‘Sickening hypocrisy’: Critics slam Israeli army Twitter post
Al Jazeera 9 Nov — Social media users have called out the Israeli army for a Twitter post celebrating two female soldiers for cutting off their hair for a good cause. The Israeli army said the pair donated their hair to make wigs for cancer patients, and described it as “a beautiful act of kindness”. A picture of the two soldiers, identified as Noam and Inbal, shows them smiling and holding their freshly cut hair. But critics pointed out the irony of the post, reminding the Israeli army that they regularly deny thousands of cancer patients from the Gaza Strip permission to travel for treatment. “Nothing says kindness like forcing cancer patients to die in an open air prison in Gaza,” Remi Kenazi, a Palestinian-American poet based in New York, responded on Twitter … Sarah Leah Whitson, the Human Rights Watch director for the Middle East and North Africa region, called on the soldiers named in the Israeli army’s Twitter post to ask their superiors to allow cancer patients in Gaza to medical treatment … According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 39 percent of patient applications for permits to exit Gaza for healthcare in 2018 were unsuccessful. “The ability of Gaza’s hospitals to provide adequate diagnosis and treatment to cancer patients is severely limited due to chronic shortages of medicines and lack of medical equipment,” WHO said in a report last February. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in February that the number of cancer patients in the Gaza Strip had risen to 8,515 – including 608 children….
82nd GMR: IOF shot and injured 104 Palestinian civilians, including 43 children, a woman, and a paramedic
PCHR 9 Nov — …This week, IOF continued the use of excessive force against peaceful protestors, as 41 civilians sustained live-bullet-injuries – including 2 children in critical condition — in addition to other injuries by rubber bullets and tear gas canisters, mainly in protesters’ upper bodies. Large crowds participated in the protest, as thousands of civilians joined across the 5 GMR encampments. Today’s protest titled: “We Shall Carry On” and lasted from 14:00 to 17:30 …
The following is a summary of today’s events along the Gaza Strip border:
Northern Gaza Strip: demonstrations took part in eastern Jabalia. Protesters threw stones at IOF stationed along the border fence. It was noted that IOF installed surveillance cameras on the sand berms, 50 meters away from the border fence. These cameras were directed towards the protestors. IOF shot and injured 23 civilians, including a woman and 11 children; one was deemed critical: 8 with live bullets and shrapnel, 11 with rubber bullets and 4 were hit with tear gas canisters. ‘Abed al-Rahman Talal ‘Abed al-Latif al-Hisami (16) was shot with an explosive live bullet, causing serious laceration in his leg bones and cuts in the veins and tendons.
Gaza City: protests took part in Malaka area in eastern Gaza City. IOF shot and injured 13 civilians, including 6 children: 2 with live bullets and shrapnel, 10 with rubber bullets and one was hit with a tear gas canister …
Rafah: … s a result, 45 civilians, including 15 children, were injured; one was deemed critical: 16 shot with live bullets and shrapnel, 24 with rubber bullets and 5 were hit with tear gas canisters. Mousa Fawzi ‘Ali Abu Hussain (12) was directly hit with a tear gas canister in his head causing fracture in his skull. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis.
Qassam fighter dies from serious wounds suffered in 2014
IMEMC 2 Nov — The al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, has reported that one of its fighters died, Friday, from serious wounds he suffered during the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014. In a statement, al-Qassam said the fighter, Baraa’ ‘Adel al-‘Amour, 30, was injured in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region. Dozens of Qassam fighters were killed during the 51-day Israeli offensive on Gaza in the summer of 2014. During the ongoing and indiscriminate bombardment and shelling of the Gaza Strip, the army targeted hundreds of homes, public facilities, hospitals, and medical centers, mosques, roads and infrastructure. The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has reported that the Israeli offensive left 2.219 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians. Thousands more were injured, including dozens who died from their wounds, months or years later. The Israeli bombardment and shelling resulted in the obliteration of 142 families, including women, infants, children and the elderly.
Tear gas destroys livelihoods in Gaza
EI 6 Nov by Amjad Ayman Yaghi — Through his photography, Atia Darwish has documented how despite being under a brutal Israeli blockade, Gaza’s people still find moments of joy. His image of Palestinian children eating watermelon by the sea was featured in an outdoor exhibition that toured Lebanon during September. Many of those who marveled at the picture were probably not aware that the man who took it cannot work at the moment. Darwish has lost the ability to see properly – a vital requirement for a photographer – because of injuries inflicted on him by Israel. On 14 December last year, Darwish was working at the Great March of Return protests in eastern Gaza. He had been taking photographs for approximately half an hour when he was wounded by a tear gas projectile. Darwish lost consciousness. When he regained it, he found himself under intensive care in Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital. The projectile had hit him below his left eye. He lost some bones around it, as well as having his jaw damaged. “My eye kept bleeding for a week and my ear for the next two days,” he said. Darwish fears that his vision cannot be repaired. In February this year, he traveled to Egypt for treatment. A doctor there diagnosed him with fibrosis of the retina and said that the condition was incurable …
His injuries are far from rare. Although the Israeli military describes tear gas as “non-lethal,” the weapon has killed Palestinians. At least seven people have died because they were struck by tear gas canisters fired by Israel during the Great March of Return protests that began on 30 March 2018. Four of those victims were children….
IMEMC 7 Nov — Israeli navy ships attacked, late on Wednesday at night, several Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters in Rafah, in the southern part of the coastal region, and abducted two fishermen. Eyewitnesses said the navy fired several live rounds at the fishing boats, in addition to trying to capsize them with water cannons. They added that the navy abducted Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Hadi al-Qan, 27, and Mohammad Shehda Zo’rob, 23, after surrounding their boat, and took them to an unknown destination….
Photo Story: A day with an MSF counselor in Gaza
7 Nov — Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) first started working in Gaza in 1989 and has been present continuously since 2000. We run five clinics and two inpatient departments there, and our three surgical teams offer care to people suffering from trauma and burns. The vast majority of our trauma patients are people who were shot by the Israeli army during protests. MSF has treated 4,600 of the more than 7,600 people shot since 30 March 2018. As well as looking after their physical needs, we offer patients psychosocial support in our clinics and hospitals to deal with any mental health issues they may have. We also support them and their families to help ensure treatment is successfully completed. These photos follow Rania Samour, one of our counselors, at work in an outpatient clinic on a day in October 2019….
Mothers in Gaza face eviction threats
NRC 4 Nov by Ivan Karakashian — In just over seven years, Jumana, 47, lost four of her nine children. Now she’s fighting to stave off eviction. Her family is one of thousands in Gaza struggling to cope with rising unemployment and declining government support.
Deaths and debts Juliana died in 2012, aged 17, after she accidentally took the wrong medication for a severe stomach ache. Just over a year later, Lina, 14 at the time, died when she fell from the fourth floor of a building. Jumana says her son, Qusai, inhaled smoke from Israeli shells fired during the December 2008 to January 2009 hostilities, and developed respiratory problems that contributed to his death in 2014 at the age of six. This year, Jumana grieved the loss of her 19-year-old daughter, Jasmin, who died from complications of kidney failure. Medical bills left the family in greater debt. All told, the family owes NIS 2,900 (Israeli shekels, equivalent to USD 825) for groceries, prescriptions and rent. Unpaid promissory notes (a written promise to pay an agreed sum by a certain date) to landlords have landed Jumana’s husband, Adel, a tailor by profession, in prison since July 2018.
Thousands at risk of eviction According to the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works and Housing, some 2,000 families in the Gaza Strip were at risk of eviction in 2018 over their inability to pay rent. As of August this year, the Palestinian Ministry of Social Development pegged the number of families in the Gaza Strip under eviction risk at 9,356. The two different sources make it difficult to verify the increase in families facing eviction, but the numbers suggest a significantly worsening situation …
Forced to sleep on the street Evictions have become routine for Jumana and her family, who live in Al-Shati refugee camp near Gaza City. Over the past few years, they have found themselves sleeping on the street, or at the port, several times….
Protest in Gaza demanding compensation for 1,000 homes bombed by Israel in 2014
IMEMC 5 Nov — Palestinians who lost their homes due to the Israeli invasion and bombardment of Gaza in 2014 held a protest on Tuesday in Khuza‘a, east of Khan Younis, which was one of the most heavily bombed areas of Gaza during the 2014 invasion. The people participating in the protest held signs demanding compensation to be able to rebuild their homes – many of which remain in complete rubble since the massive bombardment five years ago. Around 1,000 Palestinian families have yet to receive any compensation to be able to rebuild what they lost during the Israeli attack.
The protesters called on the United Nations to take action to compensate the families, to be able to construct some shelter before winter begins in Gaza. Some of the protesters recited poems and others chanted for justice.
Israel killed 222 Gaza protesters since 2018. Only one soldier has been indicted
+972 Magazine 6 Nov by Eyal Sagiv — Two women and a teenage boy stand close to the fence separating Gaza from Israel, waving Palestinian flags. Four other teenagers approach. One of them, 14-year-old Othman Rami Hiles/Hallas, is wearing a white shirt and dark pants. He goes up to the fence, touches it, walks along it for a few yards, and touches it again. He puts his foot on the fence and starts to climb. As his second foot reaches the fence, a shot is fired. Hiles is hit in the chest and falls. A month after Hiles was killed, Israeli Military Advocate General Sharon Afek ordered an investigation into the incident. More than a year later — after Afek had ordered another 10 investigations into the killing of Gazan demonstrators at the hands of Israeli soldiers — the military announced that the soldier responsible for Hiles’ death had been convicted in a plea bargain of “exceeding authority in a manner that endangers human life and health.” The army sentenced him to a month of military labor, a four-month suspended sentence, and demoted him to the rank of private. We will never know what happened during the MAG Corps meetings the year Afek and his people decided to investigate the deaths of only 11 Palestinian demonstrators, indict only one soldier, agree to an absurd plea bargain and, most importantly, leave the IDF open-fire regulations essentially unchanged….
Palestinians criticize Hamas’ decision to appoint municipal presidents
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 7 Nov by Rasha Abou Jalal — Without holding elections, Hamas appointed on Oct. 26 a new head of the municipality in the Rafah governorate in the southern Gaza Strip. This prompted a wave of condemnation and rejections by Palestinian factions and civil society institutions in the Strip … Al-Monitor learned from a well-informed source in the Hamas movement who asked to remain anonymous that Hamas has recently formed popular committees from all of the governorates of the Gaza Strip, which are headed by personalities close to the movement to elect new presidents of municipalities. This has happened in cooperation with the Ministry of Local Government in Gaza in order to improve services provided to citizens, according to the source. The source said the next few weeks will see the appointment of two new presidents of municipalities for Deir al-Balah and in the center of the Gaza Strip and Jabalia in the north. After that, new presidents will be selected for the rest of the coastal enclave’s municipalities, numbering 25 … The anonymous Hamas source said the last local elections were held in the Gaza Strip in 2005. After that, there were no elections because of the split of the Palestinian government in 2007….
Rare protest against ‘Hamas murderers’ erupts in Gaza
Ynet 6 Nov by Elior Levy — A rare public anti-Hamas protest took place in Gaza following the death of a 28-year-old man who’d been thrown from the window of his own home by the terror group’s security services. Three Hamas police officers arrived at the home of Anan Abu Jameh in the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza last Friday. According to the family, the security forces went upstairs to his room, arrested him and then threw him out of the window of his room. He sustained a serious injury to his head and later died from his wounds in the hospital. “They knocked on the door very hard and as soon as I opened it they said, ‘We want Anan,’” said the father. He said he had asked to see a search warrant but was pushed aside by Hamas men who told him they will “do whatever we want.” The 28-year-old had recently graduated from a local university with a degree in communications and journalism. The incident led to an uproar among the local residents, who labeled Anan’s death as a “cold-blooded murder.” The subsequent protests forced the Hamas police spokesman to make a statement, presenting a different version of events where the 28-year-old was arrested based on a warrant for his arrest. The police did not specify what the victim was accused of, but claimed Abu Jameh tried to evade the arrest by jumping from his window onto the nearby tree, from where he fell and sustained fatal wounds. Abu Jameh’s family rejected the police’s account of events, calling it a gross lie. The family also added the police didn’t try to investigate the circumstances of their son’s death at any point. During Abu Jameh’s funeral in Khan Younis a rare anti-Hamas demonstration erupted, with the participants chanting: “Hamas are murderers.”….
Hamas bans Fatah from staging rally in Gaza marking Yasser Arafat’s death
Ynet 7 Nov by Elior Levy — Hamas security forces on Thursday banned Fatah activists in Gaza from staging a rally marking the anniversary of former Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat’s death. According to sources in Gaza, Hamas has allowed Mohammed Dahlan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s political rival, to organize a rally on the anniversary of Arafat’s death.
Hamas’ Sinwar ramps up threats against Israel
Al-Monitor 9 Nov by Shlomi Eldar — Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s Nov. 4 speech in Gaza raised red flags in Israel’s defense system. It was Sinwar’s most militant speech in Gaza since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. “We’ve had enough of this,” he yelled. “Prepare for something big.” According to Sinwar, his organization has succeeded in digging tunnels several kilometers in length that will be able to stand up to a ground operation involving Israeli tanks. Sinwar also bragged that his organization has access to tens of thousands of rockets that can be fired at Tel Aviv for six months on end and leave the smaller localities in Israel “ghost towns.” He complained that the negotiations with Israel are stuck and that Hamas’ patience is running out. He emphasized, “What we cannot achieve with words, we will achieve with the language of the gun and Allah’s help.”… “We will make you curse the day you were born,” Sinwar threatened in response. Sinwar spent 22 years in the Israeli prison system: he was sentenced to five life sentences, but was released in the 2011 Shalit deal. Thus, the leader is well aware of Israel’s abilities and powers. His threat — six months of war — would mean a fatal blow to the Gaza Strip and the total collapse of the Hamas movement. He understands this, as do Hamas’ military leaders Mohammed al-Deif and his deputy Marwan Issa, which is why most of the movement’s leadership wants to promote the arrangement with Israel, except for certain pockets of resistance (called “rebels” or “rogue groups’’) in the Strip. Nevertheless, Israel’s defense system takes Sinwar’s threats seriously. More than ever before, today’s Hamas movement faces growing agitation and unrest among its two million Gazan residents. Many of them are now directing their fury at Hamas and its leaders as the ones responsible for inflicting terrible suffering on them….
This elusive jihadist commander in Gaza is challenging both Hamas and Israel
[behind paywall] Haaretz 4 Nov by Jack Khoury — The shower of rockets on southern Israel last weekend [1 Nov] has been credited to Baha Abu al-Ata, a household name to Gazans who is still practically unknown to Israelis. But Ata, a leading figure in Islamic Jihad, has become a dominant figure in the Strip, recently associated with the rise and fall of tensions with Israel. Ata heads the military council of the Al-Quds Brigade, which is the military arm of the Islamic Jihad. He commands the organization’s operations in northern Gaza, but also wields great influence on the southern front. Since Hamas is the sovereign power in Gaza, not Islamic Jihad, both Israeli and Palestinian sources suggest Ata bears no responsibility toward Palestinian civilians, giving him greater freedom to act. Ata has several hundred fighters under his command and an arsenal of dozens of rockets at his disposal that could be fired at Israel, Gazan sources claim. They add that he isn’t a lone wolf, but works with a cohort of Islamic Jihad field commanders who have no qualms with contradicting their superiors, whether in Gaza or Beirut. However, Palestinian Authority intelligence sources told Haaretz that Israeli officials overestimate Ata’s power to drive a frontal confrontation with Israel. Another indication of Ata’s status in Gaza is his ongoing involvement in talks between Gazan leaders and Egyptian officials, including a meeting that took place two weeks ago….
The unbearable heaviness of finding freedom outside Gaza
+972 Magazine 5 Nov by Salsabeel H. Hamdan — ‘I have developed a strange belief that things might go wrong. I am afraid that I will be questioned or stopped. I am seriously unable to believe that I have the right to move’ — For a Palestinian, Gaza is a place from which escape is nearly impossible. Israel has, for the past 13 years, denied all but a tiny number of applicants the right to travel outside the congested, blockaded strip of land that is often described as the world’s largest open-air prison. For those fortunate few who manage to attain a permit to depart, the extreme shock of life outside Gaza is almost unbearable. Freedom is painful: it triggers the release of long-suppressed emotions, and the realization that a lifetime of unending psychological trauma has rendered them unable to normalize the understanding that their lives can be free of fear, scarcity, and helplessness. Aamer Arouqi, 26, a Palestinian journalist, said that finding asylum in Belgium felt like being released from prison. “It was my first time ever to see, talk, and touch other human beings outside Gaza!” During his first six months in Belgium, Aamer suffered from intense culture shock, as he grappled with his emotional pain. He was haunted by what he described as “a scarcity mindset,” or the inchoate sense that he needed something he did not have. “I still feel the blockade around me, and a sense of limitation, even in my thinking.” “The first time I heard the sound of a civilian plane I thought it was an Israeli warplane coming to bomb Gaza,” said Aamer. He was sleeping at the time; the sound jerked him awake, screaming as though from a nightmare. After that, he found that his whole body seized up every time he heard a plane flying overhead. Eventually, he moved to an apartment that was further away from the airport.
Gaza’s centre of production
MEMO 7 Nov by Mohammed Asad — The Gaza Industrial Zone is the first of its kind in Palestine. It was established in 1997, with the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and under the supervision of the Palestinian Industrial Estate and Free Zone Authority (PIEFZA). Bajes Aldalou, direct of the investors’ services department, has noted that the Gaza Industrial Zone is one of five such areas in Palestine and is the largest measuring 586,000 square metres. Located on the eastern borders of Gaza City, it comprises several factories and companies that have provided hundreds of job opportunities despite not operated to their full potential due to the siege and deteriorated economic situation in Gaza. Consisting of factories, service building, offices, roads and green spaces, the industrial zone has a power supply which allows it to operate around the clock and water wells to ensure work is not suspended or delayed. It also has telephone services, security, banking, industrial and cleaning services. Solar panels will be installed to help increase production, Aldalou explained. The biggest challenge facing the area is the limitation in the entry of raw materials as a result of Israel’s ongoing siege.
Palestinian photographer finds second calling as wire sculptor
BIL‘IN, West Bank (AP) 5 Nov — After 14 years as a photographer in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, one Palestinian man has found his second calling through sculpture, telling stories by recycling metal wire into art. He says that while the effect of a news photo can be fleeting, a work of art remains over time. In the garden of his small house in the village of Bil‘in, 43-year-old Haitham Khateeb twists and binds wires into images of the Palestinian experience — both tragic and joyous. He says that by working with metal, he’s giving a sense of permanence and durability to scenes of Palestinian daily life “because we need to convey it to the world and [future] generations.” His artworks range in size and include pastoral scenes of olive harvests and farmers cultivating their land. They also depict confrontations with Israeli troops and the ongoing protests along the Gaza Strip’s boundary with Israel … His dozens of works include a portrait of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, with his famous keffiyeh, the iconic Palestinian headscarf. He’s also sculpted refugees fleeing their homes and clashes between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli troops. Khateeb displays his works on social media, and is preparing for his first exhibition soon. He also hopes to do larger pieces that can be placed in public squares.
Film: The New Women of Gaza
Al Jazeera World 6 Nov Running time: 48:10 minutes Arabic with English subtitles Filmmaker: Mariam Shahin — …This film follows five strong-willed women who are doing their utmost to make a difference in Gaza in different walks of life – medicine, social work, photojournalism, music and local government. Despite the socio-economic conditions in Gaza, the five of them work to make life better for their families and communities. Filmmaker Mariam Shahin tells Al Jazeera: “Nour, Mona, Itimad, Haifa and Heba represent a new generation of Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip who have freed themselves psychologically of restrictions that society placed on them.” She says that they defy stereotypes of women in the Arab world and have carried out a “quiet revolution” by using their work and activities to follow their chosen paths. “They have also chosen to carry men with them rather than stand against them, in an effort to reform their society without causing major upheaval,” Shahin adds.
West Bank / Jerusalem
Soldiers shoot a woman, abduct her son, in Jerusalem
IMEMC 8 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday evening, the al-‘Issawiya town in occupied East Jerusalem, and shot a woman with a rubber-coated steel bullet in her head, before abducting her teenage boy. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (SIlwanic) said the soldiers attacked many Palestinians who were protesting the invasion into the area of a local mosque, especially after the soldiers stormed and searched stores and homes. Silwanic added that the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at random, injuring a woman with a rubber-coated steel bullet in her head, before abducting her teenage son, Amir Karim Hweih. The woman was moved to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, while her son was taken to a detention facility in the occupied city.
Soldiers abduct two teens, including one who was shot
IMEMC 7 Nov — Israeli soldiers shot, Wednesday, one Palestinian teenager, and abducted him along with another teen, in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Palestinian activist, Mohammad Ayyad Awad, said the soldiers ambushed several residents walking in the ath-Thaher area in Beit Ummar, and opened fire at them, wounding a teenager, identified as ‘Amro ‘Arafat Za‘aqeeq, 17. He added that the teen was shot with a live round in his leg, before the soldiers forced him in their jeep, and drove to the nearby Karmie Tzur colony, which was built on illegally confiscated private Palestinian lands. The soldiers also prevented his father from seeing his wounded son and pushed him out of the area. In addition, the soldiers abducted Rami Rafiq al-‘Allami, 17, from the same area, while he was working at a construction site.
Palestinian worker injured by Israeli gunfire
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Nov — A young Palestinian man was injured on Tuesday morning, after Israeli forces opened fire at him, to the south of Jenin City, in the northern West Bank. Local sources said that a Palestinian worker from al-Yamun village, identified as Faisal Ghanama, age 24, was shot while attempting to enter the pre-1948 Palestinian territories for work, through a separation wall gate. They added that Israeli soldiers detained Ghanama, and then handed him over to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, who later transferred him to the hospital, for treatment. Ghanama is the 20th Palestinian who has been attacked in the same way, near the West Bank separation wall, by Israeli forces in recent weeks, Days of Palestine reports.
Israeli soldiers assault Palestinian father in front of his child
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Nov — An online video has surfaced, showing two Israeli soldiers shoving and cocking a gun in the face of a Palestinian father, in the presence of his young son, causing outrage among Palestinian social media users. The scuffle — which took place in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, on Tuesday — starts with an Israeli soldier shouting at the man, saying that the child has been throwing rocks at the regime’s forces. “Throwing rocks?! He’s five years old,” exclaimed the father. “Yes, throwing rocks. All your friends are throwing rocks. I don’t care [how old he is],” the Israeli soldier replied. Another Israeli soldier then joined in and both started shoving the Palestinian man. The man responded by saying “don’t raise your hands on me.” One of the Israeli soldiers cocked and aimed his gun at the father’s face as he tried to move on with his child. The incident, nonetheless, gained widespread attention, prompting Israeli authorities to claim that they were probing the incident.
Israeli settler runs over Palestinian girl in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Nov — An Israeli settler driving at high speed ran over and injured a Palestinian girl, Sunday evening, on a road in Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank. According to local sources, the settler rammed his car into a young girl as she was walking with her brother along the road, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat in Bethlehem, and escaped the scene. The girl was rushed to the Beit Jala hospital in Hebron where her condition was described as stable. She was identified as Dunya Awwad from the village of Wad Rahhal in southern Bethlehem. No other information was available at the time of reporting.
Twenty-two cars vandalized in suspected hate crime in West Bank village
Haaretz 8 Nov by Jack Khoury — Twenty-two cars were vandalized overnight Thursday and graffiti was sprayed in the West Bank village of Hizma, north of East Jerusalem, in a suspected hate crime. Cars had their tires slashed and were spray-painted. “Jews do not stay silent” was written in Hebrew on a wall in the village. On Thursday, residents of Kablan, a West Bank village near Nablus, reported that hateful slogans in Hebrew were spray-painted and at least one car was vandalized … Last month there were six cases of vandalism of Palestinian property in the West Bank, including graffiti and the vandalism of cars, according to the B’Tselem Israeli human rights organization in the West Bank, which also reported nearly 20 incidents involving attacks on Palestinians harvesting olives, arson at olive groves and the theft of olives.
Settlers steal olive harvest in Nablus-district town
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Nov — Illegal Israeli settlers, Monday, stole the olive harvest of Palestinian farmers in the village of Qaryout, just south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Local sources said that a number of Palestinian farmers entered their olive groves adjacent to the encroaching nearby illegal settlement of Eli, but they were completely shocked to find out that Israeli settlers had stolen their harvest and placed iron barriers obstructing Palestinian access to the land.
Meanwhile, settlers flooded sewage into groves belonging to Palestinian farmers in the village of Al-Jab‘a, west of Bethlehem. Mayor of Al-Jab‘a, Dhyab Masha’la, confirmed that settlers from the illegal settlement of Bat Ayin discharged their sewage on five dunams planted with olive trees in Wadi al-Khanzir area …
Over the past two weeks, the West Bank has witnessed a wave of settler attacks and agricultural terrorism as Palestinian farmers began the year’s olive harvest….
Jewish settlers attack Palestinian family in south of West Bank
HEBRON (WAFA) 2 Nov – Israeli settlers attacked this morning a Palestinian family in the town of Dura in the south of the West Bank and beat its members despite the presence of soldiers in the area, according to sources. Settlers broke into a land west of Dura, located near Ngihout settlement, forcing the landowners to defend their land. The settlers attacked the family and got into a fist fight with its members. Soldiers in the area intervened on behalf of the settlers and fired teargas at the Palestinians causing suffocation cases among them who required treatment. Landowners said settlers’ attacks against them have increased recently as the settlers were expanding their settlement.
IDF soldiers arrest B’Tselem researcher who filmed protest against W. Bank outpost
[behind paywall] Haaretz 3 Nov by Amira Hass — Arif Daraghmeh says his arrest was intended to intimidate him, tells Haaretz one of the soldiers copied photos on his phone while he was examined at the hospital — Israeli soldiers arrested a researcher for the Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem on Thursday because he had photographed a protest against an illegal West Bank outpost a few days earlier, according to the researcher. Arif Daraghmeh, 50, from the Palestinian West Bank City of Tubas, was detained at the Tayasir checkpoint, which isn’t usually manned by soldiers. He was released only late that night. At no point during his detention was he handcuffed, which he says proves his arrest was false and intended to intimidate him. Daraghmeh said that he had arrived at the checkpoint in a vehicle along with a few friends. “The soldiers immediately asked us strange questions, like if there’s any activity today and if we’re going to plant olive trees,” he said. “They called an officer in the Civil Administration, who was also interested in any planned activity in the Jordan Valley.” The B’Tselem researcher then heard an army officer tell a policeman whom the soldiers had summoned that they have a video of him participating in a demonstration on October 26 against the Shirat Ha’asavim outpost in the Jordan Valley. After about an hour and a half later, Daraghmeh’s friends were allowed to leave, but he was taken to an army base near the settlement of Mehola. He said the soldiers left him sitting by the gate, in the sun, without cuffing him or otherwise restraining him….
Israel detains 11 Palestinians in West Bank raids
RAMALLAH, Thursday, 07 November 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces detained today 11 Palestinians in raids at their homes in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS). It said four people were detained in the Tulkarm district, including two brothers 45 and 35 years of age. Two were also detained in ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, one of them 17 years of age and the other 33. PPS said that the Israeli army detained as well three from the Nablus district, one from Tammoun in the Jenin area, and one more from Halhoul in the south of the West Bank. Israeli soldiers also raided late last night the village of Kubar in the Ramallah district and took measurements of the family home of Qassam Barghouti, who is in prison on charges of participating in the killing of a settler, in preparation to demolish it.
Fourteen Palestinians detained from West Bank
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 4 Nov – Israeli forces today [Monday] detained 14 Palestinians in multiple overnight raids across the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS confirmed that seven Palestinians were detained in several raids across Jerusalem district. A father and his son were rounded up from al-Eizariya town, east of Jerusalem, four others from the Jerusalem neighborhood of al-‘Issawiyeh, and another from al-Ram town, north of Jerusalem. In Hebron district, PPS confirmed an Israeli military raid in Yatta town, south of Hebron, resulting in the detention of two Palestinians. In the northern West Bank, Israeli military vehicles raided Nablus district, where soldiers rounded up two others. In Jenin district, PPS said that Israeli forces conducted a raid in Jenin refugee camp, resulting in the detention of a Palestinian. In Ramallah district, soldiers detained a former prisoner after ransacking his house in Kafr Ni‘ma town, northwest of Ramallah. A similar predawn military raid was conducted in Deir Abu Mashaal village, northwest of Ramallah, where soldiers rounded up a Palestinian. Israeli Soldiers surrounded another house in the village. They knocked at the door, and when the family took some time to open it, they detonated the door and searched the house, turning it upside down and seizing a sum of cash.
Five settlers arrested on suspicion of attacking policemen at W Bank outpost
[behind paywall] Haaretz 7 Nov by Nir Hasson — Five West Bank settlers were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attacking police who had put a halt to illegal construction work at the unauthorized outpost of Maoz Esther in the northern West Bank. The suspects clashed with the police, threw stones at them and pushed them, a police source said. The police, who impounded two trucks at the site, reported that dozens of local residents also gathered at the scene and threw stones at police officers … On Monday, there were two other confrontations between security forces and settlers, although no arrests were made. In the first incident, a vehicle carrying Border Police officers was stoned at the entrance to the settlement of Yitzhar in the northern West Bank. In the second, masked individuals threw rocks at police and at police vehicles near the settlement of Bat Ayin in the Gush Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem.
West Bank attack pries Israeli patients from Palestinian dentist
Times of Israel 3 Nov by Adam Rasgon — Ameen Mansour, a Palestinian dentist from the northern West Bank village of ‘Azzun [in the Qalqiliya governorate], has made a practice of welcoming Israeli patients to his clinic. But since a young Palestinian knifed one of his Israeli patients outside his office in early September, Mansour has barely received any of them. On a recent Sunday, none were at his office, which was largely quiet and empty. “The vast majority of them are telling me they cannot come,” the 47-year-old, who was trained in Moscow, remarked, sipping black coffee in the lobby of his clinic. “They usually account for approximately 20 percent of all my patients. About 17-18 of them generally come every month, but in the last one only two did.” According to Mansour, many of his Israeli patients have canceled their appointments, while others have informed him they no longer can come to his office …
On September 7, a Palestinian teenager stabbed 60-year-old Yosef Peretz and his 17-year-old son Libar — after asking them if they were Jews — at the entrance to Mansour’s office. “I heard them shouting downstairs and I bolted to them. I jumped on the stabber, held down his arm and knocked the knife out of his hand,” Mansour recalled. “I then moved him outside my office and he ran away.” Moments later, Mansour said, he bandaged Yosef and Libar to prevent them from losing blood. He said he and another Azzun resident then began to rush them toward a hospital in Qalqilya, but pulled over next to a group of IDF soldiers they came across on their way there. He said he informed the soldiers of what happened and they subsequently arranged for an ambulance to take the father and son to the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.
In the meantime, members of the attacker’s family turned him in to Palestinian Authority security forces, which have since kept him in custody….
Olive groves in the West Bank have become a battleground, That’s why volunteers come from around the world to help at harvest
TIME Magazine1 Nov by Noor Ibrahim — The destruction of Palestinian olive groves is a regular feature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — … The olive harvest in the West Bank lasts roughly October through November, a festive season of family and friends coming together to pick olives, often on groves passed on through generations of ancestral inheritance. In the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 45 percent of agricultural land is planted with olive trees, with the olive oil industry making up a quarter of the region’s gross agricultural income, and supporting the livelihood of about 100,000 families. The olive tree also has broader meanings — historically, the long-living, slow-growing, and drought-resistant olive tree represents peace and resilience for Palestinians, and also holds symbolic value across the religious scriptures of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism …
The politicization of the olive tree is evident at every twist and turn of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including this year’s Israeli election. Days after Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise on September 10 to formally annex the Jordan Valley, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) issued an order to uproot hundreds of olive trees owned by Palestinians in the valley right before a planned harvest. As Israeli settlements continue to expand in the West Bank, clashes between settlers and Palestinians have surged, often manifesting in the targeting of farmers and their properties — particularly during the harvest season. Over 800,000 Palestinian olive trees have been uprooted by Israeli authorities and settlers since 1967, according to research from the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem …
For over a decade [actually since 2001, when the International Solidarity Movement began this], hundreds of volunteers from around the world have traveled to the West Bank each year to accompany Palestinian farmers to olive groves in high risk areas. To Be There, the organization through which Jones planned his expedition, was formed in 2013 by a group of local Palestinians, and is one of many local and international groups who recruit volunteers for the harvest. “Their impact is multidimensional,” says Baha Hilo, one of its founders. “It’s about understanding, bearing witness, and buying time so that families can harvest as much as they can.” The description of the harvest program on To Be There’s website makes clear the protective function of international volunteer….
Grandson of Holocaust survivors deported from Israel for volunteering
ISM 26 Oct — The Austrian national Edmond Sichrovsky arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on October 24, Thursday, 7:45AM from Amman, Jordan. At immigration and passport control, he was detained by Israeli authorities and questioned by two separate officers. His luggage was searched and he was forced to hand over his mobile phone to Israeli intelligence officers, who searched his private messages, chats, social media, phone contacts, photo gallery, and browsing history, as well as subjecting him to a body search. He was accused of volunteering in Palestine, which is not prohibited under Israeli law … Sichrovsky’s interrogator then informed him that he was banned from entering Israel and would be forcibly deported … Sichrovsky had previously volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), documenting and reporting on human rights abuses by Israeli forces in Occupied Palestine. He was violently assaulted in Wadi al-Hummus by officers from the notorious Israeli riot police unit Yassam while opposing demolitions of Palestinians’ homes. The 22-year-old is the grandson of Harry Sichrovsky, a renowned Austrian Jewish writer and journalist, and nephew of Peter Sichrovsky, two-time European Parliament member and former head of the far right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO).
Sichrovsky said: “Growing up, my grandparents being some of the only ones in their entire family to survive the Holocaust in Austria, ’Never again’ is something I heard a lot and resonate strongly with. To me, ‘Never again’ isn’t just for Jews, it means never again should anyone in the world have to suffer because of their religion, race, or what they were born into. That’s why I came to volunteer in Palestine.
Palestinian families fight for relatives’ remains held by Israel
+974 Magazine 4 Nov by Miriam Deprez — A recent Supreme Court ruling has rubber-stamped Israel’s policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians killed by its security forces — Mohammad Elayyan discovered through a Facebook post that his 22-year-old son, Bahaa, had been shot dead by Israeli forces after allegedly carrying out a stabbing and shooting attack in East Jerusalem in October 2015. It would be another 325 days before he saw the body. “From that moment on, the agony and the long journey of struggle and pursuit of getting my son out of an Israeli refrigerator to be buried began,” Elayyan recalled, as he joined scores of other Palestinian families fighting to have their relatives’ remains returned. The Israeli government has, since 1967, applied a policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians killed by its security forces. There are currently more than 250 bodies being held in Israeli morgues and cemeteries, according to the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), which is currently fighting for the release of 116 bodies … The ruling contravenes the Geneva Convention, which states that parties involved in an armed conflict must bury the deceased “if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged and that their graves are respected, properly maintained, and marked in such a way that they can always be recognized.”….
Palestinians are attending Hebrew University in record numbers and changing the face of Jerusalem
[behind paywall] Haaretz 1 Nov by Nir Hasson — Separation barrier and tough job market seen as spurring spike of East Jerusalem residents on campus. The trend is bringing the city’s Palestinian and Jewish communities closer, and creating a new elite — … Anyone who wandered by there this week as the new school year began could sense that the composition of university’s student body has undergone a change. Here and there you see a few soldiers in uniform, the result of a controversial partnership between the army and the university in a program called Havatzalot, designed for soldiers in military intelligence. There were also some uniformed policemen, partaking in another partnership, a few ultra-Orthodox men, a Christian priest, some secular and religious Jewish students. But oddly enough a large group of Palestinian women gathered near a sign that said “A Jewish soul – building a connected future.” This year, more than ever before, a Palestinian presence is evident on the campus … The number of Palestinian students in preparatory courses has doubled this year, climbing to 410 from last year’s 210 … These are still relatively small numbers compared to the total student body, and in comparison to the number of Palestinians from Jerusalem attending Palestinian academic institutions. But this is a relatively new phenomenon, an additional and dramatic stage in a growing affinity between Israeli and Palestinian societies … Traditionally, residents of East Jerusalem have gone – and still do – to universities in the West Bank and in Arab countries. Even today, most Palestinian students in Jerusalem study in Palestinian and Arab universities. But in the last decade there has been a growing trickle of Palestinians from Jerusalem attending Israeli academic institutions….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel approves controversial Jerusalem cable car plan
MEE by Mustafa Abu Sneineh & Sondus Ewies — The skyline of Jerusalem’s ancient Old City is set to be altered dramatically by a “racist” cable car that critics say would blight the historic panorama and strengthen Jewish settlement in Palestinian neighbourhoods. Israel’s housing cabinet, a governmental body, approved the cable car plan, Monday, despite objections that the transitional government currently in place, after the September elections, cannot green light such a project. Running from the Old City’s Dung Gate to West Jerusalem, the Israeli government says the cable car would help ease traffic in the city and could transport 3,000 passengers an hour, at peak times. In January, various Israeli bodies earmarked 200,000,000 Israeli shekels ($54,400,000), to see the project completed. However, Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem, archaeologists and architects say the cable car would severely damage the city’s landscape and contribute to settler group ELAD’s illegal Jewish settlement expansion in the neighbourhood of Silwan. Aviv Tatarsky of Ir Amim, an Israeli non-governmental organization researching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Jerusalem, told the Middle East Eye [MEE] that a cable car is not the answer to the heavy traffic, and that the project has political layers aimed at giving legitimacy to settlers in the area … By bringing in tens of thousands of visitors to Silwan, the settler presence in the area would start to become normalized, he said … The final station of the cable car, near the Dung Gate, will be built above a building owned by controversial settler group ELAD, which manages the City of David archaeological park and builds Jewish settlements in the neighbourhood. “If someone wants to go to the Western Wall of the Old City, they have to go through the ELAD activity centre. This project will give ELAD legitimacy and influence, as it is taking part in a governmental project. This is the political reason for why the government is doing this project,” Tatarsky said….
Israel to extend sovereignty over settlement roads in the West Bank
MEE 1 Nov — Israeli transport minister announced plans to improve roads in the West Bank settlements, which Palestinians will have limited access to — Israel is seeking to impose “transportation sovereignty” in the occupied West Bank, with a budget of $228m approved this week for a new tunnel connecting a major settlement, Gush Etzion, with Jerusalem. Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s minister of transport, an MP from the right-wing Jewish Home party, is planning to include Israeli settlements in the framework of Israel’s national transportation, according to Israel Hayom newspaper. So far, a budget of 800 million shekels ($228m) has been approved this week by authorities for a second tunnel to connect the southern settlement of Gush Etzion to the city of Jerusalem, a one-lane route that currently suffers heavy traffic. The completion of the tunnel and the route in the coming years means that the two lanes will serve both ways, connecting the southern Israeli settlements in the West Bank with Kiryat Araba settlement, near the city of Hebron … His long-term goal, according to Israel Hayom, is to include all of the settlements in the West Bank into a transport master plan, so that in any future national planning, settlements will be dealt with as part of towns and cities within the 1948 borders of Israel. “I do not give preference to Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] but also am not willing to continue the discrimination. These areas will receive treatment just like anywhere else in Israel,” he said … The transport ministry has also accelerated the paving of other vital roads in the settlements including Route 446, as well as the $4.3bn project of widening the road from Neve Yemin, a town in Israel, to settlements near the city of Nablus, both in the north of the West Bank. They are expected to be opened in January 2020. These plans are significant as it means that settlers in the West Bank will have improved roads which Palestinians have limited access to, and they go hand-in-hand with settlement expansion
Israel draft bill would annex major West Bank settlements
MEMO 4 Nov — Israel’s former justice minister Ayelet Shaked submitted a draft bill in the Knesset to annex a number of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, reported the Jerusalem Post. The legislation would see Israeli “sovereignty” applied to settlements in the Jordan Valley region, as well as the Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion settlement blocs in the central and southern West Bank. According to the report, the bill also includes Efrat and Betar Illit settlements and the Megilot Region of the Dead Sea. Shaked, who heads up the Yamina party, “clarified that the application of sovereignty would be for the areas within the settlements and would not cover roads and archaeological and industrial parks in the regions of Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank].” Although there is currently a caretaker government in place, with coalition negotiations continuing, the Knesset still sits and is able to pass legislation….
Newly appointed West Bank settler leader vows to achieve annexation
MEMO 5 Nov — A newly appointed leader of Israel’s settler population in the occupied West Bank has vowed to work to secure annexation of most of the territory, reported the Jerusalem Post. David ElHayani was chosen to head the Yesha council, having served as head of the regional council of Jordan Valley-based settlements for the past 11 years. “The residents of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and the Jordan Valley are [Israeli] citizens in every way. We will work together, all of us, to apply sovereignty over all of Area C and the Jordan Valley in Judea and Samaria,” ElHayani said after being appointed. The outgoing Yesha council head, Hananel Durani, said “he was certain that ElHayani would be successful in the pursuit of sovereignty [annexation] and in more than doubling the size of the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria so that it reaches 1,000,000 Jews.”
Meanwhile, Likud MK Sharren Haskel has submitted a draft bill that calls for the eastern side of the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank to be formally annexed. According to reports, the proposal “would permit Palestinian residents in the territory to apply for Israeli citizenship within ten years of its implementation, provided they were not charged in the past with any security offenses and have not publicly called for a boycott against Israel.” “There is a wide consensus today about the region, following the long-awaited US president’s recognition of the Golan Heights as under Israeli sovereignty. It is time to do the same with the Jordan Valley,” Haskel said.
Top Netanyahu aide urges evangelicals to fight to protect West Bank settlements
Haaretz 6 Nov by Noa Landau — A top Netanyahu aide told an audience of Christian media professionals that the presence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank was a positive step towards peace, and attempted to enlist their support against the boycott movement on Sunday. “The return of Jews to Judea and Samaria is not a curse, it’s a blessing for all the residents of the area,” Reuven Azar, the deputy national security advisor for foreign policy who works for the Foreign Ministry, told participants at the Christian Media Summit on Sunday. “Calling for their expulsion is a recipe for destruction and for chaos… Look what happened when we went out of Gaza,” Azar continued. “Our presence in Judea and Samaria, and in Jerusalem brings stability… because we bring security by fighting the bad guys.”… “The revival of the Jewish people in the land of Israel is a divine promise being fulfilled,” Azar proclaimed. It is unknown whether he was simply referring to the Zionist idea of Jews returning to Israel, or the rather fringe Christian belief that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land will precede the second coming of Jesus Christ. “It is a blessing for our people, our region, for the world. A force for good, a force for peace, prosperity and happiness,” Azar concluded to nourished applause….
Liberal US Jewish groups ask Israeli politicians to oppose West Bank annexation
JTA 6 Nov by Ben Sales — A coalition of liberal American Jewish groups is sending a letter to the leaders of Israel’s political parties asking them to oppose Israeli annexation of the West Bank — even if US President Donald Trump gives it a green light. The groups already are on record opposing a potential Israeli annexation of part or all of the West Bank, which Prime Minister Netanyahu has pledged to pursue if he continues in office. But the letter, written by a coalition called the Progressive Israel Network, aims to tell Israel’s political leaders that approval from Trump does not mean widespread support for annexation from either American Jewry or supporters of Israel at large. Polls show that a majority of American Jews support the establishment of a Palestinian state … The Progressive Israel Network consists of 10 liberal Jewish groups, including the Israel lobby J Street, the rabbinic human rights group T’ruah and the New Israel Fund, which supports a range of progressive groups in Israel. Three liberal groups that are not part of the coalition — the Israel Policy Forum, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association — also signed onto the letter. “Carrying out unilateral annexations in the West Bank would ultimately destroy Israeli democracy and lead the country down a disastrous path to permanent conflict,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement….
Despite pledge, Netanyahu again seeks to delay removal of West Bank village
Ynet 6 Nov by Yael Freidson — The state has presented the High Court with a request from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone a hearing on a petition to evacuate a West Bank [Bedouin] village built without permits. The petition was made by pro-settlement NGO Regavim. The state is seeking to delay the hearing on the village of Khan al-Amar until March 2020, on the grounds that a government has not been formed since a previous request for a postponement was made in June … In September 2018, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the residents of the village to stop the planned demolition of the village. The court decision approved demolition of the village and relocation of its residents to an alternative community close to the Palestinian town of Anata, some 600 meters away. Netanyahu promised in November 2018 that the village “will be evacuated soon”, despite protests and objections from human rights organizations.
UPDATE | Israel to seize over 600 dunums of land in Nablus,, Jerusalem
NABLUS, Saturday, November 02, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation authorities ordered today the confiscation of 500 dunums of Palestinian land in the village of Hizma, east of Jerusalem, and 124 dunums in the villages of Majdal Bani Fadel and Duma, to the south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, local sources said. Muslim Abu Heleou, head of Hizma municipality, told WAFA that Israeli army handed the Palestinian Civil Liaison a notification regarding Israel’s intention to size 500 dunums of land which belong to Palestinians from Hizma, with a view of expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Adam, nearby. Meanwhile, Ghassan Daghlas, an official who is active in the settlement resistance movement, said the Israeli military handed Palestinians from Majdal Bani Fadel and Duma an order showing the land that is to be confiscated for military purposes. Yesterday, Israeli authorities notified the municipality of the town of Ya‘bad, southwest of Jenin in the West Bank, of their plan to confiscate around 409 dunums of land for the purpose of continuing the construction of the West Bank separation barrier.
Ex-UNRWA chief says agency ‘victim of campaign to undermine it’
Al Jazeera 7 Nov — The former head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, who resigned amid an ongoing investigation into alleged abuses of authority, has denied wrongdoing saying his agency was the victim of a political campaign designed to undermine it. “I have rejected these allegations from the start and will continue to do so,” former commissioner-general Pierre Krähenbühl told Swiss broadcaster RTS. “There is no corruption, fraud or mismanagement of aid.” A confidential internal agency ethics report, first reported by Al Jazeera in July, accused Krähenbühl and his “inner circle” of abuses of authority. The report alleged the inner circle was made up of Deputy Commission-General Sandra Mitchell – who resigned from her post in late July – Chief of Staff Hakam Shahwan – who left the agency in early July – and the senior adviser to the commissioner-general, Maria Mohammedi. It claimed members of the group “engaged in misconduct, nepotism, retaliation … and other abuses of authority” following the fallout from the United States’s decision to cut its contributions to the agency from $360m to $60m for 2018 and then zero in 2019. The US and Israel both accused UNRWA of mismanagement and anti-Israel incitement … In his resignation letter, Krähenbühl complained the inquiry “has been fraught with leaks … despite your personal commitment to confidentiality”. He denied what he called “the unfounded allegation that I entertained a romantic relationship with a staff member”. Krähenbühl said he was “above the politics that have governed this entire process” and was resigning “in the firm belief that this is in the best interest of Palestine refugees, of my family and myself” … Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Belgium have separately suspended payments to UNRWA over the management issues that are now under investigation.
Political, international, & other news
Palestine in Pictures: October 2019
Electronic Intifada 2 November
Palestinian elections look increasingly feasible
Al-Monitor 6 Nov by Daoud Kuttab — When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly Sept. 29 that he “will call for general elections in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem” and “hold those who object to the elections accountable to God, the international community and history,” few expected that elusive election to take place. There are still many obstacles, but it appears that Abbas had some justification to make this bold call. The traditional thinking has always been focused on the need for national reconciliation as a prerequisite to elections. But according to a senior adviser to the president, Nabil Shaath, the elections themselves will help usher in reconciliation by means of creating an elected national unity government. “The idea combines democratic and pluralistic principles. It will not be the winner takes all but a representative government based on election results. Once a unity government is established with all parties in it, we can move to the next step of presidential elections,” Shaath told Arab News Sept. 29….
Abbas bans child marriage with some legal exemptions
Times of Israel 6 Nov by Adam Rasgon — Former PA women’s affairs minister Haifa al-Agha praises move, which she says will enable children ‘to live their childhood and receive an education’ — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has issued a decision barring Palestinian teenagers from marrying before they turn 18 years old, unless they receive an exemption from a religious court and a top legal official. The official PA news site Wafa reported earlier this week that Abbas made the decision, but did not say when. In the West Bank, Palestinian law previously mandated that a female must be 15 years old and a male 16 years old to be eligible to marry, according to Suna Nassar, the PA Women’s Affairs Ministry’s legal adviser. Comparatively, in the Gaza Strip, it had held that a female must be 17 years old and a male 18, she said in a phone call … A 2018 PA Central Bureau of Statistics report found that 10.8 percent of women in 2017 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip aged 20-24 had married before turning 18 … Nassar said that those who would like to marry before turning 18 must receive a waiver from both a religious court and the PA’s supreme sharia judge. The PA’s current supreme sharia judge is Mahmoud al-Habash. She added that an example of someone who may receive a dispensation is a pregnant woman and her partner. “There are benefits they can receive for their child, but only if they are married,” she said. “That is one of the reasons they may receive an exemption.”… She said that the phenomenon of Palestinians marrying before reaching 18 mainly exists in rural villages and communities in both the West Bank and Gaza.
Israel to increase electricity cuts to West Bank due to unpaid 1 billion NIS debt
i24NEWS 4 Nov — Israel’s Electric Corporation (IEC) will increase power cuts to the West Bank starting November 17 due to a NIS 1 billion (nearly USD $300 million) in unpaid debt, according to a report from Hebrew news outlet Kan. Head of the Palestine Electric Company has warned that widening the cut-offs would endanger hospitals and educational institutions in the West Bank.
In August, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) reached an agreement in which the PA would pay NIS 300 million to cover the debt owed to the IEC. According to the agreement, the money would be deducted from tax revenues transferred to the PA, and the parties would work to reach a new contractual arrangement for the supply of electricity. n September, the IEC announced the first stage of power cuts, with Kan News reporting that the IEC would reduce the supply to Palestinian villages in the West Bank in order to pressure the PA to pay its electric bill.
Israel’s top court upholds deportation of senior HRW official
Al Jazeera 5 Nov — Israel‘s Supreme Court has upheld a government decision to expel a senior Human Rights Watch (HRW) official over his alleged support for promoting boycotts of the country. The unanimous three-judge decision supporting the Israeli government’s move against Omar Shakir, a US citizen who represents HRW in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, was published on Tuesday on the court’s website. It will now be up to the government whether to follow through and deport Shakir, who brands the move a bid by Israel to silence and delegitimise critics of its treatment of Palestinians. “If it proceeds, I have 20 days to leave and it’ll join ranks of Iran, North Korea & Egypt in blocking access for HRW official,” Shakir tweeted after the decision was announced, referring to Israel, which has sought to expel him for more than a year … It would be the first expulsion of its kind under a 2017 law allowing the deportation of foreigners who support boycotting Israel, though there have been cases of people being denied entry under the measure….
Israel’s Trump Heights gets its first inhabitants
JTA 8 Nove by Cnaan Liphshiz — A boarding school for underprivileged youths in Israel was inaugurated in Trump Heights in the Golan. The opening Thursday of the boarding school, which is designed to prepare several hundred teenagers from troubled homes for a meaningful service in the Israel Defense Forces, marks the first arrival of people to the community that was declared as established there in June and named after US President Donald Trump. The United States recognized the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war, as part of Israel through a presidential proclamation signed by Trump on March 25 . The Israeli government decided to name a town for him in the Golan as a sign of appreciation and gratitude for this move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said….
Israel releases Jordanian citizens
EI 6 Nov by Tamara Nassar — Israel released on Wednesday Jordanian citizens Hiba al-Labadi and Abdulrahman Mirie after detaining them without charge or trial for more than two months. Al-Labadi had mounted a prolonged hunger strike to protest her imprisonment. The detention of al-Labadi, 32, and Mirie, 28, caused tensions between the two countries and prompted Jordan to recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv. The ambassador, Ghassan Majali, is set to return to his post in coming days, after the two countries reached an agreement for Israel to hand the pair to Jordanian authorities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced. Al-Labadi and Mirie received a warm welcome from family, Jordanian officials and press at the Allenby Bridge separating the occupied West Bank from Jordan on Wednesday: They were both taken for medical checkups following their release: The return of al-Labadi and Mirie received wide coverage in Jordan and was broadcast live. Jordanians had protested their detention near the prime ministry in Amman on Sunday. Protesters demanded the cancellation of the Israel-Jordan gas deal as well as the peace treaty between the two countries. On Monday, Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi announced that the pair would be back in Jordan before the end of the week following the agreement with Israel. Nadav Argaman, head of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency, and Meir Ben Shabbat, Israel’s National Security Council chief, were reportedly behind the agreement. “Israel views the relationship between Jordan and Israel as a cornerstone of regional stability and will continue to act to ensure the region’s security,” Netanyahu’s office stated….
Hours before border lands go back to Jordan, Israeli farmers await final word
Times of Israel & Agencies 9 Nov — A deal dating from Israel’s historic 1994 peace treaty with Jordan which allows Israeli farmers to lease two sites along their common border runs out Sunday, but the land’s tenants say that nobody has told them what happens next. With the deal’s expiration only hours away, Idan Greenbaum, head of the Israeli regional council for the Jordan Valley, said Jordanian officials have informed him that as of Sunday the Naharayim site will be out of bounds. Israeli authorities, he told Army Radio on Friday, have told him nothing. “As of this time, no Israeli official has chosen to update us,” he said. Asked by AFP for details, the Israeli foreign ministry said “the agreement will expire on November 10th,” without elaborating. Hundreds of Israelis visited Naharayim on Saturday for “farewell tours,” with demand so great that a new tour group was setting out every hour. A special clause in the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan allowed Israel to retain use of Naharayim in the Jordan Valley, along with the Tzofar enclave in the southern Arava desert, for 25 years, with the understanding that the lease would be renewed as a matter of routine. However, in October last year, Jordan’s King Abdullah said his country had notified Israel that it wants to take them back … Since the heady days of the 1994 treaty, which made Jordan only the second country after Egypt to make peace with Israel, relations with Amman have been strained. Opinion polls have repeatedly found that the peace treaty with Israel is overwhelmingly opposed by Jordanians, more than half of whom are of Palestinian origin….
US oficial criticizes Israel after visit to West Bank
MEMO 8 Nov — US Democratic Representative Andy Levin visited the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, during which he observed the Israeli government denying local residents access to water. The trip included a tour of the Susya village, south of Hebron, which has been repeatedly under threat of demolition for the past 30 years based on Israeli claims that homes in the area were erected without the necessary permits. This deeply concerned the US representative as he took to Twitter to criticise Israel for repeatedly demolishing the Palestinian buildings in Susya that had to be rebuilt numerous times … Levin watched how Jewish settlers nearby are granted government-supplied amenities, yet the Palestinians remained “resilient”. He stated: “It was simply incredible. As angry as the situation made me, the resilience of the Palestinian villagers left an even stronger impression.”….
Twitter censors news from Palestine
EI Media Watch 4 Nov by Ali Abunimah — Twitter shut down the accounts of Quds News Network, a major Palestinian news publication, without warning or explanation. Twitter has provided no explanation for why it shut down the accounts of Quds News Network, a major Palestinian news service, over the weekend. This alarming act of censorship is another indication of the complicity of major social media firms in Israel’s efforts to suppress news and information about its abuses of Palestinian rights. QNN said on Monday that its four main accounts were suspended without warning or explanation early on Saturday. QNN said it has pursued efforts to appeal the suspensions through Twitter’s website but received no response. Twitter typically notifies users of alleged violations of its terms of service and provides them an opportunity to remove violating content or to appeal a decision. The Electronic Intifada also wrote to Twitter’s press team on Saturday seeking comment on the company’s actions against QNN, but has received no response.
The Electronic Intifada has frequently cited QNN’s tweets in its reporting, as the publication often provides near real-time coverage of events on the ground throughout the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Its coverage has been highly reliable. Twitter has previously enforced Israeli military censorship by compelling users to delete specific tweets. But shutting out entire publications from its platform marks a new phase in efforts to block information from and about Palestine. Twitter’s action follows a recent decision by the Palestinian Authority to block access to the websites of dozens of Palestinian news outlets, including QNN, in a major crackdown on freedom of expression. The Palestinian Authority collaborates closely with Israeli occupation forces under the banner of “security coordination.” Twitter’s action also follows a long-standing censorship campaign by Facebook targeting Palestinian journalists and publications….