Israeli forces kill one Palestinian protester, injure 57 in Gaza Friday
IMEMC 4 Oct — Israeli forces attacked non-violent protesters in different parts of the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing one Palestinian and wounding 57, including 18 who were shot with live ammunition. The Palestinian protest organizers called this Friday’s March of Return the “Friday of 78 Children”, in honor of the 78 children killed by Israeli forces since the weekly protest marches began in March of 2018. According to local Palestinian medical sources, 28-year old Alaa Nizar Ayesh Hamdan was shot and killed by Israeli forces in a protest east of Jabalia town in the northern Gaza Strip while participating in the March of Return protest. He was taken to the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, where he was declared dead. In addition to Hamdan, Israeli forces shot 18 Palestinian protesters with live ammunition, several of whom had critical injuries. 39 Palestinians suffered from other injuries inflicted by the Israeli military, including being hit with so-called ‘less-lethal’ weaponry, and reactions to tear gas resulting in hospitalization….
Qassam fighter accidentally killed in Gaza
IMEMC 1 Oct — The al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, has reported that one of its fighters was accidentally killed, Monday, in southern Gaza. The Brigades stated that Mohammad Ayman al-Qarra, from Khan Younis, was accidentally killed due to a malfunction in his weapon, apparently while cleaning it. It is worth mentioning that on September 12th, another Qassam fighter, identified as Mohammad Fawzi Najjar, was killed in an accident in one of the tunnels operated by the brigades in the besieged coastal region. It is worth mentioning that, over the last several years, many fighters have been killed during training, or in accidental incidents; however, dozens of Palestinian civilians, not affiliated with any group, were killed, and hundreds were injured, while working in siege-busting tunnels meant for smuggling food and essential supplies into the besieged and impoverished coastal region.
Israel quietly lets in Gaza workers in bid to ease tensions
Asharq Al-Awsat 1 Oct — Israel is quietly allowing thousands of Palestinians to enter from the Gaza Strip to conduct business and work menial jobs, apparently as part of understandings with the Hamas movement aimed at preventing a fourth war in the blockaded territory. Israel effectively revoked thousands of work permits when it imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. The blockade, along with three wars between Hamas and Israel, has devastated the economy in Gaza, where unemployment is over 50 percent. 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. It has allowed Qatar to deliver millions of dollars in cash to allow Hamas to pay its civil servants and has allowed the United Nations to step up aid efforts.
Now it appears Israel has expanded a program in which it had long provided hundreds of permits to business owners to travel to Israel and the West Bank for commerce, reported The Associated Press. Palestinian officials say it is now providing some 5,000 so-called merchant permits and awarding them to Palestinians working as laborers in construction, agriculture and manufacturing. The Israeli military body that administers civilian affairs in Gaza did not respond to AP requests for comment. Hamas officials also declined to comment.
On a recent Sunday, dozens of men in tattered clothes, carrying their personal belongings in duffel bags and plastic sacks, filed through revolving gates at the Erez crossing into Israel. Each had a merchant permit, but many of them appeared to be making the crossing for the first time and asked for advice on how to proceed. One of the workers, who identified himself only as Raed, said he paid $500 to a Gaza company to apply for a merchant permit and then reconnected with construction firms he had worked for prior to 2007….
A Gazan blinded by Israeli Navy gunfire loses a final glimmer of hope
[behind paywall] Haaretz 4 Oct by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Seven months after a Gaza fisherman was shot in the eyes by Israeli navy troops and lost his sight, he was finally allowed into Israel for an examination, after repeated refusals. The news was not good — Entissar came out of the room crying, pulling her expressionless son after her by the hand. It wasn’t hard to guess what the two heard from the doctors in the room. Entissar’s quiet weeping said it all. Khader, tense and nervous, hadn’t slept a wink the previous night, before the appointment with the Israeli physicians, which he’d been dreaming about for months. Now, though, his world felt even darker than before. His prospects of regaining his sight in the years ahead turned out to be nonexistent. Possibly in another few years, advanced technology would come along developed that could restore his sight, the doctors said, offering a glimmer of hope. Until then he was condemned to blindness. he sentence of blindness was carried out by soldiers of the Israel Navy, who fired about 15 rubber-coated metal bullets at him, all into his face and his upper body, according to his testimony, claiming he had ventured beyond the limits of the Palestinian fishing zone off the Gaza Strip. The incident occurred last February 20, in the evening. Khader al-Saaidy was in his haska – the Arabic word for a type of fishing boat – together with his cousin Mohammed Saaidy … According to Khader, they were nine nautical miles from the shore, three short of that day’s limit of 12 miles. But what does it matter? … Khader’s fishing provided for 14 souls: his parents, his wife, his three children and several of his brothers….
Israeli navy attacks fishing boats in northern Gaza
IMEMC 29 Sept — Israeli navy ships fired, on Sunday morning, several rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian fishing boats near the shore of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the besieged coastal region. The Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate said the Israeli navy fired live rounds at the Palestinian fishing boats while sailing less than three nautical miles from the shore in Beit Lahia. The attack did not lead to casualties but forced the fishermen back to the shore in fear of further Israeli violations.
Children, elderly patients among those denied permission to leave Gaza for treatment in West Bank
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 30 Sept – Out of 219 patient applications (133 male; 86 female), or 13% of the total, who were denied in August Israeli permits to leave Gaza through Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing for healthcare in West Bank or East Jerusalem hospitals, 40 were children under 18 years of age and 35 aged 60 years or older, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its monthly reports on health access for Palestinian patients. It said a quarter (24%) of denied applications were for appointments in oncology, 19% for orthopedics, 7% for ophthalmology, 6% for hematology, 6% for cardiology, and 5% for general surgery. In addition, 356 patient applications (195 male; 161 female), or 21% of the total, were delayed access to care, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment. Of these, 100 applications were for children under the age of 18 and 48 applications were for patients aged 60 years or older….
Medical aid sent by Miles of Smiles arrives in Gaza
MEMO 5 Oct — A medical convoy consisting of six ambulances, ten vehicles for transferring disabled people and 50 electrical wheelchairs entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing on Friday. In a statement, head of Miles of Smiles Dr Issam Yousef stated “this is the fourth convoy of medical aid that has been sent to Gaza by Miles of Smiles since May.” He noted that the other four convoys included several forms of medical assistance, including medical equipment and expert doctors to carry out operations and treat Palestinians wounded by the Israeli occupation forces, during the peaceful protests of the Great March of Return….
Secrecy around new Gaza hospital has Palestinians worried
The National 30 Sept by Muhammad Shehada — Israel last week allowed the entry of medical and building equipment into the blockaded Gaza Strip for an advanced hospital to be set up with no Palestinian consultation. The American field hospital was previously erected in Syria, news outlet Al Monitor reported. It is being set up over four hectares in the Palestinian enclave as part of a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel, with Qatari funding and under Qatari supervision, sources said. Gaza’s healthcare system has suffered along with other public services under Israel’s blockade and is in need of assistance. But the exclusion of Palestinian officials from its planning, the decision to build it near the Israeli border and the conditions under which it will operate have raised concerns. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank questioned the motives behind the hospital, while Gazans are wondering why it will be in the north when the real need for medical care is in southern Gaza … According to Wael Abu Omer, an official from the Hamas group that rules Gaza, the location was decided by Israel, the US and Qatar. “For more than five years there has been great popular and official pressure to build such a hospital in Rafah, home to more than 250,000 people without a single decent hospital,” Mr Abu Omer said. “However, at Israel’s and the [US] insistence, it will be built in the north instead.” An Israeli security source said in July that Israel wanted the hospital at an “arm’s length” from the northern perimeter fence near the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing. He said that would allow Israel to closely monitor “who is working there and who the patients are in the wards”, with troops stationed on nearby watchtowers….
Gaza’s only pharmaceutical factory operates at only 20% capacity
MEMO 1 Oct — The only pharmaceutical factory in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip is “struggling to survive” and operating at just 20 per cent of its capacity, reported Xinhua. Established in 1994 by the Middle East Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics Laboratories Ltd, with production starting in 1999, the factory has been badly hit by the “deteriorating economic situation caused by Israel’s 12-year blockade”. According to company chair Marwan Al-Astal, products are sold “with low profit margin in order to help alleviate the dire economic conditions faced by the people in Gaza”, adding that “the Israeli blockade and the economic crisis which it brought could terminate our business”. Al-Astal told Xinhua that one key factor that has contributed significantly to the decline in the productive capacity of the factory is repeated Israeli military incursions into the plant, “adding that the factory was once seized by the Israeli army for more than three continuous months”. Israeli air strikes have also periodically caused damage to the factory.
Two rockets fired from Gaza failed to reach Israel, army says
[behind paywall] Haaretz 5 Oct by Yaniv Kubovich & Almog Ben Zikri — Two rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel on Friday night, both of which failed to reach Israeli territory, the Israeli army said. Earlier Friday, a Palestinian was killed and 54 wounded in clashes with Israeli forces during weekly border protests east of the northern Gaza city of Jabalia, the health ministry in the Strip reported.
Seven Palestinians were wounded last month in a failed rocket launch, when a barrage fired from the Strip exploded near a house within Gaza. Palestinian eyewitnesses said that two of the three rockets struck outside a home in the southern city of Rafah, and a third fell near the fence separating Israel and the coastal enclave. Earlier last month, five rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel, one of which ignited a fire in a field near the town of Sderot, after two Palestinian teenagers were killed in clashes during the weekly border protests. In response, Israeli aircraft and a tank targeted several Hamas military positions near the Israeli border in the northern Gaza Strip.
Israeli siege paralyzes Gaza factories
MEMO 5 Oct — Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khodari stated on Friday that 100 per cent of Palestinian factories in Gaza have suffered partial or full damage resulting from the 12-year-long Israeli siege. In a statement sent to mass media, including MEMO, Al-Khodari claimed that hundreds of shops and factories have shut down due to the Israeli siege, as well as the repeated aggressions on the besieged enclave. Al-Khodari, who was an academic and a businessman, explained that the Israeli occupation is still imposing restrictions on Gazan imports and exports, in addition to the entry of industrial materials, under the pretext of dual use. The direct losses to Gaza’s economy due to the Israeli siege, according to Al-Khodari, are estimated at $70 million every month, due to aggravating crises relating to the strict Israeli siege. In a previous press release, the MP – who is head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege on Gaza – affirmed that 3,500 factories had already shutdown, noting that the poverty rate has reached 85 per cent, and unemployment rate exceeded 60 per cent. He concluded his statement by calling on the world to put pressure on the Israeli occupation, in order to lift the siege, stressing that lifting the siege is the solution to ending the profound suffering of the residents of Gaza.
Israel announces completing 70% of Gaza wall
MENAFN – Palestine News Network) PNN/ Gaza/ 1 Oct — Hebrew media sources announced today that the Israeli occupation forces have completed 43 out of the 60 kilometer wall along the border with the Gaza Strip, equivalent to 70% of the total project which was described as the largest engineering projects. The wall is meant to “eliminate the tunnels” of the Palestinian resistance. According to Channel 2, 1,400 workers are working 24 hours a day, six days a week, day and night, to complete the project as soon as possible. The wall starts from the southern Gaza Strip, near the triangle between Israel-Egypt and Gaza, and crosses the border line to the sea shore in Zikim in the south.
The Gazans who will live and die without ever seeing Palestine
alaraby 27 Sept by Muhammad Shehada — Most besieged Gazans will live and die without ever seeing the other side of the fence — Earlier this month, Israel admitted that it’s actively working to block Palestinians from the Gaza Strip from settling in the Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank. Under the Oslo peace accords that Israel signed with the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1993, the West Bank and Gaza are supposed to be treated as a single territorial unit. But Gazans are almost never allowed to cross to the West Bank, or vice versa. Rare exceptions do exist, in what Israel deems “humanitarian cases;” such as Gazan cancer patients seeking locally unavailable medical treatment in West Bank hospitals. Some of the few Gazan patients allowed to the West Bank end up using this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be reunited with their families in the other half of the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), and eventually choose to stay. By doing so, they immediately compromise their ability to travel abroad or even between different Palestinian cities in the West Bank, and must avoid getting caught by Israeli policemen or soldiers at any of the numerous checkpoints punctuating the oPt, or risk being sent back to Gaza. If this isn’t hard enough, the Israeli government has officially stated that it views the 2,671 Gazans living in the West Bank as “illegal aliens,” and shamelessly admitted that it’s exerting significant efforts to “halt the growth” of their numbers and “prevent their settling” in Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank areas….
Tens of thousands of Gaza-made lulav holders sent to Israel
JPost 5 Oct — Tens of thousands of lulav holders made in the Gaza Strip were transferred through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel in coordination with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). The holders are made out of palm leaves and are meant to bind together a palm frond, two willow branches and three myrtle branches – three of the the four species used in ritual services on the holiday of Sukkot. They are taken together with an etrog, a bumpy, lemon-like citrus fruit. “On the Sukkot holiday, we hope that a shelter of peace be spread over us,” said Ori Madar, COGAT’s agricultural coordinator. “This is a great example of steps that we’re taking every day of the year, steps that are good for agriculture and helping markets on both sides: the Israeli and the Palestinian.”
Feature: Palestinian engineer pioneers hydroponics farm in northern Gaza
[with photos] GAZA (Xinhua) 29 Sept — To overcome the agricultural problems faced by farmers in the Gaza Strip, newly graduated Palestinian agricultural engineer Irada al-Za‘anin has established the first-ever “water farm” in her house. The project aims to reduce the area used in agriculture, saving effort and time as well as maintaining the amount of water used for irrigation. Al-Za‘anin, 24, from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, implemented her agricultural project, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, on 70 square meters of water basins, planting basic agricultural crops such as tomato, eggplant, chili, cucumber, lemon and other crops. “Last month I reaped tomatoes, which were equivalent to a ton of healthy and fresh tomatoes. This is a proof of the success of my project,” al-Za‘anin told Xinhua, while busy with picking eggplants. “The aquaculture project is primarily aimed at increasing the amounts of agricultural crops, which can be up to three times higher than those normally grown in soils,” she said….
Hamas takes rare action in alleged nepotism case following public pressure
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 2 Oct by Ahmad Abu Amer — Hamas released Sept. 23 the results of an investigation in the case of Anas Radwan, son of Hamas leader Ismail Radwan. Anas was traveling illegally to perform hajj in Mecca on Aug. 5 with the parents and close relatives of Palestinians who were killed in armed confrontations with the Israeli army. The case has occupied Palestinian public opinion. Every year, the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj and Umrah hosts for free 1,000 people from the families, sons and siblings of Palestinian martyrs. The news went viral on social media, creating an uproar among activists who believe Anas deceived his relatives and took their place on the pilgrimage. Activists argued he did not have the right to accompany the families and relatives of the martyrs. His grandfather, however, was a PLO martyr. To calm public anger, Hamas announced Aug. 7 the formation of the investigation committee to look into the incident, which concluded that Anas was not supposed to join the pilgrims; also, he was fined 5,000 dinars ($7,000) to be distributed among those who were denied travel to the Holy City….
Senior Hamas delegation visits Orthodox church in Gaza
MEMO 2 Oct — A senior delegation from the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, visited the Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza on Thursday and met with Greek Orthodox Archbishop Alexios and Issa Tarazi, the head of the refugee committee of the Near East Council of Churches. The church is named after Saint Porphyry, who was Bishop of Gaza from 395 to 420. Hamas officials explained that their visit was intended to discuss social relations, tolerance and fraternal relations between Muslim and Christian Palestinians. Such values are core principles for the Palestinian people, they insisted. Delegation member Basem Na‘im pointed out that the Israeli occupation authorities do not distinguish between the two faith groups when they attack Palestinians. The senior official told the media covering the meeting that Hamas is “keen to strengthen ties” with all segments of the Palestinian community. “Christians live securely in Palestine,” added Maher Al-Houli. “They are equal to Muslim residents, and this visit confirms our shared values of coexistence and peace.”….
Palestinian journalist Hani al-Agha detained by Hamas forces in Gaza since September 25
BEIRUT (CPJ) 4 Oct — Hamas security forces should immediately release journalist Hani al-Agha and drop any charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On September 25, al-Agha, a reporter for the pro-Fatah broadcaster Sawt al-Shabab Radio, responded to a summons by traveling to the headquarters of the Hamas-affiliated Internal Security Forces, west of Gaza City; once there, security forces arrested him, according to news reports and a report by the Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, a regional press freedom group. No charges have been announced against him, according to those reports. The Internal Security Forces have not allowed al-Agha’s family or a lawyer to visit him, according to Skeyes. “We call on Hamas authorities in Gaza to immediately release Hani al-Agha and allow journalists to do their jobs freely and without fear of reprisal,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Hamas’s arrest of a journalist simply because he works for an outlet that supports a rival political group and reports critically shows its disregard for press freedom.”….
Where’s the Qatari money? Hamas faces growing criticism in Gaza
Ynet Magazine 3 Oct by Elior Levy — As injuries increase, so does the criticism towards Hamas and its policy of sending young men to riot at the Gaza fence in exchange for small amounts of money or food, while the organization’s heads are taking the Qatari money meant for the people, all for themselves. According to the statistics, of thousands of Palestinians injured during the weekly protests at the border, the casualties are mainly youths who will, in the best-case scenario, limp for the rest of their lives, or worse, lose one of their feet. An example of such criticism is a picture [below] that’s making the rounds online, where one can see the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, with his six sons, standing healthy in tailored suits, and beneath it, a picture of Gaza youths who have had a leg amputated. Another example is a rare recording of criticism of Hamas by a Gazan father whose wounded son was left on a gurney in the middle of the street following confrontations at the border fence. The father is heard accusing Hamas of corruption and stealing Qatari money intended for Gaza’s citizens. “If it were the son of one of the Hamas leaders, he wouldn’t be thrown out in the street with a bullet in his leg,” the outraged father says. “I was told I needed to provide his medicine out of my own pocket. If he were the son of one of the Hamas higher-ups, the whole world would have given aid.” The furious father blamed his son’s situation on Hamas corruption. “Let the heads of the Hamas come and see my son, only yesterday they received the Qatari money, and what did they do with it? They split the money among themselves,” the man says. “Where am I supposed to get money for medicine from? They told my boy to get on the bus and protest, and then they threw him out to die.” Qatar has transferred hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Palestinians in Gaza….
Palestinians stage ‘day of rage’ over Shin Bet’s violent interrogation of prisoner
RAMALLAH (MEE) 1 Oct by Shatha Hammad — Palestinians took to the streets on Tuesday in the central occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem in a “day of rage” to call for the release of a Palestinian prisoner severely beaten and left in critical condition by Israeli intelligence services. Israeli forces fired tear gas, sound bombs and rubber-coated bullets towards protesters outside the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, after Palestinian prisoner solidarity group Samidoun and students from Birzeit University called for a demonstration in support of Samir Arbeed. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, dozens were treated for tear gas inhalation. Elsewhere, Israeli forces suppressed a demonstration in East Jerusalem outside the Hadassah hospital where Arbeed is currently held, during which two protesters were arrested …
Palestinian rights groups have called for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – the only international humanitarian organisation allowed to access Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons – to intervene in Arbeed’s case. The Israeli Ministry of Justice has since opened an investigation into Arbeed’s treatment – although Palestinians have long denounced internal Israeli investigations into allegations of mistreatment of Palestinians as being more geared towards public relations than actual accountability. Dozens of demonstrators stood outside the ICRC headquarters in al-Bireh, the sister city of West Bank administrative centre Ramallah, on Tuesday morning chanting slogans in solidarity with Arbeed. A number of activists began staging a sit-in outside the headquarters, announcing that they would stay until the ICRC sent a doctor to assess Arbeed’s condition and an independent investigation was opened into his treatment in Israeli custody … (PA) Health Minister May Kila told MEE that the ministry was ready to send a Palestinian or international medical team to Hadassah hospital in order to examine Arbeed. “The Palestinian people are worried for Arbeed’s life,” she said … According to Addameer, some 220 Palestinians have died in Israeli custody since 1967 – 60 of whom are believed to have died due to medical negligence, and 73 others as a result of torture.
Palestinian tortured by Israel is in critical condition
EI 2 Oct by Tamara Nassar — Human rights groups are condemning Israel for the torture of Samer Arbeed. Arbeed is in critical condition following his interrogation by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet. A coalition of Palestinian human rights groups says Israel is responsible “for torturing and critically injuring” Arbeed during his arrest and interrogation. An Israeli special forces unit seized Arbeed from his workplace in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on 25 September and beat him with their guns in front of his wife and other witnesses, according to Amnesty International. He was then transferred to the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, an Israeli detention center synonymous with the torture of Palestinian prisoners, where he was severely mistreated while being denied access to a lawyer. Arbeed, 44, appeared in Israel’s Ofer military court without his lawyer on 26 September with visible bruises. He told the army judge that he was unable to eat and was throwing up continuously. Mahmoud Hassan, Arbeed’s lawyer with the prisoners’ rights group Addameer, was notified of his transfer to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem on 28 September. “He was admitted with broken ribs and kidney failure and is currently in critical condition on a respirator,” Amnesty stated. Addameer says that Arbeed was actually transferred on 27 September, but that his family and lawyer were not notified until the next day and Hassan was only allowed to see him briefly.
Legal torture — The Shin Bet reportedly received permission from a “judicial body” to “use exceptional ways to investigate” Arbeed – code for torture. While Israel’s high court supposedly outlawed torture in 1999, it ruled that the domestic intelligence agency can use torture in supposedly “ticking time-bomb” circumstances to investigate Palestinian prisoners. “Since then, Shin Bet interrogators have tortured hundreds of Palestinians, citing the ‘ticking bomb’ plea, and not one of them has been prosecuted,” Amnesty stated. Israel’s “ticking time-bomb” loophole was cited by US foreign spy agency the CIA to justify its torture regime, a US Senate inquiry revealed in 2014. The Shin Bet accuses Arbeed of involvement in the killing of Israeli teen Rina Shnerb. Shnerb was killed by what the Israeli military said was an improvised explosive device near the Dolev settlement in the West Bank on 23 August….
Israeli occupation forces detained three other Palestinians they claim were involved in the attack: Yazan Mghamas, Nizam Muhammad and Qassam al-Barghouthi. Israeli forces subjected all three to physical and psychological torture as well, including the arrest of family members to exert pressure on them. Israel’s resort to torture suggests that occupation forces lack any real evidence against the men….
10 year old boy shot in the head remains immobile, family waits for answers from Israel
Mondoweiss 4 Oct by Yumna Patel — It’s been almost three months since 10-year-old Abdul Rahman Shteiwi was shot in the head by Israeli forces in his village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank. What was a typical day of Friday protests on July 12 turned bloody when Israeli snipers shot the boy as he was standing at the entrance of his friend’s house in the village. Since that day, Shteiwi has remained in the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, unable to speak or move his body. “The doctors still aren’t sure exactly how much of his brain function has been permanently damaged,” Murad Shteiwi, a relative of the family and local activist in Kafr Qaddum told Mondoweiss. “He can’t move his hands or legs, he can’t speak. He’s awake, but he can’t do anything,” he said, adding that much of the nearly 100 pieces of shrapnel initially found in the boy’s head are still lodged in his brain today. Despite accounts from eyewitnesses, activists, and the doctors who treated him all saying that Shteiwi was shot with live ammunition, Israeli forces have maintained that they did not use live fire during protests on July 12th. “There are several reports done by international organizations that proved Abdul Rahman was shot with a live bullet,” Shteiwi told Mondoweiss. “The Israelis won’t admit it, but there is enough documentation to prove that they shot live ammunition.”….
Israeli settler runs over Palestinian child with car
IMEMC 3 Oct — On Tuesday evening, an Israeli settler ran over 10-year-old Khadija Murad Tanouh, at the Al-Fardis junction east of Bethlehem, severely wounding the child. Local sources reported that the child was taken to a hospital in occupied Jerusalem in an Israeli ambulance. This followed the arrival of Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulances at the scene, which were prevented by Israeli soldiers from treating or transporting the child. The settler who hit the child has not been charged, according to local sources. Israeli settlers speeding through Palestinian areas on their way to illegal Israeli-only settlements in the occupied West Bank frequently hit Palestinian children walking on the roads near their villages.
Illegal Israeli colonists assault three child siblings in Hebron
IMEMC 2 Oct — Several fanatic illegal Israeli colonialist settlers attacked, Wednesday, three children in front of their home, near the illegal Ramat Yishai colony which was installed on Palestinian lands and property in Tal Romeida neighborhood, in the center of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Eyewitnesses said the colonists surrounded the three siblings, the sons of Taiseer Abu ‘Aisha, while walking near their home. They added that the siblings, 11-13 years of age, live with their parents in their home, which is now located inside the fence of the illegal Ramat Yishai colony. The family has been subject to repeated assaults and violations by the illegal colonists, who are trying to force them out of their home in order to illegally confiscate it.
Olive harvest stolen by settlers in Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Sept — Israeli settlers, today, attacked Palestinian farmers while working on their own farms, near the village of Deir Sharaf, to the west of Nablus City, in the northern occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the area, told WAFA that a group of Israeli settlers chased Palestinian farmers while they were working on their farms, in preparation for the annual olive harvest, in attempt to force them to leave. He said that, later, another group of settlers broke into the farms and stole a large amount of immature olives before leaving….
House set on fire from Israeli teargas canister near Qalqilia
QALQILIA (WAFA) 5 Oct – A house was partially set ablaze today after it was hit by a teargas canister by Israeli occupation forces, who raided the town of ‘Azzun to the east of the West Bank city of Qalqilia, local and medical sources said. Civil defense crews were able to put the fire off after it had almost burnt half of the house, which reportedly belongs to a local Palestinian citizen who was identified as Mohammad Matar, 50 years old. Over 20 Palestinians also suffocated from teargas inhalation during the Israeli army’s raid of the town. They were all treated at the scene.
Angry Israeli officer smacks fellow soldiers for running away from Palestinians protesters
IMEMC 4 Oct — An Israeli army officer smacked, Friday, his fellow soldiers for cowering and running away from unarmed Palestinian protesters who hurled stones at them, after the army invaded Kafr Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and attacked the weekly procession. Dozens of soldiers invaded Kafr Qaddoum and attacked the protesters with gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets, before many local youngsters started throwing stones at them. The Palestinian protesters managed to get to a close range from the soldiers who started running away while firing many rubber-coated steel bullets. An Israeli army officer then got angry at his fellow soldiers for cowering and running away from the local unarmed Palestinian protesters, and started smacking them on their helmets. It is worth mentioning that, during the procession in Kafr Qaddoum, the soldiers injured two Palestinian protesters and one Israeli peace activist.
Fanatic settlers slash tires, spray racist graffiti near Salfit
SALFIT (WAFA) 6 Oct – Extremist Israeli settlers last night slashed the tiresd of 13 Palestinian-owned vehicles and spray-painted racist slogans in the village of Qira, to the north of the occupied West Bank city of Salfit, according to local sources. Aisha Nimr, head of the Qira village council, told WAFA that the settlers sneaked their way into the village at night, slashed the tires of parked vehicles and spray-painted racists graffiti and slogans on vehicles and houses. Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and their property is commonplace in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities. It includes arsons of property and mosques, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, among others.
Israeli soldiers abduct 17 Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 29 Sept — Updated: The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Sunday at dawn, seventeen Palestinians, including former political prisoners, from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank. The PPS said the soldiers invaded and violently searched dozens of homes, and other property, across the West Bank, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. The PPS office in Jenin, in northern West Bank, said the soldiers abducted two former political prisoners, identified as Aseel Dia’ Zogheibi and Rami Hisham Abu Farha, from the city. It added that the soldiers also abducted Mahmoud Mustafa Mardawi, from ‘Arraba town, southwest of Jenin, and Khaled Bassel Bazzour, from Raba village, southeast of Jenin, after invading their homes and ransacking them … The soldiers also abducted Maher al-Hroub, a member of the local committee for coordination between political parties, from his home in Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus….
Explosive detonated near West Bank IDF position, 2nd device neutralized
Times of Israel 4 Oct — An explosive device was detonated next to an Israel Defense Forces position near the town of Beit Ummar in the West Bank on Friday evening, the military said in a statement. A second device was discovered at the army post and was neutralized by sappers. There were no reports of any injuries in the primary explosion but there was damage to the military structure. According to the statement, soldiers arrested a suspect on the scene. During a search for further suspects close to Beit Ummar, clashes broke out in which one IDF soldier was lightly wounded. The soldier was taken to hospital for medical treatment. The IDF said troops used crowd dispersal methods. No further details were given and there were no reports of Palestinian injuries….
Israel combats Palestinians’ West Bank rocket-making
Al-Monitor 4 Oct by Adnan Abu Amer — Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces reportedly seized evidence recently that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is trying to build rockets in the West Bank to attack Israel. The evidence included a prototype of a handmade, primitive rocket and missile, built from a hollow tube and potassium nitrate. Three PIJ members were arrested in Tulkarm, the West Bank, according to Palestinian security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity with Israeli Channel 12. The station revealed Sept. 23 that the patrols also confiscated tools designed to manufacture rockets. The sources said PIJ members had received instructions from Lebanon on how to make and operate rockets. The sources did not say whether the instructions were provided by the PIJ or Hezbollah command in Beirut, or how. According to the same sources, the members of the cell admitted during questioning that they were trained by Iranians. However, the rockets they planned to manufacture were not advanced….
Israel arrests alleged mastermind behind Dolev attack during West Bank raid
i24NEWS 3 Oct — Israeli security forces said Thursday that they arrested 13 terror suspects, including a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in an overnight raid that saw violent clashes in Ramallah. The operation led to the arrest of PFLP senior member Walid Muhammad Hanatsheh, the suspected mastermind behind a bombing attack outside the Dolev settlement in August that killed Israeli teenage girl Rina Shnerb, according to The Times of Israel. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) refused to provide comment over the raid, saying that the “investigation into the cell is ongoing” and were not ready to provide any information at this time. Palestinian media reported that the operation mainly took place in Ramallah, leading to a riots with residents throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli jeeps.
Settlers sully idyllic Wadi Qana
[with PHOTOS] EI 1 Oct by Anne Paq & Ahmad Al-Bazz — Wadi Qana is considered one of the most beautiful natural areas in the occupied West Bank. It is an important nature reserve boasting both fauna and flora. With its numerous springs, the valley has historically served agricultural and recreational purposes for Palestinians who live in the area, mainly from the adjacent village of Deir Istiya in the northwestern region of the West Bank. The growth of Israeli settlements brought dramatic changes, starting in the late 1970s. Until the 1990s, almost 50 Palestinian families, around 350 people, lived in the valley. They started to leave for Deir Istiya because of water pollution. Israel declared Wadi Qana to be an Israeli nature reserve in 1983. They called it Nahal Qana Reserve, an area of nearly 3,500 acres, and placed it under the authority of four Israeli governing entities, including the settlement of Karnei Shomron and the Civil Administration, the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s military occupation. Palestinians, who have been working in the valley for generations, face increasing Israeli restrictions on their farming and grazing practices. Today, they cannot develop their infrastructure, except to tend some seasonal crops. The construction of Israel’s wall poses a further threat to Palestinian farmers. According to UN maps, Wadi Qana will be left on the western side of the wall, and de facto annexed to Israel, separating landowners in Deir Istiya village from the valley. Saed Zeadan, the head of Deir Istiya municipality, told The Electronic Intifada that he was worried about the future. “For the wall as it is planned, I think this is going to happen: At the beginning, they will put a gate and a system of permits, then after some time, we will not be able to go [to our agricultural land].”….
Israel issues administrative detention orders against 101 Palestinians in September
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 30 Sept – Israeli authorities issued in September administrative detention orders against 101 Palestinians currently held in Israeli jails for periods ranging between two and six months, today said the Commission of Detainees Affairs. Some of the orders were issued against Palestinians detainees for the first time, while others had their administrative detention renewed. Meanwhile, seven administrative detainees are currently on an open-ended hunger strike in protest against their prolonged administrative detention. According to statistics, there are 500 administrative detainees in Israeli jails. Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial at orders from a military commander and on the basis of secret evidence. The order normally goes for six-month periods, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military authorities.
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
PHOTOS: Israeli forces demolish the house of a Palestinian
HEBRON (Anadolu Agency) 3 Oct — Palestinian Ali Mohammad al-Allami is seen near the wreckage after Israeli forces demolished his house which was under construction, with the claim of being unlicensed, at Beit Ummar district in Hebron, West Bank on October 03, 2019. (Mamoun Wazwaz – Anadolu Agency )
Israeli forces demolished 12 structures in two weeks, says UN-OCHA
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 4 Oct – In the past two weeks alone, Israeli authorities demolished or seized 12 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said yesterday. In its Protection of Civilians Report covering the period of 17 – 30 September 2019, UNOCHA said that one of the structures demolished was a protest tent, which was demolished on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued permits, displacing seven people. The tent was erected in the Al Muntar area near Al ‘Eizariya town in Jerusalem, in response to the installation of a new settlement outpost. Palestinians reported that the outpost is erected on their land, affecting access for around 300 people. UNOCHA said all displacement incidents were recorded in East Jerusalem, where three residences were demolished in the neighborhoods of Beit Hanina, Silwan and At Tur. The remaining properties demolished included four livelihood structures, two houses under construction, a water cistern and a concrete fence in five Area C localities. “A total of 439 structures have been demolished or seized so far in 2019 in the West Bank, an over 40 per cent increase compared with the equivalent period of 2018,” the report added.
Settlers establish 18 new outposts
1 Oct by Madeeha Araj/ NBPRS/PNN — The southern areas of Hebron are being subjected to extensive settlement expansion procedures, as Israeli occupation authorities announced the seizure of about 1,500 dunams of populated land planted with olive trees and almonds, located within the borders of the Dura Municipality, to the south of Hebron. In 1987, a state document was signed against Dura’s basin n8, by Israeli military order, and, on July 31st of this year, Israeli authorities completed the inspection and amendment of its borders, knowing full well that part of the land is located in Area B, and officially under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The old-new, recently amended military order provides for the seizure of lands adjacent to Beer-Sab’a Street, which connects eastern Dura’s countryside and the southern town of Dhahriya, and belongs to Amr, Abu Sharar, Al-Khatib, Shaheen, Dodeen, Hreibat and others. In Hebron, colonial settlers set up 6 new outposts on Palestinian land, between 2017 and 2019, hundreds of meters away from major settlements built in previous years. Those outposts were erected on the eastern, western and southern sides of the governorate, particularly in the lands of Dura, Bani Na‘im, Yatta, As-Samu, Dahreiah and Sa‘ir … In Nablus, a new settlement plan was exposed that would ultimately seize more land in Naqora, Sebastia and Burqa, to the north of Nablus, in order to expand the settlement of Shafi Shomron — through diverting agricultural land located adjacent to the settlement — from basin n12 to the settlement….
Peace Now: 427,000 Israelis in West Bank
TEL AVIV (ANSAmed) 4 Oct — A reported 427,800 Israelis were living in the West Bank at the end of 2018, up 3.5% from 2017, while the population in Israel increased 1.9% last year, Peace Now reports, based on data released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Peace Now said the number of settlers has grown in 2018 by 14,400 units, two thirds of whom were born in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Quoting official Palestinian data, Peace Now added that there are 2,636,244 Palestinians in the West Bank (with the exclusion of East Jerusalem). The NGO reported that “thousands of new settlers” this year have not raised “the public’s attention or discussion”. Israeli pacifists are concerned in particular about the fact that the majority of new arrivals are moving to settlements that Israel would likely need to evacuate as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian citizens in Israel protest gun violence, organized crime
+972 Mag 4 Oct by Suha Arraf — Citing years of police indifference and a state policy that has exacerbated gun violence and organized crime among Palestinians in Israel, members of the community consider boycott as a new tactic — More than 20,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel protested against gun violence on Thursday, in the northern Galilee town of Majd al-Krum. Demonstrators called out Israeli police for failing to do their job in fighting organized crime in Palestinian communities in Israel. The protest came in response to the murder of two brothers, Ahmad and Khalil Mana’, who were killed in a brawl in Majd al-Krum earlier this week. The murder took place in broad daylight, as children were leaving a nearby school, not far from the local police station. The third victim, Mohammad Saba’, died of his wounds on Thursday.
The demonstration coincided with a general strike in Palestinian cities and towns inside Israel over the same grievances. Both actions were organized as part of a ‘state of emergency’ declared by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, an umbrella organization that represents the country’s Palestinian citizens, together with the Joint List party and the mayor of Majd al-Krum, Salim Salibi. Since the start of the year, 72 Palestinian citizens of Israel have fallen victim to gun violence and organized crime in the community. In search of new ways to confront this epidemic, Palestinian clerics, mayors and political representatives called on the Palestinian community to boycott families and businesses associated with arms dealers and gun violence suspects. Some even urged members of the community to boycott weddings and funerals of those implicated in gun violence …
“The internal security service surveils our every move, so how likely is it that they still cannot figure out who the criminals are?” asked Hamoud. “In Deir Hanna, we know who the shooters are, how is it possible that police have not figured it out yet? They have not even brought anyone in for questioning.”
Electoral gains revive old dilemma for Israeli Arabs
NAZARETH, Israel (AP) 29 Sept by Joseph Krauss & Mohammed Daraghmeh — When election results confirmed that an Arab alliance had emerged as the third largest bloc in Israel’s parliament, its leader Ayman Odeh reached for the Old Testament, tweeting in Hebrew from Psalm 118 that the stone which was rejected had become the cornerstone. His message: The Arab community, long shunted to the margins of Israeli society, is going to use its newfound influence to set the country on a more equitable path. The results left the two biggest parties deadlocked, but marked a victory for the Arab bloc and put Odeh in a strong position to become the first Arab opposition leader, an official role that would allow him to receive high-level security briefings and meet visiting heads of state. Outraged at what they see as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s racist policies and incitement, most of the bloc recommended his opponent, former army chief Benny Gantz, as prime minister, the first time Arab parties have backed an Israeli candidate since 1992. The potential for newfound influence has forced Arab citizens to confront a dilemma going back to Israel’s founding: Working within the system might secure social gains for the marginalized community, but risks legitimizing a state that many feel relegates them to second-class status and oppresses their Palestinian brethren in the occupied territories. “We truly want to support Gantz,” said Abed Abed, a food wholesaler in the Arab town of Nazareth in northern Israel. “But at the same time we are Arabs, and the people in Gaza and the West Bank are our brothers. If Gantz goes to war in Gaza tomorrow, then we can’t be part of it. So we’re in big trouble.” Israel’s Arab citizens make up 20% of the population of 9 million and are descended from Palestinians who remained in Israel following the 1948 war that surrounded its creation. They have citizenship and the right to vote, they speak Hebrew and attend Israeli universities, and have increased their presence in a wide array of professions, from medicine to tech startups. But they still face widespread discrimination….
Top court puts end to Palestinian poet’s four-year legal saga
+972 Mag 3 Oct by Oren Ziv — Four years ago, a Palestinian citizen of Israel was arrested because the security services decided a poem she wrote and published on her personal Facebook page was ‘incitement.’ After nearly three years under house arrest, a trial, and jail time, she is finally free — Dareen Tatour, the Palestinian poet arrested in 2015 over a poem she published on Facebook, is finally free. After years of house arrest, months in prison, and dogged efforts by the government to secure the maximum conviction possible, the Supreme Court last week rejected the state’s petition to restore her overturned conviction for incitement to violence. With that, Tatour’s legal ordeal came to an end, more than four years after it began. Tatour’s poem was published at the height of Palestinian protests across Israel and the West Bank and during a wave of so-called lone-wolf stabbing and vehicular attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians, largely in Jerusalem and Hebron. Following her arrest, which saw police storming her house in the middle of the night, Tatour was imprisoned for three months, then released and put under house arrest pending trial, a wait lasting nearly three years. She was forbidden from using the internet, the phone, or any other means of communication. In 2018, Tatour was tried, convicted of incitement to violence and support for terrorism, and sentenced. She served 42 additional days in prison, but appealed her conviction in January of this year and won a reduced sentence. In July, the state contested the decision, leading the Supreme Court to finally draw a line under the affair on Sept. 26….
BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti granted UK visa after unexplained delay
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Oct — Following an unexplained, abnormal delay in his visa application, which prevented him from travelling to the UK to speak at the Labour Party Conference fringe, BDS movement co-founder has had his visa granted by the British government. Omar Barghouti, Palestinian co-founder of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has been granted a visa to travel to the UK only after the end of the Labour Party conference and its fringe meetings. By granting the visa, the UK Government recognised that there are no grounds to deny Mr Barghouti the right to enter the UK. Mr Barghouti’s visa is dated September 19th, but the Home Office declared on September 20th that a decision had not yet been reached. Mr Barghouti and Palestine Solidarity Campaign are calling for an immediate apology from the Home Office and an explanation for the delay, amidst accusations that the British government is complicit in Israel’s suppression of Palestinian voices and freedom of expression….
NBA team ends partnership with rifle optics supplier to Israeli army
EI 2 Oct by Nora Barrows-Friedman — The Portland Trail Blazers basketball team has ended its partnership with Leupold & Stevens, an optics manufacturer that supplies equipment to the US and Israeli armies. “Leupold is no longer a part of the organization,” Chris McGowan, the NBA team’s president and CEO, stated on Monday. McGowan did not say why the team had cut its ties to Leupold, but human rights campaigners declared victory after Monday’s announcement. The Blazers had come under pressure to cut ties with Oregon-based Leupold & Stevens over Israel’s use of its equipment while killing and maiming unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza. In 2017, the Israeli army bought some 800 Leupold Mark-6 sniper rifle telescopes, a deal worth an estimated $2.9 million. A photo published by the Israeli military shows a Leupold scope affixed to the rifle of an army sniper at the Gaza-Israel boundary during the inaugural Great March of Return protests on 30 March 2018. At least 18 Palestinians were fatally wounded during that first day of protests….
‘Sorry I’m not more educated’: Demi Lovato apologizes for sponsored Israel trip and baptism in River Jordan….
DM 3 Oct by Justin Enriquez & Keven Kayhart — Demi Lovato has reacted to backlash she has received over her ‘spiritual’ experience in Israel including being baptized in the Jordan River. Many on social media blasted the 26-year-old songstress – who suffered a near-fatal drug overdose in July of 2018 – for promoting the country amid the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Lovato took to her Instagram Stories on Wednesday night to write: ‘I’m extremely frustrated. I accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few posts. ‘No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone. With that being said, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention.’ She wanted to make sure that everyone knew that she agreed to go on the trip for spiritual reasons and not to take a political stand….
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (26 Sept – 2 Oct 2019)
PCHR 3 Oct — Great March of Return in Eastern Gaza Strip: One civilian killed and 88 others injured, including 27 children and 9 paramedics, including 4 females. During 76 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 55 civilians arrested, including 2 children and 2 women.. Palestinian prisoner transferred to the hospital in critical condition after being tortured during investigation. 6 shooting incidents reported against Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza Strip shore. Large numbers of settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque grounds in occupied East Jerusalem; Palestinian civilians, including women, banned from entering al-Aqsa Mosque for periods ranging between 15 days to 6 months. 33 temporary checkpoints erupted in the West Bank, where 3 Palestinian civilians were arrested. Complete closure imposed on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for Jewish holidays. During the reporting period, PCHR documented 129 violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory….
Palestinians to receive $430 mn Israeli transfer: officials
RAMALLAH (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 4 Oct — The Palestinian Authority will receive a transfer of 1.5 billion shekels ($430 million) from Israel, officials from the two governments said Friday, in a step towards resolving a months-long standoff between them. Israel will continue to deduct money from the transfers to account for the PA’s payments to prisoners, a decision that sparked the row, but the two sides have agreed to further talks to resolve that issue, Palestinian civil affair minister Hussein al-Sheikh said. Shai Babad, director general of Israel’s finance ministry, told AFP the transfer would be made on Sunday to the PA government, which is facing a crippling financial crisis caused by the dispute. Sheikh confirmed they would receive the funds. In February, Israel decided to withhold about $10 million a month from revenues of some $190 million it collects on the PA’s behalf, prompting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to refuse all payments — saying he would accept all or nothing. The money comes from customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports and constitutes more than 50 percent of the PA’s revenues. The deduction corresponds to what Israel says the PA paid Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, or their families. Prisoners who have carried out attacks on Israelis are among those receiving the payments, and Israel says the policy encourages further violence. Palestinians view prisoners as fighting against Israel’s occupation and say the money supports families that have lost their main breadwinners. Sheikh said the two sides had agreed to form a committee to resolve remaining issues, including the money withheld over prisoner payments. “This is a step towards resolving the crisis but the crisis didn’t end,” he told AFP. The financial shortfall had been so severe the PA has been forced to halve salaries to its tens of thousands of civil servants.
Demining baptismal site completed, says PMAC
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 2 Oct – The Palestinian Mine Action Center (PMAC) announced today completion of phase one of clearing the Baptismal site, known as al-Maghtas, on the West Bank side of the River Jordan of landmines. It said in a statement that demining al-Maghtas was done in cooperation with the Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs and in partnership with the international HALO Trust, a British humanitarian landmine removal organization. The first phase in demining al-Maghtas included the clearance from mines of 136 dunums of land adjacent to al-Maghtas, which is an important religious area for Christian communities in Palestine and the world, and which includes eight churches and attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. The demining operations in the area of al-Maghtas began seven months ago and faced many difficulties due to the refusal of the Israeli authorities to provide maps of the mines in that area. The second phase will start in the coming period and will cover 500 dunums of land in the Jordan Valley and around al-Maghtas area, said PMAC. Israel filled the border area between Jordan and the West Bank with thousands of landmines after its occupation of the West Bank in 1967. It included eight Christian churches – Roman Catholic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek, Romanian, Syrian and Russian – at the site of the Baptism of Christ, which for over five decades no worshippers or clergy could enter….
PCBS: 5% of the population in Palestine aged 60 years and above
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 1 Oct – On the Occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) released a press release in which it states that 5% of the population in Palestine are aged 60 years and above as of 2019. “The Palestinian society is considered a young society where the percentage of young people is high and the percentage of the elderly is relatively low. In mid-year 2019, the number of the elderly aged 60 years and above reached 257,151 persons (5%): 169,503 persons (6%) in the West Bank and 87,648 persons (4%) in Gaza Strip,” the statement said. “Even though, the percentage of the elderly will be increasing during the coming years in Palestine, their percentage will remain relatively low and would not exceed 5% during the current decade. It is expected to start increasing after the mid of next decade.” “Moreover, Palestine is witnessing a noticeable improvement in life expectancy since the beginning of the last decade of the previous century, where life expectancy has increased about 6-8 years during the last two decades. In particular life expectancy increased for both males and females from 67 years in 1992 to 72.9 years for males and 75.2 years for females in mid of the year 2019….
Kuwait asks Saudi Arabia to release Palestinian detainees
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 30 Sept by Rasha Abou Jalal — Kuwait is handling the role of main mediator to secure the release of dozens of Hamas members arrested on Saudi soil, Kuwaiti and Palestinian sources told Al-Monitor. One of those under arrest is Mohammad al-Khodari, who holds dual Kuwaiti-Palestinian nationality. In a statement released Sept. 9, Hamas said Saudi Arabia has been holding Khodari, 81, and his eldest son since April 4 without giving any reason. Mohammad al-Khodari has resided in Saudi Arabia since 1992, where he was in charge of coordinating bilateral relations between the kingdom and Hamas. Hamas said in its statement that it “remained silent for five months to make way for diplomatic calls and mediators’ endeavors, but no results were reached.” The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor told the UN Human Rights Council this month that some Palestinians have been forcibly disappeared in Saudi Arabia and that dozens are being held there without legal support. The details of their arrests and detentions remain unknown. Mohammad al-Khodari’s brother, Abdul Majid Khodari, told Al-Monitor, “My brother was Hamas’ ambassador to Saudi Arabia for the past two decades. He worked and lived in the kingdom with approval from its king. But we were surprised that he was arrested for no declared reason.”….
Activists protest Facebook policy against Palestinian content
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Oct — Palestinian activists and journalists, on Wednesday, in cooperation with Sada social center, have launched a campaign against Facebook administration’s violations against Palestinian content. The campaign denounced, in a statement, a policy of double standards adopted by the administration of the site.” At the time [in which] the violations against the Palestinian narrative are escalating under false pretenses, it does not act in the face of escalating Israeli incitement,” it said. It explained that Israeli content calls for killing Palestinian innocents, arresting children, destroying mosques and churches, and expelling residents. It added that the policy of Facebook is in line with Israeli policies, and even adopts the story presented, by Israel, in allowing people to broadcast whatever they want, while it closes pages which publish the Palestinian narrative, They ban publications and additionally deprive Palestinians of certain features available to users. The campaign stressed, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that Palestinian content is in real danger, as Facebook has developed an algorithm which enables it to delete user posts if it includes the names of Palestinian factions, for example: “Hamas, Jihad, Popular Front, Qassam, Saraya, or Shahid.” … The campaign began yesterday evening, by tweeting with the hashtag “#FBblockspalestine.”… There will also be a field protest event, as well as a study of a legal case against Facebook….
Get to know Sama’, the Palestinian artist bringing techno to the West Bank
MixMag 2 Oct by Jasmine Kent-Smith — Sama’ channels a hybrid form of Berlin techno with Lebanese flair — Sama’ Abdulhadi is disorganised: her words, not ours. When asked if she, a perma-busy, globe-trotting DJ with a nomadic lifestyle, prefers routine or spontaneity, she laughs. “Spontaneous, always!” she says over Skype. “I couldn’t be any other way.” This affiliation with the unpredictable forms a vital part of her DJ career as she journeys from city to city (via an alias change) for each new adventure. Previously, she’s played a now-viral live DJ stream from Ramallah, earned a residency at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, produced multiple studio projects and organised popular parties back in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, one of the first people to introduce techno to the area….
Ireland to submit Gaza documentary for foreign language Oscar
[includes trailer] NewsTalk 4 Oct by Jack Quann — The feature documentary ‘Gaza’ has been selected as Ireland’s entry for the Academy Awards’ ‘Best International Feature Film’ category. This was formerly known as the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category. ‘Gaza’ examines the Gaza Strip among an eloquent and resilient cast of characters under siege. It was predominantly filmed in the Arabic language. The film is described as “a cinematic portrait of a people attempting to lead meaningful lives against the rubble of perennial conflict.” From co-directors Garry Keane and award-winning conflict photographer Andrew McConnell, ‘Gaza’ premiered to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Raja Casablanca first Morocco football team to play in Palestinian territories
RAMALLAH (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 3 Oct — The first Moroccan football team was playing in the occupied Palestinian territories on Thursday, as the head of the Palestinian football association announced the Saudi national team would also visit. But 28 fans of the Raja Casablanca club were denied entry to the occupied West Bank by “Israeli occupation forces”, Morocco’s MAP news agency said, quoting the country’s embassy in Jordan. Arab clubs and national teams have historically refused to play in the West Bank, where the Palestinian national team plays, as it required them to apply for Israeli entry permits. This was seen as breaching a decades-long Arab boycott of the Jewish state over its treatment of the Palestinians. But in recent years either clubs or national teams from Iraq, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have all visited. Others, including Egypt and Lebanon, still refuse. Thursday evening’s match kicked off at 1600 GMT, with Raja Casablanca squaring off against Palestinian team Hilal al-Quds in the Arab Champions Cup. The Moroccan giants won the first leg 1-0 at home, with the team’s supporters waving Palestinian flags and chanting songs supportive of the cause. “We consider we are winners due to the presence of Raja Casablanca,” Hilal al-Quds’s sporting director Badr Makki said before the game started. “But that doesn’t stop us hoping to win and progress.” The game was being played at a stadium in Al-Ram, close to the city of Jerusalem. “We are delighted to be in Palestine to represent Morocco,” Raja Casablanca’s coach Patrice Carteron told a news conference late Wednesday….
Saudi Arabia to play World Cup qualifier against Palestine in West Bank
MEE 4 Oct — Saudi Arabia’s national football team will compete against Palestine later this month in a stadium in the occupied West Bank, north of East Jerusalem, Saudi and Palestinian officials said on Friday. The match, which is scheduled for 15 October as part of qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asia Cup, will be held at the Faisal al-Husseini International Stadium. The stadium is located just 100 metres from Israel’s Separation Wall in the town of al-Ram. Jibril al-Rajoub, chief of the Palestinian Football Association, described the match as an “historic step”, in a statement. “This step is a message to the occupation that Palestinians are not alone, and I hope this Saudi historical position will be an incentive to others to visit Palestine and play on its ground, as FIFA grants Palestinians the right to host matches,” Rajoub said. Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority said in a statement that it had accepted the invitation from the Palestinian side to play the match in al-Ram….