Report: Israel May Be Planning ‘Forced Transfer’ of Residents from 2 Palestinian Villages

[ Ed. note – The email below was sent out yesterday by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Apparently the Israeli government authorities are planning to completely eradicate two Palestinian villages and forcibly transfer the population. To where is not clear. But B’Tselem is calling it an “extreme escalation,” and judging from the tone of the email there are concerns that what’s apparently in the works now may just be a precursor to an ethnic cleansing operation on a far wider scale. ]

Dear friend,

According to Haaretz, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told journalists in late August that plans for the implementation of a measure virtually unheard of since 1967 were months away from completion. These are plans for the eviction: Eviction and demolition of two whole West Bank Palestinian villages. Together, the two villages, Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills, and Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, are home to hundreds of people, about half of them minors.

Demolishing these communities would constitute the forcible transfer of protected persons, a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention. A forcible transfer occurs whenever residents do not leave of their own free will – for instance, when the authorities make living conditions impossible. This is exactly what Israel has been doing to these and to many other Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank for years –  forcing residents to live without connections to electricity or running water and under the constant threat of demolition. Still, demolishing an entire community would be an extreme escalation of this already abusive policy.

Crimes are usually committed far from the public view, and effort is put into covering them up. Seasoned politicians do not usually declare their criminal intentions, especially in on-the-record conversation with journalists. The fact that Minister Lieberman did so attests to his confidence that the planned evictions will receive the full backing similar actions – albeit less extreme – have always been given here, including the disgraceful support of the High Court. This is an official policy and is not seen as a crime.

For that reason, last week we sent a letter to the prime minister, the defense minister, the justice minister, the chief of staff and the head of the Civil Administration cautioning that demolishing an entire community would constitute a war crime for which they would bear personal liability. This was an unusual step for B’Tselem to take: we do not use the term lightly and it rarely appears in our publications. Yet the extreme circumstances demand it.

For many years, B’Tselem has been advocating for the Palestinian communities that are struggling against Israel’s de facto expulsion policy in Area C. We are determined to do everything in our power to help the residents of Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar escape expulsion, and ensure Israel avoids committing a war crime.

Sincerely yours,

Hagai El-Ad
Executive Director
B’Tselem

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BREAKING NEWS OF SAUDI CROWN PRINCE’S “SECRET” VISIT TO ISRAEL BRINGS EMBASSY SCRAMBLE

South Front

11.09.2017 

Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

Clearly the war in Syria and the international push for regime change against Assad has created strange alliances in the Middle East over the past few years. Among the strangest bedfellows are the Israelis and Saudis. It’s no secret that common cause in Syria of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called “Shia crescent” as their primary policy goal in the region. But that’s perhaps why few pundits seemed overly shocked when Israeli media late last week began reporting that a Saudi prince made a secret visit to Israel, in spite of the fact that the kingdom does not recognize the Jewish state, and the two sides do not have diplomatic relations.

Last Wednesday (9/6) Israel’s state funded Kol Yisrael radio service made cryptic reference to the “secret” yet historic visit while withholding names and specifics. “An emir of the Saudi royal court visited the country secretly in recent days and discussed with senior Israeli officials the idea of advancing regional peace,” the station reported. It added further that, “Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the issue.”

Breaking News of Saudi Crown Prince's "Secret" Visit To Israel Brings Embassy Scramble

Left: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Right: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The visit is said to have occurred the same week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed “unprecedented” relations with the Arab world. Netanyahu made the comments before members of the foreign ministry and said, “Things that are happening today between Israel and the Arab world are unprecedented. Cooperation on a wide range of issues are occurring behind the scenes, more than at any time in Israel’s history.”

But on Sunday reports began to emerge that the unidentified Saudi royal in question is no less than Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, which would indeed be shocking news:

On Sunday, the IUVM Online Arabic news outlet identified the Saudi official who reportedly visited Israel as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia and heir apparent to the throne.

The IUVM Online report cited a United Arab Emirates intelligence officer, who claimed that bin Salman was the member of the Saudi royal family who met with Israeli officials in last week’s secret meeting.

Western journalists also began on Sunday to report the dignitary as being Crown Prince Salman – something which could have huge geopolitical consequences for the region given that such a high level meeting would possibly take place at all.

 Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was on secret visit to Israel. 

The reports were immediately disputed and subject to disbelief and controversy. As bin Salman’s name continued to circulate Sunday, the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C. attempted to shut down news of the visit. A senior Saudi diplomatic official took to Twitter with a simple “Nope” in reference to the allegations.

Of course, if true such a dramatic move between the countries would signify a monumental shift in relations and outlook. On Sunday Israeli media was also broadly advancing bin Salman’s name as the Saudi emir in question.

Breaking News of Saudi Crown Prince's "Secret" Visit To Israel Brings Embassy Scramble

Multiple Israeli outlets on Sunday identified Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as having met with senior Israeli officials early last week.

Though initial reports in Israeli media speculated that it could mean positive momentum on the Palestinian issue, it is unlikely that the future king of Saudi Arabia himself would suddenly pay a personal visit to Israel over an issue which has stalemated regional diplomacy for decades. It also doesn’t appear that Israeli policy on settlements has undergone any significant on the ground change. If true, public knowledge of the visit will certainly result in embarrassment for both countries, especially on the Saudi domestic front.

The initial Israeli public radio report referenced the visit of “an emir of the Saudi royal court” on Wednesday while saying the trip took place “in recent days”. As both Israel and Saudi Arabia have been so heavily invested in pursuing regime change in Syria, and at a time when other world powers seem to be backing off, it is inconceivable that Syria wasn’t high on the agenda during the unprecedented visit.

The timing of the meeting also seems more than just coincidental in relation to last week’s Israeli airstrike on a Syrian military facility, which took place in the middle of the night Wednesday (or more precisely Thursday morning at 3:00 am). As we reported at the time, Israel’s brazen act of aggression was designed to provoke a response from Syria. As the Syrian government stands poised to be victorious in the more than 6-year long conflict while rapidly regaining more and more territory, Israel seems desperate to keep the war going and is still making last ditch efforts to draw external powers deeper into Syria, though framing its aggression as “humanitarian”.

Could the two powers have been engaged in face to face talks over renewed efforts at ramping up the stalled war for regime change in Syria? After all, Israel’s declarations of its willingness to do anything to prevent an enduring Iranian presence in Syria have reached a new erratic pitch of late. During Netanyahu’s recent contentious summit with Vladimir Putin in Sochi, the Israeli leader reportedly warned Putin that Israel would not tolerate an enlarged and stronger Shia sphere of influence along Israel’s border. Yet the current trajectory of the war in Syria ensures just that, especially after the US-Russia brokered Astana agreement seemed to give tacit approval of Iranian troop presence in parts of Syria, while placing Russia in the driver’s seat. It was further revealed that a senior Israeli official accompanying Netanyahu on the trip threatened to assassinate Syrian President Assad by bombing his palace in Damascus, while further adding that Israel will seek to derail the Astana de-escalation deal.

As for Saudi Arabia, while its deep embroilment in inter-GCC diplomatic war with Qatar seems to have tempered what used to be routine calls for Assad’s departure, it must be remembered that the current unraveling of the GCC is ultimately benefiting IranIt is entirely possible that the Iran issue alone might drive the kingdom into direct engagement with Israel no matter the risks and political embarrassment (for example, news of the visit hands Iran a propaganda victory and likely more influence on the so-called Arab street, even perhaps within Saudi’s own domestic population).

Saudi Arabia could also be worried about future blowback from its well-documented actions in Syria. A WikiLeaks cable released in 2015 as part of the “Saudi Leaks” trove of internal leaked Saudi diplomatic memos speaks to just this scenario. Though the memo’s exact date is unknown, it was drafted sometime in early 2012 based on internal references in the Arabic text. It spells out the kingdom’s internal long term rationale on Syria: that should the Syrian regime “be able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form” then increased “danger for the Kingdom” means Saudi Arabia must “seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria.” A full translation of the key passage reads as follows:

“In what pertains to the Syrian crisis, the Kingdom is resolute in its position and there is no longer any room to back down. The fact must be stressed that in the case where the Syrian regime is able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form, the primary goal that it will pursue is taking revenge on the countries that stood against it, with the Kingdom and some of the countries of the Gulf coming at the top of the list. If we take into account the extent of this regime’s brutality and viciousness and its lack of hesitancy to resort to any means to realize its aims, then the situation will reach a high degree of danger for the Kingdom, which must seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria.

Whether or not it was in fact Crown Prince Salman that himself went to Israel, the timing of the high level delegation’s visit is simply impossible to ignore. Simply put, Syria was without a doubt discussed… and shortly thereafter Syria was bombed. Such direct and closer relations among perennial enemies could be a sign of more escalation and desperate measures to come in the region. This is certainly not – as Israeli media reported – a sign of regional peace.

Saudi Crown Prince’s Secret Trip to Tel Aviv: Riyadh Moving Closer towards Normalization with ‘Israel’

11-09-2017 | 14:39

Following the bold announcements of Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the unprecedented relationship between Tel Aviv and some Arab states, new information uncovered the secret visit made recently by a Gulf delegation to the occupation entity.

MBS

According to 360 ‘Israeli’ website, it was Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman the leader of the delegation that met with Netanyahu secretly.

According to the website, an Emirati intelligence officer accompanied bin Salman, along with former General who is close to the royal family, Anwar Eshqi, beside several other senior figures.Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s office as usual declined to comment on the issue not to embarrass Saudi Arabia, which in parallel presents itself as defender of the Palestinian cause, fixed, and just rights of the Palestinian people, all denied by the ‘Israeli’ apartheid regime.Commenting on the issue, member of the “Coalition for al-Quds” Saleh al-Shwaiky stressed rejection of such visits no matter what are the circumstances.Speaking to the al-Ahed news website, al-Shwaiky said:

“According to us, we have a firm stance that criminalizes normalization of diplomatic ties with Zionist occupation regime, in addition to all suspicious attempts that some make secretly to get closer to the entity that is attacking our Palestinian people, land and sanctities.”

The Maqdessi activist wondered why some Gulf figures in particular want reconciliation with ‘Israel’ whilst neglecting their responsibilities in supporting the Palestinian cause.

He further censured the parity of this group with the colonial powers that are based on making Tel Aviv a natural part of the region without caring for the tragedies it caused to the Palestinians.

“Instead of fighting Yemen and killing civilians there, they should have moved towards the al-Aqsa Mosque that is being violated everyday by the Zionist settlers. They should have saved all the potentials and money to resist in Palestine and liberate al-Quds from the Zionist dirt.”

The Saudi crown prince’s visit to Saudi Arabia represents a turning point in the path towards normalizing ties between the Saudi Kingdom and ‘Israel’, paving the way for other sides to adopt the same policy that has been executed secretly for some considerations, which practically means aborting work to solve the Palestinian cause.


Source: Al-Ahed News

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Shamasne Family Evicted from its Home in East Jerusalem

[ Ed. note – Israeli authorities carried out an eviction order Tuesday, throwing an elderly Palestinian couple out of their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. I put up a post about the Shamasne family back in mid-August. Fahmiah Shamasne is 76. Her husband, Ayyub, is 84. Their eviction brings to a close a court battle that has gone on for several years. Fahmiah and Ayyub had lived in their home since 1964. Immediately after they and their children were tossed out into the street this morning, Jewish settlers moved in. The above video includes a few quick glimpses of them assuming occupation of the house.

In my previous post, I expressed the somewhat naive hope that Trump’s three-member peace delegation, which at that time was about to embark for Israel, might speak up on the family’s behalf. Whether they ever did or not is unknown. My own personal hunch is they probably didn’t bother. As I noted in a post just five days ago, one of the envoys, Jason Greenblatt, seemed too preoccupied spouting a bunch of airheaded nonsense about Hamas to notice the racist injustices taking place before his very eyes.

The Israeli court ruled that the Shamasne property had belonged to some Jews prior to 1948. There is an Israeli law on the books that allows Jews to reclaim property allegedly lost when Jordan solidified control over East Jerusalem in the war of 1948-49. No similar law exists for Palestinians who lost property in the very same war. ]

***

Settlers Move into East Jerusalem Home after Israel Evicts Palestinian Family

Ma’an News

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian family was evicted from their home of 53 years in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah early Tuesday morning, culminating a protracted legal battle by which Israeli authorities claim the property belongs to Israeli settlers.

The displacement of the Shamasna family marked the first time since 2009 that a Palestinian family was evicted from Sheikh Jarrah, when a wave of Israeli settler ownership claims targeted the neighborhood based on a law that allows Jewish Israelis to take control of property believed to have been owned by Jews before 1948.

Members of the Shamasna family told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli police officers, special units, and intelligence officers stormed the house and forcibly evacuated the family before they started to move their furniture and belongings into a truck.

Continued here

IOF kidnap Mohammad Shamasneh & his son Dirar, assault protesters, forcefully took over house of 85 & 82yo in J’slm, giving it to Squatters

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the State of Palestine (24 – 29 August 2017)

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory  (24 – 29 August 2017)

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

(24 – 29 August 2017)

 

  • 5 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces conducted 39 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one into the Southern Gaza Strip.
  • 50 civilians, including 10 children and a woman, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • Eighteen of them, including 3 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem.
  • Israeli forces continued efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • A Jewish synagogue was opened in Silwan village.
  • Students of al-Aqsa Sharia School were denied access to their school in the mosque under the pretext of receiving the Palestinian curriculum books.
  • Israeli forces raided Yabus Cultural Centre and banned a Research Seminar, claiming it was organized by Hamas Movement.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
  • Seven shooting incidents were documented against Palestinian fishing boats in the northern Gaza Strip. Neither causalities nor arrests were reported.
  • 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.
  • 2 Palestinian civilians were arrested at the checkpoints in the West Bank.
  • Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian worker 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 (24 – 29 August 2017).

 

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Five of them, including 2 children, were wounded in the West Bank, and the 2 others, including a child, were wounded in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip continued to chase the Palestinian fishermen in the sea.

 

In the West Bank, on 25 August 2017, Israeli forces wounded 3 civilians, including a child, with rubber-coated metal bullets during Kafr Qaddoum protest, northeast of qalqilya, against the closure of the eastern entrance to the village since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate.

 

On 29 August 2017, two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded with bullets when Israeli forces moved into Nablus to accompany dozens of settlers while entering “Josef Tomb” in the eastern side of the city to perform religious rituals. A number of children and young men gathered at the entrance to Balatah refugee camp and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli vehicles.  The Israeli soldiers in response opened fire at them, wounding both of them.

 

In the Gaza Strip, border areas witnessed protests against the unjust closure imposed on the Gaza population.  During these protests, Israeli forces used force against the protestors, particularly when dispersing them.  As a result, 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded after being directly hit with tear gas canisters.

 

Concerning attacks on fishermen, on 24 August 2017, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats, northwest of Beit Lahia village, north of the Gaza Strip. The shooting recurred in the abovementioned area on 26, 27, and 28 August 2017.

On 26 August 2017, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats, west of al-Soudaniya area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.  The shooting recurred in the same area on 27 August 2017.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 39 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 8 ones in Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 50 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children and a woman. Eighteen of them, including 3 children and the woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.

In the Gaza Strip, on 28 August 2017, Israeli forces moved inti al-Qararah villafe, northeast of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip.  Israeli forces combed and levelled the agricultural lands along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Israeli forces later redeployed along the fence.

 

Efforts to create Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem:

 

In the context of creating a Jewish majority in the City, On 24 August 2017, Israeli Ministers, members of Knesset and Rabbis opened a Jewish synagogue in the neighborhood of Batn Al-Hawa in Silwan south of occupied Jerusalem.  Zuhair al-Rajabi, Head of Batn al-Hawa neibourhood Committee, said that the Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, and Members of the Knesset as well as Rabbis and nearly 300 settlers opened a synagogue in Batn Al-Hawa in “Abu Nab” building which was seized in 2015. They brought two books from the Torah inside the property.  It should be mentioned that the building is comprised of 5 apartments and characterized by its distinctive character.  Thus, settlement organizations claim that it was a synagogue for the Jews of Yemen in the late 19th century and began to demand the evacuation of the property since 2004. The property falls within the “Ateerat Cohanim” scheme to control the 5200 square meters from the “Batn Al-Hawa” neighborhood, claiming it belongs to  Jews from Yemen since 1881.

 

As part of targeting educational institutions, on 24 August 2017, the Israeli police denied students of al-Aqsa Sharia School access to their school in the Mosque, under the pretext of receiving book of the Palestinian curriculum with the Palestinian flag printed on which.  They arrested Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat, Director of the Sharia Education in the Islamic Endowments “Aqwqa”, and Robin Muhsen, Seceterait at al-Qsa School.  They also took the ID card of teacher Nader al-Afghani and summoned him for investigation at al-Qeshlah police station in Old Jerusalem.  Al-Afghani teaches 100 female students at al-Aqsa Sharia School for Girls and 150 male students in al-Aqsa Sharia School for Boys from the 7th to 12th grade.

 

As part of targeting the NGOs, on 28 August 2017, Israeli forces raided Yabus Cultural Center on al-Zahraa’ Street and banned a research seminar.  The Israeli Intelligence Service surrounded the Center an hour before the scheduled time for the seminar.  They took the ID cards of the participants, forced them to leave the hall, and prevented anyone from entering it.  The Israeli forces then fixed a decision signed by the Israeli Police Commander in Jerusalem saying that the ban is based on the ” 2016 Anti-Terrorism Law” under the pretext that Hamas Movement organizes the seminar.

 

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, 24 August 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Laqia village, southwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and then confiscated 3 civilians namely Fouad ‘Asi, Adeeb Mafarjah and Abdul Karim Jamal ‘Asi.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Awa village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jalal Naji al-Suwaiti (30) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Taqou’ village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Ashraf Mahmoud Salah (39) and Rezeq Shehadah Salah (44) and then arrested them.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Ali ‘Afanah Jawarish (12) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Kafel Hares village, north of Salfit. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 4 civilians, including 2 children, namely Eyad Raed Fayez al-Qaq (16), Anas Saber Hamad Shaqour (17), Ahmed Marwan Saleh Buziyah (23) and ‘Odai Hasan Shaqour (23). The soldiers also stole about NIS 1200 and JD 50 from a house belonging to Marwan Saleh Buziyah when they arrested his son Ahmed, but the soldiers denied that. Marwan said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“At approximately 03:00 on Thursday, 24 August 2017, my sons and I were in the living room as we were expecting the Israeli forces to come to our house after we knew they were in the village. My son, Ahmed, has always been in permanent confrontation with the Israeli forces, so his arrest was expected. The door was suddenly opened as the soldiers broke it with a special machine without knocking on the door. A large number of Israeli soldiers deployed all over the house while other soldiers searched the rooms. We knew that the soldiers will steal our money from the closet as I was saving it preparing for Eid al-Adha. While the soldiers were leaving the house, my wife went to the closet and opened it, but did not find the money. I quickly followed the officer and informed him that his soldiers stole money from me, but he denied that. The officer then ordered each soldier to take his wallet out of his pocket, but he did not search or even open them. He then promised me that he will turn the money back, but in vain, and this how they stole about NIS 1200 and JD 50.”

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Shyoukh village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Sabri Zohour (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, and stationed in Khelet al-‘Ein. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Ayman Nawaf Ahmed Sabarnah and Ra’ed Ahmed Mufleh ‘Adi. The Israeli forces later withdrew from the village, and no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 04:10, 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. They also fired flare bombs and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Shyoukh and al-Burj villages in Hebron and Joyous village, northeast of Qalqiliyah.

 

Friday, 25 August 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested Ra’fat ‘Ali Thawabtah (27).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Bani Na’im, Qalqas and Beit Awa villages in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into the southern area in Hebron, and stationed in Abu Suneinah neighbourhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of ‘Arafat Ya’qub Rashid Abu Romouz (39). They later withdrew, and no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Jenin and stationed in the eastern neighbourhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud Husam al-Nassar (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:15, Israeli forces moved into Beit Sahour. They raided and searched a house belonging to Hamadah Omer ‘Obayat and then handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of the city.

 

  • At approximately 19:30, 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. They also fired flare bombs and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

  • At approximately 22:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of al-Sudaniyah area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles. They also fired flare bombs and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyah; al-Quds Street and Sateh Marhaba neighborhood in al-Birah; Kafer al-Deek village, west of Salfit; Hebron and Salfit village.

 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Zubaidat village, north of Jericho. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 4 civilians namely Abdullah Ahmed Zubaidat, Murad Salamah Zubaidat, Mo’tasem Eyad Zubaidat and Ibrahim Saleh Zubaidat.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Abu Katilah neighborhood in Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Baraa’ Mousa Dufash (26) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Husan village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched 2 house belonging to Mohammed ‘Essa Hamamrah (19) and Sanad Mohammed Hamamrah (19) and then arrested them.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Bani Na’im village, east of Hebron. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Hani Ramzi al-Khdour (22) and Ahmed ‘Ali Tarairah (19) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 07:00, 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. They also fired flare bombs and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

  • At approximately 20:20, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of al-Sudaniyah area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles. They also fired flare bombs and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-‘Aroub refugee camp, Surif and Taffuh villages in Hebron.

 

Monday, 28 August 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Arabah village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Abdul Jabbar Jehad Abu Salah (19) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Adam Mohammed Darwish (15) and Farouq  Ma’moun  Bdair (22) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 05:30, 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. They also fired flare bombs and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported. The Israeli gunboats targeted the Palestinian fishing boats again at approximately 07:50 on the same day.

 

  • At approximately 08:30, Israeli forces accompanied with a number of military heavy vehicles moved about 100 meters into the east of al-Qararah village, northeast of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. They leveled and combed the lands along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The incursion continued for several hours and then redeployed along the abovementioned border fence.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Awla, Sa’ir, al-Hadab villages and al-‘Aroub refugee camp in Hebron.

 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Arabah village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Fatin Mousa (22). They then arrested him and confiscated his cell phone. It should be noted that the abovementioned civilian is a student at the Arab American University.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Kafer Ra’ai village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Fakhri al-Atrash. They then arrested Fakhri’s sons, Yusuf and Mohammed.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Nahalin village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 3 children namely Mohammed Rezeq Najajrah (19), Mahmoud Taleb Najajrah (16) and Khalaf shadi Najajrah (14).

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Nablus to protect dozens of settlers while they enter Joseph’s Tomb in the eastern side of the city to perform religious rituals and Talmudic prayers. A number of youngsters gathered at the entrance to Balata refugee camp and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli forces. The soldiers fired live bullets at them. As a result, a 22-year-old civilian sustained a two-two bullet wound to the right side of the abdomen and a 17-year-old child sustained a two-two bullet wound to the right leg. They were transferred to Rafidiya Governmental Hospital in Nablus to receive medical treatment. Their wounds were classified as moderate.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Qalqiliyah and ‘Azoun village, east of the city, and al-Thaheriyah and al-Majd villages in Hebron.

 

 

Demonstrations in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities

 

West Bank:

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 25 August 2017, Palestinian civilians and International activists organized a protest in the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. They made their way to the eastern entrance to the village in protest against closing that entrance since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada with an iron gate. When the protesters approached the entrance, the Israeli forces fired metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, a 37-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the head; an 18-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the abdomen; and an 8-year-old child sustained a metal bullet wound to the left leg.

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized protests in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protesters, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased protesters into olive fields and between the houses. As a result, some of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.

 

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • At approximately 16:00 on the same Friday, 25 August 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, in response to calls for protests in the border area against the Israeli measures in occupied Jerusalem. A number of the young men set fire to tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed along the abovementioned border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 20:00 on the same day. As a result, a 22-year-old civilian, from Jabalia, was hit with a tear gas canister to the back; and a 15-year-old child, from al-Shija’iyah neighborhood in Gaza, was hit with a tear gas canister to the back. The wounded civilians were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia. Their injuries were classified as minor.

(PCHR keeps the name of the wounded civilians)

 

  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.

 

Movement at Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, southeast of Rafah, is designated for the movement of goods

 

Date Imports
Category Amount
Tons Number Liters
22 August Various goods 4539
Humanitarian aid 15164
Cooking gas 289.980
Benzene 114,061
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 823,61338,000
Construction aggregates 12320
Cement 2040
Construction steel 284
23 August

 

 

Various goods 3381
Humanitarian aid 15540
Cooking gas 289,300
Benzene 114,229
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 877,91876,000
Construction aggregates 11440
Cement 2960
Construction steel 446
24 August Various goods 4114
Humanitarian aid 14916
Cooking gas 288,760
Benzene 228,028
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 637,81338.000
Construction aggregates 10960
Cement 2160
Construction steel 1172
Various goods 3092
Humanitarian aid 15362
27 August Cooking gas 267,050
Benzene 152,017
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 606,06275,982
Construction aggregates 11880
Cement 2240
Construction steel 698

 

 

Exports:

 

On Wednesday, 23 August 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of a truckload of vegetables, a truckload of fish, a truckload of clothes, a truckload of furniture and a truckload of aluminum scraps.

On Thursday, 24 August 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of a truckload of vegetables.

On Sunday, 27 August 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of a truckload of vegetables, a truckload of furniture and a truckload of tomatoes.

 

 

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

(22-28 August 2017)

 

Category 22 August 23 August 24 August 25 August 26 August  27August  28August
Patients 35 42 29 5 55 24
Companions 29 38 23 4 49 21
Personal needs 34 38 39 21 23 27
Familiesof prisoners 7
Arabs fromIsrael 3 20 4 9 2
Diplomats 2 1
International journalists 1
International workers 14 30 73 6 17 17
Travelersabroad 51 2 1
Business people 109 112 118 1 165 107
Business meetings 1
Security interviews 2 4 7 1 3
VIPs 1 3 2
Ambulances to Israel 6 2 5 2 4 3
Patients’ Companions 6 2 25 2 4 4

 

Notes: on Thursday, 24 August 2017, Israeli forces allowed the entry of two dead bodies to the Gaza Strip.

 

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 (13) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 24 August 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron, at the entrance to al-Fawar refugee camp and at the entrances to Sa’ir and al-Shayyoukh villages.

On Friday, 25 August 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Dahiriyia village, at the western entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Kharsa village.

On Saturday, 26 August 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Ummer and Kharsa villages.

On Sunday, 27 August 2017, 3 similar checkpoints were established at the southern entrance to Hebron, at the entrance to al-Fawar refugee camp and on Deir Razieh road.

On MondaY, 28 August 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, at the entrance to Beit Kahel village and on Raboud road.

 

 Qalqiliyia: Israeli forces established (7) checkpoints all over the city.

At approximately 12:45 on Thursday, 24 August 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 18:15, a similar checkpoint was established at the entrance to Jeet village, northeast of the city.

At approximately 21:50 on Friday, 25 August 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Kafur Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqilyia.

At approximately 23:20, a similar checkpoint was established at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of the city.

At approximately 18:20 on Saturday, 26 August 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqilyia.

At approximately 08:10 on Saturday, 26 August 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Qalqilyia.

At approximately 16:00, a similar checkpoint was established under the bridge of Askaka village, east of the city.

 

Salfit: Israeli forces established (3) checkpoints all over the city.

 

At approximately 19:15 on Thursday, 24 August 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Askaka village, east of Salfit.

At approximately 09:20 on Sunday, 27 August 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Rafat village, west of Salfit.

At approximately 21:00, a similar checkpoint was established between Kaful Hares and Hares villages, north of the city.

 

Arrests at Military Checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 18:00 on Thursday, 24 August 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the intersection of al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah. They stopped Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and checked their IDs. In the meantime, they arrested ‘Ahd Hazem al-Remawi (16), from Beit Rimah village, northwest of the city.

 

  • On Saturday, 26 August 2017, Israeli forces stationed at “Container” checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, arrested Yousef Iyyas Sarahnah (22), from al-Dahisha camp, south of the city.

 

 

Efforts to Create 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 01:00 on Thursday, 24 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Iyad al-A’war (41), Mohamed Dawoud al-‘Abasi (25) and Hamad Abed al-Men’iem al-A’war (24).

 

  • At approximately 07:00 on Thursday, Israeli police prevented the students of al-Aqsa Sharia School for Boys from entering their school inside the mosque under the pretext of receiving the Palestinian curriculum books with the Palestinian flag printed on them. They also arrested the Director of Sharia Education in Awqaf, Sheikh Najah Bakirat, and the Secretary of the Al-Aqsa School, Robin Mohsen. Moreover, the Israeli police checked the ID card of teacher Nader al-Afghani and summonsed him for investigation in “al-Qashlah” police station in Jerusalem’s Old City. According to PCHR’s investigation, Israeli forces stationed at al-Asbat (Lion) Gate, prevented the students from entering to their school inside the mosque after they received their books. It should be noted that the school administration distributed books to students at al-Asbat (Lion) Gate’s yard. The Israeli forces checked the books’ content after searching the students’ bags. They also checked the ID card of the Secretary of the Al-Aqsa school, Robin Mohsen and detained his car, where there were books. On Tuesday, 22 August 2017, the Israeli police prevented entering schoolbooks into the al-Aqsa Shari’a School for Girls through al-Asbat (Lion) Gate, under the pretext of “They are issued by the Palestinian Authority”. As a result, the school was forced to distribute the books for students in a parking near al-Asbat (Lion) Gate. There are 100 female students in al-Aqsa Sharia School and around 150 male students in al-Aqsa Shari’a School for Boys.

 

  • At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, Israeli forces raided and searched the Orphanage Secondary School in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They then arrested Ihab Shaheen (16) and Mohamed Mz’row (16) from their class under the pretext of throwing stones.

 

  • At approximately 11:30, Israeli forces moved into Hitah Gate neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Mo’men Hashim (22) and Mo’tasem al-Rajabi (23).

 

  • At approximately 02:00 on Saturday, 26 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jaber family. They then arrested Mohamed (23) and Taha Jaber (25) and summoned their 3rd brother Mahmoud (21) to question him. Mahmoud was not home, and was released only few months ago after serving 5 years in the Israeli jails. Jaber family said that over 40 Israeli soldiers raided their house rooms, searched them and damaged their contents. They also beat up and pushed the family members and then arrested Mohamed and Taha, in addition to summoning their brother Mahmoud. The family added that the Israeli forces asked Malak (10) and Yaseen (12), who were inside the house, about their brother Mahmoud. The family said that Malak was afraid during the house raid, which continued for 5 hours.

 

  • At approximately 02:30 on Monday, 28 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested ‘Emad al-Deen Khalil al-‘Abasi (30) and Mohamed Yousef Abu Taieh (21).

 

  • At approximately 16:00, Israeli forces moved into Yabous Cultural Center on al-Zahra Street in the center of occupied East Jerusalem. They prevented holding a seminar to discuss a research prepared by Prof. Mazen al-Ja’bari. The Israeli Intelligence Service surrounded the center an hour before the scheduled time for the seminar. They also checked the IDs of all people inside the hall, and then forced them to leave. They prevented anyone from entering the hall and hanged the decision, which was signed by the Israeli Police Commander in Jerusalem. The ban was based on the “Anti-Terrorism Law of 2016, under the pretext of the seminar being organized by Hamas Movement.

 

  • At approximately 23:00 on Monday, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Anas Bastah Shatarah (18) and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 29 August 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested 3 civilians, including a child. The arrested persons were identified as Fisal Shabanah (17), ‘Adnan Mousa al-Hidrah (19) and ‘Oday Marwan al-Hidrah (20).

 

  • At approximately 13:00 on Tuesday, Israeli forces arrested Raiedah Sa’ied while she was at al-Asbat (Lion) Gate. Raiedah was then taken to an investigation center in occupied Jerusalem.

 

opening of Synagogue in Silwan village

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 24 August 2017, Israeli Ministers, Knesset members and rabbis opened a Jewish synagogue in the Baten Al Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and imposed a tight cordon on the village neighborhoods. Zuhair al-Rajabi, head of the Baten al-Hawa Committee, said that the Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, along with Knesset members, rabbis and around 300 Israeli settlers opened a synagogue in Baten al-Hawa neighborhood in Abu Nab building, which was sezied in 2015. They also entered two Torah books inside the synagogue. Before that, the Israeli settlers organized a demonstration, which started from al-‘Ain neighborhood and passed by al-Bostan neighborhood until arriving at the synagogue location, where they danced and sang. Al- Rajabi said that the Israeli forces deployed at the main entrances to Silwan village. Moreover, in the evening, the Israeli forces increased their presence in the village streets while a number of Israeli snipers topped the roof of many buildings after threatening their owners. Al-Rajabi added that, the Israeli forces imposed a cordon for over 5 consecutive hours on many neighborhoods in Silwan village, especially in al-‘Ain, al-Bostan and Baten al-Hawa areas and on Beir Ayoub Street. The Israeli forces also prevented the village residents from using many roads. Additionally, a helicopter was flying above the village. It should be noted that the Israeli settlers seized a building belonging to Abu Nab family in 2015, which is comprised of 5 apartments. The settlement organization claimed that in the late 19th century, the above-mentioned building was a synagogue for the Yemen Jews and began to demand for the evacuation of the building since 2004. The building is part of the “Ateret Cohnim” scheme to control 5 dunums and 200 square meters from the Baten Al Hawa neighborhood, under the pretext that it used to belong to Jews from Yemen since 1881.

 

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 10 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 in 2017 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 stuff on israel which Americans may not see

Source

The 1967 war was one of the watershed moments in the history of Israel and American Jewry. The jubilation and religious triumphalism that followed Israel’s military victory led to the founding of the Greater Israel movement, which became the theological inspiration for the settler enterprise (Wikipedia 2015, Movement for Greater Israel).

Later, after the 1973 war, it became institutionalized through the founding of Gush Emunim, which launched the first permanent Israeli settlement in the West Bank (Wikipedia 2015, Gush Emunim).

This mood of Israeli national celebration evoked a parallel response in the American Jewish community that, over the decades, has transformed Israel into a secular religion. Zionism has eventually become a litmus test of Jewish legitimacy; even, in some circles, a substitute for Judaism itself.

Nevertheless, in the intervening decades, Jews here have generally (with some exceptions) become more secular and gradually turned away from religious affiliation. Though some have distanced themselves from their Jewish identity entirely, many have only turned away from religious expression.

For many of these who retain a sense of Jewish identity, Israel has taken Judaism’s place. A 2014 Pew poll on Jewish identity showed that younger American Jews are increasingly choosing not to affiliate with the mainstream community— either Jewish federations or synagogues (Lugo & Cooperman 2013). Of all the religious denominations, the poll showed that the Conservative movement was declining fastest, while the Orthodox was growing fastest (though still a marked minority), followed by Reform. American Jews, especially the youth segment, are increasingly secular, and do not see Israel as the defining identity issue for the Jewish people.

But the older generation has not given up. Wealthy pro-Israel corporate titans like Sheldon Adelson and Michael Steinhardt have joined other donors in pouring one billion dollars into Birthright (Taglit) Israel (Mayer 2013). It has sent three hundred thousand American Jewish youth to Israel for two-week trips called a form of “Jewish penicillin,” which will ensure continuity into the next generation. 

Tour groups are accompanied by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who inject their security-oriented perspective into the discussions. The agenda of speakers and places visited focuses largely on a nationalist view of Israel and its role in Jewish identity. Israel is presented as an embattled enclave amidst a sea of Arab enemies. Trips visit Israeli settlements, but never view, visit, or meet with West Bank Palestinians, whose lives are deeply entwined with those of Israelis due to the ongoing occupation. These young Jews return to the United States with a mission to support Israel and promote its interests wherever possible.

Steinhardt has invested millions in supporting academic studies that“prove” the utility of Birthright in promoting Jewish continuity. This social science research, funded through a Brandeis University institute bearing his name, is conducted by Professor Len Saxe (Saxe 2015).

Such research, funded by a single individual or self-defined (pro-Israel) group, and meant to validate a project also funded by the donor, is a model of self-interest. In a broader sense, this critique applies to Israel studies as an academic enterprise on American campuses. 

L. Richard Silverstein
As someone who is a product of the pre-Birthright generation, which for 
me included decades of Jewish education, summer camps, and Jewish studies, there is no quick fix, no one-shot inoculation that can guarantee the future of the Jewish people. Anyone who believes that two weeks of intensive pro-Israel indoctrination, fraternal bonding, and sexual frolic will do this is fooling himself.

In the past, Jewish leaders saw the future as guaranteed by promoting a closer bond between young people and Jewish tradition. They promoted the institutions I mentioned above (schools, synagogues, camps, seminaries, universities, etc.). But increasingly in this generation, the menu is restricted to a single item: Israel. Though the community does continue to focus on education and the other programs I mentioned above, even these are increasingly refracted through a pro-Israel lens.

These largely secular pro-Israel philanthropists no longer feel that Judaism is the mortar that will hold the Jewish people together. Instead they see the only viable future for world Jewry is in Israel. That has turned the debate over Zionism and Israel’s future into a set of landmines. In past decades, American Jewry had respected leaders who held progressive and dissenting views on these issues like Rabbis Judah Magnes, Arthur Hertzberg, and Leonard Beerman, and secular leaders like Henry Siegman.

 
L, Henry Siegman, R. Rabbi Judah Magnes

These were the courageous leaders who first advocated a two-state solution in the 1970s (or in Magnes’ earlier case, a bi-national state), when such a concept was anathema in the Jewish mainstream. But increasingly, there are litmus tests for leadership and any dissent from a narrow communal consensus is no longer tolerated. Our current Jewish leadership is pro-Israel and lacking in political diversity.

ROLE OF LOBBY IN SUPPRESSING SPEECH

The Israel Lobby in the United States has two major agendas.

The most obvious is promoting Israel’s interests in the legislative and public policy arena. That’s the mission of groups like Aipac and the think-tank founded in collaboration with it, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Another arena is activism among young Jews and particularly on campus. The Lobby sees colleges as the place where it can have the greatest impact in shaping future generations. Academia is also an intellectual laboratory for ideas which later make their way into the body politic. For that reason, faculty, their ideas, courses, and publications are viewed as on society’s cutting edge. They are critical focuses in the battle for public opinion around Israel.

Hillel International, the umbrella body for Jewish student organizations on campus, several years ago announced a policy which restricted the events that campus Hillels may sponsor.

Henceforward, they must adhere to a pro-Israel agenda. This eliminated programming that explored any perspective other than Zionism and excluded discussions about Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS). Recently, an insurgent response to this has arisen called Open Hillel (Open Hillel 2015). As its name implies, it rejects constraints on Israel-related speech. Campuses at Swarthmore and Vassar have joined it and eschewed any ideological constraints. But Hillel chief executive officer Eric Fingerhut has put them on notice that if they sponsor forbidden programs  will lose their affiliation with Hillel (Kwait 2013).


Eric Fingerhut, CEO Hillel; he threatens dissenting Hillels with disaffiliation

Two Jewish museums in New York cancelled talks by University ofCalifornia, Berkeley, Professor Judith Butler and New Republic senior editor John Judis because pro-Israel groups and donors threatened to withhold funding (LeVine 2014). Several years ago, Anti-Defamation League Chief Abe Foxman pressured the Polish consulate in New York to cancel a talk by the late New York University Professor Tony Judt, another Israel dissenter. The Minneapolis Jewish Community Relations Council pressured the University of St. Thomas to cancel a talk by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Mprnews2007). The Jewish Community Relations Council included in its charges against Tutu statements he never uttered, which were manufactured by the Zionist Organization of America’s Morton Klein.

Under pressure, the college president cancelled the talk. But after a national uproar ensued, he backed off and reinstated the invitation. The faculty member who’d invited Tutu was dismissed from her position and Tutu refused to come unless she was reinstated. She wasn’t. Tutu didn’t speak. Some years ago, after the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival screened the documentary Rachel, about the life and death of Palestine activist, Rachel Corrie, the local Jewish federation introduced rules precluding grantees from hosting events deemed “anti-Israel” (Jweekly 2009). These guidelines resulted from pressure exerted by major local pro-Israel Jewish foundations like the Taube and Koret Foundations.

They are also major funders of what’s come to be known as the Islamophobia industry, portrayed in the Center for American Progress report, Fear Inc (Ali, et al. 2011).

In 2006, when the producers of a play about Corrie,
My Name is Rachel Corrie, attempted to bring it to New York for the first time, the New York Theater Workshop agreed to present it. But after theater subscribers and other New York pro-Israel forces conveyed their alarm at Corrie’s story, the Workshop backed out, leaving it with a black-eye, and the producers, Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, livid (Borger 2006). Though Corrie was produced at another theater venue, yet another major New York cultural institution had been cowed by fear and the Lobby.

The Metropolitan Opera recently revived the John Adams’ opera the Death of Klinghoffer. Adams is of one of America’s greatest living composers and his opera, first performed in 1991, is considered one of his finest works. The history of its production is marked by instructive lessons in the power of Israel when linked to terrorism and the power to silence artists and sabotage careers.

The Guardian called Klinghoffer “cursed.” Five opera companies commissioned the work originally. The premier was offered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Three of the other companies abandoned it after realizing the controversy involved. It was not performed again until twenty years later (2011), when a St. Louis company mounted a production. Adams didn’t write another opera for years afterward.

The librettist, Alice Goodman, was, in her words, “uncommissionable.” Instead, after converting from Judaism, she became a rector of the Church of England.In 2014, the opera world looked forward to hearing a production that hadn’t been performed in New York in over twenty-five years. Until Abe Foxman and the Klinghoffer survivors raised a furor, accusing the opera of expressing too much “sympathy” for the terrorist who murdered Leon Klinghoffer (Ross 2014). The surviving daughters of Leon Klinghoffer had earlier released a statement after seeing the 1991 premier:

“The juxtaposition of the plight of thePalestinian people with the cold-blooded murder of an innocent disabledAmerican Jew is both historically naive and appalling” (Jeffries 2012).

Other detractors accused Klinghoffer of supporting terrorism and the murder of Jews. Supporters of the opera, including Adams himself, clarified that dramatic tension and exposition of the views of all the major characters was necessary for the audience to understand the conflict at the heart of the opera. Foxman, the consummate inside-player, met with the Met’s director, Peter Gelb, ostensibly to work out a deal that would enable the production to go forward while assuaging critics. The deal amounted to a capitulation of sorts:instead of a live production viewed by thousands and pay-per-view production viewed by millions more, Gelb agreed to forego the screen showing. It would only be seen live. Adams too acquiesced and made no public comment except to express sorrow at the misunderstanding of his opera.

Each of these cultural and academic institutions were forced to make a calculation when threatened by the power of the Lobby. How financially secure are you? How much controversy are you willing to withstand? Hows strong are your principles? Are you prepared for your friends and donors to desert you? Are you willing to write off your career? Is it worth it?Very few are willing to withstand the full shock. Very few are willing to take a pure stand for principle. Most are prepared to compromise or relent. And when they do, the Lobby learns it can get its way by threats and intimidation. It learns that it has more discipline and stamina than the other side.Thus the bullying behavior is reinforced as a successful tactic.

DECLINE IN DIVERSITY AND LEADERSHIP

The communal retreat from intellectual and political diversity has resulted in the impoverishment of its leadership. Until a decade ago, there were respected liberal Jewish groups like the American Jewish Congress (once led by Siegman), which espoused a generally liberal Zionist perspective. The American Jewish Congress eventually lost membership and donors, and was taken over by real estate tycoon and acolyte of some of the world’s autocratic leaders, Jack Rosen (Rosenblatt 2013). It now espouses a pro-Israel agenda that reflects Rosen’s own hawkish views.

The sole remaining national Jewish group with a liberal approach to Israelis J Street. It is essentially a Jewish lobbying group on behalf of Obama administration policies, a “Jews for Obama” of sorts. Liberal financier George Soros has been a major funder of the group. But he does so in as low-key a manner as possible because right-wing groups and media have launched vicious attacks on him.

Separately, Alan Dershowitz and Glenn Beck have each accused him of surviving the Holocaust (as a child) by collaborating with the Nazis. Such smears are another tool by which pro-Israel forces control and manipulate the debate (Knickerbocker 2010).The only group that espouses a truly progressive agenda on Israel is Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). It was one of the first national Jewish groups which espoused an explicitly non-Zionist position. It refused to take a position favoring either a two or one-state solution:

We support any solution that is consistent with the full rights of both Palestinians and Israeli Jews, whether one binational state, two states, or some other solution. It is up to Israelis and Palestinians to reach a mutually agreed upon solution. (JVP 2015)

It is also the first and only Jewish organization to endorse BDS. The organized Jewish community, steeped in the Zionist narrative going all the way back to World War II and the Holocaust, has been shocked by these heresies.Despite its tens of thousands of members, JVP is largely demonized in the mainstream community (Anti-Defamation League 2013). Not even J Street will permit JVP to co-sponsor its national conferences (though last year, for the first time, it invited JVP’s director to sit on a panel). JVP cannot host events at most Jewish federation–funded community venues. It is foreclosed from campus Hillels. Even J Street U campus groups have been excluded from many college Jewish communities.

As Israeli politics and occupation policies grow increasingly extremist, even mainstream figures like the nation’s most popular daily columnist, Nahum Barnea, and President Reuven Rivlin concede that a one-state solution is an almost certain outcome (Remnick 2014). They recognize that if Israel will not accept a return to 1967 borders and the sharing of Jerusalem by two states, then there’s not much left to talk about. Barnea told an Israeli TV audience: “Everybody knows how this will end.” When asked what he meant, he answered, “There will be a binational state west of the Jordan …the two-state solution is no longer possible”
(Silverstein, 2012).

In Barnea’s case, it is not because he supports this outcome personally, but he is a realist and recognizes that continued Israeli rejectionism can lead to only one possible outcome: a unitary state incorporating all Israeli Jews and Palestinians from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. There has been no parallel development within the American Jewish community. There are no leaders willing to see the unvarnished truth, the handwriting on the wall.

American Jews and the Israel Lobby continue to mouth support for a two-state solution as if it were a political mantra, though the Likudist governments in power for much of the past thirty-five years utterly reject it. The result has been a strange bifurcation of reality withAmerican Jews advocating a solution which has never been popular or achievable under Israel’s nationalist governments. The leadership’s refusal to exert any pressure on Israel to negotiate a two-state solution has made it a mockery as a policy option. The result here has been a stultifying effect on political discourse. What American Jewry needs is more of the spirit of Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

Where are the Jewish multitudes? Instead of embracing contra-diction and contentious debate, instead of welcoming the multitude of opinions and ideas about Israel, American Jews are increasingly closing their minds. In the past, American Jewry entertained wider debate on these troubling issues. If we didn’t exactly “contain multitudes,” we hosted Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein, I. F. Stone, Grace Paley, Adrienne Rich, Hertzberg, Rabbis Abraham Joshua Herschel and Marshall Meyer, and gave birth to Magnes, all of whom competed vigorously with more parochial-conservative ideas in the political-intellectual arena.

Now, who are our “dissidents”? Peter Beinart? He proudly calls himself a liberal Zionist. His politics on Israel are more conservative than those of a number of those past leaders mentioned above. Yet even he receives a hostile reception from much of the organized Jewish community, where a number of his appearances promoting his books criticizing Israeli policy have been cancelled by Jewish sponsors (Severson 2012). Is his the best, most outspoken voice we’ve produced in this generation as far as Israel is concerned?

Art Spiegelman, [above] the renowned graphic novelist who produced the Maus series about American Jewish identity and the Holocaust, holds progressive views about the Israel-Arab conflict. But he’s shied away from making any major statement on the subject until Operation Protective Edge, when he published a graphic attacking the Israeli massacre (Sucharov 2014). Jewish cultural and public intellectuals like Spiegelman have to weigh their career options when they take this subject on. Are they willing to confront the massive wall of hostility that will accompany them if they make this part of their oeuvre? Are they willing to lose the next book contract or an opportunity for tenure?

Max Blumenthal is another case in point. He’d made a reputation as a muckraking journalist who explored the seamy underbelly of pre–Tea Party Republican oddity in his Republican Gomorrah. After that book, Blumenthal became increasingly interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict. He made trips to Israel documenting the aberrant behavior of the radical Israeli right in a shocking video series called Feeling the Hate (Blumenthal 2010). He trans-formed the videos into a provocative book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

Like Mearsheimer and Walt’s “The Israel Lobby” “Goliath” was a lightning rod.

Pro-Israel advocates not only hated it, they found it antisemitic, because Blumenthal used rhetoric describing Israeli settler phenomena which, critics claimed, echoed Nazi-era phraseology. But no one was prepared for the vicious assault on the book mounted by fellow Nation contributor, Eric Alterman (Alterman 2013). Known as a progressive on domestic issues and liberal on Israel, Alterman not only detested the book, he became the spearhead for all the attacks on it. His rhetoric was intemperate and overheated, and his facts were sparse or downright false. Considering that “Goliath” was published by the Nation’s publishing imprint, Nation Books, the Alterman attack was inexplicable.But for the Lobby, Alterman’s intervention was a gold mine. It gave them a liberal fig-leaf behind which to launch their own attacks.

The Nation had little choice but to stand back and let their two contributors engage in mortal combat in the pages of the magazine, while the audience looked on in shock and horror. It was a nadir of liberal American discourse on Israel. The result of all this is that Blumenthal, one in a long line of Jewish intellectual dissenters, has been driven from mainstream Jewry. He finds instead a far more comfortable home among the Palestinian activist world,which includes more than its fair share of fellow dissident Jews

The Biblical Land: Given By God But Not Without Conditions

Posted on August 27, 2017

The presenter in the video above makes a good point. While according to the Old Testament, God issued a land grant to Abraham and his descendants, the biblical texts also tell us that the gift did not come without conditions. It was a contractbasically. And the Israelites failed to live up to it. This is what’s recorded in the biblical narrative. Sadly, many Christians today seem oblivious to the fact that the modern day state of Israel is following the same blind path. Hopefully the above video can make things a little clearer for them.

Back in June of this year, Palestinian Christians published an open letter to the World Council of Churches (WCC) asking that it recognize Israel as an apartheid state. I put up a post about it at the time, commenting that while the document makes no specific reference to Christian Zionism, it does nonetheless assert that Palestinians are suffering “because of one political declaration from a Western empire, based on a twisted theological premise.” And as I also remarked in the same post, the phrase “twisted theological premise” is an apt way of describing Christian Zionism. At any rate, I thought now would be a good time to re-post the open letter to the WCC, and so that’s what I have done below.

You’ll notice that among the signatories to the letter–the one at the very top of the list in fact–is the Arab Catholic Scouts Group. A bit earlier this month a group of Catholic Scouts were on a camp out near the West Bank village of Jibya when they found their campsite under attack by Israeli forces. Here is what a Catholic website reported at the time:

Israeli occupation forces yesterday raided a Catholic children’s scout camp, near the village of Jibya, organised by the Palestinian Holy Family Group from the Latin Monastery of Ramallah. They destroyed the tents and threw sound and gas bombs before they left.

Fortunately, the children were away from the camp attending a class in a hall close to the campsite. No one was injured, but the organisers say the children were very frightened.

The scout leader Samir Habash, said: “We practice our scouting right within the Palestinian natural environment, which is guaranteed by international and local scouting laws, but it appears that this right is forbidden to us because of oppressive occupation measures.”

He appealed to local and international scouting organisations around the world to publicise this barbaric attack, especially because it was targeting children.

The Scouts of the Palestinian Holy Family (for boy and girl scouts) were founded in 1996 and have about 180 members.

If you follow the link to the article you will see a picture of the destroyed tents.

Yes, the belief that “God gave the land to the Jews” has indeed contributed to a lot of suffering. This has been going on for a long time, and as the letter below points out, “the situation is still deteriorating.”

By the way, the letter makes reference to two other documents, one of them being the Amaan Call, issued by the WCC ten years ago following a meeting held in Amaan, Jordan. The other document mentioned is the Kairos Palestinedocument, a letter signed by Palestinian Christians and published in 2009. This latest letter urges Christians of conscience not to “hide behind the cover of political neutrality,” and also calls upon the WCC to support the BDS movement.

In June of this year, the WCC did in fact release a “Statement on 50 Years of Occupation.” The statement notes that “half a century after the 1967 war, there is still no peace and no justice among the inhabitants of the land of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.” It also asserts that Israel’s “matrix of control – in particular through the ever growing web of illegal Israeli settlements – is increasing rather than diminishing” hopes for peace.

Sadly, however, the statement does not include the word “apartheid,” nor does it endorse the BDS movement.

***

Letter from Palestinian Christians to the World Council of Churches

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

Background

As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration. The injustice was intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza, the fragmentation of our people and land through policies of isolation and confiscation of property, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the apartheid wall.

We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored—even dehumanized—the nation, our people who had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

Hundred years later, with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth (though not our memory), millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished, and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba continues.

A hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leaders’ callings, Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking, we have reached the “moment of impossible,” as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently.

Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning—a hundred years ago—on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?

Today is also an opportunity to remember the 10-year-old Amman Call. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity—those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that 10 years later the situation is still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace. We must ask ourselves today why that is.

We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort toward peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem, the city of Emmanuel!

While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last 10 years as a result of Israeli pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their partners in religious dialogue.

Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a painful price. We thank you for your efforts toward the refugees and toward ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

Our Call

“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Justice), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”. (Matthew 5:10-11)

As we stand in front of this “impossible moment,” it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call and adopt the following:

1. That you call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and in agreement of what a person like Desmond Tutu said and as the UN ESCWA report said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people.. We are disturbed by the fact that states and churches are dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination, and daily death in the land. Just as churches united to end apartheid in South Africa and whereby the WCC played a courageous and pivotal prophetic and leadership role, we expect you to do the same!

2. That you unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses. We ask that churches and Christians support the Palestinians in their request for justice.

3. That you take the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant. We ask that you adopt and live the theology suggested by Kairos Palestine and that you organize conferences to bring awareness toward this end.

4. That you take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region. We ask that you support us in combating the foundations of extremism and that you seek our council when acting against religious extremism so that you do not jeopardize and harm our standing here.

5. That you revisit and challenge your religious dialogue partners, and that you are willing to even withdraw from the partnership if needed, if the occupation and injustices in Palestine and Israel are not challenged.

6. That you lead campaigns for church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities on this side of the wall in cooperation with Palestinian tourist and pilgrimage agencies, in response to recent attempts by Israel. We ask that you publicly challenge any attempt by Israel or other Christians that discourage pilgrims from visiting Palestinian places.

7. That you defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and non-violently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and that you support atheltic, cultural, and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, apartheid, and discrimination, and accepts refugees to return to their homeland. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measure.

8. That you create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians. We ask that you publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.

9. We therefore propose as a matter of the greatest urgency that you create a strategic program within WCC similar to the program “To Combat Racism” to lead efforts to lobby, advocate, and develop active programs toward justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and maintain the presence of the Palestinian Christians through supporting their organizations, church work, and peaceful efforts.

As faithful witnesses, we acknowledge, affirm, and continue the long-standing prophetic tradition, especially the one started by the Amman Call and articulated in the Kairos Palestine document. We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call.

Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin brought to us and to all humanity, new life.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

12 June 2017

Signed By:

Jerusalem
Arab Catholic Scouts Group
Arab Orthodox Society, Jerusalem
Caritas, Jerusalem
Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees—Middle East Council of Churches
Greek Catholic Sayedat AlBishara Association
International Christian Committee
Laity Committee in the Holy Land
National Christian Association
Pontifical Mission Palestine
Sabeel—Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
Seeds of Better life
Union of Arab Orthodox Club, Jerusalem
Young Men’s Christian Association—YMCA
Young Women’s Christian Association—YWCA

 

Gaza
NECC office

 

Bethlehem (NCOB) Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem
The East Jerusalem YMCA—Beit Sahour Branch
The Arab Educational Institute
Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
Wi’am Center, Bethlehem
Saint Afram Assyrian Society
Holy Land Christians Ecumenical Foundation, Bethlehem
Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI)
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Jala
Arab Orthodox Club, Bethlehem
The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
Bethlehem Bible College
Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies
Alternative Tourism Group, ATG, Beit Sahour
Senior Citizen Charitable Society
Environmental educational Center, Beit Jala
Saint Vincent Charitable Society, Beit Jala
Shepherds’ Children Society, Beit Sahour
Kairos Palestine

Hour before the Dawn

[ Ed. note – Another poem by Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat. Nahida is a Muslim. As I read her poem, however, it brings to mind for me, strangely perhaps, the following spoken by Jesus after the resurrection: “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The words are from the very last line, in the final verse, in the final chapter, of the Gospel of Matthew.

Indeed, we seem to be fast approaching the end of an age. As Nahida puts it, “Earth is throbbing/The avalanche is fast approaching.” The poem also contains suggestions of a soul preparing to make the journey from life into the afterlife: “Raise your gaze up to the sky/Note the signs to your dwelling place.” Yet worth remembering is that in the post-apocalyptic age to come, heaven and earth will merge. This is the case in Christian theology, at any rate, and I suspect Islam probably has its parallel.

In any event, when I read poetry like this I tend to become convinced that it is the Palestinians (and certainly not the Khazars!!! ) who are the true descendants of the earliest followers of Jesus. Christians should consider that we potentially have far more in common with Muslims than we do with Jews. ]

 

Hour before the Dawn

* * *

Earth is throbbing in curious anticipation

The avalanche is fast approaching

People dazed in deep sleep

Some eyes are peeled as if they know

* * *
* * *

Time to retreat, weary soul

Time to retreat

Rest in a niche where Light descends

Hand it all over to the One Supreme

Carve a hole in your heart, braid your loved ones in

One by one

* * *

* * *

O soul

Put your temporary house in order

Clean up the mess before the storm

Pluck up the weeds and plow the soil

Scatter the seeds for those to come

Give it back better than you received

Stunning… Atrociously beautiful

Humbly put your head down and pray

A modest sign of ample gratitude

* * *

* * *

Raise your gaze up to the sky

Note the signs to your dwelling place

Adorn the garden of your home eternal

Let love flow free, let kindness prevail

Follow your soul, she knows the way

Let her guide you to your heavenly abode

Beneath the Throne of a Gracious Lord

Gaze in amazement at the glorious sight

Wither to nothingness before the Majesty

Splendour no eye had ever seen

* * *

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