Palestinian dies from serious wounds he suffered when the army killed eight members of his family
IMEMC 22 Nov — The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that a Palestinian man died, Friday, from serious wounds he suffered when Israeli soldiers fired a missile at the family home, on November 14th, 2019, killing eight family members, including five children. The Health Ministry identified the slain Palestinian man as Mohammad Salama Sawarka, 40; he was seriously injured at dawn on Thursday, November 14th, when the army fired a missile at the family home, in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza. Mohammad’s two children, Moath, 7, and Waseem, 23, were instantly killed. The missiles led to the death of eight members of his family, including five children and one woman. The Israeli army later alleged it “fired the missile at the home by mistake.” Only one toddler survived the Israeli attack and was found shielded by her slain brother. She was identified as Farah Rasmi Salem Al Sawarka, sister to Mohannad, 12, Salem, 3, and Firas, 2, who were killed, and the youngest child of Rasmi Salem al-Sawarka, 45, and Mariam Sawarka, 45. Both parents were also killed. Farah is the only surviving family member. At least twelve Palestinians were injured, including some who suffered life-threatening wounds.
‘I did not find our house, there was only a huge hole.’ Sawarkah children speak about a massacre they survived
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Nov — Surviving children of the Abu Malhous “Sawarkah” family, who survived the massacre in which an Israeli air-strike killed 8, including five children and two women, spoke about what happened to them this past Thursday. That night, Noor Sawarkah, 12, could not sleep for fear, listening to the Israeli drones hover over the area, Quds News Network reported. “I couldn’t sleep that night, I was scared of the sounds of the Israeli drones”, said Noor, who now lives with her grandmother. Noor spotted a red light and heard a massive explosion, “I rushed out of the house and couldn’t wake my family up. I stood near the house, shaking and crying”, Noor said. When the explosions stopped Noor turned around to return to her house, “I did not find the house but there was only a huge hole while everything was thrown here and there and my family was buried in the sand.” she declared. The injuries among members of Noor’s family are, her siblings; Nermin, 10 has broken legs, Reem, 8, has a broken nose, and Salem, 3, has a fractured pelvis. Her father Muhammad, 40, is still in the Intensive Care Unit [now deceased]. Noor’s mother, Yusra, 39, and two brothers Muath, 7, and Waseem, 13, were killed in the strike. Noor prefers now to spend her days at the hospital, comforting her siblings, who ask for their mother, but they are unaware that she was killed in the bombing. Several Palestinian families spend their time with the survivors to alleviate their grief. Diaa Sawarkah, 13, is another survivor, who is still in shock of what he witnessed. He suffered shrapnel wounds to his face, while escaping to his grandmother’s home. “I was in the house when everything turned red, I heard an explosion in my uncle’s house, so I rushed to my grandmother’s house close by.” said the boy, whose relatives call a daring and strong-hearted child….
Video: Gaza protests to be canceled for second straight week: report
i24NEWS 22 Nov — The Great March of Return organizing committee is reportedly mulling reducing demonstrations to monthly. For the first time since the inception of the Great March of Return Protests on March 30, 2018, Gaza residents will refrain for the second consecutive week from their Friday demonstrations, according to Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar. The surprising turn comes following the recent escalation that saw the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) launch over 400 rockets towards Israel, which responded with airstrikes that killed at least 34 Gazans … The committee in charge of organizing the weekly Gaza border demonstrations is reportedly mulling scaling back the protests to just once a month and for special events, which would mark a dramatic reduction from the movement against the Israeli blockade and US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. In negotiations this week, Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas group were said to reach mutual understandings with public gestures signaling significant progress in peace talks.
Amid tension in southern Gaza, a newlywed couple’s future is thrown to the wind
AL-QARARA, Gaza Strip (ArabNews) 22 Nov by Haem Balousha — Mohammed Abu Amra and his wife, Marwa, had not even finished their honeymoon when they found themselves without a house, after Israeli warplanes turned the family building in Al-Qarara in the southern Gaza Strip to rubble. Mohammed, 34, had worked and saved to pay for his wedding and apartment for three years. In moments, it was gone. Since Wednesday, Mohammed, Marwa, and his large family of 20 have been crammed into a small shack, after Israel escalated activities in Gaza after the assassination of a senior military leader of the group Islamic Jihad. “We became displaced, and the work of years now lies in the ruins of the house, with all our furniture, possessions, even our identity papers,” Mohammed told Arab News. The couple were dreaming of a calm and stable life. Mohammed is in shock, and does not know what to expect in the coming days, while his bride Marwa suffered “severe psychological trauma” after the attack. “I dreamed that my happiness would last with my wife, that the honeymoon would be completed and that our days would become more beautiful, but the work of years was destroyed,” he said. With sadness and pain, Mohammed remembers the moment of the bombing of his house, built by his father three decades ago to house his children and grandchildren….
Army releases a Palestinian fisherman who was abducted a year ago
IMEMC 19 Nov — The Israeli army released, on Monday at night, a Palestinian fisherman who was taken prisoner a year ago, after the navy ships attacked fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, and opened fire on them. The Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate said the fisherman, identified as Mohammad Qassem Saidam, was released after a year in captivity. It added that Saidam was moved to the Eretz terminal with the besieged Gaza Strip, and was released before crossing into the coastal region. The fisherman was abducted from Palestinian territorial waters in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas arrests gunmen trying to cross into Sinai
Al-Monitor 19 Nov by Adnan Abu Amer — The Ministry of Interior and National Security in the Gaza Strip announced this week that it had foiled an attempt by three gunmen to enter Egypt through the southern border of the Gaza Strip on Nov. 13. One of the suspected jihadis was arrested and the two others remain on the run. The ministry said it thwarted a similar attempt on Nov. 8, explaining, “There was an exchange of fire with three gunmen before the security forces were able to arrest them, seize their weapons and refer them for investigation. Security forces continue to scout the area along the southern border with Egypt for two other suspects. The men in both instances are suspected of belonging to small extremist groups that subscribe to Islamic State ideology. The Nov. 8 incident is seen as the first time in years that Gazan gunmen with ties to IS have tried to enter Egyptian territory … The arrests without casualties could indicate that Hamas’ security in Gaza had prior information about the gunmen, who were ambushed along the border with Egypt and taken for questioning about the goals of their mission and who was waiting for them on the Egyptian side of the border. Hamas is tightening the noose around IS-affiliated militants in Gaza, prompting them to try to escape the area … Mahmoud Mardawi, a member of Hamas’ National Relations Office, told Al-Monitor, “The arrests are part of Hamas’ consistent policy and commitment to protecting the Egyptian border from any threat, which would affect us, too. Also, when Egyptians see how much effort is being made to achieve Palestinian and Egyptian security, it will improve relations and confidence between Hamas and Cairo….
The men who are standing tall against early marriages in the Gaza Strip
UN WOMEN 18 Nov — When two men arrived at Freeh Abu T‘ema’s family home in Abasan Alkabeerah, a village located in the south of the Gaza Strip, he didn’t know that his life, as well as his daughter’s, would change forever. “My 16-year-old daughter’s wedding was approaching,” Abu T‘ema recalled. The soon-to-be bride was his third daughter, out of five, all between the ages of eight and 24. She was preparing to drop out of school because her then-future husband did not want her to pursue her education. “I knew she was too young to get married and didn’t finish school yet, but I couldn’t decline a marriage proposal from one of my cousin’s sons, so I said yes,” said Abu T‘ema.
The visitors were Mossa Abu Taema and Wael Abu Ismael, who came to Abu T‘ema’s home to stop his daughter’s marriage. Abasan Alkabeerah is one of the most conservative villages in eastern Khan Younis, a border town in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. Early and child marriages are common here. According to the 2017 census by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 21 per cent of registered marriages of 2017 in the Gaza Strip Involved girls under 18 years of age. Nonetheless, both men, also from Khan Younis, believed that marriages cannot be consensual until both parties are at least 18 years old. They had undergone training delivered by a community-based organization, the Future Brilliant Society, in Khan Younis, as part of UN Women’s Regional Men and Women for Gender Equality Programme funded by the Government of Sweden. The programme focuses on engaging men and boys as change makers to promote gender equality. The training prepared them to become “ambassadors of change” and challenge the tradition of early marriage. The two advocates presented Abu T‘ema with facts about the impacts of early marriage, including potential negative consequences on his daughter’s physical and mental health, as well as the statistically proven higher rate of divorce for early marriages compared to the marriages of couples over 18 years. Abu T‘ema listened closely, and, by the end of the conversation, he was convinced. He called off the wedding and his daughter returned to school the next day …
The ambassadors have prevented early marriages in 50 families and counting. “Now we have beneficiaries who changed their minds and have become ambassadors themselves, just like Abu T‘ema,” said Abu Teir….
Feature: First ever women’s restaurant breaks Gaza’s society traditions
GAZA (Xinhua) 18 Nov by Sanaa Kamal — With a charming smile and warm greetings, Eman Abu Ali is used to welcoming her clients on their arrival to her own first-ever restaurant that was recently inaugurated in the Gaza Strip for women only, a step contrary to the common traditions in her town. The 34-year-old lady, mother of four, has insisted to establish the restaurant in her remote village of Abassan, east of the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. She said the aim of opening the restaurant was to encourage others women to go beyond old traditions that limit their daily activities. Her restaurant, colored with pink, has been crowded by costumers, some of whom told Xinhua that they are feeling more comfortable in such a restaurant that was opened especially for women. “In general, it’s not easy for women to establish their own job in the blockaded coastal enclave,” the young lady told Xinhua, while she was preparing a meal for a client. She added that she had tried several times to find a job after she graduated from college in 2012, but she failed … The young lady said that she made a questionnaire for women in the village to ask about their opinions about the idea, and she got a great encouragement from them … “This place will be their second home,” she said. “As you know the housewives have lots of free times, and I hang out with my friends here to enjoy a good and funny time,” Suhaila Qudaih told Xinhua, as she was checking the restaurant’s menu.
Goalball tries to make its way in Gaza Strip
GAZA (Xinhua) 21 Nov by Sanaa Kamal — As soon as Deyaa Abu Dayya heard the referee’s whistle, he and his teammates began working together to prevent the opponent’s ball from entering into their goal. This might sound similar to a game of football, but it is actually goalball, a three-player team sport designed specifically for athletes with a vision impairment. Goalball uses a ball with bells inside, allowing players to use the sound to work out the position and movement of the ball. They throw the ball by hand, and try to move it across the opposing team’s goal line. The rules of goalball require the field of play to 18 meters long by nine meters wide, with goals spanning the width of the pitch. To ensure all players compete on an equal footing, players who are partially sighted compete with their eyes covered by eyepatches. Unusually for a team sport, spectators at goalball matches are obliged to remain silent during passages of play, allowing the players to rely on their hearing to throw and block the ball….
Palestinian killed on Sunday identified; family demands answers
IMEMC/Agencies 19 Nov — The Palestinian killed by Israeli police on Sunday has been identified as Fares Bassam Abu Naab. His father said that the circumstances and the position of the car completely contradict the narrative of the police, who claimed that they fired on the car during the chase. The car was not hit with any bullets, however. In addition, a cellphone video taken from an apartment above the street clearly shows the young man parking and exiting the vehicle. It then shows a heavily armed Israeli police officer running toward him, shooting him, then running back. Abu Naab’s father said that his son was forced out of the car, and then he was shot. He said that what happened is clearly an execution, and that the police claim they want to do an autopsy. The family has refused the autopsy, and the Israeli police will be taking the family to court. Abu Naab’s father also said that despite the fact he went to a number of police stations asking about his son, and was refused any information, later he was contacted by Mahash, the Israeli police investigatory unit for internal investigations. Mahash confirmed the death of the son, and asked the father to come to the station to file a complaint and to agree to an autopsy. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan said that after the young man was killed, the Israeli police and soldiers invaded the area surrounding his home in Ras al-Moud neighborhood in Silwan, and fired gas bombs at the crowds that gathered … Walla Israeli website claimed, according to the PNN, that Israeli police forces killed a Palestinian man from East Jerusalem while chasing him, at dawn, alleging that he participated in the theft of a car, in the city of Jerusalem. A statement by the Israeli police spokesman said: “During the chase, police officers opened fire towards the car, wounding the driver critically, and was declared dead after attempts to revive him in the hospital failed.”
Youth shot and injured near an Israeli army checkpoint in West Bank
TULKARM, Sunday, November 17, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces opened fire today at a Palestinian youth near an army checkpoint in the north of the West Bank injuring him in the leg, according to medical sources. They said Ahmad Abdullah Ammar, 25, from the village of Quffin, north of Tulkarm, was brought to hospital in Tulkarm with a bullet wound in the leg. He was reported in stable condition. Ammar was shot near an iron gate in Israel’s apartheid wall.
Israeli army injures six Palestinians in West Bank
AA 17 Nov — Israeli army injured six Palestinians during a solidarity march in West Bank on Saturday. A group of students from Birzeit University in Ramallah, an occupied West Bank city, convened for a demonstration protesting the Israeli attacks. Israeli troops used tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse Palestinian students, while the students threw stones at the soldiers in response. The plastic bullets wounded five Palestinians, and one was injured with a live bullet. Dozens were affected by tear gas during the intervention of Israeli soldiers.
Palestinian journalist loses eye to Israeli bullet
EI 19 Nov by Maureen Clare Murphy — On Monday, doctors removed the left eye of a Palestinian photojournalist after he was injured by shrapnel from an Israeli bullet days earlier. The photographer, Moath Amarneh, was covering protests over Israeli land confiscation in Surif, a Palestinian village in the Hebron area of the occupied West Bank, when he was injured on 15 November. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the shooting of Amarneh and called on “Israeli authorities to immediately open an investigation into the incident and hold those responsible to account.” Amarneh was leaving the protest when Israeli forces fired a bullet that hit a nearby object. The bullet exploded and shrapnel hit Amarneh’s eye, he told the Arabic-language news site Al-Dostor. Photojournalist Oren Ziv interviewed journalists who witnessed Amarneh’s injury. They told him that Israeli Border Police forces were using 22-caliber Ruger rifle bullets against Palestinian demonstrators. “The officers did not offer [Amarneh] medical aid and delayed his evacuation from the scene,” Ziv reported. Video shows that Amarneh was wearing a helmet and a flak jacket marked as “Press” when he was injured. The video also shows Israeli soldiers harassing Amarneh, shoving a camera near his bleeding face, as he is walking away with the assistance of two other men:
On Sunday, Israeli occupation forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets at journalists protesting the injury of Amarneh in Bethlehem. Ten people were injured, including Munjid Munjid Jadu, director of the Palestine News Network, who was struck in the head by a tear gas canister, according to the press freedom group Mada. Journalists, human rights workers and others in Palestine, the wider Arab region and beyond expressed solidarity with Amarneh by covering their left eye during broadcasts and in photos posted on social media. Members of the Jordanian parliament participated in the solidarity campaign. Palestinian Authority officials did as well, drawing criticism because PA security forces have previously detained Amarneh.
College student, 18, shot with gas bomb in her face, suffers jaw fractures, burns
IMEMC 21 Nov — This item is about a female university student, studying Information Technology in Palestine Technical University–Kadoorie, in Tulkarem in northern West Bank. An Israeli soldier shot her in the college campus with a high-velocity gas bomb which struck her face, fracturing her jaw, and causing burns to her face and hand. The gas bomb also left a large rupture in her cheek. She was shot after the soldiers engaged in an excessive force against students holding a nonviolent procession in solidarity with Palestinian photojournalist Moath Amarneh , who lost his left eye after being seriously injured by a rubber-coated steel bullet, fired by an Israeli soldier … After being shot by the gas bomb in her face, Nagham reacted by removing the bomb which had stuck to her face, causing various wounds, including penetrating and burning the skin, creating a large cheek wound, in addition to causing upper and lower jaw fractures and burns. Her mother narrates the incident that led to her injury, and the damage the Israeli gas bomb caused to her face, jaw and hand. I just arrived home, and I got a call telling me my daughter Nagham “fell in the university,” I told them it seems there are some incidents in her college, was she injured? Her colleague told me “yes auntie, she was shot with a gas bomb.” The soldiers came from the area behind the university; her colleagues were waiting for her in front of the library, she was only ten meters away from the soldier who fired the gas bomb at her. Another student who witnessed the shooting said that the gas bomb (after striking her in the face) was literally stuck on her hand, after it had lodged in her jaw, and she tried to remove it … The mother stated that her daughter wears eyeglasses, which apparently protected her eyes, before they flew away from the force of the bomb.
Illegal Israeli colonists storm a Christian church in Hebron
IMEMC 19 Nov — A group of fanatic Israeli colonialist settlers stormed, on Monday at night, the al-Maskobiyya Church, known as Abraham’s Oak Holy Trinity Monastery, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Eyewitnesses said dozens of illegal colonists, accompanied by a large military force, invaded the Christian monastery while chanting and singing, before holding prayers in the church. The monastery is located in the al-Jilda Street in Hebron city, in an area that falls under the complete control of the Palestinian Authority.
Illegal Israeli colonists injure 8 Palestinians in Hebron
IMEMC 22 Nov — A group of fanatic Israeli colonists, illegally squatting on Palestinian lands in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, attacked, on Friday evening, many Palestinians, including children, wounding eight. Palestinian activist Jamal Es‘eifan said the colonists first attacked a shop owned by Nasser Fahed al-Ja‘bari, and smashed the glass door before physically assaulting him, causing various cuts and bruises, especially to his face and upper body. He added that the colonists also used pepper-spray in assaulting Nasser, and his brother, in addition to attacking several other Palestinians. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Hebron said its medics provided treatment to eight Palestinians and moved Nasser to a hospital in the city. The soldiers also forced many nearby shops to close, in the al-Ras area, in addition to the Salayma and Wad an-Nassara neighborhoods.
In related news, dozens of colonists invaded the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, while the soldiers also issued orders prevented the Palestinians from entering the holy site starting on Friday evening, until Saturday evening.
West Bank vehicles vandalized in new settler attack
SALFIT (WAFA) 22 Nov – Some 50 Palestinian vehicles were vandalized in the latest spate of Israeli settler attacks in the West Bank district of Salfit. Israeli settlers slashed the tires of some 50 Palestinian vehicles and spray-painted hate graffiti in Kafr Ad-Dik village, west of the West Bank city of Salfit. Mayor of Kafr Ad-Dik Ibrahim Issa Ad-Dik told WAFA that a group of Israeli settlers sneaked their way into the village, slashed the tires of some 50 vehicles, and scrawled anti-Palestinian hate graffiti on several vehicles and the external walls of houses. Graffiti reading “A closed military zone” was scrawled in Hebrew at the external wall of a villager’s house, according to Ad-Dik, who noted that this was the second time the village was targeted by settlers in a year. Located almost 10 kilometers to the west of Salfit city, Kafr Ad-Dik has a total population of some 5,700 and occupies a total area of 15,529 dunams … Israel has seized at least 1,444 dunams belonging to the village for the construction of four nearby colonial settlements, namely Bruchin, Alei Zahav, Pedu’el and Leshem, with the settlement construction causing damage to the Byzantine-era St. Simeon the Stylite Monastery, known to Palestinian villagers as Deir Samaan….
Settlers torch vehicles, scrawl hate graffiti in three Nablus-area villages
NABLUS (WAFA) Friday 22 Nov – Israeli settlers today overnight torched several Palestinian vehicles and scrawled hate graffiti in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, said a settlement watchdog. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli colonial settlement construction in the northern West Bank, said that a group of settlers sneaked their way into Majdal Bani Fadel and Qabalan villages, where they torched several vehicles and scrawled anti-Palestinian hate graffiti. Settlers also overnight sneaked their way to Beit Dajan village, east of Nablus city, where they vandalized a villager’s house and set his vehicle on fire. The house owner was identified as Thaer Hanaysha.
Illegal colonists burn Palestinian lands near Nablus
IMEMC 21 Nov — A group of fanatic illegal colonialist settlers invaded, Thursday, Palestinian agricultural lands in Burqa village, north of Nablus in northern West Bank, and set them ablaze. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the assailants set lands ablaze close to the evacuated Homesh colony. Daghlas added that the colonists have been trying to occupy the lands to install an outpost in that area. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers stopped and delayed the Palestinians and fire trucks who were rushing to the burn lands to extinguish the fire.
In related news, the colonists hurled stones at Palestinian cars near Za’tara military roadblock, south of Nablus, causing damage.
Army abducts four Palestinians, including two children, in West Bank
IMEMC 17 Nov — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Sunday at dawn, four Palestinians, including two children, and assaulted a few others, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The PPS said several army jeeps invaded Silwad town, east of Ramallah, before the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes, and abducted three Palestinians, including two children. It identified the abducted Palestinians as Ahmad Ayed Hamed, 13, Jawad Omar Hamed, 13, and Mousa Wael Hamed, 19. It is worth mentioning that, on November 13th, the soldiers abducted Mousa, but released him shortly afterward.
In addition, the soldiers invaded the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, before abducting Nadim Abu Jouda. The soldiers also invaded the Shiokh town, northeast of Hebron, and summoned Mohammad Yousef Warasna for interrogation…
During the invasions into Palestinian homes, the soldiers assaulted several residents while violently searching their properties.
Two minors among 25 Palestinians detained from West Bank
JERUSALEM, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today overnight detained at least 25 Palestinians, including two minors, from various parts of the occupied West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society and local sources. The Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center confirmed that Israeli police raided ‘Issawiya, a Palestinian neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, detaining 15 Palestinians after ransacking their families’ houses. For the approximately 20,000 residents of the neighbourhood, military raids and home demolitions are a daily reality … In Ramallah district, Israeli military vehicles raided Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah city, where soldiers rounded up two minors. Local sources identified the two detainees as ninth graders. A similar overnight military raid was conducted in Silwad town, east of Ramallah city, resulting in the detention of a former prisoner. In Hebron district, Israeli soldiers conducted multiple raids across al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron city, resulting in the detention of three Palestinians, including two teens….
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct eight Palestinians, including Jerusalem governor, one woman, in West Bank’
IMEMC 21 Nov — Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Thursday, at least eight Palestinians, including a young woman and the Governor of occupied Jerusalem, from several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has confirmed. The PPS office in Hebron, in southern West Bank, said several army jeeps invaded Beit Ummar town, north of the city, and ransacked a home before abducting a young woman, who is in her fourth year at Palestine Polytechnic University. The young woman, identified as Leen Akef Awad, 23, is also an elected member of the Students’ Council at her college. Her father said the soldiers violently searched the home, and confiscated a Laptop, a computer, mobile phones and even a landline phone owned by the family. He added that the soldiers took his abducted daughter to Etzion military base, north of Hebron …
In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers invaded Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and abducted Yousef Ashour, 17, after invading and violently searching his family’s home in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood. The soldiers also abducted Jerusalem Governor, Adnan Gheith, from his home in Silwan town. The governor has been abducted and detained more than thirteen times since he took office, and was banned from entering all other areas in the West Bank for twelve months. Also in Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted the Director of the Education Ministry Samir Jibreel, and Ziad Shamali, who heads the Parents’ Council of Jerusalem Students.
VIDEO: Israeli soldiers detain 13-year-old Palestinian in Hebron and lead him up and down streets blindfolded
B’Tselem 21 Nov — On [Sunday] 3 Nov. 2019, at about 11:30 A.M., soldiers detained ‘Abd a-Razeq Idris, 13, from the Abu Jales neighborhood. They put him in a jeep, blindfolded him and drove him around [while throwing stun grenades into houses]. They then took him to al-Harika neighborhood, about a kilometer from his home, where they took him out of the jeep and walked him, blindfolded, through the streets. When his father arrived, the soldiers refused to turn the boy over. Instead, they drove him to a military post in the settlement of Kiryat Arba yet told the father they were taking him to the police station there, where the father searched for his son in vain. ‘Abd a-Razeq was asked about stone-throwers and sent home alone at about 2:00 P.M.
This case is no aberration, it is part of the routine violence imposed on Palestinians in Hebron by Israeli security forces and settlers, including physical attacks, threats, verbal abuse, soldiers’ incursions into homes (usually at night) – and the false arrest of minors and adults. Israel cites security to justify this conduct and the segregation it imposes on the city. Yet as this case proves, these claims are baseless and serve merely to bolster a policy of driving Palestinians to leave Hebron by making daily life unbearable.
In a testimony taken by B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja‘abri on 17 November 2019, ‘Abd a-Razeq Idris described what he went through:….
Former Israeli policewoman charged with shooting Palestinian
JERUSALEM (AP) 21 Nov — A former policewoman in Israel has been charged with assault and reckless use of a weapon for allegedly shooting an unarmed Palestinian man in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet as he walked away from a West Bank checkpoint. The case has drawn widespread attention since Channel 13 TV broadcast a video of the May 2018 incident earlier this month. In the video, the Palestinian is shot in the back nearly 20 seconds after walking away from the checkpoint. Border police often use sponge-tipped bullets as a “nonlethal” tool to disperse crowds, but the bullets are painful and can cause serious injury. The Palestinian, Karam Qawasmi, said on Thursday that other officers also abused him and should have been charged. He says he fears she’ll receive a “very light punishment.”
Beleaguered Jerusalem neighborhood refuses to be cowed
EI 22 Nov by Jaclynn Ashly — It’s constant danger. Amin Barakat doesn’t mince his words. The 50-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiyeh said life in the area was not safe. Not because of crime. Because of the police. “We feel constantly in danger. The Israeli police are everywhere. We’re not safe on the streets, in our schools, or even in our homes,” Barakat told The Electronic Intifada. “I am too afraid to even send my sons to buy something from the store or allow them to go outside alone. I’m scared they will be arrested.” Over the last several months, the area has faced a dramatic uptick in police activity that has thrown the neighborhood into chaos. Blinking blue and red lights from Israeli police vehicles have become an everyday fixture on ‘Issawiyeh’s streets, while police drones fly above – surveilling each move of the neighborhood’s residents. Police searchlights pierce residents’ homes as Israeli officers conduct raids in the dead of night, breaking into homes and arresting residents. Police have said at various times that the police activity was due to everything from cracking down on “terror cells” to stone-throwers, but residents and rights groups vigorously dispute this and say the police activity is “unjustified.” Police checkpoints and roadblocks, arbitrary arrests and routine harassment of ‘Issawiyeh’s residents have brought tensions to a tipping point. Violent confrontations between angry residents, sometimes throwing stones, and security forces, including anti-riot and paramilitary border police units firing teargas and rubber bullets, have left hundreds of residents injured….
Israel shuts down Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Wednesday, November 20, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities today morning closed several Palestinian institutions in the occupied city of Jerusalem for a period of six months, according to WAFA correspondent. He reported that Israeli police raided the offices of Palestine TV, and posted a notice issued by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, closing the office for six months purportedly for planning to hold activities under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority. Police confiscated material from the office and handed its director, Ayman Abu Rumoz besides Palestine TV correspondent Christine Rinawi orders to appear before the Israeli intelligence. Meanwhile, police stormed the Education and Higher Education Directorate in Jerusalem, posted a similar notice closing it for six months under the same pretext and detained its head Samir Jibril. Police also barged their way into the Islamic Orphanage School, known in Arabic as Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiya, in Jerusalem’s Old City besides to the Arab Health Center in Sultan Ibrahim Street, and seized all records and surveillance cameras.
Ashrawi: Israel attempts to erase Palestinian presence in Jerusalem by shutting down more Palestinian institutions
RAMALLAH, Wednesday, 20 November 2019 (WAFA)0 – Israel attempts to erase Palestinian presence in Jerusalem by shutting down more Palestinian institutions, today said Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) reacting to Israel’s closure of Palestine TV office among others in the occupied city today. “We strongly condemn Israel’s closure of several Palestinian institutions in occupied Jerusalem, including the Office of the Directorate of Education, Palestine TV offices and the Al-Rasasi mosque. This is a continuation of the Israeli government’s campaign against everything Palestinian in occupied Jerusalem and an attempt to alter the cultural and demographic composition of the City, in violation of its previous commitment to guarantee preserving Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem as well,” she said in a statement….
Family members of Palestinian detainee arrested
IMEMC/Agencies 18 Nov — According to the Prisoners Commission, the wife and the brother of a Palestinian prisoner in Israel were arrested, Monday, while attempting to visit the detainee, the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported. The Commission stated that Israeli forces detained the wife of Ramadan Eid Mashahreh, along with his brother, at Hadarim prison, for no apparent reason. Mashahreh, 43, is from Jabal al-Mukabber neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, and was detained on July 6, 2002. His brother, Fahmi, was also arrested two months later, and both were sentenced to 20 life terms. His wife states that Mashahreh was subjected to harsh interrogation by Israeli forces after his arrest, in addition, Israel demolished their family home, years after Mashahreh was sentenced.
Podcast Ep 11: Israeli jailers break Palestinian’s ribs
EI 15 Nov by Nora Barrows-Friedman — On Episode 11 of The Electronic Intifada Podcast, we speak with Lana Ramadan of the Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer. Ramadan talks about the recent raid by Israeli soldiers on the Addameer headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah and the September arrest, interrogation and torture of Samer Arbeed. Arbeed was hospitalized with serious injuries, including 11 broken ribs and kidney failure, following interrogation by Israel’s domestic spy agency, the Shin Bet. Israeli prison authorities have continued to question him even while he recovers in an intensive care unit. Israel has issued a gag order preventing publications and human rights groups from reporting on the situation facing a number of prisoners. “The people who are [being interrogated] are mainly university students or new graduates, some are union workers – Samer works in the farmers’ union,” Ramadan says. “We were able to visit some of those prisoners. Definitely torture is happening, not only to Samer, but we’re not able yet to publish the details of it,” she adds, due to Israel’s gag order….
Prisoner Sami Abu Diak might die at any moment, commission warns
RAMALLAH, Sunday, November 17, 2019 (WAFA) – The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission said that sick Palestinian prisoner Sami Abu Diak was sent back to Israel’s al-Ramla prison’s clinic despite his severe critical health condition, warning that he might die at any moment. Sami Abu Diak, a political prisoner, was transferred two days ago to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel following severe deterioration in his health. Abu Diak is suffering from cancer, which seem to have spread all over his body. He also suffers from kidney and lung failure. The commission said that Abu Diak suffers from severe weight loss; he currently ways around 40kg (88 pounds), and his blood sugar level has dropped to 20 mg/dL. The commission held the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the life of Abu Diak, demanding his immediate release. Abu-Diak, who comes from the West Bank town of Silat al-Dahr, was arrested in July 17, 2002, and was sentenced to three life sentences in prison for resisting the Israeli occupation.
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli prime minister approves settlement expansion in Jordan Valley following US announcement
IMEMC 20 Nov — After Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, made a statement Monday reversing decades of US policy, and contradicting international law, by saying that the US did not consider Israel’s colonial takeovers of Palestinian land to be illegal, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved a massive expansion of colonial settlements. The bill approved Tuesday by the Israeli Prime Minister would authorize the Israeli annexation by military force of the Jordan Valley, home to tens of thousands of Palestinians, many of whom can trace their roots in that area back hundreds and thousands of years. Netanyahu had campaigned in the recent election partly on a promise to annex the Jordan Valley, the most fertile region of the West Bank, into Israel. When Pompeo made his statement Monday, Netanyahu heralded it as an ‘historic’ moment, and promptly moved forward with the Jordan Valley Annexation bill. Though this bill had been introduced in the Knesset several weeks ago, it was subject to a mandatory waiting period before coming to a vote. Netanyahu, as Prime Minister, was able to ‘fast track’ the bill, which will now be voted on next week….
UN Security Council members rebuke US on Israeli settlements
UNITED NATIONS (AP) 20 Nov by Edith M .Lederer — In a sharp rebuke to the Trump administration, the 14 other U.N. Security Council members on Wednesday strongly opposed the U.S. announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements to be a violation of international law. They warned that the new American policy undermines a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The council’s monthly Mideast meeting, just two days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement, was dominated by negative reaction to the new American policy from countries representing all regions of the world who said all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Only Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, who is not a council member, spoke in support of the U.S. action, saying it “rights a historical wrong.” He also called the criticism an “obstacle to peace” that is “preventing direct negotiations” between Israelis and Palestinians….
120+ US congressmen warn Pompeo’s declaration could lead to a deadlier conflict
WASHINGTON (WAFA) 22 Nov — More than 120 US Congressmen have sent an urgent letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to reverse his announcement earlier this week in which he considered Israeli settlements in the West Bank as legal. “This announcement, following the administration’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem outside of a negotiated agreement… severely damaged prospects for peace, and endangered the security of America, Israel, and the Palestinian people,” the letter read, adding: “As annexation [of the West Bank] and the United States’ approval thereof would destroy prospects for a two-state solution and lead to a more entrenched and possibly deadlier conflict, this decision erodes the security of both Israel and the United States.” The signatory Congressmen said the move, which came in the aftermath of the US’ closure of the Palestinian mission in Washington and its Consulate in Jerusalem and the halting of aid Congress appropriated to the West Bank and Gaza, has discredited the United States as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Congressmen continued, “We write to express our strong disagreement with the State Department’s decision to reverse decades of bipartisan U.S. policy on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank by repudiating the 1978 State Department legal opinion that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.”
Something’s rotten at this settlement winery – and we don’t mean the grapes
[behind paywall] Haaretz Magazine 21 Nov by Gideon Lev & Alex Levac — It looks like a scene from Tuscany. A vintage-model sports car and a black SUV are parked in front of a mansion with a stone facade and green roof, nestled among vineyards. The water in the swimming pool glitters in the blazing light. The leaves on the rows of grape vines – planted in exemplary order, and propped up by iron poles – are now brown. The atmosphere is tranquil atmosphere: A bird chirps, there’s an aura of beauty. But the sight is actually one of the ugliest and repellent sights imaginable. The house, the vineyard, the pool, the high-end cars and the porch with the scenic view – all of this is situated on private property plundered from its owners. And we are not in Tuscany; we are in a crime neighborhood. This is the estate of Yaakov Berg, CEO of the Psagot winery, in the central West Bank. Berg’s house stands on section 233 of bloc No. 17. This property belongs to two sisters, Amal and Keinat Quran, and their cousin, Karima – but they don’t have any access to it. The grapes are planted on sections 219-220, which is owned by Huria Quran, another relative. That petite, elderly woman is also unable to get to her property … Can there be a more foul wine than that produced by Psagot Winery? Is there anything more justified than labeling it and setting it apart from wines that are not produced in the territories? And what could be more moral and noble than to boycott it altogether?
Army demolishes a home near Hebron
IMEMC 21 Nov — Israeli soldiers demolished, Thursday, a Palestinian [Bedouin] home in Khallet ad-Dabe area, east of Yatta town, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Rateb Jabour, the coordinator of the Popular Committees in southern West Bank, said the soldiers demolished the home, made of bricks and a tin roof, owned by Amer Mohammad Ali Dababsa, The demolition order was issued less than 72 hours prior to the destruction of the property, which consisted of two rooms. The destruction left eleven family members, mainly children, homeless in the cold; the family tried to appeal against the demolition order but to no avail. This marks the second time the soldiers demolish the property, especially after the Civil Administration rejected the structural plan of the village. The soldiers also handed similar demolition orders to three Palestinians in the area. The army claimed that the structures were not licensed by the “Civil Administration Office,” the administrative branch of Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina play out exciting draw with Uruguay
JTA 20 Nov — BDS threats and concerns about security over rockets fired recently from Gaza didn’t stop Argentine football star Lionel Messi from taking the field with his national team against Uruguay in Tel Aviv. Messi scored a goal in the game on Monday night, which ended in a 2-2 tie before a crowd of 29,000 that included Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and model Bar Rafaeli. Last year, a campaign by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel led to threats against Messi and his family, and the cancellation of a match between Argentina and Israel in Jerusalem. A new BDS campaign this year had threatened to shut down the match.
Hamas sets some demands for elections, concedes others
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 20 Nov by Ahmad Melhem — Hamas has tentatively agreed to some compromises regarding elections in the Palestinian territories, though it has a series of demands it believes are essential for the process to be successful. Hamas announced it approves of holding presidential and legislative elections in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The movement’s political bureau head, Ismail Haniyeh, delivered the news at a press conference following an Oct. 28 meeting in Gaza of Hamas, other Palestinian factions and a Central Elections Commission delegation. Hamas’ decision shows flexibility, as it agrees to hold legislative elections first, then presidential ones. Hamas and some other Palestinian factions previously rejected this idea and called for holding the elections simultaneously, along with the Palestinian National Council elections. Hamas also is amenable, unlike before, to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas determining election dates, even before a national meeting is held that would include Palestinian factions to discuss technical details and procedural and legal measures….
Just in time for Christmas, wooden manger relics heading from Rome to Bethlehem: Palestinians
GAZA (Reuters) 22 Nov by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Wooden relics said to be from the manger that held the infant Jesus will be returned from Rome to Bethlehem in time for the Christmas season, Palestinian officials said on Friday. Bethlehem’s mayor, Anton Salman, told the Palestinian news agency WAFA the move followed President Mahmoud Abbas’s most recent visit to the Vatican, when Abbas asked Pope Francis for the return of the fragments held in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Salman said the relics were taken from Bethlehem around 1,000 years ago, and are now likely to be placed inside Saint Catherine’s Church, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square, the reputed site of Jesus’s birth. There was no immediate confirmation from the Vatican. But Amira Hanania, a member of Abbas’s Higher Committee of Churches Affairs, said the relics would arrive on November 30, the day the Palestinian town traditionally lights its Manger Square Christmas tree….
UNRWA receives new funding from United Arab Emirates
AMMAN, Thursday, November 21, 2019 (WAFA) – The United Arab Emirates announced today its contribution of $12.5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The UNRWA said this extraordinary financial contribution will help it continue to provide critical humanitarian services and operations for the remainder of 2019 in the areas of primary healthcare, education and social services across its five fields of operation. This is the second contribution by the UAE to the Agency this year and is one of four disbursements totaling $50 million. “This generous donation could not have come at a more important time for the Agency and for Palestine refugees,” said UNRWA Acting Commissioner-General Christian Saunders….
Israel’s detention of Palestinian children is ‘completely preventable’, says US congresswoman
WASHINGTON (MEE) 20 Nov by Ali Harb — The Israeli army’s mistreatment of Palestinian children is “completely preventable”, a United States congresswoman said, as she urged other lawmakers to support a bill that would prevent American military aid to Israel from being used to abuse Palestinian minors. “The Israeli system of military detention of Palestinian children is immoral, and not a single dollar of US taxpayer funds should be allowed to support what’s in explicit violation of international humanitarian law,” said Representative Betty McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, at an event on Wednesday at the US Capitol building in Washington. McCollum introduced the legislation, HR 2407, in late April, and since then it has gained 22 co-sponsors – mostly progressive members of the House of Representatives. Several Christian faith leaders on Wednesday called on other lawmakers to back the bill … The proposed legislation aims to prevent US assistance to Israel – which receives about $3.8bn in US aid annually – from supporting “the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment” of Palestinian children….