West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces shoot and kill Palestinian teen in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Dec — Updated: A Palestinian teenager was shot dead, on Saturday night, by Israeli soldiers in the town of Beit Awwa, west of Hebron City in the southern occupied West Bank. The Palestinian News and Info Agency reported that Israeli soldiers opened fire towards three Palestinian civilians near Beit Awwa, seriously injuring one of them, identified as Badawi Khaled al-Masalma, 18. He was left to bleed helplessly, as the soldiers denied access of Palestinian medics to the scene, and was announced dead of his critical wounds a few minutes later. The Palestinian suffered multiple gunshot wounds to various parts of his body. The Israeli army claimed the Palestinian “apparently threw Molotov cocktails.” After killing him, the soldiers took his body away. The soldiers also abducted two other Palestinians and took them to an interrogation facility. They were later identified as Odai Ismael Aqel al-Masalma and Mohamamd Osama al-Masalma. Israeli Ynet News quoted the army claiming that the soldiers “were operating near settlements” in Hebron area, and that they allegedly “saw three Palestinians throwing Molotov cocktails.”
Israeli armored bulldozer crashes into Palestinian car, killing father & injuring son
IMEMC 28 Nov — Israeli forces exiting the city of Hebron after a massive demolition campaign before dawn on Thursday struck a Palestinian car in which a Palestinian father and son were driving, killing the father and severely injuring the son. Mohammad Nassar Al-Nawajaa, 56, from Yatta city, south of Hebron, was killed and his son Thaer was moderately injured before dawn on Thursday morning after their vehicle was hit by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Farsh Al Hawa area on the road leading to Taqoumia town, west of Hebron. The slain man and his son were driving to work in Jerusalem when their car was struck by the Israeli bulldozer. The Israeli military bulldozer that struck their car was returning, along with the army jeeps, to a nearby military base, after demolishing four Palestinian homes in Beit Kahil, north of Hebron.
Soldiers attack students on their way to school in Hebron
HEBRON, Monday, November 25, 2019 (WAFA) – Dozens of Palestinian students and residents of the old town of Hebron sustained suffocation today after Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters at them while on their way to school and at homes in the Israeli-controlled section of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to local sources. They said the soldiers fired teargas canisters at schools, including a kindergarten, and homes located near a military checkpoint causing dozens of suffocation cases and panic among the children and their families. Tension has been high in the occupied city in the last few days after tens of thousands of fanatic settlers converged on the city and some attacked families in their homes and shops in the occupied section. A child was also injured in the head from stones thrown by settlers who seem to have been emboldened in their attacks and taking over of Palestinian homes and land following the US declaration that settlements are not inconsistent with international law.
Israeli forces shoot, injure youth near Hebron
HEBRON, Sunday, November 24, 2019 (WAFA) – A Palestinian was shot and injured Sunday evening by Israeli forces’ live fire in the town of Beit Ummar, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, said a local activist. Mohammed Awad, a media activist, said Israeli forces stationed near the Israeli settlement of Karmi Tzur, built illegally on Palestinian land to the south of Hebron, opened fire at Abdallah Abu Mariya, 21, shooting him in the thigh. Forces used a gun suppressor in the shooting. He was transferred to hospital for medical treatment.
Settlers chase herders off Jordan Valley pastures
JORDAN VALLEY, Saturday, November 30, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers chased today Palestinian herders and international supporters off pastures in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, according Aref Daraghmeh, a local activist. He said the settlers forced the herders to leave the area and assaulted some of the international supporters who were accompanying them in solidarity. Israeli settlers are known for their attacks on Palestinians, but assaults on Palestinian farmers and herders have been frequent over the past few weeks. Armed settlers and soldiers often prevent Palestinian shepherds from herding in the open pastures of the occupied West Bank in order to force them to abandon the area.
Israeli settlers target Christian Palestinians in West Bank town
RAMALLAH (MEE) 29 Nov by Shatha Hammad — The Basir family woke up in the early hours of Friday morning to the sound of their neighbours shouting – there had been an attack on their home in the Palestinian village of Taybeh. A group of Israeli settlers had left hostile writing on the walls and had burned the family’s car. But the attackers were nowhere to be be seen when Rollin Basir opened his front door at 2am (0.00 GMT) and saw that his car was on fire. It burned until 6am. “Closed military zone,” read one slogan in Hebrew. Basir said that all of the village residents flocked to the house as word of the attack spread, and stayed until late in the morning. The villagers spoke of their fears that the settlers would repeat such attacks or target people and their homes. “All the data point to the settlers being behind this attack,” said Basir, adding that the car had cost him over $42,000. Taybeh is located east of Ramallah and is besieged by four settlements… Father Johnny Abu Khalil told Middle East Eye that the villagers heard the sound of an alarm, but it was the smoke that led them to Basir’s house. Abu Khalil said that the settlers’ attack represents a real danger to the people of Taybeh. “We are surrounded by settlements. Today it was an attack by burning a vehicle, but we fear that these attacks will escalate to include the burning of trees, houses and churches in the village.”
The Palestinian priest said that Taybeh has a dominant Christian presence, but the attack on the village was not only an attack on Christianity as a religion, but it was also an attack on the “Palestinian Arab roots”. “The Israeli settler does not distinguish between one town and another, nor between a Palestinian Muslim and a Palestinian Christian … The settler considers the land is his land, and we Palestinians have to get out of here,” he said. . “Our message today to the occupation and its settlers is that even if they burned us humans, these stones will utter that this land is Palestinian, the cradle of Christ and the prophets.” …
Abu Khalil claimed that a group of settlers verbally assaulted a group of French nuns while on a tour of Taybeh’s mountains in April and held them for hours before members of the monastery found them. The priest also claimed that one of the settlers had taken off his clothes and stood naked in front of the nuns. “The nuns were in a state of panic … after this attack they decided to leave Taybeh and go back to France. However, residents contacted the French consulate and the nuns returned to Palestine,” Abu Khalil said….
Israel called upon to investigate Jewish settlers’ attacks on Palestinians in Hebron
MEMO 28 Nov — The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has called on Israel to investigate the attacks on Palestinians by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Al-Watan Voice has reported. UNOCHA said on Wednesday that settlers carried out at least six attacks on 22 and 23 November that resulted in casualties among Palestinians in the city. Israeli forces in the vicinity at the time, the UN pointed out, did not make any attempt to stop the attacks or protect the Palestinians. On one occasion, explained UNOCHA, a group of about 50 settlers attacked eight members of a Palestinian family with batons and pepper spray in Wadi Al-Hussein neighbourhood. One Palestinian had an arm broken, another was injured in the head and the other six suffered from various wounds that needed hospital treatment. In another incident at the same place, a group of adult settlers attacked a nine-year-old Palestinian boy and sprayed pepper powder at him in front of the Israeli soldiers, who did not intervene to protect him. On 23 November, the UNOCHA said that a number of settlers threw stones and bottles at a house in Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, injuring an infant after one of the stones smashed a window and hit the infant in his head. The family could not evacuate the child immediately as the attack on their house continued for 20 minutes. When a group of six Palestinians were eventually able to take the boy to an ambulance waiting at Israeli checkpoint 56, a group of settlers used pepper sprays against them.
According to Al-Wattan Voice, UNOCHA reiterated that the Israeli settlers’ attacks in area H2 in Hebron have increased sharply since 31 January, when Israel refused to accept the renewal of the mission of the Temporary International Task Force. UNOCHA stressed that Israel, as the occupying power, has a legal obligation to guarantee the safety of the Palestinians and protect them.
Israel police escalate raids and arrests in ‘Issawiya despite protests
MEMO 26 Nov — Israeli occupation forces have escalated their arrest raids in ‘Issawiya, occupied East Jerusalem, in the face of continued protests at months of violence and harassment, reported Haaretz. Yesterday, the paper reported, Israeli police officers arrested 12 Palestinian residents, including children, during a pre-dawn raid that followed on from a similar operation last week, which saw 15 arrested – all of whom were subsequently released. Sources in ‘Issawiya say that some 600 people have been arrested in total, since Israeli forces escalated their raids in the community around six months ago. Yet only a tiny number of those detained have been indicted for offenses like stone-throwing; just 20 so far, or three per cent. “We’re fed up with arrests based on intelligence tips,” said lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud, who has represented many of the detainees. “Last week, many people were arrested and released. It’s a lottery system.”
According to Haaretz, “the stepped-up enforcement campaign means that police are present in the neighbourhood in force almost every day, patrolling, setting up checkpoints and laying ambushes.” Then, in the evening, local youth confront the police leading to clashes. On Sunday, Israeli forces raided the heart of ‘Issawiya “just as students were leaving school”, in violation of “an understanding reached two weeks ago with school principals”. On Saturday, meanwhile, dozens of Jewish Israelis demonstrated near the home of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon “to protest his failure to intervene in the confrontation”. Some city council members have also urged action from the authorities. Laura Wharton and Yossi Havilio wrote to Jerusalem police chief Doron Yedid that “judging by the complaints we have received, it seems as if the police are ‘going after’ Issawiya residents and engaging in aggressive enforcement beyond the requisite vital needs”….
26 injuries as Israeli settlers storm Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus
NABLUS, Wednesday, November 27, 2019 (WAFA) – 26 Palestinians were injured by Israeli gunfire today overnight as hundreds of Israeli settlers forced their way into Joseph’s Tomb in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, said medical sources. Israeli forces escorted a convoy of buses packed with hundreds of fanatic Jewish settlers into the site, located in the Palestinian-controlled area, sparking confrontations with Palestinian residents. Soldiers opened fire on Palestinians protesting the raid and attempting to block settlers’ access to the site, injuring 15 protestors with rubber-coated steel bullets. Palestinian Red Crescent Society medics confirmed that they treated 15 casualties at the scene. Soldiers also showered protesters with tear gas canisters….
Israel plans to stop returning bodies of Palestinians
MEMO 28 Nov — All bodies of Palestinians killed by Israelis are to be held by the occupation authorities and not returned to their families for burial, regardless of their political affiliations, newly installed Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has decreed. The Palestinian Authority condemned the decision, saying that it proves that Israel is a “terrorist entity”. Adalah, a legal group which advocates for Arab rights in Israel, has called the practice “collective punishment”. It also condemned the decision as violating international and Israeli law, although in 2018 Israel passed a law to allow it to withhold the remains of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers or who die in its jails. “The instructions issued by Defence Minister Bennett are an attempt to trade in the bodies of deceased persons, who are entitled to respect and burial,” said Adalah. “No country in the world allows itself to hold and to use bodies as a card for negotiations and political bargaining. These practices violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including the UN Convention against Torture, which absolutely prohibits such cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” Israel holds on to the bodies of Palestinians killed by soldiers in order to prevent their funerals turning into celebrations of their martyrdom. It also uses them as bargaining chips to trade for the remains of Israeli soldiers killed on active service against the Palestinians in Gaza and believed to be held by Hamas … According to Al Jazeera, a report published last year by Palestinian rights groups estimated that at least 249 Palestinians are buried in cemeteries in closed military zones across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The bodies of nine others are being kept in hospital mortuaries in Tel Aviv.
Israeli electricity company to increase blackouts on Palestinians to three hours
JERUSALEM, Saturday, 23 November 2019 (WAFA) – The Israeli Electricity Company (IEC) is going to increase power cut to Palestinians getting their power supply from the Palestinian power distributing company, the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JEDCO), to three hours, instead of the current two hours, starting next month, JEDCO said in a press statement. IEC started one month ago to impose punitive measures against JEDCO by cutting power supply to Palestinian households within JEDCO concession area, which includes Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho and surrounding villages, for two hours every two or three weeks due to what IEC claims was unpaid debt by JEDCO that reached around $500 million. IEC seems to have decided to increase the power cut to three hours as of next month, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm local time, to pressure the privately-owned Palestinian company and the Palestinian Authority to pay the debt to the Israeli company….
Palestinians protest Israel’s closure of institutions in East Jerusalem
MEE 26 Nov by Sondus Ewies — Israel is attempting to erase our culture in Jerusalem, say Palestinians protesting recent closures — Tens of Palestinians held a protest on Tuesday in the occupied city of East Jerusalem against Israel’s closure of several Palestinian institutions in the Old City. Israeli authorities closed down several institutions on 21 November, claiming that they are funded and belong to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA). These institutions included offices of Palestine TV, a branch of the PA’s ministry of education, the Orient House, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, and the Commercial Chamber, among others. The Palestinian Authority claims East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state, however US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital dashed these hopes….
When holidays bring hate: Sarah’s Day in occupied Hebron
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 27 Nov — The Jewish holiday of Shabbat Chayei Sarah (Sarah’s day’) took place in Al Khalil (also known as Hebron) over the weekend of 22-23 November. Over the two days around 50,000 Israeli settlers flocked to the city, to celebrate the festival in the place that Zionists believe is their religious right (despite the fact that it is historically Palestinian and is clearly within the demarcation of Palestinian Territories). For weeks the area was being adapted and prepared to accommodate the thousands of visitors. Israeli settlers from nearby illegal settlement Kiryat Arba were to be joined by other observant Jews from across Israel, as well as from countries abroad such as France, the UK, and the USA. The mood was set by blatant Zionist propaganda adorning the streets, such as a banner proclaiming “Palestine never existed – and never will” …
Each day International Solidarity Movement (ISM) received reports of serious, violent attacks on Palestinians living in or passing through vulnerable areas where settlers filled the streets. On Friday evening, on the ‘Prayer Road’, leading up to the large settlement of Kiryat Arba, a group of 8 Palestinians were attacked in a barber shop. ISM spoke to one of the victims, Fayed, who reported a large group of settlers forcing entry to his father’s shop. Despite attempts to persuade the settlers to leave, more arrived to join the attack. Up to 100 settlers sprayed pepper spray, threw stones, chairs and pieces of wood, damaging property and injuring Fayed, his brother, his uncle and father. Fayed’s 21 year old cousin suffered a broken hand, whilst he and his uncle and father sustained injuries to the head and arms, resulting in hospitalization. The police eventually moved the settlers on however no arrests were made. Only basic details of the attack were taken down and there has been no further investigation of the crime….
Photos: Textile factory in West Bank sews 3,000-square-meter Keffiyeh
Xinhua 28 Nov — Palestinian school students hold a 3,000-square-meter Keffiyeh at the Dora International Stadium near the West Bank City of Hebron, Nov. 27, 2019. A Keffiyeh textile factory in the West Bank sewed the large keffiyeh. The black-and-white chequered scarf has become a symbol of the late Palestinians’ leader Yasser Arafat. (Photo by Mamoun Wazwaz/Xinhua)
The latest trend in conflict tourism: Airbnbs in Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank
[behind paywall] Haaretz 27 Nov by Davide Lerner — Bringing a whole new meaning to the word ‘camping,’ these Airbnb sites in the likes of Deheisheh and Balata are starting to attract adventurous travelers — Palestinian Ahmad Nader Alfararja always picks up the tourists when they come to stay at his home. While the 25-year-old is a very hospitable host, there are more practical reasons for this particular service. He lives in Deheisheh (near Bethlehem), where the streets literally have no name. “Locals know them by the names of the families who live there or by the villages they originally came from, before they were displaced in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war,” he says. He pauses for a second. “Running Airbnbs in a refugee camp is not easy.” Ahmad is one of a growing number of Palestinians in West Bank refugee camps who are listing rooms on the accommodation-sharing website, offering adventurous tourists a experience like no other in the Holy Land. “My goal is to show foreigners how we live in Palestinian refugee camps, show the reality of this conflict from a completely alternative viewpoint,” the happy-go-lucky host says. “I initially rented out a separate apartment, but now we’re hosting in a room at our family home. The guests enjoy staying with us more and love my mother’s cooking,” he says, smiling. (Ahmad lives with his parents and two sisters, renting out a room with an en-suite bathroom.) After first advertising the room on Airbnb this summer, his page already boasts dozens of enthusiastic reviews….
The hottest rock climbing destination? Palestine’s West Bank
Inside Hook 28 Nov by Alex Lauer — It’s no secret that interest in rock climbing is booming in the U.S., both the sanitized bouldering gyms that offer a novel version of functional training and the real-dea cliff scaling popularized by the sport’s celebrities like Alex Honnold (who continues to impress). But if you’re looking for the hottest new climbing destination, you’d do well to check out Palestine. Yes, that Palestine. As Outside details, despite the continuing political conflict, the West Bank “is home to an up-and-coming climbing scene centered around top-notch — and untouched — limestone.” That scene is cataloged in the new guidebook Climbing Palestine, released this month and co-authored by Tim Bruns, who along with fellow American Will Harris helped kickstart the sport in the area among locals and tourists alike….
Gaza teen killed
November 29, 2019: Fahed Mohammad Walid al-Astal, 16, was killed by Israeli army fire when the army attacked protesters, hundreds of meters away from the perimeter fence, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The incident took place when approximately twenty residents gathered on Palestinian lands, a few hundred meters from the fence. The soldiers, stationed in their posts and army vehicles across the fence, fired live bullets, rubber-coated steel rounds, and high-velocity gas bombs at several Palestinians, killing Fahed, and injuring at least five others, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, has confirmed that the soldiers killed Fahed with a live round in the abdomen. Dr. al-Qedra added that the soldiers also shot at least five other Palestinians and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The Palestinians gathered at the Great Return March encampment, at least 700 meters away from the perimeter fence, east of Khan Younis, marking International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
It is worth mentioning that the Great Return March processions have been suspended for the third week, but have not been canceled. The Committee for the Great Return March Processions said the temporary halt of the processions is not related to any “truce talks,” but to avoid further casualties after Israel threatened to escalate its already excessive use of force.
Israeli soldiers fire missiles into Gaza
IMEMC 30 Nov — Israeli soldiers fired, on Friday at night, a few missiles into two areas in Gaza city, causing property damage, media sources in Gaza have reported. The sources said the army fired at least two missiles into a site in the densely populated Zeitoun neighborhood, in Gaza city, causing property damage. They added that the army also fired one missile into another site, east of Gaza city, causing damage. No injuries were reported in the two incidents. The Israeli army claimed it was targeting Hamas posts after a homemade shell was reportedly fired from Gaza and landed in an open area in the northern part of the Negev Desert.
Army fires many missiles into Gaza
IMEMC 27 Nov — The Israeli Air Force fired, on Wednesday at dawn, several missiles into a few areas in the besieged Gaza Strip, causing serious property damage. The army claimed it was retaliating to homemade shells reportedly fired from Gaza. Media sources said the army fired at least two missiles into the Zeitoun neighborhood, southeast of Gaza city, causing damage to several homes and buildings. They added that the army also fired at least one missile into an area west of Gaza city, causing property damage, in addition to anxiety attacks among many children. More missiles were fired into a site believed to be run by an armed resistance group west of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. In a short statement, the Israel army claimed it was retaliating to two shells reportedly fired from Gaza into the southern part of the country, and that one of the shells was downed.
Israeli navy injures a Palestinian fisherman
IMEMC 26 Nov — Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Monday evening, at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, wounding a fisherman and causing damage to several boats. The Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate said the attack took place in the Sudaniyya Sea, northwest of Gaza city. It stated that the Israeli navy fired many live rounds at Palestinian fishing boats, moderately wounding one fisherman, before he was rushed to a hospital for treatment. The attack is the latest in ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinians in the besieged and impoverished coastal region.
UN: Gaza mothers force their children to work to survive
MEMO 27 Nov — Almost half of the mothers in Gaza feel they are unable to make long-term plans and pressure their children to give up their plans to continue their education in an effort to make ends meet, according to the latest study by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The report sheds light onto how Palestinian women experience and manage lives on a day-to-day basis under Israel’s ongoing 12-year siege of the Gaza Strip and is based on a study conducted between May and August.
Home to more than 1.5 million Palestinians, Gaza’s unemployment rate stands at 52 per cent, according to the World Bank. “My husband said he was going to Egypt for a week – that was 11 years ago,” said Sana, a 39-year-old mother of eight children. “First, I sold the furniture. I received a portion of his salary until the PA realised he was out of Gaza and [they] cut it. Things got worse and I knew I had to find a job. I worked in homes caring for elderly people, even changing their diapers. It was hard and disapproved of,” she added. Sana admitted that she encouraged her children to find safe jobs as opposed to follow their dreams or pursue higher education.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2018, 29.4 per cent of women in Gaza participated in the labour force, while the unemployment rate among females stood at 74.6 per cent. For women between the ages of 15 to 29, the unemployment rate was even higher, at 88.1 per cent. UNRWA consulted females from different areas and across the social spectrum, in discussion forums, interviews and home visits they explained that today Gaza is witnessing an increasing number of women who support their families while men are absent or jobless….
Tens of thousands of needy Gaza families receive Qatari cash infusion
[behind paywall] Haaretz 27 Nov by Jack Khoury — Gaza authorities began Wednesday handing out Qatari funds to seventy thousand needy families in the Strip, amid reports of an additional Qatari cash infusion to the coastal enclave. Each family will receive $100, with $7 million transferred to the families in total. According to local reports, the families were selected based on criteria set by the Welfare Ministry in Gaza, and the money is to be made available at post office branches. The Qatari envoy to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, issued a statement saying that the funds would be distributed over several days in alphabetical order. The last time such payments were made to poor families in Gaza with Qatari funding was in late October.
In pictures: Olive-picking season in Gaza
MEE 25 Nov by Fatima Shbair — For Palestinians, the olive tree is a symbol of hope and resilience. As summer comes to an end, the olive-picking season in Gaza begins. Harvesting takes place from the start of September through to the end of November and is an economic lifeline for many families. For most families in Gaza, olive trees are immensely precious. Some have inherited them from their ancestors and will pass them down to their children, making them an important source of income. Farmers will wake up early in the morning to start work and prepare for a long day of harvesting in the heat. Some families will come to the olive groves together, or with friends and neighbours, to collect olives for self-consumption or to sell on in markets. Olive-harvesting is a popular job for many young Palestinians, as it allows them to earn a decent wage. Harvesting takes place every day from 7am to 6pm, and can be strenuous work….
Israeli military, politicians divided over long-term Gaza truce
MEMO 29 Nov — The Israeli military and its political officials are divided over the question of a long-term truce with Palestinian factions in the occupied Gaza Strip, Haaretz has reported. According to the paper’s defence correspondent Amos Harel, “the army’s view” is that Hamas “is concerned mainly about the intolerable living conditions” in the blockaded territory. The Israeli military has thus “recommended that the government consider the reintroduction of far-reaching economic-relief measures for Gaza.” Specifically, the military believes that Hamas “wants a long-term ceasefire…contingent on the launching of various infrastructure projects”. These include “improved supply of electricity to the Strip, the building of a hospital at the Erez checkpoint, the upgrading of the water and sewage infrastructures and initial preparations for the revitalization of the industrial zone at the Karni checkpoint.”
However, the Israeli government is not on the same page as military officials, both as a result of the current political paralysis, and the hardline positions taken by ministers. For now, only modest measures have been implemented – such as an extension of the permitted fishing zone. According to Israeli analyst Shlomi Eldar, despite the urgency of implementing measures to ease the Gaza blockade, “any lifting of restrictions on Gaza will have to wait until after Israel’s next elections and the formation of a new government”. “Israel will likely be mired in its political deadlock and paralysis for at least six months to come. Hamas will not wait”, Eldar added. “Given the dire plight of the enclave’s two million Palestinian residents…Gaza needs much more than another 100 or 200 work permits.”
Soldiers at Erez Terminal abduct Palestinian accompanying ailing brother
IMEMC 28 Nov — Israeli soldiers stationed at the Erez (Beit Hanoun) Terminal, in northern Gaza, abducted a Palestinian man who was accompanying his ailing brother to a hospital in the occupied West Bank. Media sources said the soldiers abducted Mousa Marzouq Abu Taha, 47, from Tal al-Sultan neighborhood, west of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, while he was accompanying his brother who was heading to the West Bank to undergo an eye surgery. The incident took place Tuesday, when the soldiers informed Mousa that he needs to be interviewed at 9 in the morning at the terminal, so that he can obtain a permit to accompany his brother, however, once he went there, he was instantly detained. According to official documentation by the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Israeli soldiers have abducted 11 Palestinians at Erez Terminal this year, including eight merchants, and two who were accompanying patients. It said that such violations are carried out against basic rights of the freedom of movement and the right to receive medical care, and are serious breaches of International Law, in addition to all laws regarding the protection of civilians without discrimination …
It strongly denounced Israel for its ongoing attempts to blackmail the patients and their families, by trying to turn them into collaborators, informing on their own people, to be allowed to cross or receive the medical care they urgently need.
October approval rate for Gaza patients to reach West Bank lowest since early 2018
JERUSALEM, Wednesday, November 27, 2019 (WAFA) – Only 58% of permit applications for Gaza patients to cross Erez/Beit Hanoun checkpoint into Israel to reach either East Jerusalem or West Bank hospitals in October were approved, making it the lowest approval rate since April 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. A third (34%) of permits approved were for children under 18 and a fifth (22%) were for patients aged 60 years or older, it said in its monthly report on health access for patients in the occupied Palestinian territory. It said while only 9% of the total applications were denied, including 33 children under 18 and 21 patients aged 60 years or older and about a quarter (24%) of denied applications were for appointments in oncology, 9% for orthopedics, 8% for cardiology, 8% for hematology, and 6% for ophthalmology, 33% of the total were delayed access to care, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment….
More Gaza parents allowed to escort children to Israel for treatment
JPost 24 Nov by Donna Rachel Edmunds — A new report by Physician for Human Rights has shown a significant increase in the number of permits issued to parents living in Gaza granting permission for them to take their children to Israel or the West Bank for medical treatment. According to the report, 56 percent of the children who left the strip for medical treatment between February and September 2018 were not accompanied by their parents. However, of those travelling between October 2018 and July 2019, this figure had dropped to 21 percent. The data is based on information provided by the IPSC (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), Maariv has reported. The marked reduction in the number of children travelling without their parents has come about largely thanks to the new “accompanying parent permit,” which fast tracks applications by the parents of children in need of medical treatment. Medical psychologist Oren Lehek emphasized the importance of parents accompanying their children when it comes to improved recovery following procedures….
IDF shoots down Gaza drone flying near border fence
Times of Israel 23 Nov — Israeli military troops shot down a small drone as it flew near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip Saturday evening, the Israel Defense Forces said. The drone, which was not carrying any explosives or otherwise dangerous materials, was taken in for review. Channel 12 news reported that the drone had flown over the border before being shot down and that troops found its remains in Israeli territory. An army spokesperson could not confirm the details of the TV report. Last month the army shot down two drones in Gaza in separate incidents. In general, the Israeli military does not interfere with drones flying over the Gaza Strip unless they approach the border or fly at especially high altitudes….
Israeli authorities seize knives and drones en route to Gaza
JPost 28 Nov by Anna Ahronheim — Parcels from Ali Express and Amazon included diving equipment, knives, drones and more — Officials from the Crossing Authority of the Defense Ministry, along with representatives from the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) and the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) seized the products at the Erez Crossing. Among the products seized on Wednesday in the 325 mail packages ordered online from Ali Express and Amazon were military and electronic equipment such as skimmers, knives, scuba gear, drones and satellite communications equipment and binoculars. Importing dual-use goods into the Gaza Strip, such as cameras, requires a special permit….
Feature: University students reconstruct old Byzantine church in Gaza
GAZA, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) by Sanaa Kamal — A group of students who study archeology spent six hours to renovate a 10-cm-long portrait of flowers painted on a mosaic floor in a church that belongs to the Byzantine age in Gaza. Twelve students from the College of History and Archaeology of the Islamic University of Gaza cooperated to restore and polish the ancient picture, which was one of dozens of portraits made by mosaic on the floor of the Byzantine church near the northern Gaza Strip town of Jabalia. The large piece of the ancient mosaic portrait, painted on the floor, was covered with sand and dust when workers reconstructed the Salah al-Din highway that links the northern Gaza Strip with its south in 1998. The restorers found graves of emperors and supporters of the church, identified after their bones were found and examined, in addition to coins and pieces of potteries. Historically, the Byzantine church was established in the Gaza Strip 1,700 years ago, according to historians, and it was a property of the royal family at that time, they said. “Gaza was considered as a trade corridor between the counties, so it is normal to uncover archeological sites that belong to the royal families,” Ahmed al-Bursh, supervisor of restoration, told Xinhua. “This site has been built in an area of 850 square meters, including a 400-mosaic floor,” he said. For many times, charity institutions have tried to restore the historical church, but they failed due to the instability of security and political situations in the blockaded enclave, which witnessed rounds of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian armed factions. “The endless conflict caused a huge damage in the church, so the people who lived in the area covered the whole place by sands for several years,” al-Bursh said….
Gaza man masters rare skill of balancing art
[with photo] AP 26 Nov — Whenever Mohammed al-Shenbari sees a new object, he quickly tries to find its “balancing point” and make it stand in a way that appears to defy the law of gravity. The 24-year-old self-taught Palestinian artist says he can balance almost any object, using what he calls a mix of mind and body. This has made him a popular entertainer and frequent participant in psychological support sessions that are common in conflict-ridden, poverty-stricken Gaza. A year ago, al-Shenbari came across a YouTube video by a Korean balance artist, Nam Seok Byun, and was fascinated by the way the artist delicately arranged rocks atop round pebbles. Al-Shenbari’s dream is to compete on reality TV shows and travel to Asia, where he says the art of balancing is practiced, to improve his skills.
Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel begins work on largest settlement in Palestinian neighborhood of Jerusalem
MEMO 28 Nov — Work has begun on the expansion of Nof Tzion colony in Jabal Mukkaber, occupied East Jerusalem, which when completed will become “the largest Jewish settlement within a Palestinian neighbourhood in the city”, reported Haaretz. Nof Tzion was first established in the early 2000s, with settlers moving in eight years ago. The settlement currently houses 96 families living in two compounds. The land to be used for the settlement’s expansion was bought by Israeli supermarket mogul Rami Levy, in partnership with Australian businessman, Kevin Bermeister, one of the founders of Skype. Two years ago, Israeli occupation authorities issued permits for the construction of 176 flats. However, according to Jerusalem councillor and settler activist Arieh King, “the current expansion is only the first phase, with another 300 housing units expected to be approved” … “The expansion of the settlement into the neighbourhood of Jabal Mukkaber is a symbol of the Israel government’s choice to prevent the possibility of an agreement in Jerusalem and to continue to impose its rule on the residents of East Jerusalem without equal rights and with increasing oppression,” said Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher with the NGO Ir Amim.
Israel cuts Palestinian farmers’ access to their land behind separation wall with yearly quotas
RT 24 Nov — Palestinian farmers whose land ended up on the wrong side of Israel’s West Bank separation wall have had their access further restricted with yearly quotas. Those affected see it as part of a creeping theft of their property. In the early 2000s, Israel began the construction of a long barrier between itself and the West Bank, saying it was a necessary temporary measure in response to the Second Intifada. Two decades on, the wall is still in place, and its impact on the life of Palestinian civilians is increasingly harsh. Large sections of the separation wall have been built across land seized from Palestinian farmers, trapping some of their lots on the Israeli side. The owners now have to receive permits from Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank to gain access to tend to the land. The rules on what kind of access can be granted have been recently tightened, the newspaper Haaretz reported. The changes include a limit on how many times a farmer can travel through a wall checkpoint each year, depending on the type of produce he grows on his land. The quota is 40 times a year for olives, 50 times for figs, 30 for barley, and 220 for tomatoes or strawberries … Pretty restrictive limitations for land access existed even before the latest change, based on factors such as seasons. For example, olive growers are given a month to collect their harvest – regardless of whether a particular family has enough labor to complete the job in the allocated period of time … There are other questionable practices, like dividing a family plot between members and then denying access rights because those individual plots are deemed too small for agricultural purposes.
Palestinians rally in West Bank against US position on settlements, clash with Israelis
RAMALLAH, Tuesday, 26 November 2019 (WAFA) – Heeding calls by political factions, mainly President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, thousands of Palestinians rallied in several West Bank city centers to protest the latest American declaration on settlements that considered them not inconsistent with international law. Rallies were held in Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarm, Bethlehem and Hebron during which political leaders spoke to the crowds about the impact of the US decision on the situation on the ground and promising to fight this declaration at the local and international levels. Following the rallies, dozens of people marched to Israeli army checkpoints at the entrances to the cities where they clashed with Israeli soldiers, according to witnesses. Clashes were reported at the northern entrance to Ramallah and Al-Bireh city after Israeli soldiers showered dozens of people who reached it with teargas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. Medical sources said one person was shot in the leg by a live bullet and rushed to hospital in Ramallah. Several suffocation cases were reported but treated at the location….
Video: Dozens injured in ‘Day of Rage’ protest over US shift on settlements
TEHRAN (FNA)- At least 15 people were injured after a protest at the northern entrance to the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem turned violent on Tuesday 26th Nov.
Netanyahu pledges $11.5 million for settlements’ security
i24NEWS 28 Nov — ‘They won’t uproot us from here,’ Netanyahu said, announcing the package — Interim Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Thursday to allocate NIS 40 million — or some $11.5 million — for the security of the settlements on the West Bank, known in Israel as Judea and Samaria. The cabinet is set to green-light the assistance package on Sunday, with NIS 34.5 million earmarked for security and NIS 5.5 million to be granted to the West Bank emergency service. An extra NIS 3.6 million will be invested in psychological counseling services in the area. “We are continuing to strengthen the settlement movement and help it,” Netanyahu is quoted as saying in a press release by the Prime Minister’s office. “They won’t uproot us from here.” The move comes following the US State Department’s bombshell announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law.
Israeli forces demolish coffee shop near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, Monday, November 25, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today demolished a Palestinian coffee shop in the southern West Bank village of Battir, near Bethlehem, according to a local official. Battir mayor, Tayseer Qattoush, told WAFA that Israeli forces escorted a bulldozer to the village to tear down the coffee shop owned by Wisam Oweinh purportedly for being built in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control. He pointed out that the coffee shop was built of wood and stones that do not affect the nature of the area, but rather made the place look better, stressing that Israel aims to erase the Palestinian presence in large parts of Battir in order to annex the land for settlement expansion and construction. Battir, six kilometers west of Bethlehem, is on the UNESCO world heritage list due to its ancient terraces and Roman-era irrigation system which is still used by villagers to irrigate their crops….
Israel court freezes sale of Jerusalem church buildings to Jewish settler group
MEMO 29 Nov — An Israeli court has frozen the sale of three church buildings in Jerusalem to a Jewish settler group, responding to a request from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, reported Haaretz. Ateret Cohanim, “a Jewish organization which seeks to increase Jewish presence in the Old City”, claims to have legally purchased the buildings, “strategically located in East Jerusalem”. A Jerusalem District Court judge granted the request yesterday, but, as Haaretz reported, “the ruling was not made on the merits of the case”. Instead, “it was made by default after three foreign shell companies affiliated with Ateret Cohanim failed to file a response to the church’s motion by the required deadline.” The judge also ordered the companies to pay the Patriarchate 50,000 shekels ($14,400) in legal expenses and court costs. As reported by Haaretz, “the contested sale 14 years ago included two large hotels, the New Imperial and the Petra, which overlook the Jaffa Gate”, with a third building in the Christian Quarter … In August, the Patriarchate claimed to have uncovered newly discovered evidence which exposed alleged “fraud, forgery of documents presented in court and bribery, including alleged attempted sexual bribery”, on the part of Ateret Cohanim….
After being denied specialized medical care, detainee dies at an Israeli hospital
IMEMC 26 Nov — The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has confirmed, on Tuesday morning, that a detainee died at an Israeli hospital after he was systematically denied specialized medical care, leading to serious complications that resulted in his death. The Committee stated that the detainee, Sami Abu Diak, 37, was only moved to Assaf Harofeh Israeli Medical Center after a sharp decline in his health. It also said that its lawyers filed several appeals with Israeli courts, asking to allow his release to receive specialized medical treatment in Palestine, or abroad, but its requested were all denied. “Sami was subjected to a deliberate policy denying him the right to adequate medical care,” the committee said, “Despite the serious decline in his health, and the constant complications, he was not provided with the urgently needed specialized care, and was only moved to a hospital when he neared death.” It is worth mentioning that Sami Abu Diak, 37, was from Sielet ath-Thaher town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and was serving three life terms and an additional 30 years in prison. He was taken prisoner on July 17, 2002, and was first diagnosed with intestinal cancer in August of 2015, and underwent surgery, after the prison authority moved him to Soroka Medical Center, but due to a misdiagnosis and a medical error, he faced serious complications, and some of his intestines were removed. Abu Diak underwent various surgeries, and suffered further complications, including pulmonary and renal failures, in addition to cancer and skin poisoning, and his condition continued to deteriorate since then.
Before his death, Abu Diak’s final message was: “To those with a living conscious… I am living my final hours and days, there is nothing I would like more than spending them near my mother; between my loved ones, I would love to utter my last breath in my mother’s arms; I do not wish to die cuffed and shackled, I do not want to die in front of a jailor who loves death, and feeds on our pain and suffering … I am telling, if I die far away from my mother, I will never forgive you.”
Israeli soldiers raid, ransack home of Palestinian who died in prison from cancer
JENIN, Monday, December 02, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers raided early this morning the family home of a Palestinian who recently died from cancer while in Israeli custody, ransacked it and detained his brother, according to family members. The soldiers raided the home of the deceased prisoner, Sami Abu Diyak, in Silat al-Dahr village in the north of the West Bank, thoroughly searched it and ransacked it while holding the entire family hostage in one room after interrogating them, said Ragheb Abu Diyak, a family member. He told WAFA the soldiers also detained Abu Diyak’s brother, Salah, without giving any reason for the raid of the home of the bereaved family or the arrest of Salah.
Jordan demands Israel to release corpse of detainee who died in prison
IMEMC 28 Nov — Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, has confirmed that the Kingdom has officially demanded Israel to release the corpse of detainee Sami Abu Diak, 37, who died in Israeli prisons, and to allow its transfer to Jordan to be buried by his family there. The Palestinian detainee carries what is known as a Jordanian “National Identification Number,” which also makes him a Jordanian citizen. His family, largely living in the Kingdom, has called on the Jordanian authorities to pressure Israel into releasing his corpse for burial in Jordan. Israeli is still holding his corpse and refusing to release it.
Arab Israeli gets life in prison for murdering rabbi in West Bank terror attack
Times of Israel 24 Nov — An Arab Israeli man was sentenced Sunday to life in prison for a West Bank terror attack in which he stabbed a rabbi to death. The Lod District Court convicted Abed al-Karim Assi in July of murdering Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal at the Ariel Junction on February 5, 2018. Assi was also ordered to pay Ben-Gal’s children NIS 258,000 ($74,000) in compensation. In the ruling presiding Judge Ruth Lorch noted that Assi “chose the deceased only because of his appearance as a Jew.” Before the sentencing Assi told prosecutors that he had fully intended to carry out the crime, saying: “You are the terrorists, not us.” He cited incidents of terror attacks carried out by Jews against Arabs. “Did you want us to sit quietly and watch?” he asked….
Israeli soldiers demolish four homes in Hebron
IMEMC 28 Nov — Israeli soldiers demolished, on Thursday at dawn, four Palestinian homes in Beit Kahil town, northwest of the southern West Bank city of Hebron; the demolished properties are owned by families of Palestinians accused of killing an Israeli soldier. Many military jeeps, accompanied by armored bulldozers, invaded the town, and forced the families out of their homes. Soldiers of the Engineering Corps then disconnected power and water lines, before proceeding with demolishing the four homes. The army closed the entire area, and prevented Palestinians, including journalists, from entering it.
The demolished homes are owned by the families of four detainees, identified as Hamad Aref Asafra, his brother Qassem Saleh Asafra, in addition to Nasseer Saleh Asafra and Yousef Atiya Zohour. The Israeli army claims that the four were involved in killing an off-duty soldier, identified as Dvir Sorek, 19, near the illegal Migdal Oz colony, in the occupied West Bank, on August 9th 2019. Israeli sources said Sorek was part of a program that combines Torah studies and military service.
Israel’s policy of home demolition of Palestinians involved, or believed to be involved, in killing or attacking Israelis, including soldiers, is an act of illegal collective punishment that violates International Law and various international treaties, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. The invasion and demolitions led to protests, and the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs, concussion grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and rounds of live ammunition. Medical sources said many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
The compilation that you have been reading here can include only some of the Israeli violations of human rights in Palestine for the week. However, the weekly reports from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, like the following, generally do include every known Israeli violation:
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (21-27 Nov 2019)
…Summary: Israeli occupation Forces (IOF) continued their violations of human rights and international law in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) this week as PCHR documented 174 violations by IOF and Israeli settlers.
In terms of excessive use of force, IOF wounded 18 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza strip: 17 of them, including a child and a journalist were injured in separate incidents in the West Bank, while 1 civilian was injured the Gaza Strip. The Supreme National Authority of the Great March of Return cancelled the protests for the second week in row; consequently, no injuries were reported.
Under IOF incursions into the West Bank and house raids, 72 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, were reported. Those incursions include raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, arresting and/or injuring many others. During this week’s incursions, 59 Palestinians were arrested, including 5 children and a girl.
In the Gaza Strip, IOF carried out a limited incursion in northern Gaza Strip and 9 shootings were documented in eastern Gaza; 6 shooting incidents were carried out against Palestinian fishing boats adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Moreover, a Palestinian civilian from the Gaza Strip was arrested while responding to a summons by Israeli authorities as he applied for an exit permit to accompany his sick brother in travel for treatment.
Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, PCHR documented 7 IOF violations, including demolition of residential houses as well as a demolition notice in Jerusalem and Hebron. IOF also demolished 2 horse-barracks and banned restoration of a dirt entrance in addition to an agricultural land in Bethlehem. PCHR also documented 14 settler-attacks on civilians and their properties, causing bruises and fracture to 9 civilians in addition to burning vehicles and cutting trees…. [details follow]
Abbas: Palestine taking steps to oppose recent US move
MEMO 27 Nov — Palestine is preparing a response to oppose the recent US move that violated the legal basis of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, the Palestinian president said on Wednesday, Anadolu reports. In interview with the Russian daily Kommersant, Mahmud Abbas said the Palestinian leadership has started to prepare a response, opposing US President Donald Trump administration’s “hostile” position. “The American administration has long been hostile to the Palestinian people. Donald Trump began by declaring unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, decided to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, as well as to stop all assistance to our people, including the support to hospitals and UNRWA [The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East],” Abbas said. He threatened to cut all ties with Israel if it annexes the Jordan Valley. The president said Palestine is ready to negotiate, but consider Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “impossible to negotiate with”, adding that the agreement with Israel is only possible if the US stops to support the country. He said only two-state solution can be acceptable for the Palestinians.
PLO official: Plan to establish US field hospital in Gaza aims at isolating Gaza, establishing micro-state there
RAMALLAH, Sunday, December 1, 2019 (WAFA) – Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Fatah Central Committee and the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said that plans to establish an American field hospital in the Gaza Strip is part of the Zionist-American schemes to isolate Gaza and establish a micro-state there. He said that such plan is part of the [Israeli] occupation forces’ plans to provide all the factors of survival for the de-facto authority in the Gaza Strip. In an interview with voice of Palestine radio, al-Ahmad said that the conspiracy against the Palestinian cause has long existed but has intensified since the internal division 13 years ago, pointing out that this division is not merely Palestinian, but rather an Arab, regional, and international division….
14 Palestinian factions agree to stand in elections
MEMO 28 Nov — Fatah is ready to run in the Palestinian elections alongside Hamas, member of the movement’s Central Committee Azzam Al-Ahmad said yesterday, In an interview with Al-Resalah, Al-Ahmad said that Hanna Nasser, the head of the Elections Committee, had passed “positive” messages about Hamas’ response to Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas’ conditions. He said that Nasser had not handed over Hamas’ response and said: “We hope that we are not shocked with an embarrassing reply when Abbas receives Hamas’ message.” The head of Fatah’s parliamentarian bloc said that his movement wants the elections to end the internal division and unite the Palestinians. He stressed that Fatah aims to use the elections as a means to end the division, which is “a big project”. During a press conference held jointly on Tuesday with Nasser in Gaza, Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh announced that he had handed over the movement’s “positive” reply to Abbas’ conditions. Abbas had called for parliamentarian elections to be held and followed three months later with presidential elections.
Premier urges EU to pressure Israel to enable PA to hold elections in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH, Wednesday, November 27, 2019 (WAFA) – Prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh urged today the European Union to pressure Israel to enable the PA to hold elections in Jerusalem. The premier during a meeting held in his office in Ramallah with EU ambassadors, consuls and representatives called on the EU to prepare to contribute in the observation and supervision of the election process, stressing that the Palestinian people have had a long experience in elections over the past years; whether in the past legislative and presidential elections or in the elections for local councils, student councils, and chambers of commerce. He said that the Palestinian leadership, headed by president Mahmoud Abbas, has a firm political stance to hold elections and overcome any challenges imposed by any party….
A relic of Jesus’ manger, Christmas gift from pope to Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) 30 Nov — A fragment of wood reputed to be from the manger where Jesus was laid after his humble birth arrived in Bethlehem as a gift from the Vatican on Saturday, kicking off Christmas season at the town revered as the place of Jesus’ birth. The wood piece, just a few centimeters (inches) long, was once kept in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It was handed over earlier this week to the custodian of the Bethlehem church, who said it brought “great honor to believers and pilgrims in the area” … Encased in a silver-colored ornamental table-top stand, it was unveiled to the public on Friday at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. Marching bands greeted the relic as it arrived in Bethlehem on Saturday. It was placed in Saint Catherine’s Church, at the Church of the Nativity compound in Manger Square … After night fell, the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree ceremony was underway as hundreds gathered at Manger Square to celebrate the start of holiday season….
Israel expels Human Rights Watch official over boycott accusations
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 25 Nov by Rami Ayyub — A Human Rights Watch (HRW) official complied with an Israeli expulsion order on Monday imposed over accusations he backs an international pro-Palestinian boycott, but said the edict would only encourage rights abuses. HRW and Omar Shakir, a U.S. citizen representing the New York-based organization in Israel and the Palestinian territories, have denied the allegations. Three weeks ago, Israel’s Supreme Court upheld the Interior Ministry’s refusal to renew Shakir’s work visa and ordered him to leave by Nov. 25 … Shakir denies that his HRW work and pro-Palestinian statements he made before being appointed to the HRW post in 2016 constitute active support for BDS … Shakir will continue in his role from neighboring Jordan, relying on a network of researchers in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza to conduct field work, HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth said at the news conference. “There’s no point in replacing Omar because our next researcher would have the same problem,” Roth said. “If Israel can pick our researcher, Israel can preclude certain topics. Imagine what other governments will do. China will say we cannot monitor Xinjiang (detention camps). Saudi Arabia will say that we leave Yemen alone,” he said. Israel, Roth said, had joined the ranks of countries such as Iran and Egypt in blocking access for HRW officials….
Israel’s deportation of HRW director is a desperate measure to conceal its war crimes, says official
RAMALLAH, Monday, November 25, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli deportation of Human Rights Watch Director, Omar Shakir, is a desperate measure to conceal its war crimes, said Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in a press release today. “With the deportation of Human Rights Watch Director, Omar Shakir, Israel has unequivocally demonstrated the subservience of all official branches of government to the regime of political repression, brute force, and racist mentality that maintain the illegal occupation of Palestine,” said the statement. “For years, Israel has been engaged in a smear and incitement campaign as well as a strict stifling censorship regime against Palestinian, Israeli, and international human rights advocates and organizations in an attempt at intimidating and silencing them,” it added. “Deportation is another coercive tactic in a long and shameful list of actions targeting the human rights community and the victims of Israel’s persistent human rights violations,” it added….
Through the wire — Palestinians risk all to work in Israel
Mitar Checkpoint (Israel) (AFP) 23 Nov — It is well before dawn when the first work deprived Palestinians arrive to sneak through a two-metre hole cut in the metal fence that is supposed to keep them out of Israel. The men are among the thousands of Palestinians working in Israel illegally, risking bad working conditions, exploitation and jail for a chance of employment. On the morning AFP visited, Yunis, from Dahariya in the southern West Bank, was one of hundreds running the gauntlet as police patrolled the area. They play a cat and mouse game with Israeli security -– sometimes making several attempts before crossing without being spotted. “I got here at 3:00 am and found police patrols ahead of us,” said the bearded and wrinkled 55-year-old. “I know I am leaving my house and I may not come back but this bitter life drives us to adventure.” Around a kilometre or so away, Palestinians lucky enough to have permits queue in a long line at the Mitar crossing between Beersheba in southern Israel and the West Bank, waiting for their documents to be checked and their bags and bodies to be searched. Visibly tired, they wear winter jackets and carry small bags containing food and work clothes. Around 70,000 Palestinians have official work permits, according to the Bank of Israel. While reliable numbers are hard to come by, thousands more are estimated to be working illegally in the country — mostly in construction and other manual labour. They can earn far higher salaries than in the West Bank, but can be arrested or exploited by employers….
Israel hosts Arab journalists, bloggers
MEMO 26 Nov — Arab journalists and bloggers from the Gulf and Iraq took part in a series of meetings and events in Israel, following an invitation from the Foreign Ministry. Members of the delegation of journalists were not identified and the duration of their stay in Israel was also not disclosed. On Twitter the ministry said some of the journalists were from countries which do not have formal diplomatic relations with the occupation state, adding that the visit would allow them to become acquainted with “Israel’s diverse society and its different perspectives”. A picture, which is thought to be of members of the media delegation, was published along with the tweet but did not show any faces or identifiable marks.
This is not the first time Arab journalists have toured Israel following an invitation from the Foreign Ministry, in summer, media members from Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Syria joined such a trip. They visited Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, parliament and Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The delegation was condemned by the Palestinian Authority which called on Arab media bodies to place them and the media outlets they work for on the Arab boycott “blacklist”. The visit marks the latest development in growing ties between Israel and the Arab world. In March, Saudi Arabia – along with its regional allies the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt – rejected a statement by the Union of Arab Parliaments calling for an end to normalisation with Israel….
Hamas denies members have faced charges in Saudi Arabia
MEMO 26 Nov — A member of Hamas’ political bureau Khalil Al-Hayya said members of the movement currently detained in Saudi Arabia do not face any charges. “We feel sorry that Saudi Arabia, which embraced the Palestinian people and provided them with material support, and was an important station to support the [Palestinian] cause, detains in its prisons people who did not harm the kingdom’s security or tamper with it,” Al- Hayya said during an interview with Anadolu Agency yesterday. The senior Hamas leader added that the movement’s detainees did not commit any crime except “sending aid to the poor in Gaza”. Al-Hayya said he understands Saudi Arabia’s right to prosecute any person who works to harm state security and hoped that Riyadh will seek to resolve this “painful file on the social, national, religious and Islamic levels”.
Israel’s drone industry becomes global force
Airport City (Israel) (AFP) 28 Nov — In a fierce battle for market share against world superpowers China and the United States, Israel’s drone industry likes to say it has a secret weapon — military experience. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used daily by Israel’s military in and around its borders, whether dropping tear-gas canisters on Palestinian demonstrators, monitoring Hezbollah positions in Lebanon or striking Islamic Jihad bases in Gaza. The senior echelons of the country’s industry are populated by former military and intelligence officials, many of whom became founders or engineers in local startups … tiny Israel is now a global force in the multibillion-dollar UAV industry, competing against China and the US. It trades on its unique selling point: enemies at its borders and therefore plenty of opportunities to test and fine-tune its UAVs….