On 76th Friday Great March of Return: Palestinian civilian killed and 86 civilians injured
PCHR 28 Sept — On 76th Friday of Great March of Return, a Palestinian civilian was killed and 86 civilians were injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against the peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 22 children, 4 female paramedics, 5 male paramedics and 2 persons with disabilities were among those injured this Friday, 27 September 2019. This week witnessed an escalation in the use of excessive force against the protesters as injury of 5 of them was deemed serious; one died after hours of his injury while 4, including a child and a female paramedic, are still in a very serious condition. Further, 40 protesters were shot with live bullets while the Israeli forces escalated their attacks against the medical personnel, which enjoys protection under the international humanitarian law, wounding 9 paramedics, including a female paramedic deemed in very critical condition. The Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege called for today’s protests under the slogan “al-Aqsa Intifada and Palestinian Prisoners”, coinciding with the 19th anniversary of al-Aqsa Intifada. The protests lasted from 15:00 to 19:00 and involved activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances …
The following is a summary of today’s events along the Gaza Strip border: …
Rafah: Hundreds participated in the eastern Shokah protests, where folklore songs and speeches were held. Dozens approached the border fence and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the shielded Israeli soldiers, who responded with live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters. As a result, Saher ‘Awadallah Jaber ‘Othman (20) was declared dead in al-Shifa hospital at approximately 21:30 after sustaining serious wounds due to being shot with a bullet in the chest at approximately 17:45.
Woman injured by Gaza rocket fire nearly one year ago dies
JERUSALEM (JTA) 24 Sept — An [Israeli] woman has died nearly a year after suffering injuries in a rocket attack into southern Israel from Gaza. Nina Gisdenanova, 74, died last week at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, The Times of Israel reported Sunday. She was in an apartment building in Ashkelon on Nov. 13 when it was hit with a rocket. A Palestinian man [Mahmoud Abu Asabeh, 48, from the West Bank city of Halhul] visiting the building died in the strike; his wife was seriously injured. Nearly 500 rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza between Nov. 11 and 13. The barrage began after a botched Israeli covert operation carried out in the Khan Yunis area of the southern Gaza Strip left seven Gaza Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead.
Gaza: 25,000 inhabited homes need urgent reconstruction
MEMO 23 Sept — Some 25,000 inhabited flats in the Gaza Strip are in need of urgent reconstruction while a further 60,000 need renovation works to meet the minimum standards for residential buildings, the Ministry of Housing said yesterday. The Shehab News Agency reported Deputy Housing Minister Naji Sarhan saying 120,000 homes were needed in the besieged Gaza Strip, with 14,000 being build every year to meet the demands of a growing population. The ministry, he added, will contact Sarhan also said that the ministry had launched the largest scanning project related to the needs of the poor families, noting that the ministry has already received 41,000 applications for residential apartments. He noted that his ministry is to contact the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to obtain $10 million for the renovation projects….
Four Hamas members indicted in Beersheba
JPost 23 Sept — The Southern District Prosecutor’s Office indicted four Hamas members for security offenses, Israeli media reported on Monday. The suspects — Frij Abu Daher, Malek Abu Mandil, Mahmoud Owidat and Ramadan Abu Gola — reportedly tried to infiltrate Israel in order to escape from Gaza. They get caught by Israeli security forces. The four were indicted for six security offenses against the state, including participating in the border protests, launching arson balloons, as well as throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices.
Troops honored for rescue mission after failed Gaza raid
Times of Israel 22 Sept by Judah Ari Gross — The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday awarded citations of merit and other commendations to a number of soldiers for their roles in a mission to evacuate a special forces team during a firefight last November with the Hamas terror group following a failed raid in the Gaza city of Khan Younis. The military on Sunday also released an edited audio recording of the radio chatter from the helicopter sent in to rescue the troops, in which the pilot and flight crew can be heard demanding a proper count of those on board, a move that put the aircraft at risk of attack but was necessary to ensure no one was left behind. On the night of November 11, 2018, the Israeli special forces troops entered Khan Younis on an intelligence-gathering operation, some details of which remain classified almost a year later. During the mission, the soldiers were stopped and questioned by Hamas operatives. As the Hamas members became more suspicious, one of the Israeli officers opened fire, killing several Hamas members but also inadvertently hitting two of this comrades, killing one of them — who for security reasons can only be identified by his rank and first letter of his Hebrew name, Lt. Col. “Mem” — and injuring the second….
The Palestinian entrepreneur bringing power to Gaza
The Guardian 27 Sept by Saeed Kamali Dehghan — When Palestinian entrepreneur Majd Mashharawi left Gaza for the first time in 2017, she counted herself lucky to be among a small minority able to get away from a place described by its residents as the world’s largest open-air prison. But during her visit to Japan, what most caught her eye were the lights in the streets. The Palestinian enclave she comes from is notorious for its power cuts. Mashharawi, 25, decided to do something about the problem on her return to Gaza. Her solution was to launch SunBox, a company that aims to create access to energy by providing, among other things, affordable, off-grid solar kits to families. Priced at $350 (£288), the solar kit is often shared between two families, generating electricity for a range of devices such as lamps, phones, TVs and even small refrigerators, as well as internet connections…. Mashharawi, a civil engineer, had already made her name as an entrepreneur after developing an alternative brick to repair houses damaged by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Launched in 2016, her GreenCake company manufactures concrete blocks largely made of debris from houses combined with ashes and a small amount of imported cement.
Mercy USA donates $300,000 to sustaining education services for visually impaired children in Gaza
JERUSALEM, Tuesday, September 24, 2019 (WAFA) – Mercy USA for Aid and Development has donated $300,000 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to benefit some 500 visually impaired Palestine refugee students at the Rehabilitation Center for the Visually Impaired (RCVI) in Gaza, today said an UNRWA press release. The Center offers rehabilitation, education, eye screenings and academic integration programs to children aged between 4-12 years who live with varying degrees of visual impairment. RCVI, which is the only center of its kind in the Gaza Strip, has been operated by UNRWA for the last 55 years….
2,000 new government posts in Gaza
MEMO 23 Sept — Palestinian government in Gaza Strip opened the door for Gazans to apply for 2,000 government jobs divided equally between the military and civil services. Head of the Employees Department in Gaza Yousef Al-Kayyali said that the 2,000 new employees are urgently needed to continue offering high quality services to residents. Iyad Al-Bozom, the spokesperson of the interior ministry, in which 1,000 jobs are available, said that the opportunities are open for everyone who has the necessary qualifications. He said that the ministry’s need is far higher than this number, “but we do not have the abilities to recruit more than this number.” Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, employs 35,000 employees which the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank does not recognise. As a result employees are paid only half their salaries as the PA has joined Israel in imposing a siege on the Strip in an effort to force Hamas to give up power in spite of the fact that it was elected in 2006.
As Gaza’s economy goes into freefall, the debtors’ prison is overflowing
Mondoweiss 24 Sept by Yousef M. Aljamal — Karam Marwan, 22, wanted to own a video game store. In 2016 he took out a $5,000 loan from an acquaintance to open the shop. Marwan had recently graduated college with a degree in accounting, but with limited job prospects in the Gaza Strip where he lives, he hedged his bets on starting a small business. In less than a year the video store would shutter and Marwan would be in prison serving a three-month sentence over failure to repay the borrowed seed money. In Gaza, delinquency on loans is a civil offense punishable by a maximum of a 91-day sentence, according to the Law on Execution No. 23 passed in 2015. The statute allows judges to incarcerate a Palestinian holding a debt, irrespective if that debt is to a traditional lending institution or a private individual. In most cases, a judge will mediate a settlement between the debtors and the financers. Annually, Hamas-run endowments and loan forgiveness programs, as well as independent non-profits, will pay down or absolve some debts during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, but many Palestinians are left to fend for themselves. According to the European Asylum Support Office, only males have been jailed for debts in Gaza….
Health ministry warns of dubious intentions behind the American hospital project in Gaza
RAMALLAH, Thursday, September 26, 2019, (WAFA) – The Ministry of Health reiterated today its rejection of the establishment an American field hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip, warning of existence of dubious intentions behind it, while considering it an attempt “to whitewash the Israeli occupation, whose hands are covered with Palestinian blood,” and a step to further separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. The Ministry said in a statement that “this project seeks to achieve Israeli goals aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause and fragmenting it, and to create additional justifications for the creation of a mini-state in the Gaza Strip at the expense of Palestinian history and rights.” It said: “The objectives of this project are known to everyone who can see and think. Israel is the first and last beneficiary as it will prevent Palestinian patients from reaching hospitals in the West Bank and Jerusalem for treatment.”….
Hamas: No political price for building international field hospital in Gaza
MEMO 26 Sept — Hamas said yesterday “there is not political price for building an international field hospital in Gaza funded by an American NGO.” In a statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, the movement said: “Agreement on building the hospital was a form of serving our people.” “All Palestinian factions in Gaza” will follow up on the work on the hospital “ in order to guarantee it is providing the agreed upon professional services”, the statement added. Hamas said that building this hospital is one of the terms of the understandings to break the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip which was sponsored by Egypt, Qatar and the UN. “The hospital is to offer treatment for dangerous diseases for patients in Gaza, mainly cancer,” the statement said. The hospital is to be located near the Israeli controlled Erez crossing in an effort “to make the movement of its staff easy”, the movement added.
Abbas dissolves tribal affairs committee in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 26 Sept by Ahmed el-Komi — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to disband the Higher Committee for Tribal Affairs in Gaza, but its leader said the group will carry on because it’s never received “a dime” from his government anyway. Abbas accuses the committee of working with Fatah’s Democratic Reformist Current, which is affiliated with his rival, dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. The Sept. 10 presidential decree to disband the committee will take effect once it appears in the official gazette. Abbas established the committee in the southern provinces in 2012 to solve social problems and disputes between Palestinian families. Hussni Salman al-Mughanni, its head, recently told Al-Monitor, “We were surprised by Abbas’ decision to disband the committee. Since 2012, we have been carrying out public reforms and solving social problems.” The committee includes 850 heads of Palestinian families distributed among 65 subcommittees tasked with conflict resolution and social reform in the Gaza Strip … Farra told Al-Monitor that the Higher Committee for Tribal Affairs played an important role in the Social Reconciliation Committee, resolving 174 disputes involving victims’ families….
What is behind the Saudi campaign against Hamas? / Adnan Abu Amer
Al Jazeera 23 Sept — On September 9, Hamas issued a surprising official statement condemning the arrests of some of its supporters residing in Saudi Arabia. Since April, dozens of Palestinians, Jordanians and Saudi citizens have been arrested and accused of belonging to and supporting Hamas by collecting donations for the group. Some have allegedly been tortured, others have been deported; many have had their assets frozen and their financial transfers monitored. In addition, strict controls on remittances to the Palestinian territories have been imposed, which almost completely cut them off over the summer. For months, Hamas remained mostly silent, hoping that political mediation could resolve the issue. Senior Hamas members repeatedly approached the Saudi authorities regarding the matter and also asked various Arab officials to do so as well. The official statement condemning the Saudi campaign against its supporters suggests that the mediation efforts have failed and that tensions have not been resolved. It appears that Saudi engagement with the Trump administration and its “deal of the century”, as well as its diplomatic campaign against Iran, have precipitated this crisis….
Dreaming of van Gogh in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Washington Post) 25 Sept by James McAuley & Hazem Balousha — On the top floor of a run-down studio, the young sculptors were scraping away at plaster bas-reliefs, in many cases re-creating Western masterpieces they may never see. Nimer Qeeq, a 23-year-old hipster in tight black jeans, said Michelango’s “Pietà” would be the first thing he’d aim to see if he ever leaves the 25-mile strip of land that has circumscribed his life. “The details of that statue,” he said, “how Mary holds Jesus, the details on her arm – it’s really perfect.” Jamila Sawalah, 22, dreams of seeing van Gogh. “The violent nature of the brushstrokes – I love that style, and I try to do the same.” She dashed paint onto her sculpture of a couple in a passionate embrace … A group of artists from Shabakeek, one of the only artist collectives and gallery spaces in the Gaza Strip, is now organizing a traveling retrospective of Gaza-made art. It is to be shown first in East Jerusalem in late December, then in the West Bank city of Ramallah and then, tentatively, in Frankfurt, Germany, sometime in 2020. But because of travel restrictions imposed by Israel, the artists may not be able to secure the permits necessary to leave Gaza. “Our art is traveling, but not us,” said Shareef Serhan, a painter and sculptor who now runs Shababeek….
Photo Gallery: Sea and Freedom Festival in Gaza
Palestinian students gather to listen to a young musicians’ concert given by The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music within the 6th “Sea and Freedom” Festival at Beit Hanoun Secondary School in Gaza City, Gaza on September 26, 2019. ( Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency )
Photos: Dates harvested during annual harvest season in Gaza Strip
A Palestinian farmer harvests dates from a tree during the annual harvest season in Deir Al-Balah town, the central Gaza Strip, Sept. 24, 2019. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)
Palestinian farmers prune dragon fruit in Gaza
A Palestinian farmer prunes a pink dragon fruit inside his farm in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, Sept. 21, 2019. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)
VIDEO: Gaza’s grassroots animal initiative
Al-Monitor 29 Aug — A Palestinian man is encouraging a culture of animal welfare in Gaza. The initiative, which began online, aims to put younger generations traumatized by ongoing violence into contact with pets. “…The culture of pets is not widespread, sadly. But there is now more awareness among children and people are more attracted to the initiative and to raising pets at home….”
Gaza’s Rafah zoo reopens despite animal welfare concerns
AFP 23 Sept — A zoo in southern Gaza that closed after a long campaign due to its poor animal welfare record has reopened, with life for the animals seeming as difficult as ever. It was pledged earlier this year that Rafah Zoo would close due to a lack of medical supplies and facilities for the animals in the Gaza Strip, as Israel continues its illegal siege. The animal conservation group Four Paws removed the animals and took them to sanctuaries, beginning a large-scale operation to transport 47 animals from the zoo, through Palestine and Israel to Jordan, where the government has given them shelter. Some of the animals, which included a hyena, fox, wolf, emu, ostrich, porcupine and five lions, went on to sanctuaries in Jordan, while two of the lions were flown to South Africa to Four Paws’ big cat sanctuary, Lionsrock. However, last month, the zoo reopened with two lions and three new cubs, penned in cages only a few square metres in size … Four Paws said footage it saw from the zoo was “very concerning”. “The animals are not kept in species-appropriate conditions. They seem to be in bad conditions and urgently need medical attention and proper food,” it said.
Updated 2 [Identity correction]: ‘Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian woman near Qalandia Terminal’
IMEMC 22 Sept — The wounded Palestinian woman, who was shot by the soldiers, on Wednesday, September 18th, after an alleged stabbing attempt at Qalandia Terminal, north of occupied Jerusalem, has been officially identified, Son Sunday evening, as Nayfa Mohammad Ali Ka‘ana, 50. The Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank has confirmed the identity of the slain woman and added that Ka‘ana was from al-Mo‘arrajat Bedouin community, near Taybeh Palestinian village, northeast of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. After she was shot, she was left bleeding for a long time, before an Israeli ambulance moved her to Hadassah Israeli Medical Center in Jerusalem, where she succumbed to her wounds. Israeli daily Haaretz has reported that the soldiers saw the woman and ordered her to stop, “but she did not heed to their commands, and pulled out a knife before the soldiers shot her. Following the incident, the soldiers closed the terminal and maced many Palestinians with pepper-spray while trying to remove them from the area. Israel did not release her name, and her identity was mistaken with another Palestinian woman [Ala’ Nafeth Wahdan]; however, on Sunday evening, the Israeli “District Coordination Office” officially informed its Palestinian counterpart in the West Bank of her identity. The woman’s corpse is still with the Israeli side.
Soldiers injure dozens of Palestinians near Jerusalem
28 Sept — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, dozens of Palestinians holding prayers and a nonviolent gathering in the lands of as-Sawahra ash-Sharqiya village, east of occupied Jerusalem, to protest the illegal colonialist outpost which was installed on their lands in the ad-Dibba area. Younis Ja‘far, a member of the Local Council, said more than 100 Palestinians gathered on their lands and held Friday noon prayers, which were led by the Mufti, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein. He added that the soldiers fired many gas bombs at the Palestinians, causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The Palestinians also marched in the area, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting against Israel’s illegal colonies, violations, and its ongoing occupation. The soldiers prevented the Palestinians from marching close to the newly installed illegal outpost, and near the protest tent which was recently demolished and removed by the army … The demolished protest tent was installed two days ago by activists of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission near the illegal outpost which was installed by the colonists on September 15th, after they brought mobile homes and water tanks.
Army injures many Palestinians in Kufur Qaddoum
28 Sept — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly procession against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and caused dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. Morad Eshteiwi, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said the Palestinians, accompanied by Israel and international peace activists, marched marking the 19th anniversary of the Al-Aqsa Intifada while chanting against the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation, its colonies, and ongoing violations. Eshteiwi added that the soldiers tried to ambush the protesters in an abandoned home, but local youngsters discovered the hideout and started throwing stones at them. The soldiers, including army jeeps that invaded the area, started firing live rounds, concussion grenades, gas bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets. Scores of Palestinians suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment. The army tried to chase and abduct Palestinian youngsters but was unable to do so.
Israeli soldiers injure several Palestinians north of Hebron
28 Sept — Israeli soldiers injured, on Friday evening, several Palestinians in the ath-Thaher area, in Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Mohammad Awad, a local nonviolent activist, said several army jeeps invaded the ath-Thaher area, and attacked many Palestinian protesters. Awad added that the soldiers fired many gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters, and several surrounding homes. Many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed medical treatment.
Israeli soldiers injure several Palestinians in Ramallah
25 Sept — Israeli soldiers injured, on Wednesday before noon, several Palestinians in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, in the central West Bank city of Ramallah [in Area A], after invading it and surrounding a residential building. Media sources said the invasion was carried out by at least twenty military vehicles before the soldiers surrounded the residential building. They added that the soldiers also invaded the al-Jammal nearby building and installed a sniper post on its rooftop, in addition to breaking into and searching a warehouse used for medical supplies. The invasion led to protests with many Palestinians who hurled stones at the army vehicles, while the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs, concussion grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, and several live rounds. The Palestinian Civil Defense said many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, and that a fire broke out due to the intensity of the gas bombs and concussion grenades.
On Wednesday morning, the soldiers invaded Birzeit town, north of Ramallah, and stormed a residence for students of Birzeit University, before abducting three of them.
Israeli forces block entrances to West Bank village
SALFIT, Sunday, September 22, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation forces blocked today the entrances to the village of Kifl Hares, near the West Bank town of Salfit, according to local sources. Israeli soldiers closed the village’s main south entrance with a metal gate and banned local Palestinian passengers and drivers from using it. In the meantime, they set up a checkpoint on the west entrance of the village, causing a huge traffic jam for those attempting to enter or leave the village. No reason was given to these acts.
Israel ramps up assault on civil society with chilling raid on Palestinian NGO Addameer
Amnesty 19 Sept — An overnight raid on the offices of a prominent Palestinian human rights organization is the latest attack on civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by Israeli authorities, said Amnesty International today. At around 2am this morning, Israeli forces ransacked the offices in Ramallah of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer), seizing computers, hard drives, files and equipment. The raid is part of a wider crackdown on Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations and their staff. “The chilling raid by Israeli forces against Addameer demonstrates the Israeli authorities’ clear determination to crush peaceful activism and silence NGOs. This was a sinister and calculated attack designed to curtail Addameer’s vital human rights work,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. “Israeli authorities have been sending a clear message to Palestinian civil society: anyone who dares to speak out about Israeli human rights violations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories risks coming under attack.” This is the third time Israeli forces have raided Addameer’s offices; previous raids took place in 2002 and 2012. Over the years Israeli authorities have also arrested and detained many Addameer staff members. Ayman Nasser, the NGO’s legal unit co-ordinator, has been detained without charge or trial since 17 September 2018. Last week, his administrative detention was renewed for a further four months … In the crackdown on civil society, Israeli authorities have targeted organizations calling for an end to Israel’s occupation and accountability for crimes under international law, including through boycotts as a form of advocacy.
Soldiers raid Hebron office of women committees, seize computers
HEBRON, Tuesday, September 24, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces stormed today the Hebron headquarters of the Union of Palestinian Women Committees and seized computer hard discs and other equipment, according to Sara Mtair, director of the Hebron office of the Women Committees. She said Israeli soldiers raided early this morning her office in this southern West Bank city, ransacked it and seized a camera and computers, trashed files and damaged furniture.
Soldiers interrogate a child in her home in Jerusalem
IMEMC 22 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday evening, a Palestinian home in the al-‘Issawiya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and interrogated a child in the property, after alleging that she was filming them when some youngsters reportedly hurled stones at their jeep. The child and her family were on the rooftop of their home barbecuing with relatives. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) interviewed the child after the soldiers left her home, and she told them that the soldiers started interrogating her and asking her if she saw who threw stones at them and if she filmed it on her phone. The child, Sondos Omar Atiya, 12, denied the allegations of the soldiers, and that she was on the rooftop with her family and relatives barbecuing and socializing. “One of the soldiers was asking me if I was wearing a black shirt and filming them – he asked if I had a phone, or if I was using my brother’s phone – I said no,” she told Silwanic, “They kept questioning and interrogating me, asking whether I filmed anything or if I saw who threw stones at them… and my father told them that the family is just having some barbeque.” The soldiers then examined several phones, and questioned her father, before leaving the property.
6 Palestinians injured in clashes with IDF in northern West Bank
JPost 21 Sept by Tzvi Joffre — Six Palestinians were injured during clashes with the IDF in the northern West Bank town of ‘Azzun, according to the Palestinian Sawa news. The injuries were caused by live fire, rubber-coated bullets and tear gas fired by IDF forces. The IDF closed shops in the area and prevented citizens from entering the local mosque, according to Sawa. The main northern entrance of the town was also closed for the second day in a row. Seven Palestinians were injured when a minibus overturned when the driver lost control after inhaling tear gas fired during the clashes, according to the Palestinian Quds news. An Israeli soldier was also injured after being hit with a stone, according to Quds. On Friday, an IDF officer was injured in the area after stones were thrown at civilian vehicles, according to a tweet by the IDF. The officer was driving as a civilian. Damage was caused to several other civilian vehicles.
Palestinian boy arrested in West Bank over stabbing attack
JERUSALEM, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) — Israeli police said on Wednesday they had arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian boy after he carried out a stabbing attack in the West Bank, injuring at least one Israeli woman. The incident took place at the Maccabim Junction, west of Ramallah city. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the stabbing was a “terrorist attack” perpetrated by a teen resident of the West Bank. Border police officers who were in the area shot warning shots in the air and apprehended the suspect. A separate police statement said the boy was being questioned at the scene and the police launched an investigation into the circumstances of the incident. Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical service said that at least one woman has been injured, identifying her as a 22-year-old woman. She sustained stabbing wounds in her back and torso and was rushed to a hospital in a light-to-moderate condition, said a spokesman with the emergency service. The junction is located in the West Bank, a territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel has kept its control over the land ever since.
VIDEO: Palestinian women march against gender violence
Palestine Chronicle 27 Sept — Several demonstrations organized the collective Taliaat of Palestinian women along with Palestinian communities took place this Thursday evening, to protest against gender-based violence and oppression affecting Palestinian Women. The demonstrations mobilized women and human rights activists in various cities across Historic Palestine and the diaspora including among others the Palestinian cities of Haifa, Ramallah, Gaza, Nazareth, as well as Beirut in Lebanon and Berlin in Germany. Hala Marshoud, an activist in the movement, told Arab 48: “Taliaat is a scream from Palestinian women that starts today in different places across the country and abroad to demand an end to all forms of gender oppression and to stop postponing the issue of the violence against women until after national liberation.” Marshoud added: “Our scream today is to say that women’s cause and their emancipation must be at the core of the Palestinian liberation discourse.”….
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct 45 Palestinians in West Bank’
IMEMC 23 Sept — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has confirmed that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, at least 45 Palestinians from several parts of the occupied West Bank, including twenty-two from the al-‘Issawiya and Silwan towns, in occupied East Jerusalem. The PPS said dozens of soldiers and police officers, including military and police intelligence Units, invaded al-‘Issawiya and Silwan town in Jerusalem, before storming and ransacking dozens of homes. It added that the invasions and violent searches included the use of K9 units and that the soldiers also interrogated dozens of residents while inspecting their ID cards and violently searched their homes and property.
It is worth mentioning that, for the third month in a row, al-‘Issawiya has been subject to daily invasions, abductions, violent searches of homes and properties, excessively high fines and fees, in addition to several demolitions of homes and structures. Meanwhile, [according to] the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic), in Jerusalem, the soldiers searched a few homes in Ein al-Louza neighborhood and abducted Tawfiq Abu Tayeh and Majdi Abu Tayeh. Silwanic added that the soldiers and police officers invaded many neighborhoods in Silwan, ticketed cars and other vehicles, in addition to imposing fines on shop owners, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. During the invasions, the soldiers fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades at Palestinian protesters but did not cause injuries.
Furthermore, the many armored army jeeps invaded the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, searched several homes, and abducted Bilal Omar Daoud, 26, Mousa al-Khmour, 25, in addition to Jamal Osama al-Ayasa, 24. In Ramallah governorate, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted four Palestinians in the neighborhoods of al-Masyoun and al-Masayef, in addition to Birzeit and Durham towns, north of the city….
Israeli forces detain 65 Palestinians in one day in West Bank, most released hours later
RAMALLAH, Thursday, September 26, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces detained today and yesterday 65 Palestinians, mostly from the northern West Bank district of Tulkarm, before releasing 56 of them, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS). It said in a press release that Israeli forces detained last night 56 Palestinians, mostly from Shweika and Zeita towns in the Tulkarm district after entering Israel through the gates that the Israeli military had left open for unclear reasons. They were released several hours afterwards.
PPS added that nine others were rounded up early this morning from different parts of the West Bank. Local sources elaborated that Israeli forces raided Abu Dis town, east of Jerusalem, rounding up three Palestinians, including a former prisoner who spent 16 years behind bars. Israeli military conducted similar raids in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and nearby Halhoul detaining two others. Meanwhile, a large Israeli military force stormed the vicinity of al-Amari refugee camp, al-Quds Street and Satah Marhaba in al-Bireh city, ransacking homes and interrogating dozens of Palestinians. The raid triggered confrontations during which soldiers opened fire at local youngsters. No injuries were reported though….
alternate version of the first part of the preceding article:
Dozens of West Bank Palestinians cross into Israel in illegal border breach
Times of Israel 28 Sept — Dozens of Palestinians illegally crossed into Israel from the West Bank Friday in a major breach of the border fence. The incident happened in the area of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank near the Israeli city of Netanya, the Walla news site reported. The border-crossers burned parts of the fence, and sabotaged a mechanical gate for the second time in a week. The incident happened despite the fact that the army had recently strengthened its security apparatus in the area, including by fortifying the gate with concrete slabs. In the earlier crossing, Palestinians had damaged the gate, allowing vehicles to pass through, in an incident that was filmed and spread on Palestinian social media, the report said. Israeli residents of the area said the border crossings frightened them and that they were concerned about burglaries in the area. They expressed anger at the authorities’ failure to prevent the breach. The IDF had yet to respond to the latest incident.
Hollywood Hills Corner West Bank: Meet the Palestinians living out the American dream
[behind paywall] Haaretz 27 Sept by Patty Nieberg & Yasmin Zaher — Halfway between the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Nablus, the road gives way to an exit unlike any other along Israel’s Highway 60. At first glance, this route — lined with palm trees and polished sidewalks that lead up to lavish stone villas — looks like a well-funded Jewish settlement. But a closer look reveals that unlike other typical settlements, there is no security gate at the entrance to the community and its houses are not lined up in rows along the hilltops. The expensive homes scattered on slopes among olive trees, reminiscent of the famous Hollywood Boulevard, are actually a window into the Palestinian diaspora. The majority of their dwellers are dual American-Palestinian nationals who live in the United States for most of the year and treat the village of Turmus Ayya as their summer home. Turmus Ayyans are not only based in the United States. These Palestinian villagers are spread throughout the world, with members of the community living in Spain, Panama, Cuba and Brazil. According to the village’s municipal office, there are some 11,000 Turmus Ayyans in total; 4,000 are permanent residents, while 7,000 made their home abroad. Unlike the majority of Palestinians living in the diaspora, Turmus Ayyans are not refugees of the 1948 war. Rather, they are economic emigrants who chose to leave this West Bank village in pursuit of better financial opportunities … About half of the Turmus Ayyan diaspora comes back to the village every summer. Or, as the locals put it: “From the apricot season till the olive harvest.” They build homes, buy and sell lands, and reconnect with family. But what they are perhaps most notorious for is the wedding season: An empirically proven method that over the decades has kept identity and tradition alive — no matter how far away from the homeland … Like other Palestinians in the West Bank, the villagers say they suffer from Israeli policies that limit nearly every aspect of their lives. Restricted freedom of movement, land theft, settler violence and unequal access to water are some of the issues they bring up in conversation with Haaretz.
Photos: Grapes Festival held in West Bank city of Hebron
People attend the Grapes Festival in the West Bank city of Hebron, Sept. 14, 2019. (Photos by Mamoun Wazwaz/Xinhua)
Agreement reached between hunger-striking detainees and Israeli Prison Authority
26 Sept — The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported, Wednesday, that an agreement was reached between the hunger-striking detainees and the Israeli Prison Authority after more than a hundred detainees started the strike more fifteen days earlier. The Committee stated that the implementation of the agreement will start on Thursday morning, which includes lowering the frequency of the signal jamming devices that are causing them various health complications. The devices have also been impacting TV and Radios. It also stated that the Prison Authority will also be allowing public phones five days a week, starting this coming Sunday, as the detainees have been demanding to be able to use the phones to contact their families. Also part of the agreement is allowing the transfer of Gaza Strip detainees to the Negev Detention Camp, to shorten the distance their families are forced to travel when they are allowed to visit with them. Furthermore, the agreement states that Israel will lift the sanctions, which were imposed on more than 100 detainees, who started a hunger strike fifteen days ago, and were transferred from Ramon, Eshil and the Negev, among other prisons, to Nafha and Tzalmon prisons. The Committee stated that, despite reaching the agreement, the detainees will continue the hunger strike, Thursday, to ensure the Israeli compliance with it. On September 10th, the detainees, especially in Ramon, started a series of measures after the administration unilaterally voided the agreement which was reached with the striking detainees this past April, especially the removal of jamming devices, and the installation of public phones.
Israel issues administrative detention order against a female detainee from Jordan
26 Sept — The Palestinian Detainees Committee has reported, Thursday, that the Israeli Authorities issued a five-month Administrative Detention order, without charges or trial, against the female detainee from Jordan. The Committee stated that the detainee, identified as Hiba Ahmad al-Lubbadi, 24, is currently held at the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation center, in occupied Jerusalem. It is worth mentioning that the young woman was abducted by the soldiers on August 20, 2019, while she was crossing into the West Bank, and has been denied any legal representation since then. Hiba, a Jordanian citizen who also holds a Palestinian ID, was accompanying her mother to Jenin, in northern West Bank, to attend a wedding celebration for one of their relatives. The young woman was interrogated for 35 consecutive days in Petah Tikva prison, and no charges were ever filed against her before a court decided to slap her with an Administrative Detention. She was also held at the Damon Israeli prison. Her brother, Hatem, voiced an appeal to local and international legal and human rights groups to intervene and secure her release and added that the family was never allowed to visit with her since her abduction and imprisonment.
Israel arrests Palestine’s Jerusalem minister Fadi al-Hadami
Al Jazeera 25 Sept by Mersiha Gadzo — Israeli police said they have arrested Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi al-Hadami of the Palestinian Authority (PA) – a move Palestinians said was “routine” and part of a “harassment campaign”. The Jerusalem Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that Israeli forces raided the minister’s home before taking al-Hadami into custody. … Al-Hadami is charged with allegedly breaking a law prohibiting political activity by the PA in Jerusalem. The PA governs the occupied West Bank. “He is being questioned by officers from the Jerusalem police district,” Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld, told Al Jazeera, without giving further information. Israeli authorities also summoned Adnan Ghaith, the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, and his son when they raided Ghaith’s home in Silwan, occupied East Jerusalem, early on Wednesday morning, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. Ghaith is being sought for the same offence according to the Associated Press. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas‘s Fatah movement condemned the harassment of Palestinian officials in Jerusalem, saying the move was part of Israel’s efforts to consolidate its grip over the occupied city by not allowing any official Palestinian presence or activity in the city, Wafa reported. Al-Hadami had been previously arrested in June. His lawyer was then quoted by Wafa as saying that the arrest was related to his accompanying Chilean President Sebastian Pinera during a visit to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Ghaith has also previously been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces.
“Anyone who is in any way associated with the PA in Jerusalem, they’re routinely arrested because Israel wants to make sure that there is no Palestinian representation in Jerusalem,” Diana Buttu, a Haifa-based analyst and former legal adviser to Palestinian peace negotiators, told Al Jazeera….
Israeli police shut down East Jerusalem shop for hiring Palestinian help
JERUSALEM, Wednesday, September 25, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli police today ordered an East Jerusalem Palestinian butchery shut down for 15 days for hiring Palestinian help, according to the shop owner Fadi Zahdeh. He told WAFA that police raided his shop in Silwan, took him to its station where he was questioned about hiring a Palestinian resident of the West Bank who did not have a permit to be in Jerusalem. He said the police told him that his shop will be closed for 15 days as a punishment for hiring the Palestinian and that he will be arrested if he opens it during this period.
Israeli police open Al-Aqsa doors after brief shutdown
MEMO 26 Sept — Israeli police on Thursday reopened all the doors of Al-Aqsa Mosque complex after a temporary shut-down, barring worshipers from entering it, Anadolu Agency reports. The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordan-run organization responsible for overseeing the city’s Islamic sites, announced the reopening of the doors in a statement. Earlier Thursday, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, director of East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Anadolu Agency that “the repeated closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s doors is unacceptable and the Israeli authorities should immediately stop this approach, which has turned into a policy.” Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that Israeli police arrested a Palestinian man in the courtyard of the mosque. For its part, the Israeli police said in a statement that an attempt to carry out a stabbing took place in the Old City of Jerusalem. Police claimed that they arrested the individual who attempted the attack, without giving further details.
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli soldiers demolish a home, assault the family, in Jerusalem
IMEMC 25 Sept — Workers of the City Council of occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli soldiers demolished, Tuesday, an under-construction Palestinian home in the at-Tour town, allegedly for being constructed without a permit, and assaulted the family before detaining two of them. Resident Abu Issa Khalil said the soldiers and personnel of the City Council stormed the home after surrounding and isolating it, and assaulted his family, before abducting his sons Qussai and Issa. It is worth mentioning that the two detained sons were interrogated for several hours at a detention facility, and were released under the condition of being forced out of Jerusalem for 48 hours. He added that the soldiers alleged that his sons “assaulted them” while they were forcing the family out, and attacked his other son, Odai, causing various cuts and bruises, before he was rushed to a hospital in Jerusalem. The Palestinian stated that the soldiers demolished his residence using handheld tools because it is on the top third floor. Khalil also said that the City Council recently informed him that he has until Monday evening to demolish the residence, and he demolished its rooftop, however, the soldiers invaded the area, Tuesday, and demolished the remaining walls.
Israel seizes 1500 dunums of land in Dura in south of West Bank
HEBRON, Thursday, September 26, 2019 (WAFA) – The Israeli occupation authorities announced today the seizure of about 1500 dunums of land in the town of Dura, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, enforcing a decision issued in 1987 to seize three plots of Dura land under the pretext they were state-owned. The seized plots are inhabited and hundreds of residential and agricultural establishments are built on them. Part of the land is also planted with olive trees and almonds and is located within the boundaries of the Dura municipality. Salah Shalaldeh, member of the legal department at the Anti-Wall, Anti-Settlements Commission, told WAFA that the land was considered state-owned by a military order, and on July 31 the Israeli military authorities decided to look into seizing this land. He said his commission and the Palestinian liaison office met with the owners of the land and establishments to discuss what is required to file objections to the seizure order. He said part of the land falls within areas classified as B, which is administered by the Palestinian Authority, and owners have land deeds proving their ownership of the land in question.
Soldiers confiscate bulldozer, prevent Palestinian from plowing his land near Qalqilia
IMEMC 22 Sept — Israeli soldiers prevented, on Saturday evening, a Palestinian farmer from plowing and working on his own land, and confiscated a bulldozer working on the land, in the al-Mintar area, in Kafr Thulth town, south of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia. Hosni Odah, the mayor of Kafr Thulth, said the soldiers confiscated a bulldozer owned by Ayman Ahmad Mara’ba, who was working on lands owned by Abdul-Latif Hasan Arar, who hired him to do the job. Odah added that the soldiers forced the Palestinians out of the land, and closed with sand hills the agricultural road linking between ‘Azzoun and Kafr Thulth and leading to al-‘Oyoun area in Wadi Qana. It is worth mentioning that the road was recently opened to provide the Palestinian farmers an easier access route to their farmlands and orchards.
Soldiers demolish a shed, agricultural structure, near Salfit
25 Sept — Israeli soldiers demolished, Wednesday, a shed and an agricultural structure in Deir Ballout town, west of the central West Bank city of Salfit. The soldiers surrounded the entire area before invading it and demolished the two structures without prior notice. Salfit Governor, Lieutenant Dr. Abdullah Kamil, denounced the ongoing and escalating Israeli violations against the residents in Salfit, including the repeated bulldozing and uprooting of farmlands, and the destruction of property. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also demolished an agricultural room, and a water tank, east of Hebron.
Army demolishes an under-construction home near Hebron
25 Sept — Israeli soldiers demolished, on Wednesday afternoon, an under-construction home in the al-Hijra village, at the southern entrance of Doura city, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Media sources said several army jeeps and bulldozers, invaded the village and demolished the two-story property of 250 square/meter each floor. The owner of the demolished property, Samir Nimir Doudin, said the army first issued orders stopping the construction for not receiving a permit from the “Civil Administration Office,” the executive branch of Israel’s illegal military occupation of the West Bank. Doudin added that he filed an appeal with an Israeli court to halt the demolition and give him enough time to obtain all needed permits, however, the court never made a ruling in the case and the army didn’t wait and went ahead with the demolition.
Israel town to build its cemetery in West Bank, have armed guards at funerals
MEMO 24 Sept — An Israeli town is set to build its cemetery inside the occupied West Bank, necessitating the presence of armed guards at every funeral to be held here, reported Haaretz. According to the paper, the cemetery is expected to also serve settlements in the so-called Binyamin Regional Council, not just residents of Mevasseret Zion. Two weeks ago, Mevasseret council head Yoram Shimon announced his plan to build a cemetery in an area between the Green Line, and the Separation Wall inside the occupied West Bank. After meetings with settler officials and the army, the local council approved the plan last week. However, a document obtained by Haaretz “indicates that building a cemetery in the designated area would turn every funeral into a security event”. A summary of a meeting between Shimon and the head of an occupation army body that manages the Wall in that area, shows that the army explained “the significance of the building ban and the security importance of restricting building on both sides of the security fence”. The document continued: “It is possible to examine the request positively in the future”, but subject to several conditions imposed by the army. “First of all, the area must be properly zoned. In addition, the army insists that the cemetery be surrounded by a metal fence three meters high.” The local council also must “Install security cameras with both night and day surveillance capability,” and, “The council must commit to stationing armed civilian security guards at every funeral from beginning to end as a condition for holding it.”
Arab Israelis to strike calling for greater policing
MEMO 27 Sept — Students in the Arab-Israeli town of Umm Al-Fahm will go on strike on Sunday in an effort to highlight the increasing levels of violence and crime rocking the Palestinian community in Israel. The Municipal Council of Students and Youth, which represents approximately 19,000 students, said it was taking action “as a result of the ongoing events for which we see no end but which have increased and been exacerbated, including cases of violence, murder and threats against residents.” “We, students, face fear and anxiety for our safety and that of our families every day from the moment we leave the house until we return.” It asked: “Do we agree that the top priority is to preserve life?” Hoping Sunday’s protest will force authorities to take measures to protect Arab civilians and increase policing in their neighbourhoods. The action comes as a man was shot and killed in Umm Al-Fahm yesterday bringing the total number of Arab citizens of Israel who have been killed so far this year to 68. I n a statement to MEMO yesterday, Arab Member of Knesset Yousef Jabareen said: “This alarming situation of continued internal violence in our community has become a troubling, daily reality for the Arab citizens, deprives them of sleep at night, eliminates any sense of personal security, and becomes a recurrent event as days go because of increasing number of firearms shooting, murder, and crime raging in the streets.” … Rising murder rates among the Palestinian citizens of Israel have ignited a debate between police and civilians regarding the force’s negligence of Arab neighbourhoods and the practice of segregating communities within the country.
Israeli police detain ten Palestinians in Shefa-‘Amr
26 Sept — Israeli police officers detained, Wednesday, at least ten Palestinians in Shefa-‘Amr city, about 13 kilometers from Haifa [Israel], during protests that erupted after the Israeli Authorities demolished three homes in 24 hours, allegedly for being built without permits. Dozens of police officers surrounded the city and prevented the residents from leaving their homes, before invading it and demolishing the properties, leading to protests. After demolishing the homes, the police arrested five Palestinians, and five others following the ensuing protests, in addition to firing gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing several injuries. The City Council in Shefa-‘Amr declared a general three-day strike, and called for a procession at 10 in the morning, starting in front of its building, Thursday. The police also summoned for interrogation Morad Haddad, a member of the Political Bureau of the National Democratic Assembly and a former member of Shefa-’Amr City Council, and abducted him in front of the City Council building.
Israeli top court hears HRW activist’s expulsion appeal
JERUSALEM (AP) 24 Sept by Moshe Edri — Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday heard the appeal of the local director of Human Rights Watch, who is seeking to block an attempt by the government to expel him for allegedly supporting an international boycott movement against Israel. A lower court in April upheld a decision not to renew Omar Shakir’s work visa and ordered him to leave the country, saying his advocacy against Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank amounts to support for the Palestinian-led boycott movement. Israeli law bars entry to those who publicly support a boycott of Israel or its West Bank settlements. “We want to be able to do the same work we do in nearly 100 countries across the world and here in Israel”, Shakir said, speaking to reporters outside the courtroom. “The kind of work we’ve been doing in Israel for three decades, the kind of work that we’ve done with Palestinian Authority, with Hamas, with every country in the Middle East and North Africa.” Human Rights Watch says neither it nor Shakir has called for an outright boycott of Israel. It says Shakir, who is a U.S. citizen, is being targeted for the rights group’s opposition to the settlements and its calls for companies to stop working with the settlements. The settlements, built on land seized by Israel in the 1967 war that the Palestinians want for their future state, are considered illegal by most of the international community. Tuesday’s hearing had been delayed for months and an immediate ruling was not expected.
Erekat says there are enough votes to renew UNRWA’s mandate for three more years
RAMALLAH, Thursday, September 26, 2019 (WAFA) – The Palestinians have mustered enough votes to renew the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for three more years, said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). He told Palestine TV that there were several key issues that President Mahmoud Abbas has focused on in New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly deliberations. “The main issue on our agenda is the renewal of UNRWA’s mandate and cutting back on its deficit,” he said, adding that President Abbas was able to mobilize as much international support as possible to renew UNRWA’s mandate for three more years and to cut its deficit in an effort to prevent the United States from succeeding in ending the Palestinian refugee file and eliminating UNRWA. Regarding the ongoing corruption investigation in UNRWA, he said: “I have been instructed by the President to send a letter to the UN Secretary-General demanding to speed up the investigation. We want transparency and accountability, but not at the expense of the Palestinian refugee.”….
Saudi Arabia donates $50 million to UNRWA
28 Sept — The Saudi Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Abdul-Aziz al-‘Assaf, stated on September 26th that his country has donated 50.000.000 US Dollars to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for its 2019 budget. The statement came during his meeting with Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner-General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings in New York. Al-‘Assaf added that Saudi Arabia is the biggest donor to the UNRWA for its important and vital work in aiding the Palestinian refugees … Krähenbühl also stated that this continued support enables the UNRWA to guarantee the right of education to 532.000 students, in addition to a variety of other essential services
Palestine urges world to end Israeli aggression
WASHINGTON (Anadolu Agency) 26 Sept by Servet Gunerigok — Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas urged the international community Thursday to end Israeli aggression in Palestine. “What would you do if someone tried to take the land of your country and how would you react,” Abbas told the UN General Assembly. “The international community should uphold its responsibilities to bring an end to this aggression and arrogance,” he said. “It is time to implement the resolution adopted by you, otherwise all these resolutions are pointless.” Palestine will not surrender to Israel’s occupation, he said, and he expects the UN to implement just one resolution out of many taken on Palestine. Abbas said Palestine is a “constructive player” in the international community, and deserves to be a full member of the UN. It has been a non-member observer state since 2012.
Netanyahu claims blood is on Turkey’s hands after Erdogan compares Israel to Nazis
Sputnik 25 Sept by Egor Efimchik — Turkey’s relations with Israel soured in the past decade over the volatile situation in Gaza; President Erdogan, a major champion of the Palestinian cause, has repeatedly condemned Israel for its hardline stand on the enclave, always prompting a stern rebuke … The latest words in the ongoing quarrel came immediately after Erdogan’s heated address to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday; the Turkish president said that the Palestinian territories had become ”one of the places on Earth where injustice prevails the most” and laid the blame directly on Israel. He condemned the Israel-imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip, saying that Turkey views the Holocaust “in the same way we view those besieging Gaza and carrying out massacres in it.” At one point during the address, he brandished a time-lapsed map of Israel from 1948 to date, which he claimed showed how Israel had seized Palestinian lands. “Now, I am asking from the rostrum of the United Nations General Assembly; where are the borders of the State of Israel?” he asked rhetorically of the world leaders. “Is it the 1948 borders, the 1967 borders, or is there any other border?”….
Israeli central bank urges easing of rules on Palestinian workers
Al Jazeera 25 Sept — Israel’s central bank has called on the government to ease rules on Palestinian workers who often buy work permits in the country illegally to bypass restrictions tying them to a single employer. About 20,000 Palestinian workers, or 30 percent of the Palestinian workforce in Israel, pay a monthly fee to obtain a permit from one employer and then work illegally for another, research from the Bank of Israel showed. With unemployment in the occupied West Bank and Gaza at more than 30 percent, tens of thousands of Palestinians – mostly from the West Bank – legally work in Israel in jobs providing higher pay than those in Gaza and the West Bank….
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to boost trade in West Bank and Gaza
EUNeighbours 26 Sept — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is helping Palestinian exporters and importers by providing US $2 million in trade financing to Quds Bank under EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP). The financing will help Quds Bank, the third-largest commercial bank in West Bank and Gaza, diversify its trade finance business, increase available limits and offer longer-term maturities to its customers … In 2017, the EBRD started investing in the West Bank and Gaza. To date, three projects have been signed for a total amount of €14 million.
Palestinian footballers’ hopes dashed as Israel rejects permits
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AFP) 26 Sept — Palestinian footballers were in despair after Israel rejected an appeal against a refusal of visas needed for players to leave Gaza for a long-delayed cup final, their team president said Thursday. The second leg of the final of the Palestine Cup, played between the winners of cup competitions in the West Bank and Gaza, was initially delayed in July after Israel denied travel permits to most of Khadamat Rafah’s players. The Gazan side had drawn 1-1 at home with West Bank team Balata FC in the first leg, and the victors of the return leg would have represented the Palestinians in the Asian Champions League. But this week an Israeli court rejected an appeal against the original decision, after security objections. “There is frustration and despair among the players,” Jamal Harb, president of Khadamat Rafah, told AFP Thursday. Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency said in a statement “a security examination revealed information linking most of the members of the delegation to terror.” It did not give further details … In total Israel granted permits for 12 of the 35 Gazan team’s players and club officials, said the Israeli military body responsible for civilian matters in the Palestinian territories. Only five of those accepted were players – the others were club officials – said Israeli NGO Gisha, which had led the club’s appeal. “This case is another illustration of the extraordinary effort Israel exerts to prevent Palestinian travel between the parts of the Palestinian territory,” Gisha said in a statement.
Mohammed VI Cup: Raja Casablanca, fans to be warmly welcomed in West Bank
NAP 25 Sept by Kamailoudini Tagba — Palestinian leader Mohamed Abbas has instructed the Palestinian Ministry of Sport to give a warm welcome and give free hospitality to Raja Casablanca club and its fans during the second leg match with local Hilad Al-Quds, part of the Mohammed VI cup. Both teams will lock horns on October 3 for the second leg of the tie, in the West Bank. Abbas’ decision came after Raja opted to play the second leg in the West Bank, a move much welcomed by the Palestinian Authority. Raja Casablanca Monday beat 1-0 the Palestinian Hilal Al-Quds club in a friendly atmosphere where the Raja fans expressed their support to the Palestinian cause. The green and whites secured their victory at the Mohammed V stadium filled by about 50,000 fans from both sides. The match was more marked by Raja fans’ support for the Palestinian cause than to their club. The fans deployed large banners in support to the Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation. They vowed, throughout the match, their faithfulness to Palestinians through chants such as “Palestine, Palestine” or “Gaza, will never let you down”.
Israel cuts power in parts of West Bank over debts
Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 22 Sept — Israel’s national electricity company said Sunday it was cutting power to parts of the occupied West Bank due to outstanding payments amounting to nearly $483 million. The Israel Electric Corporation said it was owed 1.7 billion shekels in debts from the main Palestinian power distributor for the West Bank, which is based in east Jerusalem. From Monday, the company “will reduce the current in some areas of the West Bank” because of the debts, it said in a statement. It said it had found no alternatives to being paid. But the Palestinian Authority denounced the move as “blackmail” by the Israeli authorities. “The (Israeli) occupation government is seeking, through these sanctions and the exploitation of electricity debts, to put pressure on the Palestinian government to accept an agreement that does not respect the rights of the Palestinians,” said Palestinian energy authority head Zafer Melhem. The Palestinian Authority says in the past two months it has repaid nearly $100 million in debts accumulated by the east Jerusalem-based distributor of Palestinian municipalities. The Palestinian health ministry has warned the power cuts could affect hospitals and medical centres.
New legislation in Congress puts Palestinians in a Catch-22
If Americans Knew 25 Sept by Kathryn Shihadah — New legislation introduced in Congress would potentially destroy the ability of the Palestinian leadership to engage in diplomatic and legal channels to support Palestinian national aspirations. The legislation would give Palestinian leaders two options: withdraw from international bodies that are integral to their pursuit of justice or be held liable for actions they didn’t commit, potentially resulting in the government’s eventual bankruptcy and demise — n addition to the roughly two dozen Israel-related bills in various stages currently before Congress, new legislation would open the Palestinian Authority (PA) to disastrous lawsuits and quash any hopes of a negotiated settlement with Israel. The PA has its share of corruption, as it attempts the impossible task of ruling while under the thumb of Israeli occupation. Nevertheless, analysts say that a dissolution of the Palestinian government through U.S. legislation could be catastrophic. Current legislation promoted by segments of the Israel lobby would do just that. The latest bipartisan legislation would enable American victims of political violence in Israel to work through the American court system to collect damages from the Palestinian government. (Notably, it would not afford American victims of Israeli violence, such as this 16-year-old, the same opportunity.) The legislation is the latest in a string of attempts to extract huge sums of money from the Palestinian government for violence perpetrated by individuals acting alone. Previous rulings declared such lawsuits outside US jurisdiction….
VIDEO: Rashida Tlaib’s grandmother to Donald Trump: Let’s talk about your peace plan
BEIT UR AL-FAUQA, West Bank (USA Today) 21 Sept by Kim Hjelmgaard– Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s 90-year-old grandmother says that when President Donald Trump releases his long-awaited plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians he is welcome to visit her house to talk it over. “But only as a guest – not as a politician,” Muftia Tlaib told USA TODAY this month as she sat on the porch of her home sandwiched between two Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, a Palestinian-governed area Israeli’s military has occupied since 1967. “What should I do, curse his father?” she added, noting pressure Trump applied on Israel last month that led her Michigan Democrat granddaughter to cancel a visit. As she spoke, Tlaib ran a string of wooden prayer beads through her aged fingers. She lives in a squat house made of sandstone blocks in Beit Ur Al-Faqua, a village on a hilltop about nine miles from the bustling Palestinian city of Ramallah….
Why is the US government probing a Middle East studies course?
Al Jazeera Stream 26 Sept — The Trump administration threatens to cut funding to college programme over alleged ‘pro-Islam’ bias — An inquiry by the US Department of Education into a Middle East studies programme is raising concerns about academic freedom. The US Department of Education argues that the joint curriculum, run by the University of North Carolina and Duke University, is misusing federal funds to advance “ideological priorities” by focusing on the “positive aspects of Islam” but not Christianity or Judaism. Assistant Secretary Robert King wrote in a letter to the schools that the consortium, “appears to lack balance as it offers very few, if any, programs focused on the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yadizis, Kurds, Druze, and others.”… Higher education advocates are now warning the government could be setting a dangerous precedent by injecting politics into academic funding decisions. On this episode of The Stream, we’ll dive into the debate by asking our panel… is academic freedom under threat?….
Case stalled months after an aborted deportation to Israel
SPRINGFIELD, Va. (AP) 25 Sept by Matthew Barakat — The ankle bracelet is again around the leg of Abdelhaleem Ashqar, just as it was nearly 15 years ago when he ran for the presidency of the Palestinian territories from his northern Virginia home. Now, the bracelet monitors his whereabouts as he waits to be deported, a deportation eagerly sought by both the U.S government and Ashqar himself. Despite their mutual goal, Ashqar remains in the U.S. with his case at a standstill, months after the government was forced to abort an effort to deport him to Israel that took him all the way to a Tel Aviv tarmac after a judge intervened in an emergency late-night hearing. So Ashqar, once considered a financier of terrorists by federal prosecutors, is again confined to his home as he and his attorneys work to find a country that will accept him. “I’d like to leave as soon as possible. Put everything behind me and start a new life,” Ashqar said in an interview in his home. What he is unwilling to do, though, is be deported to Israel or any country that would extradite him to Israel, fearing eventual arrest and torture. Ashqar, 61, was born in the Palestinian West Bank and came to the U.S. as a student in 1989. He later taught at Howard University, and maintained a high profile as a Palestinian activist. For more than 20 years, he has been the focus of U.S. investigators who believed he was linked to the militant group Hamas and helped them move funds in the U.S….