The Meaning of Gaza

May 25, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

 Monir Deeb: It looks like the only thing that would make Israel happy with the Palestinians would be if they disappear all together.

Monir Deeb: It looks like the only thing that would make Israel happy with the Palestinians would be if they disappear all together.

Gilad Atzmon interviews Monir Deeb

Monir Deeb was born in Gaza as a refugee. He has been living in the USA for more than three decades. I spoke with Monir about his recent visit to Gaza. 

Gilad:  You have just returned from Gaza. You were there to mourn the death of your father. You have visited Gaza occasionally, did you see any change this time in terms of the people’s spirit?

Monir: The spirit of the Palestinian Gazans always amazes me each time I am there, and this time was no exception. Considering the deterioration of the overall condition of life in general and the lack of a prospect of a better future for the new generation, Gazans maintain a decency and resilience that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world.

Gilad: What is their secret? how do people manage to maintain their spirits in such appalling conditions?

Monir: It isn’t really a secret, I think it’s more on the lines of what one believes in. Palestinians believe in their cause; Israel was established as a Zionist idea by people who never stepped foot on this land before, most of whom came from Europe, where they had homes. They didn’t belong to the land, even though they tried it for a while, they stopped when they found out that Palestinians labour was cheaper. So the love and attachment to the actual soil is definitely different. No one can fathom or accept that a stranger from Europe who has come to steal your land and replace you by force has more right to the land than you, the indigenous who were born, raised and  lived on the land for many generations past. For the Palestinians this is their home as the land and sun of Palestine has put its stamp on them, unlike those blond blue eyed foreigners that don’t look anything like the locales. Many of the Palestinians that were forced out still keep their original keys to their homes in their towns and villages in Palestine. Most Israelis still keep other nationalities, passports and homes in other countries, which gives lots of hope that those settlers one day will go back where they came from.

Gilad: What about the crossing? Gaza is subject to an ongoing siege, it is the biggest open air prison known to man. Did you detect any changes in Israel’s oppressive measures? 
Momir: Unfortunately it’s even more negative than in the past. Now the crossing is empty most of the time, due to the choke hold that Israel keeps on the 2 Million inhabitants of the strip. That is by restricting and refusing to issue any permits for movement and thereby limiting crossings to the minimum number possible. And by minimal I mean that the crossing is empty 90% of the time and operates with minimal staff. Just a few very ill patients and their companions, either going to the West Bank, Jordan or to Israeli hospitals for medical treatment that is mostly not available in Gaza as its by design of the Siege. I also saw a few labourers – less than a hundred or so – who were packed by the gate in the early morning light . Some of them said they had been there since 5 AM in order to go to work with a special permit arranged mostly by their Israeli bosses who must have some connections to get them such crossing permits. Imagine, that’s about a 100 or so, from the 60% of two million able bodied people who are unemployed, you do the math.  Then there were one or two UNRWA employees, and a few people like me, you can count them on one hand, those who are only allowed to go to their birthplace only when an immediate relative has died which in my case was my father.  Otherwise they refuse you entry into Gaza – even if you were born and raised in Gaza – 99% of the time you are refused entry. It is an open criminal policy of ethnically cleansing the Palestinians from their birthplace.

I have to mention here the feeling that overcomes one when crossing this Erez, this so called Border; you are totally controlled in every way; you are watched, stared at, ordered to move only when they let you, totally dominated by armed Israeli civilians with machine guns and held in a severely restricted area surrounded by fences, gates, electronic surveillance and bulletproof glass windows. Then you are herded like cattle through this maze. Their purpose is to make you feel powerless, worthless and controlled.  I noticed this time, that they- the Israelis- have even trained the Palestinian luggage handlers to have a superior authoritative attitude towards and use intimidating language against their follow Palestinians travellers.

The Israelis who run the show are sitting up above, behind fortified glass windows, with monitoring cameras, computer screens, guards with machine guns. The Israelis spit out orders over megaphones to the Palestinian handlers, who, in turn, run the Palestinian cattle through the security maze. Then even after you and your belongings go through their machines they make you raise up your shirt, pull your sleeves up, turn around, all to show you who’s in control. The feeling that overcomes any decent self respecting human being, including myself, while going through this experience is not at all pleasant. I am by nature a very peaceful person, but at that moment, I wished that the whole place would collapse on them and make them all disappear along with their mazes, computers, electric steel doors and machine guns.

Gilad: This is very upsetting. It is a story of dehumanisation. Is there any hope to have peace with people who impose such a level of oppression? 

Monir: There would be if Israel and Zionism had such a concept on their agenda; but their history and the facts on the ground have shown us the total opposite of peace. For the last 100 years, or at least 70 years, the Israelis have been dispossessing the Palestinians of their homes, land, their water, their freedom, right of return, their freedom to move about within their land and sea. One only needs to look at maps of Palestine from before 1947, and then from today in 2018 to tell the whole story.

Israel could have been a great opportunity for the Jews to solve the so called “Jewish Question” that persisted in Europe, but the Zionists would have had to shake hands and find peace with the Palestinians. Israel has had many such opportunities that it stepped over with one excuse or another.  Israel must acknowledge the Nakba (the 1948 Palestinians catastrophe) that Israel brought upon the Palestinians with their Zionist plans, allow at least some of the refugees to return, and negotiate Jerusalem and the rest of the issues. Had they done so, it would have legitimized Israel as a sovereign country, and not as an occupier settler people as they are widely regarded in the world. Such a peace would also have proven, once and for all, that the Jew is not a problem in Europe or anywhere else (GA: which would accomplish the Zionist promise).

Sadly, this is not the Jewish/ Israeli agenda, so what is left for the Palestinians to do?  You saw in the last few weeks, the Gazans tried a peaceful protest, as Israel has never ‘liked’ Palestinian militant resistance or their Intifadas. But Israel met peaceful protest with military snipers, armed with illegal “internationally “hollow head explosive bullets, and shooting to kill or cripple youth in the prime of their lives and without any consideration to the human catastrophe that the snipers inflict on their targets, children and families. Many of the protestors were actually children themselves.  Tell me, does that sounds like the Zionists Israelis want to make peace with the Palestinians? It looks like the only thing that would make Israel happy with the Palestinians would be if they disappear all together.

Gilad : You were there, as the numbers of Palestinian casualties and fatalities were mounting. How did the Gazans react to the colossal crimes committed against them?  

Monir: I don’t know how each one felt. It’s difficult to tell, but what I can describe to you and want us to question is what drives such young and strong people, people who should have their whole lives ahead of them at such a tender age from 10-12-15, to go to the fence to protest. They know very well what many of their friends, neighbours, brothers and sisters have faced against the most lethal, hollow point rotating bullets, a bullet that tears up every organ in the body it encounters, bullets shot at them by well trained Israeli army snipers, from a distance of up to 1000 yards, bullets aimed with the intent to  kill or cause extreme damage and ending their ability to function normally in everyday life.  You tell me what level of desperation one needs to have to put himself or herself there? That’s what we should ask, and who put them there and this inhuman siege?

Think about it and imagine what state of mind you would  have to find yourself in, to throw yourself forward while knowing what might happen to you?  Is this the price Israelis extract from the people who dare to peacefully protest their siege and oppression? Are those Jewish leaders of Israel and IDF generals who gave orders to shoot to kill, are they sleeping well at night? And if they are, what does that say about them and about their Jewish Israeli society, and all those so called diaspora Jews who support them?

 

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According to israel “Gaza Protests Are State of War, Human Rights Law Doesn’t Apply” WRONG

Let’s talk about “Gaza Protests Are State of War, Human Rights Law Doesn’t Apply”

By Kathryn Shihadah | Palestine Home 

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By Kathryn Shihadah

The topic of Israel generates a distinctively unified spin in mainstream media and among politicians (with a few notable exceptions). Sometimes that spin is so cleverly disguised that it is almost invisible.

There’s a lot at stake in this issue: Palestinian lives, Israeli lives, freedom, justice, and democracy – and over $10 million a day. That’s not a typo. That’s how much we give Israel in military aid EVERY SINGLE DAY. $3.8 billion a year.  If all that cash is going somewhere other than back to American taxpayers, I want to know whether it’s being spent responsibly. I want facts, not spin.

I’ve written in the past, as have others, to expose some of the omissions, half-truths, and downright lies in news articles and in the words of the people they quote.

This piece from Ha’aretz by Yaniv Kubovich, “Israel to Top Court: Gaza Protests are State of War, Human Rights Law Doesn’t Apply,” caught my eye. The title itself is startling: Israel is dictating to its Supreme Court? – doesn’t the Court have the last word? “State of war”? – they call that a war, really? “Human rights law doesn’t apply”? – is it really true that in wartime, human rights laws are suspended?

I read the article – not to learn Facts, but to discern Spin. I read to see what this author was saying, what Israel is saying. And then I did some fact-checking. 

Let’s stroll through this “news” article together – at a pace slow enough to allow us time to think critically – and see whether it is telling the truth.


HA’ARETZ SAYS: “The protests by Palestinians on the Gaza border fall into the category of a state of war and thus human rights law does not apply to the rules of engagement, the state said in its response to a High Court petition filed by human rights groups.”


KATHY ASKS: IS IT REALLY A STATE OF WAR? Israel considers itself in a state of war – but is it? Palestinians have no weapons and are not engaging in conflict. They are demonstrating. Gazans are not an actual threat to Israel’s borders, only a symbolic, philosophical threat. Is it ok to disregard human rights law when you feel symbolically or philosophically threatened?

If a Palestinian, or a handful of Palestinians, did manage to breach the border fence, no Israeli would be in danger. Israel has snipers and an entire army at its disposal. For that reason, not only is it unnecessary (shall we say “overkill”?) to declare a state of war, it’s also unnecessary to shoot individuals who are getting close to the fence. Israel has killed at least 45 Palestinians in the past 6 Friday protests – just for protesting. What kind of “war” is that? How about something a little less aggressive than killing and maiming?


HA’ARETZ SAYS: “According to the response [to the petition], the Israeli forces’ rules of engagement comply with both Israeli and international law.”


KATHY ASKS: DOES INTERNATIONAL LAW REALLY SAY HUMAN RIGHTS DOES NOT APPLY IN WAR? The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) explains

“International humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law…are both concerned with the protection of the life, health and dignity of individuals. IHL applies in armed conflict while human rights law applies at all times, in peace and in war.”

In spite of Israel’s claim to be “in a state of war,” then, both IHL and international human rights law still apply.

There are exceptions – maybe Israel has a loophole?:

“…international human rights law allows a State to suspend a number of human rights if it faces a situation of emergency.”

Is Israel in a “situation of emergency” that might allow a suspension of some human rights? Israel would say yes, but that is simply not the case: Gazans are unarmed. 

ICRC addresses the exceptions further:

“International Humanitarian Law cannot be suspended (except as provided in Article 5 to the Fourth Geneva Convention).”

What are the exceptions in Article 5? In what situation can IHL be suspended? 

“Where, in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities…”

Secretary of Defense Avigdor Lieberman

Notice that the suspension of rights is done on a case-by-case basis, not whole classes of people (for example, Avigdor Lieberman’s declaration, “there are no innocents in Gaza,” does not cut the mustard).

The individual in question must be either engaged in or definitely suspected of certain activities:

“…activities hostile to the security of the State…”

Pay close attention: this does not refer to activities hostile toward the State – like throwing stones or burning tires, or even breaching the border fence. No, the activities must be hostile to the security of the State. Article 5 gives examples: “spy or saboteur” – these folks really could give away state secrets and compromise state security. But even for spies and saboteurs, there are limits:

“However, a State can not suspend or waive certain fundamental rights that must be respected in all circumstances. These include the right to life, the prohibition of torture…”

ICRC clearly says that human rights law does not disappear during war. “Life,” for example, is nonnegotiable. So when human rights organizations petitioned the Israeli High Court because of the high number of casualties, the claim that  “protests by Palestinians on the Gaza border fall into the category of a state of war and thus human rights law does not apply,” is simply untrue. Being in a state of war (even an imaginary one) does not absolve Israel of the duty to be humane. 


HA’ARETZ SAYS: “The state opposes the applying of human rights law during an armed conflict,” the state wrote, adding that the Red Cross had acknowledged that such law indeed did not have to be applied during such a state of affairs.”


KATHY ASKS: DOES ISRAEL REALLY WANT TO SUSPEND HUMAN RIGHTS? Actually, Israel has already suspended human rights. The purpose of the statement that ” state of war and thus human rights law does not apply” is to retroactively absolve Israel of guilt for actions it has already taken against the Palestinians. In the weeks since the Gaza March began, Gazans have been shot while praying and while running away from the border; children have been killed; people have been shot while rescuing others who’d been shot; clearly marked members of the press have been killed; medics have been attacked with tear gas; the injured have been denied access to the medical care they need; the Israeli army is apparently using experimental weapons including a type of bullet that explodes on impact and necessitating many limb amputations. Human rights are long gone.

Ha’aretz’s statement that the Red Cross had acknowledged that human rights law doesn’t need to be in place during war has already been disproven by the Red Cross’ own words.


HA’ARETZ SAYS: “In their so-called March of Return, Gazans have been protesting each Friday at the Gaza border fence. In the demonstrations, the Israeli army has killed 45 protesters and wounded thousands; the army says it is trying to stop the fence from being breached.”


KATHY ASKS: IS THE GOAL, “TRYING TO STOP THE FENCE FROM BEING BREACHED,” WORTHY OF KILLING UNARMED PEOPLE? If not, then it must stop, and those who did it and ordered it must be tried and punished. If yes, Israel must be prepared to be more alone in the world than ever. The civilized world will not accept such behavior. Israel has already been chastened by the international community many times. 


HA’ARETZ SAYS: “The state said the demonstrations were part of hostile acts by Hamas against Israel, though Israel did not necessarily see participation in violence at the border fence or the approaching of the fence as direct participation in a hostile act. Each case should be examined individually, it said.

“The State Prosecutor’s Office distinguishes between protesters demonstrating and protesters trying to break into Israel to attack soldiers and civilians.”


KATHY ASKS: ARE THESE ALL OF THE POSSIBLE CATEGORIES? Are you sure that all of the protesters trying to breach the fence want to attack soldiers and civilians? Could it be that some of them want to touch their land, the land they were ethnically cleansed from?

And what about the demonstrators who were not trying to breach the fence, but were shot anyway (the vast majority of injuries)? Israel claimed to be targeting “main instigators,” but was that really the case? Hamas itself, as well as loved ones of the fallen, insist that many of the dead and the thousands of injured were not involved in the conflict. Even Israel admits that it got it wrong in some cases.


HA’ARETZ SAYS: “The state’s response relied on a 2015 High Court ruling on a petition by a demonstrator on the Lebanese border who was shot by the Israeli army. According to the ruling, the breaking-up of a violent, life-threatening protest allows for the use of potentially deadly force.”


KATHY ASKS: “LIFE THREATENING PROTEST”? The only lives being threatened were Palestinian protesters. Israel had the snipers, tanks, drones, and tear gas.

Journalists choose their words with great care, whether they are honest or dishonest. It is our civic duty to examine those words and see whether they are accurate and reliable. 

Israel has power and money (both gifted from the US) to dictate the narrative that will be in its best interest. This story (and innumerable others like it) is an affront to the intelligence of those who are informed.

More of us need to be informed. Then we need to challenge that narrative that blames the victim and the politicians who spend our money unwisely on Israel.

israel wants to make it a crime to report on, or video, their crimes against humanity

Israel bill seeks to criminalise documentation of soldiers’ actions

Israeli forces disrupt a Palestinian protest against Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands in Bethlehem, West Bank on March 30, 2017. (Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency )
MEMO | May 25, 2018

The Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation will discuss, Sunday, a bill that would prohibit the documentation of Israeli soldiers’ human rights violations against Palestinian citizens.

On Thursday, Israel Hayom explained that the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu bloc in the Knesset, Robert Ilatov, proposed the bill with the support of his party’s leader, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The bill states, “anyone who shoots a video or a photo, or records soldiers while they are doing their job, with the aim of disturbing the morale of soldiers and citizens, will be sentenced to five years imprisonment. In case this is done with the aim of destabilising the state’s security, the perpetrator will be sentenced to ten years imprisonment.”

In addition, the bill prohibits the sharing of photographs or recorded content on social media or in the media.

Israeli MP Ilatov asserted that his proposal comes as part of an attempt to respond to the movement of left-wing activists in exposing Israeli practices against Palestinian citizens in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He justified his proposal by saying,

Israel has long been facing a disturbing phenomenon; that of the documentation of Israeli army soldiers, by video shooting or audio recordings by organisations that are hostile to Israel and supportive of the Palestinians, such as B’Tselem, Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence, BDS and other organisations

He claimed that “the majority of these organisations receive support from associations and governments with anti-Israel agenda, and that they are using these contents to jeopardise Israel and its security.”

He added, “It is unreasonable for an activist or leftist organisation, supported by a foreign entity, to be granted the freedom to document soldiers while doing their duties. The best conditions must be provided for the soldiers to do their duty without worrying about any activist or organisation publishing their photos to intimidate them.”

Another 109 Palestinians injured by israeli gunfire on Gaza “border”

109 Injured by Israeli Gunfire on Gaza Border, Palestinian Succumbs to Earlier Wounds

IMEMC News & Agencies – May 25, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

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26 May
4:20 AM

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the soldiers injured 115 Palestinians, including seven children and four women, after the army attacked the protesters with live fire and gas bombs, across the border area in the eastern parts of the coastal region.

Thousands of Palestinians participated in the protests, which started after evening prayers in various mosques of the coastal region, before they boarded buses that took them to protest tents, hundreds of meters away from the border fence.

Media sources said Palestinian protesters, using slingshots, managed to down an Israeli military drone, east of Abu Safiyya area, in northern Gaza.

Also on Friday, the Health Ministry said a young man, identified as Yasser Sami Habib, 24, succumbed to wounds sustained from Israeli army gunfire during the protests on May 14.

Habib suffered a very serious injury before he was rushed to a hospital in Gaza, and was later transferred to Sr. Joseph Hospital, in occupied Jerusalem, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Two other Palestinians who were injured, during the protests on May 14, also succumbed to their wounds on Thursday evening. They have been identified as Ahmad Ali Qattoush, 23 Mohannad Bakr Abu Tahoun, 21.

The Health Ministry said the army killed 115 Palestinians, and injured more than 13.000, including 332 who suffered life-threatening wounds, since the Great Return March procession started on Palestinian Land Day, on March 30th, 2018.

Updated From:
109 Injured by Israeli Gunfire on Gaza Border, Palestinian Succumbs to Earlier Wounds
May 25, 2018 @ 21:52

At least 109 Palestinians, including four children and nine women, were injured by gunfire and others suffocated from teargas, after Israeli soldiers attacked them, while partaking in the continuing Great March of Return protests along the Gaza-Israel border, WAFA medical sources said.

Among the wounded, three were critically injured by gunshots in the head, while the remaining others sustained various bodily injuries.

Other protesters also suffocated when Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters at them, who, despite a hot Ramadan day, continued to protest peacefully along the eastern border of the Strip, demanding the right of return to their pre-1948 homes in historical Palestine.

The protesters burned damaged tires near the border, to disrupt the visibility of the Israeli soldiers, who opened fire at the protesters, despite the fact that they did not pose a life threat to the soldiers.

Over 120 Palestinians were killed and thousands have been injured since the outbreak of the Great March of Return protests, on March 30.

Also on Friday, a young Palestinian man succumbed to wounds sustained from Israeli army gunfire during the protests on May 14, according to medical sources.

Yasser Sami Habib, 24, died of his wounds at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Jerusalem, where he had been moved for medical treatment.

Habib was shot and critically injured during the protests against relocating the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Two other Palestinians who were injured, during the protests on May 14, also succumbed to their wounds on Thursday evening.

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the State of Palestine

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 

(17 – 23 May 2018)

 

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

(17 – 23 May 2018)

 

  • Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against Palestinian peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip.
  • Two succumbed to their wounds they sustained in the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip in addition to another child in the West Bank.
  • 35 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a journalist, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
  • A Palestinian Prisoner from al-Mukaber Mount died in suspicious circumstances
  • Israeli warplanes targeted two boats prepared to welcome the anti-blockade flotilla in the Gaza Strip, causing damage to both of them
  • Israeli forces continued to open fire at the border areas in the Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces conducted 49 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 similar ones in Jerusalem
  • 33 civilians, including 4 children and PLC Member, were arrested.
  • 14 of them were arrested in Jerusalem.
  • Israeli forces continued their settlement activities in the West Bank
  • Israeli settlers cut 700 grapevines in al-Marjamah area, north of Hebron.
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 11th consecutive year.
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • 3 Palestinian civilians, including a woman, were arrested at the military checkpoints in the West Bank.
  • Israeli forces arrested a patient at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (17 – 23 May 2018).

 

Shooting:

 

Israeli forces continued to use excessive lethal force against Palestinian civilians, who participated in peaceful demonstrations organized within the activities of the “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed for the 8th week in a row peaceful demonstrations along the eastern and northern Gaza Strip border area. During the reporting period, the Israeli forces wounded 29 Palestinian civilians, including a journalist; 2 of those wounded are in serious condition.  Meanwhile, 2 civilians succumbed to their wounds.  In the West Bank, a child succumbed to his wounds while 6 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded in separate incidents.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 18 May 2018, thousands of Palestinian civilians participated in the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege activities along the northern and eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.  The Israeli forces used force against them, wounding 27 protestors, including a journalist.  Moreover, during the reporting period, 2 other civilians were wounded, increasing the total number of those wounded to 29 protestors.

 

In the same context, medical sources at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on 18 may 2018, declared the death of Mo’een al-Sa’ie (59), from al-Shati’ refugee camp, west of Gaza City, after he succumbed to his wounds.  On 19 May 2018, medical sources at al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City declared the death of Mohammed ‘Alian (18) from al-Nussairat in the central Gaza Strip, succumbing to his wounds.  Al-Sa’ie was previously wounded with a bullet to the chest to the east of Malakah square, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood in eastern Gaza City while ‘Alian was wounded with a bullet to the head in eastern al-Bureij during their participation in the Great March of Return on Monday, 14 May 2018.

 

During the reporting period, Investigations and Field Observations by PCHR’s Fieldworkers Confirm the Following:

 

  • Dozens of Israeli Forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the raised berms and in military jeeps along the border fence in front of the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip.
  • The youth gatherings increased near the border fence to burn tires and attempt to throw stones at the Israeli forces.
  • The Israeli snipers deliberately and selectively opened fire at the participants in the peaceful demonstrations which included hundreds of civilians.
  • The Israeli forces widely fired bursts of tear gas canisters and from drones, targeting the center of the demonstrations. In many cases those canisters targeted and directly hit civilians, causing them injuries.
  • The demonstrations were as always fully peaceful, and PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness weapons or armed persons even dressed in civilian clothes among the demonstrators, who were thousands of elderlies, women, children and entire families. All of them demonstrated near the border fence raising flags, chanting slogans and national songs, flying kites and burning tires.
  • Ambulances of the Health Minstry in Gaza City were targeted, causing damage to them.
  • Journalists were targeted with tear gas canisters, causing injuries among them.
  • The Israeli unjustified and fallacious incitement against the peaceful demonstrations and encampments, perceiving the demonstration itself as danger. This hereby violates the right to peaceful assembly codified in all International instruments.

 

As part of targeting the border areas, on 20 May 2018, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Amal neighbourhood, northeast of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area.  However, no casualties were reported.

 

On 22 May 2018, the Israeli fired an artillery shell at a border control checkpoint belonging to an armed group in eastern al-Bureij.  However, no casualties were reported.

 

As part of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, pointing out to the ongoing Israeli policy of targeting their livelihoods.  During the reporting period, PCHR documented 10 attacks against the fishermen, including 5 attacks in the north-western Beit Lahia and 5 in Western Soudaniya area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.

 

As part of the airstrikes, on 17 May 2018, Israeli drones and warplanes launched 10 missiles in 4 airstrikes against ‘Askalan military site and al-Saifnah building belonging to al-Qassam Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip.  On 23 May 2018, the Israeli warplanes launched 6 missiles at Ahmed al-Ja’abari military site in eastern Tofah neighbourhood, causing damage to the sites.  However, no casualties were reported.

 

On 23 May 2018, the Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at 2 boats prepared to welcome the anti-blockade flotilla in the Gaza Seaport, west of Gaza City, causing damage to both of them.

 

In the West Bank, on 23 May 2018, medical sources at al-Najah University Hospital in Nablus declared the death of ‘Oday Abu Khalil (15) from ‘Ein Siniya village, north of Ramallah, succumbing to his wounds.  According to PCHR’s investigations, on 15 May 2018, the abovementioned child was wounded during his participation in a peaceful protest at the northern entrance to al-Bireh in commemoration of Palestinian Nakbah Day, against the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and the Israeli crimes in the Gaza Strip.

 

On 18 May 2018, Mohammed Abu al-Hummus was wounded when the Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and dozens of Palestinian young men protested against them.  The Israeli soldiers immediately fired rubber-coated metal bullets at the young men, wounding Abu al-Hummus and arresting him.

 

On 19 May 2018, a Palestinian civilian was wounded during his participation in the weekly Kafr Qaddum peaceful protest, northeast of Qalqilya, against the closure of the eastern entrance to the village for 15 years in favour of “Kadomim” settlement established on the village lands.

 

On 21 May 2018, 3 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded when Israeli forces moved into Jenin and surrounded a house to carry out an arrest campaign.  A number of civilians gathered and protested against the Israeli soldiers who opened fire at the civilians, wounding the 3 above-mentioned civilians.  On 23 May 2018, a civilian was wounded in Nablus in similar circumstances.

 

During the reporting period, medical staffs in “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center near al-Ramlah in Israel announced the death of Palestinian prisoner ‘Aziz Mousa Salem ‘Eweisat (53) from al-Mukkaber Mount village, southeast of East Jerusalem, in suspicious circumstances.  ‘Eweisat who was serving a 30-year sentence in prison was taken from al-Ramlah Prison to “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center on 09 May 2018 after he had a stroke and underwent an open heart surgery in the next day in Tal Hashomer Hospital.  He was then returned to “Assaf Harofeh”, where he stayed until his death was declared.  The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said to PCHR’s fieldworker that prisoner ‘Eweisat was beaten and maltreated by a group of jailers in “Eshel” Prison  after the prison service claimed  that he poured hot water on a jailer in the beginning of May.  His family said that on 11 May 2018, they managed to visit ‘Aziz at Tel Hashomer Hospital for 2 minutes, where they noticed clear signs of exhaustion on him and that he was under the medication influence. They also noticed bruises and beating signs on his neck.

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 49 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 similar ones into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 19 Palestinians, including a child, in the West Bank.  Meanwhile, 14 civilians, including 3 children, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburb. Among those arrested during the reporting period was Khaled Tafesh (53), Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), who was arrested from his house in Za’atarah village, east of Bethlehem on 17 May 2018.

 

 

Israeli Settlement Activities and Settlers’ Attacks against the Palestinian Civivlians and their Property:

 

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property, on 23 May 2018, a number of settlers cut 700 grapevines planted 15 years ago in the lands adjacent to the Bypass Road 60 in al-Marjamah area, north of Hebron, using electric saws.  Those grapevines were planted on 9 dunums belonging to four farmers from Halhoul.  It should be mentioned that a week ago settlers cut 400 grapevines in the area near the watchtower established in the area.

 

 

Details

 

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

 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

 

  • At approximately 00:30, Israeli drones launched 2 missiles at ‘Asqalan site belonging to al-Qassam Brigades (the Military Armed wing of Hamas Movement) in al-Sifa area, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. After less than 5 minutes, the Israeli warplanes fired 2 other missiles at the same site. The airstrike caused severe damage to the site, but no casualties were reported. The sound of explosions caused fear among civilians in Gaza City and in the northern Gaza strip, particularly among women and children.

 

  • At approximately 00:55, Israeli warplanes fired 2 missiles at a site belonging to al-Qassam Brigades (the Military Armed Wing of Hamas Movement). The site is located in the previous place where the General Intelligence Services building “al-Safinah” was, southwest of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. After less than 5 minutes, the Israeli warplanes fired 4 other missiles at the same site. The airstrike caused severe damage to the site, but no casualties were reported. The sound of explosions caused fear among civilians in Gaza City and in the northern Gaza Strip, particularly among women and children.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Salem village, northeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Kamel Asa’ad ‘Omran (25) and the arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Za’tarah village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Khalid Ibrahim Tafesh (53), Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) (53), and then arrested him. It should be noted that Tafesh is one of the Islamic Movement leaders of in Bethlehem and one of those deported to Marj al-Zuhour. He is also a former prisoner as he was arrested several times and his last time was in March last year where he was administratively detained for 4 months and was released then.

 

  • At approximately 02:15, Israeli forces moved into ‘asker Old refugee camp, northeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Fadel Ibrahim Abu Salem (23).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Bethlehem and stationed on al-Saf Street in the center of the city. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Mohammed Walid al-Haremi (24), Abdul Salam Khader al-Haremi (28) and ‘Essa Nader ‘Awad (22).

 

  • At approximately 21:30, Israeli soldiers moved into al-Moghir village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ayoub Husein Abu ‘Alia’a (25) and then arrested him.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (13) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Led, Qifin, Safarin, Baqa al-Sharqiyah, Nazlet ‘Essa, Nazlet Abu al-Nar, al-Nazlah al-Gharbiyah, al-Nazlah al-Wusta and Kafer Sour villages in Tulkarm; Hebron, Deir Samet, Surif and Ethna villages in Hebron.

 

Friday, 18 May 2018

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (6) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Zeta, Nazlet ‘Essa,Nazlet Abu al-Nar and Kufor Sour villages in Tulkarm; Hebron and al’-Aroub refugee camp, north of the city.

 

Saturday, 19 May 2018

 

  • At approximately 06:35, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of al-Sudaniyah area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting continued until approximately 07:05 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Fawar refugee camp, al-Surra, Hadab al-‘Alqah and al-Thaheriyah villages in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 20 May 2018:

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Dura al-Qare’a village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Mahmoud Jamal al-Masri (22) and Nasim Rawhi Hamdan (19).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of al-Sudaniyah area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, adjacent to former al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting continued until approximately 09:00 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

  • At approximately 17:20, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Amal neighborhood, northeast of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at the border area. As a result, the shooting caused fear among farmers whose lands neat the targeted area, so they left the lands fearing for their lives, but no casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Halhoul, Beit Ummer, al-Thaheriyah, Abu al-‘Asja and al-Koum villages in Hebron.

 

Monday, 21 May 2018

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ra’ed Abu al-Surour in al-Bayader area, south of the city, and demanded him via loud speakers to surrender. When they raided the house, Ra’ed was not in the house. Meanwhile, a number of civilians gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli forces that surrounded the house. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets at them. As a result, 3 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded. They were transferred to Khalil Suleiman Governmental Hospital in Jenin. Doctors classified their injuries between minor and moderate.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sari Mohammed Taqatqah (15) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 07:45, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, adjacent to former al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

Tuesday,22 May 2018

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They then raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 5 civilians namely Yahiya Mohammed al-Hour (20), Qusai Suweilem Jawabrah (21), Ahmed Ibrahim Jawabrah (20), ‘Ali Mohammed Abu Sal (19) and ‘Ammar ‘Ayed al-Wuheidi (19).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Salam neighborhood in Hebron. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Mohammed Fadel al-Mohtaseb (26) and Mohammed Mahmoud al-Sharbati (29) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 06:30, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, adjacent to former al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting continued until approximately 07:00 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties nor material damage was reported

 

  • At approximately 08:20, Israeli forces fired an artillery shell at a watchtower belonging to Palestinian armed groups, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip. however, no casualties were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (8) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Qalqiliyah and ‘Azzoun village, east of the city; Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Hebron; Seneria, southeast of the city; Dura, Beit Ummer, al-Thaheriyah and Abu al-‘Asja villages in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Halhoul, north of Hebron and stationed in al-Tharwah neighborhood. They then raided and searched a house belonging to Muhanned Ibrahim Zama’rah (22) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:50, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at 2 boats prepared to welcome the anit-blockade Flotilla in Gaza Seaport, west of Gaza City. The shelling caused severe damage to the boats, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron and stationed in al-Shurfah neighborhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mo’men Monther al-Sharawneh (35) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:20, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of al-Sudaniyah area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting continued until approximately 04:10 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Nablus and stationed in al-Makhfiyah neighborhood, west of the city. They surrounded Esthiyah building and raided an apartment in the third floor belonging to Nash’at Qasem Abed al-Jabali (67). The soldiers asked him about his grandson Nash’at and he told them that he is in his father’s house on Tal Street. The soldiers took Nash’at, who is old and sick into a military vehicle and took him to the house of his son ‘Adli in the ground floor in Habishah building on Tal Street, south of the city. The soldiers then raided and searched the abovementioned apartment and then arrested his son Nash’at ‘Adli al-Jabali (18). Meanwhile, a number of civilians gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets at them. As a result, a 21-year-old civilian was hit with a facial live bullet to the back. He was transferred to Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus to receive medical treatment. Doctors classified his injury as minor.
  • At approximately 04:00, Israeli warplanes fired 6 missiles at Ahmed al-Ja’abari military site, east of al-Tuffah neighborhood. However, no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 06:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, adjacent to former al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting continued until approximately 08:00 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties nor material damage was reported.
  • At approximately 18:00, medical sources at An-Najah Hospital in Nablus announced the death of ‘Odai Akram Abu Khalil (15) from ‘Ein Senia village, north of Ramallah, succumbing to wounds he sustained earlier. According to PCHR’s investigations, on 15 May 2018, dozens of civilians gathered at the northern entrance to al-Birah in commemorating the Nakbah anniversary, protesting against the relocation of the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem and condemning the Israeli forces crimes in the Gaza Strip. The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers stationed at “al-Mahkama” checkpoint established near “Beit Eil” settlement fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. At approximately 14:30, a number of the civilians approached the checkpoint in a distance averaged between 30 to 50 meters and the soldiers immediately opened fire at them. As a result, Abu Khalil was hit with a Two-Two bullet to the abdomen. He was taken via a PRCS ambulance to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive medical treatment. He was then transferred to An-Najah Hospital in Nablus where he stayed until his death was announced.

Palestinian Died in Suspicious Death Circumstance:

On Sunday evening, 20 May 2018, medical crews in “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center near al-Ramlah in Israel announced the death of Palestinian prisoner ‘Aziz Mousa Salem ‘Eweisat (53) from al-Mukkaber Mount village, southeast of East Jerusalem. On 09 May 2018, ‘Eweisat was transferred from al-Ramlah prison to “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center after he suffered a stroke and stayed there until his death was announced on the abovementioned day.

It should be mentioned that ‘Aziz ‘Eweisat was arrested on 08 March 2014 and sentenced to 30 years in prison after being condemned with planning to explode the gas pipeline of “Armon Hantsev” settlement established on the Palestinian lands of al-Mukaber Mount village.  In the beginning of May, he had a stroke after being transferred from “Eshel” prison to “al-Ramlah” prison. Before the stroke, prisoner ‘Eweisat said to one of the prisoners that he was beaten and maltreated in “Eshel Prison under claims of pouring hot water on a prison official.  On 09 May 2018, he underwent a heart catheterization, and his health condition deteriorated.  After one day, he was taken to “Tel Hashomer” Hospital where he underwent an open heart surgery.  The two day before his death, ‘Eweisat suffered multiple organ failure and was on medical ventilators in “Assaf Harofeh” hospital where he underwent an MRI which showed he suffered from severe inflammation and pulmonary hypertension “increased blood pressure within the arteries of the lungs.” in the left lung.    The Prisoners’ Affairs Authority then called for urgently releasing ‘Aweisat for health reasons and determined a hearing on 25 May 2018 in the Magistrate’s Court in Ramla to consider the request.

The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said to PCHR’s fieldworker that prisoner ‘Eweisat was beaten and maltreated by a group of jailers in “Eshel” Prison  after the prison service claimed  that he poured hot water on a jailer. On Monday, 07 May 2018, during ‘Eweisat transfer from al-Ramlah Prison, he said to another prisoner the details of attacking him by the jailers as he was transferred from the cell to the solitary confinement cells according to a clear deal between “Eshel” Prison Servie and the leaders of the Prisoners Movement on condition that they don’t attack him. That was after the Prison Service claimed that he poured hot water on a jailer causing him burns. ‘Eweisat also said that the Prison Service did not commit to the deal, rather a group of jailers attacked and brutally maltreated him. As a result, he suffered severe bruises in his eyes, mouth, teeth and throughout his body. The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies also mentioned that fatigue and exhaustion were clear on him as he was panting while he was sitting, and had breathing difficulty in addition to pains in the chest and sever mouth dryness.

‘Eweisat Family said that on 11 May 2018, they managed to visit ‘Aziz at Tel Hashomer Hospital for 2 minutes, where they noticed clear signs of exhaustion on him and that he was under the medication influence. They also noticed bruises and beating signs on his neck.

 

Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

 

Continuing the demonstrations in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it, Palestinian civilians organized protests against the decision throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They further organized peaceful demonstrations where ten thousands of civilians participated, for the eighth Friday on a row, in commemoration of the 42nd Anniversary of the Land Day in the Gaza Strip. The demonstrations were called as “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.” The demonstrations were as follows during the reporting period:

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • At approximately 15:30 on Friday, 18 May 2018, Palestinian protestors swarmed to the Return encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return; 350 meters away from the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip. A number of children and young men approached the border fence, set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors and the participants’ gathering in the Return encampment. The clashes continued until the evening hours. As a result, 7 civilians were wounded. Five of them were hit with live bullets and 2 others were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded were transferred via an ambulance belonging to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Doctors classified their injuries between minor and moderate.

 

  • At approximately 16:00, hundreds of civilians, including women and children within entire families started swarming into the demonstration yard in the Return encampment, east of Khuza’ah village in eastern Khan Younis to participate in the “Friday of loyalty to the martyrs and wounded” as named by the Supreme National Authority for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege. A number of civilians moved into the north of the camp, set fire to tires, chanted national slogans and raised flags. Some of them attempted to approach the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Israeli forces stationed behind hills and sand barriers and in military vehicles along the border fence sporadically and limitedly opened fire at the protesters and fired tear gas canisters at them and in the center of the camp. The shooting and teargasing sporadically continued for 3 hours. As a result, 4 civilians, including a journalist, were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The journalist wounded was identified as Bassam Mohammed Qasem Mas’oud (41), who works at Reuters News Agency, was hit with a tear gas canister to the chest as he was wearing a Blue Press-marked Vest. Ten minutes later, he was hit with a tear gas canister to the head.

 

  • At approximately 16:30, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza strip and Israel, east of Abu Safiyah Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at hundreds of civilians for the eighth Friday within the activities of “The Return March and Breaking Siege” upon a call from the Supreme National Authority. The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones from far distances at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers. The clashes continued until approximately 19:30. As a result, 5 civilians were wounded. Four of them were hit with live bullets and one civilian was directly hot with tear gas canister. The wounded civilians were transferred via ambulances belonging to PRCS, Medical Services, Union of Health Work Committees and the Ministry of Health to the Indonesian, al-‘Awda, and Kamal ‘Edwan Hospitals. Doctors classified their injuries between moderate and minor.

 

  • At approximately 17:00, thousands of civilians gathered in eastern side of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City, to participate in the “The Great March of Return” activities. They threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 6 civilians were hit with rubber bullets. They were transferred to al-Shifa Hospital. Doctors classified their injuries between moderate and minor.

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on the same Friday, hundreds of Palestinian civilians swarmed to the Return encampment established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, east of al-Shwakah village, east of Rafaj in the southern Gaza Strip, around 300 meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The protestors raised the Palestinian flags, chanted national slogans, set fire to tires and flew paper kites. A number of them approached the border fence and threw stones at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers stationed behind sand barriers fired live bullets at the protestors. The clashes continued until approximately 19:30. As a result, 5 civilians were hit with live bullets. The wounded civilians were taken to field hospitals in the camp and then transferred to Abu Yusuf al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah city and Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis. Doctors classified 2 civilians’ injuries as serious as one of them had his leg amputated.

 

  • At approximately 14:30 on Saturday, 19 May 2018, hundreds of Palestinian civilians gathered into the eastern side of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City to participate in the activities of “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege”. They threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a civilian was hit with a live bullet to the right hand. He was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and doctors classified his injury as moderate.

 

  • At approximately 12:00 on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel adjacent to the Retrun encampment, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at a 20-year-old civilian from Khuza’ah. As a result, he was hit with 2 live bullets to the legs while he was at the vicinity of the Return encampment. The wounded civilian was transferred to Gaza European hospital to receive medical treatment. Doctors classified their injuries as moderate.

 

Two Civilians Succumbed to Their Wounds:

 

  • At approximately 23:00 on Friday, 18 May 2018, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City announced the death of Mo’een Abdul Hamid Mohammed al-Sa’ie (59) from al-Shati’ refugee camp, west of Gaza City succumbing to his previous wounds. According to PCHR’s investigations, Mo’een was hit with a live bullet to the chest during his participation in the Great Return March on Monday, 14 May 2018, east of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City.

 

  • At approximately 10:15 on Saturday, 19 May 2018, medical sources at al-Quds Hospital announced the death of Mohammed Mazen Ibrahim ‘Elian (18) from al-Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip succumbing to his wounds. Mohammed was hit with a live bullet to the head in eastern al-Buraij during his participation in the Million-People March of Return on 14 May 2018. He was admitted to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah and then was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City due to his serious injury. Mohammed’s parents later transferred him to al-Quds Hospital where his death was announced.

 

 

West Bank:

 

  • At approximately 16:30 on Saturday, 19 May 2018, a group of Palestinian civilians moved from Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, to the eastern entrance to the village, which has been closed for 15 years in favor of the entrance to “Kedumim” settlement established on the village lands. The protestors chanted national slogans demanding end of occupation, condemning the U.S President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital Israel and condemning the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinian protestors along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip within “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. The protestors set fire to tires, threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a 2-year-old civilian was hit with a rubber bullet to the left hand. On Friday afternoon, 18 May 2018, a similar demonstration was organized at the abovementioned entrance. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.

 

  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.

  • Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing, in the north of the Gaza Strip, is designated for the movement of individuals, and links the Gaza Strip with the West Bank.

Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(08-15 May 2018)

Category 08 May 09 May 10 May 11 May 12 May  13 May 14 May 15 May
Patients 82 46 31 2 92 47 54
Companions 73 45 28 2 80 36 44
Personal needs 32 48 52 1 36 6
Familiesof prisoners
Arabs fromIsrael 2 6 9 9 19
Diplomats 2
International journalists 3
International workers 41 47 136 9 43 1 11
TravelersAbroad 105 2 1
Business people 207 226 241 361 2
Business meetings
Security interviews 1 3 1 1
VIPs 1 3
Ambulances to Israel 1 4 5 1 1 3 1
Patients’ Companions 1 3 4 1 1 3

Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(16-22 May 2018)

Category 16 May 17 May 18 May 19 May 20 May  21 May 22 May
Patients 66 34 3 1 72 72
Companions 55 26 3 1 67 64
Personal needs 14 10 4 22 20
Familiesof prisoners 14
Arabs fromIsrael 11 4 1 5 3
Diplomats
International journalists
International workers 109 122 2 48 32
TravelersAbroad 79 5 57
Business people 160 118 1 311 162
Business meetings
Security interviews 4 5 5 7
VIPs 1
Ambulances to Israel 3 1 8 4 2
Patients’ Companions 4 1 1 5

 

Note:

  • On 08 May 2018, Israeli authorities allowed one person; on Sunday, 13 May 2018, one person; and on Monday, 21 May 2018, 9 persons to return to the West Bank.
  • On Wednesday, 09 May 2018, Israeli authorities allowed 41 farmers to attend an agricultural seminar in Israel.
  • On Wednesday, 09 May 2018, the Israeli authorities allowed a person; on Monday, 21 May 2018, a person; and on Tuesday, 2 persons, who work at the General Authority of Civil Affairs (GACA) and internationals to renew their permits.
  • On Thursday, 17 May 2018, Israeli authorities allowed a person to give his testimony in the Israeli courts.
  • On Tuesday, 22 May 2018, Israeli authorities allowed 21 persons, who were wounded in the Return March, accompanied by 16 companions to travel to Jordan for treatment.

A Civilian Was Arrested at Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing in Northern Gaza Strip

  • On Monday, 21 May 2018, Israeli forces stationed at Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing, north of the Gaza Strip, arrested Belal Ayman Ahmed al-Astal (28) from Western Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip. Belal’s father said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 08:00, his son headed to Erez Crossing for an interview with the Israeli Intelligence Service, upon the latter’s request to consider his permit request submitted by the Ministry of Civil Affairs to get a permit for travelling via the crossing. It should be noted that Belal is suffering from fistula and he submitted the application to get a permit for treatment in Jordan. His father added that Belal’s family was informed through the Palestinian Liaison that his son was detained by the Israeli forces. It should be noted that Belal is married and have 3 children and works as a salesman in a store belonging to his family.
  • Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:

 

 

  • Hebron: Israeli forces established (21) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 17 May 2018, Israeli forces established a metal detector gate at the entrance to Wad al-Gharouz area, east of Hebron, where there was an Israeli military checkpoint. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities have established 3 metal detector gates since the beginning of late April on Hebron’s main roads and completely closed a main road, south of the city, under the pretext of security reasons. On the same day, the Israeli forces established 3 military checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Hebron and at the entrance to Sa’ir village.

On Friday, 18 May 2018, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit ‘Awaa and Beit Ummer villages and at the western entrance to Hebron.

On Saturday, 19 May 2018, 3 similar checkpoints were established at the eastern entrance to Dura village, at the northern entrance to Hebron, and at the entrance to Beit Ummer.

On Sunday, 20 May 2018, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Dura and al-Shayoukh villages, at the western entrance to Hebron, and at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp.

On Monday, 21 May 2018, Israeli forces established 3 similar checkpoints at the entrance to al-Fawar refugee camp, at the entrance to Jalajel village, and at the entrance to Ethna village.

On Tuesday, 22 May 2018, 2 similar checkpoints were established at the entrance to Sa’ir village and at the southern entrance to Hebron.

On Wednesday, 23 May 2018, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Hebron and at the entrances to Beit ‘Awaa and Ethna villages.

 

  • Qalqiliyia:

At approximately 14:00 on Sunday, 20 May 2018, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyia. They searched Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and checked their IDs. At approximately 16:20, the checkpoint was removed and no more arrests were reported.

 

  • Ramallah and al-Bireh:

At approximately 09:30 on Wednesday, 23 May 2018, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the main entrance to Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah. They closed the entrance and caused traffic jam from and into the village. The closure continued for 3 consecutive hours.

 

Arrests at Military Checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, 17 May 2018, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance to Palestine Technical University “al-‘Aroub branch”, north of Hebron, arrested a student, Hazem Mohamed Diyab (20), from al-‘Aroub refugee camp.
  • At approximately 15:00 on Friday, 18 May 2018, Israeli forces stationed at the annexation wall gate adjacent to Nazlet ‘Isaa village, north of Tulkarm, arrested Rania Ahmed Hussain ‘Ali (39). Rania was arrested while attempting to enter via the workers gate to work in Israel.
  • At approximately 09:30 on Sunday, 20 May 2018, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on Tubas-Nablus road in al-Fari’ah area. They stopped Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and checked the passengers’ IDs. They then arrested Tawfiq Rafeeq Tawfiq al-Kharraz (32), who was coming from Tubas and heading to Nablus along with his father in their private car. At approximately 11:30, the checkpoint was removed and Tawfiq was taken to the detention facility.

 

  • Efforts to Create A Jewish majority

 

 

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

 

  • Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Thursday, 17 May 2018, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Ahmed Jalal al-A’war (21), ‘Ali Sabri Abu Diyab (22), Mohamed Majdi Qa’qour (22), and Mahdi Yousef Abu Diyab (18).

 

  • At approximately 23:00 on Friday, 18 May 2018, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, through its western entrance. They deployed on the village streets and then closed some of them. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered at the village entrance and then threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the Israeli soldiers. The protesters also heavily fired fireworks at the soldiers, who fired rubber bullets at them. As a result, Mohamed Fathi Abu al-Humus (29) was hit with a rubber bullet to the right thigh before arresting him by the soldiers.

 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 21 May 2018, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Khaled Tayseer Abu Mayalah (21) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 09:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Sa’idiyia neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohamed Khaled al-Moghrabi (27) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 23:00 on Monday, Israeli forces arrested two children while they were in Bab al-‘Amoud yard in the center of occupied East Jerusalem. The Israeli forces then took them to Salah al-Deen Police Station for investigation. The arrested children were identified as Mohanad Mohamed Qara’een (14) and Ahmed Yaseen Murad (15).

 

  • At approximately 03:30 on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested 5 civilians, including a child. The arrested civilians were identified as Mohamed ‘Amer Mahmoud (19), Mohamed Jehad ‘Eliyan (21), Fayiz Mohamed Muhasin (22), Mohamed Zakariyia ‘Eliyan (17), and Wadee’ Hussain ‘Eliyan (18).

 

 

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

 Israeli forces’ attacks

 

 

  • At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Sha’b al-Botum area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They handed 4 notices to stop construction works under the pretext of non-licensing in areas classified as area (C). The notices were as follows:

 

  1. A 30-square-meter residential room belonging to Isma’il Ishaq Jabareen;
  2. A 25-square-meter residential room and a 50-square-meter barrack built of tin plates belonging to Mohanad Isma’I Jabareen;
  3. A 30-square-meter residential tent belonging to Mohamed ‘Abed Jabareen; and
  4. A 30-square-meter clinic built with shed and steel pillars.

 

 

 Israeli settlers’ attacks

  • On Wednesday, 23 May 2018, a group of Israeli settlers cut with automatic saws around 700 grapevines planted 15 years ago in lands adjacent to bypass road (60) in al-Murajimah area, north of Hebron. Those grapevines were planted in 9 dunums belonging to 4 farmers, from Halhoul village. It should be noted that the Israeli settlers cut 400 grapevines a week ago in an area near a military watchtower established in the area. The affected farmers were identified as:
  • Isma’il ‘Ataa Hasan Karjah: 200 grapevines.
  • Maher Isma’il ‘Ataa Karjah: 200 grapevines.
  • Yunis ‘Ali Ahmed Abu ‘Arish: 100 grapevines.
  • Waleed ‘Abed al-Razaq Dehidel: 200 grapevines.

 

Recommendations to the International Community

 

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC this year to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

The myth of the Gaza ‘border’

The myth of the Gaza ‘border’

The Green Line disguises the fact that Palestinians in Gaza are no longer being oppressed outside the Israeli state, but are being caged and brutalized inside it.

Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Strip throw stones in the direction of an Israeli military position on the other side of the border fence, Gaza Strip, December 8, 2017. (Ezz Zanoun/Activestills.org)

Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Strip throw stones in the direction of an Israeli military position on the other side of the border fence, Gaza Strip, December 8, 2017. (Ezz Zanoun/Activestills.org)

Palestinian activists have long criticized the use of the word “border” to describe the 1949 armistice line that divides Gaza and Israel, and which protestors in the Great March of Return have been trying to cross at great risk to life and limb. By invoking the term, Israel insists that its open-fire policy toward the march is part of its legitimate right to defend its sovereignty and security. It further claims that, because the government dismantled its settlements in 2005, it no longer occupies the Strip and therefore bears no responsibility for its conditions.

These are disingenuous arguments. Israel’s blockade and control of Gaza stretches from its eastern and northern land crossings to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, with Egypt controlling the south. What it calls a “border” is actually a militarized network of naval ships, barbed wire, electronic barriers, lethal no-man zones, and surveillance systems that operate as the fence of an open-air prison. In legal terms, Israel retains “effective control” of the Strip (including people’s movement, its airspace, flow of goods, and other needs of daily life), and therefore remains its occupying power.

An Israeli warship approaches a Palestinian skiff, as photographed from the observation boat Olivia (photo: Rosa Schiano/Civil Peace Service Gaza CPSGAZA)

An Israeli warship approaches a Palestinian skiff, as photographed from the observation boat Olivia (photo: Rosa Schiano/Civil Peace Service Gaza CPSGAZA)

The human rights community has spent years articulating the nature of Israel’s occupation under international law and the responsibility of third-parties to end it. The law, however, is only worth as much as the will to enforce it; and half a century later, these efforts have failed to produce meaningful outcomes. It is not that the law is incorrect, but that it has been unable to mobilize political action or make Israel’s military rule less sustainable.

The Palestinians’ own ambiguities about the Green Line have further complicated matters. We focus on the military structures that have spawned since 1967, yet emphasize that the real problem is 1948. We cite Israel’s obligation to abide by international law, but chastise the law for being useless in practice. We combine settler colonialism, occupation, and apartheid as lenses to explain the ongoing Nakba, but arrive at different conclusions for what the solution entails. These debates are natural, but they also muddle the struggle’s priorities and the discourse it promotes.

Exploiting these uncertainties, Israel has turned Gaza into an area that is simultaneously separated from and annexed under Israel’s control. It is a purgatory designed to provide whatever answer is most convenient for shirking responsibility and justifying violence at any given time. This has obscured a controversial but perhaps inexorable fact: after 51 years, Gaza can hardly be described as “occupied territory” anymore. It is now a segregated, debilitated, and subjugated part of Israel; a replica of the districts, townships, and reservations that imprisoned native populations and communities of color in apartheid South Africa, the United States, and other colonial regimes. In other words, Palestinians are no longer being oppressed outside the Israeli state; they are being caged and brutalized inside it.

Israeli soldiers look on at protests in Gaza. April 13, 2018. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers look on at protests in Gaza. April 13, 2018. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

The Green Line has been key to disguising this complex system. Like the de facto annexation of the West Bank – where Israel’s growing settlements and military presence have similarly made the “border” there non-existent – Gaza has effectively been absorbed into Israel’s political jurisdiction. Hamas, like the Palestinian Authority, is viewed as a pseudo-government of hostile “enemy aliens,” but one that can be managed in Israel’s domain so long as it is contained behind the fence. The thousands taking part in the March of Return are not “infiltrators” trying to breach a sovereign state, but displaced and disenfranchised “citizens” breaking out of a state-built ghetto. The army is not holding off “foreign invaders,” but is killing and suppressing its own native subjects.

This framing is crucial to understand the scale and severity of Israel’s policies, and to devise stronger paths to correcting their injustices. By tearing off the mask of the Green Line, Palestinians and their allies can reverse Israel’s efforts to isolate Gaza from the West Bank and to deny its people’s rights to their ancestral homes. What Israel fears more than a Palestinian state is a Palestinian population it cannot disown, and the myth that Gaza is “separated” from Israel helps it to balance that fear. That myth must be broken, and that racist fear must be exposed. Doing so would also reveal the political solution: if Palestinians cannot win their independence along the Green Line, they will demand their full equality beyond it. The March of Return is doing just that

At 70: Let’s let israel implode

At 70: Let`s let Israel implode

Israel’s democratic farce is collapsing, but little can be done today to challenge this from within Zionist institutions

Marcelo Svirsky's picture

They are desperate as they have never been before. In their impatience and immoderation, Israel’s institutions hasten, with their own hands, the end of Zionism. We might even see it happening in our lifetime. 

For the first time in history, it seems they are realising that, in the long run, Zionism is indefensible and unsustainable. But that realisation is not creating a genuine collective introspection that could move Israeli society towards social transformation; rather, the opposite is happening. In a scattergun approach, Israel fires in all directions, to protect, as British essayist Perry Anderson famously put it, “what it has made of what it has taken”.

Celebrating Palestinian deaths

Their strategy is revealing: Threats need to be contained, and strengths must be augmented. The backbone of the Zionist project involves the social mobilisation of Israeli citizens. The combined sight of Israeli soldiers celebrating the killing of unarmed Palestinians, while others take their seats at makeshift balconies to watch – as in an outdoor cinema – Palestinian protestors being shot at, shows the extent to which the colonial gangrene has expanded in the Israeli social body. 

Israeli Jews are the spine of this project, but diaspora Jews are its reservoir. Anywhere Jewish dissent blossoms, the Zionist spectre is there to crush it. All means are kosher: Israel’s rabbinical courts may soon have unprecedented power over non-Israeli Jews.

It is evident that for Israel, the threat posed by Palestinians is not in their actions: To the Zionist mind, Palestinian life in itself is a manifestation of war

Not only are Palestinian protesters executed by military snipers at the Gaza border as a matter of policy, but the Israeli government also justifies it. In response to a Supreme Court petition filed by human rights groups, the state of Israel said that the Gaza protests fell into the category of a state of war, and thus human rights law did not apply to the rules of engagement.

There is something tragic about appealing to Israeli courts to defend basic human and civil rights. Israeli courts have never been a bulwark of freedom. In the past, the military would have refuted the extent of the death toll; but today, unapologetically, the official story adapts law and morality to make sense of Israel’s policies for Israeli eyes and ears.

This shift points to a cultural degradation that the world must acknowledge: when the perpetrator rationalises and celebrates its crimes, the space for dialogue has been extinguished. Israel must be ostracised until it complies with international law, just as the BDS movement is demanding.

Erasing the occupation

In recent years, the Israeli government has been attempting to control and restrict donations to human and civil rights organisations in the country, while encouraging militaristic activities in schools and erasing all discussion of the occupation in civics textbooks.

Human rights defenders are also blocked from bringing their messages into Israel’s social space: this week, two prominent US human rights lawyers, Katherine Franke and Vincent Warren, were detained at Ben Gurion airport for 14 hours, interrogated and deported.

On the external front, Israel has created more and more official institutions to fight against BDS, recruiting US legislators in the effort as well. Yet these attempts are insignificant compared with the growing mass of people and organisations around the globe joining the BDS movement, winning more victories each year.



People take part in a demonstration calling for a boycott of Israel and for the recognition of the state of Palestine in Paris in 2015 (AFP)

Now, Israel also convicts Palestinian poets. Dareen Tatour was convicted this month by an Israeli district court of incitement to terrorism because of posts on social media – particularly, because of her poem titled: “Resist, My People, Resist Them.” No other decision could defeat its purpose more than this ruling; to silence poetry is to excite its passions.

To the Zionist mind, Palestinian life in itself is a manifestation of war

It is evident that for Israel, the threat posed by Palestinians is not in their actions. To the Zionist mind, Palestinian life in itself is a manifestation of war. The intensification and expansion of this applied hatred towards Palestinians requires the tightening of Israeli mobilisation. It is not inconceivable that at some point, Israelis will have to express their loyalty in more visual and louder ways, perhaps as Culture Minister Miri Regev conceived for Independence Day commemorations, with children wearing yellow stars.

Enhanced executive powers

In the meantime, the institutional authoritarian ring closes on Israelis. Firstly, to be on the safe side, the Israeli parliament is about to make sure that it can override Supreme Court decisions that challenge the Jewish or militaristic character of the state; and secondly, Israel’s prime minister can now declare war in consultation only with the minister of defence, regardless of the cabinet’s position. Both decisions enhance the power of the executive, which for decades has dominated the Knesset without any significant political opposition.

Israel’s democratic farce is collapsing. MK Dov Khenin of the Joint List has warned that Netanyahu is leading the country towards a Masada-style suicide. But little can be done today from within Zionist institutions.

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Where is Israel’s outrage at the appalling massacre in Gaza?

The Joint List must immediately leave the Knesset. Whatever its small victories are, its presence continues to legitimise the vermin. Let’s let the Knesset become a pure Jewish parliament, to better resonate with the dynamics of the state and society. Let’s let Israel implode from its own bile.

In the meantime, Palestinians and anti-Zionist Israelis on both sides of the Green Line can begin establishing the foundations of new democratic institutions. Once the political institutions of Israel implode, alternative political tools will be available.

Marcelo Svirsky is a senior lecturer at the School for Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong, Australia. He researches settler-colonial societies, particularly Israel-Palestine, and focuses on questions of social transformation and decolonisation.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.  

Photo: Anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jews burn an Israeli flag in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighbourhood on 2 May 2018, during celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer (AFP).

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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