — Israeli soldiers attacked, on Thursday afternoon, the solidarity tent in Wad al-Hummus area, in Sur Baher town, south of occupied Jerusalem, and forcibly demolished and removed it, in addition to firing many gas bombs and concussion grenades, casing dozens of Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, and burning farmlands, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) has reported. Media sources said the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs and concussion grenades at the Palestinians, nonviolently protesting in the tent, demanding Israel to void its plans to demolish more than 230 apartments and displace the families. |Israeli High Court rules against Palestinian families; will allow their homes to be demolished| They added that dozens of Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to cuts and bruises, after being assaulted by the soldiers. Fire also broke out in Palestinian lands, burning many trees and plants due to the intensity of the Israeli gas bombs and concussion grenades. The soldiers also invaded the al-‘Issawiya town, in Jerusalem, and abducted a young man, identified as Ahmad al-Masri. In addition, dozens of soldiers and officers stormed Wad Yasoul neighborhood in Silwan town, in Jerusalem, and attacked many Palestinians, in addition to removing Palestinian flags. The soldiers, accompanied by workers of the Jerusalem City Council, also invaded many streets in the al-‘Issawiya town, before attacking many Palestinians, and removed Palestinian flags in addition to poster of Mohammad Samir Obeid, 21, who was killed by the army on June 27th.
Right-wing group hangs Palestinian flags on West Bank roads, spooking settlers
Times of Israel 7 July — Regavim stunt prompts flurry of complaints; organization’s co-founder Bezalel Smotrich, now the minister of transportation, initially condemns Palestinian ‘audacity’ — A right-wing organization hung Palestinian flags along highways in the West Bank overnight Saturday in a self-styled “secret campaign,” prompting a flurry of complaints by Jewish residents to police. The goal of the stunt, the Regavim organization said in a statement on Sunday morning, was to alert Israelis that a “terror state was around the corner.” Regavim, which monitors Palestinian construction in the West Bank, said the move was designed to “wake up” the local Jewish population, “to shock, alert, and illustrate what will happen if illegal Arab construction is allowed to continue unhindered and a de facto Palestinian state is established as per the Fayyad Plan of 2009,” referring to a proposal by then-Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad. “We understand the harsh reactions of the residents of Judea and Samaria who saw the flags this morning, but we also understand that there is a terrorist state taking shape right around the corner,” said Regavim director Meir Deutsch, using the biblical name for the West Bank … After the flag-flyers identified themselves, however, Smotrich called the Regavim campaign “important and even critical.” “The time has come for all of us to wake up and thwart the Arab takeover of our homeland,” added Smotrich, who belongs to the Union of Right Wing Parties. “These flags are not dangerous, but the thousands of houses, roads, and trees that the Arabs are building, and paving, and planting under our noses are! The responsibility falls on the shoulders of one man — Netanyahu.”
Israeli colonists assault a Palestinian child in Hebron
IMEMC 6 July — Several illegal Israeli colonialist settlers assaulted, Saturday, a Palestinian child in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, causing lacerations and bruises. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the Israeli assailants attacked the child, Raed Abu Rmeila Tamimi, 10, while crossing the Sahla Street, near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron city. WAFA added that the child was rushed to Hebron Governmental Hospital, suffering several lacerations and bruises. The child’s father said that he was heading to his pottery shop in the Old City, after returning from the markets area in Hebron, and then asked his child to carry some items to take them home in the southern part of the city. He added that, while his child was walking in the Sahla Street area, a few colonists assaulted him, causing his injuries, and deliberately smashed his mobile phone, while Israeli soldiers, constantly deployed in the area, failed to intervene. “While the soldiers just stood and watched, many Palestinians intervened and managed to take my child away from the assailants, and took him to the hospital,” the father stated.
Settler tour exemplifies the difficult reality of occupation in the Old City of Hebron — a photo essay
HEBRON (International Solidarity Movement) 7 July — Every Saturday, illegal Jewish settlers from around the West Bank take a “tour” of the busy souq (market) in Old City of Hebron, the busiest market street in the area since the closure of Shuhada Street. Local Palestinians believe that the Israeli authorities facilitate the tour as a deliberate method of intimidation, making life intolerable and unsustainable for them in order to prompt displacement. On the tour, current and prospective settlers are given a skewed history of Hebron which disregards and contradicts the documented history of peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews in the city before 1948. Instead, it identifies the land’s heritage as solely Jewish. As shown, the settlers are escorted by numerous Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers, who randomly detain Palestinians for ID checks and prevent free movement in the souq during the duration of the tour. Military and police can also be seen on the rooftops of Palestinian homes, many of which are now empty as a result of forced evictions for surveillance purposes.
Illegal Israeli colonists occupy Palestinian irrigation wells
IMEMC 12 July — Several illegal Israeli colonialist settlers invaded, Friday, Khirbat Samra Palestinian village, in the West Bank’s Northern Plains, and occupied irrigation wells. Palestinian human rights activist, Aref Daraghma, said the colonists, occupied all the Palestinian wells, and prevented the farmers from using them, before using the water for their cows. Daraghma added that the colonists prevented the Palestinians from using the well to feed their sheep, and planted trees in Khallet Hamad area, near the tents of local shepherds, in preparation to occupy the lands. The Palestinians in the Northern Plains of the West Bank are subject to ongoing violations by the illegal Israeli colonialist settlers, and face frequent assaults and displacement by the Israeli soldiers.
Settlers torch hundreds of olive trees in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 10 July — Israeli settlers, today, set fire to hundreds of olive trees in the northern West Bank village of Burin, reported Ghassan Daghlas, a local official. He told WAFA that settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar snuck into a plot of Burin farmland and set fire to hundreds of olive trees, in the southern parts of the village, located to the south of Nablus. He also said that the Israeli army prevented Palestinian firetrucks from reaching the area to put out the fire, which then spread and resulted in heavy losses to the farmers.
Cars vandalized, threatening graffiti found in suspected West Bank hate crime
[behind paywall] Haaretz 7 July by Yoram Berger — Cars were vandalized and sprayed with threatening Hebrew-language slogans in a West Bank town in a suspected hate crime on Sunday, Palestinian residents said. The cars in the town of ‘Awarta, near Nablus, also had their tires slashed. The graffiti suggested that the incident was intended as revenge for a car-ramming attack on Saturday night that left five Israeli soldiers wounded. It included Stars of David and the statements “when our blood is spilled, we will take our fate into our own hands, hello from Hizma” – referring to the village near the checkpoint where the attack took place – and “Judea and Israel are fighting for the dignity of Israel, Hizma revenge.”….
Vandals graffiti Palestinian town demanding death for freed rape suspect
Times of Israel 10 July — Threatening graffiti messages were discovered Wednesday in the home village of a Palestinian man who was arrested in connection with an alleged rape of a 7-year-old Israeli girl, before charges were dropped and he was released. Police said it had opened an investigation into the apparent hate crime. An inscription saying “The death penalty is necessary for Mahmoud Qadusa” was sprayed on a wall in the West Bank village of Deir Qadis, referring to the formerly accused man. The attackers also damaged several cars in the village. Last month, 12 cars were found with their tires slashed and Hebrew hate slogans were spray-painted on walls in the nearby village of Sinjil. “We give them jobs and they rape” read one phrase daubed on a wall, in an apparent reference to the alleged attack on the child. Qadusa, a 46-year-old maintenance custodian at the alleged victim’s school, was released in June after spending nearly two months in detention after the indictment against him came under fire for its lack of evidence….
Palestinian prisoner for 15 years re-detained as he walked out of an Israeli prison
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 11 July – The Israeli authorities re-detained today a Palestinian from occupied East Jerusalem as he walked out of prison after serving 15 years, according to a prisoners’ advocacy group. Wasim Salim Jallad, 41, was leaving the Naqab prison in the south of Israel after completing his 15-year prison sentence when he was picked up by Israeli forces and re-detained, said Amjad Abu Assab, head of the Committee of Families of Prisoners from Jerusalem. No reason was given for the re-detention of Jallad.
Three PA security members kidnapped by IOF in W. Bank
TUBAS (PIC) 12 July — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Thursday night kidnaped three members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces as they were traveling from their workplace in Jericho to their homes in Qabatiya town, south of Jenin. Local sources told a reporter for the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that three young PA security officers were searched and rounded up by Israeli soldiers at the Hamra checkpoint near Tubas. The detainees were identified as Nuruddin Abul-Rab, Mohamed Zakarneh, Ahmed Zakarneh. The reason for their detention is still unknown.
Israeli forces detain 27 Palestinians from West Bank, Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 July – Israeli forces detained today 27 Palestinians from various parts of the West Bank, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and sources. Israeli forces conducted large-scale raids across the northern West Bank district of Jenin, resulting in the detention of 13 former prisoners, said PPS … Meanwhile, Israeli military raided Qalqiliya city where soldiers rounded up a Palestinian man. In Ramallah district, local sources confirmed an Israeli military raid in Silwad village, east of Ramallah, resulted in the detention of a Palestinian. In Jerusalem district, Israeli police rounded up five Palestinians after storming their houses in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-‘Issawiyeh. Two others were rounded up from Biddu town, northwest of Jerusalem….
Israel bans Palestinian dairy, meat exports to East Jerusalem
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 10 July by Ahmad Abu Amer — Israel’s July 1 decision took the Palestinian dairy and meat producers by surprise, as it prohibits the export of their products to East Jerusalem as of Aug. 1, without explaining why. The decision, which was printed on a large banner next to the West Bank-Jerusalem Qalandia crossing that Palestinian cargo trucks use, was issued by the Israeli Ministry of Health and State Veterinary Services and Animal Health. The Palestinian government parties are yet to be officially notified of the decision. Speaking to Voice of Palestine Radio July 1, Minister of National Economy Khalid al-Assaily said that a similar decision targeting Israeli products would be taken by the Palestinian government if the Israeli decision enters into force … Speaking to Al-Monitor, Marketing Director at Siniora Food Industries Ahmed al-Karmi warned against the big losses his company and other companies would incur, and added that they would amount to millions of dollars.
Palestinians elect first female head of village in Jenin
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 8 July by Rasha Abou Jalal — For the first time in Jenin governorate, in the northern West Bank, a woman was elected June 25 to preside over the village council of al-Judeida. The council’s 11 members chose social activist Kifaya Zakzouk to head the council during elections held under the supervision of the directorate of the Ministry of Local Government in Jenin governorate. Al-Judeida village has a surface area of 6,360 dunams (1,571 acres) and is home to 6,000 people, most of whom work in agriculture. Zakzouk, 50, who was elected by residents in 2017 as a member of the village council, told Al-Monitor, “My victory in these elections is a historic event that breaks men’s monopolization of the local council leadership in Jenin. No woman has ever occupied this position in the [Jenin] governorate.” She said that her victory proves that “Palestinian women are challenging norms and traditions confining them to the household and that they can work in different fields and handle leadership positions.”….
ANERA opens first public preschool in West Bank village
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 July – Anera (American Near East Refugee Aid), a leading development organization helping families in the Middle East since 1968, recently completed construction of a preschool in the West Bank village of Ni‘lin, near Ramallah, the latest contribution in Anera’s campaign to dramatically expand preschool education for Palestinian children, according to a press release. The preschool, which will open its doors to children on September 1, was built with support from the Stengel family, it said … Although USAID cuts have significantly impacted Anera, the organization continues many programs with the support of private and institutional donors, including building infrastructure like preschools. In April, Anera inaugurated a school in Qibya, and plans to complete five more preschools by the end of August, said the press release….
Palestinian police on red alert over antiquities smuggling
RAMALLAH, West Bank 11 July by Ahmad Melhem — Despite efforts by the Palestinian police, more and more antiquities in Palestine end up in the hands of the smugglers, the Palestinian police told Al-Monitor. Hassan al-Jamal, chief of the Antiquity and Tourism Police, told Al-Monitor that antiquities smuggling has increased over the past year and that the Achilles’ heel of smuggling is the Israeli-controlled Area C. “Smuggling exists in all areas of the West Bank, because the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not control the borders and Palestinian and Israeli security powers overlap, specifically in Area C territories,” he lamented … The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism lacks accurate estimates on the amount of antiquities that smugglers have removed from the country. A detailed ministry study from 2010 estimated that an average of 100,000 pieces — big and small — were smuggled outside Palestine every year. The study said that 85% of these antiquities were smuggled to Israeli parties. Over the course of 222 operations against smugglers, Palestinian police seized 5,061 historical and archaeological pieces before they were smuggled out of the West Bank between Jan. 1 and May 31, police spokesperson Louay Azriqat told Al-Monitor….
3,000 protest in Gaza for Great Return March as Egyptian delegation arrives
IMEMC 13 July — A day after Israeli forces “mistakenly” shot and killed a Palestinian security guard trying to prevent protesters from reaching the border fence with Israel, thousands of people turned out Friday midday to protest the escalation in ‘Great Return March’ protests in northern, southern and eastern Gaza. One Palestinian couple used the occasion to celebrate their wedding, with their cheers and songs interjected by Israeli tear gas and shooting. At least 40 Palestinians were shot and injured, while dozens of others suffered from tear-gas inhalation, as Israeli occupation forces suppressed protesters along the eastern fence of the besieged Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian ministry of Health in Gaza. A protester in Rafah was critically injured by live gunfire fired by Israeli soldiers towards the demonstrators. Some local sources have reported that as many as 33 Palestinians were hit with live ammunition at Friday’s protests, and up to 55 total injured.
The protests took place as delegates from Egypt arrived in the besieged coastal Strip to try to negotiate with the Hamas leadership. The Egyptians are working with the Israeli administration to try to get Hamas to agree to continue to hold to a fragile truce with Israel, which was broken the day before by Israeli forces who killed a civil official in Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. 28-year-old Palestinian Mahmoud al-Adham was shot and killed by Israeli forces Thursday near Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Strip, while trying to stop Palestinian teens who were going near the fence marking the border with Israel. The Al-Qassam Brigades said that it would not let the death go “unpunished”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “I prefer that there be calm. But we are preparing for a campaign that is not only broad but also surprising.”
Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian in Gaza
IMEMC 11 July — Israeli soldiers killed, Thursday, a young Palestinian man, east of Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian was a member of Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and was shot while trying to prevent protesters from approaching the perimeter fence. The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that the soldiers shot and seriously injured Mahmoud Ahmad al-Adham, 28, on Thursday morning, east of Beit Hanoun, and added that the young man succumbed to his injuries on Thursday evening. He was one of many “Field Control” officers, stationed near the perimeter fence to prevent Palestinian protesters from approaching the perimeter fence with Israel as part of understandings to avoid escalation. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also fired several live rounds at field control post, east of Rafah, in southern Gaza Strip. The Al-Qassam Brigades issued a statement accusing Israel of deliberately killing the Palestinian, and said that “it is evaluating the situation, and its response to the grave Israeli violation.” His death comes after a period of relative calm along the perimeter fence, especially after the indirect “ceasefire understandings” between Hamas and Israel, to avoid tension along the fence. He was one of the dozens of officers, and fighters, tasked with preventing any Palestinian from reaching the perimeter fence or attempting to cross it.
In a statement, the Israeli army admitted it shot and killed the fighter, after claiming that the incident was a “mistake stemming from a misunderstanding,” and added that “it will investigate it.”
Egyptian mediators arrive in Gaza to call for calm
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 12 July by Fares Akram –— Egyptian meditators arrived in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Friday after fears of renewed tension along the enclave’s border with Israel a day after the Israeli military shot and killed a Hamas militant. The Egyptian delegation, comprised of senior officials of the General Intelligence Service, began talks with the militant Islamic group and other factions in Gaza City … Late on Friday, the Israeli military said it identified one rocket fired by Palestinian militants into southern Israel. It did not elaborate. Aside from Thursday’s killing of the Hamas gunman, the Gaza-Israel frontier has remained largely quiet since May, after Hamas and Israel ended their worst round of conflict in years. Israel said its forces misidentified the militant — whose mission was to prevent infiltration through the fence — as an attacker. But Fathi Hammad, a member of Hamas’ politburo, told demonstrators Friday that his movement will respond to the shooting. Hamas says Israel is avoiding the cease-fire terms that call for easing restrictions and improving conditions in the impoverished enclave. Hammad threatened to escalate the protests and resume firing incendiary balloons toward Israeli farmland if Israel doesn’t accelerate measures alleviating Gaza’s economic and humanitarian crisis within a week.
Hamas launches Gaza-wide drill simulating Israeli incursion
i24NEWS 10 July — A surprise exercise simulating an Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip was launched Tuesday evening, with the enclave’s Islamist militant rulers Hamas raising the level of alert among all security agencies across the Strip. The exercise involved all echelons of Gaza’s security services, including police, intelligence units and Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades militant wing. As part of the drill, reserve units were mobilized, roadblocks deployed, and all land crossings and sea ports shuttered by Hamas. Residents of the Strip first reported a sudden flurry of security activity before the Hamas-run Interior Ministry announced the drill. “The Interior and National Security Ministry is currently carrying out an emergency drill to simulate dealing with a sudden security threat. It is taking place in the framework of examining the preparedness of the security forces and services,” spokesman Iyad al-Bozm wrote on Twitter.
The drill –which included a simulation of the capture of Israeli special forces operating in the territory — comes days after the IDF released new findings on a botched special operation in Gaza last November that resulted in the death of an elite Israeli officer and seven Palestinians.
Israeli forces shoot, arrest Palestinian youth on Gaza border
GAZA (PIC) 12 July — The Israeli occupation forces on Friday afternoon arrested a Palestinian citizen after shooting him north of the Gaza Strip. Quds Press, quoting local sources, said that the Israeli forces opened fire at a Palestinian youth near the border in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia. The youth, who suffered bullet wounds, was arrested and taken to an undeclared destination. Israeli media sources claimed that the injured detainee attempted to infiltrate into the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.
Israeli army: Gaza drone shot down after crossing border
[behind paywall] Haaretz 8 July by Almog Ben Zikri — Israeli soldiers shot down a drone they identified crossing over from the Gaza Strip on Monday, according to a statement by the Israeli army. Israeli radar systems identified a drone flying over the border in the northern Gaza Strip toward nearby communities, Karmiya and Zikim. It was tracked for some time before the decision was made to down it. It remains unclear at this point how the drone was shot down. Its remnants were collected by the army and transferred for further examination in order to determine its origins and the type of equipment it was carrying. Over the last few years, many Israelis living in the region independently operate drones to film the damage caused by conflagrations started with incendiary balloons and kites launched by Gazans from the Strip. The Israeli army did not confirm this was not the case this time as well….
IDF says recently discovered Gaza attack tunnel is ‘old’, releases footage
Times of Israel 9 July — The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday released photographs of an “old” cross-border attack tunnel from the Gaza Strip that it uncovered the day before, as well as video footage of forces surveying the underground passage. The photos showed rough-hewn sections of the tunnel, which is the 18th cross-border passage discovered since the end of the 2014 war. In the short video clip, soldiers are seen apparently measuring the depth of the tunnel. The military on Tuesday said the tunnel was “old,” without elaborating. According to Channel 13 television, the Israeli authorities were investigating whether the tunnel was used in the 2006 Hamas kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. “Forces investigated the route during the past 24 hours and will continue with the mission,” the army said in a statement. The military on Monday said the tunnel was found during the construction of an underground barrier around the Palestinian coastal enclave, five years after the start of a operation aimed at finding and destroying such passages … Work began in earnest on the Defense Ministry-led project in 2016. According to the military, it is due to be completed by the end of 2019. The 65-kilometer (40 mile) barrier is being constructed entirely inside Israeli territory, 50 meters (some 55 yards) from the Gaza border at its closest point and 300 meters (328 yards) away at its farthest.
16 Palestinian children killed in first term of 2019
IMEMC/Agencies 10 July — The Israeli occupation army has killed 16 Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip during the first term of 2019, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported on Wednesday. The center said, in the report, that some 1,233 Palestinian children were injured while participating in the Great March of Return, and 17 others were detained. The report stressed that Israeli occupation forces continued its systematic violations of Palestinians’ human rights in Gaza Strip, especially on the children. According to the report, the recorded data pointed to an increase in the number of killed and injured children, as well as in the number of detentions, Al Ray further reports.
For faith or money: Why Gazans are eager to perform umrah
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 12 July by Amjad Yaghi — Three months ago, some 20 young Gazan men went on the umrah pilgrimage (the non-mandatory, lesser pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia and never returned to the Gaza Strip. Saudi authorities grant Gazan pilgrims a one-month visa to Saudi Arabia for hajj and umrah through travel agencies in Gaza. Pilgrims ought to leave Saudi territories upon completing their pilgrimage. Their passports remain in the travel agencies’ possession and are given back to them upon their return to Gaza. This, however, did not stop some of the travelers to stay illegally in Saudi Arabia. They obtain a passport replacement from the Palestinian Embassy after declaring they lost the original. They then try to flee to other Gulf countries to find work. Many young Gazans consider the umrah trip an opportunity to escape the densely populated enclave to travel to countries where they have a chance to find work or study. In fact, the pilgrimage trip is less trouble than going through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip and security checks by the Egyptian police….
How Israel returned a Gaza fishing boat back to its owner
GAZA STRIP (Al Jazeera) 6 July by Walid Mahmoud & Muhammas Shehada — Abdul-Muti al-Habil’s boat was sunk and confiscated by Israel’s navy in 2016. What was left of it was returned in ruins — Abdul-Muti al-Habil, a fisherman from Gaza, received a sudden phone call from the Palestinian Authority (PA) last week, informing him that his boat – confiscated by Israel three years earlier – would be returned to him at a crossing in the southern Gaza Strip. The PA official told al-Habil that the return of the 17-metre long ship, one of the largest of Gaza’s fishing fleet, marked an unprecedented move by Israel, especially since it would be transported over land. But al-Habil’s bitterness did not start with the confiscation of his boat, and he fears it will not end after the return of it …
Shortly after al-Habil’s boat was back in working order, Israel attacked it again on September 8, 2016, and arrested all fishermen on board, releasing them a day later. This time, however, Israel’s navy confiscated the boat until further notice and in the process of transporting it to Israel’s Ashdod seaport, the boat incurred further severe damage, according to al-Habil, who said an evident hole in the ship’s hull, made it unusable. Nahid Abu Ryala, who used to work on al-Habil’s boat, told Al Jazeera: “The boat used to employ 34 people, each of whom has a household of seven to 10 people. Our careers were gone in a blink of an eye when Israel decided to attack our boat. It can’t go on like this. This is inhumane.” …
Last Monday, two days after the phone call from the PA, al-Habil – whose boat is one of very few large ones equipped to sail long distances in the besieged Gaza Strip – retrieved the vessel from the Karm Abu Salem crossing, but had to pay about $3,000 for transport costs, due to Israel’s unusual insistence on not delivering the boat by sea. “The boat should have been delivered by sea, but due to the damage Israel inflicted on it, it was only possible to transport it by land,” al-Habil pointed out. “When I went to pick it up, I found it severely ruined on all different levels.” … According to al-Habil, the initial estimation of maintenance costs exceeds $45,000, an amount he says is “insanely unaffordable” in the blockaded Gaza Strip. Moreover, al-Habil’s dilemma is further exacerbated by the Israeli restrictions and prohibitions on the entry of basic and necessary materials, tools and equipment needed to fix the boat….
Palestinian businessmen demand Israel lift ban on raw materials shipment to Gaza
GAZA, July 6 (Xinhua) — The Palestinian Businessmen Association (PBA) demanded on Saturday that Israel lift the ban on raw materials shipment to the Gaza Strip. “More than 500 various types of raw materials needed to boost economic and industrial sectors are banned by the Israeli occupation,” Ali Hayek, chairman of the Gaza-based PBA, said in a press statement. “It is necessary to lift this ban that has been going on since 2007 in order to revive and boost the Palestinian economy in the Gaza Strip, thus fighting the economic and humanitarian crisis,” he added. According to the PBA chief, the productivity in Gaza has declined by more than 52 percent in the past few years, with nearly 300,000 unemployed people. On Friday, Israel declared the lift of the ban on the shipment of about 18 kinds of raw materials to Gaza, including agricultural fertilizers and steel nets used for fishing, the Voice of Israel radio station reported.
Gaza’s traditional crafts industries rapidly disappearing
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 10 July by Fares Akram & Khalil Hamra — When Gazans think of better economic times, images of clay pottery, colorful glassware, bamboo furniture and ancient frame looms weaving bright rugs and mats all come to mind. For decades, these traditional crafts defined the economy of the coastal Palestinian enclave, employing thousands of people and exporting across the region. Today, the industries are almost non-existent. While such professions have shrunk worldwide in the face of globalization and Chinese mass production, Gazan business owners say Israel’s 12-year blockade of the territory has accelerated the trend. “We have been economically damaged. We are staying, but things are really difficult,” said Abed Abu Sido, one of Gaza’s last glassmakers, as he flipped through a glossy catalog of his products. At his quiet workshop, layers of dust covered the few remaining glass artifacts, requiring him to scrub them to reveal their colors. Cardboard boxes of unfinished products and materials were stacked floor-to-ceiling….
Video — Gaza: More women join workforce despite high unemployment
6 July — More women than ever before are making up a part of Gaza‘s workforce. Unemployment is at record levels. Yet women are setting up their own businesses to raise money for their families. But they have to deal with cultural, as well as economic barriers. Al Jazeera’s Rob Matheson reports.
B’Tselem: Commercial and residential tenants in buildings bombed during the last round of hostilities talk about the destruction of their lives
9 July — In June, we released our findings about the round of hostilities between Israel and militant organizations in Gaza in early May and the civilians killed and injured by Israel. Today, B’Tselem releases the findings of further research focusing on two buildings that were targeted and destroyed after the military gave their occupants only several minutes to vacate the premises, and on the immense harm caused to commercial and residential tenants in them. According to UN figures on this round of hostilities, Israeli bombardments destroyed a total of 100 units, 33 of them residential. Another 30 units were severely damaged, including 19 residential units, bringing the total number of residential units rendered uninhabitable to 52. This left 52 families, consisting of 327 individuals including 65 children under the age of five, homeless. Some 700 additional residential units sustained damage. In testimonies given to B’Tselem field researcher Olfat al-Kurd, tenants described the terror of having to vacate the premises on a moment’s notice and the devastating impact of the attacks on their lives: ….
Death sentence issued in Gaza: PCHR calls for respecting Palestine’s international obligations
PCHR 10 July — On Tuesday, 09 July 2019, the First Instance Court issued a death sentence by hanging against J.M. (69), from Jabalia after convicting him with the murder of (A.A.) on 15 February 2018. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the ongoing use of death penalty in the Gaza Strip and calls upon the authorities to respect Palestine’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’ Second Optional Protocol, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (Acceded in June 2018). Since the beginning of 2019, three death sentences were issued in Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled areas. Thus, the total number of death sentences issued since 1994 reached 219: 30 in the West Bank and 189 in the Gaza Strip. Of the Gaza Strip sentences, 131 were issued after 2007. PCHR confirms that any death sentence should not be executed without the Palestinian President’s ratification; and that any executions carried out without said ratification are considered an extra-judicial execution and those executing or issuing the sentence should be held accountable. PCHR also commends the President’s decision not to ratify any death sentence since 2005, and calls for a moratorium on the death sentence, in a prelude to its abolition from Palestinian legislations.
With a crumbling economy, Gaza’s poorest are pushed into homelessness
Mondoweiss 8 July by Yousef M. Aljamal — Amid growing financial strain, Palestinians in Gaza who are unable to pay rent are now living in tents. Most were tradesmen who lost their jobs in recent years. Some were once part of Gaza’s slim middle-class. Of those with degrees, many studied hard sciences. After a decade of siege on Gaza’s crumbling economy, even once reliable work is scarce … Ziad Abu Hashish, an academic and researcher in social and economic affairs in the Gaza Strip at Al-Aqsa University, described the coastal enclave as a crisis area. “The percentage of people living below the poverty line in the Gaza Strip exceeded all expectations, and the siege did not spare any segment of the society, and those living in rental houses face either imprisonment or eviction along with their families,” Abu Hashish said….
Not all Gazans are poverty-stricken – only most of them. Some people would like to use the better-off Gazans to deny the deplorable and worsening situation in the Strip.
The Gaza you don’t see
Israel National News 8 July by Mordechai Sones — The increasingly popular Twitter account called @Imshin disseminates videos, blog posts, and news from the middle-class and wealthy world of the Gaza Strip that never make it into the mainstream media. According to the UN, 53% of Gazans live in poverty, despite humanitarian assistance. But while world media outlets choose to focus solely on photographs of destitute Gazans carting off sacks of UNRWA flour by donkey cart, the swank world of high-class hotels, black-tie restaurants, and gourmet supermarkets stocked to overflowing with Israeli products are ignored, presenting a misleading picture of what life in Gaza after Israeli “occupation” is truly like. Under the hashtag #TheGazaYouDontSee, Imshin, who prefers to keep her identity anonymous, shares diverse vignettes from life in Gaza that are a far cry from the oppression and misery that “everybody knows” is the lot of the Gazan population. From shopping sprees to swimming academies, bumper cars to the upscale Palmera Restaurant, Imshin opens our eyes to the fact that life in Gaza is more complex than what anti-Israel propagandists would have one believe….
Veterinarians seek medical cannabis for dogs
WorldIsraelNews 6 July — The trauma suffered by Israelis from the Gaza rocket attacks is not limited to humans. Veterinarians reportedly are requesting authorization to administer medical cannabis to dogs living in a rocket-plagued Israeli city near the Gaza Strip as a way of treating the anxiety from which the canines are suffering. “Examinations conducted by veterinarians from the Israel Medical Cannabis Association have shown that more than 50 percent of dogs at the Sderot municipal shelter suffer from symptoms of anxiety: diarrhea, vomiting, pressing themselves up against walls, and all because of the security situation in the region,” reports the Mako website. Sderot is a city in the western Negev that is situated only about a kilometer from the Gaza Strip and has suffered sustained rocket fire over the past couple of decades….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
How ‘archaeological settlements’ are destroying Palestinian homes
Al Jazeera 8 July by Mersiha Gadzo — Fayyad Abu Rmeleh, 60, is afraid the floor and yard of his home will one day collapse. Every day, he says, from morning until late afternoon, the family hears the digging and drilling of tunnels beneath their building. The excavations conducted by Israeli authorities first began in 2000, but it was not until five years ago that they began to notice damage to their home. “It’s putting our lives in danger,” Abu Rmeleh told Al Jazeera. “Wherever you turn your head, you find new cracks. We don’t know how many tunnels are beneath our house, but we believe there are at least three.” The 50-member Abu Rmeleh family lives in Silwan‘s Wadi Hilweh neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, which has been marketed as the “City of David” tourist attraction, where some Israelis say King David of the Bible built the “original city of Jerusalem” some 3,000 years ago. Underneath their home, Israeli authorities have been digging tunnels, searching for traces of the Second Temple era. Long, jagged cracks have formed every which way in his home – on the stairs, by the windows in the bathroom and living room, while chunks of the wall in some areas have fallen out. On the outside of the house, a 1.5-metre-long crack stretches from the ground. But his nephew’s home, located in the same building, was the most badly damaged. He was forced to move out with his wife and five children in early 2018 as the ground weakened and could barely hold the walls…
Israeli authorities last week inaugurated the newly excavated tunnel “Path of the Pilgrims” that extends from Wadi Hilweh to the Western Wall, just outside the Al Aqsa compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City …
While Greenblatt and members of Elad are confident the new tunnel served as a pilgrim route leading to the Second Temple, many archaeologists are not, Jerusalem-based Yonathan Mizrachi noted in an article. Mizrachi, CEO of the Israeli NGO Emek Shaveh, told Al Jazeera the tunnels that Israel has excavated in and around the Old City and in Silwan are “problematic”. To date, no academic or scientific report has been published on the tunnels, nor has any data been released as to what has been discovered … Furthermore, the tunnels have been excavated horizontally, breaking in practice with the 100-year-old accepted method of excavating vertically from the surface down, the method used by archaeologists worldwide, Mizrachi said. Information obtained from horizontal excavations is almost worthless …
Mizrachi said the tunnel excavations are “all part of a political agenda”. “Unfortunately, Israel is using these tunnels disguised as archaeological excavations but it’s actually part of the political goal to prevent Jerusalem from being part of any political solution,” Mizrachi said. “We consider [it to be] another form of settlement. It’s a settlement without people, but it’s an archaeological settlement. It’s not less problematic than other settlements, but even more [so].”
Israel’s separation wall endures, 15 years after ICJ ruling
Al Jazeera 9 July by Linah Alsaafin — The separation wall, deemed illegal by ICJ, cuts into occupied West Bank territory, and will be 712km upon completion — In the occupied West Bank, the long, concrete separation wall winds through the landscape, slicing through Palestinian communities, agricultural fields and farmlands in a steady manner. The wall, which Israel began constructing in 2002 at the height of the second intifada, has been described by Israeli officials as a necessary security precaution against terrorism. Palestinians however, have decried the wall as an Israeli mechanism to annex Palestinian territory, as it is built deep within the West Bank and not along the 1967 Green Line. Tuesday marks the 15th anniversary since the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN judiciary organ, issued an advisory opinion that deemed Israel’s separation wall illegal. … “Israel has continued to build and expand the separation wall and has acted as though the ICJ decision did not happen,” Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Al Jazeera. “This has resulted in the strangulation of the West Bank, and has affected the course of life for Palestinians,” he said. Daghlas said Israel’s complete disregard for the ICJ ruling shows that “it considers itself above international law” and has no qualms in showing its true “racist, apartheid” face to the international community.
‘Matrix of control’ — Omar Shakir, the Human Rights Watch director for Israel and Palestine, told Al Jazeera that the separation wall has had a direct effect on Palestinian daily life by separating thousands of Palestinians from each other, the agricultural lands they own, and from critical infrastructure and services. “The wall itself is part of the matrix of control and rights abuses that are part of the daily Palestinian experience,” Shakir said. At least 85 percent of the wall’s planned 712km-long route – which is twice as long as the Green Line – is built within Palestinian territory, which Shakir says impacts the Palestinians’ “everyday ability to access services, schools, hospitals, their land, and the rest of the Palestinian population who are also partially cut off from these territories and communities”. Stop the Wall, a Palestinian grassroots advocacy campaign, said that upon the wall’s completion, Israel will have annexed 46 percent of the West Bank, “isolating communities into Bantustans, ghettos and military zones”….
Video: Israel’s illegal separation wall ‘imprisons’ Palestinians
9 July — Fifteen years ago, the International Court of Justice deemed the Israeli separation wall in occupied Palestinian territory as illegal under international law. The court issued a non-binding advisory opinion in 2004. It said construction must stop and Israel should make reparations for any damage caused. The court recognised that Israel faced acts of violence against its civilians, but said the Israeli government violated its obligations under international law. Israel says it built the wall to protect its security. But Palestinians say Israel is using its security as an excuse to grab even more land and transfer Palestinians out of the occupied West Bank. The Israeli wall divides many communities, including the Palestinian town of Bir Nabala in the occupied West Bank. Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reports from Bir Nabala, occupied West Bank.
Jerusalem family evicted from home seized by settlers
EI 10 July by Maureen Clare Murphy — Israeli occupation forces evicted a Palestinian family from their Jerusalem home and handed it over to settlers on Wednesday. Police forcefully removed the Siyam family from their home after a court dismissed their appeal and ruled in favor of the settler group Elad, ending a decades-long legal battle over the property near Jerusalem’s Old City. Settlers began removing the Siyam family’s belongings after the home was seized. Videos show the forced eviction: … The Siyam family home is located in Silwan, where US ambassador David Friedman and Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt recently participated in a theatrical inauguration of a new exhibit at the so-called City of David, a biblical theme park operated by Elad. Elad’s declared aim is to “Judaize East Jerusalem” by driving Palestinians out of their homes for the benefit of Jewish Israelis … Meanwhile, funds raised to support the Siyam family as they faced eviction may end up going to Elad instead. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported this week that the settler group “obtained a lien on tens of thousands of shekels that the 241 activists donated for the Siyam family, on the grounds that the family owes it money.” Israel’s transfer of its civilian population to occupied Palestinian land is a war crime.
Wadi al-Hummos residents facing displacement
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 8 July by Anan Shehadeh: In 2005, precisely when the Israeli authorities began building the apartheid wall in Jerusalem and Bethlehem areas, the suffering of the residents of the Wadi al-Hummos, an area part of Sur Bahir, a Palestinian neighborhood southeast of the occupied city of Jerusalem, began to surface and gradually worsen. The neighborhood, which is about 6000 dunams in area, was divided into two parts when building the wall was completed, with half of it being inside the wall, that is on the Jerusalem side, and the other half outside it that remained part of the West Bank, which is an area that reaches its borders from Sur Baher to Beit Sahour and other nearby villages in the Bethlehem district. Last month, Israel decided to demolish 100 residential apartments on the West Bank side of the wall claiming they were built too close to the wall. It gave the resident until July 18 to evacuate the area. The head of the services committee in Wadi al-Hummos, Hamada Hamada, said that the land where the buildings are located is under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as defined in the Oslo Accords which classified the West Bank into areas A (under PA rule), B (joint PA, Israeli rule) and C (full Israeli control). Hamada told WAFA that 6000 people live in Wadi al-Hummos and with the urgent need for urban expansion, residents of Sur Baher started to expand and built homes on their own land. However, with the construction of the wall and dividing Sur Baher land and people, problems began to surface with Israel issuing halt construction orders and threats of demolition. Hamada said the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem would not provide them with services and at the same time refused to acknowledge that this land was under PA control. Whenever they asked for services, the municipality would tell him to go and get it from the PA….
Threat of demolitions in East Jerusalem – Houses to be demolished in Sur Bahir because of proximity to the Barrier
OCHA – oPt 9 July — Sur Bahir (pop. 24,000) is a Palestinian neighbourhood in the south east of Jerusalem. Most of Sur Bahir is located within the unilaterally-annexed East Jerusalem municipal area, but the community reports that they own some 4,000 dunums of land in Area A and B and C, as designated under the Oslo Accords. Uniquely, the Barrier has been routed around Sur Bahir so that parts of Area A, B and C fall on the ‘Jerusalem’ side. The residents’ local committee estimates that some 6,000 people, or a quarter of the population, currently live in these Oslo-defined areas. Despite this, these areas have not been incorporated within the municipal boundary, although they are now physically separated from the remainder of the West Bank. In practice, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is unable to access or deliver services to Area A and B in Sur Bahir, although they still issue building permits in these areas, as they have been authorized to do under the Oslo Accords.
Army delivers demolition orders targeting homes, agricultural structures, near Hebron
IMEMC 11 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, Thursday, the town of Ethna [or Idhna, Idna], west of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and delivered demolition orders targeting several homes, agricultural structures and a barn. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers delivered many demolition orders, which included several homes, agricultural structures and sheds, in addition to a barn. They added that the targeting buildings and structures are in the section of the town which is in “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, under full Israeli military and administrative control. More than two-third of the town is designated as Area C, and the army frequently targets with demolition Palestinian buildings, barns and various structures.
Why is the Jordan Valley so important to Israel? / Ahmad Melhem
RAMALLAH 11 July — For no apparent reason, the Israeli army seized a water network July 3 in the northern Jordan Valley. The network used to irrigate 30 acres of land planted with grapes in the village of al-Jiftlik. The land is owned by Palestinian farmer Nail Bani Odeh, and the attack is an example of the daily Israeli incursions that affect residents of the northern Jordan Valley, their agricultural land, their places of residence and their livestock. Such attacks are carried out by both the Israeli army and the settlers. Fawzi Daraghmeh, a 47-year-old resident of Khirbet Samra in the Jordan Valley, cannot take action against a settler whose livestock has been grazing his land for weeks. “The army and settlers attack us on an almost daily basis,” he told Al-Monitor. “A settler brought dozens of cows onto the 50 acres of land that I own after I harvested wheat, completely destroying the crop. The settler is making his cows graze my land in an attempt to stop me from entering my land, which they eventually want to take over.”… Israel considers the Jordan Valley to be of great importance at the economic and security levels. Israel has built 37 settlements or settlement outposts in the Jordan Valley, most of which are agricultural and generate hundreds of millions of dollars. In terms of security, the Jordan Valley sits on Israel’s eastern border, and Israel finds it necessary to control it. Israel has repeatedly declared that it will not abandon the Jordan Valley in any peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA), stressing its commitment to keeping the Jordan Valley under its control, as 88% of the area is classified as Area C….
Update: Three hunger strikers moved to solitary confinement
IMEMC/Agencies 7 July — The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-detainees’ Affairs reported, Sunday, that the Israeli Prison Services in Negev prison moved three Palestinian detainees, currently on hunger strike, to solitary confinement. It reported that the three detainees are Nedal Abu A‘kar, Mustafaal-Hasanat, and Huthyfa Halabia, who launched a hunger strike against their administrative detention. Ja‘far Izz Aldin, 48, from Jenin, who has been on hunger strike for 21 days, is a father to eight children, and was detained on January 30, 2019. He served about five years separate years in Israeli prisons, and waged two hunger strikes against his administrative detention. Ehsan Othman, 21, from Ramallah, has been on hunger strike for 21 days against his administrative detention. He was detained on September 12, 2018. He served about 22 months of separated terms, and participated in the Karama hunger strike of 2017. Ahmad Zahran, 42, from Dier Abu Mesha‘l in Ramallah, and a father of four children, was recently detained in March of 2019, has been on hunger strike for 14 days, and has served about 15 separate years in Israeli jails.
UN official devises blueprint for Israeli accountability
UNITED NATIONS (Al Jazeera) 10 July by James Reini — A UN investigator says the world should consider cutting ties with Israel in support of Palestinian quest for statehood — A United Nations investigator is drafting a series of steps the international community can take to deter Israel from building more settlements in the occupied West Bank and any efforts to formally annex the Palestinian territory. Michael Lynk, an independent UN researcher, said the European Union (EU) and some world powers should consider cutting economic, political and cultural ties with Israel in support of the Palestinian quest for statehood. “The international community has to look at the available menu of countermeasures that is commonly used to a wide range of countries involving gross human rights violations and has to decide what are the appropriate ones to consider to use with respect to Israel,” Lynk told Al Jazeera. “The international community actually holds a lot of cards with Israel, and it has to say to Israel: ‘Your membership or privileges through bilateral or multilateral agreements with respect to your economy, political and cultural relationships are all going to be called into question and reviewed unless you show genuine attempts to unwind and undo the occupation’.”…
Speaking by phone from the Jordanian capital, Lynk told Al Jazeera that UN members should consider everything from cutting cultural ties with Israel to suspending its membership of the world body. He emphasised the role of the EU, which accounts for some 40 percent of Israel’s external trade and could make the flow of Israeli goods and services to the 28-nation bloc contingent on policy shifts that help Palestinians. The Canadian law professor also focused on two UN-backed mechanisms designed to hold Israel accountable for human rights violations that appear to have ground to a halt under pressure from the US and Israel, he said….
Adalah: Israeli students required to pass test promoting racist ideology
IMEMC/Agencies 8 July — High school students in Israel must pass an online test promoting racist ideology before being allowed to travel overseas for school trips, legal rights center Adalah has revealed. Adalah said that the course, which was created by Israeli education authorities, “requires students to watch a series of videos after which they must take a multiple-choice exam, the correct answers of which promote racist ideology”. The test includes questions such as “how do Palestinian organisations use digital social networks?” with the correct answer being “encouraging violence”, and asks students to identify the origins of modern anti-Semitism, the correct answer to which is “Muslim organisations” and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Students are told that “anti-Semitism in Europe increased with the immigration of Muslims to Europe… from the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan.” … Adalah attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi wrote to the Education Ministry demanding that the ministry “immediately cancel the mandatory course and exam and allow students to freely participate in overseas school trips with the start of the 2019-2020 school year”, after a school in Nazareth decided to cancel an exchange programme to Sweden instead of allowing its students sit the test which “promotes racist propaganda”. The letter was written on behalf of Masar Association and the parents of children studying at the association’s Nazareth school.
Israel blocks international academics in West Bank, Gaza
UWN 11 July by Brendan O’Malley — Two NGOs have accused Israel of preventing international academics from working at universities in Occupied Palestinian Territory by preventing them from entering the country and refusing to renew visas for those with teaching contracts in the West Bank and Gaza. The NGOs, Adalah and Al-Haq, have launched a campaign with Birzeit University to end the “escalating discriminatory Israeli policy”. Adalah (which translates as Justice) is the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian human rights organisation … “Murky and arbitrary Israeli regulations leave international lecturers and their families in constant uncertainty and subject to deportation at any time,” the NGOs say. They allege that over the past two years visa restrictions imposed on international academics include denial of entry to the West Bank, refusal of visa extensions, delays in processing visa extension applications beyond the period in which the visa is valid, arbitrary granting of visas for short periods that sometimes range from only two weeks to three months, restricting visas to the West Bank only and permitting entry and exit only via the Allenby Bridge crossing rather than via Ben Gurion Airport, requiring applicants to deposit large sums as guarantees – sometimes as much as ILS80,000 (US$23,000)….
Nelson Mandela’s grandson slams ‘Israeli apartheid’
LONDON, UK (Al Jazeera) 7 July by Gavin O’Toole — Zwelivelile Mandela says Israeli apartheid is the worst form of apartheid ever witnessed — The grandson of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela has delivered a damning condemnation of “Israeli apartheid”, in a high-profile expression of solidarity between South Africans and Palestinians. Zwelivelile Mandela, an MP of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), made the comments on Saturday at the Palestine Expo, an annual event in London aimed at showcasing Palestinian history, heritage and culture. Last year, it attracted 15,000 visitors. Addressing a large audience, Mandela said that the Nation-State Law passed in 2018 declaring Israel to be the historical homeland of the Jewish people “confirmed what we have always known to be t he true character and reality of Israel: Israel is an apartheid state”…
Also speaking at the event was Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, who criticised efforts by the United States to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through investment. He told the London audience that not only could the deal not be taken seriously, but if it were pursued it would put an end to “all Palestinian rights and aspirations”, and added that, as a result, a global intervention was now required to put pressure on Israel. “We need the world because Israel will not change by itself – as long as Israel and Israelis are not punished and don’t pay for the occupation, for the crimes, don’t expect any change. It will not come from within Israel.”…
Video: Israel’s right-wing nationalists target left-wing academics
11 July — The Israeli government has reportedly enlisted its intelligence agency to counteract the Palestinian-led campaign against Israeli oppression. Now some academics who back the movement say they are being targeted in a so-called witch-hunt by right-wing nationalists. Im Tirtzu says it is engaged in a continual fight to preserve the Zionist state. But critics say naming and shaming individual professors is threatening the freedom of expression for Israeli academics. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from occupied East Jerusalem.
Other news, opinion
‘Palestinian Authority is tyrannical’: Joint Gaza, West Bank conference amps criticism of Abbas and Hamas
[behind paywall] Haaretz 6 July — … The technique of video conferencing between Gaza and the West Bank, as the sole alternative to the forbidden hour-and-a-half trip, has improved greatly over the past 20 years – as the blockade has tightened on the coastal enclave and amid a drastic drop in the number of people authorized to leave it. This is how the conference of the Masarat center for policy research and strategic studies was carried out without any technical disruptions. Each panel had speakers in El Bireh and Gaza, and at the end of every discussion, people in the audience could make comments, from both places … The regular opinion polls by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, headed by Khalil Shikaki, include a question on the degree of fear to speak out against the two regimes. In a poll released this week, 40 percent of respondents in the West Bank answered that they could criticize the PA without fear, while 57 percent said they couldn’t. The latest figures for Gaza are 44 percent and 52 percent, respectively….
Scars on the Middle Eastern landscape bear witness to past peace failures
The Independent 4 July by Ronen Zvulun — Since the end of British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, invasions, wars, armistices, treaties, uprisings, barriers, checkpoints and civil wars have shifted the boundaries of who can travel – and live – where across the Middle East. Yet on the ground there remain fragments of who came and went before. The scars left by wars past haunt the landscape across Israel, the Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights. In the far north, on the western edge of the Israeli-occupied area, a decades-old rusting Syrian tank can still be seen lying upside down in a whitewater stream. Across the Golan are other reminders of the wars between Israel and Syria: minefields, foxholes and abandoned armour. Many relics of the British era survive. In the West Bank, a British jail and military buildings still stand in al-Jiftlik, near Jericho. Long abandoned, sheep now wander through the empty buildings. Also Gaza, a tiny Palestinian enclave on the Mediterranean coast, is filled with relics of the recent and distant past…. Reporting by Stephen Farrell, Reuters
Netanyahu vows to retain every illegal Jewish settlement in West Bank
Palestine Chronicle 11 July — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed never to dismantle Jewish illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Speaking yesterday at an event in the settlement of Revava – which forms part of the Ariel settlement bloc located off Route 60, south of Nablus – Netanyahu vowed that there would be no uprooting of Israel’s West Bank settlements as long as he remains prime minister. Netanyahu stressed: “No communities will be uprooted, not those of Jews, and by the way, not those of Arabs either. We don’t uproot people. We’re through with that nonsense. Israel under my leadership hasn’t returned and won’t return to the mistakes of the past.” Netanyahu’s promise not to uproot “Arabs” will likely be seen as ironic given his government’s routine demolition of Palestinian villages, both in the occupied West Bank and Israel itself….
An alternate approach toward Mideast peace / James P. Rooney
Washington Monthly 6 July — Here’s a compromise between Israelis and Palestinians that could possibly save the two-state solution — … Just as Israelis have exacerbated the conflict through settlement building, the Palestinians have made it more difficult to reach a viable outcome by insisting that millions of Palestinian refugees, including all of their descendants, could move to Israel, which would abrogate Israel’s Jewish character by making it an Arab-majority state. But what if the United States introduced a new concept that, if implemented, could restrain the two sides’ worst impulses and preserve the possibility of a two-state solution? What if it pushed for a tradeoff in which the number of settlers who could stay in the West Bank would have to equal the number of Palestinian refugees who could return to Israel?….
Israeli restrictions on Gaza and West bank stifling Palestinian football
GAZA CITY (ArabNews) 11 July by Hazem Balousha — Due to Israeli restrictions and the separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Palestinian athletes do not enjoy regular sports competitions. Last week, Israel blocked the Rafah football team from traveling to the West Bank from the Gaza Strip, preventing the final match of the Palestine Cup against the Balata Youth Center team. The match was scheduled a week ago at Nablus Stadium. They were forced to postpone it indefinitely … The Palestinian Football Federation organizes separate contests in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank due to Israeli restrictions. For four years, it has organized the Palestine Cup to determine the federation’s champions through two-legged matches. The Palestinian Football Federation was established in 1928, and joined FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation in 1998. Since then, Palestinian teams have been participating in international and continental competitions. But due to Israeli restrictions and the positions of Arab and Islamic countries that do not have relations with Israel, the Palestinian national team has been banned from playing their home games in Palestinian stadiums for many years and is forced to host them in nearby Arab countries … Israeli authorities have recently disrupted training camps by preventing trainers from the International Federation of Football from entering the Gaza Strip….
Israeli court blames Palestinian Authority for past attacks
JERUSALEM (AP) 8 July — An Israeli court has found the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization responsible for deadly attacks against Israelis and Jews during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s. The Jerusalem court stated that the Palestinian institutions and individual Palestinian leaders provided financial support to attackers and incited to violence. Tuesday’s ruling addressed 17 incidents, including the killing of two soldiers by a Palestinian mob in the West Bank in 2000 and a shooting that killed four members of an Israeli family in a West Bank settlement during the Passover holiday in 2002. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of the advocacy group that filed the lawsuit, says she will seek over $250 million in damages from Palestinian tax funds and foreign bank accounts. There was no immediate comment from the Palestinians.
Institutionalised racism is the price paid by Israel’s third-class citizens / Dr. Mohammad Makram Badawi
MEMO 9 July — Palestinians these days are fond of circulating on social media a scene from an old Israeli comedy which shows a group of Hamas fighters who could sneak through a tunnel into enemy territory and kidnap an Israeli officer in order to exchange him for Palestinian prisoners. Although things go smoothly, the whole operation is a flop. Why? Because it was dark and they could not see that the officer was dark-skinned. When the group leader realises that the prisoner is of Ethiopian origin, he knows that all their efforts are for nothing. Then the group enters into a long discussion on how to convince the Israelis to exchange him for fewer Palestinian prisoners, but end up convinced that the Israelis will give them nothing in return for him, and even he will not believe that the Israeli army and government care for him. They only have one problem; what to do with this good-for-nothing prisoner, without hurting his feelings. They finally decide to release him …
Last week, an Israeli police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Solomon Teka, a young Ethiopian Jew, triggering widespread protests which blocked public transport in major cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, reminding people of the Arab Spring. Foreign media showed some Ethiopians declaring their support for Palestine and changing their religion to Islam, in a rebellion against the state of Israel, which they describe as rotten to the core. They are, in almost every respect, treated as third class citizens by the state …
To fan the flames, the Hamas military wing revealed that Israel has never demanded to discuss the case of the missing soldier, Avraham Mengistu, when the issue of enemy prisoners is mentioned. It has been like this ever since his disappearance; he has been omitted from the negotiations file completely.” Mengistu’s family accuses the Israeli government of double standards based on racial discrimination….
US House members talk restoring aid to Palestinians with Israeli, PA officials
WASHINGTON (Times of Israe) 6 July by Eric Cortellessa — A bipartisan delegation of US House members visited Israel and the West Bank this week, meeting with Palestinian Authority officials about legislative efforts to restore American aid to the Palestinians that the Trump administration slashed. The members of Congress also discussed these efforts with Israeli officials, according to Florida Representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat, who headlined the visit. “Throughout our trip, we discussed legislative efforts to reinstate US economic and security assistance which would foster stability, strengthen security for Israelis and Palestinians, and further the chances of Israeli-Palestinian peace,” Deutch said in a statement Friday. The delegation met with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Palestinian business leaders in Ramallah. “We discussed US policy, the prospects for peace and economic development, and efforts to improve conditions for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza,” Deutch added. Since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there, Palestinians have refused to engage with the White House. In response, the administration cut aid to the PA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, East Jerusalem hospitals and Israeli-Palestinian coexistence programs. In April, Senate Democrats introduced a resolution to restore humanitarian funding to the Palestinians … The members of Congress also met with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Blue and White party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid….
Palestinian journalists refuse ‘failed and desperate’ meeting with US official
11 July by Celine Hagbard — In response to a request from US Trump administration official and supporter of Israeli settlement expansion, Jason Greenblatt, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) said they would refuse to meet at the White House in Washington DC. They called the request a “failed and desperate” attempt by the US administration to undermine the Palestinian leadership. The Syndicate called on any Palestinian journalists who receive an invitation to the White House to refuse to attend, calling Greenblatt’s intentions “suspicious”. In a statement, the Syndicate said that Greenblatt’s invitation “is yet another failed and desperate attempt by the US Administration to bypass the leadership of the Palestinian people, represented by the PLO and its chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.” The intention of the proposed meeting, according to the US “peace envoy” Jason Greenblatt, would be to “invit[e] Palestinian journalists to the White House, or maybe somewhere more neutral, and have our team make presentations directly to the Palestinian media what the [Kushner-Greenblatt ‘Deal of the Century’] plan is all about” …
Greenblatt told the Al-Ayyam newspaper that he wished to speak with “ordinary Palestinians” about this plan, in an attempt to bypass the Palestinian leadership. Greenblatt was filmed a week ago, along with the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, in a tunnel underneath Jerusalem smashing into the Silwan neighborhood, home to over 20,000 Palestinians and an area designated by Israel for colonial expansion…..
Opinion: Religious fanatics have hijacked America’s Israel policy. And they’re not even evangelicals / Ori Nir.
[behind paywall] Haaretz 8 July — Trump’s extremist, maverick pro-settler envoys, David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, aren’t resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They’re fueling it – and Congress should investigate — With ten-pound hammers in their hands and ecstatic religious-nationalist zeal in their hearts, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and White House Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt stood underneath the most religiously volatile place on earth, and smashed a wall – and with it, any last semblance of reasonable U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The two senior U.S. diplomats were among the guests of honor, together with Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, at the inauguration of an archaeological tunnel in East Jerusalem that unearths a path claimed to lead from a ritual cleansing pool to the Second Jewish Temple. There could not be a more apt metaphor for the Trump administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s team, led by ideologically pro-settler right-wing extremists, has no interest in conflict resolution. Rather, you could call their approach “conflict contribution.” They are intentionally contributing to the conflict by adding fuel to its fire. Contrary to common belief, what drives Trump’s aides is not innocent ineptness. Clumsy and ill-informed as their policy may seem, it is deliberate….
First Palestinian sworn in as Chief Justice of Patterson city in New Jersey
NEW JERSEY, Tuesday, July 09, 2019 (WAFA) – Palestinian Abdel Majid Abdel Hadi was sworn-in as the Chief Justice of the city of Patterson, New Jersey, making him the first Palestinian to reach this important post in the United States. Abdel Hadi, originally from Deir Dibwan, in the Ramallah and al-Bireh governorate in the central West Bank to the east of Ramallah, spent several years as a public prosecutor and then a city judge for five years before being appointed as the Chief Justice of the city of Patterson. Mayor of Patterson André Sayegh expressed pride on his personal Facebook page that Abdel Hadi was the first Palestinian-American to be appointed as a Chief Justice in the US, considering it a historic event.
‘Our Boys’, HBO series on Israel’s violent summer of 2014, set for premiere
[with official promo] Times of Israel 25 June by Jessica Stein — Two Israelis and one Palestinian — Hagai Levi, Joseph Cedar and Tawfik Abu-Yael — created “Our Boys,” a 10-part series focusing on the violence that wracked Israel five years ago that premieres in August on HBO in Israel and abroad. The show revolves around Simon (played by Shlomi Elkabetz), an investigator in the Shin Bet security service. His work, the revelations it brings and the ensuing trial will place Simon in the midst of the most difficult battle of his life. The show is considered an unprecedented achievement by US content giant HBO for broadcasting a primetime series in the US with both Arabic and Hebrew. The series is set in the summer of 2014, when Jewish teenagers Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel were kidnapped on June 12 by Hamas terrorists in the West Bank and killed shortly thereafter. Two days after their bodies were found, following a search of nearly three weeks, Palestinian teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir from East Jerusalem was burned alive in a brutal retaliatory killing by Jewish extremists. As a result of the rising tensions, the 2014 Gaza war broke out. The series, filmed on location in Israel, was a co-production of cable channel HBO and Israeli production company Keshet International … The series tells the story of all those involved, Jews and Arabs.