Israeli army lets settlers enter West Bank site, defying Palestinian coronavirus measures

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West Bank / Jerusalem

Israeli army allows settlers into West Bank site, defying Palestinian corona closure decision
NABLUS, Thursday, March 12, 2020 (WAFA) – The Israeli army today allowed groups of Jewish settlers into Sebastia archeological site in the north of the occupied West Bank despite a Palestinian Authority decision closing tourist sites and banning gatherings in an effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Sebastia mayor, Mohammad Azem, said dozens of settlers arrived at the site under Israeli army protection, which closed roads to allow them easy access to the site. He said the site was closed at orders from the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Nablus governor in an effort to stop spread of the coronavirus disease. Nevertheless, he added, the army allowed and facilitated arrival of settlers to the site causing concern in the area since many Israelis, including settlers, have contracted the disease.

New IOF crime in Nablus: Palestinian child killed and 14 civilians wounded including a journalist
PCHR 12 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed on Wednesday, 11 March 2020, a Palestinian child and wounded 14 other civilians, including a journalist, during its suppression of civilian gathering on al-‘Arma Mountain, southeast Bita village, Nablus, Northern West Bank. Two of the wounded were deemed in critical condition.
According to PCHR investigations, approximately at 05:00 on Wednesday, Israeli forces backed by at least 40 military vehicles and 2 construction vehicles moved into al-‘Arma Mountain, and proceeded to suppress a civilian gathering (dozens) who had an overnight sit-in starting at 20:00 on Tuesday, 10 March 2020, as IOF provided protection for settlers. IOF fired live and rubber bullets, as well as tear gas canisters at the civilian gathering in order to disperse them. Clashes erupted until 07:00 Wednesday morning. As a result, IOF aggression resulted in the injury of 14 civilians. Mohammed Abdulkarim Khassab Hamayel (15) was shot with a live bullet in the head and deemed critical, until his death was announced at 12:00 today at the Intensive Care Unit at Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Among those wounded was journalist Baker Mohammed Abdulhaq (30) who was shot with a rubber bullet in his left leg while covering the incident for Palestine TV; two others were deemed in an extremely critical condition, while dozens suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and were attended to in the field.
According to eyewitnesses’ statements to PCHR fieldworker, IOF did not allow paramedics to evacuate the wounded, including Hamayel (15) and left them to bleed on the ground for more than half an hour before ambulances were allowed to enter after the area was forcibly evacuated from all civilians. All of the above occurred despite the fact that the civilian gathering did not pose any danger to the lives of Israeli soldiers. This is the 3rd IOF raid into al-‘Arma Mountain in the past 2 weeks against civilian gatherings intended to obstruct settlers’ takeover of the area, where 146 Palestinians sustained wounds. Al-‘Arma Mountain is one of the highest points of altitude in the Nablus governorate (843m above the sea level), and it has a historic site (60 dunums) and it is part of Bita village, southeast of Nablus. Israeli settlers intend to control it and annex it to settlements “Givat Arnon” and “Itamar” under religious pretexts.

Israel kills 10,000th Palestinian since 2000, US media largely ignore it
If Americans Knew 11 Mar by Alison Weir — Israeli forces invading Palestinian Territory have just killed a 15-year-old unarmed Palestinian boy. A sniper shot him in the head with an expanding bullet. This is the 10,000th Palestinian killed by an Israeli since the round of violence that began in fall 2000. The boy was reportedly shot in the face. During the same period, Palestinians have killed 1,270 Israelis. See the list and details on this Timeline of Israeli and Palestinian deaths. Because US media rarely cover Palestinian deaths, while often emphasizing Israeli deaths, most Americans are unaware that Israeli forces have killed far more people than Palestinian resistance groups, and that Israel kills first in nearly all cycles of violence. If the situation were reversed, and a Palestinian military force invaded an Israeli town and shot a teenager in the head, it would in all probability be front page news across the U.S. US news reports also fail to mention that the violence began when colonizers began moving to Palestine in the early 1900s with the intention of taking over the land for a Jewish state, and that Israel was established through a war of what an Israeli historian terms “ethnic cleansing.” Once again, U.S. news media are largely ignoring Israel’s latest killing of a Palestinian youth. Other than an automatic Associated press feed buried on their websites, there don’t seem to have been any reports on the death by NPR, CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS, etc.

19 Palestinians wounded in IOF quelling of weekly march
QALQILYA (PIC) 13 Mar — At least 19 Palestinian citizens were injured on Friday when Israeli occupation forces (IOF) violently dispersed the weekly march against the settlement in Kafr Qaddum village, east of the West Bank city of Qalqilya. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said in a statement that its crews attended to 19 Palestinian protesters injured by IOF rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas grenades. All injured demonstrators were treated in the field, it added. Palestinians in Kafr Qaddum stage a demonstration every Friday to protest the ongoing Israeli settlement expansion on their village and other West Bank areas.

Illegal Israeli colonists attempt to kidnap two Palestinian children near Ramallah
IMEMC 11 Mar — Three fanatic Israeli colonists, illegally squatting on Palestinian lands in direct violation of International Law, attempted to kidnap two children, Thursday, near Ramallah, in central West Bank. Eyewitnesses said the three colonists were driving their motorcycles in the meadow of Turmus Ayya town, northeast of Ramallah, before forcing a Palestinian car to stop. They added that the Palestinian driver of the vehicle, identified as Tareq Refa‘ey, was with his two children, Adam and Noah, when the Israeli assailants attacked the car and attempted to snatch the two children from it, after smashing some of its windows. The father then sped away to avoid the assailants, who also threatened to open fire on residents in the area.

Illegal colonists injure two Palestinians near Nablus
IMEMC 11 Mar — A number of fanatic illegal Israeli colonists attacked, on Thursday at dawn, two young Palestinian men in Huwwara town, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the colonists chased and assaulted the two Palestinians, identified as Wa‘ad Khammous and Salah Lufti. He added that the two young men suffered various cuts and bruises, before the soldiers briefly detained them. Palestinian medics rushed to the scene and managed to take the two young men to a local hospital, suffering moderate injuries.

Israeli colonists attack Palestinian homes near Nablus
IMEMC 12 Mar — Several illegal Israeli colonists attacked, on Thursday at dawn, a few Palestinian homes in Einabus village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, causing damage. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the Israeli assailants infiltrated into the village and started hurling stones at two homes, owned by Awwad Amin Hamad and Shokri Shaqqour, causing damage to several windows. Daghlas added that the colonists also attacked a car owned by Hani Nabli, causing damage to its windows, and hurled stones at a few surrounding homes. In addition, the colonists invaded the eastern area of Burin town, south of Nablus, and partially damaged an under-construction Palestinian home owned by Montaser Mansour.

Israeli settlers attack, injure Palestinian woman and minor in Hebron
12 Mar by Ali Salam — A Palestinian woman and a minor were injured, Wednesday, when illegal Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes in the city of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Sources told Palestinian WAFA News Agency settlers attacked homes in Wadi al-Hussein area, located near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, and assaulted the woman and the youth, identified as Mohannad Jabari.

Israeli police kidnap two Palestinian women from car in J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 12 Mar — Israeli police officers on Wednesday kidnapped the mother and sister of Jerusalemite prisoner Yazan Obeid, a resident of ‘Issawiya district, after intercepting the car they were aboard in Salahuddin Street in the holy city. Some local residents intervened and engaged in hand-to-hand fighting and verbal altercations with police officers who violently snatched the women from the car, eyewitnesses said.
Meanwhile, police forces rounded up three Jerusalemite young men after physically assaulting them in ‘Issawiya. They were identified as Mohamed Obeid, Mohamed Obeid and Mohamed Alyan.

During a raid into Palestinian homes, Israeli forces seize cash and gold
TUBAS, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today seized a large amount of money and gold during raids into homes of Palestinians southeast of the occupied West Bank city of Tubas, according to a local source. Aref Daraghmeh, a local rights activist, said that Israeli forces raided, searched and wreaked havoc on the house of Abdullah Daraghmeh and the house of his mother, searched both homes and seized money and gold worth over $4,000.

Israeli police arrest Palestinian over alleged stabbing attempt
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 10 Mar — Israeli occupation police on Tuesday afternoon arrested a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem for allegedly possessing a knife and planning a stabbing attack. Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli police arrested a Palestinian youth after searching him near Bab al-Sahera area in the Old City of Jerusalem and transferred him to a nearby detention center. They later closed off the Old City, preventing people from entering or leaving the area. Israeli police later claimed that a Palestinian arrived at a checkpoint in the Old City and attempted to stab police officers before he was detained. No injuries were reported.

Shooting reported in Ramallah, no injuries
RAMALLAH (PIC) 13 Mar — A group of Palestinians opened fire at dawn Friday at a car with Israeli settlers on board west of Ramallah City, Israeli media sources claimed. An Israeli army spokesman said the car was partially damaged in the attack but there were no injuries. Israel’s TV channel Seven claimed that Palestinian gunmen opened fire 12 times at a car carrying Israeli settlers near Ramallah and all passengers survived the attack.  Following the attack, Israeli occupation forces deployed in large numbers in the neighboring areas and raided Palestinian homes in search for the shooters.

Injured teen among 16 detained from West Bank
JENIN, Wednesday, March 11, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today detained 16 Palestinians, including an injured teen, during multiple overnight raids across the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoners’ Society (PPS). PPS confirmed that Israeli forces rounded up six Palestinians, including a former prisoner, after storming the houses of their families in the northern West Bank district of Jenin. Five of the six detainees were identified as residents of Jenin city and the other as a resident of Jenin refugee camp. Meanwhile, PPS said that six Palestinians were rounded up mostly in predawn raids across the Ramallah and al-Bireh district. Israeli forces conducted a raid in Deir Abu Mashaal village, northwest of Ramallah city, resulting in the detention of two Palestinians. This came as soldiers stationed at the entrance to the neighboring village of Deir Nitham opened fire towards two teens from the village, injuring one with a live round in the thigh. Both teens were detained, and the injured was taken to the Israeli hospital of Tel Hashomer. Soldiers also detained two other Palestinians in separate two raids in Kobar town and Umm Safa village, northwest of Ramallah. Confrontations erupted as soldiers were withdrawing from Kobar. No injuries were reported though. In the meantime, PPS confirmed an Israeli military raid in Tell town, southwest of Nablus, resulting in the detention of two Palestinians. Israeli police detained two others from Jerusalem, including one after severely assaulting him.

Investigation finds Israel soldiers shot at Palestinians simply making a U-turn
MEMO 13 Mar — An investigation by Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed that Israeli soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian vehicle whose driver was simply making a U-turn, in what military officials described at the time as an attempted ‘car-ramming’ attack. According to the paper, on 20 February, the Israeli army spokesperson reported that soldiers had shot at a Palestinian vehicle that accelerated toward them in Beitin village, “in what media reports described as a suspected car ramming attack”. In fact, after obtaining two videos and interviewing the survivors and witnesses, Haaretz reported that Israeli occupation forces opened fire “as the driver was making a U-turn and hit a rock, and that the soldiers faced no life-threatening situation”. On the night in question, four Palestinian teenagers from nearby Deir Dibwan were driving toward Beitin at 8.30pm, when “they saw a military jeep coming down the road in the opposite lane”. Panicking “because the driver had no license, they did a U-turn to head back to Deir Dibwan but struck a rock on the side of the road”, Haaretz described. The Israeli soldiers then got out of the jeep, shooting into the air and then at the car. One of the passengers, Mohammed Sarameh, was seriously injured and is awaiting further surgery. According to the paper, “his medical file says one bullet had struck him in the back and another hit his left thigh”, and that “he cannot move his limbs and has sustained many injuries in his abdomen”. Haaretz noted that none of the youths in the car were “suspected of any attacks or attempted attacks” by Israeli authorities. Moreover, “a look at the car shows that signs of bullet entries appear only on the back of the vehicle. If the soldiers shot while the car was careening toward them then such signs should have appeared on the front or sides of the vehicle.” The army has also “changed its version of events about the incident,” Haaretz added. For this latest article, the Israeli military spokesperson merely acknowledged that “troops saw a car accelerating toward them and thought it was an attempted car ramming therefore they shot at the vehicle”.

One Palestinian group is running to restore freedom of movement
MEMO 28 Feb by Anjuman Rahman — Reading, research and short trips are simply not enough for visitors to Palestine to understand how difficult it is for those living under occupation with restrictions imposed on their movement as they go about their daily lives. Palestinians are caged in by a forbidding wall, and have to negotiate permanent and temporary Israeli military checkpoints almost everywhere that they need to go, whether it be to work, school, university, hospital or simply to visit relatives and friends. “People take human rights for granted until they are no longer there,” Diala Isid told me. “In Palestine, we are deprived of basic human rights like freedom of movement. To highlight the restrictions imposed on us and our right to free movement, we decided to start a running campaign so people can join in and run with us here in Palestine.”
The Right to Movement campaign was born. Runners who participate in the campaign’s marathons, explains Diala, experience a taste of the daily reality of living in Gaza and the occupied the West Bank. Travel permits in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank are issued by the Israeli occupation authorities, and are often refused arbitrarily. Runners can explore the infrastructure that sustains the occupation and meet the people most badly affected in refugee camps along the way. Restricting their movement is a major tool employed by Israel which has a devastating effect on Palestinian lives. Twenty-nine-year-old Diala is the head of the Right to Movement campaign. She described her trips to visit her parents in Bethlehem: Unable to travel directly from Ramallah through Jerusalem, she has to take a much longer route. “A 30-minute drive from Ramallah to Bethlehem turns into a one-and-a-half-hour journey because of the checkpoints that I have to pass through with my Palestinian ID.” Identity cards are also used as a weapon of the occupation to fragment the local population, she pointed out. The idea for the campaign came in 2012 when Palestinians in Bethlehem wanted to organise a marathon but found it impossible to map the full route without hitting obstacles. “It’s the only road that we can close to traffic because of the Israeli occupation. We have no choice but to settle for a 10 kilometre route.”….

Palestinians rediscover vast appetite for snails
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 11 Mat by Ahmad Abu Amer — In the cold days of winter, residents of some Palestinian villages in the West Bank go out to collect land snails, which they will cook into a favorite winter meal. Although the dish is widely associated with French cuisine, it has been passed from generation to generation in Palestine. Many historical sources suggest the dish originated from the countries of the Maghreb, specifically Morocco and Algeria, where it is known as Babbouche. It can also be found in Lebanese cuisine. Antoine Issa, 69, is a Palestinian resident of the village of Aboud, west of Ramallah. The village has a mixed population of Muslims and Christians, mostly Eastern Orthodox. Issa told Al-Monitor the story of the meal he prepares every year as part of the rituals of the winter season. His entire family gathers to feast on the different dishes he makes with the snails in different herbs and sauces….

Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Palestinians stop Israeli attempt to seize their land in Jerusalem
12 Mar by Ali Salam — Palestinian landowners in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, Thursday, blocked an intrusion attempt by a team from the Israeli Nature Preservation Authority, according to one of the land owners, Saeed Abbasi. Abbasi told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that members of the so-called Israeli nature authority stormed his 4-dunam plot of land in Silwan, which is planted with olive trees, in an attempt to seize the land, under the pretext of performing excavations in the area. He stated that the Israeli occupation seeks to seize the entire 60-dunam area of Silwan known as Wadi al-Rababa, to turn it into a public park. Landowners in the Wadi al-Rababa area are currently waging a legal battle to stop the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem and nature authority from taking over their land.

New settler-only road will allow Israel to annex West Bank settlement
MEMO 9 Mar — Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett today approved a project for a new road for Palestinians that would allow Israel to annex the Ma’aleh Adumim bloc in the E1 zone of the occupied West Bank. The road, which would connect the village of Azzim, near Ma’aleh Adumim, with the villages of Anata, Hizma and Al-Ram, has been termed the “sovereignty road” by Bennett. The defence minister explained that the road would be separate from those used by vehicles with Israeli licence plates and would allow Palestinian traffic to bypass the Ma’aleh Adumim bloc, effectively annexing the area. Bennett called the move the application of “sovereignty in deeds not words”, adding that the project marks the embarkation of “the process of connecting Jerusalem with Ma’aleh Adumim”. “The project will improve the quality of life of the residents in the area, avoid unnecessary friction with the Palestinian population in the area, and most importantly allow for continued settlement construction.” According to US President Trump’s Middle East ‘peace plan’, which was unveiled in January, the road needs to be built to allow the formation of a contiguous Palestinian state and has been defined as a “fabric of life” road, though Palestinian activists have argued that the E1 project destroys any possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state. Peace Now reported that once the road is built, Israel can claim that the construction of illegal settlements in the E1 area does not sever the occupied West Bank or preclude the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state….

Erekat: West Bank E1 road start of annexation and apartheid
Jpost 12 Mar by Tovah Lazaroff — Israel’s intention to build a West Bank road between the E1 area and Jerusalem is the start of its “annexation and apartheid plan,” according to PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat.He tweeted Tuesday about the road project, which Defense Minister Naftali Bennett advanced earlier this week to help enable the construction of 3,500 apartments in an unbuilt area of Ma’aleh Adumim known as E1 …  Palestinians have argued that the road, which separates Israeli and Palestinian vehicular traffic, does not mitigate the harm caused by the E1 project. Israel sees the project as essential to the preservation of a united Jerusalem. Ma’aleh Adumim maintains that construction in the area is critical for the city’s future. Palestinians and the international community have argued that E1 makes their future state noncontiguous and therefore unviable. On Tuesday, Erekat published a map of the project and warned that it would “ultimately prevent Palestinian access from the southern part of the West Bank toward Jericho and the Jordan Valley to the east.”He said east Jerusalem “is one critical area for Palestinian natural growth and economic development. Israel’s entire colonial project on the eastern gateway to Jerusalem will severely impact Palestinian aspirations for a socioeconomically viable capital in Jerusalem.”Erekat and the PA maintain that a two-state solution must be enacted according to the pre-1967 lines, a move that would place east Jerusalem and all of the Ma’aleh Adumim bloc within the boundaries of a Palestinian state….

West Bank house demolished by Israeli forces
BETHLEHEM, Thursday, March 12, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today demolished a Palestinian-owned house in Freidis village, east of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to a local source. Hassan Breijieh, director of the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission in Bethlehem, told WAFA that Israeli forces raided the area and proceeded to demolish the one floor, 130-square-meter house, which belonged to Hazem Abu Muhaimid, under the pretext it was built without Israeli permission. Breijieh added that Israeli forces stormed, searched and wreaked havoc to another house in the same village.

Palestinian family forced to demolish its home in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Friday, March 13, 2020 (WAFA) – A Palestinian family from Shuafat refugee camp in occupied Jerusalem embarked today on demolishing its own home after it was forced to do so by Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem to avoid paying exorbitant costs if the municipality carries out the demolition. Tareq Mohammad Ali said his family and he were forced to demolish their own home at the order of the Israeli High Court, under the pretext it was built without a permit. Ali said he had no option but to embark on the demolition in order to avoid paying unreasonable demolition costs to the Israeli municipality. Palestinians in Jerusalem are forced to build without a permit because getting a building permit is impossible as the right-wing mayor and city council attempt to keep the city’s Palestinian population at a bare minimum, while multiplying its Jewish residents by approving the construction of thousands of new housing units in Jewish settlements. Rights group have argued that almost 75 percent of applications for a permit by the Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem are rejected by the municipality.

Four hundred olive saplings uprooted by Israeli forces in the West Bank
10 Mar by Ali Salam — Israeli forces, on Monday, uprooted hundreds of olive saplings in the Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin, west of Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank, according to a local source. Nidal Manasra, a member of Wadi Fukin village council, told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that Israeli soldiers invaded the village and uprooted about 400 olive saplings planted in land belonging to a local Palestinian resident. One week ago, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Bitar Illit uprooted about 100 olive trees and 60 vine trees in lands [in Husan] belonging to Palestinians. Additionally, Israeli colonialist settlers, on March 1, chopped down 200 grapevines in the al-Khader town, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, bringing the number of uprooted grapevines and olive trees to 780 in three days.

IOF seizes Palestinian construction equipment in al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 10 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday confiscated Palestinian construction equipment in Yatta town south of the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron). Activist Fuad al-Amour said that the IOF stormed a construction site in Birin area in Yatta and seized two excavators. Al-Amour said that some Palestinian citizens were working normally on a site in Yatta when IOF soldiers arbitrarily raided the area and seized their equipment.

Israel to remove tents, animal barns in northern Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY, Sunday, March 8, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation authorities notified today members of a local Palestinian family in Yarza area, in the northern Jordan Valley, to remove their residential tents and animal barns, according to a local official. Mutaz Bsharat, an official in charge of the Jordan Valley’s file in Tubas, said Israeli forces handed a notice ordering members of Abu Thaher family to remove their residential tents and animal barns. Israeli forces demolished in mid-December 2019 and on the 1st of January 2020 tents and animal bars belonging to the same family.


Israel releases senior Hamas leader in West Bank
MEMO 13 Mar — Israeli authorities on Wednesday released a senior member of Hamas, Mazen Jamal Al-Natsheh, to his home in the occupied city of Hebron after he spent three months in administrative detention. Hamas’ Prisoners’ Information Office said in a statement that occupation forces arrested Al-Natsheh in December and transferred him to Ofer Prison. He has previously been detained and had been released four months earlier. The military court in Ofer, the statement added, had issued a four-month administrative detention order against him but released him after three months. Al-Natsheh has been arrested ten times and spent more than 15 years in Israeli jails, 12 under administrative detention without charge or trial.

Israel cancels visits for Palestinian prisoners due to coronavirus
RAMALLAH (PIC) 13 Mar — Israeli occupation authorities on Thursday informed the International Committee of the Red Cross that all family visits for Palestinian detainees would be cancelled next week. The Red Cross said the decision came as part of protective measures against coronavirus.  According to the Red Cross, 19 Palestinian detainees in Ashkelon jail are currently kept in quarantine after they were found to have been in close contact with an Israeli doctor diagnosed with coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Israel Prison Service on Thursday imposed complete lockdown on Palestinian prisoners in al-Maskubiyya detention center amid fears of coronavirus outbreak.

Israeli prison guards attack Palestinian detainees at Ofer jail
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 13 Mar — Israeli prison guards on Thursday afternoon stormed Palestinian prisoners’ cells in Ofer jail and wreaked havoc on them. The Palestinian Prisoner Society said that Israeli guards violently broke into sections 14, 19 and 20 in Ofer in addition to section 13 where Palestinian minors are held. No injuries were reported and no further details were given on the incident. Palestinian detainees in Ofer jail are held under harsh conditions and regularly subjected to arbitrary raids and transfers by the Israel Prison Service.

UPDATE: After serving 18 years in Israeli prisons, Palestinian re-detained the minute of his release
UPDATE: Later reports said Israel has released Odeh on condition he does not enter Jerusalem until the end of this month and not to take part in any activity or demonstration. (Story updated on 2:08 pm local time)
RAMALLAH, Thursday, March 5, 2020 (WAFA) – Israel today re-arrested a Palestinian man as he was getting ready to leave prison after serving 18 years behind bars for resisting the Israeli occupation, according to local sources. Randy Odeh, 39, from Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, was arrested on 7 March 2002 and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was supposed to be released today but as he was getting ready to leave the Naqab prison in the south of Israel, he was re-detained. Odeh was about to get married today immediately upon his release from prison, but it seems the Israeli authorities wanted to sabotage his wedding and his family’s celebration of his release by keeping him in prison on his wedding day, said the sources.


Gaza’s Nusseirat fire claims victim number 16
GAZA, Thursday, March 12, 2020 (WAFA) – Medical sources in Gaza confirmed today that one more person critically wounded in the explosion and fire that broke out at Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip has died of his wounds, bringing the total number of fatalities to 16. It identified the victim as Mohammad al-Shaer, 20, and said he died at Najah Hospital in the northern West Bank city of Nablus where he was transferred for treatment. A large gas tank exploded at a bakery in Nusseirat camp last Thursday, causing a big fire that engulfed the entire area, damaged many buildings and destroyed several vehicles. Ten people were killed immediately and the rest died later of their wounds. At least 56 others were injured, including 14 serious and 8 critical. The rest were moderate or light. Some of the wounded were rushed to hospitals in the West Bank for treatment.

Palestinian kidnapped by IOF on Gaza border
GAZA (PIC) 14 Mar — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday morning kidnapped a Palestinian young man in the east of the central Gaza Strip after he allegedly attempted to cross into Israel. An Israeli satellite channel claimed that Israeli soldiers arrested a young man after he crossed into an Israeli border area from Gaza. The identity of the detained young man is still unknown. Over 126 Palestinian citizens from Gaza had been taken prisoners in 2019 during their attempt to cross the border into Israel or to travel officially through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing.

Israeli gunfire targets areas in east of Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 9 Mar — Flares lit up the sky over the eastern border area of Gaza City on Sunday evening as the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) intensively fired live rounds at agricultural plots of land. According to local sources, the IOF opened fire at cultivated lands in the east of Gaza City, with no known reason, and used flares to light up the sky over the area. A Palestinian observation point in the east of al-Maghazi refugee camp (central Gaza) also came under gunfire attack, with no reported casualties.

Israeli army launches incursion into central Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 9 Mar — Israeli occupation army on Monday morning carried out a limited incursion into border lands east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.  Local sources said that a number of bulldozers, escorted by armed forces, moved a few hundred meters into the eastern side of al-Bureij refugee camp. They added that the Israeli army bulldozers leveled agricultural lands along the border fence before they withdrew from the area.

Israeli navy attacks Palestinian boats off Gaza coast
GAZA, Saturday, March 7, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli navy today attacked Palestinian fishermen’s boats off the northern Gaza coast, reported WAFA correspondent, causing damage but no injuries. The navy opened fire and water hoses at the boats that were sailing only three nautical miles off the coast and forced them to return to shore. One boat was damaged, said WAFA correspondent.

After long months in jail, IOF releases Gazan fisherman
GAZA (PIC) 9 Mar — After 20 months of arbitrary detention, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday evening released Palestinian fisherman Hasan Bakr, a resident of Gaza City. According to Asra Media Office, fisherman Bakr had been kidnapped by Israeli naval forces in August 2018 when he was with four fishermen in Gaza waters. At the time, the naval forces detained all the fishermen for a while but decided to take Bakr prisoner and let the others go.

PHOTOS: Um Ouda’s house: story woven with threads of love and resilience
GAZA  (PIC) 10 Mar — Everything in Um Ouda al-Najjar’s house in the Gaza Strip celebrates Palestinian heritage. Handmade and embroidered works of art are in every corner of the house telling stories of Palestinian love, patience and resilience. For 50 years Um Ouda, who is in her seventies, has practiced traditional embroidery, and later she taught her daughter Suad everything about the profession. Suad, in her turn, added a touch of modernity to her work. Um Ouda’s intricate work uses bright colors and designs and is sewn onto purses, thobes, shawls, sheets, vests and wallets sold at reasonable prices.”I’m the only one in my refugee camp who has practiced traditional embroidery for decades,” Um Ouda said. One of the pieces she is proud of is an embroidered work of al-Aqsa Mosque which she transferred from a painting to a piece of cloth. It took her days, but it was worth it. On why it is one of her favorites, Um Ouda said that she made it in response to a woman who underestimated her embroidery skills.Um Ouda’s work is mainly meant to represent Palestinian heritage. She even still owns an embroidered dress (thobe) from her hometown Qatra from which Palestinians were expelled by Israeli forces in 1948. In the past, embroidery was important for the girls getting married as the bride takes at least 10 embroidered dresses and other pieces of clothes to her new home, Um Ouda recalled …
Influenced by Um Ouda, her mother, and her art, Suad, 48, started to do embroidery when she was 17 years old.  Suad has a Facebook page where she sells her works and receives requests from thousands of customers. Suad has taken part in several exhibitions and events and trained girls and women in the art of embroidery and other related skills in Gaza.

Gaza: Bedouin woman breaks barriers to excel
GAZA CITY, Palestine (Anadolu) 8 Mar by Nesma Siyam — With her example, people ‘started to see things differently,’ encourage children to pursue education, says Huda Abu Khousa — In a secluded Bedouin community in the northern Gaza Strip, women are largely limited to raising children and doing household chores, but one girl got past hurdles and broke down barriers to make her mark. In the Al Juron neighborhood in Jabalia, Huda Abu Khousa decided to buck tradition in a place where most girls lack access to education and even those who do rarely go beyond primary school.
Abu Khousa always believed in herself and was eager to learn and grow. Her attitude caused her to fight and stand up for her rights. In primary school, due to her Bedouin dialect, she felt alienated as her schoolmates had trouble understanding what she was saying. But somehow she finessed her way into communicating with everyone using her charming personality and smarts. She often fought and pleaded with her father and eventually convinced him to allow her to enter preparatory school, but under one condition: every Tuesday she would have to skip school and serve as a shepherd from dawn to sunset. She also had to walk the sheep every day after school while in uniform … Despite these hardships, Abu Khousa always had a smile on her face and was elected class counselor. She comforted students and helped the vulnerable ones who were more likely to drop out of school …
In 2010, her father was diagnosed with cancer, and he and her mother traveled to Egypt for treatment. As the eldest sister, this left Huda in charge of a household of children for nearly two years. But even while bearing this burden, her grandmother encouraged her to go to secondary school. In the midst of preparing for her secondary school exam, another tragedy hit the family. One of her sisters was diagnosed with cancer and Abu Khousa had to accompany her to a hospital in Gaza City. And even though she had next to no chance of going to college, Abu Khousa passed the school exam. Her father, however, refused any further studies and she had to stay at home for an entire year. Around that time, her father lost his battle with brain tumors, but before passing away he approved her request to continue her learning. Abu Khousa’s mother sold her only gold necklace to pay her daughter’s tuition fees. She loved college life and chose to study social work. After her first semester, she was granted a merit scholarship that she maintained until graduation. Abu Khousa stood out in college and graduated at the head of her class with honors …  The 24-year-old now works at an international NGO as a project coordinator after proving herself qualified, and she is committed to women’s empowerment projects….

Other news

Palestine registers four new COVID-19 cases
RAMALLAH, Thursday, March 12, 2020 (WAFA) – Palestine Friday announced four new COVID-19 cases , bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the occupied territories to 35. Government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem announced that the samples of 68 suspected cases were tested at the Health Ministry’s Central Laboratory, and the results showed that four new cases tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The confirmed cases were identified as two girls, aged 21 and 34, and two men, aged 43 and 56, from Bethlehem. All new confirmed cases were placed under home quarantine and had contact with infected cases. All of the 35 cases are in the Bethlehem district, except for one case in Tulkarem. Milhem added that of the 35 confirmed patients, 13 cases are females and 22 others are males and three cases are under 18 years: a 16-year-old teen, a 17-year-old teen and a two-year-old female infant. He noted that since the disease emerged in the occupied territories, the samples of 1,929 suspected cases were tested, 3,663 suspected cases were placed under home quarantine and 38 cases were quarantined at quarantine centers.

Muslims pray in thousands, heed coronavirus warnings at Jerusalem holy site
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 13 Mar — Muslims gathered in smaller-than-usual numbers at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Friday after religious authorities decided to keep Islam’s third holiest site open for prayers but enact health measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Thousands of worshipers, some wearing face masks, were asked to keep their distance from one another as they filed into the Old City compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as the Temple Mount. In Israel 126 cases of the disease have been reported and another 35 in the occupied West Bank. Israel has banned gatherings of more than 100 people and some religious authorities, including the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, have moved to implement crowd controls at places of worship. But the Jordan-appointed council that oversees Islamic sites on Jerusalem’s sacred compound kept it open for Friday prayers, encouraging faithful to congregate on the 35-acre complex’s outdoor grounds rather than inside its covered shrines. “Whoever has this sickness, this virus, needs to keep their distance so it won’t spread. This is an obligation for Muslims,” Sheikh Mohammad Hussein said in his sermon. The Waqf council reassured worshipers in a statement that the entire compound, including its golden Dome of the Rock shrine, was being “sterilized continuously”.

Ramallah restaurants can deliver food, but not serve it, says governor
RAMALLAH, Wednesday, March 11, 2020 (WAFA) – Ramallah restaurants can deliver food to customers but not serve it at the restaurant, today said Ramallah Governor Laila Ghannam. The governor had yesterday ordered all city restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, parks and any place where people gather to shut down in an effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak. She said in a press statement that restaurants can resume work but only to deliver food, stressing that gathering of crowds remains forbidden for the time being. Government staff will go around to make sure that the restaurants abide by this decision, otherwise violators will be prosecuted according to the law. Ghannam said this exception applies only to restaurants and that all other city facilities, including its trendy coffee shops, will remain closed.

As a precaution, Ramallah city sterilizes mosques, churches, and homes for the elderly
RAMALLAH, Saturday, March 7, 2020 (WAFA) – As part of its effort to combat the deadly coronavirus disease, the Ramallah municipality decided following an emergency meeting to take preventive measure starting with sterilization of a number of the city’s institutions as per the priority plan set by the municipality. According to this plan, all places of Muslim and Christian worship as well as Ramallah City Hall in all its sections will be sterilized in the first stage, which will be followed by sterilization of homes of the elderly, societies and municipal facilities, and then waste containers and their environs and waste transport vehicles. Ramallah Mayor Mousa Hadid said these measures were necessary in order to secure the safety of the city’s population and visitors. The Ramallah municipality decided as well to postpone all activities it has organized and scheduled for March, close many facilities including the Tourist Information Center, the Recreational Complex, the Cultural Palace, the Old City Hall, the municipal theater and all public parks.

Bethlehem responds to coronavirus ‘the Palestinian way’ – with sweets and song
BETHLEHEM (MEE) 9 Mar by Akram Al-Waara — Nestled between the sloping hills of Beit Jala, the sister town of Bethlehem, is the Angel Hotel – the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic in the occupied West Bank city. The hotel is “ground zero” for the city’s outbreak, after seven of its staff members were diagnosed with coronavirus, which they caught after coming into contact with a group of Greek tourists who stayed at the hotel. Since the first seven cases were announced on 5 March, the number of confirmed patients has risen to 20, all of whom are Palestinian residents of Bethlehem …  Of the 20 cases, 16 were being quarantined in the Angel Hotel, along with 15 American tourists who are believed to have come into contact with those carrying the virus according to the PA …
Palestinian hospitality takes over — Photos of pastries, fruit smoothies and traditional Palestinian dishes flood the Facebook page of Phyllis McDuffie Creel, one of the Americans under quarantine at the Angel Hotel. Creel travelled to Bethlehem as part of a mission trip with her Alabama-based church group, which stayed at the hotel for the duration of their stay in Bethlehem. But on the morning the 13-people group was supposed to leave, it was ordered to stay for a 14-day quarantine at the hotel to ensure none of them were infected. The visitors, however, have looked on the bright side. Since the hotel was closed off on Thursday, local Palestinian restaurants and residents have been flooding it with medical supplies, personal hygiene products, and most importantly, food. “Amazing community! These 13 Americans love all of you!” Creel said in one of many posts on Facebook praising the local community for their hospitality towards those quarantined at the hotel….

PA arrests 4 for spreading fake news on coronavirus
MEMO 11 Mar — The Palestinian Authority (PA) has arrested two residents accused of spreading fake news about the coronavirus in the West Bank. The pair are suspected of recording an audio message announcing the discovery of new cases of the virus in the occupied city of Hebron. A third Palestinian has been arrested for posting a fake comment on Facebook which claimed that 12 new cases had been detected in Nablus. Another was arrested in Bethlehem for claiming their regions have been heavily infected by the coronavirus. Commander of the PA Police in Bethlehem said that “Rumours are a lethal weapon that affects the morale of the people”, adding that the PA, security forces have instructions to arrest anyone who spreads rumours about the spread of coronavirus that may cause a state of panic among the population. Bethlehem has witnessed the largest outbreak in the occupied West Bank, with the city’s Angel Hotel under quarantine. The city has reported 28 of Palestine’s 30 cases….

Rights group: Israel fails to provide real-time coronavirus updates in Arabic for Palestinian citizens of Israel
HAIFA, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 (WAFA) – Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent an urgent letter to Israeli Health Ministry officials on Sunday on behalf of Arab lawmaker Sami Abu Shehadeh (Balad/Joint List) demanding that the ministry provide all real-time coronavirus-related updates and information also in Arabic. Palestinian citizens of Israel constitute approximately 20 percent of the country’s total population, according to 2019 data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics. Adalah and member of the Israeli parliament, Knesset, Abu Shehadeh, in the urgent letter addressed to Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, demand that all information and directives relating to coronavirus be immediately made accessible to the Arabic-speaking public on all its communications platforms, social media, and smartphone apps. An examination of the Israeli Health Ministry’s website revealed that ongoing updates related to coronavirus are being issued only in Hebrew; Arabic-language updates are issued only after significant delays. In addition, the ministry’s social media posts and smartphone app are accessible only in Hebrew.  Adalah Attorney Aiah Haj Odeh stressed in the letter that Israel’s failure to provide up-to-date virus-related information in Arabic not only violates the right to equality but also constitutes an immediate danger to public health …
Adalah said later today that over the past several hours there has been an increased effort on the part of the Israeli Health Ministry to retroactively supply Arabic-language information on coronavirus. Adalah Attorney Aiah Haj Odeh emphasized, however, that the information is not transmitted in real time and it is still missing essential details, including the latest guidelines for individuals required to remain in quarantine. In addition, Adalah stressed that there is still no information in Arabic on Health Ministry social media platforms and the ministry’s coronavirus app is not offered in Arabic….

UK donates $100,000 to help Palestinians tackle coronavirus outbreak
MEMO 12 Mar — The United Kingdom has granted Palestine $100,000 to help combat the novel coronavirus as the number of those affected by the disease continues to climb, reported Wafa news agency. The money would go to the World Health Organisation’s operations in the occupied Palestinian territories “to accelerate its response to coronavirus in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to ensure early detection and case management of suspected Covid19 cases,” said UK Consulate General in Jerusalem. It comes as the Palestinian Health Ministry announced a state of emergency last week in the occupied West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Jericho over suspected coronavirus cases.
The number of confirmed cases had risen to 29 in Palestine on Tuesday, and all of the confirmed cases were reportedly being held in quarantine, except for one who was reportedly being held in a hospital after his health deteriorated, according to Mondoweiss. Across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, 2,900 Palestinians were being held in self-quarantine – six of them in Jerusalem, and 605 people in Gaza after they returned from performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Palestinian and Jordanian authorities have been considering the closure of the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge, which spans the Jordan River and connects the occupied West Bank with Jordan. The Times of Israel reported that while the border was still open to Palestinians traveling to and from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Jordanian government had decided to close the border to any non-Palestinians. Schools, universities, cafes, gyms and sports facilities are closed indefinitely with religious and sporting events suspended or postponed in Ramallah.

Palestine hails Qatar’s assistance in face of coronavirus
MEMO 9 Mar — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today thanked Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani for providing “$10 million in urgent assistance in the face of the coronavirus”. The head of Qatar’s General Authority of Civil Affairs, Hussein Al-Sheikh, recently said that his country would provide the Palestinian Authority (PA) with “supplies for prevention from the coronavirus outbreak”. “The State of Qatar has decided to expedite the urgent provision of medical equipment and devices to Palestine to confront the coronavirus,” Al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter.

Coronavirus: Jordan closes borders with occupied West Bank, Egypt, and Iraq
MEE 10 Mar — Jordan has announced the closure of its borders with the occupied West Bank, Egypt and Iraq, and barred travel to Lebanon and Syria in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Jordanian authorities shut down a border crossing with the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, barring Palestinians from entering the kingdom. So far, Jordan has recorded one case of Covid-19, while neighbouring Israel and Palestine have documented 58 and 26 cases. Most of the cases in the occupied territories involve individuals returning from abroad or tourists visiting the holy city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank….

Four women at forefront of Israel’s Arab political surge
Nazareth (Israel) (AFP) 13 Mar — Newly elected Israeli MP Iman al-Khatib, greeting supporters in Nazareth, shook hands with women but tapped her heart with her right hand for men. The gestures signaled the Muslim identity of the woman who is about to become Israel’s first hijab-wearing MP and part of a group of Arab women poised to expand their voice in Israel’s male-dominated politics. All major parties in the Jewish state are led by men, with women making up only 25 percent of lawmakers in the Knesset, or parliament. But in March 2 elections, one party managed to double its female representation, albeit from a low base. The predominantly Arab Joint List won 15 of the Knesset’s 120-seats, the alliance’s best-ever performance and up from 13 during stalemate election last September. The List also counts four women among its incoming MPs, up from two in September. Khatib will be part of the Knesset’s largest ever contingent of Arab women, including three Joint List colleagues and a Druze woman from the centrist Blue and White party. The List draws most of its support from Israel’s roughly 20-percent Arab minority — who have Israeli citizenship but are Palestinian by heritage … “Do not make the veil a barrier. Look at the capabilities of the veil’s wearer — their ethics, work, skills and attitudes,” said Khatib, a 54-year-old mother of four. There are “religious Jewish women in the Knesset”, she added. “We didn’t hear any comment about them.” “We must deal with people first as human beings.” Like other Arab-Israeli MPs, Khatib speaks fluent Hebrew. She studied social services at Tel Aviv University, specialising in women’s support. In parliament, she wants to tackle issues ranging from violence in Arab neighbourhoods to poverty and housing….

In change, US describes East Jerusalem Palestinians as ‘Arab residents’
JERUSALEM, March 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department changed its standard description of East Jerusalem Palestinians from “Palestinian residents” of the city to “Arab residents” or “non-Israeli citizens” in an annual global human rights report released on Wednesday. The overwhelming majority of East Jerusalem’s more than 340,000 Palestinians identify as such. The Palestinians have long sought the city’s east, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognized internationally, as capital of a future state. Palestinians in Jerusalem hold Israeli residency permits but few have citizenship in Israel, which considers the entire holy city as its eternal, undivided capital. Jerusalem is also home to more than 500,000 Israelis. The change in U.S. terminology comes amid increased wrangling over the contested city following the release of President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, which says Jerusalem should “remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel” under any Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. State Department reports on human rights practices from 2018 and 2019 referred to East Jerusalem Palestinians as “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem” in sections on civil judicial procedures, discrimination and freedom of movement. Those same sections in the 2020 report referred to Palestinians as “Arab residents” or “non-Israeli citizens”.
Palestinian leaders criticized the change. “Palestinian Jerusalemites are Palestinians, and they’ve been living there for centuries,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation official who herself holds a Jerusalem residency permit. “Just to decide this, to eradicate their identity and history and culture and rename them at will, is not only preposterous, it’s unconscionable,” Ashrawi said.

UK lawyers for Israel: Palestinian children’s rights NGO does not have links to terror groups
MEMO 12 Mar — UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), an activist organisation which focuses on attacking supporters of Palestinian human rights, has settled out of court in a case brought forward after it alleged children’s rights NGO, Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), had close links to terror groups. The news comes as DCIP reached a settlement in a defamation case against UKLFI.  On its website, UKLFI stated: “In 2018 we wrote about Defence for Children International – Palestine and referred to links between some past board members and a designated terrorist organisation, the PFLP. We would like to clarify that we did not intend to suggest that the organisation has close current links, or provides any financial or material support to any terrorist organisation.”  In a press release issued shortly after news broke of the settlement, DCIP noted that UKLFI has been targeting DCIP since 2018 “through a well-orchestrated political and media misinformation campaign aimed at isolating it, seriously harming its reputation and integrity as a human rights organisation, and preventing it from receiving charitable donations or raising funds.”….

Report: 110 Palestinian women held in Syria prisons, 34  tortured to death
MEMO 10 Mar — The Syrian regime has been holding 110 Palestinian women in secret detention throughout its vast prison network, with a large number of them tortured to death, a human rights organisation has found. The London-based organisation Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) revealed that in addition to at least 486 Palestinian women who have been pronounced dead since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, 110 others have been secretly detained by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and at least 34 have been tortured to death within its prisons. The group has stated that it believes the number of Palestinian women who have been killed overall throughout the war are much higher than is officially acknowledged, as the regime has reportedly kept their names secret and left their cases undocumented, as well as the fact that many families of the victims refuse to reveal their relatives’ names out of fear of retaliation by the regime …  Nine years into the conflict and up to January this year, AGPS has reported that 4,013 Palestinians in Syria have been killed so far.

Palestine advocate barred from Germany over anti-Semitism claims
MEMO 12 Mar — Palestinian-Canadian journalist Khaled Barakat has been barred from entering Germany for four years over concerns his Palestinian advocacy is anti-Semitic. Barakat has been denied a renewal of his residency permit, though he has not been living in the country since August 2019. In a 24-page statement, German police said Barakat “constitutes a security risk” because “his beliefs and continuous talking about liberating Palestine from the river to the sea… working on a strategy to liberate Palestine” and “insisting that ‘Israel’ has no right to exist” is anti-Semitic. The German authorities have added that the decision was taken because Barakat’s rhetoric influences the beliefs of Arabs within the country and the rest of Europe. The activist and his lawyer are expected to challenge the order in an appeal. Barakat has previously faced prosecution over his support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS), which the German authorities have deemed is anti-Semitic. …  In recent years, German music festivals have banned or cancelled international artists who refuse to denounce the BDS campaign….

Hamas condemns ‘oppressive’ trials of Palestinian in Saudi Arabia
MEMO 10 Mar — Hamas yesterday condemned the “oppressive” and “void” trials of Palestinians imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, a statement said. “With great sorrow and regret Hamas followed up the unfair trials and false charges filed by the Saudi authorities against a number of Palestinians, who have never committed any felony, offence or crime,” the statement said. “According to the Saudi State Security, they are guilty because of their support for the Palestine cause and defence of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The statement continued: “Hamas vehemently condemns the detention of Palestinians and a number of noble Arabs and calls for their immediate release.” On Sunday, Saudi Arabia held the first hearing for 68 Palestinians and Jordanians held in its prisons and accused them of “supporting and funding terror”, as well as “affiliation to a terror entity”.

Pakistan offers 50 scholarship for Palestinian students
MEMO 10 Mar — Pakistan’s Minister of Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has offered 50 scholarships for Palestinian students to study in Pakistani universities within the ministry’s remit. Hussain made the offer to Palestine’s Ambassador to Pakistan Ahmed Rabei in a meeting in Islamabad today. In return, Rabei pledged five million Palestinian olive saplings to Pakistan in support of the country’s tree plantation campaign. Rabei noted that some 50,000 Palestinian students have already graduated from educational institutions in Pakistan and used the skills to contribute to the development of Palestine. For the 2019-2020 academic year, Pakistani universities, including the University of Lahore, offered five-year scholarships to students specialising in medicine, pharmacy, or dentistry with a score of 80 per cent or higher in school leaver exams. Pakistan’s science and technology minister, Hussain, added that the entire nation remains in solidarity with the Muslims of Palestine….

Israel’s arms exports over past four years at highest ever
JPost 11 Mar by Anna Ahronheim — Israel’s arms exports over the past four years were the highest ever, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.From 2015-2019, Israeli arms exports accounted for 3% of the global total, the report said. Israel was the world’s eighth-largest arms supplier, and its arms exports were 77% higher than in 2010-2014, SIPRI said. The top three buyers of Israeli arms were India (45% of the total amount), Azerbaijan (17%) and Vietnam (8.5%). The top three arms suppliers to Israel were the US (78%), Germany (16%) and Italy (6.2%).Israel’s military spending was $15.9 billion in 2018, a small increase of 0.7% compared with 2017. “After a peak in 2015 – related to military operations in 2014 in the Gaza Strip – Israeli military expenditure decreased by 13% in 2016 and by 1.0% in 2017,” the report said …  The US was the top arms exporter in the world, delivering air-defense systems, armored vehicles, missiles and satellites, among other materiel, to 96 countries. American arms exports to the Middle East increased 79% over the last decade and in 2015-2019 accounted for 51% of total US arms exports, the report said…. (listserv)

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Of course, israelis have special dispensation…from god and Trump.