PCHR Gaza: 95 civilians shot and injured including 43 children, at 80th Great March of Return
26 Oct — In Gaza on Friday, 95 Palestinian civilians, including 43 children, a woman, 2 paramedics and a journalist, were shot and injured by Israeli forces, who fired live rounds against peaceful Palestinian protesters at the 80th Great March of Return. Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters, wounding 36 civilians with live bullets and shrapnel in addition to other injuries in the upper body due to direct targeting with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. Thousands of civilians took part in this week’s peaceful protests entitled: “For our Prisoners in Israeli Jails and al-Aqsa Mosque”, raising the Palestinian flag and chanting national slogans. The protests lasted from 3:00 to 6:30 pm, and involved activities such as speeches and theatrical performances. Hundreds of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip, where some protesters set tires on fire and a few of them attempted to throw stones, Molotov Cocktails and firecrackers at the Israeli forces, who responded with excessive force.
The following is a summary of today’s events along the Gaza Strip border:
Northern Gaza Strip: Demonstrations took part adjacent to Abu Safiyah area, northeast of Jabalia, and in southeast of Beit Hanoun. Israeli forces’ attacks against protesters resulted in the injury of 43 civilians, including 20 children, a woman and a paramedic: 20 with live bullets and shrapnel, including 11 children; 14 with rubber bullets, including 5 children and a woman; and 9 were hit with tear gas canisters, including 4 children. Mohammed Abdul Hamid Tawfiq Deeb (24), a volunteer paramedic, was hit with a tear gas canister to the right leg. Israeli forces used a military vehicle that emits the sound of heavy gunfire to cause fear among the protesters.
Gaza City: The Israeli military shot and injured 10 civilians, including 7 children: 3 with live bullets and shrapnel and 7 with rubber bullets. (continued)
Gaza protests grind on with little hope
GAZA CITY (AFP) 25 Oct — Mohammed Hellis takes three things with him to demonstrate Fridays on the Gaza border with Israel: a traditional Palestinian scarf, a slingshot and his ID card for identification if shot dead. The 21-year-old no longer believes the Hamas-backed protests that began more than 18 months ago will change Israeli policy or improve his life in the Gaza Strip. But, like for the few thousand people who continue to turn out weekly, the demonstrations have become a potentially deadly routine. “When Thursday comes around I don’t know how to sleep. I am excited for Friday. What do I want to do tomorrow? I think about getting ready, where I will go, who will come with me,” Hellis said … Officially the demonstrations are still going strong but the numbers of protesters have dropped from tens of thousands for much of 2018 to only a few thousand, and global interest has all but disappeared. At least 311 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since the protests began, the majority during the demonstrations, while thousands of others have been wounded … Hellis shares a single bedroom in a rundown flat in Shejaiya, east of Gaza City, with his four brothers. Between them they have been shot 15 times since protests began, they say. None of them has full-time work — around two-thirds of young people in Gaza are unemployed. His older brother Ziad‘s leg is in a cast and he lost most of his hearing after being hit on the ear with a tear gas canister, but he drags himself to the border most weeks. Hellis, who has gained a dedicated group of young followers due to his reputation for bravery close to the border fence, says people are “suffocated by life” in Gaza. “There are people with a very high level of poverty. They are just asking for normal lives.”…
Hamas has faced criticism from some in Gaza for keeping the protests going, seemingly without purpose. Alaa Hamdan, 28, was killed on October 4. As they brought his body home, a veiled relative screamed at the TV cameras, apparently addressing Hamas. “Shame on you — every day ‘return, return, return (marches)’. You killed us with your return. What did we get from ‘return’? Tell us,” she shouted. She said Alaa was trying to save cash for IVF treatments for his wife. “He was looking for work but couldn’t find it. He was going to the return marches just to eat.” Free meals and drinks are given out by pro-Hamas organisations at the border.
Ziad, 24, says boredom drives people to the protests. “(My father) told me not to go. But we are living in this house… five brothers in one room, on top of each other, always in each others’ faces,” he said. “You have to change the atmosphere.” Hellis sees little alternative to continuing the protests in a Gaza Strip trapped in misery, even if he ends up dead. “My dreams ended, my dreams are gone.”
Gaza: Occupation releases the body of teen martyr Imad Shahin
MENAFN/PNN 23 Oct — Israeli occupation authorities today released the body of the martyr Imad Shahin (17) from Gaza, who was martyred on November 3, 2018, the Prisoners and Ex-prisoners’ Affairs Committee said on Wednesday. The Israeli authorities released the body of Shaheen from Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. It is noteworthy that Shahin was injured during the peaceful march in Gaza, after he crossed the separation fence east of the central province for a few meters, before he was kidnapped by the occupation and announced dead later on.
From a father in Gaza: My son deserves justice
Times of Israel 23 Oct — He has sat in Israeli prison for nearly 3 and a half years, accused of aiding Hamas. I promise you he didn’t. My son is opposed to violence — My son, Mohammed Halabi, has been imprisoned in Israel for 1,226 days. He has suffered torture. He has endured 126 court appearances. He has been moved from Ashkelon prison to Nafha Penitentiary and then to Rimonim Prison. He has never seen all the evidence that the Shin Bet says it has against him. He has never been given a chance to testify under oath in his own defense, and he has not faced any cross-examination. That’s not right and it’s not just. Three years, four months, and nine days ago, Mohammed, who was the Gaza branch director of World Vision International, was arrested at Erez Crossing on his way back to the Gaza Strip following a meeting with the organization’s board in Jerusalem. The charge was preposterous. My son was accused of funneling $7 million dollars a year of the international aid funds he managed to Hamas. The sum is several times World Vision’s average annual budget in Gaza. But bad math isn’t the only reason the charge is absurd. My son believes deeply in the work he was doing. World Vision in Gaza funds humanitarian projects and psychological help for children. It provides support for farmers, for fishermen. It distributes school supplies to children … Following his incarceration, World Vision, a global organization that prides itself on accountability and transparency, engaged independent investigators who “found no diversion of funds by Mohammad, and no material evidence that he was a member of or working for Hamas.”…
Hamas arrests dozens of activists in bid to deter Gaza protests
Ynet 24 Oct by Elior Levy — With eye on anti-government demonstrations in Lebanon and as calls for rally spread on social media, police units in Strip have focused round-ups on people affiliated with left-wing and centrist political factions, including PFLP and Fatah
Why Egypt agreed to release Islamic Jihad detainees
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 24 Oct by Entsar Abu Jahal — An Islamic Jihad delegation, headed by its leader Ziad al-Nakhala, concluded a four-day visit Oct. 17 to the Egyptian capital of Cairo, which Nakhala described as fruitful, according to a statement issued by the movement Oct. 18. During the visit, the delegation held comprehensive talks with the Egyptian intelligence services on the latest developments in the Palestinian situation. They also reached an agreement to release around 40 young men stranded at Cairo airport and detained in Egypt, who returned to the Gaza Strip with the delegation through the Rafah crossing on the evening of Oct. 17. These men had been detained on charges of supporting or planning the demonstrations against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sept. 20….
Qatari official said to arrive in Gaza to deliver cash payments
Times of Israel/Agencies 25 Oct — A Qatari envoy reportedly arrived in the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday-Friday to distribute another round of cash payments to 100,000 Palestinian families in the enclave. It is the latest in a succession of financial aid delivered by Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi meant to cover fuel for electricity, salaries and assistance for needy families in the Strip from Qatar, which has budgeted some $330 million for the program launched last year. The individual $100 stipends will be handed out on Friday, reports said … In recent months, Israel has quietly provided some relief as part of an unofficial, Egyptian-brokered truce with Hamas, in exchange for reduced rocket fire from the territory and the scaling back of weekly protests along the border…
Earlier this week, a Palestinian Authority official said Israel has promised to allow a shipment of tires into the Gaza Strip, but an Israeli security source flatly denied the claim, calling it a “lie.”
Report: Poverty rate in Gaza Strip highest worldwide
RAMALLAH (Asharq al-Awsat) 21 Oct — The Ministry of Social Development in the Gaza Strip said in a report that the 2019 poverty rate in the enclave is the highest in the world. On the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, celebrated on Oct. 17, the Ministry’s undersecretary, Ghazi Hamad, said that poverty and unemployment rates have reached nearly 75 percent in 2019. He said that the Gaza Strip suffers from a dire economic situation as a result of the aggressive Israeli practices that increased since the Second Intifada, which broke out in 2000, depriving thousands of Palestinians of their jobs, and also due to the Israeli blockade on the territory since 2006, restricting the movement of citizens and goods. The Ministry report said that 70 percent of the population of the Gaza Strip is food insecure, while 33.8 percent are under the extreme poverty line and 65.6 percent of poor families are refugees. It said that Gaza possesses the highest poverty indicators in the world, adding that efforts by government, international and local institutions are characterized as relief activities meeting only about 50 percent of the basic needs of poor families….
$200m deficit in budget to rebuild destroyed homes in Gaza
MEMO 22 Oct — Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khodari revealed yesterday that there is a $200 million deficit in the budget for the reconstruction of homes destroyed during the Israeli offensive on Gaza in 2014, Quds Press reported. In a press release, Al-Khodari said that many regional donors have not fulfilled pledges they gave five years ago, following the devastating Israeli offensive. Al-Khodari called for the donors to meet their commitments regarding the rebuilding of destroyed homes, considering this an “ethical, humanitarian and legal” commitment. Meanwhile, he stressed on the importance of lifting the 13-year-old Israeli siege, which paralysed all aspects of life in Gaza, which suffers from a severe lack of residential units to meet the needs of its population….
Dr Philippa Whitford: Scotland’s support for cancer treatment in Palestine
The National (Scotland) 20 Oct — … Life for Gazans has become much worse since Israel blockaded the Gaza Strip in 2007. The closure has left two million people, half of them children and two thirds of them refugees, trapped in an area roughly five by 25 miles. In many ways the closure has left Gaza’s health sector frozen in time, cut off from advances in medicine, particularly cancer treatment, being made around the world. Having been a breast cancer surgeon for over 30 years, MAP offered me the chance to go on a fact-finding visit, in 2016, to review services in Gaza. On visiting a women’s support group, I was shocked to find that, regardless of the size or stage of disease, every single woman had undergone a radical mastectomy and axillary node clearance: an approach that had not been routine practice in the UK for more than 20 years and which had left half of them suffering with severe arm swelling known as lymphoedema. This is unsurprising given that last year just 15% of Palestinian health workers who applied to the Israeli authorities for permission to travel to external conferences or training were granted permits to exit Gaza … The MAP team and I therefore set about trying to create a programme of peer support and training for breast cancer teams in the West Bank and Gaza. Having previously been a network lead clinician, I was able to send out a call for volunteers right across Scotland to recruit the specialists we needed: radiologists, oncologists, cancer nurses and fellow surgeons … The progress in just two years has been remarkable, particularly in Gaza where I led the first team visit in September 2017 … At 7am every Tuesday morning Scottish volunteers link, via Skype, with the new Gaza breast cancer team for a treatment planning meeting; with a similar service being developed for the West Bank. In Gaza, this international medical bridge also enables our Palestinian colleagues to access updates and technical developments from around the world….
In Pictures: It’s crab season in Gaza
MEE 25 Oct by Fatima Shbair — For many Gazans, the period from September to mid-November each year is highly anticipated. Crab season is important not only to the citizens, but to fishermen who rely on fishing as a source of income. Many people refer to crabs as “Gaza’s blue gold” due to the colour of the male of the species and their high nutritional value. But female crabs, which are often pink, are usually preferred as they are bigger and contain meat. However, they are found miles away from shore, posing a bigger risk to fishermen….
PHOTOS: Palestinians hold camel race on airport runway in Gaza
GAZA (albawaba) 21 Oct — Jockeys compete in a camel race organized by the Federation of Palestinian Camel Races and the Olympic Committee at the airport runway of Gaza Airport. A narrow track inside Gaza around 300 meters from the Israeli border marks a line beyond which most Gazans do not normally venture, fearing they will be shot by Israeli troops. Since a protest began the area has been transformed. Tented encampments have sprung up and hundreds of youths venture even closer to the barrier. Palestinians attend a camel race during a tent city protest along the Israeli border with Gaza, demanding the right to return to their homeland.
Feature: Olive oil waste recycled as energy source in Gaza
GAZA (Xinhua) 22 Oct by Emad Drimly — Engineers from the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis have recently succeeded to turn olive oil waste into flammable and eco-friendly pomace-wood that can be used to heat houses during winter. In the Gaza Strip, thousands of tons of pomace, the solid waste from the olive kernel during the olive oil extraction process, are dumped annually into farmland or bird and animal farms during winter, posing dangerous effects on environment and health. To avoid such threats, three Palestinian engineers decided to find practical use of the waste by mixing it with chemical materials to get rid of its bad smell. After that, the waste is pressed through a manual machine that turns the residues into of small flammable cylinders. The engineers then put the cylinders under the sun for three days until they are completely dry and then available for human use. The engineers said farmers, poultry owners and citizens will benefit the most as the initiative will significantly provide them with money and warmth without causing environmental damage. Gazans often suffer from continuous power cuts, which prevent them from getting the necessary heating during cold winter days….
Decision to ban e-cigarettes in Gaza sparks mockery on social media
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 16 Oct by Rasha Abou Jalal — Nael Abu Diya quit smoking a year and a half ago, after having been addicted to cigarettes for 13 years. He has been smoking e-cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco ever since. However, the Oct. 6 decision by the Ministry of National Economy in the Gaza Strip to ban the entry and import of electronic cigarettes and shishas due to health risks angered Abu Diya and fellow e-cigarette smokers, who took to social media. … Activist Aiman Aloul wrote Oct. 6 that he was surprised the decision to ban vaping in Gaza came from the Ministry of Economy rather than the Ministry of Health, which shows that it was economically motivated and not linked to health concerns. Mohmed Fouad wrote Oct. 7, “Banning e-cigarettes and leaving regular cigarettes and shishas under the pretext of public interest are false excuses. The ban is in the interest of the customs authorities.”….
Gazans piecing together remains of ancient church
[with photos] GAZA (MEMO) 22 ct by Mohammed Asad — Palestinians in Gaza are working to restore mosaics and the ruins of an old church which dates back to 444 AD. Built by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II, the church has witnessed 24 Byzantine emperors and 14 Muslim caliphs, and is still witness to many of the people and periods that have passed through Gaza. Hiyam Al-Bitar, head of the Antiquities Department in the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza, confirmed that the church contained a lot of geometric and floral decorations, human drawings, landscapes, cooking utensils, domesticated and wild animals from Palestine and abroad. It also included images of hunting, rivers and palm trees, but most of these decorations and details were destroyed during the Byzantine Iconoclasm, lasting between 726 AD and 867 AD. The church is about 800 square metres. In 2010, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza installed an umbrella to protect the mosaic floors from erosion. With UNRWA recently implemented a restoration programme at the site….
Soldiers shoot a Palestinian at roadblock near Jenin
IMEMC 23 Oct — Israeli soldiers shot, Wednesday, a Palestinian man near at Barta’a military roadblock, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin; the Palestinian is the fifth to be shot in the same area in one week. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said the soldiers shot Abdullah Hasan Etheimar, 35, from Tulkarem in northern West Bank, with two live rounds in the left ankle and his thigh. It added that its medics rushed the Palestinian to Khalil Suleiman Governmental hospital, in Jenin, suffering moderate wounds. The soldiers briefly detained the young man, before allowing Red Crescent medics to provide him with the needed treatment and move him to a hospital.
The wounded Palestinians were not abducted or imprisoned by the soldiers, which indicates that they did not attempt to attack the soldiers or pose any danger to them, otherwise, the army would not allow their release to Palestinian medics.
British forensic researchers challenge Israeli army denial over shooting of child
[includes X-ray] KAFR QADDUM (ISM) 22 Oct — Evidence is stacking up against the Israeli Army over the near-fatal shooting of a Palestinian child by a soldier in July, with the release of a damning report from a British research group. Nine-year-old Abd el-Rahman Yasir Shatawi was shot in the head on July 12 while sitting outside his friend’s house during a protest in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum. He sustained severe brain damage and remains hospitalized more than three months after the attack. Since then Abd’s parents have been left in the dark as to why their son, who was not even participating in the protest, was shot by Israeli soldiers from a hill opposite. Despite eyewitness accounts, medical reports and investigations all saying that Abd was shot with live ammunition, the Israeli army has continued to insist that soldiers did not use live fire that day. Instead the military claims that Abd was shot with a rubber-coated metal bullet [RCMB]. This has been challenged most recently by London-based research group Forensic Architecture, which carried out an investigation into the incident at the request of ISM….
As the olive harvest picks up in West Bank, so do Israeli settlers’ attacks against farmers
SALFIT (WAFA) Wed 23 Oct — Israeli settlers continued to attack Palestinian farmers harvesting their olive crops throughout the occupied West Bank, the latest of which was the theft today of tools the farmers use in picking olives. According to Khaled Ibieh, head of Yasouf village council in the north of the West Bank, settlers stole blankets, ladders and an olive picking machine owned by two local residents they had left behind in their fields as they continue with the olive harvest that often takes weeks to complete. He said the settlers from nearby illegal settlements of Tapuach and Rahel snuck into the lands and stole the tools in order to disrupt the harvest. Thousands of Palestinian families anxiously wait for the olive harvest season every year, which is often the main source of income for most families. [See VIDEO here]
Israeli settlers steal farmers’ olive harvest west of Nablus
Nablus, Wednesday, October 23, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers today stole the olive harvest of Palestinian farmers in the village of Deir Sharaf, northwest of the occupied West Bank City of Nablus, according to local sources. Member of Deir Saharaf village council Murad Nasser told WAFA that a number of Palestinian farmers entered their olive groves isolated by a fence surrounding the nearby illegal settlement of Shavei Shomron, located on the northern side of the village, but they were completely shocked to find out that Israeli settlers had destroyed their trees and stolen their harvest.
Illegal colonists attack farmers near Ramallah
IMEMC 23 Oct — A group of illegal extremist Israeli colonists attacked, Wednesday, Palestinian farmers on their lands, in Um Safa village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Marwan Sabah, the head of Um Safa Village Council, said ten Israeli assailants from Halamish illegal colony and several soldiers invaded the Palestinian lands in al-Ghabat area, west of the village, and assaulted the farmers before removing them out of their lands. Sabah added that one of the colonists owns a cow farm in the illegal colony, near the Palestinian lands, and repeatedly attacks the farmers and their lands. He also said that the soldiers detained two employees of the local council, who were on the lands with the farmers, and released them later.
Palestinian farmers driven out of their olve groves south of Nablus
Nablus, Tuesday, October 22, 2019 ( WAFA) – Israeli soldiers today forced Palestinian farmers picking their olives out of their land at gunpoint in the village of Qaryut, south of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, according to local sources. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at the farmers as they were heading to harvest their olive trees in the western part of the village. Daghlas noted that farmers were prevented from harvesting their olive groves in this area for the fourth day in a row although they were not required to obtain a permit to access their groves [in this area]. Over the past two weeks, the West Bank has witnessed a wave of settler attacks and agricultural terrorism as Palestinian farmers began the year’s olive harvest. Attacks were mainly in northern villages near Nablus and Salfit, governorates with the largest concentration of illegal Israeli settlements.
Israeli forces attack olive harvesters in West Bank village
NABLUS (WAFA) Thu 24 Oct – Israeli soldiers today attacked olive harvesters in al-Lubban al-Sharqiya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and held some of them, reported WAFA correspondent. He said the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission, Fatah movement and al-Lubban village council have organized a voluntary workday to help Palestinian farmers in the village to harvest their olive crops in their lands located near the illegal Jewish settlement of Eliah. The soldiers attacked the volunteers and farmers, beat them up and threw stun grenades in their direction to get them to leave their lands. They also held the head of the village council and another volunteer for a while and also seized mobile phones of journalists who were covering the event.
Local and international volunteers often help farmers in areas close to the settlements to harvest their crops, mainly during the olive harvest season, while providing them with protection from settler attacks.
Israeli soldiers abduct a wheelchair-bound woman ten days after abducting her sons
IMEMC 25 Oct — Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier on Friday at dawn, a wheelchair-bound Palestinian woman from her home in Beit Liqya town, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The Mayor of Beit Liqya, Arij Aassi, told the WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the soldiers invaded the home of Hiam Shokri Bader, 65, and took her to an unknown destination. She added that Hiam is paralyzed, and that approximately 10 days ago, the soldiers stormed her home, and abducted her sons, Tha‘er, Ashraf and Tamer.
Mother and son among nine Palestinians detained in West Bank, Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 20 Oct – Israeli forces detained overnight Saturday and early Sunday five Palestinians from the West Bank districts of Nablus and Tubas, in addition to five others, including a mother and her son, in the East Jerusalem al-Bustan area of Silwan, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). Israeli forces detained three Palestinian workers, including two brothers, from Tubas governorate as they attempted to enter Israel for work. One of the brothers was shot in the foot by the forces and detained despite his injury. Forces also detained a 21-year-old youth from al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, at Zaatara Israeli military checkpoint, south of Nablus. Israeli police stormed an area in al-Bustan area of Silwan and detained four Palestinians, including a mother and her 12-year-old son.
Palestinian prime minister vows to stop Israel raids
Al-Monitor 23 Oct by Adnan Abu Amer — Palestinian officials say the Israeli army is becoming more brazen with its prohibited raids of areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The prime minister in Ramallah recently promised to put a stop to the forays. How he plans to accomplish that, however, isn’t clear. Creating a political precedent, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh told al-Quds newspaper Oct. 12, “We will prevent the Israeli occupation’s army from breaking into the West Bank’s Area A, without using violence, but rather with our bodies. Israel raids the [PA] areas, and the signed agreements don’t allow such incursions to take place. We will break the status quo.” This is the first time a senior Palestinian official has pledged to prevent the Israeli army from breaking into Area A without explaining how. It would seem difficult to do, as the PA is trying to rein in the armed factions that prevent Israeli incursions, and the authority doesn’t encourage popular resistance in the West Bank. Previously, when there were political contacts between the PA and Israel, the Israeli army did not conduct patrols in Area A, but rather delivered information to the Palestinian security agencies, which in turn would arrest a wanted person through security coordination between the two sides….
Netanyahu condemns Jewish violence against IDF after two soldiers injured
JPost 22 Oct by staff, Tovah Lazaroff — Peretz says these are “terror attacks” and calls for FADC Meeting – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders condemned two separate attacks by Jewish extremists against IDF forces near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, in which two soldiers were slightly injured. The attacks occurred within 48 hours of each other, one on Friday morning and the other on Sunday morning. The latter attack set off a wave of political responses in support of the soldiers. “I want to stand by the IDF soldiers and commanders who are working around-the-clock to defend the security of all Israeli citizens without exception,” Netanyahu said. “I strongly condemn any assault on IDF soldiers. There will be no tolerance for lawbreakers who raise a hand to our soldiers.” … The IDF declared that the Kumo Ori outpost near Yitzhar is a closed military zone, a military spokeswoman said on Monday night. Early Sunday morning, some 30 settlers attacked soldiers near Yitzhar, 10 km. south of Nablus. They threw stones, slashed a jeep’s tires and slightly injured one of the soldiers, the military reported. Separately on Friday, the commander of the Golani Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion was attacked by right-wing extremists near the entrance to settlement. According to the IDF, settlers on Friday blocked the path of an army vehicle. One of the settlers opened the door of the vehicle and threatened those inside it, the IDF said….
Capitulation to Jewish settlers has enabled violence against soldiers, defense officials say
[behind paywall] Haaretz 23 Oct by Yaniv Kubovich — Officials in the defense establishment say that Israel’s military policy in the West Bank is often dictated by settlement leaders ‘to benefit the Jewish population’ rather than by security considerations — Settlement leaders ignore violence by settlers against Palestinians and even policemen, denouncing it only when the people attacked are soldiers, as happened in the settlement of Yitzhar this week, senior defense officials said. The officials added that settler leaders have put heavy pressure on the government, thereby undermining the army’s status in the territories and enabling violence against members of the security services. “It’s expressed as an atmosphere that everything’s allowed,” said one senior officer involved in the defense establishment’s conversations with government officials. In recent years, defense officials said, settlement leaders have gained more power over the government, and they have waged a persistent battle against the defense establishment’s policies through their representatives in the Knesset …. Over the past few days, settlers from Yitzhar have attacked Israel Defense Forces soldiers several times. Senior defense officials said they are frustrated by “conflicting messages” about how they’re supposed to handle such violence. Many said the incidents in Yitzhar reflect a much bigger problem – the growing influence of extremist settlement leaders over the government….
Tires slashed, graffiti daubed in Palestinian town in apparent hate crime
Times of Israel 23 Oct by Jacob Magid — Palestinians in al-Bireh woke up Wednesday morning to find their central West Bank village targeted by vandals in an apparent hate crime. Security camera footage from the town south of the Beit El settlement showed two suspects in hoodies walking through a street in the north end of al-Bireh, bending down and slashing tires and spraying graffiti on a wall. The B’Tselem rights group said 31 cars were vandalized in the incident. The Israel Police opened up an investigation into the incident. The graffiti found spray-painted at the scene read: “This is an order designating a ‘closed military zone.’ Traitors choose to harass Jews.” The text appeared to reference the spiraling situation in the Yitzhar settlement some 70 kilometers away, where the IDF on Tuesday extended a closed military zone order on one of the community’s nine outpost neighborhoods for an entire month, after a series of instances of violence involving young residents, known as hilltop youth….
Fix the West Bank fence, local leaders urge Netanyahu
Ynet 21 Oct by Raanan Ben Zur — The heads of local municipalities in the center and north are pleading with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tackle a real threat to citizens living close to the West Bank security barrier after multiple gaps in the fence were found. The request by the heads of seven local councils says: “We are disturbed and worried about a severe security breach in our communities and against our residents, given the number and scale of the breaches in the separation fence, with infuriatingly easy crossings receiving with no answer or response from the military.”
Rights group: Record number of home demolitions in East Jerusalem
Al Jazeera 24 Oct — Israeli authorities have demolished at least 140 Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem this year, an Israeli rights group has said, the highest annual number since it began keeping records in 2004. B’Tselem said on Thursday that 238 Palestinians have lost their homes to demolitions this year, including 127 minors. The second-highest number of demolitions on record was in 2016, when 92 homes were demolished, according to the group. The B’Tselem figures refer to homes demolished because they were built without proper government permits. But critics have charged that discriminatory permitting by the Israeli government has forced a vast number of Palestinians to build illegally. The uptick also comes amid a major increase in Jewish settlement activity both in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank since US President Donald Trump took office. Shortly after capturing East Jerusalem during the six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967, Israel expanded the municipal boundaries of the city to take in large areas of land on which it later constructed Jewish settlements. At the same time, it sharply limited the expansion of Palestinian neighbourhoods, forcing many in the increasingly crowded areas to build illegally …
Last month, another Israeli rights group, Peace Now, obtained official figures on building permits in East Jerusalem going back to 1991 that provided strong evidence of systematic discrimination against Palestinian residents, who make up more than 60 percent of the population of East Jerusalem, but have received just 30 percent of permits to build homes. Peace Now estimates that, as a result, half of the 40,000 housing units built in Palestinian neighbourhoods since 1967 lack permits, placing them at constant risk of demolition.
[B’tselem] said commercial structures are also being demolished at the highest rate on record, with 76 dismantled so far this year, compared with 70 in all of 2018. The B’Tselem demolition figures only include homes demolished because they were built illegally. They do not include those destroyed as part of an Israeli practice of demolishing the family homes of alleged perpetrators following attacks in which Israelis are injured or killed.
VIDEO: Palestinian forced to demolish own home in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Oct — A Palestinian resident of the Jabal al Mukabbir neighborhood, in East Jerusalem, tore down his home after he received a demolition order from the Israeli authorities, said a local official. Fateh movement’s secretary general in Jabal al-Mukabbir, Iyad Bashir, told WAFA that Sultan Bashir got the demolition order for his 50-square-meter house a month ago, under the pretext of proximity to the US embassy, which is illegally located in Jerusalem. Bashir was forced to demolish his own house to avoid paying exorbitant costs, should the Israeli West Jerusalem municipality have to carry out the task.
Hundreds of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
IMEMC 23 Oct — According to local sources, hundreds of Jewish Israeli settlers, accompanied by soldiers, forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday, pushing aside the Muslim worshipers and the Muslim clerics who oversee the mosque. The Israelis then gathered to pray for the destruction of the mosque. A large sect of right-wing Jewish Israelis have pushed for the destruction of the mosque, which is the third-holiest site in the Islamic religion. They call for the mosque to be destroyed, and a Jewish temple to be erected in its place. Many of these groups sell t-shirts and other paraphernalia showing the mosque destroyed with a temple constructed on the ruins. Some of the vendors selling these items establish themselves directly outside the gates of the mosque, to try to provoke Muslim worshipers as they enter to pray. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum issued the warning in a press release on Monday, calling the recent invasions of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound ‘provocations’ meant to insult and denigrate Palestinians who pray at the mosque each week. Barhoum called on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank to increase their resistance to the ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian sovereignty and basic human rights….
Israeli forces invade Al-‘Issawiya, injure two Palestinian teens
IMEMC 22 Oct — On Monday evening, Israeli forces invaded the town of al-‘Issawiya in East Jerusalem, severely beating one young Palestinian and injuring another with a sound grenade canister. According to the local Palestinian news agency WAFA, Israeli forces assaulted a teen identified as Ahmed Abu Roumi, beating him with rifles at a ‘pop-up checkpoint’ they had erected in the town. Clashes erupted nearby, and Israeli soldiers began attacking Palestinian youth, who threw stones at the invading soldiers. One young Palestinian, Salem Musa Darwish suffered from burns when he was hit by a sound grenade fired by Israeli soldiers. The two young men were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Al-Issawiya has been the site of frequent Israeli invasions and clashes, as well as home demolitions of Palestinian homes. It is an area of East Jerusalem that Israeli authorities have designated for takeover by the Israeli state, and the forced removal of the Palestinian residents. According to a recent report in the Israeli Ha’aretz newspaper, “Israeli police officers in the East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of ‘Issawiyah were caught on camera complaining that there was no purpose to an ongoing police operation in the neighborhood, highly criticized by community leaders, other than deliberately provoking the residents….
Israel attempts to wipe out Palestinian curriculum in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Oct — Up to 100,000 Palestinian students are facing the threat of using distorted schoolbooks in occupied Jerusalem, Deputy Palestinian Education Minister Basri Saleh said on Sunday. During a meeting held in Cairo, Basri said that the Israeli occupation has been working hard to impose the distorted Israeli narratives related to the history of Palestine and the conflict in the schoolbooks. He also said that the Israeli occupation has been exerting efforts to impose the Israeli curriculum on Palestinian schools in occupied Jerusalem. “Jerusalem is waiting intensified efforts from us,” he told the meeting, calling on the Arab League to address the urgent educational needs of Palestinians in Jerusalem….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Army demolishes family home of slain Palestinian
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Oct — Israeli forces, on Wednesday, demolished the home of slain Palestinian Ali Hassan Khalifa, in the Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem. According to local PNN sources, a large number of Israeli soldiers stormed the camp and evacuated Khalifa’s house before bulldozers demolished the house, located on Al-Quds Street, near Qalandia checkpoint. The same sources added that the Israeli army forced the owners of vehicles in the area to evacuate them, in addition to preventing the press crews from covering the demolition. It is noteworthy that Khalifa was killed in Qalandia camp, on the first day of Ramadan, in early August, 2011. [He was not an attacker; he died in a military incursion into the refugee camp. So why the demolition years later?]
Israel forced to reassess demolition policy
Al-Monitor 25 Oct by Shlomi Eldar — With Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas promising to rebuild every home demolished by the IDF, Israel’s defense establishment will have to reassess the demolition of terrorists’ homes as a deterrent — Early in the morning of Oct. 24, the IDF demolished the home of Islam Abu Hamid’s family for a second time. Abu Hamid killed Sergeant First Class Ronen Lubarsky in May 2018, during an operation to capture terrorist suspects in the al-Amari refugee camp in the Ramallah district. A slab of marble that Abu Hamid threw at the IDF’s Duvdevan force operating in the camp hit Lubarksy on the head, critically wounding him. He died of his injuries two days later. The IDF reported that the Duvdevan unit that located and captured Abu Hamid in June 2018 also participated in the demolition operation. As for Abu Hamid, he was sentenced by a military court to life in prison plus another eight months for obstruction of justice, as well as a fine of 258,000 shekels ($73,000) — the maximum allowed in criminal cases.
Three months after he was captured, the IDF informed Abu Hamid’s family that it planned to demolish part of their home and gave them 10 days to prepare. Then the IDF reassessed and decided to demolish the entire home, apparently because of the Abu Hamid family’s history. Four of its members are in prison in Israel and Islam’s brother Nasser was a senior member of Fatah’s military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The house was finally demolished in December 2018, after which the Palestinian Authority expressed its gratitude to the family and made them into heroes. In response to the demolition, Abu Hami’s mother Um Nasser announced that the “house of sacrifice on behalf of the Palestinian people” would be rebuilt. Construction of the new house began several months ago, drawing attention in the Palestinian media.
The IDF’s bulldozers returned this week with members of the Civil Administration and a force from the Duvdevan unit to tear down whatever had already been rebuilt. Inevitably, the Palestinian media showed great interest in the demolition. All Abbas and his government could do was reiterate that anything that was destroyed by force would be rebuilt anew….
Israel to seize 700 dunums of land under Palestinian control in north of West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 Oct – Israel plans to seize 700 dunums of land under Palestinian control in the northern West Bank village of Qaryout in order to expand an illegal area settlement, according to a local activist. Bashar Sadeq, active in the settlement resistance movement, told WAFA that the Israeli military passed out an aerial picture showing that village land that has been recognized as part of Area B, which is under Palestinian administration and Israeli security control, has been cut off in order to be used for the expansion of the illegal settlement of Eli. He said the land in question is 700 dunums in area and that the decision would harm its Palestinian landowners, who are mainly farmers, since now they cannot enter or benefit from their land without a special army permit. The Israeli soldiers yesterday kicked out the farmers while they were harvesting their olive crops in that land and ordered them not to return to it without a military permit …
The 1993 Palestinian-Israeli Oslo agreement divided West Bank land into Area A, which is under full Palestinian rule, Area B, administered by the Palestinians but the security remained in Israel’s hands, and Area C, which is under full Israeli control and which makes up more than 60 percent of the area of the West Bank. This is the first time since 1993 that Israel cuts off land from Area B and turns it into Area C.
Bedouin kids join global climate strike in Palestine’s first extinction rebellion protest
UMM AL-KHAIR, South Hebron Hills (ISM) 19 Oct — Bedouin children in the West Bank joined global climate protests yesterday, calling out the Israeli occupation’s role in exacerbating the effects of climate change on Palestinians. Over a dozen protesters from the Bedouin village of Umm al-Khair in the South Hebron Hills, waved placards reading “live with the land, live like Bedouins,” in Palestine’s first Extinction Rebellion action. Although Israel and Palestine both face rising temperatures and less rainfall as a result of climate change, Palestinians are likely to suffer the effects more severely. This is largely because Israel restricts their water access, with less than 15% of water from the region’s three main aquifers allocated to Palestinians. The rest supplies Israel and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
In Umm al-Khair, the Palestinian Water Authority is not allowed to build water networks to provide the village with running water. And the people cannot build cisterns either. In contrast, Israel provides the neighbouring illegal Israeli settlement of Carmel with running water from pipes built over Umm al-Khair land. Instead, the Bedouins must transport their water by trucks – a costly process – giving them just 15 litres of water on average per day. This is far below the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) minimum recommendation of 100 litres per day and massively less than that enjoyed by Israeli settlers at 300 litres per day. With rainfall expected to decrease by 30% over the next 50 years, how will Palestinians, especially those in Umm al-Khair who rely almost entirely on their livestock, cope unless Israel ends its brutal occupation?….
Ghannam ends hunger strike after Israel sets release date
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Oct — The longest hunger striking Palestinian administrative detainee ended his fast today, after the Israeli High Court set a date for his release, said the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS). It said, according to WAFA, that Ahmad Ghannam, from the town of Dura, in the south of the West Bank, who has been on hunger strike for a straight 102 days, in protest against his open-ended administrative detention without charge of trial, decided to call off his strike after the High Court ruled to set a ceiling for his detention, which means his release after completing the current administrative detention period. According to the PPS, Ghannam was in a critical condition due to his long hunger strike. He was recently moved from isolation at Nitzan prison, in central Israel, to an Israeli hospital….
Americans overwhelmingly reject anti-BDS laws, poll finds
Electronic Intifada 23 Oct by Ali Abunimah — Americans overwhelmingly reject laws designed to penalize supporters of BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, according to a new poll. More than 70 percent of respondents oppose laws that target BDS activism as an infringement on the constitutional right to free speech. That opposition rises to 80 percent among Democrats but is still remarkably high among Republicans, at 62 percent. With the encouragement of Israel and its lobby groups, 27 US states have adopted anti-BDS laws. Similar measures pending in Congress face strong opposition from civil liberties groups … Confirming that the boycott message is reaching the party’s progressive base, 77 percent of the Democrats who have heard of the movement agreed that BDS “is a legitimate, peaceful way of opposing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.” Only 19 percent of the Democrats agreed with the statement – typical of Israeli government claims – that BDS is an “anti-Israel organization attempting to weaken Israel and to undermine its legitimacy,” and that some of its supporters are anti-Semitic. Positions were reversed among Republicans, with just 13 percent agreeing that BDS is legitimate and 85 percent viewing it as “anti-Israel.”….
UN expert calls for ban on Israeli products from settlements
UNITED NATIONS (AP) 23 Oct by Edith M. Lederer — The U.N. independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories called Wednesday for an international ban on all products made in Israeli settlements as a step to potentially end Israel’s 52-year “illegal occupation.” Michael Lynk told the General Assembly’s human rights committee that the international community should also issue “a clarion call to the United Nations” to complete and release a database “on businesses engaged in activities related to the illegal settlements.” Israel is deeply opposed to the Palestinian-led international boycott movement, which it views as an attack on its very existence. Supporters of the boycott say it is a non-violent way of protesting Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on Lynk’s statement. Lynk said the international community has a responsibility and a legal obligation to compel Israel to completely end its occupation and remove barriers to self-determination for the Palestinians. He pointed to the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which he called “a human-made catastrophe” and “an injustice that should be near the top of the world’s agenda to end.” He said the economic situation there “continues to move from dire to acute to unimaginable,” … “No occupation in the modern world,” Lynk said, “has been conducted with the international community so alert to its many grave breaches of international law, so knowledgeable about the occupier’s obvious and well-signaled intent to annex and establish permanent sovereignty, so well-informed about the scale of suffering and dispossession endured by the protected population under occupation, and yet so unwilling to act upon the overwhelming evidence before it to employ the tangible and plentiful legal and political tools at its disposal to end the injustice.”
Report: BDS the ‘most dangerous’ movement for Israeli national security
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Oct — by Mahm’d Zaban, PNN: The Israeli occupation state views BDS as a movement which forms a strategic threat to its national security, extensively triggering international public opinion against it, and works to isolate Israel internationally. Thus, Israel uses several means to reduce the effects of BDS, including the policies of extreme right-wing organizations in America. The Hebrew publication, Yediot Aharonot, quoted senior political forums in Tel Aviv as saying, “Israel is financing some International organizations to encounter the BDS, and to organize events and activities for the benefit of Israel, especially in the EU states through launching media campaigns on the social networks.”….
Episcopal Church withdraws from companies benefitting from Israeli occupation
RAMALLAH, Friday, October 25, 2019 (WAFA) – The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church in the United States has adopted a human rights investment screen to sell its holdings in Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar, Inc., and the Israel Discount Bank for benefiting from the Israeli occupation. The human rights screen would bar Episcopal Church investments in “any corporation that supports or benefits from denial of human rights in or through the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Gaza Strip,” the Council said in a statement quoted by Mondoweiss. According to the media release, the Council also directed the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, “to pursue continued engagement with Facebook, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor, urging them to address human rights violations through complicity in the occupation of the OPT, and seeking to assure that the companies take all necessary steps to end their complicity in the occupation.”
Cash-strapped UN agency on tenterhooks over probe
BRUSSELS (AFP) 21 Oct — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is waiting anxiously on the outcome this month of a probe into alleged mismanagement that has dented its already severely depleted funding, one of its top officials said Monday. The UN Relief and Works Agency hopes the results of the investigation will enable it to get past the scandal that has worsened a cash crunch threatening the school and health services it provides to five million Palestinians. UNRWA’s director for West Bank operations Gwyn Lewis told AFP in Brussels: “We’re waiting with bated breath because it obviously has financial implications.” She said the conclusions of the probe are expected to be delivered “around the end of October” to UN chief Antonio Guterres, who would then issue public and internal “follow-up steps”. The timing is crucial as the agency’s three-year mandate is up for renewal this month, and money is tight. UNRWA has been skating on very thin financial ice since last year, after US President Donald Trump decided to suspend, then yank entirely his country’s contribution to the agency’s budget, robbing it of its top donor.
Those woes were compounded by the allegations of abuse by the agency’s management, leading other key donors — the Netherlands and Switzerland — to snap shut their purses … According to a copy of an internal UN report obtained by AFP in July, senior management at UNRWA engaged in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain”. Lewis did not confirm those allegations, noting only “rumours” and leaks to the media. “None of us have actually seen it,” she said of the report, adding: “Our sense is that it’s not about financial misappropriation or corruption, it’s linked to management and human resources issues.”….
Political and other news
Palestinian court blocks 59 websites critical of government
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian court has blocked access to 59 websites critical of the Palestinian Authority, a decision that has drawn wide criticism. The court ruling, handed down on Oct. 17 but revealed Monday, says the websites publish materials that “threaten national security and civil peace.” Most of the sites are run by supporters of the Islamic militant group Hamas or Mohammed Dahlan, rivals to President Mahmoud Abbas. All are critical of the Palestinian Authority. The PA has blocked dozens of critical websites in recent years. In a rare move, Abbas’ government called on the attorney general to overturn the latest decision. Ammar Dweik, head of the Palestinian Commission for Human Rights, says his organization will appeal against the ruling, which “restricts free reporting and free speech.”
Gaza NGOs accuse Palestinian Authority over frozen bank accounts
GAZA CITY (MEE) 22 Oct by Adam Khalil — Dozens of NGOs in the besieged Gaza Strip are ringing the alarm over the freezing of their bank accounts following restrictions imposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Interior based in the occupied West Bank. The policy, in place since 2017, is now threatening numerous organisations with collapse, to the detriment of thousands of beneficiaries in the Palestinian enclave 12 years into a stringent Israel-imposed blockade. NGOs have found themselves in the crossfire of the longstanding political divide between the two main Palestinian political factions … The Deir al-Balah Association for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled is one of the organisations whose bank accounts have been frozen since the PA began imposing punitive measures on the Gaza Strip in 2017. Khaled Abu Shuaib, the association’s director general, told Middle East Eye that the Ministry of Interior has not issued credentials for the organisation’s new board for two months, leaving the Deir al-Balah organisation unable to access its funds. According to several NGO officials, paperwork submitted to the ministry in Ramallah are subject to strict security checks and – deliberately, they believe – subjected to lengthy delays….
Palestinian National Library to collect Palestine’s scattered archives
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 25 Oct by Ahmad Melhem — Ihab Bseiso’s job may be every bibliophile’s dream: The former minister of culture is charged with creating the Palestinian National Library in a palace that stretches over 40 dunams, or 9 acres, of land near Ramallah. Despite the enthusiasm of Bseiso — a journalist, poet and advocate of culture as a tool of political resistance — the establishment of the national library has been anything but quick. Two years ago, President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decision to turn the presidential palace in Sarda, north of Ramallah, into a national library. It took another two years to appoint Bseiso, who was one of the brains behind the project to gather Palestine’s scattered archives. “We want the national Palestinian library to be our link to national libraries around the world,” he said at a press conference in 2017. “We want to reclaim our looted heritage [by getting back Palestinian documents from around the world] through agreements … and through laws defending our cultural existence.”….
Israel prevents UN Special Rapporteur Lynk from traveling to Palestine
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Oct — Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Organization on human rights in Palestine Michael Lynk condemned Israel for preventing him Thursday from traveling to the Palestinian territories, violating thus established procedures and protocols. At a press conference in New York, the official said: “This is a violation of the procedures and protocols because, as part of my work, I must go and see the situation on the ground firsthand”. In addition, he said that Israel’s mission in Geneva does not respond to the requests to visit Palestinian territories. Lynk travels every year to meet with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and with civilians from the territories that are illegally occupied by Israel. On Wednesday, the expert sent a report to the U.N. General Assembly stating the Israeli occupation in Palestine is the longest belligerent one in the world….
Israel releases journalist who was at risk of deportation
JERUSALEM, Thursday, October 24, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation authorities released today Palestinian journalist Mustafa Al-Kharouf, after all Israeli attempts to deport him abroad failed. Al-Kharouf has been arbitrarily detained at Givon prison in Ramle since January 22, 2019. His arrest came after the Israeli Ministry of Interior Affairs refused his application for family unification on alleged security grounds, and ordered his immediate deportation to Jordan, where he has no legal rights to reside and will remain stateless. While two Israeli courts have upheld his deportation decision, al-Kharouf’s lawyer has successfully filed an appeal request to the Israeli Supreme Court, which later reversed the decision. The 32-year-old Palestinian photojournalist was born to an Algerian mother and a Palestinian Jerusalemite father. He lives in occupied East Jerusalem with his wife Tamam al-Kharouf and 18-month-old daughter Asia. He had moved to East Jerusalem with his family from Algeria when he was 12.
Malaysia to open embassy accredited to Palestine
BAKU, Friday, October 25, 2019 (WAFA) – Malaysia will soon open an embassy to Palestine, the country’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced today. He said that since Israel will ban a Malaysian embassy in the occupied Palestinian territories, Malaysia will open this embassy in Jordan but will be accredited to Palestine, enabling his country to offer aid to the Palestinians more easily. Addressing the 18th summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Azerbaijan, Mahathir criticized the silence of international community for “doing nothing” against Israeli actions, Malaysia’s Bernama news agency reported.
Jordan’s 25-year peace with Israel ‘cold and getting colder’
Amman (AFP) 23 Oct by Mussa Hattar — Twenty-five years after the signing of a landmark peace treaty, ties between Jordan and Israel mirror the ebbs and flows of a turbulent region, while many Jordanians still regard the Jewish state as an “enemy”. The Wadi Araba Treaty, inked on 26 October 1994, formally ended decades of war between the two neighbours but the accord faces continual challenges, analysts say. “Israel remains our number one enemy,” Yazid Khleifat, a 38-year-old civil servant, told AFP. “Israel has displaced millions of our Palestinian brothers and killed thousands of Arabs,” he added. More than half of Jordan’s 9.5 million population is of Palestinian descent. The largely desert Hashemite kingdom borders Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories where a decades-long conflict has defined the political tremors of the Middle East. Jordan — the only Arab country with Egypt to have a peace treaty with Israel — administered the West Bank, including mostly Arab east Jerusalem, until the 1967 Six-Day War. It remains the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. “Despite the peace plan, Israel shows no respect for Jordan’s custodianship over the holy sites… and its attempts to Judaise Jerusalem are in full swing,” said Khleifat. “The issue of custodianship is sensitive for the Hashemites because it touches upon their religious legitimacy,” said Amman-based political analyst Labib Kamhawi. Members of the Hashemite dynasty to which King Abdullah II belongs are direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammed….
‘All options on the table’: Warren, Buttigieg say expanded Israeli occupation in West Bank could lead to US aid cuts
[behind paywall] WASHINGTON (Haaretz) 22 Oct by Amir Tibon — Two Democratic presidential contenders said over the weekend they are open to the idea of conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel on the actions of the Israeli government – even if they didn’t go as far as Bernie Sanders. When asked about withholding aid to Israel if the Israeli government continued building settlements in the West Bank and moving away from a two-state solution, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that “all options are on the table.” When Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was asked about this issue, he reiterated his position that Israeli annexations in the West Bank could lead to cuts in U.S. security assistance. As of today, the United States provides Israel $3.8 billion annually as part of an agreement between the two countries that was negotiated and signed by Barack Obama. The most outspoken Democratic candidate on the Israel-aid issue is Sanders, who has been saying for months that the assistance should be conditioned on a change in Israeli policy. The Vermont senator has said he would “absolutely” be willing to use the aid as leverage in the U.S.-Israel relationship. Over the summer, Sanders said at an event in New Hampshire that Washington should use that leverage “in order to end the racism we have recently seen in Israel.”….