HRW: “Israel” Systematically Repressed Palestinians in 2020

HRW: “Israel” Systematically Repressed Palestinians in 2020

By Staff, Agencies

Human Rights Watch [HRW] says the apartheid “Israeli” regime “systematically repressed and discriminated” against Palestinians last year.

HRW said in a report on the year 2020 that the “Israeli” regime’s practices “far exceeded the security justifications” it often gave.

In the occupied West Bank, including East al-Quds [Jerusalem], the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] martyred 20 Palestinians and injured at least 2,001 as of October 5, HRW cited figures presented by the United Nations [UN] Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA].

“‘Israeli’ authorities have rarely held accountable security forces who used excessive force or settlers who attacked Palestinians,” HRW said.

It also cited the “Jerusalem [al-Quds] Legal Aid and Human Rights Center” as saying that the apartheid  “Israeli” entity held, as of September, the bodies of 67 Palestinians martyred since 2015.

The apartheid “Israeli” regime said in September last year that it would use the bodies of deceased Palestinians as bargaining chips to have the bodies of IOF members purportedly held by resistance factions in Gaza released.

The HRW also criticized the entity’s 13-year-old siege of the Gaza Strip and other restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the enclave.

“These restrictions, not based on an individualized assessment of security risk, robbed with rare exceptions the 2 million Palestinians living there [the Gaza Strip] of their right to freedom of movement, limited their access to electricity and water, and devastated the economy,” the organization said.

The HRW also denounced the “Israeli” move to tighten the restrictions in August as “unlawful collective punishment.”

The report added that, “Egypt also sharply restricted the movement of people and goods at its Rafah crossing with Gaza.”

The New York-based group also said that the apartheid “Israeli” regime facilitated the further transfer of “Israelis” into settlements constructed in the occupied West Bank, slamming the practice as “a war crime”.

The HRW referred to a report by Peace Now in which the “Israeli” group said the “Israeli” entity last year approved the construction of more settler units in the occupied West Bank – 12,159 as of October 15 –more than in any other year since the group began tracking those statistics in 2012.

More than 600,000 “Israeli” settlers live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 “Israeli” occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All “Israeli” settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

The HRW also cited OCHA as saying that the “Israeli” entity demolished 568 Palestinian houses and other structures in the West Bank, including in East al-Quds, as of October 19, 2020, leaving 759 people displaced.

Most buildings were demolished under the pretext of lacking “Israeli” building permits, which are almost never given.

Referring to about 600 checkpoints and other permanent obstacles set up by the entity within the West Bank as of June, the HRW said, “‘Israeli’ forces routinely turn away or humiliate and delay Palestinians at checkpoints without explanation.”

إدارة بايدن… فلسطينياً

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

استطاع بن يامين نتنياهو اعتصار الأيام الأخيرة من رئاسة ترامب، ساعة بساعة ودقيقة بدقيقة، في سباق لاهث مع موعد العشرين من هذا الشهر، وها هو قد حقق على أرض الواقع مجموعة من النقاط والمكاسب الشخصية والانتخابية له، ولجمهوره المتطرّف، ثم لمجموع «الإسرائيليين»، وهي مكاسب من النوع الذي يفرض واقعاً ويكون من الصعب تجاوزه أو العودة عنه لأيّ رئيس وزراء قادم في (إسرائيل) حتى ولو كان ببعض المقاييس معتدلاً، وكذلك على الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة إنْ رغبت – وهي لن ترغب، إذ إنها مرتاحة جداً بما حققت سياسات ترامب – نتنياهو، فما تلك السياسات إلا تعبير عن رغباتها وأمانيها المضمرة ومنسجمة مع قناعاتها، وهي وإنْ كانت تحسب لتنفيذها أكثر من حساب، فإنّ ترامب قد رفع الحرج عنها، سواء في موضوع ضمّ الجولان أو نقل السفارة الأميركية للقدس، أو في صفقته الشهيرة التي منح بها نتنياهو الأغوار والمستوطنات وشمال البحر الميت وبرية الخليل، ويسارع نتنياهو الزمن لتنفيذها خلال الأيام المتبقية، بصمت أو بصوت مرتفع، وكان آخرها إعلان حكومته عن قرارها ببناء مئات الوحدات السكنية الاستيطانية الاثنين الماضي.

أما وقد زال الحرج، ورفع العتب عن الإدارة المقبلة، فإنّ بإمكان بايدن أن يبدو بمظهر المعتدل الحكيم الذي سيحاول معالجة وترميم ما أحدث ترامب من فوضى ودمار، بإعادة إطلاق مسيرة التسوية من جديد، ثم بفتح حوار مباشر مع السلطة في رام الله، وغير مباشر مع غزة. إلى رام الله ستأتي وفود أميركية لعقد لقاءات والتعرّف على عقد ومفاصل الصراع باعتبارهم طارئين عليها، كما يحدث مع كلّ إدارة أميركية جديدة، وستذهب وفود فلسطينية إلى واشنطن، ويزدهر موسم السفر والطيران غرباً برغم عراقيل الوباء. نصيب السلطة من المساعدات المالية سيتسم بالسخاء وتعود وكالة التنمية الأميركية إلى سابق نشاطها في دعم مشاريع ذات شكل يراه الناس، ولكن على أن لا تكون مفيدة، سيُعاد فتح مكتب منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في واشنطن، كلّ ذلك سيتمّ تسويقه باعتباره انتصاراً للدبلوماسية الفلسطينية، التي سبق لها أن ادّعت محاصرتها للدبلوماسيتين الأميركية و»الإسرائيلية» قبل أيام من الكشف عن مسلسل التطبيع، وقد أعلنت القاهرة الثلاثاء الماضي عن بدء التحضير لاجتماعات رباعية ميونخ لدعم مسار السلام، وذلك بعد عام كامل من الدعوة للاجتماع في مطلع العام الماضي. أما في غزة فسيتولى القطريون إدارة الحوار وينوبون عن الأميركان في تقديم الدعم المالي بحقائب الدولارات الذي ستزيد وزناً وانتفاخاً كلما سارت أمور غزة كما يشتهي ويريد القطري باعتباره الممثل الأول وربما الحصري لسياسات الإدارة الديمقراطية، وبقدر ما تستجيب حركة حماس لخيارات القطري في تركيب وتراتبية قيادتها في المرحلة المقبلة، في الانتخابات الداخلية المقبلة.

ما تقدّم لن يغيّر من حقيقة أنّ الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة لا تقلّ صهيونية ودعماً (لإسرائيل)، وعدوانيّة علينا عن سابقتها الجمهورية في الجوهر، (فإسرائيل) هي ذراعها القوية والضاربة عسكرياً، وقاعدتها المتقدّمة، والنموذج المشابه لها والابن المباشر في السلوك لأبيه، في ادّعاء الديمقراطية والليبرالية وتطبيق نظم الرفاه والرعاية الصحية والاجتماعية، كما يماثله في صفات العدوان والتوحّش وادّعاء التفوّق، ستقوم الإدارة الديمقراطية بدعم وتغطية كامل النشاطات العدوانية والاستيطانية سواء في القدس أو في ما تبقى من الضفة الغربية، فقد أزالت الإدارة السابقة الحَرَج عنها كما ورد آنفاً، وهي تتعامل مع حقائق فاعلة وثابتة على أرض الواقع، هذا فيما يعدّد الفلسطيني انتصاراته وإنجازات دبلوماسيّته، ويحتفي بالضيوف الكرام الوافدين من واشنطن، وإعداد القوائم الطويلة لأعضاء الوفد – الوفود التي ستردّ الزيارة.

العودة إلى مسار التسوية لن يكون فورياً، وقد يستنفذ العام 2021 بأكمله فمن ناحية تجد الإدارة الأميركية أنّ لديها من الملفات الملحّة ما يتفوّق بأولوية على هذا الملف الذي قد لا يكون فيه ما يستدعي الاستعجال، فالعرب يهرولون بتسارع نحو التطبيع، والاهتمام بفلسطين يتآكل بتسارع عربياً وإسلامياً ودولياً، ولا دماء تسيل، ولا اشتباكات تثير فضائيات الأخبار وتشغلها، وسياسات بناء الفلسطيني الجديد وإعادة ترتيب أولوياتة واهتماماته قد آتت أُكُلها، فأمام الرئيس قائمة من العناوين الداخلية المستعجلة وعلى رأسها ملفات وباء الكورونا والانكماش الاقتصادي، وتفكك المجتمع عرقياً وثقافياً، ثم الحالة الشعبوية التي أوجدها ترامب وتجلت في غزوة دهماء على مبنى الكونغرس في الأسبوع الماضي، وملفات خارجية ملحة كالعلاقة مع روسيا والتوتر في بحر الصين ومعها، والملف النووي الإيراني وغير ذلك كثير، ثم أنّ (إسرائيل) ستكون على موعد مع انتخاباتها الرابعة في آذار المقبل، ولا أحد يستطيع الجزم بنتائجها، ولكن مؤشرات عديدة تشير إلى أنّ نتنياهو قد لا يغيب عن مسرح السياسة، والاستطلاعات تعطيه إمكانية الحصول على مقاعد أكثر مما حصل عليه في المرات السابقة، وهو وإنْ غاب عن مسرح السياسة، فإنّ مَن سيرثه في زعامة اليمين، لن يختلف كثيراً عنه إلا في حالة أن يكون أكثر تطرفاً، وأقلّ دبلوماسية ومهارة وخطابة، نتائج الانتخابات بكلّ حال لن تكون حاسمة باتجاه فريق قادر على تشكيل حكومة بسهولة، الأمر الذي سيجعل من مشاورات تشكيلها طويلة، وقد تستمرّ إلى أواخر الصيف فيما يبقى نتنياهو خلال كلّ تلك الفترة رئيساً لحكومة تصريف أعمال، التي قد تنتهي بتشكيل حكومة أو الذهاب إلى انتخابات خامسة، ومن الطبيعي أن ينتظره الأميركي غير المتعجّل الذي سيفضل إطلاق عملية التسوية مع حكومة «إسرائيلية» مستقرة.

هكذا سيمرّ العام 2021، عام انتظار جديد، ولا ندري إنْ كان الأخير، بإمكان الفلسطيني قضاءه في حوارات الوحدة والحديث عن ضرورتها، وعن الانقسام ومخاطره، ثم انتظار فراغ بايدن من معالجة الملفات المزدحمة والملحة على مكتبه، وانتظار مآلات تشكيل حكومة في (إسرائيل) إنْ تشكلت، وقد يجري انتخابات المجلس التشريعي الثالث، بعد عقد ونصف العقد من موعد استحقاقها، بالطبع إنْ وافقت (إسرائيل) على ذلك، مع أو بدون القدس ومناطق (ج) والأغوار، هكذا يحترف الفلسطيني الحزن والانتظار…

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة.

Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Israel’s separation wall is pictured on 11 February 2020 (AFP)
Jonathan Cook
Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

14 January 2021 11:31 UTC

New report by rights group B’Tselem will make it harder to smear Israel’s critics as antisemites for arguing that Israel is a racist state


For more than a decade, a handful of former Israeli politicians and US diplomats identified with what might be termed the “peace process industry” have intermittently warned that, without a two-state solution, Israel is in danger of becoming an “apartheid state”. 

The most notable among them include Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, two former Israeli prime ministers, and John Kerry, who served as former US President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Time is rapidly running out, they have all declared in the past. 

Their chief concern, it seems, was that without the alibi of some kind of Palestinian state – however circumscribed and feeble – the legitimacy of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” will increasingly come under scrutiny. Apartheid will arrive, the argument goes, when a minority of Israeli Jews rule over a majority of Palestinians in the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan controlled by Israel. 

Demographic threshold

The apartheid threat has been wielded by the so-called “peace camp” in hopes of mobilising international pressure on the Israeli right, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The goal has been to force it into making sufficient concessions that the Palestinian leadership agrees to a demilitarised statelet, or statelets, on fragments on the original Palestinian homeland. 

Meanwhile, demographic trends have continued apace, and the Israeli right has ignored all warnings, preferring to pursue their Greater Israel ambitions instead. But strangely, the apartheid moment never arrived for the Israeli peace camp. Instead, its expressions of concern about apartheid fizzled into silence, as did its once-vocal worries about a Palestinian demographic majority.

How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas?

This entirely cynical approach to Palestinian statehood was very belatedly blown apart this week with the publication of a report by B’Tselem, Israel’s most prominent and respected human rights group. It broke ranks to declare what has been obvious for many, many years. Israel has created a permanent reality in which there are two peoples, Jews and Palestinians, sharing the same territorial space, but “a regime of Jewish supremacy” has been imposed by the stronger side. This unequivocally qualifies as apartheid, B’Tselem said. 

It dismisses the sophistry that apartheid relates to some self-serving demographic deadline – one that never materialises – rather than the explicitly segregationist practices and policies Israel has enforced throughout the territories it rules. It also dismisses arguments made by Israel’s partisans abroad that Israel cannot be an apartheid state because there are no South African-style “whites only” signs on park benches. 

Hagai El-Ad, B’Tselem’s executive director, notes that Israel’s version – “apartheid 2.0, if you will – avoids certain kinds of ugliness … That Israel’s definitions do not depend on skin colour make no material difference: it is the supremacist reality which is the heart of the matter.” The report concludes that the bar for apartheid was met after considering “the accumulation of policies and laws that Israel devised to entrench its control over Palestinians”.

Daring analysis

What is perhaps most daring about B’Tselem’s analysis is its admission that apartheid exists not just in the occupied territories, as has been observed before, including by former US President Jimmy Carter. It describes the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River – which encompasses both Israel and the Palestinian territories – as an apartheid regime. It thereby denies Israel’s claims to be a democratic state even inside its internationally recognised borders.

B’Tselem has abandoned the pretence that apartheid can be limited to the occupied territories, as though Israel – the state that rules Palestinians – is somehow exempt from being classified as integral to the apartheid enterprise it institutes and oversees.

That was always obvious. How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas? None at all. And yet, Israel has been getting away with precisely this clearcut casuistry for decades – largely aided by the peace camp, including B’Tselem.

Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)
Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)

Now, B’Tselem observes: “Jews go about their lives in a single, contiguous space where they enjoy full rights and self-determination. In contrast, Palestinians live in a space that is fragmented into several units, each with a different set of rights – given or denied by Israel, but always inferior to the rights accorded to Jews.”

Israel’s “Jewish supremacist ideology” is revealed in its obsession with “Judaising” land, in its bifurcated citizenship laws and policies that privilege Jews alone, in its regulations that restrict movement for Palestinians only, and in its denial of political participation to Palestinians. These discriminatory policies, B’Tselem notes, apply also to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian and have nominal Israeli citizenship. 

El-Ad concludes: “There is not a single square inch in the territory Israel controls where a Palestinian and a Jew are equal. The only first-class people here are Jewish citizens such as myself.”

Permanent occupation

What B’Tselem has done is echo the arguments long made by academics and Palestinian civil society, including the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, that Israel is a settler-colonial society. 

In an emailed response to the report, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said it helped to put an end to “the vicious and deeply racist lies about the not-so-perfect Israeli democracy that has a problem called ‘the occupation’”. Why acknowledging Israeli apartheid is not enough

The B’Tselem report observes that, while “occupation” must be a temporary situation, Israel has no intention of ending its military rule over Palestinians, even after more than five decades. A Palestinian state is not conceivably on the agenda of any Israeli party in sight of power, and no one in the international community with any influence is demanding one. The two-state solution has been smothered into oblivion.

For that reason, it argues, all of Israel and the Palestinian territories under occupation are organised “under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians”.

There are good reasons why B’Tselem is biting the bullet now, after decades of equivocation from it and the rest of the Israeli peace camp. Firstly, no one really believes that Israel will be pressured from outside into conceding a Palestinian state. Trump’s so-called “peace plan”, unveiled a year ago, gave Netanyahu everything he wanted, including support for annexing swaths of the West Bank on which illegal settlements have been built. 

Four years of Trump, and the recruitment of much of the Gulf to Netanyahu’s side, has shifted the conversation a long way from efforts to secure Palestinian statehood. Now, the focus is on how best to delay Israel’s move towards formal annexation. US president-elect Joe Biden will at best try to push things back to the dismal state they were in before Donald Trump took office. At worst, he will quietly assent to all or most of the damage Trump has inflicted on the Palestinian national cause.

Deeply isolated

Secondly, B’Tselem and other human rights groups are more deeply isolated at home than ever before. There is simply no political constituency in Israel for their research into the systematic abuses of Palestinians by the Israeli army and settlers. That means B’Tselem no longer needs to worry about messaging that could antagonise the sensibilities of Israel’s so-called “Zionist left” – because there is no meaningful peace camp left to alienate. 

The disappearance of this peace camp, unreliable as it was, has only been underscored by the Israeli general election due in late March. The battle for power this time is being waged between three or four far-right parties that all support annexation to varying degrees. 

Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work

The Israeli left has ceased to exist at the political level. It comprises a handful of human and legal rights groups, mostly seen by the public as traitors supposedly meddling in Israel’s affairs on behalf of “European” interests. At this stage, B’Tselem has little to lose. It is almost entirely irrelevant inside Israel.

Thirdly, and as a result, the only audience for B’Tselem’s careful research exposing Israeli abuses is overseas. This new report seeks to liberate a conversation about Israel, partly among Palestinian solidarity activists abroad. Their campaigns have been stymied by the failure of the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas to signal where they should direct their efforts, now that prospects for Palestinian statehood have vanished.

Activists have also been browbeaten into silence by smears from Israel’s partisans in the US and Europe, decrying any trenchant criticism of Israel as antisemitic. These slurs were relentlessly deployed against the UK’s Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn because of his support for the Palestinian cause.

Breaking a taboo

By calling Israel an apartheid state and a “regime of Jewish supremacy”, B’Tselem has given the lie to the Israel lobby’s claim – bolstered by a new definition promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – that it is antisemitic to suggest Israel is a “racist endeavour”. 

B’Tselem, a veteran Israeli Jewish organisation with deep expertise in human rights and international law, has now explicitly declared that Israel is a racist state. Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work.

Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)
Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)

The report is also intended to reach out to young American Jews, who are more willing than their parents to foreground the mistreatment of Palestinians and to forgo the Zionist idea that Israel is their bolthole in times of trouble. 

Significantly, the B’Tselem report has been published in the wake of two groundbreaking essays this past summer by influential American Jewish journalist Peter Beinart. In them, he broke a taboo in the US Jewish mainstream by declaring the two-state solution dead and calling for a single democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians.

It doubtless served as a wakeup call to Israeli groups such as B’Tselem that the conversation about Israel is moving on in the US and becoming much more polarised. Israeli human rights groups need to engage with this debate, not shy away from it.

Battle for equality

There is one possible lacuna in B’Tselem’s position. The report suggests a reticence to focus on outcomes. Nowhere is the two-state solution ruled out. Rather, the report notes: “There are various political paths to a just future.” Statements by El-Ad to Middle East Eye indicate that his organisation may still support a framework of international pressure for incremental, piecemeal change in Israeli policies that violate Palestinian human rights.Israeli settlers’ racism is not an aberration. It’s part of an apartheid systemRead More »

That is very much what western states, particularly Europe, have been paying lipservice to for decades, while Israeli apartheid has entrenched.

Does B’Tselem hope its apartheid criticisms will prove more effective than Barak and Olmert’s apartheid warnings, finally galvanising the international community into action to push for a Palestinian state? If so, Biden’s performance in office should soon dispel any such illusions. El-Ad observes that the goal now is “a rejection of supremacy, built on a commitment to justice and our shared humanity.” 

That cannot happen within the two-state framework, even on the untenable assumption that the international community ever seriously rallies behind Palestinian statehood, against Israel’s wishes. So why not say so explicitly? The best-case two-state scenarios on the table are for a tiny, divided, demilitarised, pseudo-Palestinian state with no control over its borders, airspace or electromagnetic frequencies.

That would not offer “justice” to Palestinians or recognise their “shared humanity” with Israeli Jews.

As welcome as the new report is, it is time for B’Tselem – as well as Palestinian solidarity activists who look to the organisation – to explicitly reject any reversion to a “peace process” premised on ending the occupation. The logic of an apartheid analysis needs to be followed to the very end. That requires unequivocally embracing a democratic single state guaranteeing equality and dignity for all.

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

Read more

Facts on the Ground – The Trial of Issa Amro, Palestinian Resistance, the Death of the Two-States Myth — Miko Peled

Facts on the Ground invite Miko to discuss the ongoing trial and persecution of Palestinian activist, Issa Amro, as well as the greater context of Palestinian resistance and a whole lot more.

Facts on the Ground – The Trial of Issa Amro, Palestinian Resistance, the Death of the Two-States Myth — Miko Peled

“Forbidden Weapons” Used Against Gaza Strip Palestinians. Israel Deliberately Targets Palestinian Civilians

By Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh

Global Research, January 08, 2021

The following research article will explore three forbidden weapons that were and are still being used against the Palestinian civilians of the besieged Gaza Strip. These weapons are the DIME, the Flechette Shells and the Vacuum Bomb. Furthermore, this research article will attempt to answer an important question: Why does Israel deliberately target Palestinian civilians?

The DIME Components

DIME shell stands for Dense Inert Metal Explosives, is supposedly a “low collateral damage” weapon that was developed by the US Air Force.[1] Already in 2006, the DIME weapon has been used by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip. It has been dropped by Israeli drone aircraft.[2]

It should be pointed out that the chemical components of the DIME shell could not have become known to Palestinian physicians because Israel had destroyed Gaza’s only criminal laboratory on June 27, 2006, the first day of the siege.[3] This is indicative of the Zionist sinister future plans to use forbidden weapons against the Palestinian civilians and to keep the world in the dark including the Palestinians. However, after acquiring help from a group of Italian scientists and investigators, Palestinian physicians became aware of the chemical structure of the DIME shell whose extreme dangerous toxicity Israel was trying to conceal.

On October 19, 2006, a group of

“… Italian investigators had tissue samples from the victims in Gaza analyzed by Dr. Carmela Vaccaio at University Parma. Dr. Vaccaio reportedly found “a very high concentration of carbon and the presence of unusual materials, such as copper, aluminum and tungsten.” The doctor concluded that her “findings could be in line with the hypothesis that the weapon in question is DIME.”[4]

According to the spectrometry analyses of biopsies taken from amputation injuries of Palestinian patients from the Gaza Strip, and carried out by a group of Italian scientists affiliated with the New Weapons Research Committee (NWRC), the DIME shell included a combination of the following seventeen metals: “…aluminum, titanium, copper, strontium, barium, cobalt, mercury, vanadium, caesium, tin, arsenic, manganese, rubidium, cadmium, chromium, zinc and nickel…”[5] The combination of that many metals, including heavy metals, makes the DIME shell an extremely toxic chemical weapon and a highly dangerous one.

It should be pointed out that the “DIME weapons consist of a carbon fiber casing filled with a mixture of explosives and very dense microshrapnel, consisting of very small particles (1–2 mm) or powder of a heavy metal…”[6] When it explodes, DIME bombs blast a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered heavy metal tungsten alloy.[7]

The DIME Health Hazards

The initial reports on the health hazards of the DIME bomb came out few months after Israel began to use it in the summer of 2006.  Dr. Jom’a Al-Saqqa, chief of the emergency unit at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, observed that the DIME was “a new ‘chemical’ weapon” and Israeli siege was “a live exercise on a new ammunition that, so far, has resulted in killing 50 Palestinians and injuring 200.” He added that, “despite the damage in internal soft tissue in the bodies of injured people, the fragments were not detected by X-ray. In other words, they had disappeared or dissolved inside the body.”[8]

Dr. Al-Saqqa, a surgeon by profession, continued his observation by adding that “There were usually entry and exit wounds. When the wounds were explored no foreign material was found. There was tissue death, the extent of which was difficult to determine. … A higher deep infection rate resulted with subsequent amputation. In spite of amputation there was a higher mortality.”[9]

Moreover, Dr. Al-Saqqa, added the following observation on the death-causing health impact of the DIME weapon.

“When the shrapnel hit[s] the body, it causes very strong burns that destroy the tissues around the bones…it burns and destroys internal organs, like the liver, kidneys, and the spleen and other organs and makes saving the wounded almost impossible. As a surgeon, I have seen thousands of wounds during the Intifada, but nothing was like this weapon.”[10]

Dr Joma Al-Saqqa, chief of the emergency unit at Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa added that, “despite the damage in internal soft tissue in the bodies of injured people, the fragments were not detected by X-ray. In other words, they had disappeared or dissolved inside the body.”[11]

Another witnessing surgeon is Dr. Habas al-Wahid, the Palestinian head of the Emergency Unit at Gaza’s Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital. He made the following shocking observation. “Israel’s new weapon “slices” off its victims’ legs, leaving “signs of heat and burns near the point of the amputation”. It’s “as if a saw was used to cut through the bone…”[12]

Due to the penetration of the body by a number of heavy metals, this situation produces “[m]ultiple syndromes of heavy metal poisoning …” in addition it produces “…polycythemia, which can be induced by cobalt overdose.”[13] Polycythemia is “… a type of blood cancer that causes the bone marrow to make too many red blood cells, a health case that thickens the blood, slowing its flow, and a development which may cause serious problems, such as blood clots. Furthermore, Polycythemia produces cancer of the blood and bone marrow, namely acute leukemia.[14]

It should be pointed out that “[t]he whole Gaza population and their environment, including generations yet to be conceived, have been put at risk of serious long-term injury from heavy metal pollution of the air, soil and groundwater (and possibly the seawater too), while the causal pollution is likely to cross state borders into Egypt and even into Israel…”[15]

As a direct result of use by Israel of forbidden chemical weapons, all sorts of cancer cases have increased in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Ministry of Health has revealed that in the beginning of 2019, there were 8,515 cancer patients inside the Gaza Strip, including 4,705 women and 608 children. Cancer “Patients’ in the Gaza Strip suffer from the permanent shortage of equipment, drugs and medical supplies as a result of Israel’s stifling 12-year siege of  the enclave.”[16] They also suffer from denial of exit permits to children cancer patients and their companions for treatment abroad.[17] Other cancer patients are denied any medical treatment. According to the World Health Organization “Getting a permit to access the health care needed outside can be a stressful and unpredictable process, and many apply multiple times before being able to exit. Even then, some patients are never able to secure the permits they need to access care”[18]

These health hazards caused by the use of DIME shells by Israel constitute war crimes. The Israeli generals who were responsible for them are among others, Beni Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi, the leaders of the Blue White Israeli party. Ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, his defense minister are also war criminals. Due to the fact that these war crimes have continued to take place also under the present Israeli government, Benyamin Netanyahu and his defense minister Beni Gantz are also war criminals.

The Flechette Shell Components

The Flechette shell is “…made out of steel and had a very sharp pointy end… For increased aerodynamics, they featured fins on their other end – most likely to increase the speed of descent.”[19] It explodes in the air and releasesapproximately 2,200 flechettes.[20] The metal darts disperse in a conical arch three hundred meters long and about ninety meters wide. It is considered an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank.[21] On impact, the Flechette darts are “… capable of penetrating a combatant from head to foot and creating an instantly incapacitating wound…”[22]

One of the hazardous developments that take place is that the “… head of the dart is designed to break away. Having penetrated inside a person, this breakage inflicts a second wound per single dart entry, multiplying the amount of internal damage done by the razor-like darts…”[23]

The Health Hazards of the Flechette Shell

Israel has, numerously, used the Flechette shells in the Gaza Strip. During the war of 2008-2009, Israeli tanks assaulted Palestinian civilians with Flechette shells. There were a number of Palestinian victims of the Flechette shells. The following is the story of two Palestinian medics who were victims of the Flechette shell.

… In the initial shelling that day, Hammad lost his foot when Israeli tanks fired at, according to Hammad, a region filled with terrified civilians fleeing Israeli bombing. His friend Ali was shot in the head while trying to evacuate Hammad. The medics then arrived. Abd al-Dayem and Sarhan had loaded Hammad into the ambulance and were going to retrieve Ali’s body when the flechette shell was fired at the medics and fleeing civilians. Ali was decapitated…[24]

According to Palestinian traditions, parents and relatives of a deceased person usually hold two mourning houses, one for men and another for women. These mourning ceremonies are held outside the house so they can accommodate the largest possible gathering of mourners.

The Palestinian medic Jamal Abd al-Dayem explained what happened at the mourning ceremonies that were held for his late cousin Arafa Abd al-Dayem, the 35-year-old paramedic who died as a result “… of slashes to his lungs, limbs and internal organs.”[25]

After my cousin Arafa was martyred on 4 January, we immediately opened mourning houses, with separate areas for men and women. The next day, at 9:30am the Israelis struck the mourning area where the men were. It was clearly a mourning house, on the road, open and visible. Immediately after the first strike, the Israelis hit the women’s mourning area.” Two strikes within 1.5 minutes, he reported.[26]

The former four Flechette shelling incidents clearly show that the Israeli army is systematically and deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians. They cannot be dismissed as misguided targeting or mistakes. These are repetitive similar shellings of Flechettes that targeted civilians. We should pose the following question. If the Israeli army have on numerous occasions, deliberately targeted civilians, there should be reasons for that.

According to Dr. Bassam al-Masari, a surgeon at Beit Lahiya’s Kamal Adwan hospital, Flechette darts have caused “… more injuries than other bombs precisely because they spread in a larger area. And while the darts appear innocuously small, their velocity and design enable them to bore through cement and bones and “cut everything internal…”[27] Al-Masri added that “… their velocity and design enable them to bore through cement and bones and “cut everything internal…” Accordingly, the prime cause of death is severe internal bleeding from slashed organs, particularly the heart, liver and brain. Brain injuries are the most fatal…[28]

They Target Schools, don’t they?

It is noticeable that, during the past twelve years, Israeli air raids and shelling have targeted a number of civilian facilities inside the Gaza Strip. These facilities included schools, universities, hospitals, medical clinics, mosques, markets, shopping centers, factories, farms, banks, mourning cites, warehouses, a power station, and other essential civilian infrastructure. The following is a partial review of actual incidents.

Hundreds of Palestinian civilians who were forced out from their apartments and houses by the Zionist army, sought refuge inside UNRWA schools thinking that they would be in a safe haven. Nevertheless, Zionist criminal generals thought otherwise.

Author Mike Head reported that, “At least 20 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday, including UN workers, when Jabalia Elementary Girls School in Gaza City, which was sheltering 3,300 families, was hit by three artillery shells.”[29] Was it a mistake?

What happened to one UNRWA school was revealed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who reported that “… the exact location of this elementary school has been communicated to the Israeli military authorities 17 times…”[30] yet the Israeli army attacked the school and a number of Palestinians were killed and wounded.

Despite this evidence and during the 2014 war, US President Barak Obama claimed to be “extremely concerned” about the killing of people in UN designated shelters. At the same time Obama accused Hamas of hiding weapons in UN facilities.[31] By accusing Hamas of “hiding weapons in UN facilities” he reiterated Zionist lies and provided a justification for Zionist criminal bombing of UNRWA schools.Israel Killed and Injured More Civilians with Explosive Weapons than Any Other State in 2014

Author Vincent Di Stefano reported that until Dec 2010, “Seven schools in Gaza were totally destroyed, and 135 were substantially damaged. The Al-Azhar University of Gaza was reduced to rubble. Hospitals, medical clinics and Red Crescent warehouses were all targeted…”[32]

The author added that

“It was the second attack, and the sixth strike, on a UN school since Israel’s military offensive in Gaza began on July 8. Last week, 15 people died and about 200 were wounded when another UN school, in Beit Hanoun, was hit as the playground was filled with families awaiting evacuation.”[33]

Author Vincent Di Stefano concluded that “…By deliberately targeting UN schools, [Israel] is sending a chilling message: no one in Gaza is safe from ‘Operation Protective Edge.’…”[34]

In another criminal incident, “… three air strikes killed 15 people and injured 150 in a market area on the outskirts of Shujaiyah. As smoke billowed from the initial air strike, witnesses said emergency services and civilians rushed to help the victims, only to be hit by a further two air strikes minutes later.[35] Was this incident a mistake?

In another criminal assault that was reported by the British Guardian, we quote the following.

During the 2009 war, Mounir a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip reported the following story. While he was sitting around with his family drinking tea in their small courtyard, he heard the loud buzzing of an Israeli drone, clearly visible in the sky above. “He went inside for a moment and, as he returned, he saw a ball of light hurtling down toward him. There was a loud explosion and he was thrown backward. He gathered himself and stumbled out into the courtyard, where he saw the scene he says will never leave him.”[36] In his own words, Mounir described what happened to members of his family by saying: “We found Mohammed lying there, cut in half. Ahmed was in three pieces; Wahid was totally burnt – his eyes were gone. Wahid’s father was dead. Nour had been decapitated. We couldn’t see her head anywhere.”[37] Mounir continued by relating. “You cannot imagine the scene: a family all sitting around together and then, in a matter of seconds, they were cut to pieces. Even the next day we found limbs and body parts on the roof, feet and hands,” Mounir says.[38] Was this incident a mistake?

Despite these deliberate criminal incidents, the Israeli colonial army, as well as, Israeli colonial politicians claim that “… the IDF … intensively trained its personnel on the requirements of the Law of Armed Conflict. It delayed, diverted, or refrained from attacks to spare civilian life. It provided numerous and varied types of concrete warnings before launching attacks.”[39] As reported earlier, concrete evidence points to the contrary.

In addition to schools, Israeli military strikes targeted residential and public structures thus producing utter destruction. Author, Patrick O’Conner reported that “…At least 5,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 20,000 damaged, with many urban centers reduced to nothing more than rubble…”[40]

Moreover, Israeli military assaults targeted public structures. “… The parliament and cabinet buildings in Gaza City were destroyed, as was the city’s police headquarters, the Bank of Palestine building, the main university, several mosques…”[41], and six major water wells were damaged or destroyed.[42] In addition, Gaza’s water and electricity networks were destroyed by the Israeli army.[43]

Israeli war crimes that took place in the Gaza Strip during the last three wars was an election issue adopted by former Israeli army chief, Benny Gantz. He produced an election video for his party in which he bragged about killing 1,364 Palestinians and returning parts of the Gaza Strip to the stone ages.[44] Gantz admits responsibility for these war crimes but is ready to use his crimes as means to win the votes of racist Israelis.

Moreover, on Thursday, August 9, 2018 the Said al-Mishal Centre, a cultural center in Gaza housing the region’s second-largest theater, was bombed by Israeli military forces. The five-floor edifice housed a library, an Egyptian community center, offices for cultural associations, and a theater for arts and dabkeh.[45]

As usual, the Zionist army claimed that the center “… was being used by “the Hamas terror organization for military purposes”[46], an evidence that has never been proved.

Moreover, during the war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Zionist President Shimon Peres met with a delegation from AIPAC, the American Zionist lobby. In his speech to the delegation, Peres admitted that “… Israel’s aim, … was to provide a strong blow to the people of Gaza so that they would lose their appetite for shooting at Israel…”[47] That was a clear admission that the Zionist army deliberately and systematically targets Palestinian civilians.

One here should pause and ask the following question: Why the Israeli military, target Palestinian civilians in its aggressive wars? This is an attempted answer.

In the last three Israeli wars against the Gaza Strip, Israeli shelling deliberately targeted schools including UNRWA schools, market places, mourning houses and packed houses. This policy has been also implemented in Lebanon, and in Egypt during the Israeli bombardments in the seventies. The Israeli sinister logic behind this criminal policy is this: if you maximize civilian losses, civilians will stop backing Hamas or Hizballah. This faulty logic produced a systematic and deliberate policy of “mini” Zionist massacres. The shelling of civilian structures that are fully packed with people cannot be dismissed as mistakes nor as acted out in self-defense. So, the final aim of the Zionist aggressive colonial policy of choosing these targets, is to maximize civilian killings and terrorize the civilian population in order to force civilians to submit to Zionist colonial policies.

Components of the Vacuum Bomb

The Vacuum Bomb, named also the fuel–air explosive (FAE) is a type of explosive that depends on the use of two highly toxic fuels ethylene oxide and propylene oxide.[48] Once they detonate, they use the oxygen from the “… surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion. In practice, the blast wave typically produced by such a weapon is of a significantly longer duration than that produced by a conventional condensed explosive…”[49]

Once the Vacuum Bomb explodes,

“… the area around the explosion becomes overpressurized, resulting in highly compressed air particles that travel faster than the speed of sound. This wave will dissipate over time and distance and will exist only for a matter of milliseconds. This initial blast wave inflicts the most damage…”[50]

After explosion,

“… the bomb casing, as well as any additional shrapnel (nails, screws or other items included in the bomb), will be violently thrown outward and away from the explosion. When these fragments strike buildings, concrete, masonry, glass and even people, they may fragment even further — and cause even more damage…”[51]

The developments that immediately take place after the explosion are extremely dangerous because of the intensity in the creation of the vacuum and its immediate refill by the surrounding atmosphere. They were described by the author Tom Scheve in the following manner:

At the explosion site, a vacuum is created by the rapid outward movement of the blast. This vacuum will almost immediately refill itself with the surrounding atmosphere. This creates a very strong pull on any nearby person or structural surface after the initial push effect of the blast has been delivered. As this void is refilled, it creates a high-intensity wind that causes fragmented objects, glass and debris to be drawn back in toward the source of the explosion.[52]

It should be pointed out that chemical structure, the explosions, the consumption of the surrounding oxygen, and the vacuum creation, all lead to a number of health hazards.

Health Hazards of Vacuum Bombs

When it explodes, the Vacuum Bomb, “… predominantly affects the pulmonary, cardiovascular, auditory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems…”[53]

Moreover, there are a number of internal injuries that are caused by the health hazards of the vacuum bomb explosion. They could be showed as follows:

…”the effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense. Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.”[54]

In short, Vacuum Bombs are highly dangerous weapons that should be treated as forbidden weapons that should not be dropped on highly populated localities like the Gaza Strip. Despite this, the consecutive Israeli governments have been using these dangerous weapons against the Palestinian civilians since 2006.

Could It Be Genocide?

Al-Dameer, a Palestinian human rights organization, had published on 20 December 2009  “… another paper in Arabic on the increase in the number of babies born in Gaza with birth defects, thought to be the result of radioactive and toxic materials from Operation Cast Lead.The birth defects included incomplete hearts and malformations of the brain…”[55]

The conglomeration of Zionist war crimes caused by the use of forbidden weapons, the colonial siege of the Gaza Strip, the deliberate undernourishment of the Gazan Palestinians to the point of severe hunger, the criminal colonial Israeli policy of denying medical permits and restricting the importation of medicines to Gaza, the policy of shoot to kill at Gaza’s borders with the Zionist entity – all these policies and war crimes might very likely lead to genocide. But what is genocide according to International Law?

Article II of the Genocide Convention contains a narrow definition of the crime of genocide, which includes two main elements[56]:

    1. A mental element: the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”; and
    2. A physical element, which includes the following five acts, enumerated exhaustively:
  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Throughout this research article, we have clearly encountered evidence of war crimes in the first four categories. However, the fifth category has not been so far committed by Israel. So, based on this evidence, the Palestinian civilian authorities can submit a demand to the United Nations relevant bodies to force Israel to become accountable for committing these war crimes.

Israel has violated a number of international laws and has violated a number of UN conventions, and resolutions. Due to American hegemony on the Security Council and the use of the veto power Israel was not held accountable for its violations. The Israelis actually admit these violations but they have a criminal way of looking at them. According to the Israeli violators:

If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries. … International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert easily into the legal molds. Eight years later, it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.[57]

This is the sick logic of settler colonialists that are armed and supported by Western imperialism. The American imperialists not only do that but they obstruct the work of the Security Council to prevent it from holding Israel accountable for its war crimes. However, this misconduct does not make Israel innocent because its war crimes cannot be hidden, forgotten, permitted or deleted. Israeli war crimes are strongly imprinted in the black annals of human history.

*

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Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh teaches sociology at Birzeit University in the colonized West Bank. He is a resident of Nazareth, Palestine. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Manchester and is author of a number of books and research articles.

Notes

[1] As quoted by Brooks, James “Starve Them; Shoot Them; then Give Them Cancer: An Inquiry into Israel’s use of DIME weaponry in of the Gaza Strip”, Vermonters for a Just Peace, https://vtjp.org, 22-1-2009

[2] Ma’an News, “Palestinian injuries suggest Israel is using chemical weapons in Gaza”, http://www.maannews.net 7-10-2006 and Shaoul, Jean, “Israel used chemical weapons in Lebanon and Gaza”, Centre for Research on Globalization, http://wsws.org, 24-110-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[3] Centre for Research on Globalization/Gulf News, “Israel ’is using chemical ammunition’ in Gaza”, http://www.globalresearch.ca, 13-6-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[4] Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[5] Halpin, David, “Are New weapons Being Used in Gaza and Lebanon”, Electronic Intifada, http://electronicintifada.net, 14-8-2006. As quoted by Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011.

[6] Wikipedia,” Dense Inert Metal Explosive”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 5-12-2020

[7] Brooks, James, op. cit.

[8] Al Baik, Duraid, “Israel ’is using chemical ammunition’ in Gaza”Centre for Research on Globalization/Gulf News, http://www.globalresearch.ca, 13-6-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[9] Halpin, David, Are New Weapons Being Used In Gaza and Lebanon, Electronic Intifada, http://electronicintifada.net, 14-8-2006 and Palestine News Network, Ministry of Health report on toxic Israeli weapons confirmed by Gaza City medical sources, http://www.pnn.ps, 13-7-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[10] “Doctors Report Unusual Weapon Used in Gaza”, Pacifica/Free Speech Radio News,  http://www.pacifica.org, 11-7-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Italian TV: Israel used new weapon prototype in Gaza Strip”, Israeli daily Ha’aretz, 10/19/2006 http://www.haaretz.com, 19-10-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[13] Kalinich et al, “Embedded Weapons-Grade Tungsten Alloy Shrapnel Rapidly Induces Metastatic High-Grade Rhabdomyosarcomas in F344 Rats”, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 113, Number 6, June 2005, http://www.ehponline.org. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[14] Mayo Clinic Staff, “Polycythemia vera”, https://www.mayoclinic.org. Accessed on: 1-1-2021

[15] Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011

[16] Middle East Monitor, “8,515 cancer patients in Gaza “https://www.middleeastmonitor.com, 5-2-2019

[17] Nedaa Alabadla, King-Hadduck, and Kevin, Edward, TEAM FUNDRAISER, “Cancer Patients in the Gaza”, https://www.gofundme.com. ACCESSED 12-12-2020

[18] WHO, “Palestinian cancer patients in Gaza wait months for Israel permits”,  https://www.middleeastmonitor.com, 6-2-2019

[19] Chambers, Jay, “Meet the Flechette – the Deadliest Weapon of World War I?”, https://www.historyandheadlines.com, 22-1-2020

[20] Centaurs in Vietnam, “Rockets”, http://centaursinvietnam.org. Accessed 8-12-2020

[21] Btselem, “Firing of Flechette shell that killed Reuters cameraman violates laws of war”, https://www.btselem.org, 17-4-2008

[22] Sabot Designs LLC, “Flechette Shotgun Amunition”, http://www.sabotdesigns.com. Accessed 8-12-2020

[23] Bartlett, Eva, “Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza”, The Electronic Intifadahttp://electronicintifada.net, 16-3-2009

[24] Bartlett, Eva, “Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza”, The Electronic Intifadahttp://electronicintifada.net, 16-3-2009

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Head, Mike, “US rearms Israel as its war crimes mount in Gaza”, https://www.wsws.org, 31-7-2014

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Di Stefano, Vincent, “And What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Gaza”, https://www.commondreams.org, 25-12-2010

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Chassay, Clancy, “Cut to pieces: the Palestinian family drinking tea in their courtyard”, https://www.theguardian.com, 23-3-2009

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Cook, William A., Now Israel Is Free to Declare Its Innocence before the International Court of Justice”, http://salem-news.com, 15-4-2011

[40] O’Connor, Patrick , “Reports reveal devastation wreaked by Israeli military in Gaza”, https://www.wsws.org, 20-1-2009

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Abunimah, Ali, “Israeli election ad boasts Gaza bombed back to stone ages”, https://electronicintifada.net, 21-1-2019

[45] Weber, Jasmine,  “Palestinian Cultural Center Destroyed by Israeli Military in Recent Attacks”, https://hyperallergic.com, 10-8-2018.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Fay Cashman, Greer, “’Solidarity during war is Israel’s finest hour’”, https://www.jpost.com, 14-1-2009

[48] Wikipedia, “Thermobaric weapon”,  https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 9-12-2020

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Andr, David, “MUNITIONS – Thermobaric Munitions and their Medical Effects”, https://jmvh.org. Accessed 4-1-2021

[54] Wikipedia, “Thermobaric weapon”,  https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 9-12-2020

[55] Salam, Kawther, “Abortions, Cancer, Diseases and…in Gaza”,  http://www.intifada-palestine.com, 29 December 2009. As quoted by Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011

[56] United Nations, “Genocide”, https://www.un.org, 2-1-2021

[57] “Israel: Transforming International Law by Violating It”, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/4/09. As quoted by Di Stefano, Vincent, “And What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Gaza”, https://www.commondreams.org, 25-12-2010

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Why Israel is now delighted about the Arab Spring

تسريبات هيلاري كلينتون تفضح تطبيع إخوان ليبيا بأوامر من محمد بديع مع  إسرائيل... #محمد المقريف - YouTube
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The self-styled ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ was never comfortable with pro-democracy protests. But the autocratic counter-revolution that followed gave it new friends

A Palestinian boy walks past a section of Israel’s separation wall and a billboard that reads in Arabic “The Arab Spring Coffee Shop” in the West Bank village of Al-Ram in 2012 (AFP)By 

Lily Galili in Tel Aviv, IsraelPublished date: 1 January 2021 09:10 UTC | Last update: 

“Unintended consequences” is the best way to describe the impact the Arab Spring has had on Israel.

Ten years after the pro-democracy protests that swept the Arab world, Israeli analysts agree that December 2020 is the unexpected outcome of December 2010’s events.

They may differ in the interpretation of recent developments and assessment of their future impact – but all look back at the beginning of the decade as the starting point of a process that has led to a growing list of Arab and Muslim countries normalising relations with Israel. 

All agree that the Arab Spring (a term coined by the West) is not a fait accompli; that the undercurrents are still very much there and can still change the landscape of the future.

Israeli political and public reaction to these historic uprisings was confused right from the start.

Public opinion was divided between those who believed that Israel’s situation worsened in face of the developments and those who saw the Arab Spring as a positive change for the country. As Israel heads to elections, nothing is different but everything has changed

Even the term “Arab Spring” was up for debate, sometimes replaced by “Arab Winter” or a term officially coined by Israeli Military Intelligence, “Taltala”, a Hebrew word for “shake-up”. “Egyptian Plague” was one of many terms reflecting the profound confusion and derision.

If the Israeli discourse reflected public bewilderment, contradictory statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were reflections of confused policy.

The premier, who had preached in his own books that the lack of democracy in Arab states was the main obstacle to peace, openly avoided any reference to the democratic aspect of the Arab Spring.

“The Middle East is no place for the naive,” he stated in a speech delivered at the Israeli parliament on 23 November 2011, referring sarcastically to those who saw something positive in the unfolding events.

Yet, on the international arena, he adopted a more lenient approach, making statements like: “Israel is a democracy that encourages the promotion of free and democratic values in the Middle East and the promotion of such values will benefit peace.”

In a paper published in January 2013 by Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, analyst Lior Lehrs quotes “government sources in Jerusalem” as explaining that “Netanyahu felt he had to narrow the gap between him and the international community”.

“The PM, as the leader of the only democracy in the Middle East, understood he cannot ignore international criticism of [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak and therefore this time addressed the issue of promoting democracy in the region,” Lehr wrote.

In the years following this statement, the leader of a country that wrongly describes itself and prides itself as “the only democracy in the Middle East” befriended a long series of authoritarian regimes in the region.

From spring to normalisation

The “linkage” between the Arab Spring and the normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco and likely more countries to come, was one of main themes of a conference dedicated to the decade by BESA, the right-wing-orientated Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

“The Arab Spring is the death certificate of Arab nationalism as we knew it in the Levant, and the rise of more dictatorship-like regimes,” Ehud Yaari, Israeli political commentator and analyst, told Middle East Eye.

“The collapse of central capitals like Cairo and Damascus spurred Arab peripheral countries to re-arrange the arena. The capital moved to the UAE, a more modern one, despite its modest size. This is a given of historical dimension not bound to change in the visible future. A whole new nation ball game in the Middle East.”

At the Begin-Sadat Centre conference on 23 December, Yaari briefly told attendees what he believed would be the “nightmare scenario” for Israel – the collapse “inwards” of Egypt.

Yaari later told MEE that while Iran and Turkey compete with each other over dominance in Levantine Arab states, the peripheral countries reached a conclusion that the answer to their growing threat is to establish a new partnership, supported by the US.

Yaari said Netanyahu’s “bragging” about annexation gave Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed an opportunity for normalisation. The September deal was inked with the promise that Israeli annexation of the occupied West Bank had been shelved.Meet the man Netanyahu has picked to lead Israel’s Mossad

“They wouldn’t do it for a supply of F-35 aircrafts; they aim at a kind of military-security covenant. Others will follow. Even Qatar will not stay behind long after Saudi Arabia joins. Then Muslim states like Niger, Mali and more will follow,” he said.

“The Arab Spring was a cry of those my Arab friend calls the ‘helpless, hopeless and jobless’, and not a vehicle for regime change. Yet many of the countries involved remained on a map only.”

According to his scenario, Israel becomes an integral part of the region by joining regional alliances like “the Red Sea forum”, a new Saudi initiative being discussed.

Menachem Klein, political scientist and adviser to Israeli negotiation teams in 2000 and 2003, believes that all normalisation agreements come as a result of the Arab Spring and the “dissolution” of the Arab League.

Once, the Arab League united states against Israel. When governments began attacking their people in 2011, those countries began turning on one another.

In this new constellation, Israel has become another factor in the fine fabric of alliances and rivalries in the Arab world. Donald Trump in the Middle East: A story of big winners and bigger losers

“Israel integrated into the Arab fabric not just via those normalisation agreements but as an active player in the intricate labyrinth of contradictory interests of countries of the Middle East,” he told MEE.

“A long time ago, the late Shimon Peres dreamt of Israel as member of the Arab League; what he did not dream of is a broken region with a practically non-existent League.”

Klein is very much aware of the complexity of the new reality.

The upside, he believes, is Israel is accepted as a fact, even if the circumstances of its establishment are still illegitimate in the eyes of many. The downside, according to Klein, is that in the eyes of many in Arab societies, Israel is still perceived as the long arm of the United States, one that can be used for protection and arms, as well as a pipeline to Washington.

Israel, Palestine and domestic policy

Though Yaari and Klein both agree that the Arab Spring and normalisation deals have impacted the Palestinian cause, they do not reach the same conclusion as to how.

“I believe that the normalisation that stemmed from the Arab Spring will impose more restraint on any Israeli government, be it even ultra-right wing. No more annexation, no more Israeli construction plans in the controversial E1 area. Israel has too much to lose,” said Yaari.

“The Palestinians, on the other hand, finally realised they have no one to lean on, they are bound to change direction.”

Since Palestinian nationalism ceased to be an all-Arab issue, and now the Palestinians have been abandoned by Arab countries and in the reality subject to de-facto annexation, it has in fact become an Israeli internal domestic issue

According to this plan carefully crafted over a few years, Israel will take over control of the West Bank and divide it into segments like ‘greater Nablus’, ‘greater Jenin’, and so on

Klein does not agree with that conclusion nor with that scenario. The most dangerous repercussion of the decade that changed the Middle East is, according to him, the Palestinian issue.

“Since Palestinian nationalism ceased to be an all-Arab issue, and now the Palestinians have been abandoned by Arab countries and in the reality subject to de-facto annexation, it has in fact become an Israeli internal domestic issue,” Klein said.

“It is now more a question of domestic policy than of foreign policy. That twist just makes the situation more acute in the absence of external enforcement leading to a solution. Any explosion in the occupied territories can now easily lead to chaos.”

Klein knows of an Israeli military plan to deal with such an explosion. According to this plan carefully crafted over a few years, Israel will take over control of the West Bank and divide it into segments like “greater Nablus”, “greater Jenin”, and so on.

Each divided region will be under the control of a military governor. The Israeli military’s central command, Klein tells MEE, has already practiced the plan.

It is more than about controlling riots: this is the plan to dismantle one ruling authority – the Palestinian Authority – and thus smash the political entity of Palestinian nationality.

Unlike Yaari, Klein believes that the “shake-up” that skipped the occupied territories ten years ago is about to arrive.

Read more

“Israel’s” Channel 13: The Iranian Capabilities in Yemen Are What Worries ‘Israel’ The Most “القناة 13”: القدرات الإيرانيّة في اليمن أكثر ما يقلق “إسرائيل”

“Israel’s” Channel 13: The Iranian Capabilities in Yemen Are What Worries ‘Israel’ The Most

“Israel’s” Channel 13: The Iranian Capabilities in Yemen Are What Worries ‘Israel’ The Most

 Al-Mayadeen Net

‘Israel’s’ Channel 13 is reporting that Iranian drones, such as those that attacked the Saudi oil company Aramco in the past, could reach ‘Israel’ from Yemen.

‘Israel’s’ Channel 13 touched on the soaring tensions between Iran and ‘Israel’ and their exchanges in the form of “strong action and words.” The broadcaster focused on the alleged deployment of an ‘Israeli’ submarine to the Persian Gulf, the launching of missiles from Gaza last weekend, and the new Iranian threats.

Channel 13 suggested that there were two important events. On the one hand there is “an Iranian desire to avenge the assassination of the nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and this draws ‘Israeli’ attention to what is happening in Yemen.” On the other hand, there is “the first anniversary of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani on January 3 which prompted the Americans to offer muscle to face the Iranians in the Gulf.”

These two matters reportedly “pushed the ‘Israeli’ security establishment to advance their preparations,” underscoring their existing “fear of Iran’s attempt to accumulate capabilities in Yemen that could pose a threat to ‘Israel’.”

Channel 13 said, “It may sound strange to most ‘Israelis’ when hearing about Yemen, which has never been on the threat map. But yes, it is Yemen. Iranian drones, like those that attacked the Saudi oil company Aramco a year and a half ago, could reach ‘Israel’ from Yemen.”

Channel 13’s military affairs commentator Alon Ben David said, “When you hear about an ‘Israeli’ submarine in the Red Sea – its target not necessarily being in the Gulf – I say that what worries ‘Israel’ most, and the army spokesman has publicly expressed this, is the Iranian capabilities in Yemen.”

It is noteworthy that ‘Israeli’ media, quoting intelligence sources, said recently that “a military submarine belonging to the ‘Israeli’ navy crossed the Suez Canal above water.”

‘Israel’s’ Kan Channel stated that this step comes “amid a very tense period between ‘Israel’ and Iran,” indicating that this “submarine that crossed the Red Sea will head, according to Arab intelligence officials’ estimates, towards the Gulf.”

“القناة 13”: القدرات الإيرانيّة في اليمن أكثر ما يقلق “إسرائيل”

 الميادين نت

“القناة 13” الإسرائيليّة تتحدث عن أنّ الطائرات المسيّرة الإيرانيّة، كتلك الطائرات التي هاجمت شركة النفط السعوديّة أرامكو سابقاً، يمكن أن تصل من اليمن إلى “إسرائيل”.

تظاهرة لجماعة
تظاهرة لجماعة “أنصار الله” في العاصمة صنعاء عام 2019 (أ.ف.ب)

تحدثت “القناة 13″ الإسرائيليّة عن مستوى التوتر بين إيران و”إسرائيل” وتبادلهما رسائل “شديدة بالأفعال والكلمات”، خاصة بعد زعم إرسال غواصة عسكريّة تابعة للبحريّة الإسرائيليّة إلى الخليج، وإطلاق الصواريخ من غزة نهاية الأسبوع الماضي، والتهديدات الإيرانيّة الجديدة.

القناة الإسرائيليّة أشارت إلى وجود حدثين مهمين، من جهة “رغبة إيرانيّة للانتقام على اغتيال العالم النووي محسن فخري زاده، وهذا يشد الأنظار الإسرائيليّة إلى ما يحصل في اليمن”، ومن جهة أخرى “الذكرى السنويّة الأولى على اغتيال الجنرال قاسم سليماني، في 3 كانون الثاني/يناير المقبل، ما دفع الأميركيين إلى عرض عضلات بشكل كبير مقابل الإيرانيين في الخليج”.

هذان الأمران مجتمعان “دفعا إلى رفع الاستعدادات في المؤسسة الأمنية الإسرائيليّة”، بحسب القناة 13، التي أكدت وجود “خشية من محاولة إيران مراكمة قدرات في اليمن، يمكن أن تشكل تهديداً على إسرائيل”.

وقالت القناة 13: “الأمر قد يبدو غريباً لأغلب الإسرائيليين عند سماع اليمن التي لم تكن في أيّ مرة على خريطة التهديدات، لكن نعم إنها اليمن – الطائرات المسيّرة الإيرانيّة، كتلك الطائرات التي هاجمت شركة النفط السعوديّة أرامكو قبل سنة ونصف، يمكن أن تصل من اليمن إلى إسرائيل”.

كما رأى معلق الشؤون العسكريّة في القناة 13 ألون بن ديفيد، أنّه “عندما تسمع عن غواصة إسرائيليّة تتواجد في البحر الأحمر – وليس بالضرورة هدفها الخليج – أقول إن أكثر ما يقلق إسرائيل، وقد أعرب المتحدث باسم الجيش عن ذلك بشكل علني – القدرات الإيرانيّة في اليمن”. 

يذكر أنّ وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية نقلت عن مصادر استخباراتيّة قولها مؤخراً، إن “غواصة عسكريّة تابعة للبحريّة الإسرائيليّة عبرت قناة السويس علناً من فوق الماء”.

وذكرت قناة “كان” الإسرائيلية أن هذه الخطوة جاءت “في خضم فترة متوترة جداً بين إسرائيل وايران”، مشيرة إلى أن هذه “الغواصة التي عبرت البحر الأحمر، ستتوجه بحسب تقديرات المسؤولين الاستخباراتيين العرب تجاه الخليج”.

على الهواء مباشرة…المقاومة الفلسطينية تطلق صواريخ مناورات “الركن الشديد”

 الميادين نت

الناطق باسم سرايا القدس يقول إن المقاومة الفلسطينية هي صمام الأمان للحفاظ على القضية الفلسطينية، ويعلن اطلاق مناورة “الركن الشديد” في غزة.

انطلاق مناورة
سيتخلل المناورة انتشار لعناصر المقاومة وأجهزة أمنية وشرطية

أطلقت المقاومة الفلسطينية رشقات صاروخية باتجاه بحر غزة، كما أطلقت طائرات أبابيل المسيّرة في إطار المناورة التي تحاكي تهديدات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

وإيذاناً ببدء المناورة أطلقت المقاومة الفلسطينية رشقات صاروخية باتجاه بحر غزة، كما أطلقت طائرات أبابيل المسيّرة في إطار المناورة التي تحاكي تهديدات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

 سيتخلل المناورة انتشار لعناصر المقاومة وأجهزة أمنية وشرطية

أطلقت المقاومة الفلسطينية رشقات صاروخية باتجاه بحر غزة، كما أطلقت طائرات أبابيل المسيّرة في إطار المناورة التي تحاكي تهديدات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

وإيذاناً ببدء المناورة أطلقت المقاومة الفلسطينية رشقات صاروخية باتجاه بحر غزة، كما أطلقت طائرات أبابيل المسيّرة في إطار المناورة التي تحاكي تهديدات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

كذلك سيتخلل المناورة انتشار لعناصر المقاومة وأجهزة أمنية وشرطية، وحركة نشطة لمركبات اسعاف والدفاع المدنيّ وامن والشرطة في جميع المحافظات.

وأعلنت فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية اليوم الثلاثاء إطلاق مناورة “الركن الشديد” في غزة.

وانطلقت رشقات صواريخ على الهواء مباشرة وأمام وسائل الإعلام، في وقتٍ قال فيه مراسل الميادين في غزة إن طائرات استطلاع تابعة للمقاومة جابت سماء منطقة المناورات.

وقال الناطق باسم “سرايا القدس” أبو حمزة إن “المقاومة الفلسطينية ما زالت على عهدها في مواصلة طريق الجهاد، وهي صمام الأمان للحفاظ على القضية الفلسطينية”.

أبو حمزة أشار إلى أن “هذه المناورات الدفاعية هي تأكيد على جهوزية المقاومة للدفاع عن شعبنا، وأضاف أن “سلاحنا حاضر وقرارنا موحّد في خوض أيّ مواجهة للدفاع عن شعبنا، وأن المناورات المشتركة تعبر بوضوح عن وحدة قرارنا”.

وقال  أبو حمزة إن “المقاومة اليوم هي أقوى وأصلب وأكثر قدرة على مواجهة العدو وردعه، و لن تسمح للعدو بفرض قواعد اشتباك لا ترضاها”.

وعن التطبيع مع الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، أشار أبو حمزة إلى أن “المطبعون وأذناب الاحتلال إلى مزابل التاريخ وستظل فلسطين قضية العرب والمسلمين”.

وفي السياق، قال مراسل الميادين في غزة إن طائرات استطلاع تابعة للمقاومة تجوب سماء منطقة مناورات “الركن الشديد”.

أخبار ذات صلة

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine 17 – 23 December 2020

Source

  • 6 Palestinian civilians wounded, including 1 child, in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem
  • 6 shootings reported at Palestinians and agricultural lands, and twice at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip
  • In 68 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 45 civilians arrested, including 6 children and 2 women
  • Demolition of 4 houses, including 1 self-demolished, and 4 barracks, and confiscation of tools and equipment in Jerusalem and Hebron
  • Escalated settler-attacks in the West Bank: 330 trees uprooted, Palestinian ran over and others assaulted, vehicles assaulted as well
  • IOF established 79 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 2 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. This week witnessed an escalation in settler attacks, mainly uprooting and cutting trees and seedlings, assaults on civilian houses and vehciles, and assaults on civilians as one was ran over by a car. Settlers’ attacks maxed on Monday, as the settlers carried out 12 assaults all under IOF protection across the West Bank. Additionally, IOF demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties continued as part of Israel’s de facto annexation and under various pretexts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This week, PCHR documented 193 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

Six civilians, including a child, were wounded during IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank: a child was wounded near the Annexation Wall in Jenin; 4 civilians were wounded in an IOF incursion into Nablus; and a sixth person was wounded in IOF shooting at his vehicle in Hebron before arresting him. Additionally, dozens of civilians suffocated due to tear gas inhalation, which was used by IOF to suppress protests and during incursions into Palestinian cities.

In the Gaza Strip, 6  IOF shootings were reported at civilians, journalists, farmers, shepherds and agricultural lands, and twice at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 68 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 45 Palestinians were arrested, including 6 children and 2 women.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 6 incidents, including:

  • Occupied East Jerusalem: barn self-demolished, and 2 houses were demolished (one by its owners) in Silwan; two commercial barracks and a wall in Jabel Mukaber and Wadi Jier area were demolished.
  • Hebron: 2 houses, barracks and water well were demolished in Khirbet al-Simia, west of as-Samu; manual digging equipment and power generator were also confiscated in Khirbet Zanuta, eastern ad-Dhahiriya.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 19 settler-violence incidents:

  • 250 trees uprooted in Kisan village, eastern Bethlehem;
  • Assault on several houses and shepherds and a Palestinian ran over in Hebron;
  • Water irrigation system, and orange trees cut in Khan al-Laban in Nablus;
  • 30 olive tree seedlings cut in Al-Mughayyir, northeastern Ramallah.
  • 50 olive tree seedlings south east of Nablus.

On Monday, 21 December 2020, witnessed an increase in settler assaults, as PCHR fieldworkers documented 12 assaults, including settler protests, assaults on vehciles and civilians and chanteing discriminative slogans across the West Bank.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

  • Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity
  • At approximately 02:30 on Thursday, 17 December 2020, IOF moved into Ramallah in the center of the West Bank and stationed in ‘Ein Musbah neighborhood. IOF raided and searched Mo’tasem Ayman Zaloum’s (21) house and arrested him, taking him to an unknown destination. When IOF withdrew from the city, a group of Palestinian young men gathered, set fire to tires and threw stones at IOF, who responded with rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 03:00, a large number of IOF accompanied with dozens of Israeli soldiers and Special Forces moved into Dheisheh refugee camp. IOF raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested Mohammed Suliman Diyrieh (18) and Hussain Eyas Diyrieh (18). Meanwhile, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF, who attacked the protestors, chased them on the camp’s streets and fired heavy teargas canisters in the area. As a result, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 09:30, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, fired live bullets at a group of journalists, farmers and a staff of the Ministry of agriculture, who were present 200 meters away from the border fence, east of al-Fukhari village, to follow up on the IOF incursion into the area and the warnings they had put on for farmers yesterday. Due to the heavy shooting, the journalists, farmers and staff of the Ministry of agriculture were forced to leave; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into ‘Anin village, west of Jenin, north of the West Bank, and stationed near the village’s High School. IOF fired teargas canisters on the school’s yards. As a result, many teachers and students suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Friday, 18 December 2020, and for the ninth consecutive week, a peaceful protest took off in Beit Dajan village, northeast of Nablus, with the participation of the National Action Factions in Nablus, which started from the village Council heading to the lands under threat of confiscation east of the village. The protesters raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers, annexation wall and the Deal of Century.  When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. IOF suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • Around the same time, a peaceful protest took off in the center of al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah, at the call of the villagers, towards lands under the threat of confiscation and in protest to the establishment of new settlement outposts in Ras al-Teen area near the eastern entrance to the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers and annexation wall. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 9 4 civilians sustained rubber bullets wounds in their lower extremities and received treatment on the spot. Also, dozens of protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 14:00, a number of Palestinian young men gathered in Bab al-Zawiyia area in the center of Hebron and threw stones at a military checkpoint established at the northern entrance to Hebron, so-called Checkpoint (56). IOF chased the stone-throwers in the village’s market and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, many stone-throwers suffocated due to teargas inhalation. The clashes continued until 17:00; no arrests among the protestors were reported.
  • At approximately 12:00 on Saturday, 19 December 2020, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, northeast of Deir al-Balah city in the center of Gaza Strip, fired live bullets and teargas canisters at Palestinian shepherds; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF stationed near the annexation wall, west of Araqah village, west of Jenin, north o the West Bank, opened fire at Eyad Ghasan Mohammed Shalameesh (15), from Burqin village, wounding him in his right leg. IOF claimed that he approached the annexation wall halls. Shalameesh was taken to Khalil Suliman Hospital for treatment.
  • At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 21 December 2020, IOF moved into Nablus, north of the West Bank, and stationed on al-Basha Street in Ras al-‘Ein neighborhood, south of the city. IOF raided a 6-storey building belonging to Abu Daher family. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF vehicles. Violent clashes erupted between IOF and Palestinian young men, resulted in the injury of 4 civilians with Two-Two bullets in their feet. The wounded civilians were taken to Rafidia Hospital for treatment. Before IOF withdrawal, they arrested ‘Anan Saleem Yousef Abu Duhair (43) and took him to his company located on the 2nd floor of the building. IOF searched the company and confiscated a PC set, DVR and some documents.
  • At approximately 06:30, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them until 07:30, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 12:25,  IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds approached the border fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 14:15,  IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened heavy fire at Palestinian shepherds approached the border fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Bureij refugee camp, opened fire at agricultural lands; no casualties were reported. 
  • At approximately 02:00 on Tuesday, 22 December 2020, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Abu Safia area, east of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at the border area; no causalities or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 08:30, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them until 07:30, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 23 December 2020, IOF opened fire at a vehicle belonging to Ahmed Faisal ‘Arafat al-Rajbi(21), from Bani Na’im village, while present in al-Jalajel area, east of Hebron, wounding him with a live bullet in his back. IOF chased al-Rajbi’s vehicle and detained him for half an hour without providing aid to him.  Al-Rajbi was arrested and then taken via an Israeli ambulance. It should be noted that IOF prevented a staff of the Palestine Red Crescent Society from reaching and helping him. 
  1. Incursions and arrests:

Thursday, 17 December 2020:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Jamal Rabah al-Haj (29). IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into Ras al-Amoud neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Asma’ Mohammed Owais’s (24) house and arrested her. Owais was taken to one of the police stations in the city, she was interrogated for several hours before releasing her. It should be noted that Owais’s brother, Baker Mohammed Owais (22) was arrested 3-weeks ago.
  • At approximately 12:00, IOF arrested Ra’eda Sa’eed al-Khalili (37), while performing prayers at Bab al-Rahma, in the Aqsa Mosque. IOF took her to one of the investigation centers in the city, and released her, after several hours of investigation, on conditions that banning her entry to the Aqsa Mosque for a week. It should be noted that al-Khalili was arrested 8 times from the same place.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stormed a store in al-Wad street, in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and arrested the store owner’s son, Naji Akram Zughayyar (26).
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Birzeit, north of Ramallah; and Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, southwest of Jericho governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 18 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into al-Eizariya, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Hashem Mohammed Rajabi’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF stationed at Mazmouriya checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Alaa Mansour Khleif (29), while passing through the checkpoint. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 13:50, IOF stationed at ‘Inab military checkpoint, east of Tulkarm, arrested Zeid As’ad Fuqaha (17), from Anabta, east of Tulkarm. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF arrested Tareq al-Joulani (18), while present near Bab al-‘Amoud area in the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took him to one of the investigation centers in the city.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF moved into Zububa, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Osama Hesham Atatra (37).
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF moved into Zababdeh village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Zeidan ‘Ar’arawi (22).
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Jenin and Jaba villages, south of Jenin. No arrested were reported.

Saturday, 19 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Ameer Sami Abu al-Hawa (19) and Abdul Rahman Eyad al-Hidra (24) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 10:30, IOF arrested Zeid As’ad Foqaha (19), from Anabta, east of Tulkarm, while referring to the Israeli Intelligence Services, that recently summonsed him. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF arrested Nabil Saleh Abdullah (38), from Kisa village, south of Bethlehem. IOF prosecuted his vehicle near the entrance of al-Maniya village, southeast of the city.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF moved into the eastern neighborhood in Jenin, north of the West Bank. They arrested Yamen ‘Atiq (17) and Ibrahim Taher al-Sa’di (17), while present on the entrance of Ganim evacuated settlement, near the abovementioned site.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Beit Kahil and al-Shuyukh in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 20 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Anabta, east of Qalqilya, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohannad Ahmed Hammad (19).
  • At approximately 01:45, IOF moved into Huwara, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Oday Jamal Owda (19).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Azzun, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Sa’eed Ziyad Abu Haniya (24) and confiscated his vehicle.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Mousa Obaid (17), while present near the eastern entrance of al-Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took him to one of the investigation centers in the city.
  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli Intelligence Services arrested Waheeb Khaled Abu al-Hums (18), from al-Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. while referring to al-Bareed police station in Salah al-Dein street, that recently summonsed him via a phone call. IOF extended his arrest until the next day.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Burin, southeast of Nablus; Hebron, Halhul, Sa’ir and Surif villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 21 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Omar Marwan Obaid (20) and Ameen Omar Hamed (24) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Ahmed Younis al-Ghoul’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Jenin, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mahmoud Kamel al-‘Ayya (36).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and Yazan Abdul Razek Hannoun (19) and Saber Mohammed Shaqfa (20).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Eizariya, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mo’ayad Ahmed al-Khateeb (26) and Ali Eisa Mamdouh (21), and confiscated a vehicle belonging to Atta Maher Hamdan.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched Abdullah Zaghloul al-Na’san’s (25) house and arrested him. Additionally, IOF confiscated a white vehicle holding an unregistered plate belonging to Mansour al-Haj Bishara, a prisoner in the Israeli prisons.
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved 200-meters to the east of al-Shawka village, east of Rafah. They levelled and combed 48-acres of planted with vegetables, and irrigation networks, and deployed again at approximately 09:00.

Following are the details of the damages:

  1. A 5-dunum land planted with peas, and an irrigation network at a 30-dunum land belonging to Nahed Hamdi Madi.
  2. A 5-dunum land planted with peas, and an irrigation network at a 30-dunum land belonging to Mohammed Hamdi Madi.
  3. A 5-dunum land planted with potatoes, and an irrigation network at a 30-dunum land belonging to Sameer Hamdi Madi.
  4. A 7-dunum land planted with potatoes, and an irrigation network at a 40-dunum land belonging to Ishaq Mansour Abu Mo’ammar.
  5. A 10-dunum land planted with potatoes, belonging to Abdullah Mahmoud Matbouli.
  6. An 8-dunum land planted with peas, belonging to Jamal Mohammed Madi.
  7. An 8-dunum land planted with peas, belonging to Hamad Marzouq Madi.
  • At approximately 12:20, IOF arrested Ahmed Abd Atiya (19) and Hussain Mahmoud Atiya (18), while present near the entrance of Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took them to one of the police centers in the city.
  • At approximately 15:40, IOF stationed at Ariel rotary, south of Kifl Haris, arrested Ahmed Isma’el Abu Naser, from Dir Istiya, north of Salfit, after chasing him between the olive trees. IOF released him after the intervention of the Palestinian Military Liaison. It should be noted that Ahmed is a person with disability.
  • At approximately 22:30, IOF arrested (3) civilians while present at the Madaris neighborhood, at al-Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took them to al-Bareed police center in Salah al-Dein street in Jerusalem. The arrestees are: Mohammed Haitham Mustafa (18), Mohammed Mousa Mostafa (18), and Younis Wissam Abu al-Hums (18).
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Tulkarm and Tulkarm refugee camp. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Abwein, northwest of Ramallah, and stationed in the center of the village. They raided and searched Majdi al-Khayyat’s house, after bombing the main door, and detained all the house members in the balcony, and damaged the house contents. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Dhahiriya, south of Hebron. They raided and searched Mohammed Bassam al-Battat’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Aqabat Jabr refugee camp in Jericho; Hebron, Beit Ummar, Adisa, east of Sa’ir, Hadab al-Fawwar village in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched Mahmoud Omar Sadiq Kmeil’s (17) house, who was killed in 21 December 2020, on grounds of accusing him of carrying out a shooting attack near Bab Hutta in Jerusalem. IOF interrogated Mahmoud’s family for over than an hour. Meanwhile, IOF raided Mohammed Tawfiq Mohammed Kmeil’s (17) house, in the same area, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Salfit, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Nizar Mohammed Darabiya (26), from Gaza living in Salfit.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Arouj village, southeast of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Munir Mohammed Ta’amra’s (37) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Teqoa, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Qusai Ali Abu Mfarreh’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested Malek Abdul Rahim Sidr (16), while present near Bab al-Rahma, one of the Aqsa Mosqu’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Mirka, southeast of Jenin, al-Lubban Qablan and SEBASTIA in Nablus; Halhul; and Imreish in Hebron. No arrest were reported.

III. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

  • Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property
  • On Sunday morning, 20 December 2020, ‘Ali Rweidi self-demolished a barrack he uses for grazing animals in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality decision for unlicensed construction and banning animal-grazing near houses.

‘Ali Rweidi said that he built the barrack 5 years ago on an area of 145 sqm for grazing sheep and chicken.  He added that the Israeli Municipality has haunted him since 2016 under the pretext of grazing animals near residential houses in occupied Jerusalem.  Only few weeks ago, the municipality crews handed him a notice to demolish his barrack himself or it would and then fine him ILS38,000.  Rweidi said that he had to self-demolish the barrack although it is adequately far from the neighbors’ houses and none of them complained.  He added that he incurred huge losses as he had to sell the animals less than the original price before demolishing the barrack.

  • At approximately 08:30, IOF backed by military and Israeli Civil Administration vehicles, including an excavator and a bulldozer, moved into Kherbet al-Simiya, west of as-Samu village, south of Hebron.  The soldiers deployed in the area and the vehicles started the demolition of 2 houses, a barrack and water well.
No.OwnerFacilityNotes
 Shehdah Rezq al-Qawa’in and his family of 5, including 3 childrenA house (100 sqm), barrack (600 sqm) and water well (300 m³) House inhabited
 Ahmed Soliman al-Qawa’in and his family of 16, including 13 children and 2 women,A house (120sqm)House inhabited

The demolition was for alleged illegal construction in Area C as an Israeli Civil Administration officer handed the 2 owners notices to stop work 3 years ago.  The 2 civilians hired a lawyer to obtain licenses but had not received any response from the competent committee even until the demolition was carried out.  It should be noted that the 2 civilians live in Israel and come from time to time to stay in their houses for completing the construction works in the barrack in order to move the sheep there and then permanently stay.  Moreover, the Israeli authorities vacated the houses before the demolition.

  • On Monday afternoon, 22 December 2020, Shahirah Ghaith self-demolished her house in Wadi Qaddoum neighborhood in Silwan, southern Old East Jerusalem, pursuant to Israeli Municipality decision for unlicensed construction.

Ghaith stated that she separated from her husband 10 years ago and have 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys, whom she raises on her own.  She said that only few months ago, she built the house (70 sqm) of tin plates and 2 rooms with a kitchen and bathroom with her brothers’ help due to her poor economic conditions.  She moved in with her family last September; however, the Municipality did not leave her alone and issued a decision to demolish the house.  She added that she hired a lawyer to postpone the decision but was surprised with the police officers in the morning surrounding her house.  When she asked them why, one of them told her that the Municipality refused to freeze the demolition, so the bulldozers will demolish the house next day and she will be pay the demolition costs (ILS 70,000).  She then asked the officers to help them with the demolition to avoid paying the fine. =

  • At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 22 December 2020, IOF accompanied by a Civil Administration SUV and a truck moved into Kherbet Zanouta, east of ad-Dhahiriya village, south of Hebron.  The soldiers deployed at the Kherbet Zanouta’s entrance while the Israeli Civil Administration crew started confiscating hand digging tools, a generator  and vehicles belonging to Soliman al-Battat, who was digging a water well in Sho’eib al-Khdeirat’s land.  The Civil Administration officer took photos of the area dug and hanged a notice to stop work near it.  They then arrested Soliman al-Battat and withdrew, but later released him.  It should be noted that the Israeli authorities had noticed a week ago 10 facilities, including residential rooms in al-Kherbeh, allegedly for unlicensed construction.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF demolished a commercial barrack in Wadi al-Jeer area between Abu Dis and Al-Eizariya villages, east of occupied East Jerusalem, allegedly for unlicensed construction.  Mahmoud al-Basha, who owns the barrack, said that the Israeli Municipality demolished a barrack he used for auto-repair and was built of bricks, steel and tin plates on an area of 150 sqm allegedly for unlicensed construction.
  • In the evening, the Israeli Municipality vehicles demolished Kazem Abu Shafe’a’s house in al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Abu Shafe’a, 28, stated that the IOF accompanied by the Israeli Municipality crews moved into the Al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan, and unexpectedly surrounded his house starting to demolish it with light vehicles. Abu Shafe’a added that he built the house on an area of ​​50 sqm last August to live with his wife and two children near his family in the neighborhood. Abu Shafe’a added that he had to build a small unlicensed house consisting of two rooms and utilities, to avoid rented houses, which cost huge amounts of money in Jerusalem. Abu Shafe’a pointed out that the Israeli Municipality crews had raided his house last October and handed him a decision to stop construction works, and after a week they handed him an administrative demolition order for the house.  On the same day evening, they raided his house and started the demolition, ordering him to destroy the iron staircase leading to his house; otherwise. the crews will return and demolish it.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • On Thursday morning, 17 December 2020, Israeli settlers uprooted 250 trees in a Ayoub Youssif ‘Abiyat’s land, in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem.  Ahmed Ghazal, Deputy Head of the village council, stated that settlers from “Abbi Nahal” settlement established on Kisan village lands raided the land under the IOF protection, uprooted 250 trees and stayed there for few hours.  Ghazal added that the recent escalation of settlers’ attacks aims at seizing lands from Kisan village to annex them to their settlement.  He said that the settlers intensified their assaults in the  last 2 days as last night they raided the village and threw stones at some houses and attacked farmers and shepherds an hour before using their wild dogs which tore and killed many sheep.  As a result, the villagers confronted the settlers and forced them to leave the area.
  • At approximately 01:30 on Friday, 18 December 2020, settlers from “Mitzpe Yair settlement outpost established on the Palestinian lands of eastern Yatta, south of Hebron, attacked the 2 houses belonging to Mohammed ‘Ali Jabrin (63) and Isma’il Mohammed Jabrin (53) in Kherbet Sha’b al-Batem in al-Masafer area, east of Yata, south of Hebron.  They also assaulted the 2 civilians and insulted them.

‘Ali Mohammed Jabrin made the following statement to PCHR fieldworker:

“I woke up to knocks on my house door.  As soon as I had put my clothes on, 2 settlers opened the room door and entered; one of them in his 30s and namely Youssef whom I know.  He started shouting at me by asking where his stolen sheep was.  I was astonished at his attitude and told him I do not know what he was talking about.  My kids woke up and stood at the room corner in fear while the settler kept shouting and was flashing with a torch at me and my kids.  He then kicked twice my right leg and asked one of my sons to go to his uncle Ismail who lives near us in order to call the Israeli police.  The settler said in Arabic “I will go to Ismail” and then rushed to my brother’s house.  I stood at the house door and it was very dark while I could hear screams coming from my brother Ismail’s house.  When the settler left, I learnt from my brother that the settler entered the house shouting and woke up his children after disarranging their bed blankets.  He also attempted to assault Ismail allegedly searching for stolen sheep.” 

  • At approximately 04:30 on Friday, 18 December 2020, five settlers from “Mitzpe Yair settlement outpost assaulted ‘Omer Jebril Ahmed Hoshiyah’s (37) house in the Center area, east of Yata, south of Hebron.  The settlers severely beat Hoshiyah in front of his family and held him outside for a hour, claiming they were searching for stolen sheep.  As a result, Hoshiyah sustained various injuries.

Samirah Mohammed Rashed Hoshiyah (64) said to PCHR’s fieldworker:

“I live in the Center area in Masafer Yata with my husband and 37-year-old son and his wife and 3 kids.  We live in rooms built of bricks and tin plates.  At approximately 04:30, I heard cars’ movement near the house and noticed cars and torches lights, but I did not care about what was going on outside as I thought they were Palestinian workers going to their work in Israel.  Shortly, I woke my son ‘Omer to tell him what is going on outside, so their wife and kids woke up as well.  Few minutes later, the house door was opened, and we were surprised  with 2 settlers in plain clothes screaming in Arabic “where is the master here?” my son  approached them, but the 2 settlers pushed him to the ground and started punching him all over his body.  I shouted at them, but the settler shut the door.  My daughter-in-law and her children started crying.  I opened the door again to ask the settlers what they want from him, but none of them answered and took him inside their vehicle; meanwhile, 2 other settlers arrived and opened the sheep barn and searched it. My daughter-in-law and I started taking the sheep back inside and no one spoke to us. This remained until 6:00 when the settlers released my son ‘Omer. His mouth was bleeding and one of his teeth was broken. Later, we learned that settlers were searching for sheep they claim were stolen from them.”

  • Early on the same day, settlers from the “Price Tag” group in “Ma’ale Levona” settlement outpost, which is established on the lands of Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, southeast of Nablus, northern West Bank, attacked Khan al-Laban area, east of the village. The settlers sabotaged the water system there, broke the doors leading to it and broke the orange trees.  It should be mentioned that Khan al-Laban is an old building established in the Ottoman era and has been exposed to daily raids by settlers under the protection of the IOF, aiming to seize and connect it with the surrounding settlements in the village.
  • At approximately 19:00, a group of settlers from ” Adei Ad” settlement established on Al Mughayyir village lands, northeast of Ramallah, sneaked into the eastern agricultural area near the eastern entrance to the village.  The settlers cut 30 olive seedlings (planted 5 to 6 years ago) belonging to Rawhi Marouh al-Na’san (66).  The settlers withdrew back to their settlement.
  • On Sunday, 20 December 2020, settlers from the “Price Tag” groups in  “Ahyah” outpost, established on the eastern lands of Jaloud village, southeast of Nablus, uprooted 50 olive seedlings in Mohammed Fawzi Haj Mohammed’s land that were planted only days ago in the eastern village area.
  • At approximately 13:00, settlers from “Mitzpe Yair settlement outpost established on the Palestinian lands of eastern Yata, south of Hebron, assaulted ‘Issa Mahmoud Yousif Jabrin (43) while shepherding in al-Zweirah area and forced him to leave with his sheep.

‘Issa Jabarin said to PCHR fieldworker:

“I was shepherding in al-Zweirah area, east of Kherbet Sha’b al-Batm, where I live, when one of the settlers namely Youssef, who is in his 30s and lives in “Mitzpe Yair settlement outpost, arrived holding a stick and started hitting the sheep to distance them.  When I tried to stop him, he grabbed my neck and tried to chock me. I pushed him away, and he stepped back and did a phone call.  Few minutes later, 3 settlers from the same settlement were coming towards me that when I knew the settler Youssef had called them for help in order to attack me.  I took my 150 sheep and left the area.  Now, I cannot shepherding anymore in fear of the Israeli settlers’ attacks.”

  • At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 21 December 2020, settlers from “Asfar” settlement established on the eastern lands of Sa’ir village, north of Hebron, attacked shepherds who were in al-Qanoun area  and unleashed their dogs towards the shepherds, forcing them to leave the area to their houses.  Two settlers’ vehicles them chased the shepherds to their houses in al-Qanun area, and when young men present there attempted to stop the settlers, a setter’s vehicle ran over Subhi Mohammed ‘Abdel Fattah Shalaldah (33) and threw him on the street.  As a result, Shalaldah sustained bruises all over his body.  This area has been under the attacks of “Asfar” settlers, particularly shepherds.
  • At approximately 15:30 on Monday 21 December 2020, settlers crowded at the entrance to “Shavei Shomron” settlement that connects Nablus and Tulkarm, west of Nablus.  The settlers rioted the streets and threw stones at the Palestinian civilian cars traveling on the street.  As a result, Sadeq Sedqi Sadeq Khatatbah (24), from Beit Foriq village, northeast of Nablus, was hit with a stone in the head while traveling his car on the street and then taken to Rafidia Governmental Hospital in Nablus, where his wound required 10-15 stitches and had a puffed left eye.
  • At approximately 16:30, groups of settlers gathered at the intersection of Kafr Qaddoum village, north of Salift, to provoke the Palestinians traveling their cars near the intersection and later withdrew.
  • At approximately 17:00, tens of settlers from  “Givat Harsina and Kiryat Arba” settlements established on the Palestinian lands of eastern Hebron vlosed the Bypass Road (60) leading to Hebron.  The settlers threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles before the very eyes of the IOF and Israeli police, who tried to provide protection for them.  At approximately 18:00, a settler attacked with stones a truck travelled by Mohammed Ziad al-Tmeizi (35) from Ethna village, west of Hebron and his nephew, MAhmpud Ayatullah al-Tmeizi (13) near the intersection of Deit ‘Aynoun.  As a result, the rear window’s glass was broken and shattered to wound the child in his forehead.  Al-Tmeizei had to pull his car over and informed the Israeli police about what happened.  He then took his nephew to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron for treatment while the road remained close in front of the Palestinian vehicles until late at night.
  • At approximately 19:00, tens of settlers gathered near Huwara checkpoint and at the intersection of  Yitzhar” settlement, southeast of Nablus, and rioted on the street.  They mobbed on the main street in Huwara village chanting in Hebrew “Death to Arabs” and  this village belongs to them and provoking Muslims by saying “Allahu Akbar.”
  • At approximately 19:10, settlers gathered at Za’tarah intersection, south of Nablus, and threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling by.  At approximately 23:10, the settlers withdrew, and no damage to the vehicles was reported.
  • In the evening, groups of settlers gathered to riot the streets, intersections and roads to the Palestinian villages of al-Mughayyir, Taybeh, Beitin, Burqa, and ‘Ayoun al-Haramiyah (on the main Ramallah-Nablus Street) in Ramallah and al-Bireh, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 23:30 on Tuesday, 22 December 2020, settlers on Ramallah-Nablus Street near Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, south of Nablus, attacked with sticks and stones a Skoda black car travelled by Eyad ‘Eid Sa’id from al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah.  They severely  beat him with the sticks, causing him bruises and wounds all over his body and damage to his car and its all four windows.  The settlers later withdrew to ” Eli” settlement established on the lands of Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village.

II. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

The West bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals 79 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 6 of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Jerusalem:

  • On Sunday, 20 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • On Monday, 21 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to to Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.

Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 17 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint under ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of the city.
  • On Saturday, 19 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Beitin village and under ‘Atara village’s bridge.

Bethlehem:

  • At approximately 23:00 on Monday, 21 December 2020, IOF closed al-Container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, and prevented vehicles’ movement. The checkpoint was later opened.
  • On Monday, 21 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, at the entrance to Jab’a village and in al-Nashnash area, south of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 22 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, in ‘Aqabet Hassnah area and in al-Nashnash area, south of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 23 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern and western entrances to Tuqu village and near al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 17 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Friday, 18 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 19 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Jericho, and at the entrance to Ein ad-Duyuk village, north of the city.
  • On Sunday, 20 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.


Nablus:

  • On Friday, 18 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints in al-Muraba’a area near Tell village and in (17) area on Nablus- Asira_ash-Shamaliya main road, north of Nablus.
  • On Saturday, 19 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Asira_ash-Shamaliya village.
  • On Sunday, 20 December 2020, IOF established 5 checkpoints near the intersection of “Yitzhar” settlement, at Madama village intersection, at the entrance to Beita village, at Al-Lubban_al-Gharbi village intersection, and at the intersection of  “Bracha” settlement, southeast of Nablus.
  •  On Monday, 21 December 2020, IOF established 5 checkpoints at Madama village intersection, at the entrance to Beita village, near “Yitzhar” settlement, at Sarra village intersection, and at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement.
  • On Tuesday, 22 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at Beita village intersection, near Sebastia village intersection, and in al-Moraba’a area near Tell village.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 17 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Yatta city and at the northern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Saturday, 19 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa, Beit Ummar, Susya village, and Fawwar refugee camp.
  • On Sunday, 20 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron, and at the entrances to Khasa and Idhna villages.
  • On Monday, 20 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Halhul city and at the western entrance to Hebron.
  • On Tuesday, 22 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Halhul city and at the northern entrance to Yatta city.
  • On Wednesday, 23 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints on Wadi Sa’ir road, on Zaif road, north of Yatta city, and at the entrance to Farsh al-Hawa village, west of Hebron.

Jenin:

  • On Thursday, 17 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of Arraba village, southwest of Jenin.
  • On Friday, 18 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of Jab’ village and at the intersection of Zububa village.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 17 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Azzun and Izbat al-Tabib villages, east of Qalqilya.
  • On Friday, 18 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints under Azzun village’s bridge and at the entrance to Izbat al-Tabib villages, east of Qalqilya.
  • On Saturday, 19 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Qalqilya, Azzun and Izbat al-Tabib villages, east of Qalqilya. The checkpoints were removed later. 
  • On Monday, 21 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Kafr Laqif village, east of the city.

Salfit:

  • On Thursday, 17 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Istiya and Kifl Haris villages, north of Salfit.
  • On Friday, 18 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Kafr ad-Dik and Deir Ballut villages, at the northern entrance to Salfit, and at the entrance to Kifl Haris villages, north of Salfit.
  • On Saturday, 19 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit.
  • On Sunday, 20 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Ballut, Haris and Kifl Haris villages, west of Salfit.
  • On Monday, 21 December 2020, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Haris and Kafr ad-Dik, Deir Ballut and Kifl Haris villages and at the northern entrance to Salfit.

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Israeli Forces Arrest 13 Palestinians, Including Four Children

December 28, 2020

The Israeli occupation army wage a massive arrest campaign in occupied West Bank. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israeli occupation forces detained early this morning 13 Palestinians, including at least four minors, from various parts of the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).

Israeli occupation forces detained six Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Hebron (Al-Khalil).

Local sources identified two of the six detainees as 16-year-old minors from Beit Ummar town and another three as residents of the city of Hebron.

The sixth was identified as a resident of the town of Al-Shuyukh town, northeast of Hebron, and a student at Birzeit University. He was nabbed at a military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem.

Another 16-year-old minor was detained from al-Khader town in the district of Bethlehem, and the fourth minor was a 17-year-old resident of Qarawat Bani Hassan village, who was detained along with two other men from Deir Istiya village and Kifl Haris, west of Salfit.

The Israeli military stormed the town of Jaba‘, south of Jenin, where soldiers detained a Palestinian after ransacking his house and seizing his car.

The raid triggered confrontations during which the soldiers opened fire at local youngsters, causing a number to suffer from tear gas inhalation.

Soldiers detained two other Palestinians; one a resident of Qalqilya city in the north of the West Bank, and the other a student at Birzeit University from Ramallah city.

Israeli forces on a regular basis storm Palestinian cities and villages in the occupied West Bank to arrest Palestinian popular activists. 

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Israeli minister orders jails not to vaccinate Palestinian security prisoners

Order defies health ministry guidelines that prisoners should be part of second group of Israelis to be vaccinated

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana’s statement did not single out Palestinian inmates, but there are no non-Palestinian security prisoners in Israel (AFP)

By MEE and agencies

Published date: 27 December 2020 15:47 UTC 

Israel’s Public Security Minister Amir Ohana told the country’s prison service late last week not to inoculate Palestinian security prisoners, an Israeli newspaper has revealed.

The order came despite health ministry guidelines that prisoners should be part of the second group of Israelis to be vaccinated against the Covid-19 coronavirus, together with security personnel, Haaretz wrote on Sunday.

The report came as Israel began its third coronavirus lockdown at 5pm (15:00 GMT) on Sunday, with most people forced to stay within 1,000 metres of their home. Covid-19: Gaza resumes screening after receiving nearly 20,000 kits from WHO

Read More »

The office of the minister said that only prison staff should be vaccinated because “there should be no inoculating security prisoners without approval and in line with vaccination progress among the general population,” the newspaper said.

Although the statement referred only to “security prisoners,” a letter on the matter sent by Moshe Edri, the Public Security Ministry’s director general, did not make such a distinction, instead referring to the general prisoner population, Haaretz said.

Although Ohana’s statement did not single out Palestinian inmates, there are no non-Palestinian security prisoners in Israel.

The ministry’s directive contradicts the health ministry’s guidelines regarding the prioritisation of vaccination. 

Haaretz said it was unclear on what authority Ohana can order the prisons service to vaccinate certain inmates and not others.

‘Politically motivated directive’

In response to the Public Security Ministry’s directive, Shas lawmaker Moshe Arbel posed a parliamentary question to Ohana asking him to explain why there is no need to inoculate all inmates in light of the crowding and harsh conditions in Israel’s prisons and the positive pace of vaccination among the general population.

“The state should weigh in on the difficult situation of the prisoners, among the most crowded and vulnerable groups in the country, and act to vaccinate them as soon as possible,” Arbel wrote.

“The minister’s directive contradicts the vaccination guidelines that the Health Ministry issued. 

“We should be making sure that prisoners are given high priority for vaccinations in line with recommendations by health experts involved in the matter, especially in light of worldwide data showing that the risk of infection among inmates is higher than that of the outside population.”

Palestinians left waiting 

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a Covid-19 vaccine jab, starting a national rollout.

However, the massive vaccination campaign, said to be the biggest in Israel’s history and titled “Give a Shoulder,” will not include millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control despite a recent spike in cases and deaths stemming from the virus.

Israel’s vaccination campaign will include Jewish settlers who are Israeli citizens living deep inside the occupied West Bank, but not the territory’s 2.5 million Palestinians.Palestinians left waiting as Israel rolls out Covid-19 vaccine jabRead More »

They will have to wait for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the occupied West Bank in accordance with interim peace agreements reached in the 1990s, to provide them.

The PA hopes to get vaccines through a World Health Organisation-led partnership with humanitarian organisations known as Covax, which has so far fallen short of the 2 billion doses it hopes to buy over the next years for those in poor countries.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Palestinians have only one refrigeration unit capable of storing the Pfizer vaccine. 

The Palestinian Authority has reported more than 85,000 cases in the West Bank, including more than 800 deaths, and the outbreak has intensified in recent weeks.

The situation is even more dire in Gaza, home to two million Palestinians and which has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power in 2007. Authorities there have reported over 30,000 cases, including more than 200 deaths.

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The ‘Israel’ Lobby at the University of Sydney

The ‘Israel’ Lobby at the University of Sydney

By Tim Anderson – The American Herald Tribune

Documents released under freedom of information law show that an ‘Israeli’ organization has, over many years, privately contributed millions of dollars to the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences [FASS]. A sub-branch of the ‘Israeli’ World Zionist Organization [the Fund for Jewish Higher Education] contributes around half a million dollars to FASS each year, with contributions peaking at $819,000 in 2019. The WZO is committed to the ‘Israeli’ colony in Palestine, where more than half the population is denied full citizenship rights.

These amounts are way out of proportion to the nominal beneficiaries at the University: Hebrew, Biblical, Jewish and Holocaust Studies, and give the ‘Israeli’ lobby influence with University of Sydney management. This ‘Israeli’ funding is sustained while federal ‘foreign influence’ laws are trumpeted against China, and form part of a much larger private fund pool – one billion dollar plus, announced with pride in the University’s 2019 Annual Report  – at the University, for which there is little public accountability. The door is wide open for corruption, alongside secret foreign influence.

2020 data on the WZO confirms documents provided to me by a whistle-blower within the administration, back in 2018, which showed that the ‘Committee for Jewish Higher Education’ had been the largest single donor [by far] to FASS, with combined donations of $571,000 [in eight separate donations] in the first five months of 2012, all tagged for the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, including its specialty in Holocaust Studies.  With about 10 academics staff [not all full time] that department represents less than 2% of the 700 or so academic staff in the Faculty.

With all senior managers eligible for performance bonuses, at least in part based on their fund raising, these large undisclosed sums indicate a great potential for corruption, all the more so now that the Federal Court of Australia [in the case brought by the NTEU and myself] has rubber stamped management gag orders, even when they concern public academic work.

The ‘Israel’ lobby, acting through the tabloid media, pressured University of Sydney managers to expel me from my academic position in 2018-2019. The final issue was my graphic linking of one of ‘Israel’s’ Gaza massacres with the racial massacres of Nazi Germany; and my refusal to submit to secret gag orders, effectively made under pressure from the ‘Israel’ lobby. In late 2020 the Federal Court ruled that academics must follow management orders, even when it concerns their research and teaching. I have published some detail on this case and its implications; showing the vulnerability of the corporate university to outside pressures.

‘Israel’ lobby influence on the wider phenomenon of academic ‘cancel culture’ deserves attention. A recent Guardian article cites several British academics on the problem of university managers trying to “silence academics on social media.” This was said to be part of a tension between the corporate university and social media, where “on the one hand unis are pushing their staff to be more active online … but when that individual voice is in conflict with the official brand it creates a tension … it is about brand protection.” The corporate media has discovered that it can use this tension to goad management to move against certain academics.

The ‘Israel’ lobby has spent time and effort in this territory, in particular by trying to vilify as ‘racist’ public figures who criticize ‘Israel.’ The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] has had some success in its attempts to extend the definition of anti-Semitism “to criticism of ‘Israel’ and support for Palestinian rights.” But I am one of many who have written that there is no legitimate basis for conflating criticism of a state or government with inciting hatred against a people.

An ‘Israel’ lobby group in the USA, under the guise of ‘protecting Jewish students’ branded as ‘biased’ more than 200 academics who supported the boycott against ‘Israel.’ Academics and teachers have been hounded from their positions in the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand because of their comments on ‘Israel,’ including those who have raised legitimate academic questions about ethno-nationalist settler colonialism” and of “victims becoming perpetrators.”

Jewish writers have not been immune from these attacks. Some have hit back, saying that “unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism [are used to] cover up ‘Israeli’ apartheid.” Last year sixty Jewish and ‘Israeli’ academics condemned the German parliament for its attempts to equate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement with anti-Semitism.

A 2017 letter signed by more than 200 British academics complained of the ‘Israel’ lobby’s repeated attempts to link academic criticism of ‘Israel,’ and support for the Palestinian people, with anti-Semitism. These moves were “outrageous interferences with free expression” and “direct attacks on academic freedom.” The group said “we wish to express our dismay at this attempt to silence campus discussion about ‘Israel,’ including its violation of the rights of Palestinians for more than 50 years. It is with disbelief that we witness explicit political interference in university affairs in the interests of ‘Israel’ under the thin disguise of concern about anti-Semitism.”

In the USA, President Donald Trump in 2019 signed an executive order to withhold funds from universities which did not do enough to stop “anti-Semitic practices,” which includes criticism of ‘Israel.’ Defense of the ‘Israeli’ colony in Palestine is taken seriously.

‘Israel’ and academic freedom became an issue at the University of Sydney in March 2015, after students shut down a talk by former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp, who had been invited on campus to defend the ‘Israeli’ military’s slaughter of more 2,000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in 2014. According to the Times of ‘Israel,’ Kemp was to give a lecture about “ethical dilemmas of military tactics and dealing with non-state armed groups.” The ‘Israel’ lobby claimed the protest and student behavior was an attempt to intimidate Jews. A wider debate over the intellectual freedom afforded to visitors like Richard Kemp ensued.

At around this time I looked into the reporting of the slaughter in Gaza, preparing a graphic which showed – from relatively independent sources – that ‘Israeli’ forces had slaughtered more than 1,000 Palestinians [the final count was more than 2,000] of whom, according to UN sources, more than 75% were civilians.

The person who invited Colonel Kemp was former University of Sydney academic Dr. Suzanne Rutland. At her retirement a few months later Provost Stephen Garton praised Suzanne as a person of “moral courage” who had made “an effort to bridge the cultural and political divide, to promote tolerance and understanding … [and] we owe her a debt of gratitude.” Stephen used the occasion to backhand the students who had confronted Kemp, saying that some on campus “confuse academic freedom with the right to disrupt.”

Dr. Rutland had a high profile from her academic and community work. In 2008 she received the Order of Australia for her services to Higher Jewish Education and “interfaith dialogue.” She was also active in campaigns against anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial. However her response to the students who confronted Colonel Kemp was not so tolerant. She denounced them as vicious racists, saying “when they stand there chanting, ‘free Palestine’ what they mean is the dismantling of the Zionist entity which means genocide against ‘Israel’s’ Jewish population.” This is an extreme view.

In fact, the better view is that ‘Israel,’ by its repeated massacres and ethnic cleansing, is engaged in a form of genocide. The US Centre for Constitutional Rights, noting a controversy over this question, wrote that:

“Prominent scholars of the international law [on the] crime of genocide and human rights authorities take the position that ‘Israel’s’ policies towards the Palestinian people could constitute a form of genocide. Those policies range from the 1948 mass killing and displacement of Palestinians to a half century of military occupation and, correspondingly, the discriminatory legal regime governing Palestinians, repeated military assaults on Gaza, and official ‘Israeli’ statements expressly favoring the elimination of Palestinians.”

Attacks on the critics of ‘Israel’ are often aimed at deflecting attention from this.

The now Emeritus Professor Suzanne Rutland was not just an academic, she was a conduit of ‘Israeli’ finance to the university.  Her online CV [now redacted online] listed her as ‘Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Jewish Education for Australia, for the World Zionist Organization.’ The WZO was founded in 1897 with the aim of creating a Jewish ‘state’ and, since the creation of ‘Israel,’ it has become an umbrella group for a range of ‘Israel’ lobbies. The WZO declares its commitment to “‘Israel’ education.”

At the political level the ‘Israel’ lobby remains influential. A 2018 study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute [APRI] found that an ‘Israeli’ lobby group in Australia [AIJAC] was the biggest single foreign funder of Australian MPs’ overseas travel. MPs from both major parties were beneficiaries of these ‘study tours’. While the public focus of foreign influence in Australia has become China, with special new laws to criminalize ‘foreign influence,’ the APRI study showed that influence peddling from ‘Israel’ has been greater than that from China or the USA. While Australian MPs had been funded for nearly 60 trips to China and 45 to the US, AIJAC had sponsored around 100 visits to ‘Israel,’ “nearly evenly split between Labor and Liberal.”

Israeli settlement hits Palestinian dreams and memories of Jerusalem airport

Construction near Palestinian village of Qalandiya has residents reminiscing about when they could still access Jerusalem International Airport

Raafat Awadallah, the head of the Qalandiya village council, points to lands that have been confiscated by Israel due to settlement construction and the separation wall (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

By Shatha Hammad in Qalandiya, occupied Jerusalem

Published date: 19 December 2020 10:24 UTC 

Headers on official papers issued by the Qalandiya local council still bear the icon of an aeroplane, a reminder of the Palestinian dream of one day having their own airport. 

But Israel is inching closer to building an illegal settlement on the site of what was once known as the Jerusalem International Airport, burying with it Palestinian hopes of claiming it as their own. 

Israeli media reported last week that Israeli authorities had approved a plan for the settlement of Atarot with 9,000 housing units, which they described as a move deliberately taking place ahead of the inauguration in January of US President-elect Joe Biden, who has expressed his opposition to settlement construction, which violates international law. 

Located on land that is part of the Palestinian village of Qalandiya, north of occupied East Jerusalem, the airport, the only one in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem area, has been etched into collective memory since it was established in 1924 under the British Mandate. 

Residents of Qalandiya recall wistfully a time when it was a mainstay of their lives, as they brace for the area to become further out of reach.

Memories from the tarmac

Jerusalem International Airport, covering 4,000 dunams (400 hectares) and known locally as Qalandiya Airport, was built by British Mandate authorities, who used it as a military airport before transferring its administration to the Jordanian government in 1951, two years after the establishment of the state of Israel, during which Jordan operated it as a commercial airport. 

‘It was an indescribable feeling, to get on the plane and see my house and my village below’

– Youssef Awadallah, 84-year-old resident of Qalandiya

In the 1950s and 1960s, the airport contributed to bringing tourism to the West Bank, and witnessed the arrival of delegations from across the Arab world for touristic, cultural and commercial purposes.

While only a few of Qalandiya’s residents had the financial means at the time to take flights from the airport, it remains a part of the memories they cherish. 

Youssef Awadallah, an 84-year-old resident of Qalandiya, told MEE that he was one of the few villagers who travelled in 1963 from the airport, heading to Beirut to continue his studies. 

“As a student at the time, I got a reduction in the ticket price, and I travelled for the first time on the plane from Palestine to Lebanon. It was an indescribable feeling, to get on the plane and see my house and my village below,” Awadallah said.

“We spent our childhood at the airport, receiving and bidding farewell to travellers. We established relationships with airport employees, and they allowed us to be present there, as the children of the village.

“I remember when [Jordanian] King Hussein came and the military parade that was held for him at the airport… these memories have never left my mind.”

Abdelhalim Hamza, 67, told MEE he also spent much of his childhood running with friends on the tarmac. His favourite memories were his trips to buy juice from a small shop that had opened inside the airport. 

“When we didn’t have money, we would exchange the items for eggs or milk,” he said. 

Old homes have been preserved in Qalandiya, despite it being the only area of the village where Israeli authorities allow Palestinians to build (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
Old homes have been preserved in Qalandiya, despite it being the only area of the village where Israeli authorities allow Palestinians to build (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Hamza also recalled the Israeli army’s occupation of the airport in 1967, when dozens of Israeli jeeps were dispatched to the area.

“I remember the Jordanian army’s withdrawal. The soldiers were very afraid, and they abandoned a new jeep with a machine gun at the entrance to the village. They told us ‘the Israeli army is coming’.

Raafat Awadallah, 63, said his father used to do construction work at the airport in 1920. “My father owned a cart pulled by two horses, which he used to transport stones during the runway construction process,” he told MEE.

One of his most cherished memories, Raafat said, was when he and the other residents of Qalandiya heard through the radio that the late, well-known Egyptian actor and musician Farid al-Atrash, was coming to the West Bank. They all flocked to the airport to receive him.

“We would listen to the radio to know if political or artistic figures were coming to the airport. It was a great pleasure for us,” he said.  

Shrinking village

After Israel occupied the West Bank in the wake of the 1967 Middle East War, the army took control and changed its name to Atarot airport, using it for domestic flights before shutting it down in 2000 at the start of the Second Intifada. 

The airport, which consists of a runway, control tower, and reception hall for arrivals and departures, still stands; the Israeli army operates an aviation factory on the premises. 

The area has now been turned into a military outpost with access or taking photographs forbidden. 

The airport is no longer accessible to residents of Qalandiya. The building with the orange roof on the left is now an Israeli military factory (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
The airport is no longer accessible to residents of Qalandiya. The building with the orange roof on the left is now an Israeli military factory (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

In February, the Israeli government announced that the Atarot settlement would be built on 120 hectares in the area of the former airport. It will include large commercial centres, a hotel, work spaces and other facilities. The settlement is set to fall between Qalandiya and the Palestinian villages of Kafr Aqab and al-Ram. 

If constructed, it will be the first new settlement in East Jerusalem since 1997. 

Khalil Tufakji, director of mapping at the Arab Studies Association, told Middle East Eye he believes certain indicators show that implementation of the settlement plan is close. 

Tufakji pointed out that the Israeli army announced two weeks ago a new building plan for a road and tunnel adjacent to the Qalandiya military checkpoint and the Atarot settlement industrial area, in order to link them to other illegal settlements around Jerusalem. 

He explained that before construction tenders are put out, authorities are expected to publish the plan and map for the settlement for any objections within a month. 

Raafat Awadallah, who heads the Qalandiya village council, told MEE that since 1967 the village’s land has shrunk from 4,000 to 800 dunams (400 to 80 hectares) in order for Israel to build settlements and military infrastructure in the area, as well as the illegal separation wall, which slices through the village. 

“The wall divided the village of Qalandiya into eastern and western parts. It now takes an hour, at times more, to reach the other half. Before that it only took a few minutes,” said Raafat.

In 2016, he said, Qalandiya witnessed an extremely difficult day when the Israeli army demolished 12 residential buildings. 

In 2018, the Israeli army delivered demolition notices to 21 more buildings in the village. 

The last demolition order was issued this month, targeting a section of Raafat’s own home, which has been standing since 1961. The Israeli court also imposed a fine of 60,000 shekels ($18,500).

He expects that matters will only get worse with the implementation of the new settlement plan on the lands of the airport.

“By establishing this project, one of the most important Palestinian dreams will be lost. And we will lose our memories of the airport, where we experienced our childhood,” he said.

Israel plans to expand settlement cutting off Jerusalem from West Bank towns Read More »

WATCH: Armed Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinian Homes in Hebron

December 19, 2020

Armed Jewish settlers, escorted by Israeli soldiers, attack Palestinian homes in Hebron. (Photo: Video Grab)

Dozens of armed Jewish settlers, escorted by Israeli occupation soldiers, attacked today several Palestinian homes after raiding the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida in the city of Hebron (Al-Khalil), according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

WAFA correspondent said the illegal Jewish settlers pelted stones at the homes, shouted profanities and racist slogans at Palestinian citizens and threatened to evict them out of the neighborhood.

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (10 – 16 December 2020)

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (10 – 16 December 2020)

10 – 16 December 2020

·         Palestinian with disability succumbs to wounds sustained in IOF shooting at Qalandia Checkpoint

·         16 Palestinian civilians wounded, including 1 woman, in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem

·         Uninhabited house shelled, and 5 shootings reported at agricultural lands, and once at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip

·         In 107 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 94 civilians arrested, including 13 children and a woman

·         Limited incursion into eastern Khan Younis and pamphlets were left demanding farmers harvest their lands

·         2 houses and a shop self-demolished in Jerusalem, and 30 cease-construction and demolition notices served in the West Bank

·         Settler-attacks: settlers assault a child in Jerusalem, others built a hut and assaulted Palestinian civilians and a journalist in Hebron

·         IOF established 46 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 6 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

 

 

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. This week, IOF demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties continued as part of Israel’s de facto annexation and under various pretexts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, IOF also served wide-scale demolition and cease-construction notices and confiscated several vehicles. Also, Israeli settlers continued their assaults on Palestinian civilians and their attempts to seize Palestinian lands located near settlements.

This week, PCHR documented 187 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

On 11 December 2020, Abdul-Naser Waleed Halaweh (56), a Palestinian man with disability, succumbed to wounds he sustained on 17 August 2020 after Israeli soldiers shot him as he was travelling via Kalandia checkpoint, northeastern occupied East Jerusalem. Also, 16 civilians, including a woman, were wounded during IOF incursion into Nablus; 10 civilians wounded in two separate incidents in Ramallah, a woman was wounded while inside her home in Tulkarm, which is located near the annexation wall; a Palestinian man was wounded in IOF suppression of Kafr Qaddum weekly protest; 3 sustained wounds in an IOF incursion into Tulkarm, and another was wounded in a similar incursion into Nablus.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF shelled (arterially) an uninhabited house in southeastern Gaza, causing damage. Additionally, 5 IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands, and once at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 107 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them.7During this week’s incursions, 94 Palestinians were arrested, including 13 children and a woman.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted an incursion into eastern Khan Younis, and put signs demanding farmers harvest their crops within 200 meters from the border fence

Demolitions:

 PCHR documented 12 incidents, including:

  • Ramallah: garbage truck confiscated in Al-Mazra’a Algharbeyeh.
  • Occupied East Jerusalem: shop and two houses self-demolished; 2 residential barracks removed and confiscated; demolition and raising at Yusufia cemetery near Bab al-Asbat Minaret.
  • Nablus: coffee streetcar confiscated, and a caravan used as a car wash in Huwara; 5 cease-construction notices served to 4 houses and 1 barracks in Qaryut village.
  • Jericho: 2 tractors confiscated, and work stopped at an agricultural land.
  • Tubas: an SUV and a tractor confiscated in the northern Jordan valleys.
  • Jenin: 11 demolition notices served against street food carts
  • Hebron: 14 cease-construction notices served to houses and barracks; 500 meters of stone walls demolished; and 19 dunums razed.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 4 settler-violence incidents: assault on a child in occupied East Jerusalem; a hut built on Palestinian land near “Kiryat Arba” settlement and Palestinian civilians were assaulted in the area; a journalist assaulted in Hebron.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

     I.            Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity

·         At approximately 07:30 on Thursday, 10 December 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.

·         On Friday, 01 December 2020, ‘Abed al-Naser Waleed Halawa (56) succumbed to wounds he sustained on Monday, 17 August 2020, after Israeli soldier opened fire at him while passing through Qalandia military checkpoint, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. Halawa, a person with a disability (deaf and mute) living in Nablus, was shot and killed by IOF when he passed Kalandia military through vehicles lane. IOF claimed that he attempted to stab an Israeli soldier and did not obey their orders. Halawa was taken to Shaare Zedek Hospital in West Jerusalem for treatment. Faten Halawa, Abed al-Naser’s sister, said that her brother, a deaf-mute man who has 3 sons, got out of his house on Monday heading to his sister’s house in occupied East Jerusalem. Abed al-Naser told his family that he wants to visit his sister and perform prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. Faten pointed out that IOF conducted some changes at Kalandia checkpoint, so her brother accidentally crossed from the area designated for the soldiers crossing. She clarified that Israeli soldiers shouted at her brother, but he did not hear them. Meanwhile, IOF opened fire at him, wounding him with several live bullets in his feet. He was then taken to an Israeli hospital, where he stayed for 3 months. During which, he underwent 4 surgeries, and was waiting other surgeries before returning him to Nablus 2 weeks ago. Halawa added that her brother was in a serious health condition when he arrived at Nablus, as he lost his memory and did not know any of his family members. Halawa said that: “It seems that the drugs had a great effect on him, as he was losing his appetite for food. Few days later, his health condition was deteriorated until he died at dawn.”

·         At approximately 07:00, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Kafr Malik village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses, during which, they deliberately fired a barrage of teargas canisters between Palestinians’ houses. As a result, many villagers suffocated due to teargas inhalation. IOF incursion into the village continued until 10:00. They then withdrew from the eastern entrance to the village, closed it with sand berms and stationed there. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered near the village’s eastern entrance and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF, who clashed with them and fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters at them. As a result, dozens of protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation. The clashes continued, during which, a military SUV crashed a civilian car carrying 3 Palestinians. IOF immediately opened fire at the car, wounded two of its passengers and arrested another one. The passengers were identified as:

1.      The driver, Ahmed ‘Abdullah Ba’irat (26), who was shot with a rubber bullet in his hand;

2.      Shaker Anwar Shaker (26), whose left hand was fractured when he attempted to flee from the car; and

3.      Mohammed Mostafa Hamayil (28), who was arrested by IOF and taken to an unknown destination.

The wounded civilians were taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for treatment.

  • At approximately 08:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israeli, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands in eastern Al-Fukhari village; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, a peaceful protest took off in the center of al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah, at the call of the villagers, towards lands under the threat of confiscation and in protest to the establishment of new settlement outposts in Ras al-Teen area near the eastern entrance to the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers and annexation wall. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 9 4 civilians sustained rubber bullets wounds in their lower extremities and received treatment on the spot. Also, dozens of protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 13:30, a number of Palestinian young men gathered in al-Taweel Mount area, east of al-Bireh city, and threw stones at a military checkpoint established near “Psagot” settlement, which is established on the village’s eastern lands. IOF chased the stone-throwers and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, many protestors suffocated dye to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot. No casualties or arrests among the protestors were reported.
  • At approximately 16:20, IOF conducted a military training near the annexation wall established on Far’un village lands, south of Tulkarm. As a result, Subiha Nemer Omar (42) was shot with a live bullet in her shoulder while present in her house located near the mentioned training site and taken to Dr. Thabet Governmental Hospital for treatment. 
  • At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinians. IOF chased the protestors, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, a 22-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his foot.
  • At approximately 14:00, a number of Palestinian young men gathered in Bab al-Zawiyia area in the center of Hebron and threw stones at a military checkpoint established at the northern entrance to Hebron, so-called Checkpoint (56). IOF chased the stone-throwers and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, many young men suffocated dye to teargas inhalation. The clashes continued until 17:00; no arrests among the protestors were reported.
  • At approximately 17:15, IOF moved into Showika suburb, north of Tulkarm. IOF chased Palestinian young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 3 civilians were wounded; 2 with rubber bullets and one with a teargas canister. IOF also arrested ‘Obada Jamal al-Badou (22) and withdrew later.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, fired several live bullets around a sanitation truck in eastern Khuzaʽa village; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 14:45, IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds approached the border fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 14:00 on Monday, 14 December 2020, IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds approached the border fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

Mohammed al-Nasher’s house was shelled in eastern Gaza City

  • At approximately 22:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israeli, fired an artillery shell at uninhabited house belonging to Mohammed Yousef ‘Abed al-Kareem al-Neser (24), 1200 meters to the west of the border fence, east of Gaza Valley, south of Gaza City. As a result, the house sustained material damage; no casualties were reported. The targeted house was comprised of one floor built on an area of 100 square meters and 2 rooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom.  Mohammed Yousef ‘Abed al-Kareem al-Neser said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “ while I was on my way back to my family house in Gaza Valley village (Juhor ad-Dik), south of Gaza City, after inviting my friends to attend my wedding next day, I heard loud explosion near our house, so I harried up. When I arrived there, I saw my uninhabited house was burning. My relatives and I tried to put out the fire until the arrival of the Palestinian Civil Defense teams who put out the fire. My house sustained material damage. It should be noted that the security situation was stable in the area, and I do not know why IOF targeted the house.”
  • At approximately 12:15, IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds approached the border fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 15 December 2020, IOF moved into Nablus, north of the West Bank. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian young men gathered, set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli infantry units. IOF immediately fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters at them to disperse them. As a result, a 20-year-old male, from Nablus, sustained live bullet shrapnel in his face and received treatment at Rafidia Hospital. Also, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Bireh city and deployed along the main street in front of al-Bireh municipality. IOF raided and searched Zakaria Jehad al-Nahhas’ (44) house and arrested him. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at IOF, who clashed with them and fired teargas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, dozens of civilians, including two journalists namely Moahmmed Turukman and Kareem Khamasia, suffocated due to teargas inhalation 

  II.            Incursions and arrests:

Thursday, 10 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and stationed near the UNRWA distribution center. They deployed between Palestinian houses causing fear and panic among civilians. They raided, searched and destroyed the contents of several houses after breaking the doors, and arrested (12) civilians. The arrestees were taken to the watch tower established at the western entrance of the camp, by foot, to be investigated by the Israeli Intelligence services’ officers who threatened them to storm their houses if they continued throwing stones at Bypass Road (60). At approximately 07:00 on the next day, the arrestees were released. The arrestees are: Ammar Mohammed Jawabra (27), Samed Mahmoud Jawabra (35), Ammar Mahmoud Jawabra (30), Nader Jaser al-Sharif (34), Moheeb Mahmoud al-Najmi (25), Salah Emad al-Kindawi (26), Ma’moun Rasheed Abu Jouda (28), Salah Mohammed al-‘As’as (27), Mohammed Fathi al-Yasouri (26). Fathi Jaber al-Badawi (63), Wael Fathi al-Badawi (41), and Mostafa Maher Abu Warda.

Meanwhile, IOF stormed and searched several places as; the headquarter of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), the office of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Abu Judeh Print shop that owned by Abdul Rahman Sufian Abu Judeh (36), where IOF confiscated equipment estimated at (4,000 NIS).

Fathi Abu al-Badawi said to PCHR’s fieldworker that IOF brutally stormed his house and his son’s house, Wael, and damaged the contents of the house after detaining his family in the living room.

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Jamal Mohammed Brighith (62) and Mo’tasem Sameer Brighith (26) and took them to “Gush Etzion” settlement’s detention center, south of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Tubas, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and handed Mus’ab Jaser Siyaj (35), works as a soldier in the Palestinian National Security Forces, a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • At approximately 03:15, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Kobar, north of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched five houses and arrested (5) civilians; Tamer Hisham al-Barghouthi (32), Montaser Mahmoud Yousef (28), Alaa Farhat Yousef (25), Ra’ed Abdullah al-Fahel (22), and Tha’er Tawfiq al-Barghouthi (26); who was released in the morning of the next day.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into Abu Dis village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Mahmoud Afana and Ali Fayez Salah, and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Shuyukh al-Arrub village. They raided and searched Zakariya Mahmoud Owaidat’s (30) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Ein al-Sultan refugee camp, in western Jericho. They raided and searched Mohammed Khamis al-Jahalin’s (50) house and arrested his two sons Ibrahim (24) and Ali (19).
  • At approximately 08:30, IOF arrested Ammar Mohammed Jawabra (26) and Moheeb Mohammed al-Najmi (25), from al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, after being summoned for investigation by the Israeli Intelligence Services in “Gush Etzion” settlement.
  • At approximately 20:30, IOF moved into al-Dahra neighborhood in al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mansour Ali Naser (22) and Mohammed Belal Abu al-Hums (23) and took them to al-Bareed police station in Salah al-Dein street, for investigation. IOF released them after two hours.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF moved into Shu’afat neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Naser Subhi Abu Khudair’s (59) house and arrested him. It should be noted that Abu Khudair who is one of the Palestinian National Movement leaders, and belongs to the PFLP, was wounded while preparing an explosive device (bomb) in the beginning of 80’s. However, he was arrested more than 12 times and spent almost about 16 years in the Israeli prisons.
  • IOF carried out (13) incursions in Hajja, east of Qalqilya; Tayasir, east of Tubas; Zububa. Jalamah, and Jaba’, in Jenin governorate; Kafr Qallil and Sebastia in Nablus governorate; Sa’ir, Tabaqa, and Idhna, in Hebron governorate; Qarawat Bani Zeid, Deir Ghassana, and Mazari al-Nubani, in Ramallah governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 11 December 2020:

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into Qablan, southeast of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Belal Sharif al-Emla (25).
  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mus’ab Mahmoud Muhaisen’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Bireh, and stationed in al-Khan street. They raided and searched Fadi Abdul Dayim al-Faransi’s (29) house and arrested him. Meanwhile, another IOF was raiding al-Faransi’s store, next to their house, after breaking the door of the store, and damaged all its contents.
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF moved into Ras Kabsa area in al-Eizariya, wast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ahmed Jehad Damdoum’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:25, IOF stationed at the entrance of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya village, southeast of Nablus, arrested Mohammed Raja Owais (16) and Mohammed Yousef Owais (16), from the village. IOF took them to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 13:30, IOF stationed at the entrance of Huwara military camp, southeast of Nablus, arrested Isma’el Mohammed Isma’el (20), from Tell village, southwest of Nablus. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF arrested (3) civilians while present in al-Wad street in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF severely beaten and took them to one of the police centers in the city. The arrestees are; Mohammed Taha (21) and Rajeh Riyashi (23), and the third one is still not identified.
  • IOF carried out (9) incursions in Nablus, Asira al-Qibliya, Sarra, and tall villages in Nablus governorate; Ti’inik and Silat al-Harithiya villages, west of Jenin; Arraba, southwest of Jenin; Hebron and Bani Na’im in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 12 December 2020:

  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Taysir Yousef Muhaisen’s (14) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested Qusai Ibrahim Hazayla (19), while present near Bab Hutta, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF severely beaten and took him to one of the police centers in the city.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mousa Haitham Mustafa (15) and Mohammed Baker Mustafa (22) and arrested them.

Sunday, 13 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Saf street, in the center of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Firas Ibrahim al-Yamani (34) and Saleh Abed al-Harimi (45) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Karkafi street, in the center of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Mohammed Abdul Ghani Salhab (18), Mustafa Emad Salhab (18), and Nour Khaled Qaraqi’ (20).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Eizariya, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Atta Maher Hamdan’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Abu Dis, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Yazan Khaled Mohsen’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:15, IOF arrested Laith Basem Ja’ara (22), from Tulkarm, while referring to the Israeli Intelligence Services, that recently summonsed him.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF stationed at al-Container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Hazem Zakaria Owaidat (20), from al-Shuyukh village, north of Hebron. Owaidat was arrested while he was on his way back home from his university in Birzeit.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF stationed at Za’tara military checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested Mohammed Essam Hammad (20), from ‘Arraba, southwest of Jenin. IOF took him to an unknown destination.

Monday, 14 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Zawata, west of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Alaa Ahmed Hmaidan (44).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched three houses and arrested (3) civilians; including two children. The arrestees are: Feras Zakaria al-Qiq (18), Fo’ad Amjad Hadoush (17), and Amjad Ayed al-Titi (17).
  • At approximately 02:15, IOF moved into Kifl Haris, north of Salfit. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ahmed Zeid Saleh (23).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Alaa Abdul Naser Abu Shanab (24).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron. They raided and searched Lo’ay Abdullah Ghaith’s (45) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF arrested the wounded child Omar Ahmed Mahmoud (16), while going out of the Aqsa Mosque in the ocuupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took him to one of the police centers in the city and extended his arrest until the next Thursday.

It should be noted that Mahmoud was shot with a rubber bullet below his eye while present in front of his house in al-Isawiya, during the clashed between IOF and the village’s young men on 06 December 2020.

  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Saleh Bader Abu ‘Asab (20) and Mohammed Baker Mustafa (21) and handed them summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Zububa, west of Jenin; Nablus and Jamma’in, southeast of Nablus; Idhna and Beit Kahil, in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, huge Israeli forces accompanied with dozens of Israeli soldiers and special forces moved into Obaid neighborhood, northwest of Isawiya village. They raided and searched dozens of houses. Meanwhile, dozens of young men gathered, they threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who chased the demonstrators and responded by firing teargas canisters. The clashes resulted in dozens of civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation, and 8 civilians, including 2 children, were arrested. The arrestees are: Mohammed Yaser al-Jayyar (14), Rawhi Yaser al-Jayyar (16), Mohammed Issa Bader (23), Mohammed Haitham Mustafa (18), Mahmoud Mousa Mustafa (18), Adam Fadi Mustafa (19), Rasheed Mousa Darwish (18), and Mahmoud Sultan Derbas (24).
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Jaber Abu Sil (20) and Rabah Belal Fdailat (23), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Hizma, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Fathi Kan’an’s (58) house and arrested him along with his wife, Najla’ Mohammed Kan’an (51).

Fathi Kan’an said that he was released after an hour of his arrest at Benjamin police station in Jaba’ village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem, and his wife was referred to Ariel investigation center. Kan’an said that he was surprised to see the IOF and the police dogs storming his house in Tublas, in Hizma village. They broke the front door, raided and searched the house and the garden around the house accurately, then took him and his wife to Benjamin police station. Kan’an explained his concerns about his wife, who was arrested for the first time, and suffers from several chronic illnesses since years and needs special health care and medicines. He added that this was not the first time that IOF storm and search his house, they moved into his house several times before arresting his son, Hamza (23), 12 days ago, and he is still under arrest in Ofer detention center in Ramallah. Fathi notified that his son was arrested several times for investigation and spent 17 months in the Israeli prisons. Fathi also mentioned his other son, Sufian, was also detained in Ofer prison for two years and half, without issuing any sentence against him. It is important to mention that Fathi’s eldest son, Mohammed (29), was shot killed by the Israeli soldiers near Hizma cemetery at the end of July 2017.

  • At approximately 03:20, IOF moved into Birzeit, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Ibrahim Shamasna’s (27) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Montaser Riyad Abu Srour (24) and Hamza Abdul Aziz Abu Srour (26) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into Obaid neighborhood, in al-Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Hamza Obaid’s (15) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF raided and searched two houses belonging to Tha’er Riyad Abu Lafi (31) and Nader Ahmed Halahla (28) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF arrested Sami Fteiha (34), while present near Bab al-Asbat, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took him to one of the detention centers in the city and released him after issuing a decision of banning his entry to the Aqsa Mosque for 6-months.
  • At approximately 18:15, IOF moved into Qalqilya, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Hassan Abdul Qader ‘Amer (22).
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Ayman Onaid (20), while present near his house in Obaid neighborhood, northwest of Isawiya, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Iraq Burin, southeast of Nablus; Halhul, al-Shuyukh and Beit Kahil in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron. They raided and searched Mohammed Sami al-Ja’bari’s (37) house in al-Sheikh neighborhood and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Qarawat Bani Hassan, west of Salfit. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Bara’ Sa’ed Assi (23), Mustafa Ya’qoub Assi (25), and Ahmed Moheeb Mir’y (21).
  • At approximately 01:45, IOF moved into Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Mahdi Ayman Abu Sirr (22), Hamad Mohammed Abu Jamous (21), a medical student at al-Najah University, and Emad Shukry al-Buth (21).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Zohdi Hesham Awad’s house and arrested his two sons; Mohammed (16) and Sharif (15).
  • At approximately 02:20, IOF moved into Dura al-Qar’, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mohammed Subhi Hamdan’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Nidal Ya’qoub Nfei’at (31).
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles and a Bulldozer moved into Silwad, east of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched the house of the prisoner Mo’ath Saleh al-Najjar, and detained his family in one room, then confiscated a Gust vehicle belonging to Mo’ath’s father without providing any previous verbal or written notice.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles and bulldozers moved 100-meters to the East of Abasan al-Kabira and Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis. They combed and levelled lands adjacent the border fence to the south, east of al-Fukhari, as they extended the incursion to 200-meters, and combed a well-prepared agricultural land. They put banners written in Arabic and Hebrew stating: “Farmers, your crops have breached the area allowed for farming, if all crops are not harvested in the declared period they will be removed.” Later, the deployed again inside the abovementioned border fence.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Ein Beit al-Ma’ refugee camp, Zawata, Deir Sharaf, Sebatia, Tell, and Einabus villages in Nablus governorate. No arrests were reported.

III. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF accompanied by 3 Civil Administration SUVs and a trailer moved into Huwara town in southeastern Nablus, northern West Bank. They stationed in Ras-Zeid area, south of the town, and confiscated Abdul-Fatah Yusuf Damdey’s tin-plated coffee cart (8sqm). They also confiscated Jamal Khader Oda’s tin-plated caravan (24 sqm) intended for use as a carwash. IOF claimed the confiscations were due to illegal presence in Area C.
  • Also on Thursday, Mounir ‘Eweisat self-demolished his shop in al-Madaris street in Jabel Mukaber, southeastern occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality decision for unlicensed construction.

‘Eweisat stated that his family shop (35 sqm) is more than 40 years old, and that he and his brother turned it into a grocery store four years ago. Since then, the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem has haunted him with demolition notices and dozens of raids into the shop, the last of which was three days before the demolition when they handed him a final demolition notice for him to carry out; otherwise, Municipality crews would conduct the demolition and bill him, and on top of that fine him dozens of Israeli shekels for building violations. ‘Eweisat added that the shop was the only source of income for his family of five and noted that it would be very difficult for him to find a job especially with the coronavirus crisis.

  • Early on Saturday, 12 December 2020, Mahmoud and Mohammed Khaled Mousa al-Khales self-demolished their houses in Silwan, southern Old East Jerusalem, pursuant to Israeli Municipality decision for unlicensed construction. Mohammed’s house sheltered a family of 5, including 3 children. And Mahmoud’s sheltered a family of 7, including 5 children.

Their father, Khaled al-Khales, stated that he had built both houses for his sons a year ago on an area of 180 sqm. He added that since the construction was finalized, the Israeli Municipality followed him with demolition orders. He hired a lawyer and engineers who filed for a license, but the Municipality refused to approve it. Almost two months ago, the Municipality attempted to demolish the houses but one of the construction vehicles broke down and could not finalize the demolition; they withdrew and billed the family ILS 70,000 for the demolition. The Municipality order the family to finish the demolition; al-Khales sons complied with the decision to avoid another fine that could exceed ILS300,000.

  • At approximately 10:30 on Sunday, 13 November 2020, IOF accompanied by a Civil Administration SUV moved into Qaryut, southeastern Nablus, northern West Bank. They stationed in Adababis area, opposite “Shiloh” and “Shafut Rachel” settlements. They posted 5 cease-construction notices on 4 houses and a barracks for alleged illegal construction in Area C. The notices granted a two-week period for objections, until 30 December 2020.
No.NameFacilityNotes
 Ammar Ibrahim Mousa2-story house (200sqm each)Ready for move-in
 Ibrahim Amin I. Mousa1-story house (120sqm)In final construction stages
 Aysar M. Y. Mousa1-story house (130 sqm)In final construction stages
 Suliman Z. Ar-Rashaydeh200 sqm residential barracksIn final construction stages
 Zaied Ar-Rashaydeh50sqm house (room and bathroom)In final construction stages
  • At approximately 12:40 on Sunday, IOF stationed on a military point in northern Ramallah, shot tear gas and stun grenades at farmers in Ein Harasheh area in the southern parts of al-Mazra’ al-Gharbieh town. The forces cornered a municipal garbage truck, forced its driver off and confiscated it. No casualties or arrests were reported. It should be noted that Ein Harashed is targeted for Israeli settlement expansion projects and witnesses escalated settler-attacks; also, Israeli authorities ban any construction by the indigenous people in prelude to its confiscation.
  • Early on Monday, 14 December 2020, IOF construction vehicles removed and confiscated two residential barracks in al-Za’atreh community in az-Za’ayyem village, eastern occupied East Jerusalem, for alleged unlicensed construction. The barracks are property of brothers Imran and Murad M. Azza’atreh.

Chairman of az-Za’ayyem village council stated that IOF construction vehicles removed Imran and Murad Za’atreh’s barracks (70sqm each) which housed 4 individuals. It should be noted that the az-Za’ayyem area residents live in proximity to the annexation wall, an Israeli military checkpoint and a metal gate that controls their movement, which has turned their lives into a true tragedy. Israeli authorities had replaced a checkpoint that separated az-Za’ayyem from At-Tur village with a huge metal gate, which opened for 4 hours a day. After an appeal to the Supreme Court of Israel, the gate is now open 8 hours a day solely for entry into az-Za’ayyem.

  • At approximately 10:00, IOF reinforced with a construction vehicle and the Civil Administration moved into Khirbet Zanuta, western ad-Dhahiriya city, 20 km south of Hebron City. The Civil Administration distributed 14 cease-construction notices to Palestinians in the area for alleged construction without license in Area C. The area has a population of 70 persons, who live in tin-plated rooms and rely on sheep farming for a living. They had built a tan-plated school in the area, that was demolished by IOF and then rebuilt by the community; the Israeli Civil Administration has targeted the school ever since with demolition notices.
NameFacilityDescriptionAreaYearFamilyChildrenFundingNotice typeNotice No.
Shihda KhdeiratHouseTin-plated16sqm20182PersonalCease-construction
Shihda KhdeiratSheep farming barracksTin-plated with plastic roofing120sqm20202PersonalCease-construction30871
Basem KhdeiratRoomStones and tin plates30sqm201842PersonalCease-construction30869
Hamad KhdeiratBarracks for sheep farmingPlastic cover and pipes100sqm201984PersonalCease-construction30870
Amer al-TulDwellingPlastic cover and pipes40sqm199475PersonalCease-construction30862
Ahmed al-TulBarracks for sheep farmingPlastic cover and pipes80sqm201831PersonalCease-construction30863
Suliman al-TulResidential roomConcrete floor and tin plates30sqm201563PersonalCease-construction30864
Suliman al-TulArborTin plates20sqm201063PersonalCease-construction30864
Suliman al-TulBarracks for sheep farmingPlastic roofing90sqm201863YMCACease-construction30873
Mohammed al-TulDwellingConcrete floor and tin plates35sqm201486YMCACease-construction30866
Bajis al-TulDwellingTin plates36sqm20142YMCACease-construction
Faris SamamraBarracks for sheep farmingPlastic roofing and pipes150sqm20181711YMCACease-construction30861
Susya village councilRoomTin plates40sqm2020OrganizationsCease-construction30872
ClinicRoomTin plates20sqm2020OrganizationsCease-construction30872
  • At approximately 13:30, IOF accompanied by a Civil Administration SUV moved into Um al-Qiba area in the northern Jordan valley, eastern Tubas, northern West Bank. They stationed in Ad-Dababis area and immediately confiscated Mahdy Daraghmeh’s SUV, Chairman of al-Maleh and al-Madareb Bedouin Community Council. They also confiscated a tractor; both vehicles were taken to an Israeli military camp and detained allegedly for working in Area C.
  • Early on Tuesday, 15 December 2020, Israeli bulldozers continued the demolitions at the Yusufia cemetery near Bab al-Asbat Minaret for the second consecutive day, after it had demolished its stairway two weeks ago.

Mustafa Abu Zahra, Head of the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli municipality demolished a large portion of the cemetery’s northern wall and the land adjacent to decades old graves. The demolition is part of the Israeli authorities’ plan to establish the “Biblical garden path” project around occupied Jerusalem’s fence.

For his part, Ahmed Dajani, Executive Director of the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, said that Municipality crews demolished the cemetery’s stairway two weeks ago; which is used to access both the cemetery, al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City via Bab al-Asbat. The Municipality demolished its northern wall and nearby graves. Dajani condemned the Israeli Municipality’s intent to establish a park in the area as it is not needed and that the Yusufia cemetery is overcrowded with graves and needs expansion rather than confiscating parts of it.

It should be noted that the idea of “Biblical garden path” project appeared in 1970, but in the recent years, it was escalated and developed. This project is concentrated in areas surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem’s historic fence and the area surrounding occupied East Jerusalem in addition to areas overlooking it, especially the southern, eastern, and northern areas.

  • At approximately 11:00, IOF accompanied by several military and Civil Administration vehicles, including construction vehicles, moved into Souba area in Idhna town western Hebron. The soldiers deployed in the area while the construction vehicles proceeded to demolish 500-meter stone walls and razed 19 dunums of agricultural lands: 9 dunums of 20-year-old almond trees; 7 dunums of 20-year-old olive trees; 3 dunums of 10-year-old cactus. The land is owned by Ali Amer Abriosh, and the demolition was allegedly for work in Area C.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 16 December 2020, an Israeli military force reinforced with military vehicles moved into az-Zubaidat village in the northern Jordan valleys, northern Jericho. Israeli Civil Administration employees stopped Fadi Abdallah Zbaidat, and Mansour H. Zbaidat from working in their lands under pretext of being State lands; the soldiers confiscated two Fiat 466 tractors and transported them to “Argaman” settlement.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Wednesday, IOF accompanied by a Civil Administration SUV moved into ‘Anin village, western Jenin, northern West Bank. The Civil Administration employee served 11 demolition notices to food and beverage carts near the annexation wall for alleged illegal work in Area C; they were given a one week period to execute the demolition. The carts are property of: Radi and Mahmoud Khdour; Aseed, Yazeed and Waleed Issa; Ismail Yassin; Assem Issa; Hakam and Ashraf Yassin; and Mohammed Issa.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • On Thursday evening, 10 November 2020, an Israeli settler assaulted Samir Alaa Rowaydy (6) while present in front of his house in al-Ain area, Silwan, southern occupied East Jerusalem.

Rowaydy’s father, Alaa, stated to PCHR that the settler assaulted his son while he was with his cousin, Mohammed (8), a few meters from the house. The settler pushed the boy and kicked him in the stomach and foot then chased him and his cousin into the house, insulting them. He added that his son was terrified and unable to speak or move, he called him an ambulance that transported him to receive treatment and he called the police. Rowaydy filed a complaint with the police and presented them with medical reports.

  • Early on Friday, 11 December 2020, a group of settlers built a hit on Aref Jaber’s land in Al Baqa’a eastern Hebron, near “Kiryat Arba” settlement. Jaber stated to PCHR fieldworker that “I received a call that settlers built a hut inside my 50 dunum land in al-Baqa’a area while Israeli soldiers were present in the area. I went there my relative Saher Jaber and we spoke with the soldier; the settlers attacked us and pushed us out, throwing stones at my vehicle breaking its rear window; meanwhile, the soldiers did nothing to stop them. We went to “Kiryat Arba” police station to file a complaint.”
  • At approximately 11:00 on Saturday, 12 December 2020, a settler assaulted journalist Mohannad Kofeisheh (28) before the Israeli soldiers near Gilbert military checkpoint, established on the entrance of Tel Rumeida neighborhood while shooting a report on the coronavirus pandemic.

Kofeisheh made the following statement to PCHR fieldworker:

“I work for Palestine Sports TV and freelance with different media agencies. At approximately 11:00 on Saturday, I was near Gilbert checkpoint where a group of settlers was present and one of them said in Hebrew, which I understand, “I am going to beat him.” I approached one of the soldiers in the area and told him what I heard, and while I was speaking to him a settler approached me and hit me on the head, so I photographed him with my camera. The soldier yelled at me and told me and the settler to step away after a group gathered around us. Approximately 15 minute later an Israeli police force arrive in the area and I told a policeman what happened and showed him the photo of the settler and filed a complaint with him. Later, I went home and received a call from the Israeli police who ordered me to go to Gilbert checkpoint. Upon my arrival, they asked me to accompany them to the Ibrahimi Mosque police station to identify the settler; I went and stayed there for 30 minutes where I was told that I am under arrest as the settler had filed a complaint against me. I was taken to “Beitar Illit” police station via a police car in western Jerusalem. I was there for an hour; I was then admitted to an investigation room where I was investigated on the incident. I showed the investigator the footage on my camera which documented the settler’s assault on me. I was left in the hall and the police brought in the settler who stayed with the investigator for an hour and a half. The investigator ordered my release after I signed an unpaid bail of ILS3,000.

  • At approximately 12:00 on Sunday, 13 December 2020, a group of settlers from “Kiryat Arba” settlement assaulted civilian homes in al-Uddeisa village, northern Hebron. In an attempt to control the land. The settlers cursed the residents and threatened to burn their homes. The attack was preceded by settlers building a hut on Jaber family lands the day before.

IV. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

The West bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals 64 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 6 of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Ramallah:

  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF shut the eastern entrance to Kafr Malik town, northern Ramallah for four hours.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF shut Beit El DCO checkpoint from 18:00 – 22:00 hindering traffic.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established two temporary checkpoints at the entrance of Teqoa own and Akbat Hasna area.
  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established two temporary checkpoints at the entrance of Teqoa and Akbat Hasna area.
  • At approximately 15:30 on Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF shut the Container checkpoint hindering traffic. It was reopened later.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF established 3 temporary checkpoints on the entrance to Beit Jala, Teqoa and al-Khader.
  • On Monday, 14 December 2020, IOF established 4 temporary checkpoints on the western entrances to Teqoa and Husan towns, and at the entrance to Akbat Hasna area and Marah Rabah village.
  • On Tuesday, 15 December 2020, IOF established 4 military checkpoints on the northern and western entrances to Teqoa town, Fureidis village, and in Akbar Hasna area.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho and at the intersection of al-Mo’arajat road, connecting between Jericho and Ramallah.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of “Shafi Shomron” settlement, west of Nablus.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of “Shafi Shomron” settlement, west of Nablus.
  •  On Monday, 14 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of Burin, Tell and Madama villages, south of Nablus.
  • On Tuesday, 15 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint in the northern bridge of Madama village, southeast of Nablus. 


Jenin:

  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at al-Maniyia village square, northeast of Jenin.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Halhul village, at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp.
  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp and at the northern entrance to Yatta city.
  • On Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp, at the western entrance to Hebron and at the entrances to Susya and as-Samu villages.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to as-Samu, Ash-Shuyukh and Tarqumiyah villages, and at the southern entrance to Hebron.

Qalqilya:

  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jit village, north of Qalqilya, and removed it later.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Jit and Azzun villages, east of Qalqilya.

Salfit:

·         On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit.

·         On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit and prevented the city residents from entering or exciting it and allowed them to pass later.

·         On Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Ballut and Deir_Istiya villages.

·         On Tuesday, 15 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Kafr ad-Dik village, west of Salfit; at the entrance to Kifl_Haris village, north of Salfit; and at the entrance to Salfit.

ISRAEL WILL TAKE CARE OF GULF MONARCHIES

South Front

Finally, democracy is coming to the Persian Gulf.

Israel announced plans to deploy a joint missile defense system in the Persian Gulf as a part of a joint effort with US- and Israeli-allied monarchies to deter Iran.

The idea was announced at the official level by the head of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, which is part of the Defense Ministry. Moshe Patel said that “in the future”, Israel is ready to deploy its own systems and to synchronize them with comparable systems employed by the Gulf Monarchies.

“From an engineering point of view, of course there is a lot of advantage. That information can be shared, like sensors that can be deployed in both countries because we have the same enemies,” Patel stated.

The announced plan is a logical continuation of the recent diplomatic achievements of the Trump administration, which had finally forced several US regional partners to accept a formal normalization with Israel. For years, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others were silently cooperating with Israel in the security, intelligence and military fields. Now, when the tensions between the Iranian Axis of Resistance and the US-Israeli-led bloc are on the rise, Washington has finally forced its allies to accept existing reality and even to expand the existing cooperation under the pretext of fighting the so-called Iranian threat.

The coming months will likely lead to even more revelations of the reality of modern diplomatic and security policy in the Middle East with the Israeli leadership taking the leading place in the policy of the Gulf monarchies.

The inability, and in some cases unwillingness, of the current format of the US-led anti-Iranian alliance to achieve its main goal – to destroy the current political regime in Iran – under the Trump leadership does not mean that these plans would cease when Mr. Trump leaves office. Instead, Tel Aviv is once again taking a leading role in their implementation. It is likely that the proactive position of Israel in the current conditions will be aimed at preventing the softening of US policy on the Iranian question under the incoming Democratic administration in the White House.

Israel is interested in creating such conditions in the region that would leave no other option for the US, but to continue the existing course towards further confrontation with Iran.

When the People Rose up: How the Intifada Changed the Political Discourse on Palestine

December 16, 2020

December 8 marks the 33rd anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada. (Photo: File)

By Ramzy Baroud

December 8 came and went as if it was an ordinary day. For Palestinian political groups, it was another anniversary to be commemorated, however hastily. It was on this day, thirty-three years ago, that the First Palestinian Intifada (uprising) broke out, and there was nothing ordinary about this historic event.

Today, the uprising is merely viewed from a historic point of view, another opportunity to reflect and, perhaps, learn from a seemingly distant past. Whatever political context to the Intifada, it has evaporated over time.

The simple explanation of the Intifada goes as follows: Ordinary Palestinians at the time were fed up with the status quo and they wished to ‘shake off’ Israel’s military occupation and make their voices heard.

Expectedly, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) quickly moved in to harvest the fruit of the people’s sacrifices and translate them into tangible political gains, as if the traditional Palestinian leadership truly and democratically represented the will of the Palestinian people. The outcome was a sheer disaster, as the Intifada was used to resurrect the careers of some Palestinian ‘leaders’, who claimed to be mandated by the Palestinians to speak on their behalf, resulting in the Madrid Talks in 1991, the Oslo Accords in 1993 and all other ‘compromises’ ever since.

But there is more to the story.

Thousands of Palestinians, mostly youth, were killed by the Israeli army during the seven years of Intifada, where Israel treated non-violent protesters and rock-throwing children, who were demanding their freedom, as if enemy combatants. It was during these horrific years that such terms as ‘shoot to kill’ and ‘broken-bones policies’ and many more military stratagems were introduced to an already violent discourse.

In truth, however, the Intifada was not a mandate for Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian official or faction to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people, and was certainly not a people’s call on their leadership to offer unreciprocated political compromises.

To understand the meaning of the Intifada and its current relevance, it has to be viewed as an active political event, constantly generating new meanings, as opposed to a historical event of little relevance to today’s realities.

Historically, the Palestinian people have struggled with the issue of political representation. As early as the mid-20th century, various Arab regimes have claimed to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, thus, inevitably using Palestine as an item in their own domestic and foreign policy agendas.

The use and misuse of Palestine as an item in some imagined collective Arab agenda came to a relative end after the humiliating defeat of several Arab armies in the 1967 war, known in Arabic as the ‘Naksa’, or the ‘Letdown’. The crisis of legitimacy was meant to be quickly resolved when the largest Palestinian political party, Fatah, took over the leadership of the PLO. The latter was then recognized in 1974 during the Arab Summit in Rabat, as the ‘sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people’.

The above statement alone was meant to be the formula that resolved the crisis of representation, therefore drowning out all other claims made by Arab governments. That strategy worked, but not for long. Despite Arafat’s and Fatah’s hegemony over the PLO, the latter did, in fact, enjoy a degree of legitimacy among Palestinians. At that time, Palestine was part and parcel of a global national liberation movement, and Arab governments, despite the deep wounds of war, were forced to accommodate the aspirations of the Arab people, keeping Palestine the focal issue among the Arab masses as well.

However, in the 1980s, things began changing rapidly. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 resulted in the forced exile of tens of thousands of Palestinian fighters, along with the leaderships of all Palestinian groups, leading to successive and bloody massacres targeting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The years that followed accentuated two grave realities. First, the Palestinian leadership shifted its focus from armed struggle to merely remaining relevant as a political actor. Now based in Tunis, Arafat, Abbas and others were issuing statements, sending all kinds of signals that they were ready to ‘compromise’ – as per the American definitions of this term. Second, Arab governments also moved on, as the growing marginalization of the Palestinian leadership was lessening the pressure of the Arab masses to act as a united front against Israeli military occupation and colonialism in Palestine.

It was at this precise moment in history that Palestinians rose and, indeed, it was a spontaneous movement that, at its beginning, involved none of the traditional Palestinian leadership, Arab regimes, or any of the familiar slogans. I was a teenager in a Gaza refugee camp when all of this took place, a true popular revolution being fashioned in a most organic and pure form. The use of a slingshot to counter Israeli military helicopters; the use of blankets to disable the chains of Israeli army tanks; the use of raw onions to assuage the pain of inhaling teargas; and, more importantly, the creation of language to respond to every violent strategy employed by the Israeli army, and to articulate the resistance of Palestinians on the ground in simple, yet profound slogans, written on the decaying walls of every Palestinian refugee camp, town or city.

While the Intifada did not attack the traditional leadership openly, it was clear that Palestinians were seeking alternative leadership. Grassroots local leadership swiftly sprang out from every neighborhood, every university and even in prison, and no amount of Israeli violence was able to thwart the natural formation of this leadership.

It was unmistakably clear that the Palestinian people had chosen a different path, one that did not go through any Arab capital – and certainly not through Tunis. Not that Palestinians at the time quit seeking solidarity from their Arab brethren, or the world at large. Instead, they sought solidarity that does not subtract the Palestinian people from their own quest for freedom and justice.

Years of relentless Israeli violence, coupled with the lack of a political strategy by the Palestinian leadership, sheer exhaustion, growing factionalism and extreme poverty brought the Intifada to an end.

Since then, even the achievements of the Intifada were tarnished, where the Palestinian leadership has used it to revive itself politically and financially, reaching the point of arguing that the dismal Oslo Accords and the futile peace process were, themselves, direct ‘achievements’ of the Intifada.

The true accomplishment of the Intifada is the fact that it almost entirely changed the nature of the political equation pertaining to Palestine, imposing the ‘Palestinian people’, not as a cliche used by the Palestinian leadership and Arab governments to secure for themselves a degree of political legitimacy, but as an actual political actor.

Thanks to the Intifada, the Palestinian people have demonstrated their own capacity at challenging Israel without having their own military, challenging the Palestinian leadership by organically generating their own leaders, confronting the Arabs and, in fact, the whole world, regarding their own moral and legal responsibilities towards Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Very few popular movements around the world, and throughout modern history, can be compared to the First Intifada, which remains as relevant today as it was when it began thirty-three years ago.

 – Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (03 – 09 December 2020)

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  • IOF shot and killed Palestinian, northeast of Ramallah
  • 19 Palestinian civilians wounded, including 6 childern, in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem
  • 3 shootings reported at agricultural lands, and 3 others at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip
  • In 93 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 77 civilians arrested, including 7 children and a woman
  • IOF demolished and confiscated 10 barracks in Ramallah and Jericho and distributed 9 cease-construction notices in Hebron
  • 9,000 settlement units constructed on the land of Jerusalem International Airport in occupied East Jerusalem
  • Settler-attacks: an attempt to burn a church in occupied East Jerusalem and 90 trees cut and uprooted in Salfit
  • IOF established 61 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

 Download Report (PDF)

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians. This week, in a new crime of excessive use of lethal force, IOF killed a Palestinian during the suppression of a peaceful protest in Ras al-Teen area near the eastern entrance to al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah. PCHR notes the recurrence of similar crimes, as PCHR’s staff documented the killing of 22 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children and a woman, by IOF since the beginning of 2020 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Also, PCHR’s fieldworkers monitored and documented IOF targeting of children during the suppression of protests and during incursions into the West Bank cities in recent weeks.

Furthermore, IOF demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties continued as part of Israel’s de facto annexation and under various pretexts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This week, PCHR documented 180 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

IOF killed a Palestinian child and wounded 19 other civilians, including 6 children, in excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. On 04 December 2020, ‘Ali Ayman Naser Abu ‘Alia (14) was killed and 4 other civilians were wounded during the suppressing of a peaceful protest in Ras al-Teen area near the eastern entrance to  al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah. IOF killed the child without any justification and without the presence of any threat to the soldiers’ lives.

Also, 2 civilians were wounded during IOF incursion into Nablus; 7 civilians wounded, including 2 children- one sustained wounds in his eye, in occupied East Jerusalem; 2 civilians wounded in Jericho; and 4 others wounded in Dheisheh camp in Bethlehem.

In the Gaza Strip, 3  IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands, and 3 others at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 93 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them.7During this week’s incursions, 77 Palestinians were arrested, including 7 children and a woman. It should be noted that the woman was arrested twice.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted a limited incursion into northern Gaza Strip.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 8 incidents, including:

  • Ramallah: 2 barracks demolished in Deir Dibwan village and another barrack confiscated in eastern al-Mughayyir village;
  • Tubas: 2 excavators confiscated in northern Jordan valleys;
  • Occupied East Jerusalem: 9,000 settlement units constructed on the land of Jerusalem International Airport (Qalandia);
  • Bethlehem: 180 olive trees uprooted in al-Khader village;
  • Jericho: 7 barracks confiscated;
  • Hebron: houses and barns served 9 cease-construction notices.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 4 settler-violence incidents: 80 olive trees cut in Yasuf village; 10 olive and fig trees uprooted in western Haris village in Salfit; and a settler attempted to burn the Gethsemane Church in the Mount of Olives area in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

  1. Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity
  • At approximately 00:00 on Thursday, 03 December 2020, IOF moved into Nablus, north of the West Bank, and stationed in the city’s eastern side. The IOF secured the entry of dozens of buses carrying settlers towards the Joseph’s tomb to perform prayers. Meanwhile, Palestinian young men gathered, set fire to tires and threw stones at IOF, who responded with rubber bullets and teargas canisters. As a result, 2 young men sustained rubber bullet wounds and received treatment at Rafidia Hospital. The wounded were: an 18-year-old male who was shot with a rubber bullet in his face, causing fractures in his teeth and mouth; and a 19-year-old male who was shot with a rubber bullet in his right foot. Also, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • In new crime of excessive use of lethal force, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed on Friday, 04 December 2020, a Palestinian child and wounded 4 other civilians during the suppression of a peaceful protest in Ras al-Teen area near the eastern entrance to al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah. The child died few hours after sustaining a live bullet in his abdomen without any justification or posing threat to the soldiers’ lives. According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 11:00 on Friday, a peaceful protest took off in the center of al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah, at the call of the villagers, towards lands under the threat of confiscation and in protest to the establishment of new settlement outposts in Ras al-Teen area near the eastern entrance to the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers and annexation wall. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. Following the Friday prayer, the protestors chanted slogans again the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 4 civilians sustained rubber bullets wounds in their lower extremities and received treatment on the spot. At approximately 13:30, as the clashes were ongoing, Israeli soldiers shot at ‘Ali Ayman Naser Abu ‘Aliya (14), wounding him with a live bullet in his abdomen below the lung on the right side of his body. Abu ‘Aliya was immediately taken via a Palestinian Red Crescent Socitey (PRCS) ambulance to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where he underwent a surgery. At approximately 18:00 on the same day, medical sources pronounced him dead. The medical report showed that the bullet penetrated the liver and ruptured it.
  • At approximately 12:20, IOF suppressed a protest organized by dozens of Palestinian civilians in protest at lands confiscations in favor of settlement projects. IOF chased the protestors gathered in the area and clashed with them. During which, IOF fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at the protestors. As a result, many protestors sustained bruises.
  • At approximately 14:45, IOF stationed at Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing, northern Beit Hanoun, opened fire sporadically at adjacent border areas. Farmers were panicked due to the heavy shooting; no injuries or damage were reported.
  • At approximately15:45, IOF stationed north of al-Sifa area, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, causing fear among Palestinian civilians, who approached the fence, and forcing them to flee; no casualties or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 16:00, a number of Palestinian young men gathered in Bab al-Zawiyia area in the center of Hebron and threw stones at a military checkpoint established at the northern entrance to Hebron, so-called Checkpoint (56). IOF chased the Palestinian men in the village’s market and threw sound bombs and teargas canisters at the stone-throwers. As a result, many young men suffocated dye to teargas inhalation. IOF re-positioned behind the cement cubes placed in front of the checkpoint while the young men continued to throw stones at them. Meanwhile, a photojournalist working at Wafa News Agency, Mashhour Hasan al-Wahwah (37), was in the area to cover the clashes, but an Israeli soldier threatened him, prevented him from covering the clashes and denied his access to the area. Few hours later, IOF chased the young men again and al-Wahwah followed them. During which, an Israeli soldier approached al-Wahwah, shouted at him and cursed him. When al-Wahwah tried to talk with the soldier, the latter kicked him twice in his legs and ordered him to leave. Al-Wahwah tried to talk with the officer, who was on duty, but in vain. The clashes continued until 18:00; and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 23:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off al- al-Sudaniya Shore, northwest of Jabalia camp, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  •  At approximately 08:30 on Saturday, 05 December 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire in their direction, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 16:10 on Sunday, 06 December 2020, IOF stationed along the Gaza-Israel border fence, east of Khan Yunis, fired live bullets towards agricultural lands east of Khuzaʽa; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 20:30 on Sunday, 06 December 2020, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, closed the village’s main street and established checkpoints near al-Arba’een mosque in the center of the village and at the entrances to nearby neighborhoods. During which, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones, fireworks and Molotov Cocktails at IOF, who chased the protestors and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, Omar Ahmed Khalil Mahmoud (16) was shot with a rubber bullet below his left eye while present in front of his house. He was then taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in West Jerusalem for treatment. It should be noted that Isawiya village has been the target of recurrent IOF incursions in the past year, where IOF carries out arrest campaigns against civilians under the pretext of being wanted persons, fire live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at Palestinian civilians and their houses and properties.

The wounded child Omar Mahmoud

  • At approximately 05:00 on Monday, 07 December 2020, a large Israeli force accompanied with dozens of Israeli soldiers and Special Forces moved into Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, where they raided and searched dozens of houses after blowing up their doors and causing fear among the inhabitants. During which, Palestinian young men gathered and threw empty bottles and Molotov Cocktails at IOF, who chased them on the village streets and fired heavy live bullets and sound bombs at them. As a result, 3 young men sustained gunshot wounds in their legs and received treatment at Beit Jala Hospital. Also, IOF arrested 4 civilians: Shehab Hasan Mezher (47), Mohammed Nedal Abu ‘Akar (27), and the siblings Mohammed (27) and Na’iem Abu ‘Akar (26).
  • At approximately 08:00, a large Israeli force accompanied with dozens of Israeli soldiers and Special Forces moved into Kalandia refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Khaled ‘Abed al-Raouf Hamad’s house and arrested his sons Mo’ath (26) and Mohammed (28), taking them to an unknown destination. In the meantime, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF and their vehicles. IOF chased the protestors on the village streets and fired heavy live bullets and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 5 civilians, including a child, were shot with live bullets and taken to the Palestine Medical Complex for treatment. The wounded were identified:
  1. ‘Ali Hasan ‘Abed al-Qader (16), who was shot with a live bullet in the chect;
  2. ‘Ali Khaled ‘Abed al-Raouf Hamad (24), who was shot with a live bullet in the abdomen;
  3. Mohammed Ibrahim Saleh ‘Ali, who was shot with a live bullet in the thigh;
  4. Ahmed ‘Abed al-‘Aziz al-Roum, who was shot with a live bullet in his foot; and
  5. Mohammed Ibrahim Khalil Nser, who was shot with a live bullet in the foot.
  • At approximately 14:45, IOF stationed at Kalandia military checkpoint, north of occupied East Jerusalem, opened fire at Mohammed Mazen Abu Laban (24), wounding him with live bullets. IOF claimed that Abu Laban attempted to carry out a stabbing-attack. Abu Laban was taken to Hadassah Hospital, where his health condition was classified as serious. According to a video recording, Abu Laban attempted to pass the checkpoint through the vehicles lane, which is forbidden to pedestrians, IOF warned him and then shot him. In the same context, Israeli media stated that the young man, who was wounded at the military checkpoint did not carry a weapon or a knife and IOF opened fire at him because he did not obey their orders. It should be noted that Abu Laban, Shabab al-Amari’s Football Club reserve goalkeeper, was heading to a match VS Jabel Mukaber team, which took place at Faisal al-Husseini Stadium in al-Ram village, north of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 03:30 on Tuesday, 08 December 2020, IOF moved into Aqabat Jaber camp, southwest of Jericho. IOF were deployed in the camp, during which, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF. Violent Clashes erupted between the protestors and IOF, who immediately fired teargas canisters, sound bombs and rubber bullets at the protestors. As a result, 2 civilians sustained sound bombs shrapnel wounds; the first was an 18-year-old male, who sustained shrapnel wounds in his abdomen while the second was a 24-year-old male, who sustained shrapnel wounds in his foot. Both of them received treatment on the spot. In the meantime, IOF raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Mohammed Akram al-Moqaiti (26), and the two siblings Yehia (20) and Yousef (18) Naseem al-Moqaiti.
  1. II. Incursions and arrests:

Thursday, 03 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-al-Mashrou’ area in al-Eizariya, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed al-Kalouni’s house and arrested his sons Samer (23) and Ibrahim (20).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Jadawil area in Beit Jala. They raided and searched Mohammed Naser Abu Sheikha’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:30, IOF moved into al-Dheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Oday Issam Abu Nassar (22) and Laith Kareem al-Atrash (18) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 05:30, IOF moved into al-Funduq area, east of Qalqilya, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ali Maher Taim (30).
  • At approximately 16:30, IOF stationed at al-Hamra military checkpoint in central valleys, north of the West Bank, arrested the two siblings Sanad (24) and Ali Sharif Ahmed Ali (26), from Jaba’ village, south of Jenin, taking them to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Yatta, Beit Ummar, and Beit ‘Amra villages in Hebron governorate; Qarawat Bani Zeid, northwest of Ramallah governorate; and Birzeit, north of Ramallah governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 04 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Wadea’ Dawoud Alian’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Burqa village, northwest of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Sa’eed Mohammed Hajja (38), and Abdul Halim Emad Daghlas (19).
  • At approximately 11:00, a group of Mista’arvim (Israeli Special Unit dressed like Palestinians) sneaked into southern Nablus. They used a white Mercedes bus, stationed on al-Ta’awon street, and surrounded a building belonging to al-Alfi family. Meanwhile, several military vehicles moved into the area coming from al-Tur mount, south of the city, to provide protection for the special unit. Before their withdrawal, IOF arrested Mo’ayad Nimir al-Alfi (47), claiming that he had been wanted for years ago, taking him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF arrested Mahmoud al-Jondi (28), after getting out from al-Aqsa Mosque through Bab Huta, in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, taking him to a police station in the city.
  • At approximately 01:15, IOF moved into New Nablus, south of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They surrounded and stormed s house belonging to Emad Mohammed al-Shami (50), a Lieutenant in the Preventive Security Service, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF arrested Fathi Yassine Abu Srour (31), while present in Caritas area, north of Bethlehem, taking him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 19:30, IOF arrested Belal Ju’aiwi (24), while riding his bicycle near Rachel’s Tomb, north of Bethlehem. IOF took him to an unknown destination.

Saturday, 05 December 2020:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Bab Huta neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Omar Mousa Ajlouni’s house and took his two sons Sufian (22) and Saif (19), to a police station in the city.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron. They raided and searched Ahmed Hamed al-Natsha’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 20:00, Israeli Intelligence Services arrested Mohammed Hamza Obaid (14), from al-Issawiya village, north of the occupied East Jerusalem, after investigating with him for several hours in al-Bareed police station in the city. Obaid’s arrest was extended for the next day.

At approximately 12:00, IOF arrested Hanadi Mohammed al-Halawani (42), while attempting to enter the Aqsa Mosque through Bab al-Asbat Minaret, in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took her to al-Maskoubiya police station. Al-Halawani said that, in the morning, IOF summonsed her for investigation. At approximately 12:00, IOF arrested her near Bab al-Asbat, and investigated with her about the writing on her coat: wearing a coat written on it “Bab al-Rahma is Ours” and “al-Aqsa is a Belief”. When Handi denied the charge, the investigators attempted to pressurize her to sign a decision that ban her entry to the Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem’s Old City again, but she refused and preferred to be arrested and referred to the court rather than banning her from entering the abovementioned places. The Israeli Intelligence Services released her after threatened her to be arrested. It should be noted that IOF arrested the teacher, al-Halawani, after storming her house several times, and she was investigated several times and banned from entering the Aqsa Mosque for up to 14-months.

  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Beit Kahel, Yatta, Tarqumiyah, and Imreish, in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.
  • Sunday, 06 December 2020:
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Omar Khalil Abu al-Hawa’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:15, IOF moved into Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Sami Naji Nazzal (24).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Zeita, north of Tulkarm, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Rabah Abdul Fattah Libdi (30), who is a former prisoner.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Yatta, south of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Eyad Ali Irsheed’s (38) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF stationed at Huwara military checkpoint, south of Nablus, arrested Mohammed Nasr al-Dein Allan (36), who is a lawyer from Einabus village, southeast of Nablus.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into al-Issawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Khaldoun Taha Dari’s (23) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF moved into al-Wad neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Ra’fat Sameeh Najeeb’s (38) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF moved into al-Dheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Shadi Issa Ma’ali’s (40) house and arrested him. It should be noted that Ma’ali was arrested several times and served 12 years in the Israeli prisons on charge of belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and participating resisting the Israeli occupation.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya and Beita, southeast of Nablus; Sa’ir and al-‘Aroub refugee camp in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 07 December 2020:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron, and stationed in Bab al-Zawiya. They opened the main door, raided and searched Irsheed Printing House that belongs to Jehad Hussain Irsheed, destroyed its contents, and confiscated some of Jehad’s children’s pictures, Oday and Dania, who were killed in the Israeli offensive of 2015.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Sheikh neighborhood in the southern area of Hebron. They raided and searched Mahmoud Hamdi Shabana’s (44) house and confiscated his laptop. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Azzun, east of Qalqilya, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Abdul Razzaq Emad Swaidan (17).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Nahalin, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Theib Abdul Hamid Najajera’s (58) house and arrested him. It should be noted that Najajera is a governmental teacher who served several years in the Israeli prisons.
  • At approximately 04:30, IOF moved into Kafr Thulth, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Adel Sameeh Shawahna (22) and Murad Ammar Shawahna (19).
  • At approximately 05:10, IOF moved into Kafr Ni’ma, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched Riyad Ahmed Abdo’s (35) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into al-Rashayida village, southeast of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Sa’eed Suliman Owda Fawarqa’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF moved into Ras Khmis neighborhood in Shu’afat refugee camp, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ahmed Mohammed Ali’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF arrested Hanadi Mohammed al-Halawani (42), while present near Bab Huta, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s gates. IOF took her to a police station in the Old City and interrogated her for several hours before she was released on a condition that she will be banned from entering the Aqsa Mosque for a week, and she will later return to receive a new 6-month ban.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF moved into al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mohammed Waleed al-Rajabi’s (14) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 23:30, IOF moved into Bab Huta, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Omar Mousa al-‘Ajlouni’s (51) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Beita, southeast of Nablus; Zububa, west of Jenin; Dura, Beit ‘Amra and al-Samu, in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.
  • Tuesday, 08 December 2020:
  • At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Marwan Obaid’s house and arrested his sons; Omar (24) and Mohammed (20).
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Kahil, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Mahmoud Ra’ed Asafra’s (21) house and arrested him.

At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Za’tara village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Khaled Ibrahim Tafesh’s (55) house, who was a member in the dissolved Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and handed his son, Mos’ab (28), a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services. It should be noted that Tafesh is a former prisoner who was arrested several times and spent 8-years in the Israeli prisons in separate periods; part of which was under the administrative arrest.

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Dahiya neighborhood, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Nidal Atef Abu Rmaila (49).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Harmala village, southeast of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Abdullah Awad Abayat (28), Isma’el Khalil al-Zeir (43), and Hamza Taleb Abu Dayya (20).
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron and stationed in al-Dahar, Safa, and Asida neighborhoods. They raided and searched three housesand arrested (3) civilians including two children; Majdi Mershed Za’aqiq (16), Ibrahim Rami Za’aqiq (16), and Obaida Ghazi ‘Aadi (29). IOF blew up the door of Ghazi’s house, while Ghazi’s wife was behind the door attempting to open it. As a result, Qamar Ahmed ‘Aadi (55) sustained several bruises.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into al-Judeida village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Sameh Hussam Abu Mariam (20).

At approximately 07:00, IOF established a temporary military checkpoint in the entrance of Susya village, north of Yatta, south of Hebron governorate. They stopped the vehicles and checked the ID cards of the passengers. Meanwhile, IOF stopped a vehicle carrying the teachers of Susya Elementary School and arrested two of them: Amjad Badr Shraiteh (41) and Isma’il Ali Nawaj’a (44). Nisreen Nawaj’a, principal of Susya Elementary School, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “After arresting the two teachers, we decided to sit-in the checkpoint and refused to leave without Nawaj’a and Shraiteh, as we were suffering from various harassments for two weeks while passing through the abovementioned checkpoint. Sometimes, the teachers had to take dirt roads to reach the school; as they were not allowed to pass through that checkpoint under the pretext of security purposes, even though, the students joined in the sit-in until the IOF released the two teachers after an hour”.

  • At approximately 09:00, IOF moved into Qalandiya refugee camp, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Sami Mutair’s (32) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services on the next day.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF arrested Mo’ath Abu Arafa (32), while he was on duty in the occupied East Jerusalem. Abu Arafa was taken to one of the investigation centers in the city and interrogated for several hours about giving religious lessons at the Aqsa Mosque. IOF released him on condition that banning his entry to the Aqsa Mosque for a week and return for investigation after that period.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF arrested Firas Khairy Katana (22), from al-Nazla al-Gharbiya, north of Tulkarm, while present near the border fence adjacent to Zeita village, north of Tulkarm. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out incursions in Nablus. no arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 09 December 2020:

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Qarawat Bani Hassan, west of Salfit. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Laith Adnan Rayyan (25).
  • At approximately 02:15, IOF moved into Deir al-Hatab village, northeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Salman Ahmed Emran (39).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Bal’a village, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (7) former prisoners and released them later. The arrestees were: Mohammed Emad Barabra, Talal Abu Yassine, Ja’far Ayman Shahrour, Tha’er Rida Mer’i, Naser Khalil Abu Dayya, Atiya Wael Mahmoud, and Essam Ghazi Jitawi.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into al-Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and neighborhoods and arrested (4) civilians: Kamel Jalal Nakhla (25), Maher Ayyoub Dalaisha (45), Ya’qoub Mostafa Hussain (27), and Fadi Nayef Alian (40). IOF released Nakhla and Dalaisha on the same day evening.
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF moved into Taqoa village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Mahmoud Abu Mfarreh’s house and took his sons Ahmed (18) and Mohammed (17), to unknown destinations.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF reinforced with six military vehicles stationed in Abu Safiya Gate, northeast of Jabalya, north of the Gaza Strip, moved 100 meters to the north of the border fence with Israel. They levelled and combed lands that were previously levelled amidst sporadic shooting. At approximately 10:00, IOF withdrew, and no casualties were reported.
  • Also during the day, IOF conducted 8 incursions into Palestinian territory without any arrests reported: Jaba’, southern Jenin; Sebastia, northwestern Nablus; Shufa, Anabta, Deir al-Ghusun, Zeita and Far’un in Tulkarm.

III. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, 03 December 2020, an Israeli force backed by several military vehicles and accompanied with a Civil Administration vehicle and a bulldozer stormed the eastern area of Deir Dibwan village, east of Ramallah. IOF bulldozer demolished 2 barracks built of steel pillars and tin plates on an area of 120 sqm, 2 tents, a tent used for storing animal feed built on an area of 40 sqm, a barn built on area of 200 sqm. All of these facilities were used for grazing sheep and owned by Atef Awawdah Shalabi, from Deir Dibwan village. IOF also dismantled 6 steel feeding and watering equipment and confiscated them. The demolition was under the pretext of illegal construction in Area (C).
  • At approximately 10:50 on Sunday, 06 December 2020, IOF stormed Atouf area, east of Tammun village, southeast of Tubas in northern valleys, north of the West Bank. IOF confiscated 2 diggers owned by Aman Rabah Gharib Bani Ouda and Diya’a Bani Ouda, from the abovementioned village. IOF confiscated the 2 diggers while both Ayman and Diya’a were paving an agricultural road in for the village’s council. Confiscation was under the pretext of illegal construction in Area (C).
  • On the same Sunday, the Organization and Construction Department at the Israeli Municipality in occupied Jerusalem announced approved construction of 9 thousand settlement units in “Atrout” settlement established on Qalandiya and Beit Hanina village’ lands, north of occupied East Jerusalem. According to the Israeli Civil Administration Commission, thousands of new settlement units will be constructed over 600 dunums in-lieu of Jerusalem’s abandoned international airport. IOF seized these lands in the 1970s. It should be noted that the Israeli settlement expansion plan in Atrout was laid out years ago, but it was frozen more than once due to international political pressures rejecting Israeli settlements in lands occupied in 1967. Jerusalem’s international airport was located on Qalandiya lands, north of occupied Jerusalem and it was the oldest airport in Palestine as it was constructed in 1920 during the British mandate of Palestine on an area of 650 dunums. Until the Israeli occupation in 1967, the airport was used for tourism and commercial purposes from and to Jerusalem before the outbreak of the Second Intifa in 2000.
  • On Monday morning, 07 December 2020, IOF uprooted hundreds of olive trees and grape vines after they leveled lands in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. Al-Khader Village’s Municipality said to PCHR’s fieldworker that IOF uprooted more than 30 olive seedlings after they leveled a land owned Yaseen Khader Essa, in Wadi al-Shami area. IOF also leveled a 6-dunums land in al-Absiya area in the abovementioned village owned by Rezeq Mohammed Husein Salah. Leveling the land led to uprooting 100 olive trees and 50 grapes seedlings. It should be noted that IOF lately committed many violations against Palestinian farmers in al-Khader village, including leveling and seizing lands, uprooting trees and preventing landowners from approaching them. These Israeli practices are in favor of settlement expansion activities.
  • At approximately 06:00 on Tuesday, 12 December 2020, IOF backed by several military vehicles and accompanied with Civil Administration vehicle and truck mounted crane stormed al-Qaboun area, east of Al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah. The area has been inhabited by a Bedouin community for 20 years. Israeli authorities brought workers from private companies and dismantled  and confiscated a barrack built of steel pillars and bricks on an area of 90 sq.m; it is owned  by Hasan Sueliman Abu al-Kabash, and used for grazing sheep. The demolition was under the pretext of illegal construction in Area (C) according to Oslo Accords.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 08 December 2020, IOF backed by several military vehicles and accompanied with Civil Administration vehicle, a truck mounted crane, and a bulldozer stormed al-Auja village, north of Jericho. IOF deployed in the area and surrounded it and brought workers from a private company; they dismantled and confiscated 7 under-construction barracks built of steel pillars and bricks (uninhabited). One of these barracks was used to  store barley and wheat crops for feeding sheep and livestock. The bulldozer also confiscated crops. The demolition and confiscation were under the pretext of illegal construction in Area (C). The demolition details were as follows:
Affected personfacility
Mohammed Yaseen Mousa RashaidahUnder-construction barrack built of steel pillars and bricks on an area of 70 sqm.
Zawada Suleiman Saleem Abu Khraish Under-construction barrack built of steel pillars and bricks on an area of 70 sqm.
Farea Yaseen RshaidahUnder-construction barrack used for grazing sheep and livestock built of steel pillars and bricks on an area of 30 sqm
Khalaf Fares RashaidahUnder-construction barrack used for grazing sheep and livestock built of steel pillars and bricks on an area of 30 sqm
Sulieman Dawoud Tarif al-ZayedA barrack built of bricks and steel used to store on an area of 200 sqm
Hani Ata Dawoud al-ZayedUnder-construction barrack used for grazing sheep and livestock built of steel pillars and bricks on an area of 30 sqm
Ata Daoud Tarif al-ZayedUnder-construction barrack built of bricks and steel on an area of 80 sqm
  • At the same time, IOF backed by several military vehicles and accompanied with Civil Administration vehicle and a truck mounted crane stormed Khirbat al-Simia, west of as-Samu village, south of Hebron. The soldiers deployed in the area while the Civil Administration officers dismantled a barrack built of bricks on an area of 100 sqm, used for grazing sheep and it is owned by Riyad Abdul Karim Ghayad al-Salamin. Before IOF withdrew from the area, the Civil and Administration officer handed al-Salamin a paper of the confiscated items. Israeli authorities also handed al-Salamin a notice called “stop destruction of archeological sites” on 11 December 2020.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 09 December 2020, IOF backed by several military vehicles and accompanied with Civil Administration vehicle stormed Khirbat al-Jawaya, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Civil Administration officer fixed a number of notices a notice to stop construction works at residents and livestock barns under the pretext of illegal construction and gave them until 30 December 2020, to submit the required legal document before the Committee at the Civil Administration. The notices were as follows:
Affected personfacilityAreaConstruction yearDescription of constructionFundingFamily membersChildrenNotice No.Financial costConstruction
Ahmed Hammad Mohammed Nawaja’aWater well160sqm2005A holeorganization6331141
Ahmed Hammad Mohammed Nawaja’ahouse310sqm2018Under constructionpersonal643114380cement
Ra’ef Kahlid Mohammed Nawaj’a3 houses200sqm2020Under constructionpersonal4231140cement
Essa Mohammed Husein Shawahintent50sqm2020Construction completepersonal11931142Tent
Mousa Hasan Husein Shawahinbarn60sqm2019Construction completedpersonal6431144 Cement
Moamed Ahmed Mahmoud ShawhinA house40sqm2019Under constructionpersonal4231146200,00cement
Adham Ahmed Mahmoud ShahinA house100sqm2019Under constructionpersonal4231148120,000cement
Mohammed Ali Mohammed HuseinA house100sqm2019Under constructionpersonal4231148120,000bricks
Ayed Eyada ShawahinLivestock barrack60sqm2018Construction completepersonal84206751bricks

Khirbat al-Jawaya is located in eastern Yatta, south of Hebron and inhabited with 300 persons, who work in agriculture and the construction sector. This area is located in Area (C) according to the Oslo Accords. At the southern and eastern outskirts of the Khirbah, we find the Bypass Raod (60) and “Ma’on” settlement a mere one kilometer away. IOF’s settlement expansion activities on Palestinians’ lands, resident of Khirbat al-Jawaya are unable to conduct any construction in the area.

Israeli Settlers’ Attacks

  • At approximately 11:30 on Thursday, 03 December 2020, a group of Israeli settlers from Taffuh settlement established at lands of Yasouf village, east of Salfit, uprooted 42 olive trees in al-Karm eastern area, southeast of Yasouf village, using electric equipment. The land is owned by brothers Shaher and Ali Mohammed Theeb Yaseen.

Ali Theeb Yaseen said to PCHR’s fieldworker that his eldest son headed to al-Karm eastern area, east of the city to check on the olive trees planted a month ago. He found the fence cut off and olive trees uprooted as settlers uprooted 42 olive trees from his land and 13 olive trees from his Brother’s land.

  • At approximately 14:20 on Friday, 04 December 2020, an Israeli settler stormed the Church of all Nations or Basilica of the Agony located at Mount of Olives, east of occupied East Jerusalem, and attempted to set fire into it before the church’s guards and the area residents interfered. They extinguished the fire and caught the settler and handed him to the Israeli police.

According to the church’s guard, Fadi al-Moghrabi, a settler poured diesel and attempted to set fire into some seats in the church. However, some civilians intervened and prevented him. Al-Moghrabi emphasized that fire caused damage to some seats and the floor.

The Israeli police also announced that they detained an Israeli (49), who lives in Jerusalem and attempted to set fire to the Basilica of the Agony in occupied East Jerusalem by pouring a flammable liquid inside it, causing damage.

According to the spokesperson of the Fire Department, 4 crews arrived at the place; luckily, the fire did not spread throughout the church, but it was full of smoke. It should be noted that the Church of all Nations or Basilica of the Agony is located at the Mount of Olive in Jerusalem near “Gethsemane” Garden and it was built above the rock where Christians believe that Jesus prayed before his arrest and crucifixion. It is noteworthy that the church was built between 1919 and 1924 and funded by several countries. The church is distinguished by its facade as it is backed by a row of pillars and a mosaic painting on its top that symbolically portrays Jesus as the link between God and mankind.

  • On Saturday morning, 05 December 2020,  a group of Israeli settlers from “ Rahalim settlement” established on Yasouf village lands, east of Salfit, cut off 38 olive trees in al-Mahawer area, southeast of Yasouf area using an electric saw. The land is owned by Rajeh and Reda Mahmoud Atiyani.

Rajeh Atiyani said to PCHR’s fieldworker: “When I headed to my land at 08:30 on Saturday morning to spray pesticides, I found  that 38 olive trees were cut off from my land and 16 others were cut off  from my brother’s land as settlers used an electric saw to cut the trees. Rajeh emphasized that his land was attacked several times before.

  • At approximately 08:30 on Monday, 07 December 2020, a group of Israeli settlers from “Revava” settlement established at lands of Haris village, north of Salfit, uprooted 10 olive trees at Khelat Abu al-Ola area, west of Haris village. The land is owned by heirs of Ya’qoub Ouda Hasan Sultan.

III. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

The West bank:

In addition to permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals 61 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 4 of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against

Individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Jerusalem:

  • At approximately 14:40 on Monday, 07 December 2020, IOF closed Qalandiya military checkpoint, north of occupied East Jerusalem after they opened fire a Palestinian civilian at the checkpoint and later reopened it.
  • On the same day, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrances to ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • On Tuesday, 08 December 2020 IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 03 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, and under al-Khader village’s bridge, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Friday, 04 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, and near al-Nashash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Saturday, 05 December 2020, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, the western entrance to Husan village, near al-Nashash intersection, near Deir Salah village’s bridge, and at Aqabat Hasnah area leading to villages west of Bethlehem.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 03 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Jericho. IOF continued establishing checkpoint until Sunday, 06 December 2020, as soldiers searched civilians’ vehicles and checked their ID cards.
  • On Sunday, 06 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrane to Beit Jala, Jannata, Jab’a villages, near Deir Salah village’s bridge, east of Bethlehem.
  • On Monday, 07 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, the entrance to Marah Rabah village, at Aqabat Hasna area, leading to villages, west of Bethlehem.
  • On Tuesday, 08 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, and the entrances to Nahalin and Wadi Rehal villages.

Nablus:

  • On Friday, 04 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection to Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, branching from Ramallah – Nablus Street, southeast of Nablus.
  • On Saturday, 05 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at entrance to Asira ash-Shamaliya village, north of Nablus.
  • On Monday, 07 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Beita village, al-Marba’a area near the entrance to Tal village, and at Nablus – Jenin main road, northwest of Nablus.

Jenin:

  • On Friday, 04 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Silat ad-Dhahr village, southwest of Jenin.
  • On Monday, 07 December 2020, IOF established2 checkpoints at the entrance to Jalamah village, and at the intersection of Arraba village.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 03 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to: Al Aroub refugee camp, Sa’ir village’s northern entrance, and Halhoul southern entrance.
  • On Friday, 04 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Ash-Shuyukh village, and Beit Ummar village.
  • On Saturday, 05 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to:  Beit Awwa, Bani Na’im, and Surif villages.
  • On Sunday, 06 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Fawwar refugee camp, Ash-Shuyukh, Beit Ummar and Beit Awwa villages.
  • On Monday, 07 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at: Fawwar refugee camp, Ash-Shuyukh, Beit Ummar, and Beit Awwa villages.
  • On Tuesday, 08 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at Hebron’s southern entrance, and Halhoul’s southern entrance.
  • On Wednesday, 09 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at Halhoul’s northern entrance, Hebron’s southern entrance, Al Aroub refugee camp, and Susya village.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 03 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints between Jayyous and Azzun villages, and at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya.
  • On 04 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at under the bridge of Azzun village, at the entrance to Jit village, and the eastern entrance to Qalqilya.
  • On Tuesday, 08 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Izbat at-Tabib village, east of Qalqilya.

Salfit:

  • On Thursday, 03 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection to Kifl Haris village, west of Salfit.
  • On Friday, 04 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at northern entrance to Salfit.
  • On Tuesday, 08 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit.

حان الوقت لتشييع الجامعة العربيّة إلى مثواها العبريّ الأخير!

د. عدنان منصور

بعد اعتراف ستّ دول عربية بالكيان الصهيونيّ، (بما فيها «دولة» فلسطين العليّة)، وكان آخرها اعتراف المغرب رسمياً به بعد مساكنة طويلة مع تل أبيب استمرّت لأكثر من خمسين عاماً، في الوقت الذي يحمل ملكها اللقب الرسميّ «أمير المؤمنين»، ويرأس في الوقت ذاته لجنة القدس…! يستمرّ قطار الاعتراف بالعدو الصهيونيّ في سيره، ينتظر في أكثر من محطة، هرولة أكثر من دولة عربية أخرى تستعدّ بدورها، للصعود إليه، واللحاق بالركب «الإسرائيلي»، بعد أن تدفع ثمن بطاقة الالتحاق.

أمام تزاحم بعض «العرب» للظفر بالاعتراف بالكيان «الإسرائيلي»، يتساءل المواطن العربيّ الحرّ المقاوم للاحتلال الصهيوني لفلسطين، ونتساءل معه: ما الذي بقي أو سيبقى من اعتبار وصدقيّة وكرامة لزعماء عرب، ولمؤسسة عربية رسمية رفيعة، حملت يوماً اسم جامعة الدول العربية، التي كانت أولى اهتماماتها الدفاع على القضية الفلسطينية، والعمل على استرجاع الأرض المغتصبة، وحقوق الشعب الفلسطيني؟! جامعة دول لم نشهد في داخلها، ومنذ نشوئها وحتى اليوم، سوى الاستعراضات، والمناكفات، والتباينات الحادة في المواقف، والعداوات على المستوى الرسمي والشخصي التي لم تتوقف، وتربّص دولة بأخرى، مع ما يرافق هذا من رفعها شعارات برّاقة، ومزايدات على القضايا القومية، من خلال اتخاذ قرارات اعتبروها على الدوام تاريخيّة، ظلت حبراً على ورق، لم يطبّق منها شيء. ولعلّ قرارات الجامعة العربية بمقاطعة «إسرائيل» تدلّ على حجم التناقض بين القول والفعل في تعاطي دول عربية مع هذه المقاطعة ومدى صدقيتها والتزامها بها.

 لقد كانت الجامعة العربية على الدوام جامعة «الخلافات» العربية، والسياسات المتباينة والمتباعدة، والمتناقضة في ما بينها، متعارضة مع روح ميثافها وجوهره، بالإضافة الى ما يختزنه البعض في داخله من أحقاد، وضغائن، وتصفية حسابات شخصية، ونزعات قبلية ثأرية، ما جعلها بعيدة كلّ البعد عن الغاية التي أنشئت من أجلها، مع غياب واضح لوحدة الصف والهدف، وابتعادها عن العمل الجماعي الموحد والثابت.

 نتيجة هذا الأداء الهشّ، والمردود المتواضع الهزيل، والسلوك المتغيّر من آن إلى آخر، أصبحت قرارات الجامعة على مدى عقود، مثار تهكّم وسخرية، من قبل الشعوب العربية، ودول العالم، التي لم تعد تأخذ على محمل الجدّ عمل الجامعة ونتائجها، وأداءها، و»إنجازاتها» وهي تتابع ما يجري من اجتماعات، وترصد حركتها وكواليسها، وقراراتها التي لا فعالية لها ولا طعماً، وتتابع «النتائج» العقيمة، والمواقف المتخبّطة المتذبذبة داخلها. إذ أنها منذ نشوئها وحتى هذا الوقت، لم تحقق الجامعة العربية إنجازاً قومياً تاريخياً واحداً على مستوى الأمة كلها، يليق بها، تستطيع أن تفاخر به، وتتباهى أمام شعوب أمتها، وأمام العالم كله.

لقد كانت الجامعة العربية على الدوام، دون مستوى المسؤولية، وتطلعات وطموحات الشعوب العربية وآمالها. وإذا ما أرادت أن تعرف رصيدها الحقيقي، ما عليها إلا أن تنزل الى الشارع العربي الممتدّ من شاطئ المحيط في موريتانيا والمغرب، الى العراق، وتستطلع رأي المواطن العربي بدورها وأدائها وإنجازاتها، عندها ستعرف مدى حجم الرصيد الفعلي لا الوهميّ، الذي تتمتع به داخل «جامعة الشعوب العربية»!

كيف لا، وهي التي حوت في داخلها تناقضات وحساسيات الأنظمة تجاه بعضها البعض، وهشاشتها وعيوبها. فكانت الشاهد دوماً على خلافات الحكام الرسمية، والشخصية، ونياتهم «الطيبة» المبيّتة حيال بعضهم البعض، وما يختزنه «الشقيق» في داخله من خشية وحيطة وتحفظ وحذر، وغياب الثقة المتبادلة التي تعمّق الكراهية بين الشقيق وشقيقه، حتى إذا ما سنحت الفرصة، أنقضّ أحدهما على الآخر من دون تردّد، متذرّعاً بحجج وأسباب واهية تدفعه الى ذلك…

 سلوك الجامعة العربية، ظهر على حقيقته بكلّ قوة، وبشكل واضح منذ عشر سنوات، بعد أن تورّطت وورّطت نفسها عن سابق تصوّر وتصميم، وزجّت نفسها في المشاكل الإقليمية، وتدخلت بشكل سافر في الشؤون الداخلية لأكثر من دولة عربية، لتكون طرفاً متهوّراً، منحازاً ضدّ طرف آخر، ما شوّه الأهداف النبيلة التي من أجلها أنشئت الجامعة، وكشف بشكل لا لبس فيه، فشل دورها، وأدائها، وعملها، ومسؤوليتها القومية وحيادها وصدقيتها ونزاهتها، بسبب رضوخها لهذا الطرف على حساب ذاك، ضاربة عرض الحائط دستور ميثاقها وروحه وجوهره، حيث تجاوزته بشكل فاضح ومستهجن، ما طرح تساؤلات عديدة. خاصة بعد أن وقفت بجانب قوى الإرهاب، التي ضربت في سورية ولبنان والعراق وليبيا وغيرها، معتبرة إياها قوى معارضة وطنية، تهدف الى التغيير وتحقيق الحرية والعدالة، وصون حقوق الإنسان. جاء هذا، بعد أن صادر قرارها أكثر من دولة عربية، لتصبح الجامعة بمن فيها، في خدمة من يحرّكها ويديرها، ويوجّهها خلف الستار من الخارج، ويحدّد خطواتها، ويرسم سياساتها… ولعلّ الأدلة الدامغة على تورّط الجامعة العربية في تدمير أكثر من دولة عربية، هي التي اعترف بها في ما بعد، رئيس وزراء قطر، وزير خارجيتها حمد بن جاسم، أحد أبرز مهندسي، وراسمي، ومخرجي ومنفذي قرارات الجامعة العربية ذات الصلة، عندما اعترف بصراحة تامة لوسائل إعلام عربية وغربية (جريدة الفينانشل تايمز، وقناة الجزيرة والـ وغيرها)، بتمويل بلاده ومن معها، لعمليات انشقاق في الجيش السوري، وتزويد شخصيات عربية بالمال، مقابل دور كبير في الحرب السورية، موضحاً أيضاً أنّ الدعم العسكري الذي قدّمته قطر للجماعات المسلحة في سورية، كان يذهب بالتنسيق مع الولايات المتحدة، حيث كان يوزع كلّ شيء عن طريق القوات الأميركية والأتراك. (!!!) كما ذهب بعيداً بصراحته ليقول أيضاً: «إننا تهاوشنا على الفريسة (سورية) التي ضاعت منا أثناء تهاوشنا عليها»!

فلتكشف لنا الجامعة العربية، أوراقها و»أسرارها» بكلّ صراحة وشفافية، حول حقيقة الدور وخفاياه، الذي قامت به تجاه الأحداث الدامية التي ضربت دولاً عربية؟! وما الذي فعلته الجامعة لإنهاء الحرب الدائرة في الصومال، وليبيا واليمن، ومواجهة قوى الإرهاب في العراق وسورية، وجرائم الاحتلال الصهيونيّ في فلسطين والجولان السوري، ولبنان وغيره واعتداءاته المتواصلة! ما الذي فعلته لإحباط محاولات الانفصال ومؤامرات التقسيم الجارية في أكثر من بلد عربي؟!

 إنها الجامعة العربية! هدمت ولم تبنِ، فرّقت ولم توحّد، قسّمت ولم تجمع، أضعفت ولم تقوِّ، بدّدت ولم تصُن، رضخت لأولياء النعمة، ولم تُعِر اهتماماً لمصالح شعوبها، وأمتها، وأمنها القومي، فاستسلمت للعدو المهدّد الدائم للسلام والأرض، والأمن القومي للأمة كلها، ورضخت لقوى التسلط، وتراجعت عن دورها، وتخلت عن وعودها ورسالتها، وفرّطت بحقها، وبقراراتها القومية التي اتخذتها وصبّت في صالح العدو وقوى الهيمنة الغربية…

 لقد كانت قضية فلسطين، ساحة خصبة لكلّ التناقضات العربية، التي تزاحم على أرضها اللاعبون من الزعماء العرب منذ نشوئها عام 1945، ليؤدّي على ملعبها كلّ واحد منهم دوره حسب أهوائه، وانتماءاته، وسياساته، وارتباطاته ونياته، وأهدافه. فكان منهم المناضل المقاوم، الثابت على المبادئ والقيم الوطنية القومية العليا، الملتزم بقضايا أمته وحقوق شعوبها، لا يهادن ولا يساوم، ولا يستسلم، خاصة في ما يتعلق بقضية العرب الأولى فلسطين، معتبراً إياها مسألة وجود الأمة وأمنها وحريتها ومستقبلها. ومنهم مَن تآمر، وتخاذل، وساوم على القضية وغدر بها، في بازار قوى المصالح والسيطرة، والنفوذ، ورضخ لإملاءات وأوامر سيده في الخارج، في حين كان يزايد علناً وباستمرار، مظهراً نفسه الحريص كلّ الحرص، على تأييده ودعمه لفلسطين وحقوق شعبها، وغيرته واستماتته في الدفاع عنها بكلّ الوسائل، دون التفريط بها بأيّ شكل من الأشكال.

مزايدات تلو المزايدات كانت تخفي باستمرار في نفوس مطلقيها، كمّاً كبيراً من النفاق، والخداع، والخبث، والغدر، والخيانة…

 اليوم، بعد الزحف والاعتراف بالكيان الصهيوني، لتقل لنا الجامعة العربية صراحة، ومعها المهرولون والمطبّعون، وليقل لنا أمينها العام أبو الغيط، الذي لم نسمع منه موقفاً قومياً شجاعاً، أو تعليقاً مشرّفاً يليق بقضية الأمة المركزية، ويكون على مستوى المسؤوليّة القوميّة والعربيّة، ليبيّن لنا ردّه ورأيه «الواضح» و»الصريح»، حيال الاعتراف العربي بالعدو والتطبيع معه، ومدى التزام الأمين العام، وتمسكه بقرارات «جامعته»، ومعرفة ما إذا كان مع الاعتراف أو ضدّه، حيث جاء صمت الأمين العام، وكأنّ على رأسه الطير، والشاهد الذي «ما شفش حاجة»…

فأين هي قرارات الجامعة العربية حيال «إسرائيل» التي شغلتم العرب والعالم بها لمدة عقود، ومنذ تأسيس كيان الاحتلال، وأين أصبحت اليوم؟! وأين هي لاءات العرب الثلاث: لا صلح ولا مفاوضات ولا اعتراف بـ «إسرائيل»، بعد أن زحف بعض «العرب» على بطونهم للاعتراف بكيانها، في الوقت الذي تصفع فيه «إسرائيل» وجوههم بلاءاتها الستّ: لا لعودة القدس إلى وضعها السابق، لا لعودة اللاجئين، لا لإزالة المستوطنات ووقف الاستيطان، لا لعودة الضفة الغربية كاملة للفلسطينيين، لا للتخلي عن الجولان، ولا لدولة فلسطينية موحدة الأرض والشعب.

 بعد هذا الانهيار والتخاذل، والانحطاط في الموقف العربي، تجاه القضية المركزية والأمن القومي العربي، التي شكلت على مدار الصراع العربي ـ «الإسرائيلي»، محور النضال، وبوصلة العمل العربي المشترك، نقول بصوت عال: ما الذي بقي من صدقية للجامعة العربية كي تواجه بها شعوبها، وتواجه العالم الذي لم ينظر إليها يوماً إلا باستخفاف، وهو الذي خبر جيداً نتائج قممها، وجدية وسلوك حكام دولها وزعمائها، والقيّمين عليها، والمسؤولين فيها، وعرف حقيقة معدنهم، وصدقيّتهم، وما يقولونه في العلن، ويفعلونه في السرّ، ما يضمرونه ويبيّتونه لبعضهم البعض، وما يرفعونه من شعارات لا تعكس بالمرة ما ينفذونه على الأرض… وما فلسطين إلا نموذج وشاهد على أفعالهم.

كيف يمكن لجامعة عربية أن تستمرّ بالدفاع عن الحقوق العربية، والعمل على تحرير الأراضي المحتلة، وتؤدي دورها الفاعل، على الصعيد القومي، والسياسي، والاقتصادي، والعسكري، والثقافي، وفي داخلها دول مقاومة ورافضة لدولة الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي»، ودول ترى في دولة الاحتلال، دولة حليفة لها بل شقيقة؟!

 بعد كلّ الذي نشاهده ونلمسه من واقع مرير، وانحطاط وعمالة وذلّ أدمن عليه البعض في هذه الأمة وتعايش معه، ترى شعوب الأمة العربية كلها، ونرى معها أنها أحوج ما تكون الى «جامعة الشعوب العربية» بكلّ نشطائها وفعالياتها وقواها الشعبية كي تتصدّى بحزم لأيّ تعاون مع العدو، وتجهض تداعيات الاعتراف بالعدو، مثل ما فعله ويفعله شعب مصر والأردن الأصيل برفضه للتطبيع. لذلك لا داعي بعد اليوم، لوجود جامعة عربية من هذا الطراز الوضيع، في نهجها وسلوكها وأدائها، ومهامها، طالما أنّ قرارات النهار، يمحوها أشباح ليل الجامعة المتحكّمون بها، والمهيمنون عليها، لتغدو اليوم جثة ميتة، يصعب إحياؤها. لذلك، ليس أمام المهرولين والمطبّعين بعد الآن، إلا تشييعها الى مثواها العبري، لأنه المكان الوحيد الذي تستطيع أن تحظى فيه على المديح والتكريم والتأبين!

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*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق.

Turkey Making Ties With Israel

ERD3211

12.12.2020 

Author: Vladimir Odintsov

In recent years, one can more and more often find articles in various media about Turkey’s apparent desire to develop and strengthen its diverse ties with Israel. New Eastern Outlook has also repeatedly addressed the issue of assessing the current state of relations between the two countries, dealing with one issue in particular: Turkey and Israel: Enemies or Allies?

Relations between the two countries have developed in waves over the past decades, most notably sparking a crisis in 2010 after the Israelis shot and killed 10 Turkish activists who were trying to reach the shore on the Mavi Marmara in besieged Gaza in support of the Palestinians. Ultimately, in May 2018, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its own because of Israeli attacks on Gaza and the United States’ decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At the same time, it is no secret that economic ties have been maintained, and among the construction companies engaged in building Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory since the 1990s, there are also Turkish companies, such as the Yılmazlar Construction Group, which renewed its relationship with Israel in 2002.

As for Israel, it sees Turkey as a country with important financial flows for it and as one of the centers of world trade, a key and strategically important place for its domination in the Middle East. This explains Tel Aviv’s moves to agree to secret contacts with Turkey, one of which was the recent communication between the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Service, Hakan Fidan, and Israeli officials as part of Turkey’s efforts to normalize relations. These latest contacts, according to sources, have involved, among other things, restoring ties between Turkey and Israel back to the envoy level.

As The Jerusalem Post notes in this regard, Turkey expects not only to show its friendly attitude towards Israel and the Jews, but also to get dividends in the eyes of Joe Biden’s administration. At the same time, the publication stresses that “this is a model that has been used before… However, it is still unclear whether Israel will pander to Turkey and ignore its support for Hamas.”

The other day there was another offer from Ankara to reconcile with Israel and end the lingering bilateral conflict. Cihat Yaycı, a retired admiral and political science professor who is close to Erdoğan, has published an article in the December issue of Turkeyscope, a monthly magazine of the Moshe Dayan Center of Tel Aviv University, proposing a solution to the maritime economic border between Israel and Turkey. He sees this, in particular, at the expense of reducing the interests of Cyprus, with which Ankara’s relations have recently seriously deteriorated against the background of Turkish expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is true that in the comments to this article, the editor-in-chief of Turkeyscope, Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, PhD in Oriental Studies, noted: “In order to raise the level of Israel’s relations with Turkey, in order to achieve a real normalization, it is necessary to restore mutual trust, for which, above all, it is necessary to return the envoys and consuls.”

The essence of the Turkish proposals is to establish a sea economic zone border between Turkey and Israel at the expense of Cyprus and, by redrawing the sea economic zones, to transfer a number of Cypriot blocks to Israel. In announcing these proposals, Ankara is trying to play on the fact that the border zones between Israel and Cyprus are still disputed, despite all the signed agreements. And since economic waters are concerned, where on the Cypriot side there is the Aphrodite gas field with 100 billion cubic meters of gas worth $9 billion, the new demarcation of the sea border is presented by Ankara as a very expensive gift to Tel Aviv, but only on one condition: Israel will only have business with Turkey and absolutely nothing with Cyprus, whose opinion does not interest Erdoğan in the slightest. At the same time, Ankara makes no secret of the fact that it, too, has “claims” to Cyprus, thus suggesting that Israel should conduct an “exchange of interests” by signing an agreement.

Admiral Cihat Yaycı also advises Israel not to build the expensive EastMed gas pipeline to Greece through Cyprus, but to connect to the Turkish pipeline for gas supplies to Europe, which is more practical and cheaper, clearly referring to the “Southern Gas Corridor” from Azerbaijan, which passes through Turkey.

It is worth noting that Turkey had already signed earlier a very similar agreement, only at the expense of Greece, with the Libyan government in Tripoli, which angered not only Athens, but also Brussels, Cairo and Tel Aviv. Moreover, it was the former Turkish admiral Cihat Yaycı, who suggested the idea of this agreement with Libya.

As the Israeli media commented on Yaycı’s proposal, this is the second time in the last four months that Ankara has used the energy sector in an attempt to negotiate a truce with Israel. The clearly targeted rapprochement on Turkey’s part is evidenced not only by the increasing frequency of contacts between representatives of the secret services of the two states, but also by the fact that Erdoğan himself has stopped his openly insulting attacks against Israel in recent months.

Regarding Israel’s proposed sea border agreement with Turkey, Israeli observers have already called it a “Turkish gambit,” in which Erdoğan intends to sacrifice another piece instead of a pawn… That piece being Cyprus, with which Israel has not yet agreed on a sea border.

Ankara’s proposed agreement on the mutually beneficial delimitation of the sea economic zone has so far been received rather negatively in Israeli expert circles. In particular, there is a clear warning that, if agreed on, it could pit Israel not only against Cyprus and Greece, but also against its new peace partner, the United Arab Emirates, whose formal ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayed, recently signed a defense treaty with Greece. At the same time, it is not ruled out that tensions between the UAE and Erdoğan with his partners in Qatar could also lead to a serious conflict between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.

Under these conditions, experts believe that Israel certainly will not accept Ankara’s proposed agreement and betrayal of its ally Cyprus, which, in turn, casts doubt on the “Turkish gambit’s” success. As for Turkey, Tel Aviv insists that it must first change its public attitude towards Israel, stop delegitimizing it in the eyes of the Turkish population, and end its relations with Hamas. In doing so, Israel shows that if Erdoğan follows through, the Jewish state will find ways to restore the formal, mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries that it had in the past.

Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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