israel’s war on Palestine’s food supplies: Israeli Planes Spray Herbicides Inside Gaza for the Fourth Time This Year

Destroying Palestinian Agriculture? Israeli Planes Spray Herbicides Inside Gaza for the Fourth Time This Year

SEE ALSO https://uprootedpalestinians.wordpress.com/?s=war+on+palestine%27s+food+supplies

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Israeli planes have been reported spraying herbicides over land inside the Gaza Strip on four occasions in 2017, including twice in the last two days.

Israeli planes sprayed herbicides inside the Gaza Strip for the second day running on Wednesday and the fourth time this year, according to local farmers and Israeli rights NGO Gisha. A video published on Wednesday, allegedly of the crop-dusting, shows a plane flying low and spraying over farmland.

Palestinians who reported the incident said that the planes had dusted near the Gaza border fence, and the Gaza Ministry of Agriculture is investigating the extent of the damage from the herbicides sprayed over the last two days. Around 840 acres of crops were damaged during the last round of spraying in January 2017, according to Gisha.

https://web.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.facebook.com%2Fgisha.eng%2Fvideos%2F1365573953528960%2F&show_text=0&width=400

The dusting of Palestinian-owned farmland inside the Gaza Strip did not begin this year. As +972 reported at the time, Israeli planes sprayed herbicides over vegetation in Gaza for several consecutive days in December 2015, damaging over 400 acres of crops.

The IDF confirmed to +972 that it was responsible for spraying the farmland, but didn’t elaborate as to why, beyond the amorphous designation of “security operations.” A number of Palestinian farmers have since demanded compensation from the State of Israel.

Israeli planes have returned to spray herbicides numerous times since the end of 2015. The government, meanwhile, has contradicted itself over the area it claims to have targeted: despite the IDF’s confirmation to +972, and later to Gisha, that it had sprayed herbicides inside the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Ministry of Defense later claimed in a court hearing on the issue that the work had been carried out by private companies — and only on Israeli territory.

Palestinian children take pictures of each other in the no-go zone near Erez crossing, during the weekly demonstration against the occupation in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, February 7, 2012. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinian children take pictures of each other in the no-go zone near Erez crossing, during the weekly demonstration against the occupation in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, February 7, 2012. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Since 2000, Israel has maintained a no-go area inside the Gaza border fence — formally referred to as the “Access-Restricted Area” (ARA) — which currently reaches 300 meters inside Gazan territory. The army enforces this buffer zone with everything from “less-lethal” weapons to live ammunition and tank fire, making it a particularly deadly stretch of land. Israeli bulldozers also reportedly enter the Gaza Strip on a regular basis to level land inside the ARA.

Farmers and scrap collectors who venture near the border are frequently targeted by Israeli sniper fire, including those who were apparently well outside the buffer zone. Most recently, a 15-year-old Palestinian, Yousef Shaaban Abu Athra, was killed when an IDF tank opened fire at him and two companions, who were wounded. The army claimed that the three had been acting suspiciously.

In addition to the land buffer zone, Israel restricts Palestinians to fishing within six nautical miles of the Gaza coast, and the navy regularly opens fire on fishermen who are deemed to have ventured further away from the shoreline.

This year marks a decade since the start of Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip. Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters, as well as all of its land crossings save for Rafah, which is controlled by Egypt and closed on all but the rarest of occasions. Gaza’s exports and imports are also controlled by Israel, as is the movement of people — residents and otherwise — in and out of the enclave.

At the time of writing, the IDF Spokesperson had yet to respond to a request for comment on the latest incident of crop-spraying. Should a response be received, it will be included here.

israel’s war on Palestine’s food supplies, how israel worsened a farm crisis in Gaza

How Israel worsened a farm crisis in Gaza

Israeli import restrictions on a vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease has harmed efforts to control an outbreak in Gaza. Eyad Al Baba APA images

Israel stands accused of worsening a crisis in Gaza’s livestock sector.

Earlier this year, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in Gaza. For 17 days, Israel blocked the entry of vaccines required to prevent the virus from spreading, according to Gaza’s veterinary services.

The delay hampered efforts to deal with the outbreak.

By obstructing the delivery, Israel appeared to renege on its own commitments.

In February, the Israeli agriculture ministry announced that it would provide 30,000 doses of a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine to the Palestinian Authority. The provision of these vaccines was presented as a response to the outbreak.

The announcement was made after it was confirmed that cattle had been diagnosed with the disease at an Israeli kibbutz close to the boundary with Gaza. The Palestinian Authority had not informed Israel about how the disease “started its circulation” in Gaza several weeks previously, a statement by the Israeli agriculture ministry claimed.

Hassan Azam, director of the veterinary services administration in Gaza, said last month that most sheep and goats in the territory have been vaccinated, but decried the lack of Israeli response to the ongoing need for vaccines.

He advised The Electronic Intifada on 7 April that a further 102,000 doses are still required for ongoing safety throughout the year – 72,000 for sheep and 30,000 for cows.

The outbreak had harsh consequences for Waleed Abdeen, a farmer in the Khan Younis area of Gaza.

Around 40 of his 400 cows died in the two days following the outbreak.

Paying extra bills for veterinary medicines caused him many problems. “I am on my way to bankruptcy,” he said.

“Big disaster”

The strain of the virus detected recently is known as SAT2, according to Zakaria al-Kafarna, a Gaza-based veterinarian. It is transmitted via the saliva of infected animals.

Foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious, particularly affecting animals with cloven hooves. While it rarely crosses over to humans, the disease can cause severe economic losses for farmers.

Failure to acquire more vaccines will be a “big disaster,” al-Kafarna said.

Another Gaza-based veterinarian, Muhammad Abu Shaweesh, said that there is a strong likelihood that the virus was spread through the transport of live animals from the Nile Delta, through the Sinai in Egypt, and then into Gaza.

Similar observations were made by the Food and Agriculture Organization, an international body, when an outbreak of the SAT2 virus occurred in Gaza during 2012.

“Blocking the source is the first step” towards dealing with an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, Abu Shaweesh said.

The SAT2 virus was first detected among Egyptian livestock in 1950. Egypt has grappled with a series of outbreaks since then.

Tracing the entry of animals into Gaza has been complicated by the siege which Israel has imposed on Gaza – with Egyptian assistance – for the past decade.

Blockade

The crossing for people and goods at Rafah – on Gaza’s border with Egypt – has frequently been closed because of that blockade. The commercial crossing at Rafah was only opened for three days throughout the month of February.

The siege has forced many people in Gaza to rely on the smuggling of goods via underground tunnels.

Ahmad Nofal lost 30 of his 120 cows because of the recent outbreak.

He is among the farmers in Gaza who believes that the unregulated trade in livestock is the outbreak’s main cause. The agriculture ministry in Gaza inspects animals imported through what Nofal called the “official channels.” Yet animals smuggled into Gaza without the knowledge of the local administration do not undergo health checks, he said.

“The tunnels are the cause,” he added. “The Egyptian cattle entered Gaza through the tunnels and brought the disease with them. They destroyed our farms.”

Sarah Algherbawi is a freelance writer and translator from Gaza.

Hezbollah Denounces Sinful Crime of Assassinating Palestinian Mujahid Mazen Faqha

March 25, 2017

Hezbollah flag

In a statement, Hezbollah hostile spirit of the Zionist evident is evident in the crime and stressed the inevitability of the continuation of the fight against the usurper enemy till expelling it from “our occupied land”.

Offering congratulations and condolences to the Palestinians, Hamas movement and the family of the martyr over Faqha’s assassination, Hezbollah called on punishing all the culprits so that no one dares to undermine the resistance and the mujahideen in the context of serving the interests of the Zionist enemy.

Hamas official, Mazen Faqha, who was freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with the Zionist entity, was assassinated on Friday with four bullets being shot to his head.

Faqha was released along with more than 1,000 other Palestinians in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli occupation soldier Hamas had detained for five years.

Source: Hezbollah Media Relations

Gaza: Freed Detainee Mazen Faqha Assassinated with Four Bullets in his Head

Mazen_Faqha

Hamas official, Mazen Faqha, who was freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with the Zionist entity, was assassinated on Friday with four bullets being shot to his head.

Faqha was released along with more than 1,000 other Palestinians in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli occupation soldier Hamas had detained for five years.

Iyad al-Bozum, an interior ministry spokesman in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, said that gunmen opened fire on Faqha in the Tell al-Hama neighborhood.

“An investigation has been launched,” he said, giving no further details.

Faqha was a senior Hamas official in the Israeli-occupied West Bank but after his release the occupation authorities transferred him to Gaza.

Source: AFP

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How israel’s IDF justifies its mass killing

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A Palestinian family sits in their destroyed home in Gaza City, which was attacked by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge, September 2014. Photo by Anne Paq / Activestills.org

Illegitimate Targets on Both Sides of Israel’s Border

The onslaughts on Gaza have introduced to our world three terms that have no right to exist: proportionate killing, collateral damage and target bank.

Amira Hass, Haaretz premium
March 03, 2017

Is it proportionate to bomb the town of Kochav Ya’ir, where top commanders and political officials live, when its residents are asleep or eating dinner with their families? That’s a horrid question that has no right to be asked. But Israel long ago gave an affirmative answer to the general question: Is it proportionate to crush neighbourhoods and bomb homes with entire families in them – children, elderly people, women and babies?

Yes, Israel has said, with its bombing of Gaza and Lebanon. It’s proportionate because we also killed – or meant to kill – military commanders and activists, and senior political officials in Palestinian and Lebanese organizations.

Here’s what the military prosecution wrote about one of the many attacks that killed civilians during the Gaza offensive in the summer of 2014:

“The attack was aimed at … a senior commander, equivalent to deputy brigade commander, in the Palestinian terror organization Islamic Jihad …. In the process of planning the attack, it was estimated that a number of civilians might be found in the structure, and that the extent of harm to civilians would not be excessive relative to the significant military advantage expected to be achieved as the result of the attack …. In retrospect, the target of the attack was seriously wounded and [another two Islamic Jihad operatives] were killed along with four civilians.

“The attack was in line with the principle of proportionality, because when the decision was made to attack it was estimated that the expected collateral damage would not be excessive relative to the military advantage that was expected to be received …. A specific warning before the attack to the occupants of the structure where the target was present, or to the occupants of adjacent structures, was not legally required, and could be expected to frustrate the purpose of the attack.”

These terms have become axiomatic beyond question or reflection. How would these axioms work if we sketched out the target bank in the opposite direction?

Every home where there’s an Israeli soldier or reservist would be a legitimate target for bombing; the civilians harmed would be collateral damage. Every bank in Israel would be a target because Israeli ministers and generals have  accounts there.
The neighbours of the police station on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street ought to move because Shin Bet security service officers operate there regularly and the missile might miss and hit a nearby school. Military bases and Shin Bet centres in the heart of civilian neighbourhoods – at the Kirya in Tel Aviv, in the Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Gilo and Neveh Yaakov, or at the Binyamin Division headquarters near the settlement of Beit El – condemn the neighbours to a proportionate death.

Sheba Medical Centre must be evacuated of all its patients because of the army induction centre at Tel Hashomer; all the university laboratories and high-tech companies should be evacuated because of their links to the arms industry, while the lives of the children of Elbit and Rafael employees are also at collateral risk because their parents help develop weapons that our imagination cannot grasp.

This sounds horrifying, and rightly so. But because this mirror-image monstrous script looks completely imaginary, the horror fades immediately. Surprisingly, the state comptroller criticized the fact that no effort was made to find a diplomatic alternative to the war, but most Israelis only think inside the box, a bloody box. They seek ways to streamline the box, not break it and replace it.

Our wars are a continuation of our policy to deny others their rights. Those who scoffed at Palestinian diplomacy seeking an independent state alongside Israel got boycotts, sanctions and divestment. Those who didn’t listen to the logic of generations of Palestinian popular resistance are paying the price of Qassam rockets, attack tunnels and the fear of suicide bombings. Those who set up the prison that is Gaza got Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ new head in the enclave.

It’s true, our doctrines of repression work − as a proven recipe for escalation. They set the criteria for defining us, Israelis, as “collateral damage” in the eyes of those humiliated by our multifaceted violence.

 

When «Israel» «Discovers» that Aoun is an Enemy!

Yehya Dboukk

Following the publication of “Israel’s” “State Comptroller” report on the 2014 Gaza war, the “Israeli” media exploded with talk about Lebanon in order to “immune” the morale of the public and send enticing messages against the [Lebanese] President General Michel Aoun as well as the Lebanese army.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun

It was a “Lebanese Day” par excellence in the Hebrew-language media. There was a “throng” of reports and analysis about the coming war and its potential achievements as well as analysis on the condition of Hezbollah and its “moral crisis”. Meanwhile, “resentment” against the stance of the Lebanese army and the President of the Republic General Michel Aoun towards “Israel” and the likelihood of its aggression – pointing out that they are enemies of “Israel” and will confront it alongside the resistance should it [“Israel”] wage a war against Lebanon- took over.

During the long “Lebanese Day”, “Israelis” returned to their warnings of Hezbollah’s military capabilities, its tunnels at the border, the potential infiltration of its fighters toward “Israeli” sites and settlements, with the involvement of North Korean expertise, equipment, and troops in assisting Hezbollah dig the tunnels. This was confronted with a display of “Israel’s” military capabilities. “Israeli” army sources asserted that they would decide the outcome of the battle if it broke out on land by facilitating the entry of military brigades into Lebanon to accomplish the task quickly.

Thus, these are wholesale “Israeli” messages to the Lebanese side – state, army and resistance. But they are also, mainly, internal reassurance messages to the “Israelis”, re-emphasizing the “might” of the enemy and its army’s abilities after the “setback-scandal” following the publication of the State Comptroller report on the causes of the failures during the 2014 Gaza war. This proved the weakness of the army, the military commanders, politicians, plans and strategies, and more specifically, the weakness of its intelligence on the capabilities of the resistance and its level of preparedness.

The State Comptroller report had a negative effect on the view of Hamas and the resistance factions in the Gaza Strip regarding “Israel’s” capabilities, intelligence, poor political decisions and their military implementation. Yet the greatest threat, by far, is Hezbollah’s view of the report and the possibility of Hezbollah using it as a foundation. As Yedioth Ahronoth [Ynetnews] indicated yesterday, “what the State Comptroller report showed concerning the inability to develop a strategy in confronting Gaza, [holds] a broader range and more inclusive danger, which are Hezbollah’s military threats -no discussion or debate needed on this point. But “Israel” wants to show [the Secretary General of Hezbollah his Eminence Sayyed Hassan] Nasrallah is in crisis.”

“Israel” wants to claim that the 2014 failure does not necessarily extend to the Lebanese front.

To sum up, the State Comptroller report revealed the failures of “Israel” and its army and intelligence. But the “Israeli” reaction centered on the northern border and an attempt to prevent Hezbollah using this failure as a foundations and building on it. This is the goal of the long “Lebanese Day”.

Aoun is “Israel’s” Enemy

President Michel Aoun’s recent statements against “Israel” and his emphasis on his previous positions toward the resistance and the need to confront the aggression should “Israel” risk and initiate it shocked Tel Aviv. The “Israelis”, as others inside and outside of Lebanon, bet that Aoun would change his stances, at the very least, soften his tone in line with his new position as president. “Israel”, as others, made bad calculations.

Reports not only attacked Aoun’s stances but also attacked him personally in accordance with the size of the shock. The shock was expressed by senior military officials in “Israel”. A senior military source [a Jewish radio station] “discovered” that the Lebanese President is collaborating with Hezbollah, and that he expressed his support for it, pointing out that Aoun’s Lebanese army will fight alongside Hezbollah, as an important “Israeli” enemy in the event of another war with “Israel” on the northern front. Other high-level security sources warned in an interview with the “Maariv” newspaper that the Lebanese army has grown in recent years and is now capable of conducting combat operations – air, land and sea – including those that enable it to harm the “Israeli” army. They also warned that “the threat posed by the Lebanese army is based on its military growth and the closeness of its high commander, Michel Aoun, to the Hezbollah movement.”

“Gulf Media” in Hebrew

A few days ago, the “Israeli” military allowed examined excerpts from a statement by the Chief of Staff of the “Israeli” army, Gadi Eizenkot, to be broadcast. Eizenkot’s statement is related to his review of the situation along the northern front [Lebanon and Syria]. However, the bulk of his speech was censored. One of the most important of these extracts was related to what he called Hezbollah’s “moral crisis” as well as “financial difficulties”. Due to these two factors, Hezbollah does not aspire to initiate a war against “Israel”. Echoing Eizenkot, the head of the Military Intelligence Division, Hrtse Halevy – who went too far in his estimates employing reports by Hezbollah’s opponents inside and outside Lebanon – said that Hezbollah does not pay its members’ salaries, and that members are leaving the party ranks to migrate, while Hezbollah’s base is resentful of its military intervention in Syria. Also, its troops are suffering from old age, with some as old as 60, because its young members are fleeing and emigrating.

Yesterday, Haaretz re-molded Eizenkot’s and Halevy’s statements into an “analysis report” on Hezbollah’s “crisis”. The report, cloned into Hebrew from Gulf media publications and its fabrication about Hezbollah, came almost without editing: a nearly full translation by the Arab affairs commentator in the newspaper, Zvi Bar’el.

Hezbollah’s Tunnels

The newspaper “”Israel” Today” published a report yesterday titled “Hezbollah’s Tunnels”. It is an attempt to emphasize that the most important failure in the Gaza Strip in 2014 does not necessarily extend to the Lebanese front. In an interview with Major General Yossi Langotsky, who served as a former adviser to the Chief of Staff on the subject of fighting against tunnels, stressed that “the threat of Hezbollah’s tunnels is a real threat”, revealing that he was summoned twice in the past year to meet Eizenkot, to review that threat.

Langotsky as well as other “Israeli” experts point out that Hezbollah possesses the ability to dig tunnels. That is what the “Israeli” army observed in the 2006 war “as part of a full Hezbollah combat system in southern Lebanon”. He added that “precedents confirm North Korea’s involvement. Yes, Hezbollah receives extensive Iranian support, but also North Korea helped Hezbollah in building military infrastructure which includes tunnels used as caches of military bases and storage sites in southern Lebanon.”

According to Langotsky, “there is a degree of simplicity in digging the tunnels. They are an effective way to ensure the element of surprise on the enemy, and they are able to wreak havoc on our side. Hezbollah is aware that we have not yet come up with complete solutions in the south [Gaza], which lures it to challenge us north with these tunnels.” Langotsky concludes the following result: “The ‘Israeli’ army is taking this seriously. It does not ignore the possibility that Hezbollah might dig, or has dug, tunnels in the north, the same way North Korea has done with its neighbor South Korea.”

War and Decisiveness

The task of the “Israeli” website “Walla” yesterday was to review the “Israeli” strength and confirm “victory and decisiveness” in the coming war against Hezbollah. The new commander of the northern region, Maj. Gen. Joel Strike, announced this victory three days ago along with a bleak picture related to the war and confrontation with Hezbollah. “Walla” quotes Eizenkot as saying that the “Israeli” army will not neglect ground maneuvers in the coming war. “With the start of any battle, if it erupted, we will activate ground maneuvers with the maximum number of troops and in the least possible time. It is necessary to achieve a decisive victory in the battle.” “Walla” adds that the chief of staff was clear in his words: “The ‘Israeli’ army would not only be content with launching aerial attacks in the coming battles, it will not give up ground maneuvers.”

The long “Lebanese Day” as reported yesterday in the Hebrew-language media, focuses on three trends: an “Israeli” effort to reduce the repercussions of the State Comptroller report related to Hezbollah following revelations of failures and the readiness to attack the Gaza Strip, pointing to the differences in the capabilities of the resistance along the two fronts. Secondly it attempts to support and empower deterrence in confronting Hezbollah, after the setback of the report. There is no “Israeli” deterrence without accurate intelligence information. If this information is incomplete, at least concerning Gaza, than the information concerning Lebanon should be accurate. The third trend is an emphasis inside “Israel”. Following the review of the offensive intent and capability, the failure of 2014 does not necessarily mean withdrawal along the Lebanese front. This is a message of reassurance for the “Israelis”.

Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by website team

06-03-2017 | 12:01

Theresa May wants British people to feel ‘pride’ in the Balfour Declaration

Source

By Robert Fisk

Balfour initiated a policy of British support for Israel which continues to this very day, to the detriment of the occupied Palestinians of the West Bank and the five million Palestinian refugees living largely in warrens of poverty around the Middle East, including Israeli-besieged Gaza. Surely we should apologise

Theresa May told us that Britain will celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration this summer with “pride”. This was predictable. A British prime minister who would fawn to the head-chopping Arab autocrats of the Gulf in the hope of selling them more missiles – and then hold the hand of the insane new anti-Muslim president of the United States – was bound, I suppose, to feel “pride” in the most mendacious, deceitful and hypocritical document in modern British history.

As a woman who has set her heart against immigrants, it was also inevitable that May would display her most venal characteristics to foreigners – to wealthy Arab potentates, and to an American president whose momentary love of Britain might produce a life-saving post-Brexit trade agreement. It was to an audience of British lobbyists for Israel a couple of months ago that she expressed her “pride” in a century-old declaration which created millions of refugees. But to burnish the 1917 document which promised Britain’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine but which would ultimately create that very refugee population – refugees being the target of her own anti-immigration policies – is little short of iniquitous.

The Balfour Declaration’s intrinsic lie – that while Britain supported a Jewish homeland, nothing would be done “which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” – is matched today by the equally dishonest response of Balfour’s lamentable successor at the Foreign Office. Boris Johnson wrote quite accurately two years ago that the Balfour Declaration was “bizarre”, a “tragicomically incoherent” document, “an exquisite piece of Foreign Office fudgerama”. But in a subsequent visit to Israel, the profit-hunting Mayor of London suddenly discovered that the Balfour Declaration was “a great thing” that “reflected a great tide of history”. No doubt we shall hear more of this same nonsense from Boris Johnson later this year.

Although the Declaration itself has been parsed, de-semanticised, romanticised, decrypted, decried, cursed and adored for 100 years, its fraud is easy to detect: it made two promises which were fundamentally opposed to each other – and thus one of them, to the Arabs (aka “the existing non-Jewish communities”), would be broken. The descendants of these victims, the Palestinian Arabs, are now threatening to sue the British government over this pernicious piece of paper, a hopeless and childish response to history. The Czechs might equally sue the British for Chamberlain’s Munich agreement, which allowed Hitler to destroy their country. The Palestinians would also like an apology – since the British have always found apologies cheaper than law courts. The British have grown used to apologising – for the British empire, for the slave trade, for the Irish famine. So why not for Balfour? Yes, but…. Theresa May needs the Israelis far more than she needs the Palestinians.

 

Balfour’s 1917 declaration, of course, was an attempt to avoid disaster in the First World War by encouraging the Jews of Russia and America to support the Allies against Germany. Balfour wanted to avoid defeat just as Chamberlain later wanted to avoid war. But – and this is the point – Munich was resolved by the destruction of Hitler. Balfour initiated a policy of British support for Israel which continues to this very day, to the detriment of the occupied Palestinians of the West Bank and the five million Palestinian refugees living largely in warrens of poverty around the Middle East, including Israeli-besieged Gaza.

This is the theme of perhaps the most dramatic centenary account of the Balfour Declaration, to be published this summer by David Cronin (in his book Balfour’s Shadow: A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel), an Irish journalist and author living in Brussels whose previous investigation of the European Union’s craven support for Israel’s military distinguished him from the work of more emotional (and thus more inaccurate) writers. Cronin has no time for Holocaust deniers or anti-Semites. While rightly dismissing the silly idea that the Palestinian Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al Husseini, inspired the Holocaust of the Jews of Europe, he does not duck Haj Amin’s poisonous alliance with Hitler. Israel’s post-war creation as a nation state, as one Israeli historian observed, may not have been just – but it was legal. And Israel does legally exist within the borders acknowledged by the rest of the world.

There lies the present crisis for us all: for the outrageous right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is speeding on with the mass colonisation of Arab land in territory which is not part of Israel, and on property which has been stolen from its Arab owners. These owners are the descendants of the “non-Jewish communities” whose rights, according to Balfour, should not be “prejudiced” by “the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. But Balfour’s own prejudice was perfectly clear. The Jewish people would have a “national home” – ie, a nation – in Palestine, while the Arabs, according to his declaration, were mere “communities”. And as Balfour wrote to his successor Curzon two years later, “Zionism … is … of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices [sic] of 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”.

Cronin’s short book, however, shows just how we have connived in this racism ever since. He outlines the mass British repression of Arabs in the 1930s – including extrajudicial executions and torture by the British army – when the Arabs feared, with good reason, that they would ultimately be dispossessed of their lands by Jewish immigrants. As Arthur Wauchope, the Palestine High Commissioner, would write, “the subject that fills the minds of all Arabs today is … the dread that in time to come they will be a subject race living on sufferance in Palestine, with the Jews dominant in every sphere, land, trade and political life”. How right they were.

Even before Britain’s retreat from Palestine, Attlee and his Cabinet colleagues were discussing a plan which would mean the “ethnic cleansing” of tens of thousands of Palestinians from their land. In 1944, a Labour Party statement had talked thus of Jewish immigration: “Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out as the Jews move in.” By 1948, Labour, now in government, was announcing it had no power to prevent money being channelled from London to Jewish groups who would, within a year, accomplish their own “ethnic cleansing”, a phrase in common usage for this period since Israeli historian Illan Pappe (now, predictably, an exile from his own land) included it in the title of his best-known work.

The massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians at Deir Yassin was committed while thousands of British troops were still in the country. Cronin’s investigation of Colonial Office files show that the British military lied about the “cleansing” of Haifa, offering no protection to the Arabs, a policy largely followed across Palestine save for the courage of Major Derek Cooper and his soldiers, whose defence of Arab civilians in Jaffa won him the Military Cross (although David Cronin does not mention this). Cooper, whom I got to know when he was caring for wounded Palestinians in Beirut in 1982, never forgave his own government for its dishonesty at the end of the Palestine Mandate.

Cronin’s value, however, lies in his further research into British support for Israel, its constant arms re-supplies to Israel, its 1956 connivance with the Israelis over Suez – during which Israeli troops massacred in the Gaza camp of Khan Younis, according to a UN report, 275 Palestinian civilians, of whom 140 were refugees from the 1948 catastrophe. Many UN-employed Palestinians, an American military officer noted at the time, “are believed to have been executed by the Israelis”. Britain’s subsequent export of submarines and hundreds of Centurion tanks to Israel was shrugged off with the same weasel-like excuses that British governments have ever since used to sell trillions of dollars of weapons to Israelis and Arabs alike: that if Britain didn’t arm them, others would.

In opposition in 1972, Harold Wilson claimed it was “utterly unreal” to call for an Israeli withdrawal from land occupied in the 1967 war, adding that “Israel’s reaction is natural and proper in refusing to accept the Palestinians as a nation”. When the Palestinians first demanded a secular one-state solution to Palestine, they were denounced by a British diplomat (Anthony Parsons) who said that “a multinational, secular state” would be “wholly incompatible with our attitude toward Israel”. Indeed it would. When the PLO opposed Britain’s Falklands conflict, the Foreign Office haughtily admonished the Palestinians – it was “far removed” from their “legitimate concerns”, it noted – although it chose not to reveal that Argentine air force Skyhawk jets supplied by Israel were used to attack UK forces, and that Israel’s military supplies to Argentina continued during the war.

A year later, Margaret Thatcher, according to a note by Douglas Hurd, included “armed action against military targets of the occupying power” as a definition of “terrorism”. So the Palestinians could not even resist their direct occupiers without being criminals.

On an official visit to Israel in 1986, Thatcher said that she regarded discussion of Jerusalem as “internal politics”. In 2001, Tony Blair’s government granted 90 arms exports licences to Israel for “defensive” weapons – including torpedoes, armoured vehicles, bombs and missiles. There is much, much more of this in Cronin’s book, including Blair’s useless and disgraceful period as “peace” envoy to the Middle East and the growing business contracts between British companies and Israeli arms providers – to the extent that the British army ended up deploying Israeli-made drones in the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Outside the EU, Theresa May’s Britain will maintain its close relations with Israel as a priority; hence May’s stated desire less than a month ago to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with Israel. This coincided with an Israeli attack on Gaza and a Knesset vote to confiscate – ie, steal – yet more lands from Palestinians in the West Bank.

From the day that Herbert Samuel, deputy leader of the Liberal Party and former (Jewish) High Commissioner for Palestine, said in the House of Commons in 1930 that Arabs “do migrate easily”, it seems that Britain has faithfully followed Balfour’s policies. More than 750,000 Palestinians were uprooted in their catastrophe, Cronin writes. Generations of dispossessed would grow up in the camps. Today, there are around five million registered Palestinian refugees. Britain was the midwife of that expulsion.

And this summer, we shall again be exhorted by Theresa May to remember the Balfour Declaration with “pride”.

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (16 – 22 February 2017)

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian

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Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

(16 – 22 February 2016)

Three Palestinian civilians were wounded, including a child, in the West Bank.

  • Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea.
  • 5 fishermen were arrested, one of whom was wounded, and their boat was confiscated in the northern Gaza Strip.

 

  • Israeli forces conducted 65 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
  • 72 civilians, including 10 children and 4 women, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • 18 of them, including 7 children and 3 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

 

  • Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • A residential house was demolished in a Bedouin Community in al-Khan al-Ahmar area and another house in Beit Hanina.
  • Shweiki and Qara’in families self-demolished their houses in Silwan and al-Mukaber Mount villages to avoids demolition costs.

 

  • Israeli forces continued their settlement activities in the West Bank
  • A waterline was uprooted in the Northern Jordan Valley.

 

  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • 7 Palestinian civilians were arrested at military checkpoints.

Summary

 

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (16 – 22 February 2017).

 

Shooting:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank.  In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces also continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, wounding a fisherman.

 

In the West Bank, On 19 February 2017, Israeli forces wounded a Palestinian child in Bazaria village, northwest of Nablus when they opened fire from an Israeli military jeep at a number of students, who were on their way out of schools, without any reason.

 

On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah, and wounded two civilians with bullets in the lower limbs.

 

In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, on 19 February 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them.  The shooting recurred on 19 and 20 February 2017.  During the reported attacks, the Israeli naval soldiers arrested 5 fishermen; one of whom was wounded, and confiscated their boat along with the fishing net and equipment.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 65 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 72 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children and 4 women. Eighteen of them, including 7 children and 3 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

 

Efforts to create Jewish majority

 

In the context of house demolitions, On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces demolished a residential house (caravan) in al-Tebnah Bedouin Community in al-Kan al-Ahmar area, east of occupied Jerusalem.  The 50-square-meter caravan sheltered Fatmah al-Tebnah (37) from ‘Arab al-Jahalin.

 

In the context of self-demolitions, on 17 February 2017, the family of Saleh Shweiki self-demolished their house in Beer Ayoub neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of Jerusalem’s Old City, upon a decision issued by the Israeli Municipality.  The 80-square-meter house sheltered a family of 13 members, including 8 children.

 

On 18 February 2017, Mo’atasem Fayez Qara’in was forced to self-demolish his house in al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of Jerusalem, upon the Israeli Municipality’s decision and to avoid paying the Municipality’s high demolition costs.  The house was built 8 years ago on an area of 65 square meters.

 

In the context of demolition notices, on 19 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Khan al-Ahamr Bedouin Community, east of Jerusalem, and handed the residents notices to demolish and evacuate 40 facilities, including houses, livestock barns, a school and mosque, under the pretext of building without a license.

 

On 22 February 2017, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a residential house in “Tal’et Hezmah” area in Beit Hanina neighbourhood, north of occupied Jerusalem.  The 120-square-meter house belongs to the family of Lo’ay Abu Romouz and sheltered his family of 7 members, including 5 children.

 

Settlement crimes and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:

 

On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces uprooted an 8.5-meter drinking waterline between ‘Atouf village and Kherbet al-Hadidiyah in the northern Jordan Valley.  It should be mentioned that the abovementioned waterline was donated by UNICEF and ACF and made of plastic pipes.

 

On the same day, Israeli forces confiscated a fuel pump belonging to Sabri Abu Mariah in Beit Zere’atah area, east of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron.  The owner was threatened in case he re-runs the fuel station.

 

Restrictions on movement:

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.  The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people.  The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy.  They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons.  Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:10, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 3 civilians and took them to Al-Jalamah Detention Center. The arrested civilians were identified as Huyai Hamzah Husain (21), Wahbi Mousa al-Khouli (26) and Anas Badwan Badwan (23).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Shuwaikah Suburb, south of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Murad Moneer Yusuf Mahdawi (26).

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Ezbet Shufah, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Muhannad Salem Ismail Abdul Razeq (36).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Eastern Barta’ah village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested Yusuf ‘Esam Kabha (27).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Howarah village, south of Nablus; Dura, Beit Kahel, Bani Na’im and Deir Samet villages in Hebron

 

Friday, 17 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:20, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Eyad Abdul Rahman Selmi (25) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 19:20, Israeli forces moved into Qarawet Bani Hassan village, northwest of Salfit. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to ‘Esam Abdul Razeq Mohammed Rayan (19) and Abdullah Basem Mohammed Rayan (22) and then arrested them.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Samou’i, Traqumiya villages and al-Fawar refugee camp in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Haryah Valley neighbourhood, in the eastern area of Hebron, stationed at the entrance to Palestine Polytechnic University and closed the street leading to it. They raided a scientific library belonging to Majdi Rashid Abdul Ghani al-Karki (39), from al-Qadi Valley neighbourhood in the city. After breaking the main door, the soldiers damaged some stationary and then confiscated 14 hard-desks, 50 flash drivers and the DVR of the surveillance cameras. The soldiers left a list of the confiscated items, embeding the 1945 Defence Emergency Regulations. The Israeli soldiers later withdrew, but neither arrests nor questioning the library’s owner were reported.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron. They raided and searched 3 houses after which they arrested 3 civilians namely Mohammed Mo’ath Haliqawi (22), Ahmed Hasan Haliqawi (21) and Amin Jaber ‘Osfour (22).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Salam Street in Hebron, and stationed on the street adjacent to the Sharia School for Girls. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jehad Husain Ershiyed (50), father of Dania and Jehad Ershiyed, who were killed by the Israeli soldiers at the end of 2015. The soldiers handed a summons to Ershiyed to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported:’Ourta village, southeast of Nablus; Birzeit and Kuber villages, north of Ramallah.

 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 00:20, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They patrolled the streets amidst firing of tear gas canisters, claiming they were thrown with stones. As a result, 2-month-year-old Zain Salim Omer Abu al-So’uod suffered tear gas inhalation when he was near his house. Zain was transferred to the hospital to receive medical treatment. The soldiers also raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Samir al-Shubaki and then handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 4 civilians namely ‘Oudai Mohammed Yunis Thawabtah, Yusuf Mahmoud Abdul Salam Taqatqa, Eyad Mahmoud Mousa Taqatqa and Rashad Samih Diriyah.

 

  • At approximately 06:30, Israeli forces moved into Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 3 civilians, including a child, namely Faraj Mousa Shuqeirat (42), Baraa’ Ibrahim Hamed (21) and Amjad Taiseer Hamed (16).

 

  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased The shooting sporadically continued until approximately 09:00. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor damages were reported.
  • At approximately 13:00, an Israeli military jeep moved into Bazaria village, northwest of Nablus while Palestinian students were on their way out of their schools. A soldier fired a rubber-coated metal bullet towards a number of students. As a result, Osama Yusuf Abdul Latif ‘Ouda (16) sustained a metal bullet wound to the abdomen. He was transferred to Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarm to receive medical treatment. Osama said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

 

“At approximately 13:00 on Sunday, 19 February 2017, my colleagues and I went out of the Bazaria High School in the centre of the village, and then arrived near the Bazaria Elementary School, which 400 meters away from our high school. We were then surprised with an Israeli military jeep traveling on the street leading to Tulkarm. As soon as the car approached us, a soldier opened fire at us and left the area. As a result, I was directly wounded with a bullet to the abdomen. The students carried and put me into a car for Ayman Suleiman Salem, who took me to Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarm. After receiving the medical treatment, it was found out that I was hit with a metal bullet to the abdomen.”

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (6) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Nablus and ‘Ourta village, southeast of the city; al-‘Aroub refugee camp, Beit Oula, al-Hadab and Qalqas villages in Hebron.

 

Monday, 20 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jaber Mohammed al-Rajoub (30).They later withdrew, but no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 01:20, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Maher Sameer Abu Haniyah (23) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Nedal Mahmoud Jaber Balasmah (33) and Loai Jamil Qashmir (21) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Tal village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Mahmoud Saqer Ahmed ‘Asidah (29) and Mos’ab Tawfiq al-Hendi (27). At approximately 04:00, The Israeli forces withdrew taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Surif village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ibrahim Mohammed Abu Farah (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit ‘Awa village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Mohammed Rezeq ‘Essa (28) and Ramzi Abdul Fattah Masalmah (49). At approximately 04:00, they withdrew taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Romanah village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Mahdi Morshed Bushnaq (42).

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Fathi Mohammed Hammad (19) and then arrested him. They also fired live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the civilians. As a result, Jehad Mohammed Abu Hmaid (23) and Qusai ‘Ali Hendi (19) were hit with bullets to their legs.

 

  • At approximately 06:45, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Traqumiya, al-Thaheriyah and al-Samou’i villages in Hebron.

 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Tal village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Kayed Mohammed Isma’il al-Hendi (37), an officer at the Palestinian Security Service. They also raided and searched a120-square-meter  workshop belonging to Tahseen Husain Mohammed Ramadan (65) in ‘Ein Qatiri area on the eastern side of the abovementioned village. They arrested Tahseen’s son, Naseem (38), a Palestinian Intelligence officer at the Palestinian Intelligence Service, while he was sleeping in the workshop. They then welded the doors with oxygen from the inside and outside and hanged posts at the walls in the Arabic and Jewish languages saying it is closed with red wax until a further notice.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Baraqah village, northwest of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Adham Anwar Ahmed Salah (29).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Reihiyah village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Oudai Abdul Muhsen ‘Essa al-Tubani (37) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Zuhdi Theeb Zuhdi Salem (49) and then arrested him and his sons Mohammed (26), Fadi (24), Ehab (22) and Bahaa’ (16).
  • At approximately 02:50, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Anas Wajih Hasan Abtali (22).

 

  • At approximately 07:30 on Tuesday, 21 February 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah Shore, west of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. They then surrounded a fishing boat belonging to Sabri Mohammed Sa’id Baker (56) and manned by his 3 children, ‘Abdullah (19); Mahmoud (17) and Mohammed ‘Emran (23) in addition to Thabet Mohammed ‘Abdel Razeq Baker (20) and ‘Omer Mohammed Najib ‘Omer Baker (26).  All the aforementioned fishermen live in al-Shati’ refugee camp in Gaza City.  Due to the shooting, Mohammed ‘Emran Baker was hit with a bullet to the left side of his waist and then transferred to Barzilai Hospital in Ashqelon for medical treatment. The Israeli naval soldiers ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat.  They were then arrested and taken to Ashdod Seaport while their boat and fishing net were kept in custody.

 

Wounded fisherman, Mohammed Baker, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

 

“Due to the heavy shooting at the boat we were on, I was hit with a bullet to the left side of the waist.  When the Israeli naval soldiers ordered us to jump into the water, I told them I was wounded, so the soldiers took me to their gunboat’s board.  They handcuffed and blindfolded me and then took me to Ashdod Seaport.  They brought a doctor to medically examine my wound, and he asked to transfer me to the Barzilai Hospital in Ashqelon to receive medical treatment.  At approximately 01:00 on the next day, I was released and taken by a Palestinian ambulance to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for medical treatment.  Medical sources there described my wound as moderate.”

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Deir Estia village, northwest of Salfit; Kafer al-Deek village, west of the city; Howarah village, south of Nablus; Yatta and Bani Na’im village in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Dura, south west of Hebron, and stationed in Karisah neighborhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Nayef Mahmoud al-Rajoub (55), a PLC Member representing the Hamas Movement’s Change and Reform Bloc. The soldiers confiscated Nayef’s car before they withdrew. In the meantime, other Israeli forces raided and searched 3 houses belonging to Yaser Mohammed al-Rajoub,  Rezeq Abdullah Musallam al-Rajoub (60), whose car was as well confiscated, and Abdullah Mohammed al-Rajoub. At approximately 03:00, the Israeli forces withdrew and stationed in the center of the city. Moreover, they raided and searched Abu Sharekh Mall. The soldiers broke doors of a number of offices, including Java Cultural Center, lawyer Ahmed al-Haroub’s office and al-Khawarezmi Center for Mental Intelligence, and searched them.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Taramah village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Emad Mohammed Jadallah (33) and then confiscated his car, but no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces accompanied with 15 military jeeps moved into Beta village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested 5 civilians, including the mother of Naser Sadeq Mohammed Abu Mazen (49), who carried out a stab attack in Petah Tikva on 09 February 2017, due to which the father Naser Sadeq Mohammed Abu Mazen (49) was arrested after two hours of the attack. The arrested civilians were identified as Joudah Mohammed Abdul Majid Abu Mazen (46), Naseem Dawoud Ibrahim Bani Sahmsah (18), Duraid Abed Ibrahim Bani Shamsah (18), Namer Sameer Abdul Rahman Bani Shamsah (19) and Samer Zaki Sanouber (19).

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Shehab Eden Ahmed al-Titi (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They then raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Emad al-‘Azraq (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Jenin. They raided and a number of houses after which they arrested Mohammed Basem al-‘Orabi (24) and Zakaria al-‘Ammar (42).

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Awa village, west of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Mohammed Rezeq ‘Essa (28) and Ramzi Abdul Fattah Masalmah (49).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Surif village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ya’qoub Mohammed al-Heeh (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Tabaqah village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Yusuf Abdul Muhsen Abu Ras (64) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Hadab al-‘Alqah village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Basel ‘Ali Dawdeen (39) and then arrested him.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir, Beit Ummer and Emrish villages in Hebron and Sa’ir village, southwest of Jenin.

 

  • Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following the Friday prayer on 17 February 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, west of Ramallah and al-Nabi Saleh, northwest of the city; at the entrance to al-Jaalzone refugee camp, north of the city; and in Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises due to being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

 

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

 

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

 

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

 

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

 

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested

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