Gaza militants and Israelis exchange fire despite tenuous truce

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Palestinian rockets, Israeli airstrikes jolt tenuous Gaza truce
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 15 Nov by Nidal al-Mughrabi & Ari Rabinovitch — Palestinian militants fired two rockets deep into southern Israel from Gaza on Saturday, and the Israeli military responded with a number of air strikes on militant targets, shaking an already tenuous truce. Sirens sounded in the middle of the night in Beersheba, the largest city in southern Israel, some 35 km (18 miles) from the Gaza border, warning of incoming fire. The military said its missile defenses intercepted the two rockets. A few hours later, Israeli aircraft struck a number of militant outposts belonging to Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza. No injuries were reported. The overnight rocket attack came nearly two days after a ceasefire ended a flare-up in cross-border violence between Israel and a smaller Palestinian militant group, Islamic Jihad. The worst fighting in months was triggered on Tuesday when Israel killed a top commander from the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, deeming him an imminent threat. Gaza medical officials said 34 Palestinians had been killed in the two days of fighting, almost half of them civilians. At the same time, hundreds of rocket launches by militants paralyzed much of southern Israel and reached as far north as Tel Aviv, sending entire communities to shelters. Dozens of Israelis were injured. Throughout the fighting, Hamas, the dominant force in Gaza, appeared to have stayed on the sidelines. That may have helped stem the escalation. Israel’s military, however, said on Saturday that it would hold Hamas responsible for any attack emanating from Gaza.

Hamas leaders seen booted from mourning tent for Islamic Jihad chief
Times of Israel 15 Nov — Senior Hamas members were twice barred Friday from a mourning tent for a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror chief whose killing by Israel set off two days of fighting in the Gaza Strip. Video showed Palestinians affiliated with Islamic Jihad accosting Hamas officials Mahmoud al-Zahar and Ahmed Bahar as they tried to visit a memorial event for Baha Abu al-Ata, who was killed early Tuesday in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip. The mourners were apparently angry at Hamas after the Gaza-ruling terror group did not take part in the Tuesday-Wednesday flare-up between Israel and Islamic Jihad, during which Islamic Jihad fired some 450 rockets into Israel. Islamic Jihad members yelled “out, Hamas out,” and threw stones at their vehicle. After a second attempt to visit was made, eyewitnesses said Hamas police fired gunshots in the air as rioting broke out. The Hamas officials then fled from the mourning tent in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood. Hamas security forces later scuffled with the Islamic Jihad members as they tried to arrest suspects over the expulsion of Zahar and Bahar, the Ynet site quoted a Palestinian source saying. An Islamic Jihad delegation later visited Zahar’s home in a bid to calm the waters, highlighting what a Palestinian source said was a divide within the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad terror group over its future stance toward Hamas, which rules Gaza …
Also Friday, there were no protests on the Gaza border, marking only the second time since the so-called March of Return protests and riots began in March 2018 that no weekly demonstrations took place.

Graphic on fatalities and injuries released by Gaza Ministry of Health, Nov. 14.

The names [and photos] of Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza
MEE 13 Nov — Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip have killed at least 34 people and wounded more than 100 since Tuesday. Statistics for the casualties issued by the Palestinian ministry of health showed that the 34 Palestinians killed included eight children and three women. The wounded numbered 111, including 46 children and 20 women.  The ministry released the names and ages of those killed, pictured below left to right:….

Islamic Jihad offers Israel truce as Gaza toll hits 26
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) 13 Nov by Nidal al-Mughrabi & Dan Williams — Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad offered terms on Wednesday for an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire with Israel, saying if these were not met it was prepared to keep up cross-border rocket salvos indefinitely despite a mounting Gaza death toll. The worst surge in fighting around the Palestinian enclave was sparked on Tuesday when Israel killed Islamic Jihad’s top Gaza field commander in an air strike, accusing him of masterminding a spree of recent attacks and planning more soon. As Islamic Jihad fighters responded with hundreds of rocket launches that reached as far as Tel Aviv and paralyzed parts of Israel, it pressed the aerial barrage on the Gaza Strip. Medics say 26 Palestinians, including at least 14 gunmen and six civilians, have been killed. Dozens have been injured on both sides. In his first public comments on the fighting, Islamic Jihad leader Zeyad al-Nakhala said a truce could be agreed immediately if Israel accepted the Iranian-backed faction’s terms. These included Israel ending targeted killings of militants, its sometimes lethal response to weekly Gaza protests and steps to ease its blockade on the coastal Palestinian enclave, al-Nakhala, who is based in Beirut, told Al-Mayadeen TV … Israel signaled openness only to a quid-pro-quo restraint. “Quiet will be answered with quiet,” Israel’s Army Radio quoted an unnamed Israeli government official as saying….

Including a father and two sons, Israeli strikes kill 15 Palestinians Wednesday
IMEMC 13 Nov — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that the ongoing Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip has resulted in the death of at least fifteen Palestinians, including a father and two of his sons, and injured more than ten others, in several parts of the coastal region, raising the number of slain Palestinians to 23 in two days, while more than 69 Palestinians have been injured. The Palestinians were killed and injured in 50 Israeli airstrikes and 21 incidents of artillery shells targeting various areas of the Gaza Strip.
The Health Ministry in Gaza said the soldiers killed Mohammad Abdullah Sharab, 28, and Haitham Hafeth al-Bakri, 22, after firing a missile at them in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza. Both are members of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad.
Two Palestinians were killed, on Wednesday afternoon, when the Israeli army fired missiles into an area east of Gaza city. A Palestinian father, identified as Rafat Mohammad Awwad, and two of his children, Islam and Amir, were killed, and several others were injured, by Israeli missiles in the Tuffah neighborhood, east of Gaza city, in an earlier attack, and a fourth was also killed after the army fired a missile at him while driving his motorcycle in the Zeitoun neighborhood, south of Gaza city. The Health Ministry said the soldiers killed Ala’ Eshteiwi, 32, in the Zeitoun neighborhood, and Khaled Awad Farraj, 38, was killed in the al-Mighraqa area, south of Gaza city, while many Palestinians were injured when the soldiers fired shells into farmlands, in addition to another Palestinian who was injured by Israeli shells in a playground in the Zeitoun neighborhood …
The Israeli missiles and shells struck many homes, chicken farms, farmlands, markets for fruits and vegetables, parks near the Gaza sea, in addition to several sites run by armed resistance groups in Gaza, mainly those run by the al-Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad. At least 48 Palestinians homes have been completely or partially damaged, and the army also fired missiles at seven motorcycles.
The Palestinians who were killed Wednesday, including a father and two of his children, have been identified as: ….

Update 2: ’10 Palestinians killed, 45 wounded by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza’
IMEMC 13 Nov — Tuesday’s escalation by Israeli forces has caused the deaths of ten Palestinians, with more than 45 civilians wounded by Israeli airstrikes, according to local sources. In the latest spate of bombings, the victims have been identified as: Abdullah Awad Saqib al-Bilbisi, 26 Abdul Salam Ramadan Ahmad Ahmad, 28, Wael Abdul Aziz Abdullah Abdul Nabi, 43, Rani Fayez Rajab Abu al-Nasr, 35. Jihad Ayman Ahmed Abu Khater, 22 These five, killed in airstrikes on Tuesday afternoon, are in addition to the five killed earlier in the day by Israeli bombs. Local sources report that Israeli F16 bombers continue to circle the skies above Gaza, causing panic and shock for the 2 million residents of the Gaza Strip. [see Israel-Palestinian Timeline for photos of these and others killed, along with their stories]

IDF probing deaths of 8 family members in Gaza strike, believed home empty
Times of Israel/ Agencies 15 Nov — Military sources tell newspaper the intent had been to hit Islamic Jihad infrastructure; says IDF spokesperson made up details about supposed target from social media rumors  — The Israeli military is investigating a Thursday strike that killed eight family members in the central Gaza town of Deir el-Balah, the IDF said Friday. “According to the information available to the IDF at the time of the strike, no civilians were expected to be harmed,” the army said. “The IDF is investigating the harm caused to civilians by the strike,” it said in a statement. Military sources quoted  by the Haaretz daily said the army was unaware of the family’s presence in the building when it conducted the strike, and that it had intended to hit Islamic Jihad infrastructure. Haaretz said the building was in the IDF’s “target bank” several months ago, listed as a place of Islamic Jihad infrastructure. However, it reported, the list was not updated in recent months and no additional checks were made to see that the building was empty before the strike. The report said the strike was aimed at destroying terror infrastructure and was not an attempt to target an Islamic Jihad leader. On Thursday,  IDF Arabic-language spokesperson Avichay Adraee identified the father of the family, Rasmi Abu Malhous [Rasmi Salem Sawarka], 45, as the head of an Islamic Jihad rocket unit. AFP reported on Friday that Islamic Jihad said Malhous was “known as a person affiliated with Islamic Jihad but he was not a commander”. However, the IDF sources told Haaretz that Abu Malhous had no ties to Islamic Jihad and that Adraee’s statement, and a picture he tweeted purportedly showing Abu Malhous, were false and were based on social media rumors. Abu Malhous was killed, along with his wife, sister-in-law and five children under the age of 13, including his 7-year-old son and two nephews, aged 2 and 3. Residents said the airstrike came without warning. With fighting raging between Israel and Islamic Jihad terrorists throughout Gaza, two loud blasts shook the night, destroying the Abu Malhous home and killing eight members of the family in a split second …  A neighbor, who said he personally knew the family, told Haaretz that they had lived there for “over 20 years.” He added they were “known as simple people, living in shacks and making their living off herding and some agriculture, nothing beyond that. They … didn’t come here recently or were moved here by anyone.”….

When Hamas is not in Israel’s sights
GAZA CITY (AFP) 14 Nov — For the first time in more than a decade, Israeli forces have bombed Gaza without targeting Hamas. But this spells a tough choice for the Islamist movement, between heeding calls to join the fighting, and its desire to maintain its truce with Israel. Before dawn on Tuesday, Israeli forces struck an apartment in the northern Gaza Strip, killing Baha Abu al-Ata and his wife Asma, who died immediately. Ata was not a commander of Hamas, which has de facto control over the Gaza Strip, a territory of some two million people that has fought three wars with Israel since 2008. Rather, he was one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad, Gaza’s other major armed Islamist group, considered by Israel as more radical but less well armed than Hamas, and as a proxy militia of its archenemy Iran. “Throughout the operation, we of course distinguished between Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” said Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus, after a ceasefire early Thursday ended 50 hours of clashes. The tit-for-tat exchange saw 450 rockets launched at Israel and 34 people killed in Gaza. “All of our operations were measured, proportionate and focused only on military assets belonging to Islamic Jihad,” Conricus said. Earlier, an Israeli official said Ata was “responsible for almost all the attacks coming out of Gaza for the last six to seven months”.

Israeli air force kills two, injures nine, in Damascus
IMEMC 12 Nov — The Israeli Air Force carried out, on Tuesday at dawn, several airstrikes targeting a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement in the Syrian capital, Damascus, killing two, including his son, and injuring nine others, among them his grandson. The al-Mayadeen News Agency has reported that the Israeli Air Force struck the home of Akram al-Ajjouri with two missiles. It added that the missiles caused excessive damage to the home, and several surrounding buildings, killing Akram’s son, Moath al-‘Ajjouri, and wounding his granddaughter. The strike also led to the death of Abdullah Yousef Hasan, and the injury of eight other civilians. Israeli missiles also struck a building near the Lebanese Embassy, in the western district of the Syrian capital, where many diplomatic missions and Damascus University are located.

Human rights group condemns Israel’s shelling of its headquarters in Gaza
IMEMC 12 Nov — After being targeted by Israeli missiles, the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Palestine (IHCR), issued a statement denouncing the military escalation, and calling for an international investigation at the highest level. At approximately 09:50 AM on Tuesday, 12 November 2019, the headquarters of the Independent Commission in the Gaza Strip, which occupies the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of a multi-story building near the Palestinian Legislative Council in the center of Gaza City, was targeted by Israeli missiles. Mr. Bahjat Al-Helu, ICHR’s Coordinator of the Awareness and Training Unit in the Gaza Strip, was slightly injured. It was a fortunate coincidence that the colleagues on the targeted floor just left the place a few minutes prior the shelling to participate in a meeting on the seventh floor, otherwise, they would have been directly hit….

WATCH / Gaza rocket hits Israeli highway, narrowly misses vehicles
Haaretz 12 Nov — Palestinian militant factions in Gaza fired dozens of rockets at Israel’s south and center on Tuesday following the overnight assassination of a high-ranking Islamic Jihad militant by Israel. One of the rockets fired from Gaza hit an intersection on Route 4, near the town of Gan Yanve, south of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. A traffic camera video shows how the rocket narrowly misses Israeli vehicles.

Ongoing bombarding of Gaza leads to property damage
IMEMC 12 Nov — Hours after assassinating a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad, who was killed along with his wife, the Israeli army continued firing missiles into several areas of the coastal region, causing excessive property damage. Media sources said the army fired a missile into an apartment in a residential building in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood, west of Gaza city, causing serious damage. They added that the army also fired missiles into a site in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, in addition to several missiles into farmlands in central Gaza Strip, and east of Gaza city … The Israeli missiles also caused damage to a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) near the home of the assassinated Islamic Jihad leader, the Quds News Network has reported. A state of emergency was declared in the Gaza Strip; all schools have been closed, and all hospitals declared in readiness for a possible massive Israeli offensive on the coastal region, while the Israeli army closed border terminals.

Israeli extrajudicial execution policy resumed: IOF airstrike kills senior leader of Islamic Jihad, and his wife, in Gaza
PCHR 12 Nov — Israel resumes its extrajudicial execution policy against Palestinians, as Israeli warplanes carried out a targeted attack against a senior leader of Palestinian resistance groups at dawn on Tuesday, 12 November 2019. As a result, the targeted Palestinian was killed along with his wife, while 7 others sustained injuries including 4 of the victims’ children in the attack on their house in al-Shuja‘iya neighborhood in Eastern Gaza. This attack reflects a decision by the highest Israeli military and political offices.
According to PCHR investigation, at approximately 04:00 on Tuesday, IOF warplanes fired a missile at Bahaa’ Salim Hassan Abulatta’s house (42), member of the al-Quds Brigades’ military bureau which is the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, and he was in charge of its northern Gaza Strip activity. Abulatta and his wife, Asmaa’ Mohammed Hassan Abulatta (38), were killed during the targeted airstrike on their apartment, on the second floor of a residential building, resulting in complete destruction. The victims’ bodies were extracted from the rubble at the UNRWA school across the street from their apartment due to the extreme intensity of the explosion: his body was found near the gates, while his wife’s was found within the school.  Furthermore, 7 others sustained shrapnel wounds in the airstrike, including 4 of the victims’ children (including two little girls): Salim (19); Mohammed (18); Fatima al-Zahra’ (13); Layan (11); two women from the neighborhood: Hanan Shehda Mohyaldeen Helles (26); Shereen Fouad Khalil Helles (21); and Mahmoud Fouad Abdulrahman Abulatta, the victim’s bodyguard. The injuries were reported to be minor and moderate
IOF and the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) announced in a press statement by the Israeli military spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, that the targeted attack against prominent Islamic Jihad Leader in Gaza was a joint operation between the Israeli military and the intelligence services. He also reiterated that Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, authorized the attack, which is the first extrajudicial execution carried out by Israeli airstrikes since the 2014 Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip. The Gaza attack was simultaneous with another targeted airstrike by Israeli warplanes against Islamic Jihad Political Bureau member, Akram al- ‘Ajoury, in the Syrian capital, Damascus. According to Islamic Jihad press release and Syrian media, al- ‘Ajoury’s son was killed in the attack …

A look at Israel’s targeted killings of militant leaders
JERUSALEM (AP) 12 Nov by Patty Nieberg & Fares Akram — Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander in an airstrike on Tuesday, resuming a contentious policy of targeted killings of militant leaders. While once frequent, Israel has resorted to the strategy only occasionally in recent years. Tuesday’s strike on the Gaza City home of Bahaa Abu el-Atta was the second such attack in five years to be claimed by Israel. A look at some of the key targeted killings carried out by Israel over the years:
October 1995 Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shikaki is shot in the head in Malta in an assassination widely believed to have been carried out by Israel.
July 2002 Hamas’s second-in-command military leader Salah Shehadeh is killed by a one-ton bomb dropped on an apartment building.
March 2004 Hamas founder and spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin is killed in an Israeli helicopter strike. Yassin, paralyzed in a childhood accident, was a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israel and among the founders of Hamas in 1987
( … )
May 2019 Israeli aircraft strike the car of Hamed Ahmed Abed Khudari, killing the senior Hamas commander who, according to the group, smuggled cash from Iran to Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
November 2019 An Israeli airstrike hits the home of Bahaa Abu el-Atta, a senior Islamic Jihad commander, killing him and his wife. It sparks the worst bout of cross-border fighting in months. The same morning, another airstrike targets Akram al-Ajouri, an Islamic Jihad commander in Syria’s capital Damascus, but he is unharmed.

No justifying Israel’s bloodshed in Gaza
EI 14 Nov by Maureen Clare Murphy — A truce was declared by Israel and Islamic Jihad early Thursday, bringing an end to 48 hours of violence across the Gaza-Israel boundary that teetered on the brink of a full-blown war. Gaza’s health ministry stated that Israeli forces killed 34 Palestinians during the fighting, nearly half of them civilians, including eight children and three women. No Israeli fatalities were reported. Three members of the Ayyad family, among them a 7-year-old child, were killed as they were on a motorcycle in front of their Gaza City home on Wednesday, 13 November. They were targeted as they were rushing to a hospital after a relative had been injured in a separate attack. Israeli forces killed two boys in a strike on a carpentry shop in Gaza City that same day. Their father, who owned the shop, and two other men affiliated with Islamic Jihad’s military wing were also killed.
The deadliest single incident in the 48 hours of bombardment occurred soon before the truce took effect on Thursday. Eight persons from the al-Sawarka family – five of them children – were killed and 13 injured when Israel fired four missiles at a pair of tin-roofed shacks in central Gaza. Israel initially claimed that one of those killed was a commander of an Islamic Jihad rocket unit who was “hiding ammunition and military infrastructure” in his home … Reports later emerged indicating that the Israeli military had mistakenly targeted the home of a different man with the same name as the Islamic Jihad commander.
Even if it wasn’t a case of mistaken identity, and weapons were present at the al-Sawarka homes, the laws of armed conflict would forbid Israel from striking them while civilians were present. Article 57 of the Geneva Conventions states that an attack must be canceled or postponed if it poses a danger to civilians “excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.” …  Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, claimed that the targeted man, Baha Abu al-Ata, was a “ticking time bomb,” using the same phrase that Israel has used to justify its torture of Palestinian detainees …  The “ticking time bomb” loophole has no basis in international law, whether concerning the use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees or extrajudicial executions….

Gaza orphan’s self-immolation sparks outcry on social media
JPost 10 Nov by Khaled Abu Toameh — The death of a 28-year-old Palestinian from the Gaza Strip weeks after self-immolation has triggered a wave of protests among Palestinians, who are accusing Hamas and the Palestinian Authority of failing to prevent the tragedy. Yahya Karajeh died in a hospital last Thursday from wounds he sustained when he set himself on fire in protest of economic hardship in the Gaza Strip. In a video he posted on social media a few days before he set himself on fire, Karajeh complained that no one in the Gaza Strip wanted to help him. He said that he went to the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, but was kicked out by the guards. “The guards told me that Haniyeh is no longer the prime minister,” Karajeh said. “I went to the Palestinian Authority offices, where I was told to go away.  Who should I go to? My father passed away and my mother remarried and is living in Jordan.” Karajeh said that he and his younger brother, Aboud, have been sleeping on the streets of the Gaza Strip in recent months because they have no relatives in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave. Palestinians who visited Karajeh in hospital days before his death quoted him as saying: “I didn’t try to commit suicide. I just imploded.”… Hamas officials fear that his death could reignite street protests against economic hardship in the Gaza Strip, similar to those that erupted in March 2019….

Gaza specialist doctors emigrate due to Israel siege
MEMO 11 Nov — More than 120 highly qualified Palestinian doctors emigrated from the Gaza Strip in 2018 and 2019, pushing the Ministry of Health to close medical departments in hospitals. According to a report published by on Saturday, the Palestinian doctors who left their posts in Gaza highlighted the pressure of working under the 12-year Israeli siege imposed on Gaza. On Facebook, Surgeon Adnan Radi wrote: “The first skilled and most qualified specialist of heart surgery Mohammad Nassar left Gaza, pushing us to close the Department of Cardiac Surgery.” He described this as a “catastrophe.” Ahmed Shatat, an official at the doctors’ affairs division in Gaza hospitals, said doctors travel aboard to look for “better opportunities” because they “do not have regular salaries” in Gaza as a result of Israel’s actions. “Qualified doctors do not feel they have a bright future that matches their qualifications in the besieged Gaza Strip where they have low and irregular salaries,” Shatat said. He stated that the problem is not with the emigration of the new graduates, but of the “skilled doctors whose emigration poses a serious danger to the health care system.”….

To save himself, Netanyahu is going to war with Gaza
+972 Magazine 12 Nov by Edo Konrad — Even as Israel becomes chronically unable to form a government, the ‘Gaza consensus’ — the endless pounding of the strip into oblivion — persists. It could tip the scales in Netanyahu’s favor —  There is no military solution in Gaza. But Israel’s leaders, who are too much at loggerheads to sit in a government together, are somehow able to agree that when it comes to maintaining Israel’s 12-year siege, there is only room for violent tinkering.  That violence was on full display early Tuesday morning, when Israel assassinated Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata in his Gaza home while he slept; the projectile also killed his wife and wounded his four children. Meanwhile, the son of another Islamic Jihad leader was killed in a separate strike, widely attributed to Israel, in Damascus overnight. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the targeted assassination of Abu al-Ata, which Israel refers to as a “surgical strike,” was a necessary pre-emptive measure to stop what he termed a “ticking time bomb.”….

Lest we forget! Fallen British heroes buried in some of the world’s poorest countries are still honoured by locals
DM 9 Nov by Tim Friend — …GAZA The final resting place for British soldiers killed in Gaza in both world wars is in the middle of what is once again a war zone, surrounded by ruin, violence and armed checkpoints. Missiles have rained down around the graves. An armoured bulldozer has scoured the undergrowth for militants, and a Kalashnikov-wielding mob once invaded the cemetery. Above is the constant buzz of an Israeli surveillance drone and all around is the risk of more violence here between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic group which holds power in the Gaza Strip. Not surprisingly, it is almost impossible for British relatives and friends to visit the graves of family members here because, even with a lull in the fighting, the border controls on both sides are strict. But Ibrahim Jaradah, 27, who works for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has long been committed to somehow making this place an oasis of beauty and calm. So, shaded by Jacaranda trees and each bordered with delicate alpine flowers, we found 3,217 immaculate Commonwealth graves from the First World War. Of these, 781 bear the simple inscription: ‘A Soldier of the Great War…Known unto God’. Alongside are 210 graves from the Second World War …  In the shadow of a mosque and within earshot of the Islamic call to prayer, Ibrahim, a qualified accountant, preserves these men’s memory, often watering by hand and through the night because of the endless power cuts. ‘The cemetery is more important to us than rest or sleep,’ he says. ‘It touches our hearts. This is our garden rather than our work.’ A local bank wanted Ibrahim to work for them, but his commitment lay elsewhere. For he was born in the cemetery lodge as were his father, Essam, his father Ibrahim Sr and his great-grandfather Rabie. All have cared for these British graves for more than 60 years….

West Bank/ Jerusalem

Israeli forces kill Palestinian during West Bank march commemorating Yasser Arafat
AL-‘ARROUB REFUGEE CAMP (MEE) 11 Nov by Akram Al-Waara — A Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Monday morning in al-‘Arroub refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA) confirmed. Official PA news agency Wafa reported that a Palestinian identified as Omar Haitham al-Badawi, 22, was shot in the abdomen at the entrance of al-‘Arroub during a march commemorating the 15th anniversary of the death of Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. “There were protests in commemoration of Yasser Arafat’s death, like every year,” Mohammad Badawi, a 28-year-old cousin of Omar Badawi, told Middle East Eye. “Then the Israeli army entered the camp. “Soldiers were firing live ammunition, tear gas and sound bombs into the crowd, and one of the tear gas cannisters exploded next to Omar’s house, causing a small fire,” Mohammad, 28, recounted. “So he stepped outside of his house to go see what was wrong. He was holding a bottle of water, and communicated to one of the soldiers that he was just going to put out the fire. The soldier immediately fired live ammunition at him in his abdomen and he fell to the ground.” Footage published by Palestinian news outlet J Media reportedly showed the moment Badawi was shot at close range, as Mohammad estimated his cousin was some 50 metres away from the soldiers. “Omar did not present any danger to them. You can see in the photos he was in his house clothes, still wearing his house slippers when he came outside,” Mohammad Badawi said.

Palestinian journalist loses an eye after being hit by Israeli rubber bullet at West Bank land seizure protest (GRAPHIC)
RT 16 Nov — A Palestinian journalist lost his eye after being hit by an Israeli rubber-coated bullet. Moath Amarneh was mutilated despite wearing a ‘Press’ vest while covering a protest in the West Bank’s Hebron governorate. The incident happened on Friday near the town of Surif in Hebron, where dozens of Palestinians were protesting against the latest confiscation of land for the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory. Amarneh, who was covering the protest, was rushed to a hospital in Hebron after sustaining the injury. But doctors could not save his left eye. Speculation immediately erupted over whether the working member of the press corps was injured by accident or was deliberately targeted by the soldiers. The incident has been condemned by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), a global advocacy group aiming to safeguard media freedom. “Once again, the IFJ deplores the attacks on Palestinian journalists by the Israeli military. The IFJ recalls that international law applies everywhere and that no government is above it,” the organization’s head Anthony Bellanger said in a statement….

Army seriously injures a Palestinian, causes fire in a home, in Hebron
IMEMC 14 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday evening, the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and shot a young man with a live round in his knee, leading to a serious injury after a severe blood loss, and caused a fire in one home after firing concussion grenades into it. Medical sources in Hebron said the soldiers attacked many Palestinians who protested the invasion into their refugee camp, and fired live rounds, gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at them. They added that a young Palestinian man was shot with a live round in the knee, causing severe bleeding, before he was rushed to a local hospital, where his wounds were described as serious. The soldiers also fired concussion grenades into a home in the refugee camp, causing a fire to the property, before Palestinian firefighters rushed to extinguish it. The invasion into the refugee camp was carried out by the soldiers during a procession in condemnation of the killing of Omar al-Badawi, 20, who was shot by Israeli army fire, Monday, although he posed no threat to the soldiers and wasn’t even taking part in any protest.

Soldiers injure dozens of Palestinians in Jerusalem
IMEMC 10 Nov — Many Israeli army jeeps invaded, on Saturday evening, the town of al-‘Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, and attacked the Palestinians with gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing dozens of injuries, including among many children. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) said the invasion was carried out without a reason, especially since the situation in the town was calm, and no protests were taking place. Silwanic added that the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs, especially in ‘Obeid neighborhood, causing many Palestinians, including children and women, to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation. The soldiers also invaded the front yard of a home owned by members of the Abu al-Hummus family, and assaulted them with batons and pepper-spray, causing many injuries, including cuts and bruises. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said its medics provided the needed treatment to the wounded Palestinians and rushed two of them to a hospital. It added that one of the Palestinians who were moved to a hospital is a known nonviolent activist, identified as Mohammad Abu al-Hummus, who suffered burns around his eyes. The soldiers also assaulted and injured two young men, and abducted them, before moving them to an unknown destination. It is worth mentioning that al-‘Issawiya has been subject to constant invasions and violations since last June, and the soldiers have abducted dozens of Palestinians from the town, in addition to summoning many others for interrogation.

Illegal Israeli colonists write racist graffiti, puncture tires, near Salfit
IMEMC 14 Nov — Several fanatic illegal Israeli colonialist settlers infiltrated, on Thursday at dawn, into Qarawat Bani Hassan village, west of Salfit in the central West Bank, before writing racist graffiti on a few walls, including a mosque, and puncturing the tires of at least 30 cars. Tamer Rayyan, the head of Qarawat Bani Hassan Town Council, said the Israeli assailants came from the illegal Havat Yair colony, which was built on stolen Palestinian lands. He added that the colonists wrote racist graffiti on the walls of many homes, the local mosque, and several cars. Rayyan stated that the attack took place in an area which is subject to frequent Israeli violations, and added that, just a few days ago, the colonists burnt a barn owned by a local, identified as Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz Mer‘ey.

Illegal colonists invade village near Bethlehem
IMEMC 10 Nov — On Saturday evening, a group of fanatic illegal Israeli colonists, squatting on Palestinian lands near Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank, attacked several Palestinians, in addition to using fireworks against them, in al-Jab‘a village, southeast of Bethlehem. Thiab Masha’la, the head of the al-Jab‘a Village Council, southwest of Bethlehem, said the attack was carried out by more than ten colonists. He added that the assailant also used fireworks in assaulting the Palestinians before the locals intercepted their invasion and prevented from reaching its center. The colonists then ran towards the eastern entrance of the village and stayed there for some time until the army arrived, and retreated to their colony.

Settlers chop down 188 olive trees
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Nov — At dawn, on Sunday,Israeli settlers  destroyed dozens of Palestinian-owned olive trees in Yasuf and al-Sawiya villages, in the occupied West Bank districts of Salfit and Nablus. Anti-settlement activist Ghassan Daghlas said that Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Rahalim chopped off about 60 olive trees in al-Sawiya village. Head of Yasuf’s village council, Khaled Ibayya, said that 58 olive trees were cut down in his village. Ghassan Daghlas, a local anti-settlement activist, said that settlers from the illegal settlement of Rahalim broke into Palestinian-owned groves in the village, before they proceeded to chop off about 60 trees which belong to three Palestinian villagers from from as-Sawiya.

Soldiers abduct a university student near Hebron
IMEMC 13 Nov — Israeli soldiers abducted, Wednesday, a Palestinian university student from Tarqoumia town, west of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and illegally confiscated cash and a computer. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers stormed and ransacked the home of Mohammad Sa’adi Abu Dabbous, the coordinator of the Fateh Movement at Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron. They added that the soldiers searched the property, before abducting him, and invaded his father’s Currency Exchange shop, before ransacking it and confiscating cash and a computer.

Israeli troops abduct 9 Palestinians, demolish two homes in pre-dawn raids
IMEMC 11 Nov — In early morning raids on Monday, Israeli forces invaded several parts of the West Bank and abducted nine Palestinians. Soldiers also demolished two homes and a barn in East Jerusalem. According to local sources, in Bethlehem, Israeli forces abducted Hamza Emad Al-Kamel, 18, and Mohammad Emad Al-Harimi, 18, after the soldiers raided and searched their homes in Wadi Shaheen area in the center of Bethlehem. In Jenin, in the northern West Bank, the Israeli forces abducted Qais Mohammad Jabareen after they stormed Jenin refugee camp, invaded his home and pulled him from his bed where he was sleeping. They also ransacked and searched his home …
In Jerusalem, the Israeli forces demolished two residential rooms in Al-Muntar area in the Al-Quds area. The Head of the Committee for the Defense of Land, Younis Jaafar, told the Palestinian Wafa News Agency that Israeli forces started demolishing two residential rooms in the areas of Shaab Mousa and Umm Al-Rayyan from Al-Muntar in Al-Sawahra town. In addition, Israeli forces demolished a barn and destroyed agricultural land in East Jerusalem. The barn that was destroyed belonged to Yasser al-Sayyala, and the Israeli military demolished it under the pretext that it was built without a license …
Pre-dawn raids occur every night in Palestine, as Israeli forces pursue Palestinians they have deemed as ‘wanted’ for questioning. Such actions are considered illegal under Israel’s obligations as an Occupying Power in the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel looking to speak to Palestinian shot in back as new allegations emerge
[with VIDEO] Times of Israel 12 Nov by Adam Rasgon — Israeli judicial officials said Monday they were seeking to speak to a young Palestinian man who was shot in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet last year by a Border Police officer. But Karam Qawasmi, 22, questioned whether Israeli authorities had made sincere efforts to contact him since the incident occurred and leveled new allegations against the Border Police officer and other troops, whom he said had also hit him with their vehicle and beat him.  Video of Qawasmi being shot in the back as he walked away from Border Police officers emerged last week, sparking outrage. The Justice Ministry said last week that state prosecutors had completed a criminal investigation into the shooting and would soon make a final decision on whether to file charges over it.
Qawasmi said the incident took place on May 25, 2018, but it was only first publicly reported in early November when Channel 13 published a 26-second clip of the shooting. In the footage, a group of officers are heard shouting at Qawasmi in a tunnel in the central West Bank to leave the area. Holding a backpack and an ID card, he proceeds to walk away with his hands in the air. Seconds later, one of the officers fires a sponge-tipped bullet at him and he falls to the ground, screaming in pain. Israeli security forces often use sponge-tipped or rubber-coated bullets to disperse protests or a group of rock throwers. The bullets are meant to be non-lethal, though they are fired at high velocity and cause serious injury. Qawasmi, however, contended that the video only showed a sliver of a day that saw Border Police officers arrest and beat him before shooting him, seemingly without cause. He said he first came into contact with the Border Police officers near A’Zaim, a Palestinian town outside of Jerusalem, where he said he had been searching for work at a gas station….

Jerusalem’s ‘love neighborhood’: a refuge for star-crossed Palestinians
KAFR AQAB (The Guardian) 10 Nov by Oliver Holmes & Sufian Taha — For some Palestinian sweethearts, there’s only one place to live. It’s an unremarkable suburb, crisscrossed by thin muddy streets and dotted with high-rise apartment blocks that cling to the steep hills on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Many of Kafr Aqab’s residents would prefer not to be there, especially as the congested neighbourhood has swelled rapidly in size. They would prefer to live in quieter Palestinian villages surrounded by olive groves, or the more coveted new builds in the centre of the holy city. “I’m forced to live here,” says Issa Kusbeh, 41, a plumber who lives with his wife and small children in Kafr Aqab but dreams of being closer to his extended family. Yet on his floor in a new block of flats that is still being built, everyone is there for the same reason: love. Under Israel’s chaotically complex occupation, Palestinians are divided into multiple categories, often dictated by where they reside. Near the top of the bureaucratic hierarchy are Palestinians in Jerusalem, a city that Israel has annexed in its entirety and claims is “undivided”. They are eligible for Israeli services and can travel in the country. Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank are lower down the permit ranking and unable to easily travel into Jerusalem. As a consequence, a Palestinian from Jerusalem who falls in love with a West Bank resident and moves in with them risks losing their precious residency status. Kafr Aqab is the answer to this conundrum. Israel considers it part of Jerusalem, but in response to the suicide bombings of the second Palestinian intifada in the early 2000s, it isolated the neighbourhood, separating it from the city proper with a concrete barrier. The area’s denizens now live in limbo – they are technically inside Jerusalem but physically in the Palestinian territories….


Four detainees continue hunger strikes, including one for the 111th day
IMEMC 11 Nov — The head of the Palestinian Detainees Committee, Hasan Abed-Rabbo, has reported that four Palestinian detainees are ongoing with hunger strikes in Israeli prisons, protesting their continued arbitrary Administrative Detention, without charges or trial, including one who started the strike 111 days ago. Abed-Rabbo said that one of the detainees, identified as Ismael Ali, 30, from Abu Dis town near occupied Jerusalem, began his strike 111 days ago, and is facing various serious complications. The second detainee is Ahmad Zahran, 42, from Deir Abu Mashal town, near Ramallah in central West Bank; he began the strike 51 days ago. The third detainee is Mosab al-Hindi, 29, from Tal town near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and started the hunger strike 49 days ago. It is worth mentioning that Zahran and al-Hindi are in the infamous Ramla Prison Clinic, which lacks basic supplies, and are facing constant fatigue but are refusing any medications or checkups. The fourth detainee, Yacoub Hussein, 26, from the al-Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah, is holding a hunger strike protesting his Administrative Detention orders and being held in solitary confinement. Hussein has lost more than 20 kilograms of his body weight, and is currently unable to walk or stand, in addition to needing a wheelchair due to various health complications.

Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Israel orders seizure of Palestinian lands near Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Nov — The Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported that Israeli authorities, on Wednesday, issued military orders to seize more Palestinian land for military purposes in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem. Hasan Brijiyeh, a local anti-settlement and anti-wall activist, told WAFA that Israeli authorities in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, south of Bethlehem, issued notices seizing unspecified areas of land belonging to Palestinians in Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour cities and Bethlehem-district towns and villages of al-Khader, Battir, al-Jab‘a, al-Walaja, Artas, Wadi Rahhal and Wadi al-Nis. According to the Israeli anti-settlement group, Peace Now, “Over the years, Israel has used a number of legal and bureaucratic procedures in order to appropriate West Bank lands, with the primary objective of establishing settlements and providing land reserves for them.” The Israeli peace group asserts that Israel uses “primarily these five methods: seizure for military purposes; declaration of state lands; seizure of absentee property; confiscation for public needs; and initial registration, Israel has managed to take over about 50% of the lands in the West Bank, barring the local Palestinian public from using them.”

Israel razes Palestinian land for settler-only bypass
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Nov — The Israeli army, on Wednesday, began to bulldoze Palestinian land in Beit Ummar town, north of the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, in order to make way for the construction of a settler-only bypass road. WAFA correspondent reported that Israeli bulldozers, under military protection, proceeded to raze about 400 dunams of Palestinian land belonging to the Hebron-district towns of Halhul and Beit Ummar to make room for the settler-only bypass road. The road is planned to extend several kilometres on private Palestinian fertile lands from the Gush Etzion settlement junction, north of Hebron, to the Nabi Younes junction, at the eastern entrance of Halhul town, passing through Beit Al Baraka church compound, opposite to al-‘Arroub refugee camp, and Jabal al-Qarn nature reserve.

Israel orders evacuation of Palestinian land near Tubas
TUBAS (WAFA) 14 Nov– Israeli authorities Thursday ordered the evacuation of Palestinian farmers from privately owned Palestinian agricultural land in the area of al-Buqi‘a plain, southeast of the occupied West Bank city of Tubas, said a local settlement watchdog. Mu‘taz Bsharat, who monitors Israeli violations in the Jordan Valley, said that Israeli forces stormed the area and handed farmers a notice, ordering them to evacuate a 28-donum plot of land belonging to Afif Bsharat. As part of the military notice, the farmers were ordered to uproot about 350 olive trees, remove the fence around the land, and destroy a water well and an agricultural structure.
Israel is planning to annex the Jordan Valley into a completely Israeli area, primarily in agriculture, targeting to ban territorial contiguity between a future Palestinian state and the rest of the Arab world. To this end, tens of settlements and agricultural outposts have been established by Israel in the Valley, which makes up about one-third of the total area of the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians face displacement as Israel continues to confiscate land in West Bank
Xinhua 10 Nov — Zuhdi Awad, a Palestinian in his 40s, received a few days ago an order from the Israeli authorities to confiscate what has been left of his land in the village of Jalboun, east of the Palestinian city of Jenin in the West Bank, allegedly because it is close to the Separation Wall Israel has been constructing in the West Bank since 2004. More worryingly, this land confiscation also threatens to uproot his entire family who may become homeless afterward. “At this time every year, my family and I were harvesting olives in our land before it was gradually confiscated for the construction of the Separation Wall,” Awad told Xinhua. According to Awad, his 7,000-square-meter land in the village was all cultivated with olive trees, constituting “the only source of living” for his family. “The first part was confiscated when an Israeli settlement was built there before the entire land was confiscated for the construction of the wall,” he said sadly …  The Israeli military has ordered confiscation of 146,000-square-meter land in the village of Jalboun, much more than what is needed for the wall construction, said the village’s municipal council.
Nidal Abu Robb, head of the village, told Xinhua that the Israeli army informed several families that they should stop building homes close to the confiscated land. “The village is subjected to the ugliest confiscation campaign that doubles the clampdown on the villagers,” Robb said. According to the village head, 26 million square meters of land in the village has been confiscated since 1967, including the 3 million square meters recently confiscated for the building of the Separation Wall. Only 9 million square meters of land now remains, he lamented….

WATCH: Education in the West Bank: a privilege for the few
American Friends Service Committee – At least 61 schools in the West Bank and East Jerusalem at risk as attacks on Palestinian education rise.  Learn more about the threat to Al Muntar [Bedouin] school.

Political, international, and other news

417 Palestinians arrested in October – including 75 children
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained a total of 417 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip in the month of October, ALRAY reported. Prisoner and human rights organizations released a fact sheet Sunday, that the IOF detained 75 children and 16 women. The following is a breakdown of where the Palestinian detainees were arrested from: Jerusalem – 188 Hebron – 60 Ramallah and al-Bireh – 30 Tulkarem – 26 Jenin – 22 Bethlehem – 22 Nablus – 22 Qalqilya – 21 Tubas – 5 Salfit – 3 Jericho – 9 and Gaza – 9
At the end of October 2019, there were approximately 5000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails.This number included 40 women, 200 children, and over 540 administrative detainees. In addition, there were 85 new administrative detention orders.

Palestinians pay tribute to Yasser Arafat on 15th anniversary of death
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Nov — Thousands of Palestinians, Monday, marked the 15th anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Arafat Memorial in Ramallah, The Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the crowds, praising Arafat, who led the Palestinian revolution for the liberation of the homeland from the Israeli occupation. “Our revolution is a national liberation movement that deserves to be respected. It is going to achieve all its goals and achieve the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Abbas said. He criticized the American so-called ‘deal of the century’, which he said intends to strip the Palestinians of their rights and dreams, stating “We will not go back on our rights. It is not a matter of stubbornness or rejection for the sake of rejection. We reject what does not agree with our rights and what our people do not accept,” “We agreed to go to legislative, then presidential elections,” stressing the importance of holding these elections in Gaza and occupied Jerusalem as well, “without which there will be no elections.” he declared. The Palestinian president expressed hope that everyone will agree to elections, “because they protect our existence and our cause,” adding, “we are going to elections under all circumstances and then to achieve our hope and dream, which is the independent Palestinian state, self-determination and return to the homeland.”

Saeb Erekat calls on the ICC to investigate shooting death of young Palestinian man
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Nov — Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) asked the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, to open a criminal investigation into the systematic and continued war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation authorities against unarmed Palestinian civilians. Erekat, in a statement, called on the prosecutor of the ICC to witness the hideous and deliberate field execution of an unarmed Palestinian man. Omar Haytham Badawi, 22, was critically injured Monday, when Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinians participating in marches commemorating the 15th anniversary for the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died of his wounds. Badawi was was driven to a local clinic, by residents, after the soldiers prevented Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances from reaching him. He was later transferred to a hospital in Hebron where he was pronounced dead, The Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.

President Abbas praises renewal of UNRWA mandate
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 15 Nov — President Mahmoud Abbas praised today an overwhelming UN vote to renew the mandate of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The UN renewed the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) by an overwhelming majority of 170 countries in return for a two-state vote against – the United States and Israel. The President said the overwhelming vote is evidence of the world’s unswerving support for the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights, paving the way for a just solution of the refugee issue in line with the applicable UN resolutions….

600 Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists recorded in 2019
ISTANBUL (Daily Sabah/AA) 10 Nov — Defying international law, Israel forces committed 600 rights violations against Palestinian journalists between October 2018 and October 2019 in the occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. According to a report released by Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), Israeli forces shot 60 journalists who suffered serious wounds; some of them were still suffering at the time of the report’s release. Some 43 journalists were hit by sound grenades directly thrown at them by Israeli occupation forces, the report said. “More than 170 journalists were beaten, detained or banned from coverage,” the report also revealed. The report also disclosed that 10 journalists were detained during this period, raising the number of journalists inside Israeli jails to 18. In September, the U.N. underscored the Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists, stating that 30 journalists were injured by Israeli forces during the Gaza border protests following the adoption of U.N. Resolution 40/13 on March 22 this year over rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories….

In their mother’s country, Lebanon protesters clamour for citizenship
BEIRUT (AFP) 11 Nov by Bachir el-Khoury — Draped in the Lebanese flag, 22-year-old Dana is bursting with pride at taking part in Lebanon’s “revolution” — even if her home country refuses to give her nationality. Standing amongst other demonstrators in the capital, she explains she was born in Beirut to a Lebanese mother and has spent all her life in the country. But like thousands of others in Lebanon, her father is a foreigner and, with Lebanese women unable to pass down their nationality, she has been deprived of citizenship …  The right to citizenship is one of many long-standing demands to have found new life in the mass protests sweeping Lebanon since October 17 … Despite activists campaigning to amend the 1925 nationality law, Lebanese authorities have been reluctant to do so. In this small multiconfessional country of around 4.5 million, the political system relies on a fragile balance of power between communities. Authorities fear that changing the law would open the door — especially through marriages of convenience — to the naturalisation of some of the majority-Sunni 1.5 million Syrians and around 174,000 Palestinians living in the country, according to official estimates. Last year, then foreign minister Gibran Bassil suggested amending the law to allow for Lebanese mothers to pass on their nationality — but only if the father was neither Palestinian nor Syrian …  Of the 10,000 impacted households identified by the campaign, some 60 percent are Syrian, 10 percent Egyptian, and just seven percent Palestinian, Kabbani said….

Jordan’s king tours enclave along Israel border after end of lease deal
AMMAN (Reuters) 11 Nov by Suleiman Al-Khalidi — Jordan’s King Abdullah paid his first visit on Monday to an enclave fringing the country’s northern border with Israel, a day after the expiry of a 25-year special regime that allowed Israeli farmers access to the area, official sources said. The king had announced on Sunday in parliament that Jordan was “imposing full sovereignty on every inch” of the enclave, to loud applause from lawmakers. Many Jordanians had viewed the arrangement as a humiliating Israeli occupation of their land. Under the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty the enclave, made up of two territories straddling the border, was recognized as being under Jordanian sovereignty but with special provisions allowing Israeli farmers to work the land without visas. But in 2018, Jordan said it did not want to renew the arrangement, in what was widely seen as a sign of increasingly strained bilateral relations … [Foreign Minister Ayman] Safadi said his country would continue to respect private ownership by Israelis in Baqoura, which in Israel is known by its Hebrew name Naharayim. But any Israeli who owns property in Baquora will now need to get a visa to enter Jordan and his property will be governed by Jordanian laws that apply to other foreigners, Safadi said In the other territory, known as al Ghumar in Jordan and which Israel calls Tzofar, Israeli farmers have cultivated and invested in agro-industry, although they have not had ownership rights. Safadi said the kingdom would allow these farmers to harvest a final crop before ending their activity there.

Khamenei says Iran wants removal of Israel state not people
TEHRAN (AFP) 15 Nov — Iran’s supreme leader said Friday that calls for the abolition of Israel which have sparked outrage in the West target the “imposed state” not the Jewish people. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the future of the land should be decided by Palestinians of all faiths, Jewish as well as Christian and Muslim. “The ‘abolition of the Israeli regime’ … does not mean the abolition of Jewish people; we have no problem with them,” Khamenei told a meeting of Islamic countries in Tehran, according to his official website. It means “abolition of the imposed regime and state, that the Palestinian people, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish… choose their own government and oust thugs like (Benjamin) Netanyahu,” he added, referring to Israel’s prime minister. The Iranian government does not recognise Israel, referring to it as the “Zionist regime”, and support for the Palestinian cause has been a constant feature of its foreign policy since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Iran openly supports Israeli foes like Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the occupied Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon. “We are not anti-semitic. Jews are living in utmost safety in our country. We only support the people of Palestine and their independence,” he said….

Live on German TV – criticism of Israeli occupation of Palestine
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Nov — Germany’s ZDF television outlet broadcast a text in large Hebrew letters that stated “End the Occupation” during the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Middle East Monitor reported. The public-service television station displayed the statement on the 18th-century neoclassical monument Brandenburg Gate, reported German newspaper Bild. This was followed by criticism from Jeremy Issacharoff, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, suggesting that it is disgraceful that people consider this a useful time to exploit this event for political goals against Israel, adding that Germany was commemorating the anniversary of the collapse of the communist East German state. Germany celebrated the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall, Saturday, a decisive event in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. It was during the live broadcasting of the actress and singer Anna Loos that the clear and critical message against Israel’s occupation of Palestine was aired. It came abruptly in the sequence of images and excerpts of videos that were reminding the thousands of people present of worldwide protest movements.

US opposes new EU label rule for Israeli settlements
JERUSALEM (AP) 13 Nov — The U.S. State Department says it’s “deeply concerned” by a new EU requirement for businesses to label products from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The statement came in response to Tuesday’s ruling by the EU Court of Justice that settlement products must provide an “indication of that provenance” to better inform consumers. The State Department said Wednesday that the ruling encourages the BDS movement, a Palestinian-led campaign that promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. It said the U.S. “unequivocally opposes” any efforts to “economically pressure, isolate, or otherwise delegitimize Israel.” The EU says it opposes the boycott movement but that settlement goods cannot say “Made in Israel.” The EU, along with the Palestinians and most of the international community, consider Israeli settlements on occupied lands as illegal.

Microsoft to probe work of Israeli facial recognition startup it funded
Reuters 15 Nov by Jeffrey Dastin — Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether the use of facial recognition technology developed by an Israeli startup it funded complies with its ethics principles, the company said on Friday. AnyVision, based outside Tel Aviv, has come under scrutiny following reports by Haaretz’s TheMarker business newspaper and NBC News that its technology is used to surveil Palestinians who live in the occupied West Bank. AnyVision, which denied to NBC such use of its services, did not respond to a request for comment … Microsoft announced facial recognition ethics principles last year, saying the company would “advocate for safeguards for people’s democratic freedoms in law enforcement surveillance scenarios and will not deploy facial recognition technology in scenarios that we believe will put these freedoms at risk.”…. (listserv)