On 78th Friday of Great March of Return: 71 civilians injured, including 28 children
PCHR 11 Oct — Seventy-one Palestinian civilians, including 28 children, were injured due to Israeli soldiers’ excessive use of force against peaceful protesters at the 78th Great March of Return, this Friday, 11 October 2019. Israeli forces persisted in the use of excessive force against the protesters participating in the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege activities. PCHR’s fieldworkers documented 33 injuries with live-bullet wounds; 3 civilians, including 2 children, with critical wounds; and others with wounds in the upper body due to direct targeting with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. PCHR fieldworkers observed large civilian participation across the five Great March of Return encampments in the Gaza Strip, titled this week as “”Our Martyr Children.” The protests lasted from 15:00 to 19:00 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 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: Israeli forces’ attacks against protestors resulted in the injury of 21 civilians, including 8 children: 6, including a child, were shot with live bullets and shrapnel; 11 of them including 4 children were shot with rubber bullets; and 4 of them including 3 children were hit with tear gas canisters. Samer Wael Rajab al-Refi (23), from al-Toufah neighborhood, sustained serious wounds after being shot with a live bullet in his neck.
Gaza City: Israeli forces’ attacks against protesters resulted in the injury of 6 civilians, including 2 children: 3 with live bullets and shrapnel; and 3 with rubber bullets.
Central Gaza Strip: Israeli shooting and firing tear gas canisters at protesters resulted in the injury of 13 civilians, including 4 children; one of them deemed in extremely critical condition: 8 were shot with live bullets and shrapnel, and 4 were hit with tear gas canisters. All of them were then taken to al-Aqsa Hospital, where their injuries were classified between minor and moderate. Furthermore, dozens of civilians suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and received medical treatment on the spot while others were taken to hospitals. Bahaa’ Mostafa Salama Abu Rokaab (17), from al-Zawayda village, sustained serious wounds after being shot with a live bullet in his abdomen….
With little to show, Gazans question mass border protests
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 11 Oct by Fares Akram — Ahmed Abu Artima was one of the founders of the “Great March of Return,” the weekly protests along Gaza’s frontier with Israel meant to draw attention to the plight of the territory’s 2 million people. But these days, he mostly avoids the demonstrations. He is among a growing number of Gazans who believe the protests have lost their way. With little to show from 18 months of demonstrations beyond the hundreds of people killed or wounded by Israeli fire, many Gazans are beginning to question and even criticize the Hamas-led protests, a rarity in a territory where dissent is barely tolerated by the ruling Islamic militant group. For several months now, Abu Artima has organized his own alternative protest. On a recent Wednesday, dozens of Palestinians gathered near the separation fence between Israel and Gaza, performing traditional dances and ballads between poem recitals and speeches by local community leaders. Children gathered around two camels decorated with embroidered saddles. Abu Artima’s eyes sparkled as he watched. This is the kind of demonstration he envisioned when he and other young grassroots activists came up with the idea of building mass encampments along the fortified frontier. He calls it a protest that “tries to deliver our message as safely as possible.” Held every two weeks, these events are in dramatic contrast to the main Friday protests….
Soldiers fire at Palestinian farmers in eastern Gaza
IMEMC 11 Oct — Israeli soldiers fired, Thursday, several rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian farmers in the ar-Taqa area, east of Gaza city. Media sources said the soldiers fired the live rounds at the farmers who were not even close to the “buffer zone” near the fence but were just working on their lands. They added that the farmers had to leave their lands in fear of further Israeli military escalation.
In related news, the soldiers fired many gas bombs at the Great Return March camp east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
Feature: Gaza fishermen seek spearfishing to overcome Israel’s maritime restrictions
Xinhua 11 Oct Editor: Wang Yamei — In the Gaza Strip, some fishermen resort to primitive methods of spearfishing to challenge Israel’s maritime restrictions imposed on them. After finding best locations, the fishermen free-dive into the sea with their spearguns in search for fish. Spearfishing is an ancient method of fishing that has been used throughout the world for ages as early civilizations were familiar with the custom of spearing fish from rivers and streams using sharpened sticks. In Gaza, diving for catching fish is an adventurous risk as the fishermen lack diving tools such as wetsuits, goggles, oxygen tanks or breathing tubes. In addition to reducing fishing areas, Israel also banned the entry of diving equipment into the Gaza Strip since it imposed a blockade on the seaside territory …
Using his small boat, Abdul-Karim Sleim, 28, a resident of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, heads to the southern area of the sea in Khan Younis and Rafah cities to search for clear areas where he can see the fish that gather around the rocks. After an hour of search, Sleim anchored his boat, wore unmatched fins and swimming goggles, held his speargun and leapt into the water. Two minutes later, Sleim showed up with a big seabass fish in his speargun. “Our day began with a good catch, we will make good money today,” Sleim said with a smile, noting that the species of fish were abundant in that location. In his first round of fishing, which lasted for two and a half hours, Sleim managed to catch 4 kilograms of various fish. He sold them to a trader for 25 Israeli shekels (7.12 U.S. dollars) per kilo. “I prefer to catch big fish, because they are more profitable than smaller ones,” he said, noting that traders who buy the big fish from him export them to Israel and the West Bank because of their scarcity and large size….
Palestinian youth dies of his wounds in Gaza
Palestine Chronicle 8 Oct — A Palestinian youth died Monday of his wounds after being exposed to Israeli army gunfire near the fence separating besieged Gaza Strip from Israel, according to Palestinian Health Ministry, reports Anadolu Agency. The Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement: “Palestinian youth Fadi Osama Hijazi, 21, died of wounds after being injured by Israeli bullets in February of this year near the town of Jabalya, northern Gaza Strip.” Hijazi was severely injured while taking part in the weekly anti-occupation protests, known as the Great March of Return.
Slain Gaza protester: Father, husband, and ‘a Palestinians who dreamed of liberation’
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Oct — A Palestinian protester identified as Alaa Nizar Hamdan, 28, was shot dead on October 4, by Israeli Occupation soldiers in Jabalia, northern Gaza during the 77th week of the “Great March of Return” protests … Alaa Nizar Hamdan was a husband and father with a 3 year old daughter, Layan. On Saturday, the day after Alaa was killed, I spoke with his wife and family. “Layan was everything to her father, since his death she has asked me hundreds of times about him, and I just keep crying… he always dreamed to have kids, and to bring them up in a beautiful home of their own,” his wife recalled. Layan was conceived through in vitro fertilization, an extremely costly process anywhere in the world but especially for Gazans. “He was working on his new flat, it just needed a few more things to be ready for us, but he died before achieving his dream.” Layan, Alaa’s only daughter, sat beside me while I spoke with her mother, playing with the new toys her father brought her for her 3rd birthday, blissfully unaware that her father would not be coming back, that she is now fatherless. “Last month, he celebrated his daughter’s birthday for the first time. He saved money from his salary for 6 months for the celebrations and gifts.” … Mohammad was there the day Alaa was killed and saw it happen in front of him. “He posed no threat to the Israeli soldiers, he was not even holding anything in his hands. He was more than 100 hundred meter away from the soldiers.” According to PRCS ambulance medics, who took him to the Indonesian Hospital where he was pronounced dead, Alaa was shot in front of the main gate of Abu Safiyah area while he was about 80 – 100 meters west of the Israeli barrier fence….
PHOTO STORY: A day in the life of a volunteer medic in Gaza
ICRC (Red Cross) 2 Oct by Mohammed Mansour — First responders play a crucial role providing lifesaving assistance to people injured in Gaza border violence, often at great personal risk. In this photo story, Gaza-based photographer Mohammed Mansour draws an intimate portrait of a Palestine Red Crescent Society paramedic, Mahmoud Abu Salah who is also his close friend. Mahmoud’s story features dramatic shots of the paramedic evacuating the injured from the border, making his way through smoke and tear gas to a makeshift field hospital. What gives it its power and depth, however, are quiet behind the scenes moments showing that people committing heroic acts remain vulnerable and human. Saying goodbye to the family, chatting with fellow volunteers as a long shift begins or sharing a moment of camaraderie sitting around a fire draw an honest and tender portrait of the life of a man who volunteers his time to do humanitarian work.
Hamas launches secret war against Daesh in Gaza
MEMO 9 Oct — Hamas is undertaking a “secret war” against Daesh and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Lebanese daily Al Akhbar has reported. Hamas told the newspaper that it is confiscating weapons, including long-range rockets capable of hitting major cities in Israel. The “secret war” has been launched in response to the explosions that occurred in August at two Hamas police checkpoints in Gaza City, which left three policemen dead and three others injured. The first attack resulted in the death of two police officers when a motorcycle exploded as it approached the Dahdouh checkpoint, west of Gaza City. The second attack took place in the Sheikh Ajlin area, less than an hour later and killed another police officer. No group claimed responsibility for the attacks and the Hamas Interior Ministry declared a state of emergency throughout Gaza and put security forces on alert. Security officials later learnt that the attack was set by Daesh suicide bombers. Since then, more than 30 individuals have been arrested with security services saying at least 12 were involved directly in the suicide attacks. They claim to have also captured four cells in Gaza that were planning to carry out attacks on the group’s security forces and senior officials. Daesh and other small hardline factions say there should be a stricter implementation of Islam and have been blamed by Hamas for a number of rocket attacks on Israel in recent months.
Why thousands of families fear a grim winter in poverty-stricken Gaza
Islamic Relief — Without help this winter, Umm Yasser’s children will wake in the night to rain dripping on them from the flimsy roof of their home. “My children wish the winter season never comes,” says Umm Yasser, who lives with her children and the rest of their family in a rundown house in Gaza, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They are among the many families suffering as poverty deepens in Gaza. “I wish I could find a job to support my family,” says Umm Yasser, whose husband and eldest son are too sick to work. Work is hard to get in Gaza, where the unemployment rate now exceeds 50%, so the family of 14 depend on charity. And the harsh winter weather means more misery. “Winter is coming soon, and my anxiety and tension have increased. It is the season of suffering for me and my children because of the condition of our house,” Umm Yasser tells us. “Every year our house is flooded with rainwater because of cracks in the walls. The roof is made of tin sheets, which often flies off due to the wind or aerial bombardment. [The children] have to wake up in the middle of the night to move away from the rainwater that reaches their sleeping places,” she says, pointing out that the children are often ill during the winter. “The windows were shattered in the shelling and unfortunately, we couldn’t repair them,” she adds, explaining that last winter she tried putting blankets over the broken windows but they “quickly got wet and the water leaked into the house.” The rain has broken the family’s rusty refrigerator, their washing machine, and even damaged the children’s schoolbooks …
“Previous Islamic Relief projects have given vulnerable families a safe and warm home,” says Islamic Relief’s country director in Gaza, Muneeb Abu-Ghazaleh. As well as supporting people like Umm Yasser and Abu Ali to repair and improve their housing in time for winter, we plan to give them warm clothes and blankets. … But there are still over 8,000 families living in hazardous homes that put them at particular risk this winter. Islamic Relief plans to help as many as we can. Support Islamic Relief’s lifesaving work: Donate now.
IN PICTURES — Date and olive harvest in Gaza: Palestinians hard pressed by Israeli restrictions
The National (UAE) 7 Oct — Palestinians in Gaza are busy harvesting dates and olives as the season progresses, but the task has been made difficult by border restrictions and Israeli settlements. The harvest season of red dates, one of the most important products of the agricultural sector, began at the end of September and is expected to continue until December. There are 250,000 palm trees in the Gaza Strip but only 150,000 are in season. The annual production of red dates is between 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes. Farmers, however, are facing regular issues related to the storage and export of their produce in light of border closures and Israeli restrictions. Olives also play a central role in the occupied Palestinian territories, with the industry providing about one quarter of the territories’ gross agricultural income and supporting about 100,000 families, the UN’s humanitarian affairs office said. However, the presence of Israeli settlements and restrictions on areas Palestinians are allowed to visit have prevented families in occupied territories from reaching their olive groves. In the Gaza Strip, there is military activity in areas up to 1.5 kilometres from the perimeter fence with Israel and Palestinian farmers trying to reach the olive trees in the area often have ‘warning shots’ fired at them by Israeli forces, the UN said.
IDF nearing completion of new Gaza border fortifications
Times of Israel 10 Oct — Israel is nearing completion of new defense works being constructed on the Gaza border in response to weekly border riots, threats from anti-tank missiles and other terror attacks, according to a Channel 13 report broadcast on Wednesday. The project includes defenses against missiles and improved sniper posts, which have been better fortified, placed higher up and in more strategic locations. Large berms will also protect Israel Defense Forces personnel and conceal troop movements, allowing soldiers move around more freely. The new defenses were built alongside the underground barriers which protect against terror tunnels, and a high fence which is expected to be completed in mid-2020. “Once we’re protected here, we’ll control the enemy by observing and he’ll have less ability to harm us. Every part of the defenses are connected in order to create a complete operational system,” said Major Yisrael Peretz, an officer in the Combat Engineering Corps who was assigned to the project. The new fortifications will also protect area civilians and roadways. The first installment was a wall protecting the access road to Kibbutz Erez, where a civilian was killed by an anti-tank missile in May….
Israel using fake charities to get security information about Gaza
MEMO 9 Oct — Palestinian Interior and National Security Ministry in Gaza yesterday revealed that Israeli intelligence has started using new ways to get security information about Gaza, a statement said. The change in technique is a result of the ministry’s crackdown on Israeli spies on the ground. Instead, Israeli agents are now calling Palestinians in Gaza claiming to be staff at charities which can help alleviate their financial worries in an effort to obtain detailed private information. Hundreds of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts have been setup by Israeli intelligence services in an effort to gather personal information about individuals. Some claim to offer jobs, others provide advice and food recipes. The ministry added that the Israeli intelligence uses psychological pressure against the Palestinian resistance and Palestinian fighters as it sometimes posts false information about them to embarrass them. It warned Palestinians against falling into the occupation’s traps, anyone who fears they have been caught up in the Israeli intelligence’s tactics should call the ministry on the free hotline 109, it added. Working with Israeli forces, it warned, is treason and is a punishable offence.
Young Gaza artist’s surrealist paintings transcend borders
GAZA CITY 10 Oct by Khaled Abu Amer — One of the best-known works of Reham Amawi, a 24-year-old artist from the Gaza Strip, is the portrait of Yasser Mortaja, a cameraman who was killed by Israel in 2018. Amawi drew the portrait of her friend on a dark canvas while standing at Gaza’s border with Israel — to the east of her hometown Rafah — during the Great Return March on April 8, 2019. Today, the young artist says she spends eight hours a day drawing in her small, silent studio far away from the chaos of central Rafah. Most of her paintings concern the situation in Palestine … While studying arts and handicrafts at the University College of Applied Sciences, she decided to paint in a surrealist style, often incorporating Palestinian symbols — horses and olive trees — into her paintings. “I chose this school of art because it has an unorthodox outlook toward reality. Very few painters use it — though it is very impactful,” she said.
Short stories from Gaza describe life in the ‘world’s largest prison’
CHICAGO (Arab News) 7 Oct by Manal Shakir — From the Gaza Strip comes a collection of short stories about growing up and coming of age in the “world’s largest prison.” “The Sea Cloak and Other Stories” by Nayrouz Qarmout tells about a land where life is lived in bits and pieces, its joys cherished and sorrows familiar. Each story is filled with vivid memories of places, events, scents, houses and people that if not recorded could so easily have been lost in time. Qarmout begins her collection with a young woman watching the Mediterranean Sea, Gaza’s coastline brimming with families, tents and the smell of roasting sweetcorn….[one story is set in Al-Khader, so the book must include the West Bank also]
Photos: Gaza’s currency exhibition gets a stamp of approval
MEMO 7 Oct by Mohammed Asad — The second exhibition of postage stamps and foreign currency was held in Gaza this weekend. Opened by Mayor Dr Yahya Al-Sarraj, the event was organised by the General Department for Cultural Affairs and Centres in cooperation with collectors at Rashad Al-Shawwa Cultural Centre. School students and collectors were among those who attending the opening ceremony. The exhibition was held to raise cultural awareness in the city and includes metal coins and paper money dating back to the Ottoman rule and the British Mandate, and currencies from other nations and countries, along with stamps issued over the decades. The first exhibition was held in December 2016.
Qatar charity opens Al Shaimaa Secondary School for Girls in Gaza
DOHA (The Peninsula) 8 Oct — Qatar Charity (QC) celebrated the opening of Al Shaimaa Secondary School for Girls in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza Strip, in co-operation with the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The school was built with the support and financing from ‘Qatar Cyclists’ and many Qatari companies at a cost of QR5.4m.
Wastewater management project mitigates health and environmental threats in the West Bank and Gaza
World Bank 9 Oct — Sewage pollution and water shortage are causing a serious emergency in Gaza, posing a threat to two million people, their health and the environment. Despite numerous challenges, the long-awaited construction of the new North Gaza Wastewater Treatment Plant is now complete and ready for operation. The World Bank-financed project will provide a long-term, sustainable wastewater management solution for over 400,000 Gazan citizens. The project was co-financed by the European Investment Bank, French Development Agency, Government of Belgium, the European Commission, the Swedish International Development Agency, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal and Croatia … The project improved sanitation services to 64,012 households located near the project area and an additional 52,000 people living in surrounding communities, diminishing the concerning health, environmental and safety threats to these communities caused by poorly treated and managed sewage near the community of Beit Lahia. Drainage of sewage lakes and construction of a new Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) under the project contributed to health improvements, increased employment and improved the capacity of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) to better manage wastewater systems. In addition, by incorporating the practice of recharging the aquifer with treated effluent, the project contributed to effectively countering the ongoing groundwater contamination and creating a sustainable water management solution in a water-scarce environment….
VIDEOS: The invisible mental health crisis plaguing the West Bank
Médecins Sans Frontières 10 Oct by Juan Carlos Tomasi — Since 1996 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has offered mental health consultations in the city of Hebron, in the occupied West Bank of Palestine, where civilians suffer frequent abuses such as the demolition of their homes, arbitrary detention, and systematic attacks by Israeli settlers with the tacit support of the Israeli army. As well as experiencing physical injury men, women, and particularly children suffer from significant long-term mental health impacts of these routine occurrences.
Rahaf, 14, has experienced severe psychosomatic symptoms such as insomnia and trembling hands for the past two years following the arrest and detention of her father and three brothers. “We were sleeping and we woke up to find them standing over our heads,” she says of the Israeli army, who have routinely raided the family home for as long as she can remember. “In one month, they raided the house twice.” Rahaf’s breaking point came when they detained her fourth brother, Hamzeh, while he was at work. “I never thought they would take Hamzeh,” she says. “When they detained him he was at work at the gas station. There was a video recording, and we saw them beating him. We didn’t hear anything about him until they brought him home 60 days later.” Rahaf’s is a familiar story. Palestinians across the West Bank, and in particular in Hebron, suffer similar experiences every day. Some are persecuted by settlers wishing to establish ownership over the land, while others receive news that their home will be demolished….
Settler involved in Dawabsha family murder joins the Israeli military
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Oct — On July 31, 2015, the Palestinian Dawabsha family was attacked in their home, by Israeli settlers throwing molotov cocktails, setting fire to the house, killing an 18 month old boy named Ali, and subsequently his parents Sa‘ad Mohammad, and his wife Reham, leaving 4 year Ahmad suffering third degree burns. The family home in Douma village, south of the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, was ambushed by illegal extremist Israeli settlers, while the family slept, resulting in extreme burns suffered by all members of the Dawabsha family. According to Israeli ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’ newspaper, the fanatic Israeli Jewish settler, whose name and identity were kept confidential, was charged with second-degree murder for the arson-murder, is joining the Israeli army next year. The Israeli court dropped murder charges against the accused Israeli settler, and decided to involve him in a one-year military training to “adjust his behaviour.” ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’ stated that the Israeli court dropped the original indictment which had charged the accused with conspiring to commit a crime, while the new, amended indictment charges him with being involved in hate crimes against Palestinians. In July 2018, the court released the main accused, a minor at the time of the crime, to house arrest after being kept in jail for two years. The court had ruled that his confessions were inadmissible because they were allegedly obtained by the Israeli Shin Bet security service under extreme duress. However, he admitted guilt as part of a plea deal between his lawyers and the state prosecutor’s office in the central district court in Lod. He admitted to planning the torching of a Palestinian home in a racially motivated conspiracy and to marking out the Palestinian village with another settler.
Soldiers shoot a Palestinian in the chest in Kafr Qaddoum
IMEMC 12 Oct — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly procession in Kafr Qaddoum, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and shot one Palestinian with a live round in the chest. The soldiers invaded the town shortly after the procession started, and broke into the home of Awni Eshteiwi, before occupying his rooftop and using it as a firing post. The Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum said the soldiers attacked the weekly procession with live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. It added that a young man, identified as Ahmad Emad Eshteiwi, 19, was shot with a live round in the chest, and was rushed to Darwish Nazzal hospital, in Qalqilia. His condition was described as moderate….
Israeli soldiers shoot a Palestinian near Jenin
IMEMC 11 Oct — Israeli soldiers shot, on Friday at dawn, a Palestinian worker near the gate of the illegal Annexation Wall, close to Thaher al-Abed village, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers shot the worker, identified as Mahmoud Rafiq Jaradat, with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his leg, close to Barta’a military roadblock. The Palestinian suffered moderate wounds and was rushed to a hospital in Jenin city, medical sources said.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian at West Bank checkpoint
Palestine Chronicle 8 Oct — A Palestinian was shot and injured today at an Israeli military checkpoint near the village of Zayta, to the north of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm, said witnesses and medics. Israeli soldiers opened fire at Abdul Salam Kittaneh, 25, from the Tulkarm-district village of Nazlat Issa, while he was trying to enter into Israel, injuring him in the leg, said witnesses. The army held Kittaneh for a while before handing him over to the Palestinian side. Head of the Red Crescent in Jenin told WAFA that after handing Kittaneh over to the Palestinians, he was immediately taken to the Tulkarem hospital for treatment.
Another Palestinian, identified as Ahmad Saabneh, from Fahma village near Jenin, was also injured yesterday from Israeli army gunfire at Bartaa military checkpoint.
Soldiers injure a Palestinian near Jenin
IMEMC 5 Oct — Israeli soldiers injured, Saturday, a young Palestinian man near Ya‘bad town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Media sources said the soldiers invaded an area near Ya‘bad town and fired rubber-coated steel bullets at the young man while chasing him. They added that the young man, identified as Lu’ay Mohammad Abu Rmeila, was shot in his leg, and was moved to Jenin Governmental Hospital.
In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force against nonviolent protesters marching near Ofar prison, west of the city of Ramallah, to express solidarity with hunger-striking detainees. In addition, the soldiers abducted three young Palestinian men in the al-‘Issawiya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and summoned for interrogation, one Palestinian from Silwan town.
Furthermore, the soldiers closed the main entrance road of Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and abducted a Palestinian man in Hebron city.
Soldiers invade archaeological site in Sebastia, threaten to demolish rehabilitation work
IMEMC 7 Oct — Several Israeli army jeeps invaded, Monday, the archaeological sites area in the al-Bayader area in Sebastia Palestinian own, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and threatened to demolish the structures and all rehabilitation work conducted by the Local Council. Mohammad Azem, the Mayor of Sebastia, said the soldiers threatened the City Council workers with abduction and imprisonment and informed them that the military will demolish and destroy any work in the site. Azem added that the soldiers informed the workers that they will be coming into the area next month, to accompany large groups of colonialist settlers during the Jewish holidays. On September 9th, the soldiers invaded the al-Bayader area and informed the locals, and the City Council, that the army intends to bulldoze and remove all materials and structures used for the rehabilitation of the site.
Soldiers invade headquarters of Work Health Committees in Ramallah
IMEMC 11 Oct — Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Friday, the headquarters of the Work Health Committees in Sateh Marhaba area, in the al-Biereh city, in central West Bank. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers used heavy hammers and equipment to smash the gates, before storming the offices, and violently searched the building causing excessive property damage. The Work Health Committees issued a statement condemning the Israeli violation and called on various legal and human right groups in the region and around the world, to denounce these escalating violations, and act on stopping them. It added that the invasion is a serious violation to various international laws and treaties, especially those regarding the protection of medical and relief facilities. “The escalating Israeli violations against nongovernmental Palestinian institutions, especially those providing humanitarian, health services, development and education, require immediate international intervention,” it said, “Our people are subject to siege, constant violations by the soldiers and the illegal colonialist settlers, while Israel continues to violate their basic rights and attack the very institutions that serve them.”
Army invades a cultural center in Ramallah
7 Oct by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Monday, Handala Cultural Center in Safa village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Mahmoud Karaja, a local activist with the Cultural Center said many soldiers invaded it, and violently searched it causing excessive damage. He added that the soldiers confiscated various documents and belonging from the center, before withdrawing. It is worth mentioning that this is the third invasion and violent search into the center in the last two year, and the soldiers also abducted its director, Rashad Karaja, and twelve of its members, who are all still imprisoned. Founded in 1988, the center organizes various activities, including cultural and folklore festivities, in addition to having its own Dabka (folklore dance) bands for children and adults, and organizes courses in many subjects focused on developing and advancing individual skills.
Illegal settlers attack Palestinians picking their olive trees near Nablus, injure one
IMEMC 12 Oct — Fanatic illegal Israeli colonists attacked, on Friday evening, Palestinian villagers while picking their olive trees in their own orchards, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, wounding one man. Media sources in Nablus said the assailants came from the illegal Gilad Zohar colony, which was built on stolen Palestinian lands. They added that the colonists assaulted the Palestinians in Tal village, wounding a man, identified as Issa Hamed Saleh Ramadan, 55. Medical sources said the wounded man was moved to a hospital in Nablus, suffering a fracture in his right arm.
In related news, a group of illegal settlers attacked, on Friday evening, many Palestinian cars on the main road linking between the northern West Bank districts of Qalqilia and Nablus, causing damage.
Illegal colonialist settlers burn dozens of olive trees near Nablus
IMEMC 9 Oct — A group of fanatic illegal Israeli colonialist settlers burnt, Tuesday, dozens of Palestinian olive trees in Burin village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, the WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported. Eyewitnesses said the armed paramilitary colonists invaded olive orchards in the area between Burin and Huwwara and burnt the trees. They added that the fire consumed at least 70 olive trees before Palestinian firefighters managed to extinguish it. The attack was carried out less the 24 hours after the colonists cut and uprooted 36 Palestinian olive trees isolated behind the illegal Annexation Wall, and the Palestinians cannot enter them without a permit from the Israeli army.
Illegal colonialist settler rams young woman with his car in Hebron
IMEMC 10 Oct — An illegal Israeli colonialist settler rammed, Thursday, a young Palestinian woman near the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Eyewitnesses said the young woman, who remained unidentified at the time of this report, was rushed to a hospital in Hebron city. They added that the incident took place on the Jerusalem-Hebron Road, in the section near the al-‘Arroub refugee camp. There have been many similar incidents in several parts of the West Bank, in which the colonist injured and even killed Palestinians, including children and elderly men, after ramming them with their cars and fleeing the scene.
Israeli forces prevent farmers from harvesting olives in West Bank (VIDEO)
Palestine Chronicle 9 Oct — Israeli forces on Tuesday prevented Palestinian farmers from harvesting their olive trees in the village of Kufr Qaddoum, to the east of the occupied northern West Bank city of Qalqiliya, according to the farmers. Akef Juma, a farmer, told WAFA that the soldiers forced him and other farmers out of their lands located close to the illegal Jewish settlement of Kedumim under the pretext that the area is a closed military zone. The olive harvest season, which has just started, is one of the most important for thousands of Palestinian households in the occupied territories whose income depends heavily on the success of this season.
Ten Palestinians detained from West Bank, Jerusalem
RAMALLAH, Thursday, October 10, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today detained 10 Palestinians from the West Bank and Jerusalem, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS). It said that Israeli forces detained three Palestinians after ransacking their houses in Dura town, in the south of the West Bank. Two others were detained, one each in Jenin city and Nablus district, it added. In Jerusalem, Israeli police rounded up five Palestinians after storming Bab al-Rahma prayer area inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Updated: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct 16 Palestinians in the West Bank’
IMEMC 7 Oct — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, at least sixteen Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank. The PPS said the soldiers stormed and violently searched many homes across the West Bank, causing property damage, and questioned the families while inspecting their ID cards, before abducting eleven Palestinians. It added that the soldiers also installed military roadblocks across the West Bank, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated the Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. One of the abducted Palestinians is a former political prisoner, identified as Ahmad Khader al-Hroub, from Deir Samit town, west of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. In addition, Mawwal Radio in Bethlehem has reported that several army jeeps invaded Beit Sahour city, east of Bethlehem, before the soldiers stormed and ransacked homes in Waad Hanna Sa’ad area, and abducted Nimir Michael Sa’ad and his son Dani Sa’ad.
Israeli soldiers invade Augusta Victoria Hospital in occupied Jerusalem
IMEMC 7 Oct — Israeli soldiers and police officers stormed, on Sunday evening, Augusta Victoria Hospital, in the at-Tour neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, and searched the cancer ward of the medical facility, terrorizing many patients while reportedly “looking for weapons.” The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers invaded the patients’ rooms, and various facilities in the hospital, allegedly looking for weapons, and used their dogs during the violent search, terrorizing the patients. Palestinian Health Minister, Dr. Mai al-Kaila, denounced the invasion into the hospital and said that this attack is a serious violation to various international human rights agreements, especially those that deal with protecting civilians and medical facilities. She said that the invasion, carried out by heavily armed and armored soldiers and police officers, and including the use of the military dogs in the medical center, is yet another example of Israel’s disregard of medical facilities and the patients.
Sheikh Najeh Bukairat kidnapped from Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Oct — Israeli occupation police, on Thursday evening [3 Oct], kidnapped Sheikh Najeh Bukairat, deputy head of the Islamic Awqaf Authority in Jerusalem, from a hotel, during his participation in a cultural event. According to local sources, police forces stormed Addar Hotel, in occupied Jerusalem, and rounded up Sheikh Bukairat with another individual named Aziz al-Asa, who works for the Employee’s Club in Jerusalem. Israeli police also detained all the participants in the event for a time, checking IDs and serving some with orders to report to a local police station, for interrogation, next Sunday. Days of Palestine further reports that police also put up notices on walls, in Arabic and in Hebrew, banning the the event, on allegations that it was staged by Hamas.
Visit from Vatican reps boosts Catholic-Muslim interaction
Al-Monitor 9 Oct by Daoud Kuttab — Catholic-Muslim communications appear to be experiencing a positive resurgence, as demonstrated recently by the visit of high-level Vatican representatives to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. Eight hundred years after St. Francis of Assisi visited Jerusalem, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, along with Rev. Francesco Patton, custodian of the Holy Land of the Franciscan Order, visited Al-Aqsa Mosque on Oct. 3 and met with the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) Council. Both sides issued a seven-point statement that deals with the Hashemite (Jordanian royal family) custodianship of holy places in Jerusalem, the importance of preserving the status quo and support for the two-state solution….
From Jewish settlers to West Bank Palestinians: The young women sharing language in Jerusalem
[behind paywall] Haaretz 11 Oct by Nir Hasson — It all began with two friends, an Arab and a Jew, who wanted to learn each other’s languages; now it involves hundreds of people around Jerusalem — …Two years ago the pair decided to try to expand their mutual circle of friends in Jewish and Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. They started a Facebook page where they proposed creating a women’s group in which Arab women would teach their Jewish counterparts Arabic and the Jewish women would teach the Arab women Hebrew. Within two days, 250 women from all over Jerusalem had signed up. Now, two years later, their numbers have swelled to about 700 registered participants … For most of the period since Jerusalem was reunited in the 1967 Six-Day War, Jews and Arabs living in the city did not made great efforts to learn each other’s language. The exceptions were generally Arab men, who learned Hebrew if they worked with Jews, and many older Jews, who knew Arabic from home. But something changed about a decade ago. Suddenly, in both parts of the city, there was enormous demand for the others’ language. Language courses and schools and private language tutors began to flourish on both sides of the city….
Hunger striker reveals details of her horrific torture in Israeli prisons
Days of Palestine 9 Oct — A Palestinian-Jordanian who has been on hunger strike for 15 days in Israeli prisons has revealed the details of her horrific interrogation and torture, the PLO Prisoners’ Committee reported on Monday. Heba Al-Labadi, 24, was arrested on 20 August by Israeli soldiers as she crossed the Allenby Bridge from Jordan to attend a wedding in the occupied West Bank with her mother. According to her lawyer, Al-Labadi has been subjected to inhumane treatment in detention. She was apparently stripped of all of her clothes as soon as she was arrested, handcuffed, blindfolded and leg-chained before being moved to the Bitah-Tikva investigation centre. She told her lawyer that she was embarrassed when she saw the female Israeli soldiers looking at her private parts when she entered and left the toilet. Al-Labadi also explained that she was interrogated for 20 consecutive hours during the first 16 days of her detention and said that she was given only two breaks for meals every day. She was then moved to rooms full of collaborators, who started to interrogate her; this lasted for up to 35 days, during which she was subjected to verbal, physical and psychological abuse and torture. The Israeli interrogators, she insisted, got close to her body intentionally and used the dirtiest words to insult her. “They also insulted Islam and Christianity,” she said, “and said that I am an extremist and told me that they had arrested my mother and sister and they would put me under renewable administrative detention for seven and a half years and then release me to the West Bank and put me under 24-hour surveillance.” A large number of investigators are said to have interrogated Al-Labadi and kept her in a very dirty cell with insects and spiders … On 25 September, Heba Al-Labadi was issued with a 5-month administrative detention order with neither charges made against her nor a trial. That was why she started her hunger strike. Two days later, she was moved to a cell monitored by four cameras. The toilet in her cell has a see-through door, so her every move is monitored by the prison guards. Despite being ordered to end her hunger strike, she insisted that the “tragedy” of the administrative detention must end first. “I will continue until the end or I shall die.”
‘I’m the man who killed your husband’: Palestinian women recount Shin Bet interrogations
[behind paywall] Haaretz 10 Oct by Amira Hass — For weeks, a team of 13 Shin Bet men interrogated women suspected of social activities linked to Hamas. Three filed torture complaints to the Justice Ministry after hundreds such cases were closed without charges — … The seven women have already been released to their homes after spending 10 to 12 months in prison following plea deals – less than the sentence first demanded by the military prosecution, 20 to 24 months. Experienced attorneys who represent defendants at military court say that such jail time is considered short, reflecting minor offenses, even according to the criteria of the Israeli military system: social and religious activity linked with Hamas, organizing and taking part in demonstrations, starting a Facebook page, distributing prayer books, visiting the families of prisoners. Already upon Aweiwe’s arrest there was no suspicion of military activity posing an immediate danger to human life; the women who were arrested subsequently were also interrogated for social and civil activity linked to Hamas … According to the complaint, “the hours of interrogation became longer and harsher with time, as did the ‘tone of the interrogation.’ The interrogators made various threats, including that she would remain there forever, would not go home and would receive a harsh punishment. After three days of interrogation, Andy was replaced by Haroun, who took charge of the interrogation. The interrogator Haroun used shouts, humiliation and contempt for the plaintiff and her husband.” The three women’s complaints and Khater’s testimony present a similar pattern. Each was deprived of sleep by long interrogations (17 hours in Karmi’s case, 20 in Khater’s) or a variety of noises near the cell where they were kept in solitary confinement between interrogations … Each was held in a sitting position for hours with her hands tied behind her. The interrogations included screaming and threats against the women and members of their families, as well as comments and hints at times of a clearly sexual nature. In between the interrogations, each was held in solitary confinement in a dirty and smelly cell for several weeks. For a few days some were sent to a cell for a few days where conditions were even worse … Since 2001 the public committee has submitted 1,200 complaints of torture to the Justice Ministry unit that investigates them. Of those, only one has led to a criminal investigation, which was closed without charges. A complaint about torture and abuse takes an average of three years and three months to be examined. The committee is currently awaiting decisions on 37 cases; in 15 of them, it has been waiting more than five years….
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
House demolitions in Hebron and Jerusalem leave 14 Palestinians homeless
Palestine Monitor 9 Oct by K. Künzl — Over just 24 hours, Israeli occupation officials forcefully demolished three houses and several agricultural and commercial buildings in Jerusalem and Beit Ummar, leaving 14 Palestinians homeless. One of the houses destroyed northwest of Hebron was 150 square meters and still under construction, according to Mohamed Awad, a Palestinian activist. Seizure of Palestinian property by Israeli forces has become routine for inhabitants of Beit Ummar however this time families received no warning. Last Wednesday the Ubaidat family arrived home to find Israeli bulldozers halfway through the demolition of three small houses and a barn on their property in Jerusalem, leaving their livestock scattering and belongings strewn under the rubble. Ali, a Jerusalem native, lived in the main house with his wife. Ali’s son, Moatez, and his four children inhabited another house on the property, built-in 1992, and relative Walid Ubaidat and his five children in the third. Ali was allowed to collect his belongings in advance when Israeli forces destroyed his property for the first time in 1994. Additionally, after the demolition, fences were raised surrounding the site, ensuring the family would not return. Israeli forces routinely claim that Palestinian owned houses and businesses are illegally constructed, but these building permits are nearly impossible to obtain for locals, especially in Jerusalem. Palestinians must first prove ownership of the land, however about 90 per cent of the land in the eastern part of the city is not listed in the Israel Land Registry. An additional obstacle developed by Israel’s Justice Ministry is the ‘mukhtar protocol’, requiring citizens to collect signatures of consent from mukhtars, local leaders or clan heads recognised by the city hall….
UN encouraging Israeli impunity by holding back settlement blacklist
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Oct — The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements has described UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s abstention from disseminating the names of all companies working in illegal settlements as a clear political, legal and moral violation of human rights, and a contradiction of her duties — especially concerning resolution 31/36 of 2016 and the commitment made by Bachelet, in March of 2019, to the Human Rights Council. The National Bureau confirmed that Bachelet behaves with a double standard, bowing to American and Israeli pressures, as well as that of some EU countries, on herself and on the Human Rights Council, where she is required to carry out her mission neutrally, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian citizens in the territories occupied since June of 1967, and also to ensure respect for the law from all governmental and non-governmental bodies concerned with human rights. She is also required to ensure the provision of tools and standards to promote the implementation of the law and international standards, especially as Israel steps up, with the support of the US administration, the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Opinion: My Day with the West Bank settlers who are destroying Zionism / Chuck Freilich
[behind paywall] Haaretz 10 Oct — I recently returned from a visit to a different reality. I was part of a group of former senior defense officials conducting a series of meetings in the West Bank with heads of the regional councils and the settler movement, rabbis and politicians. I found good and caring people, with strong values, who are wrestling with the same complex issues of security, demography, democracy and national unity that every Israeli is. The only problem was that they are living in denial, and in a parallel world to reality. Everyone was polite and tried to smile, even when tempers flared, as befits people of goodwill, even if they’re from rival ideological camps. But at some point it becomes almost impossible to bridge two entirely conflicting perceptions of reality; someone is living in a fake reality. Moreover, both sides perceive the final outcome as a zero-sum game. Everything rides on whose reality is right …
We tried to get agreement on some basic facts. Already today, we reiterated, not in some distant and unfathomable future, 40 percent of the combined populations of Israel and the West Bank are not Jewish. Had it not been for the disengagement from Gaza (the “expulsion” or “banishment,” to them, the “beginning of redemption” to me), there would already be a non-Jewish majority. Our interlocutors expressed doubts regarding the reliability of our data, which happen to derive from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the state’s own respected and impartial professional body … Some of our interlocutors, out of a deep commitment to the principle of equality, favor granting the Palestinians full rights, following a future peace agreement, but only after an undefined period of time in which they absorb the values of democracy, presumably from us….
What is behind rising violence in Israeli Arab society? / Afif Abu Much
Al Monitor 10 Oct — A spike in violence in Arab villages in Israel has many claiming that police indifference is at the root of the matter, but they are not the only ones to blame — “I condemn the acts of murder and violence in Arab society,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted Oct. 6, after a long silence over the recent surge of violence in Arab communities. With more than 70 murders since the start of the year and over 1,300 since the year 2000, Israel’s 21% Arab minority has had enough, and masses came out to protest police inaction Oct. 4. Ninety-five percent of shooting incidents in Israel occur in the Arab society, as do nearly 60% of the murders. From this, we get a troubling picture of the point to which Arab Israeli society has sunk. Even Netanyahu, who generally expresses himself on matters relating to Arab society when it serves his political interests, and then usually to incite hatred, could not ignore the issue. Nonetheless, it is somewhat strange. After all, during his decadelong rule, Netanyahu allowed the monster to grow to such terrible dimensions. He should have been the first to deal with the problem and wipe out the violence and criminality, given that Arab Israeli citizens deserve the same sense of security as Jewish citizens. The lack of enforcement in the Israeli Arab society seems linked to a perception among many Israeli decision-makers that “Arab society is a very, very violent society,” as stated outrageously by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan Oct. 7. He continued, “It’s because in their culture, disputes, rather than ending with a lawsuit, end with a knife or weapon being drawn. It’s because a mother can give her approval to her son to murder the sister because she is dating a man the family does not like.” Obviously, there is no scientific evidence to back up his observation. It is simply another racist comment of the type favored by Erdan, as reflected by his unsubstantiated claim that “arson terrorism” caused a wave of wildfires in the winter of 2016.
Israel considers withdrawing residency of BDS co-founder Omar al-Barghouti
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Oct — Israeli Minister of Interior Arye Deri has ordered the so-called “Population and Immigration Authority” to prepare a legal opinion so as to revoke the residency status of the co-founder of the ‘Boycott-Divestment-Sactions’ (BDS) movement Omar al-Barghouti, for breach of trust. In recent years, the Israeli government has been fighting Omar al-Barghouti, for his efforts and activities aiming at supporting the political boycott of Israel, Haaretz newspaper reported. The newspaper indicated that al-Barghouti, a resident of Akko, was detained in 2017 by Israeli police, adding that MK Katy Shitrit asked Israeli Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber and Interior Minister Arye Deri, at that time, to work on deporting him. The Interior Minister said that he intends to quickly withdraw the residency of al-Barghouti, and ban him from the rights of citizenship. In turn, the leader of the Arab Joint List, Ayman Odeh, said that revoking residency or citizenship is anti-democratic, adding that today it’s al-Barghouti, and tomorrow it could be anyone who does not agree with the Israeli government, with its occupation policy and Jewish supremacist laws, saying, “We will fight to protect our rights by all legal means.”
Israel’s French allies challenge labeling W. Bank products as ‘colony’
JPost 10 Oct by Yonah Jeremy Bob — French allies of Israel have filed a legal challenge to an attempt in France to label Israeli products from the West Bank as coming from an “Israeli colony,” the Jerusalem Post has learned. Filed last week, but being reported in English now for the first time, the French-based Association for Ethical Consumption sent its complaint to the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance relating to a broader case pending before the European of Court of Justice about EU labeling requirements. The French and ECJ legal proceedings are now taking place in parallel with Israel’s allies hoping to head-off the labeling issue on at least one of the two legal battlefields. While past strategies have only attacked the idea of labeling products from the West Bank as being from an Israeli colony as illegal, the new strategy continues those attacks, but adds a new line of argument. Now, the Association is arguing that if France and the ECJ ratify the labeling of Israeli West bank products as being from a colony, then the ECJ will need to apply this rule to all disputed land areas across the globe….
Bollywood: Stand against apartheid!
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Oct — UPDATE 10/11 One of the stars booked to perform at Indofest TLV has said the event is cancelled. At the time of writing, tickets are still on sale via the event website, and no formal announcement of cancellation has been made.
Bollywood film stars and celebrities, including Anil Kapoor and Sophie Choudhry, are due to perform at ‘Indo Fest TLV’ in Israel later this month. A similar event last year was indefinitely postponed after a BDS campaign. These events are part of the ‘Brand Israel’ project, which works hard to exploit the Indian film industry to whitewash, or art-wash its violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. Michael Oren, as a senior representative of the far-right Israeli government, urged Bollywood producers to invest in Israel during a trip to Mumbai. He admitted that the aim of his visit was to “fight BDS” Israeli prime minister Netanyahu said, “we want Bollywood in Israel”. While Israel is using Bollywood to cover up for its crimes, it is selling arms worth over a billion dollars each year to India. Israel’s drones, guns and missiles are fuelling India’s militarization, most evident today in the over two month long blockade in Kashmir….
Israel releases Hamas senior; could mean deal en route
Al-Monitor 11 Oct by Shlomi Eldar — The release of Hamas official Muhammad Abu Tir and the ensuing calm could signal that Israel and Hamas as creeping toward an arrangement — On Oct. 10, Israel freed senior Hamas member Muhammad Abu Tir from administrative detention. Abu Tir, who serves as Hamas’ representative in the Palestinian parliament, had been arrested by Israel on several occasions since 2006. The last time he was detained, this past March, the Israel Defense Forces arrested him on suspicion of involvement in terror activity. He was arrested at his home in the the Umm al-Shrait neighborhood near the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah. He had moved there after Israel revoked his permanent residency permit, forcing him to relocate from his home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Umm Tuba. He has been detained off and on over the years and brought to court multiple times for repeatedly violating the ban on him entering Jerusalem. Abu Tir, 67, has spent 37 years of his life in Israeli jails. Upon his release, he told Al-Monitor, “I don’t know why I was detained and no one told me what I am accused of.” He added that he had spent the past seven months in the Ofer military prison and was not allowed to meet with a lawyer.
Palestinian president says to discuss elections with Hamas, factions
RAMALLAH (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 6 Oct — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Sunday he would discuss plans for new parliamentary elections with all factions, including longtime rivals Hamas. Meeting with senior Palestinian leaders in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Abbas renewed a pledge to hold the polls — the first since 2006 — but without giving a timeframe. He announced they had formed committees to “communicate with the election commission and factions such as Hamas and all factions, as well as with the Israeli authorities”. He said any elections should take place in “the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip” … No parliamentary elections have been held since 2006, with the two sides trading blame. Multiple attempts at reconciliation have failed and analysts say new elections are impossible without improved relations. Hamas said in a statement Saturday it didn’t “know what Abu Mazen means by general election”, using the common nickname for Abbas. The movement said it had already committed itself to elections.
Hamas says ready for preparation of Palestinian elections
GAZA (Xinhua) 8 Oct — Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, said on Tuesday that it is ready to do what is needed in the process of holding the general elections in the Palestinian territories. Hazem Qassem, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a statement that holding the elections “is a basic right for the Palestinian people and is a due and a must for the Palestinian Authority and its leadership.” “We expressed our readiness to join the electoral process from the very beginning when President Mahmoud Abbas announced in the United Nations that he intends to call for holding the general elections soon,” said Qassem. He called on President Abbas to accept the initiative of eight various Palestinian factions and political powers to end the internal division, make reconciliation and hold the general elections in the Palestinian territories. The initiative will pave the way for holding the presidential and legislative elections and stipulating a date for holding the elections for the Palestinian National Council. Abbas on Monday designated Hanna Nasser, chief of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, to start contacts with the Palestinian factions and political powers on holding the legislative elections.
Palestine becomes a member of Arab League’s Human Rights Committee
Palestine Monitor 9 Oct by K. Künzl — On October 4, Palestine gained membership to the Human Rights Committee of the Arab League, a monumental move since its admission to the League in 1976. The State of Palestine will be represented by Legal Adviser Majdi Hardan from the Ministry of Justice and, as membership requires, report on human rights abuses. For Palestine, this will be a vital outlet to expose violations of rights committed by Israeli forces under occupation to the world stage … Along with 21 other members, The Arab League was founded in 1945 to promote economic growth and social stability among mainly Arabic speaking countries across Africa and the Middle East….
WHO: Right to health in the occupied Palestinian territory, 2018
RAMALLAH 9 Oct — WHO today released its report, “Right to Health in the occupied Palestinian territory: 2018”. The report examines obstacles to achieving the highest attainable standard of health for Palestinians living under occupation, including barriers to adequate healthcare provision, access to healthcare, determinants of health beyond healthcare and health attacks. The launch event was held in Ramallah … A study completed by WHO this year demonstrates that cancer patients initially denied or delayed permits to access chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy outside Gaza from 2015 to 2017 were 1.5 times less likely to survive in the following six months or more, compared to those initially approved permits. The findings highlight the urgent need for reform to remove access barriers to protect patients from harm.”….
Palestinian-Saudi soccer match ‘normalization’ with Israel — activists
JPost 9 Oct by Khaled Abu Toameh — Palestinian activists on Wednesday launched a campaign to voice their opposition to a soccer game between the Palestinians and Saudi Arabia, scheduled to take place at the Faisal Husseini Stadium in the town of a-Ram, south of Ramallah, on October 15. The activists said that the visit of the Saudi national soccer team to the West Bank is a form of “normalization” with Israel. The Saudi team is expected to arrive in the West Bank on October 13. Last week the Saudi Arabian Football Federation announced that the Saudi national team will play against the Palestinian team as part of the 2022 World Cup Asian qualifiers. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al Faisal, chairman of the Saudi General Sport Authority, was quoted as saying the decision was in response to the request of the Palestinian Football Association. Some Arab clubs and national teams have traditionally refused to play in the West Bank because it required them to apply for entry permits from Israel. Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, said the decision to allow the Saudi team to play in the West Bank is of “historic importance.” Rajoub thanked Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdel Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and said the decision to play in the West Bank “reflects the effort [by Saudi Arabia] in favor of Palestine and constitutes a message to the occupation that the Palestinians are not alone.”
A group called The Palestinian Popular Campaign Against Normalization said in a statement on Wednesday that the participation of the Saudi team “constitutes a direct recognition of the sovereignty of the Zionist entity.” The group accused the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia of violating the Arab boycott of Israel….
Report: Accords with Israel wiped out from new textbooks by Palestinian Authority
i24NEWS 7 Oct — The Palestinian Authority has removed almost every single agreement it signed with Israel from the history textbooks for students in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and refugee camps, Ynet reported on Monday, citing IMPACT-se, an education-focused NGO. In the last three years, Ramallah’s Palestinian Ministry of Education has been updating all of its learning materials for primary, middle school and high school students. While the previous editions of history books provide presented the signing of the Oslo Accords in a positive light, as “a historic event inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence”, the new textbooks take a more grim approach: “The Zionist Occupation [which is the way Israel is predominantly referred to in the new books] was forced to recognize the PLO after the First Intifada in 1987, which enabled the return of PLO officers and institutions to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1994.” The full text of the 1993 letter written by Yasser Arafat to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which outlined the peace accord between Israel and Palestinians, was also scrapped in the new textbooks. The new editions also make no mention of the Cairo agreement on Gaza and Jericho of 1994, the Camp David summit of 2000 and the Hebron agreement of 1997, with two whole chapters covering peace plans and initiatives completely removed….
Palestine Monetary Authority gets grip on terrorism funding
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 10 Oct by Rasha Abou Jalal — The Palestine Monetary Authority has launched a new banking system designed to help keep track of the sources and recipients of financial transactions, and facilitate oversight and transparency. The program, which was put in place Sept. 29, is dubbed Know Your Customer. The procedures are widely used in international banking to comply with anti-money laundering laws. They are designed to help banks verify customers’ identities, comply with international best practices and appraise potential risks such as illegal business ties, money laundering, corruption, bribery and terrorism financing. The goal, officials said, is to make sure all local bank transactions are honest. According to monetary authority data, customers’ deposits in banks operating in the Palestinian territories are constantly growing. They increased from $12.3 billion in February to $12.6 billion in July, a growth rate of 2.6%. In a press release, the authority cited its governor, Azzam Shawwa, as saying the closer scrutiny will help bridge a gap in financial and demographic data of customers and other financial institutions and help banks make sound decisions. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is seeking to tout its oversight of bank transactions to and from the Palestinian territories. In November, the government adopted a national strategy against illegal transactions to prepare for an assessment by the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force. The task force represents 14 Arab governments, including the PA, seeking to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.
MADA: Violation of media freedoms continues, Facebook taking the lead
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Oct — September 2019 has witnessed a noticeable increase in the number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine. MADA has documented a total of 53 attacks compared to 36 during August. It should be noted that two thirds of the violations documented this month are mostly the closures and blocks by Facebook. During this month, Facebook has closed a total of 34 news pages and an account for journalists from the West Bank and Gaza Strip followed by hundreds of thousands of users claiming that they “violate the rules of the Facebook community”. Some of these pages have been completely closed, while other pages were blocked for a limited period of one month. According to MADA researches, among these key words why pages are being closed recently are: Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas President in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Al-Qassam Brigades, Al-Quds Brigades, Resistance, Martyr, in addition to news of martyrs and wounded persons and the media material of Palestinian demonstrations. PNN further reports that, in addition to the Facebook closures, Twitter has also closed one account belonging to a Palestinian journalist during this month…
Facebook deletes Palestinian Information Center’s 5-million-fan page
GAZA (PIC) 11 Oct — Palestinian Information Center (PIC) condemns with the strongest possible terms Facebook’s deletion of its 5-million-fan [Arabic-language] page. This anti-Palestinian and pro-Israeli occupation and oppression move from Facebook is not the first of its kind as PIC has been harassed by having many of its admins suspended temporarily and indefinitely. This fascist move from Facebook has come with no notice or warning to any of our content, which totally adheres to Facebook’s ‘loose and illusive’ community guide lines. Let’s be clear about this: Facebook is bowing to Israeli pressure. Israel itself had bragged that Facebook has positively responded to 90% of its complaints against Palestinian content. Palestinian Information Center is the most widely read online Palestinian source. PIC was established in 1998 and now reports news and articles on Palestine in 8 languages. PIC hereby demands Facebook reverse their decision, if it is to prove that its decisions are not made in and by Israel.
Meanwhile, PIC, which insists on relentlessly reporting truth on Palestine and Israeli occupation, has launched its backup page because nothing will prevent us from advancing human rights and freedom of speech for Palestine and Palestinians, and by extension for the oppressed peoples around the world.
You can follow our new page here: https://www.facebook.com/palinfoar/
[The English-language page is still available as of 12 Oct: https://www.facebook.com/PalinfoEN]
In Focus: Eyes on Gaza at the MFA’s Boston Palestine Film Festival
Boston Globe 10 Oct by Peter Keough — For seven decades the plight of Palestinians has periodically erupted into violence, which brings it to the attention of the international media. Recently the world’s focus has turned to such other hot spots in the region as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. But the suffering and frustrations of Palestinians continue unabated, as seen at the Museum of Fine Arts in the documentaries in the Boston Palestine Film Festival (Oct. 18-27). Several of the films take as their subject the tiny wedge of suffering that is the Gaza Strip, where nearly 2 million people are jammed into an area roughly 25 miles long and 7 miles wide that is cut off from the rest of the world by closed borders with Israel and Egypt. After Gaza elected leaders from the jihadist group Hamas in 2007 the Israelis imposed a blockade and launched attacks in response to missile bombardments and other provocations. One such operation, the 2008-09 invasion code-named Cast Lead, is the subject of Stefano Savona’s subtly structured, ultimately devastating 2018 film, “Samouni Road” (Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m.). The documentary opens as Amal Samouni, a young girl, draws a circle in the sand of a vacant lot to show where an ancient sycamore tree once stood. Nearby are ruins, tents, and half-finished reconstruction. She speaks affectionately about her father and younger brother, referring to them in the past tense … From high above, people can be seen outside a building and are misidentified as terrorists. A barrage of missiles destroys the building and kills most of those seeking shelter inside, among them 29 members of the Samouni family. The little girl was one of the survivors. For three days she and other wounded children lay in the rubble with the dead before the Red Cross was allowed to rescue them. She still has shrapnel in her skull…. See festival site with listings of Gaza and other Palestine films