Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (01 – 07 April 2021)

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (01 – 07 April 2021)

April 8, 2021

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (01 – 07 April 2021)

Palestinian civilian killed and his wife wounded after targeting their vehicle at a military checkpoint, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem

IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank: 18 Palestinians wounded, including 2 journalists

Four IOF shootings reported at agricultural areas and seven on fishing boats in Eastern and Western Gaza Strip

In 177 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 67 civilians arrested, including 3 children, a woman and a journalist

Candidate for Legislative Council elections arrested in Bethlehem, 2 others summoned and an elections-related event banned in occupied East Jerusalem

Two houses demolished; one self-demolished, and eight facilities in addition to a settlement road built in occupied East Jerusalem

Settler-attacks: a settlement road built in Bethlehem and assaults on farmers and agricultural lands in Nablus, Hebron and Ramallah

IOF established 88 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 9 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. Even more, IOF continued its demolition operations and delivery of cease-construction and demolition notices in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. PCHR documented 204 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

IOF killed Osama Mohammed Sedqi Mansour (42) and wounded his wife when they stopped their car at a military checkpoint and opened fire at it. IOF claimed that they opened fire at the car after the driver had attempted to run over Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint. According to the wife’s testimony and investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the Israeli soldiers opened fire at the car without any justification as they checked the passengers’ IDs and allowed them to pass.

Also, 18 Palestinians, including two journalists, sustained wounds as a result of IOF excessive use of force against civilians in the West Bank: six civilians were wounded during suppression of a peaceful protest in Al-Mughayyir village in Ramallah; two journalists at the weekly Kafr Qaddum protests in Qalqilya; eight others in IOF incursion into Askar refugee camp and during the suppression of a peaceful protest in Beit Dajan; an intelligence officer wounded in IOF incursion into Tubas; and another wounded near the annexation wall.

Dozens suffocated due to tear gas inhalation, and others were wounded in IOF assaults during house raids across the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip, 4 IOF shootings were reported on agricultural lands in eastern and western Gaza; and 7 at fishing boats in the Gaza sea.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:

IOF carried out 177 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, 67 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 children, a woman and a journalist.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 4 incidents:

  • East Jerusalem: a house was self-demolished in Jabel Mukaber village; a settlement road was built in eastern Issawiya village; 2 farmers were demolished; and a residential house, 3 barracks, 2 containers and a shop were demolished in al-Za’rawa and Habayil al-‘Arab areas in Issawiya village.
  • Qalqilya: a barrack for construction material was demolished.


Settler-attacks:
 PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 4 attacks:

  • Bethlehem: a settlement road was built.
  • Nablus: an assault on Palestinian farmers in Jalud village.
  • Hebron: opening fire at Palestinian Land and Water Settlement Commission during land-surveying in Hebron.
  • Ramallah: an assault on an agricultural area near the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • Bethlehem: lands razed in Kisan for construction of a settlement road
  • Nablus: 25 tree seedlings uprooted.

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. The United Nations confirmed that the Gaza conditions are worsening, with deteriorating health, power, and water services. The UN emphasized that the Gaza Strip requires immense efforts in the housing and education sectors and to create job opportunities.

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 00:20 on Thursday, 01 April 2021, IOF moved into Nablus, north of the West Bank, and stationed in the eastern side to secure the entry of dozens of buses carrying Israeli settlers to Joseph tomb, where settlers perform prayers. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at the IOF’s vehicles. IOF responded with teargas canisters to disperse the young men. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 05:15, a group of Israeli undercover units “Mista’arvim” sneaked into Tubas city in two civilian cars. They surrounded Ahmed Jamal Ahmed Daraghmah’s (23) house located near the Intelligence Service office in the city. Few minutes later, several Israeli vehicles moved into the city to back up the undercover units. During which, IOF opened fire at a Palestinian Intelligence officer namely Mohammed Rushdi Habeeb al-‘Aydi (27), who got out of the Intelligence Service office to take the guarders back into the office. As a result, al-‘Aydi was shot with a live bullet below his left armpit, and sustained shrapnel wounds in his chest. He was then taken to Tubas Turkish Hospital for treatment. Also, IOF raided Daraghmah’s house and arrested Kamal Jamal Ahmed Daraghmah (29) in order to force his brother Ahmed (23) to surrender himself. In the evening, Ahmed surrendered at Tayaseer military checkpoint, east of Tubas city, while Kamal was released.
  • At approximately 12:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands and Palestinian shepherds, east of Khuzaʽa village; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 02:40 on Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF moved into Askar refugee camp, northeast of Nablus. Meanwhile, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at IOF’s vehicles. IOF immediately fired live bullets and teargas canisters at them. Clashes erupted between Palestinian young men and Israeli soldiers and continued until the morning. As a result, 5 civilians were wounded as follows:
  • A 20-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his right foot.
  • A 24-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his right leg.
  • A 25-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his left leg.
  • A 23-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his chest.
  • A 27-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his abdomen.

Also, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot. After that, IOF arrested Na’im Ahmed al-Shennawi (25) and later withdrew, taking him to an unknown destination.

  • At approximately 11:30 on Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF stationed at the eastern entrance to Al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men against the closure of the mentioned entrance with sand berms for several weeks. When the protestors arrived at the area, IOF chased them and fired rubber and live bullets and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 6 civilians were wounded as follows:
  • A 40-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his thigh.
  • A 19-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his left leg.
  • A 23-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his left leg.
  • 19-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his thigh.
  • A 25-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his right foot.
  • A 28-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his right leg.

All of them sustained minor wounds and received treatment on the spot by the Palestinian Red Crescent society crew. In addition, dozens of civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot. Also, the windshield of Faraj Hussain al-Na’san’s vehicle was broken with a sound bomb.

  • At approximately 12:30, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, two photojournalists were wounded and identified as:
  • ‘Abdullah Saleem Shtawi (26), a photojournalist at B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights, who was hit with a sponge grenade in his back.
  • Bashar Mohammed Nazal (30), a photojournalist at Palestine TV, who was hit with a sponge grenade in his hand.
  • At approximately 13:30, a peaceful protest took off in front of Beit Dajan village council, east of Nablus, north of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in Nablus, towards lands under the threat of confiscation, east of the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation and settlers. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 3 civilians, including a child, were wounded with rubber bullets in their heads and taken to Rafidia Hospital for treatment. Also, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of al-Qarara village; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 16:00 on Saturday, 03 April 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Soudaniya 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. At 21:15 on the same day, Israeli gunboats reopened fire at Palestinian fishing boats until 00:20. As a result, many fishing nets were lost, while fishermen out of fear were forced to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 22:00 on Saturday, 03 April 2021, IOF stationed in a military watchtower established near the annexation wall gate in kherbet Um al-Lahem in Qatanna village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem, opened fire at Ya’qoub Hussain Mohammed al-Faqeih (20) while crossing through the annexation wall holes to work in Israel. Al-Faqeih’s family said that IOF opened fire at their son before arresting him, but few hours later IOF released him.
  • At approximately 00:00 on Sunday, 04 April 2021, IOF accompanied with a Skunk carrying vehicle moved into Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and stationed in ‘Obaid neighborhood. They established military checkpoints at the village’s entrances, searched Palestinian civilians and checked their IDs. During which, Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones, Molotov Cocktails and fireworks at IOF and their vehicles. IOF suppressed the protestors, fired rubber bullets and heavy teargas canisters at them and pumped wastewater at residential houses. Also, IOF arrested Reda Mohammed ‘Obaid (14) after raiding his house, and later withdrew.
  • At approximately 05:30 on Sunday, 04 April 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Soudaniyia Shore, west of Jabalia camp, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them. At 09:00 on the same day, Israeli gunboats reopened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:30, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Abasan al-Kabira and al-Qarara villages; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at border area, causing fear among Palestinian farmers. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:30 on Monday, 05 April 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off 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 Tuesday, 06 April 2021, IOF killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded his wife when they stopped their car at a military checkpoint and opened fire at it. IOF claimed that they opened fire at the car under after the driver attempted to run over Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint. According to the wife’s testimony and investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the Israeli soldiers opened fire at the car without any justification as they checked the passengers’ IDs and allowed them to pass.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 06 April 2021, IOF moved into Bir Nabala village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem, and raided residential houses and an auto repair shop. They then headed to nearby al-Jib village, where they raided a car showroom at the village entrance to confiscate the surveillance camera recorders. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF and their vehicles. IOF immediately suppressed the protestors, fired live and rubber bullets at them and established a military checkpoint near a tunnel between Biddu and al-Jib villages, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. IOF also stationed at the military checkpoint, searched Palestinian vehicles and checked the passengers’ IDs. At approximately 02:45, IOF stopped a vehicle belonging to Osama Mohammed Sandouqa Mansour (42) and his wife Somaia ‘Izzat ‘Abed al-Nabi al-Kaswani (36), checked their IDs, asked them where they are coming from and then allowed them to pass. When Osama drove 50 meters away from the checkpoint, IOF opened fire at his car, wounding him with two live bullets; one of them penetrated his head.  Moreover, his wife sustained shrapnel wounds in her back. Both of them were taken to Ramallah Governmental Hospital, where Osama was pronounced dead at 03:10 while his wife’s injuries were classified minor.

Later, IOF claimed that: “In a military operation in Bir Nabala village and after establishing a military checkpoint on a road to stop vehicles’ movement in order to back up IOF’s operation in the area, the soldiers at the checkpoint spotted a vehicle, which first stopped at the checkpoint and then drove fast towards them, attempting to run over the soldiers in a way that threatened their lives.  As a result, the Force responded with gunfire to control the threat.”

PCHR’s investigations and Osama’s wife testimony refute the Israeli claims, as Osama obeyed the soldiers’ order and stopped his vehicle and answered their questions. The soldiers checked Osama and his wife’s IDs and then allowed them to pass, noting that he did not drive his car except after the soldiers asked him to do so. When Osama drove his car, the soldiers were behind him, and they opened fire at his vehicle from the back. It should be noted that Osama has 5 children.

  • At approximately 10:30 on Wednesday, 07 April 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore and off al-Soudaniyia 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. At 16:00 on the same day, Israeli gunboats reopened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 01 April 2021:

  • At approximately 00:15, IOF moved into Khillet Aked village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They deployed between civilians’ houses, stormed Nayef Hussain Shawamra’s (65) house, held all his family in one room, damaged the house contents and confiscated 30,000 NIS. IOF handed the family a warrant of the confiscated money and no arrests were reported. After the withdrawal, the family realized that a 100-gram of gold was stolen from the house.
  • At approximately 14:00, Israeli Intelligence Services handed Anwar Sami Obaid (23), from Issawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, a decision that bans his entry to Jerusalem. IOF claimed that Obaid was invloved in a security incident where he lives and urges others for terrorism.

It should be noted that Obaid was arrested and interrogated dozens of times by IOF and spent a total of 5 years in the Israeli prisons in separate periods; in the last arrest, he was released on one condition that he is banned entry to the occupied Jerusalem for 4 months after he spent 4 months under house arrest.

  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Mahmoud Ismael Abu al-Tin’s (19) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Yousef Mohammed Abu Maria’s (30) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 16:30, IOF stormed a tent established to celebrate and welcome the release of Ghazi Mohammed Kan’an (48), in Ras al-Amoud village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and arrested his brother, Isma’el (56). Kan’an family stated that IOF stormed the tent where they were gathering to welcome their son, who spent 11 years in the Israeli prisons, after an hour of his arrival, and threatened to re-arrest him if they organized a welcoming ceremony for him.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF stationed at Za’tara military checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested Hasan Nasrallah al-Sha’er (24), from Nablus. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF stationed at Beit Furik military checkpoint, northeast of Nablus, arrested Mo’men Mahmoud Jaber (19), from Nablus. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (13) incursions in Bir al-Basha Arranah, Beit Qad, Deir Ghazaleh and Faqqoa villages, in Jenin governorate; Anabta, Kafr al-Labad and Ramin, east of Tulkarm; Azzun, east of Qalqilya; Dura and Idhna, in Hebron; Surda, north of Ramallah; Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, southwest of Jericho. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 02 April 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into the southern side of Hebron. They raided and searched Hani Mujahed Abu al-Siba’s (44) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, and stationed at Qa’ al-Hara area. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Awad Za’aqiq (17) and Fahmi Abdul Hameed Za’aqiq (16), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF stationed at Qalandiya military checkpoint, north of the occupied East Jerusalem, arrested Ahmed Ra’fat al-Ghaleet (22), from al-Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah, while crossing the checkpoint. IOF took him to “Ofer” police station, west of Ramallah.
  • At approximately 18:10, IOF moved into Zububa, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Omar Abdul Rahman Obaidiya (17).
  • IOF carried out (12) incursions in Nablus, Burqa, Bizzariya and Salem villages in Nablus governorate; Bir al-Basha, Ya’bad, Atatra, and Silat al-Dhahr in Jenin governorate; Yatta, Bani Na’im, Simia, and al-Shuyukh villages in Hebron governorate, no arrests were reported.

Saturday, 03 April 2021:

  • At approximately 11:30, IOF arrested Mazen Subhi Nabtiti (49), from Tulkarm, when he was near Inab military checkpoint, east of Tulkarm.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Mahmoud al-‘Amour (24) and Mohammed Ra’ed al-‘Amour (26), while crossing a temporary military checkpoint near the western entrance to Teqoa, east of Bethlehem. IOF took them to one of the detention centers in the city and released them several hours later.

Sunday, 04 April 2021:

  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into al-Thuri neighborhood, south of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Tawfiq Rafiq al-Shwaiky’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Bassam Obaid (24), while on duty in French Hill neighborhood “Giv’at Shapira”, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took him to one of the police centers in the city.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF stationed at “Mevo Dotan” military checkpoint, southwest of Jenin, arrested Mohammed Ma’moun ‘Amaranah (19), from Ya’bad, southwest of the city. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Beit Ummar, Hebron, Tarqumiyah, and Sa’ir villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 05 April 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; including a father and his son. The arrestees were identified as Faisal Lo’ay Obaid (20), Lo’ay Faisal Obaid (43), and Mohammed Waleed Obaid.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Sa’ir, north of Hebron, and stationed in al-‘Aroud area. They deployed between civilians’ houses and stormed Sa’ed Nimir Farroukh’s (33) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved Qalandiya refugee camp, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians: Journalist Khaled Mohammed Mutair (29), Mahmoud Ibrahim Mutair (27), Rami Mansour (22), and Mo’men Mansour (23).
  • At approximately 03:50, IOF moved into Deir Jarir village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched Ma’en Abdul ‘Alim Olwi’s (21) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF backed by several military vehicles moved into Kobar village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched 4 houses and arrested (4) civilians: Watan ‘Assef al-Barghouthi (24), Mustafa Ra’ed al-Barghouthi (20), Mohammed Fahmi Asfour (28), and Assem Nabil al-‘Abed (23).
  • At approximately 06:30, IOF stationed at a temporary checkpoint established near the entrance to al-Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah, arrested Shadi Hussain Safi (24) and took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in Dura, Beit Kahil, and Bani Na’im villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 06 April 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Hebron and stationed at Nanqar area. They raided and searched Ja’far Nouh Abu Aysha’s (44) house, detained his family in one room, damaged the house contents and withdrew. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Tell village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Nasr al-Dein Hamza Ishtayya (18).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Saf street in Bethlehem. They raided and searched Adel Issa Hijazi’s (48) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Hindaza area in Bethlehem. They raided and searched Hasan Mohammed Wardian’s (62) house, and arrested him. It should be noted that Wardian is one of the candidates for the legislative elections representing the Hamas Movement list “Jerusalem is Our Destination”.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Fureidis village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Nader Mohammed Abayat’s (52) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 10:00, ‘Ayyad Jamal al-Harimi (28) surrendered himself to the Israeli authorities, after IOF stormed his house in Bethlehem and threatened to arrest his mother if he did not surrender himself.

Nadi al-Aseer stated that Ayyad was arrested several times since he was a child, the latest of which was 2 months ago as he spent 18 months in the administrative arrest. It should be noted that in 2016, ‘Ayyad was on a hunger strike for 45 days in protest against his arrest.

  • At approximately 11:00, IOF banned a meeting to discuss the legislative elections at the Ambassador Hotel in al-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. The Civil Society organizations invited for this meeting titled “International Law Guarantees the right Palestinians in East Jerusalem to vote”.

It should be noted that before the meeting, IOF imposed and established checkpoints in the neighborhood, banned civilians from reaching the Ambassador Hotel, stopped and searched the vehicles of PLC candidates within Fatah list identified as as Naser Mohammed Qaws, Ghada Mohammed Abu Rabea’, Awad al-Salayma and ‘Ahed al-Rashq, and handed them summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in al-Maskobiya investigation center in West Jerusalem, under the pretext of organizing banned activities in Jerusalem. Additionally, IOF arrested the Secretary-General of Fatah Movement in Jerusalem, Adel Abu Zneid, and the Ambassador Hotel’s manager, Sami Abu Dayyah. It should be noted that the Israeli Authorities ban any activities or events relevant to the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem, and prosecute their organizers or supporters.

  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested Anaghim Nader Awad (21), from Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, after stopping her at a temporary military checkpoint established at the eastern entrance to the city.
  • At approximately 23:30, IOF stationed at Qalandiya checkpoint, north of the occupied East Jerusalem, arrested Ziyad Fareed Shehada (52), from Qalandiya refugee camp, while crossing the checkpoint.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Burqa, northwest of Nablus; Salfit, Sa’ir and al-Shuyukh villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 07 April 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Yamun village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Jehad Mohammed Nawahda (59), and his son, Osaid (23).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched four houses and arrested (4) civilians, including a child. The arrestees were identified as Yousef Abdul Hamid Abu Maria (45), Adyar Ivan al-Salibi (28), Amro Khaled ‘Allami (30), and Majdi Mershed al-Za’aqiq (17).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Yatta, south of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched several houses and arrested 3 civilians and released them after 3 hours. The arrestees were identified as Thabit Mohammed al-Surai’ (39), Shaher Ayed Abu Rabi’a (40), and Khalil Yousef Abu Arram (30).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into ‘Anin village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jamal Tayseer Yasin (38), who was arrested yesterday when he was at his work in Israel. IOF withdrew and no items were confiscated.
  • At approximately 02:40, IOF moved into Jalbun village, northeast of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Fo’ad Najeh Abu al-Rab (21).
  • At approximately 03:40, IOF moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, southeast of al-Bireh, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Hussam Khader al-Wawi’s (30) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:30, IOF moved into Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah, and stationed at the center of the village. They deployed between civilians’ houses, stormed some of them and arrested (7) civilians. The arrestees were identified as: Nidal Hasan Samhan (43), Anas Mohammed Samhan (29), Mahmoud Khaled Samhan (27), Mohammed Taha Abu Fkheida (35), Abdullah Mohammed Samhan (26), Ahmed Zaghloul Samhan (24), and Mo’ayad Fares Samhan (49).
  • At approximately 05:10, IOF moved into Deir Jarir village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched Haidr Abdul Hafiz Mukho’s (48) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF moved into Ras Khamis neighborhood in Shu’afat refugee camp, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Jasem Sandouqa’s (42) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Ti’nik, west of Jenin; Nuba, Surif, and al-Aroub refugee camp, in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

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

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • On Saturday afternoon, 03 April 2021, ‘Amer Shqeirat self-demolished his house in Jabal Mukaber, east of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Shqeirat said that the Israeli Municipality has haunted him since last year and imposed on him a fine of 60,000 shekels, which he pays in monthly installments.  Shqeirat added that IOF raided his house on 14 March and handed him a notice to demolish his house within 21 days or the municipality’s crews will carry out the demolition and fine him with the expenses.  Shqeirat said that he had to vacate the house and then demolish it with a bulldozer to avoid paying more money for the Israeli Municipality.  He added that the house was built on an area of 120sqms that includes 3 rooms and its facilities, where he lived with his wife and 4 kids.

  • On Sunday morning, 04 April 2021, the Israeli Civil Administration bulldozers levelled lands located in eastern al-Issawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, to build a settlement road within the E1 Scheme, which aims to isolate the northern West Bank from the eastern West Bank.

Member of the al-‘Issawiya Follow-up Committee, Mohammed Abu al-Hummus, said that the Israeli Civil Administration vehicles accompanied with IOF stormed lands belonging to Mustafa and Abu Riyala families between the villages of al-‘Issawiya and az-Za’ayyem, east of the occupied city.  Abu al-Hummus added that the vehicles levelled the lands planted with crops and seedlings and started building a road within the E1 settlement scheme.

  • At approximately 08:15 on Monday, 05 April 2021, IOF backed by 7 military vehicles moved into Jinsafut village, east of Qalqilya, and demolished a barrack for construction materials belonging to Mahmoud Yousif Mohammed Sokar.

The barrack’s owner said to PCHR’s fieldworkers:

“At approximately 08:15, a worker in the barrack called to tell me that IOF came to demolish the barrack, so I went there immediately to find that they had already started the demolition.  They removed the ceiling, tiles, gypsum and the electrical panel and took the glass door along with everything in addition to high quantity of steel although they told me they will only remove the frame. They also damaged all the goods since the rubble and paints fell on them, noting that I did not receive any prior notice.”

  • On Wednesday morning, 07 April 2021, IOF bulldozers levelled 2 farms and demolished a house, 3 barracks, 2 containers and a shop in al-Za’rourah and Habayel al-‘Arab areas in al-‘Issawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Member of al-‘Issawiya Follow-up Committee, Mohammed Abu al-Hummus, said that IOF’s vehicles stormed a 700-sqm farm belonging to Majed Diab and started levelling it and demolishing everything there.  Abu al-Hummus added that the IOF’s vehicles demolished a 70-sqm house built there of 2 rooms and their facilities and sheltering Majed Diab, his wife and 3 kids in addition to a garage established there 7 years ago and a barrack for horses.  They also demolished the fence surrounding the farm.  Abu al-Hummus added that the IOF’s vehicles also levelled another farm belonging to Adeeb Jamil Abu al-Hummus and demolished 2 containers used as storehouses for auto spare parts and a barrack for horses in addition to confiscating the horses.  Abu al-Hummus said that the IOF’s vehicles demolished a fence and barrack belonging to Farouq Mustafa and then withdrew.  He added that IOF previously handed the facilities’ owners demolition orders and imposed on some of them fines of thousands of shekels.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • At approximately 03:00 on Friday, 02 April 2021, dozens of settlers levelled and built a settlement road between the areas of al-Khemar and Kherbet Mousa in Battir village, west of Bethlehem.

‘Omer al-Qaisi, one of the owners of the affected lands in the area, said that a group of settlers under IOF’s protection parked their bulldozers in lands connecting Kherbet Mousa and al-Khemar areas and started building an agricultural road of 100 meters long and 6 meters wide for settlement purposes.  As a result, vacant areas of land were damaged and dozens of trees were uprooted.

  • At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 03 April 2021, a group of settlers from “Esh Kodesh” settlement outpost established in southeastern Nablus attacked a group of farmers while working in their lands, east of Jalud village, and prevented them from doing their work at gunpoint. During which, at least 5 settlers; some of them masked, attacked with sticks and stones a 70-year old man, Walid Isma’il ‘Abdel Hafez Shweiki from Jerusalem.  The settlers also attacked a plot of land belonging to Jawad Jamil Yousif Hussein from Qasra village and uprooted 100 olive, pine and cypress seedlings.  They also damaged the power line poles and network on the road between Qasra village and Jalud village before going back to their settlement outpost.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 04 April 2021, one of the settlers in “Havat Talia” settlement outpost established on the Palestinian lands confiscated from eastern Yata, south of Hebron, opened fire at the Lands and Water Authority employees who were land-surveying in an area near Tuwani village, east of Yatta, to force them to leave the area, which is within Area C. Meanwhile, IOF and Israeli police arrived at the scene and took the settler away.  No injuries were reported among the employees.
  • At approximately 14:00 on Monday, 05 April 2021, a group of settlers from “Halmish” settlement established on the Palestinian lands of northwestern Ramallah attacked an agricultural area near the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, and tried to remove the barbed-wire fence surrounding the land. A number of villagers gathered in the area to confront the settlers and threw stones at them while IOF stationed at the watchtower there fired teargas canisters to disperse the villagers. As a result, many of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  1. 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  88 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 9 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 Thursday, 01 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints near Biddu village’s tunnel and at the entrance to Al-Eizariya village, east of the city.
  • On Saturday, 03 April 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Anata village, east of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 06 April 2021, IOF established a checkpoint under a tunnel established between Biddu and Al-Jib villages, northwest of the city.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 01 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Marah Rabah village, at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village and near al-Nashash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village and in ‘Aqabet Hasna area, west of the city.
  • On Sunday, 04 April 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, and at the entrance to Jannatah village, east of the city.
  • On Monday, 05 April 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the northern and western entrances to Tuqu village, at the entrance to Jannatah village and near al-Nashash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 06 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village and near al-Nashash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 07 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern and western entrances to Tuqu village, east of the city.

Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 01 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the main entrance to Aboud village, northwest of the city, and near Atara village’s bridge.
  • On Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at “Hallamish” settlement intersection, and at the entrances to Nabi Salih and Ras Karkar villages.
  • On Sunday, 04 April 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Aboud, Nabi Salih, Deir Abu Mash’al and Beitin villages, and on a road connecting between Ras Karkar and Deir Ibzi villages.
  • On Monday, 05 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Nabi Salih and Ein Yabrud villages.
  • On Tuesday, 06 April 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints under Ein Yabrud’s bridge, near Atara village’s bridge, at the intersection of Ein Siniya village, and at the entrance to Al-Mughayyir village.
  • On Wednesday, 07 April 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 01 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho.
  • On Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF stationed at al-Hamra military checkpoint, north of the city, tightened their measures at the checkpoint, obstructed vehicles’ movement and checked passengers’ IDs. They also established a checkpoint at the intersection of Al-Auja village.
  • On Saturday, 03 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Jericho, and at the entrance to Fasayil village.
  • On Monday, 05 April 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at Al-Auja village’s intersection.
  • On Tuesday, 06 April 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • Nablus:
  • On Thursday, 01 April 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement, west of the city.
  • On Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement, west of the city, on Al-Badhan village’s road and at “Yitzhar“intersection, southeast of the city.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 01 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Abu al-‘Asaja and Idhna villages, at the southern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to as-Samu village and at the western entrance to Hebron.
  • On Saturday, 03 April 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron, at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp, and at the entrances to Beit Ummar and Beit Awwa
  • On Sunday, 04 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Bani Na’im village and at the northern entrance to Hebron.
  • On Monday, 05 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Sa’ir village, at the western entrance to Hebron and at the northern entrance to Yatta city.
  • On Tuesday, 06 April 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Idhna village and at the southern entrance to Hebron.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 01 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Azzun, Jayyous and Sir villages, east of the city.
  • On Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Immatain and Izbat al-Tabib villages, east of the city.
  • On Monday, 05 April 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Azzun village, east of the city.

Salfit:

  • On Friday, 02 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Qarawat Bani Hassan, Bruqin and Kafr ad-Dik village, west of the city.
  • On Saturday, 03 April 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Istiya, Deir Ballut and Kafr ad-Dik villages, west of Salfit.
  • On Monday, 05 April 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Bruqin village, west of the city.

Palestinian sisters face challenges of daily life in West Bank village under threat

Source

Surrounded by Israeli settlements in southern Hebron, the Abu Kabbash family remain determined to fight for their dreams and land

Zeina Abu Kabbash, 15, and her younger siblings have been missing online classes due to lack of the internet and electricity in their village (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Published date: 10 April 2021 08:59 UTC

On a sunny spring morning in the occupied West Bank village of Khirbet al-Radhim, Zeina Abu Kabbash goes about her day, looking after crops and feeding the cows on her family’s land.

‘Life here is very hard, very different from that of my friends who enjoy a comfortable and luxurious existence’

–  Zeina Abu Kabbash, 15

The 15-year-old should be attending online lessons, as are her schoolmates. But since her village in the southern governorate of Hebron has no electricity or internet, she has been missing classes ever since her school moved to virtual lessons following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zeina has been warned by her teacher that, if she continues to miss online classes, she will have to repeat the grade next year.

“Life here is very hard, very different from that of my friends who enjoy a comfortable and luxurious existence,” she tells Middle East Eye while picking beans in the field. “I miss school very much. I need it… But what should I do? I only have a humble, broken mobile phone.”

The Abu Kabbashes are one of seven families still living in Khirbet al-Radhim, the last Palestinian village in the far south of the occupied West Bank. They have no access to electricity, water or internet, and the call connection services remain poor.

Despite the lack of modern necessities, the village’s residents refuse to leave their homes and ancestral lands, which have been surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements since the 1980s and face the constant threat of demolition.

Last village standing

The Abu Kabbash family lives in a cave and has an additional room constructed with zinc sheets on their 150-dunam (15-hectare) plot of land. The family of 11 depends on its crops, beekeeping and honey production for a living.

The head of the household is 74-year-old Issa Safi Abu Kabbash. He says that although his land is large, he can barely make ends meet for his wife, eight daughters and one son.

Issa Abu Kabbash with his daughters (from left) Narmin, Eman and Maram outside their home (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
Issa Safi Abu Kabbash with daughters (from left) Narmin, Eman and Maram outside their home (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

“Our land is not fertile. If the soil is fertile one year, it won’t be in the following five years,” he says, adding that this was due to a lack of water in the area.

Water shortages have been exacerbated by the fact that the Israeli Civil Administration, the military body that rules over the 60 percent of the West Bank known as Area C, has refused to give him a permit to dig a well. There hasn’t been much help or compensation coming from the Palestinian Authority either, he adds.

Issa inherited his land from his father and grandparents, and possesses property ownership documents dating back to the Ottoman era. But Israeli authorities do not recognise his ownership papers, and have issued demolition orders on his home.

“With this military force that besieges and haunts us every day, we have no choice but to sacrifice our comfort and dreams to stay here, to continue cultivating our land and live in it,” he says.

One of Zeina's daily duties is to feed her family's cows (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
One of Zeina’s daily duties is to feed the family’s cows (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

However, the threat of demolition hasn’t stopped him from continuing to plough the land every morning to prepare it for his wife and eight daughters to plant the seeds.

Pointing at the peak of a mountain near his field, he says: “This one settler moved there two years ago. Since then, he has constantly released his animals onto our lands. So far [his animals have] destroyed around 20 dunams of our crops.”

Dangerous neighbours

Since the 1980s, Israeli settlements, which violate international law, have expanded across the West Bank, notably in the southern Hebron governorate, where dozens have sprouted on hilltops and mountains, and lands confiscated from Palestinians living in the area.

Three settlements – Asael, Shama and Otniel – surround Khirbet al-Radhim, as well as the outpost whose animals have destroyed the Abu Kabbashes’ crops. While outposts are also deemed illegal under Israeli law, in effect they are tolerated by Israeli authorities, and many are legalised retroactively. 

“Since 1984, Israel has used the military force to impose settlements. It destroyed us, confiscated our lands, and besieged what had remained,” Issa explains as he rolls a cigarette. “Nowadays, Israel does not only target our homes. It targets us [the residents], because it considers us an obstacle to its settlement expansion. It does not want us here.”

‘I continue to dream of dogs chasing me. I wake up terrified’

– Eight-year-old Maram

The settlers have not treated the villagers kindly, according to the Abu Kabbash sisters.

Before the pandemic, Zeina and her eight-year-old sister Maram used to walk one kilometre every morning to catch the bus to school in the village of Khirbet al-Shweika.

“The journey [to school] is hard, and we are always worried and afraid of shepherd settlers. They would block our path, scare and threaten us, and even set their dogs on us,” Zeina recalls.

Maram was once attacked by settlers dogs and still has nightmares about the incident.

“I continue to dream of dogs chasing me. I wake up terrified,” she tells MEE.

Maram, 8, poses in front of a colourful wall inside her family's home painted by her sister Rania (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
Maram, eight, poses in front of a colourful wall inside her family’s home, painted by her sister Rania (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Zeina just wants the settlers to “get out” of the area so villagers can feel “safe and never fear displacement at any moment”.

“This is my land that the [Israeli] settlers covet and wish to take,” the teenager says, vowing never to leave her village in order to protect her family’s claim to the land.

‘Painting our destiny’

Zeina’s older sister, Rania, is responsible for preparing lunch for the family while others work in the field. An aspiring illustrator, the 20-year-old has stayed at home after graduating from high school because a university education is out of her reach.

“I wish to continue my studies and learn more about art, but all the universities are very far from our home, and my family wouldn’t be able to afford my university expenses,” she says.

She wakes up early each morning to feed the sheep and cultivate the land. Whenever she finds spare time, she uses it to practise her self-taught anime drawing techniques.

“I need to improve my skills and acquire new ones. Although I spend a lot of time on housework and helping my family in the field, I always find some time to train myself on drawing,” she says.

Rania, 20, prepares lunch for her family (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
Rania, 20, prepares lunch for her family (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Rania has turned the walls of her family’s humble home into works of art, with colourful murals inspired by her thoughts and emotions, including one depicting birds flying out of cages.

“I think of our destiny all the time. What would happen to us if they demolished our home or evicted us from our land?” she asks. “This fear never leaves my mind.”

Faced with obstacles outside their control, the Abu Kabbash sisters nonetheless never stop harbouring dreams of their own.

Zeina wants to become the first nurse in Khirbet al-Radhim, in order to provide healthcare for its 70 residents. Currently, villagers need to travel 45 minutes by car to seek medical care in the closest village, Samu, or more than an hour to the nearest hospital.

As for Maram, who often speaks with a shy, closed-lipped smile, her aspiration is to become a dentist so she can treat children in her village with poor teeth, just like herself.

Will Israeli Supremacism continue to get a free pass?

Germany, France slam US over sanctions against ICC chief prosecutor |  Africa | DW | 04.09.2020

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -April 9, 2021

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: Israel does not really mind being a rogue nation, but would prefer the fact not get too much widespread attention. But this is exactly what the good people at the ICC had finally decided to do.

The Zionist regime, as expected, has responded that the ICC can stuff its investigation of Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians where the sun does not shine. Everyone knows this is true, but most pretend that Israel is a ‘special’ situation.

In effect Israel is allowed to ‘do onto others that you would not want them to do onto you’ because they are…you know…special. Different rules apply for Israelis and their supporters that don’t apply to you and I, because, you know, we are not one of them.

Historical and contemporary media have swallowed this free pass for Israeli supremacism as some form of dispensation it must pay for the ‘Big H’, guilt for not preventing it. I am not even going to use the word, because the Israelis have inflicted the ‘Big H’ on the Palestinians and write it off as a just security matter.

The last time looked we had 75 to 80 million dead from WWII related causes, a number heavily biased because it left out a chunk of the 50 million Chinese dead estimates. One special group has reserved for themselves to be annointed the most horrible thing that happened during WWII, and everyone else can not only go to the back of the bus, but jump off or be thrown off.

That has always stuck me as rather impolite, and hence I have never had warm and fuzzy spot for Israeli, Zionist, Jewish supremacism, for those who practice it.

They may consider me a bad person for this, but I would consider it just a rational observation. I would even be open to hearing their raionale for one group being allowed to hold the number one supremacism spot as an unquestionable right, and dish out to the Palestinans whatever horrors it many want and that be no one else’s business

Jim W. Dean ]

First published … April 09, 2021

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will tell the International Criminal Court that it will not cooperate with its investigation into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel will respond to a notification letter from the ICC, telling it that Tel Aviv does not recognize the tribunal’s authority.

Last month, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced in a statement the launch of a war crimes investigation into the Palestinian territories, which have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

She said her inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.” The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed the prosecutor’s announcement.

It is “a long-awaited step that serves Palestine’s tireless pursuit of justice and accountability, which are indispensable pillars of the peace the Palestinian people seek and deserve”, the PA foreign ministry said in a statement.

Hamas resistance movement also praised the ICC’s move.

“We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice for the victims of our people,” Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman said.

“Our resistance is legitimate and it comes to defend our people. All international laws approve legitimate resistance,” Qassem noted.

Palestine was accepted as an ICC member in 2015, three years after signing the court’s founding Rome Statute, based on its “observer state” status at the United Nations.

Both Israel and the United States have refused to sign up to the ICC, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world’s worst crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

BIOGRAPHY

Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing Editor

Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

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Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014https://www.veteranstoday.com/jim-w-dean-biography/jimwdean@aol.com

From His Solitary Confinement, Marwan Barghouti Holds the Key to Fatah’s Future

April 7, 2021

By Ramzy Baroud

If imprisoned Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouti, becomes the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the status quo will change substantially. For Israel, as well as for the current PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, such a scenario is more dangerous than another strong Hamas showing in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections.

The long-delayed elections, now scheduled for May 22 and July 31 respectively, will not only represent a watershed moment for the fractured Palestinian body politic, but also for the Fatah Movement which has dominated the PA since its inception in 1994. The once-revolutionary Movement has become a shell of its former self under the leadership of Abbas, whose only claim to legitimacy was a poorly contested election in January 2005, following the death of former Fatah leader and PA President, Yasser Arafat.

Though his mandate expired in January 2009, Abbas continued to ‘lead’ Palestinians. Corruption and nepotism increased significantly during his tenure and, not only did he fail to secure an independent Palestinian State, but the Israeli military occupation and illegal settlements have deepened and grown exponentially.

Abbas’ rivals from within the Fatah Movement were sidelined, imprisoned or exiled. A far more popular Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, was silenced by Israel as he was thrown into an Israeli prison in April 2002, after a military court found him guilty of involvement in Palestinian resistance operations during the uprising of 2000. This arrangement suited Abbas, for he continued to doubly benefit: from Barghouti’s popularity, on the one hand, and his absence, on the other.

When, in January, Abbas declared that he would hold three successive rounds of elections – legislative elections on May 22, presidential elections on July 31 and Palestinian National Council (PNC) elections on August 31 – he could not have anticipated that his decree, which followed intense Fatah-Hamas talks, could potentially trigger the implosion of his own party.

Fatah-Hamas rivalry has been decades-long but intensified in January 2006 when the latter won the legislative elections in the Occupied Territories. Hamas’s victory was partly attributed to Fatah’s own corruption, but internal rivalry also splintered Fatah’s vote.

Although it was Fatah’s structural weaknesses that partly boosted Hamas’ popularity, it was, oddly, the subsequent rivalry with Hamas that kept Fatah somehow limping forward. Indeed, the anti-Hamas sentiment served as a point of unity among the various Fatah branches. With money pouring in from donor countries, Fatah used its largesse to keep dissent at a minimum and, when necessary, to punish those who refused to toe the pro-Abbas line. This strategy was successfully put to the test in 2010 when Mohammed Dahlan, Fatah’s ‘strong man’ in Gaza prior to 2006, was dismissed from Fatah’s central committee and banished from the West Bank, as he was banished from Gaza four years earlier.

But that convenient paradigm could not be sustained. Israel is entrenching its military occupation, increasing its illegal settlement activities and is rapidly annexing Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Gaza siege, though deadly and tragic, has become routine and no longer an international priority. A new Palestinian generation in the Occupied Territories cannot relate to Abbas and his old guard, and is openly dissatisfied with the tribal, regional politics through which the PA, under Abbas, continues to govern occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

Possessing no strategies or answers, Abbas is now left with no more political lifelines and few allies.

With dwindling financial resources and faced by the inescapable fact that 85-year-old Abbas must engineer a transition within the movement to prevent its collapse in case of his death, Fatah was forced to contend with an unpleasant reality: without new elections the PA would lose the little political legitimacy with which it ruled over Palestinians.

Abbas was not worried about another setback, like that of 2006, when Hamas won majority of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)’s seats. Until recently, most opinion polls indicated that the pro-Abbas Fatah list would lead by a comfortable margin in May and that Abbas would be re-elected President in July. With his powers intact, Abbas could then expand his legitimacy by allowing Hamas and others into the PLO’s Palestinian National Council – Palestine’s parliament in the Diaspora. Not only would Abbas renew faith in his Authority, but he could also go down in history as the man who united Palestinians.

But things didn’t go as planned and the problem, this time, did not come from Hamas, but from Fatah itself – although Abbas did anticipate internal challenges. However, the removal of Dahlan, the repeated purges of the party’s influential committees and the marginalization of any dissenting Fatah members throughout the years must have infused Abbas with confidence to advance with his plans.

The first challenge emerged on March 11, when Nasser al-Qidwa, a well-respected former diplomat and a nephew of Yasser Arafat, was expelled from the movement’s Central Committee for daring to challenge Abbas’ dominance. On March 4, Qidwa decided to lock horns with Abbas by running in the elections in a separate list.

The second and bigger surprise came on March 31, just one hour before the closing of the Central Election Commission’s registration deadline, when Qidwa’s list was expanded to include supporters of Marwan Barghouti, under the leadership of his wife, Fadwa.

Opinion polls are now suggesting that a Barghouti-Qidwa list, not only would divide the Fatah Movement but would actually win more seats, defeating both the traditional Fatah list and even Hamas. If this happens, Palestinian politics would turn on its head.

Moreover, the fact that Marwan Barghouti’s name was not on the list keeps alive the possibility that the imprisoned Fatah leader could still contest in the presidential elections in July. If that, too, transpires, Barghouti will effortlessly beat and oust Abbas.

The PA President is now in an unenviable position. Canceling the elections would lead to strife, if not violence. Moving forward means the imminent demise of Abbas and his small but powerful clique of Palestinians who benefited greatly from the cozy political arrangement they created for themselves.

As it stands, the key to the future of Fatah is now held by a Palestinian prisoner, Marwan Barghouti, who has been kept by Israel, largely in solitary confinement, since 2002.

– 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

Palestinian Prisoner Freed After 35 Years behind ‘Israeli’ Bars

5/4/2021

Palestinian Prisoner Freed After 35 Years behind ‘Israeli’ Bars

By Staff, Agencies

The ‘Israeli’ occupation regime on Monday released Palestinian detainee Rushdi Abu Mokh, 58, after serving 35 years in prison.

Abu Mokh, from the predominantly Arab city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye inside the occupied territories, was detained in 1986, along with three colleagues, on charges of joining a resistance cell belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP].

The cell was blamed for the abduction of a Zionist soldier and attempting to relocate him outside the occupied Palestinian territories to use him as a bargaining chip in any prisoner swap with the Zionist entity.

Abu Mokh was slapped with a life sentence by an ‘Israeli’ court before the sentence was reduced to 35 years in prison.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner Society, the Tel Aviv regime has refused to release Abu Mokh and his colleagues in any prisoner swap deal with Palestinian resistance groups.

The ‘Israeli’ apartheid entity is still holding 25 Palestinians, who were detained by Zionist forces before the so-called ‘Oslo Accords.’

According to Palestinian estimates, there are 4,400 Palestinian detainees in ‘Israeli’ prisons, including 39 women and 155 children, and around 350 being held under the Zionist regime’s administrative detention policy, which allows holding Palestinians without charge or trial.

القدوة للميادين: سأبقى في فتح وسندعم البرغوثي إذا ترشح للرئاسة

المصدر: الميادين نت

4 /نيسان /4/2021

ما هي أبعاد تحالف القيادي ناصر القدوة والأسير مروان البرغوثي في الانتخابات التشريعية الفلسطينية؟ وما هي نقاط التقاطع بينهما؟ وهل الاتفاق بينهما جبهة انتخابية فقط أم مشروع سياسي مستقبلي؟

القدوة للميادين: سأخوض الانتخابات تحت عنوان إحداث التغيير في الحالة الفلسطينية
القدوة للميادين: سأخوض الانتخابات تحت عنوان إحداث التغيير في الحالة الفلسطينية

انعطف القيادي ناصر القدوة عند مفترق الانتخابات عن حركة فتح، مؤسساً الملتقى الوطني الديمقراطي، وأعلن خوض الانتخابات مستقلاً بقائمة الحرية مدعوماً من الأسير مروان البرغوثي.

فهل تكون خطوة القدوة انشقاق عن الحركة أم شق لها؟ وهل الاتفاق بين البرغوثي والقدوة جبهة انتخابية فقط أم مشروع سياسي مستقبلي؟ وأي أبعاد لهذه الخطوة؟

وفي التحالف بين البرغوثي والقدوة تطرح الأسئلة؛ فأي نقاط تقاطع بين مناضل يتمتع بتأييد واسع شعبي، وآخر يحجز مكانةً في الدوائر النخبوية وينسج علاقات دوليةً وإقليمية؟

ويؤكد مراقبون أن تحالف مروان البرغوثي وناصر القدوة، وهو ابن شقيقة الرئيس الراحل ياسر عرفات، إذا ما صمد أمام الضغوط التي تمارس عليه وتحديداً من حركة فتح فقد يشكل ركيزة أساسية من ركائز العمل الوطني الديمقراطي.

في هذا السياق، قال مؤسس الملتقى الوطني الديمقراطي ناصر القدوة في حديث مع الميادين: “سأبقى فتحاوياً حتى العظم ولم أدر ظهري للحركة”، مشيراً إلى أن “بعض الجهات النافذة في حركة فتح أدار ظهره لي ولقطاعات واسعة في الحركة لأسباب سياسية”.

وقال القدوة للميادين إن “قرار فصلي من فتح لا ينسجم مع نظام الحركة ولا يأخذ بالاعتبار التاريخ والجغرافيا”، مؤكداً: “أنا سأبقى في فتح واختلافي مع بعض الأشخاص هو حول الجوهر ولا يتعلق بأمور شخصية وشكلية”.

وأضاف: “سأخوض الانتخابات تحت عنوان إحداث التغيير في الحالة الفلسطينية، والحالة الفلسطينية بحاجة إلى تغيير واسع وعميق، وكرامة المواطن الفلسطيني في خطر بسبب انتهاك سيادة القانون والحرية”.

القدوة تابع: “هناك أمور بدأت تتغير وحاجز الخوف كسر مع ترشحنا للانتخابات، وما زلت أعتبر نفسي في صلب فتح ولست قيادياً سابقاً في الحركة”. 

وأشار إلى أن “بعض الدوائر الفلسطينية لم يتوقف عن توجيه الاتهام لي بأنني حالة دحلانية”، مشيراً إلى أنه “لم يصوت على قرار فصل محمد دحلان من فتح أو غيره لأنها حركة تضم كل الاتجاهات السياسية”.

وقال: “من لديه معلومات عن أموال تصلني من الخارج فليظهرها ولا أنتمي لأي محور من المحاور”.

وكشف القدوة أن “البرغوثي من الممكن أن يترشح للانتخابات الرئاسية وإذا قرر ذلك سندعمه، وسنكون في المعسكر نفسه معه”.

في وقت كان أظهر استطلاع للرأي أن البرغوثي سيفوز بالانتخابات الرئاسية بالأغلبية إذا ترشح لها.

القدوة قال إن “هناك أجواء إيجابية وطيبة تصلني من حركة حماس وهذا لا يعني عدم وجود خلاف معها”.

وحيال تصريحه الأخير الذي هاجم فيه الإسلاموية، رفض القدوة “توجيه أي اتهام لي بالهجوم على الإسلام”، مؤكداً أنه “تم تحريف كلامي بشأن الإسلام بطريقة مزعجة وكاذبة”.

وفي سياق آخر، أكد القدوة أن “إسرائيل مسؤولة عن اغتيال الراحل ياسر عرفات وفق الأدلة والاثباتات”.

فيما رفض ما يسمى بالـ”خطر الإيراني”، قائلاً إن “طهران هي جزء من المنطقة ويجب الحوار معها”.

كما قال إن “سلاح المقاومة الفلسطينية يجب أن لا يمس، وهي مسألة تخضع للحوار فقط”. 
 
هذا وأعلنت لجنة الانتخابات المركزية الفلسطينية قبول ترشيح 36 قائمةً انتخابيةً للوصول إلى مقاعد المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني.

أبرز اللوائح حملت عنوان حركة فتح وشعارها العاصفة، وهي قائمة مكتملة من 132 عضواً على عدد مقاعد المجلس التشريعي، بدعم من الرئيس محمود عباس.

قائمة الحرية التي يرأسها القيادي السابق في حركة فتح ناصر القدوة، بدعم من القيادي الأسير مروان البرغوثي، وهي غير مكتملة وتضم 65 مرشحاً، معظمهم من الضفة الغربية.

أما قائمة حركة حماس مكتملة بدورها وتحمل عنوان “القدس موعدنا” برئاسة الدكتور خليل الحية، وتضم عدداً من الأسرى من ذوي الأحكام العالية كنائل البرغوثي وجمال أبو الهيجا وحسن سلامة.

ومن القوائم غير المكتملة أيضاً قائمة “نبض الشعب”، ويرأسها من سجنه الأمين العام للجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين أحمد سعدات، وتضم عضو المجلس التشريعي الأسيرة خالدة جرار، إضافةً إلى قياديين في الجبهة في الضفة الغربية وغزة.

حركة الجهاد الإسلامي تغيب عن المشهد الانتخابي لاعتبارها أن الانتخابات تجري ضمن برنامج يعترف بالاحتلال وشرعيته على أرض فلسطين، وأنها تحول خطير ويعطي شرعيةً للاحتلال لضم الضفة الغربية والقدس، وفق تصريحات أمينها العام زياد نخالة الأخيرة في دمشق.

Faced with ICC Investigation, Apartheid Israel Asserts Moral Superiority Over The Victims of Its Terror

March 29th, 2021

By Miko Peled

Source

Israel ICC Feature photo
Having created enemies by its own criminal behavior, Israel then claims the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through these criminal acts.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s army chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, recently commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes. In his speech, General Kochavi said:

There is a moral abyss that exists between us and our enemies. They do everything in order to target civilians; we do everything to prevent hurting their civilians. They rejoice when our civilians are killed; we investigate when theirs are killed.”

Sounds like a pretty good opening statement for his defense once the trial at The Hague commences. The only problem is, none of what he said is true.

As these words are being written, Israel is in the process of figuring out the results of its fourth elections in two years. These elections mark what could be the final step in a political strategy that would make Machiavelli proud. This strategy is one that was planned and executed brilliantly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that brought about the total disintegration of his opposition. 

All that is left of those who ran against him are tiny fragments. The hungry politicians who lead these fragments cannot possibly compete with Netanyahu’s domestic political acumen. 

Similarly, no Israeli politician is able to compete with Netanyahu’s gravitas in the international arena. This is something that was clearly demonstrated by the recent visit to Tel-Aviv by the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, to discuss cooperation among the three countries.

“A moral abyss”

The speech given by the Israeli army chief represents a righteous indignation that is typical of Israeli officials. He says that “a moral abyss” exists between Israel and its enemies, and that is a very interesting choice of words. One might think it is self-defeating for the Israeli military and political officials to bring up morality. And yet, here is yet another general who made a career of killing civilians and maintaining a brutal military regime claiming moral superiority.

In truth, a moral abyss does exist between Israel and the Palestinian people. A quick comparison shows the following: From its very founding, Israel had invested billions of dollars in developing and maintaining its military; Palestinians have never had as much as a tank, much less a military force.

For decades Palestinians have been searching for ways to make Palestine peaceful again. Palestinians had suggested establishing a secular democracy with equal rights. When that was rejected, they had agreed to end their resistance and recognized the State of Israel. Then the Palestinian Liberation Organization entered negotiations with Israel and accepted that all it would receive was a small Palestinian State on less than one-quarter of historic Palestine.

When this proved to be impossible, the Palestinians initiated a peaceful, dedicated, and morally just campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanction against the State of Israel. The demands set out by this call are all remedial and are all rooted in international law.

During these same decades, Israel had been engaged in dispossession, land theft, and violence. Palestinians are targeted by Israel regardless of their status or geographic location. Be they citizens of Israel, residents of the West Bank or Gaza, internally displaced, or refugees in camps outside of Palestine, Palestinians are living without rights — pushed off of their lands, prevented from access to basic resources like water, roads, and health care — and are killed on a daily basis.

Israel will not even provide Palestinians with a Covid vaccine. So yes, General Kochavi is right about the moral chasm. However, he and his army have nothing to be proud of.

“Our enemies”

One constantly hears that Israel is surrounded by enemies and that therefore it has no choice but to maintain a strong military force and strike whenever and wherever it sees a threat.

This is not unlike criminals who steal and are then afraid of retribution from their victims or the authorities. The criminals are constantly in need of more weapons, more recruits, and they must always hit first in order to strike fear into their potential enemies.

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

They rejoice

Driving south from Jerusalem towards Gaza, one reaches an intersection just north of the first entry point into Gaza, called Erez. Then you drive down a road that goes along the Gaza Strip just east. At one intersection there is a gas station and a dirt road that winds from behind the gas station and up a sandy hill.

At the top of the hill, there are a few trees — one can see the Mediterranean from there, and also Gaza City. When Israel drops bombs on Gaza one can see the smoke and hear the explosions from that spot. Someone dragged up a couch and a few chairs, turning this spot into a favorite for Israelis who enjoy the spectacle.

In fact, a piece in the British paper The Guardian describes the place and the scene during the 2014 assault on Gaza: “People drink, snack and pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll mounts in ongoing offensive.”

It goes on, describing what I too personally witnessed:

A group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke…Some bring their children.”

“We investigate”

Kochavi claimed the army investigates, though clearly Israel’s investigations of its own crimes are few, far between, and rarely end up with the violators being held accountable.

“We do everything to prevent killing their civilians,” he says, which should make us wonder in what world General Kochavi lives. Israel not only does not do anything to prevent the death of civilians but for decades has been targeting civilians in both Palestine and Lebanon. This is obvious because, as stated earlier, Palestinians have never had an army.

As the world wonders what the next Netanyahu government will look like, it is clear that Palestinians will continue to live in fear of Israeli terrorism. One has to wonder at what point the world is likely to end the destruction of Palestine and its people by Israel.

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (25 – 31 March 2021)

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (25 – 31 March 2021)

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine

25 – 31 March 2021

  • IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem: 4 Palestinians wounded, including 2 children
  • Three IOF shootings reported at agricultural areas (east) and three others on fishing boats in Gaza sea
  • In 121 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 62 civilians arrested, including 3 children and 2 women
  • IOF delivers cease-construction notice against a retainment wall and a house in Hebron and Bethlehem
  • Settler-attacks: Palestinian civilian wounded, and assault on a vehicle; stone chains destroyed, and olive trees cut in Salfit and Bethlehem
  • IOF established 55 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 3 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. Even more, IOF continued its demolition operations and delivery of cease-construction and demolition notices in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. PCHR documented 207 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

Four Palestinians, including two children, sustained wounds as a result of IOF excessive use of force against civilians in the West Bank: a child was wounded at the weekly Kafr Qaddum protests in Qalqilya; another in a protest in Beit Dajan in Nablus; another child sustained wounds in an IOF raid on a former Palestinian prisoner’s house in occupied east Jerusalem, noting that the prisoner was released that same day after 20 years in Israeli prisons. Dozens of others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation, and others were wounded in IOF assault during raids on Palestinian houses across the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip, 3 IOF shootings were reported on agricultural lands eastern Gaza; and 3 at fishing boats in the Gaza sea.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 121 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, 62 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 children and 2 women, including a journalist who was detained while conducting an interview. She was detained for several others before her release.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted two limited incursions into eastern Deir Balah.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented the following incidents:

  • Hebron: cease-construction notice served against a house in eastern Yatta.
  • Bethlehem: cease-construction notice served against a retaining wall in Tuqu.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 3 attacks:

  • Bethlehem: Palestinian civilian assaulted in southern Bethlehem.
  • Salfit: vehicle assaulted; agricultural room destroyed; stone chains destroyed, and 15 olive trees cut.

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. The United Nations confirmed that the Gaza conditions are worsening, with deteriorating health, power, and water services. The UN emphasized that the Gaza Strip requires immense efforts in the housing and education sectors and to create job opportunities.

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 21:30 on Thursday, 25 March 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah city in the center of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Friday, 26 March 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Al-Fukhari village, east of Khan Yunis. At approximately 12:00, IOF re-opened fire at agricultural lands; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased Palestinians gathered in the area, clashed with them, and fired sponge bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, a 17-year-old child was hit with a teargas canister in his foot.
  • At approximately 13:30, a peaceful protest took off in front of Beit Dajan village council, east of Nablus, north of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in Nablus, towards lands under the threat of confiscation, east of the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation and settlers. 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, a 44-year-old male and a 26-year-old male were shot with rubber bullets in their lower limbs and taken to Rafidia Hospital. Also, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 07:50 on Saturday, 27 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened sporadic fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 04:00 on Sunday, 28 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore and off al-Soudaniyia Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them and fire sound bombs at them until 09:00, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 10:00, Israeli authorities suppressed activities organized by the Women Centre that belongs to al-Zaytoun Mount Club in al-Tur neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, to celebrate Mother’s Day. Israeli authorities claimed that the celebration is funded by the Palestinian authority (PA). Mohammed al-Sayyad, Secretary of al-Zaytoun Mount Club, said that Israeli Intelligence Service along with IOF raided al-Zaytoun Mount stadium during the preparation for the launch of the event, which is annually held to celebrate the Mother’s Day. Al-Sayyad clarified that IOF stopped the event, got the attendees out of the stadium, and arrested Head of the Women’s Centre, Ikhlas al-Sayyad, along with the young man, Malek Ghazi al-Moghrabi, after severely beating him up. Al-Sayyad pointed out that IOF hanged a ban order signed by the Minister of Internal Security in the Israeli government on the stadium gate and warned of holding the event in another place in the city. Lawyer Heba al-Qadoumi said that the Israeli Intelligence Service banned for the 2nd time an event organized by al-Zaytoun Mount Club during this month; the first event was on the Women’s Day and the second was on the Mother’s Day, noting that these events were organized at call of the villagers and without any coordination with Palestinian official bodies. Al-Qadoumi pointed out that IOF released Ikhlas al-Sayyad few hours after interrogating her. Also, Malek al-Moghrabi was released, on condition of house arrest for 5 days.
  • At approximately 06:30 on Monday, 29 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore and off al-Soudaniyia Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them and fire sound bombs at them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 22:00 on Tuesday, 30 March 2021, IOF raided a house belonging to a former prisoner, Majd Abed al-Raheem Barbar (45), in Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and arrested him a day after his release from the Israeli jails, noting that he served 20 years in prison. IOF also indiscriminately fired sound bombs and teargas canisters in the area. Barbar family said that IOF raided a tent established by the family near their residential building entrance to receive visitors welcoming him. The family clarified that IOF arrested their son Majd under the pretext of organizing a celebration in his house yard and raising Palestinian flags. The family added that IOF pepper-sprayed some visitors, pushed and beat them up and indiscriminately fired sound bombs and teargas canisters in the area. As a result, many civilians, including Majd’s mother and wife, suffocated due to teargas inhalation. Also, child Mohammed Hitham al-Daddou (11) was shit with a rubber bullet in his right hand. The family pointed out that the Israeli authorities extended Majd’s detention for next day evening in order to appear before the Israeli court, which decided to release him, provided that the family will not fire fireworks, they will preserve social distance among the visitors and wearing masks, and they will not organize any celebrations in the house yard. The Palestinian Red Crescent Crews stated that they treated 14 persons when IOF raided Majd’s house; 12 of those suffocated due to teargas inhalation; one was beaten up by IOF, and another one was shot with a rubber bullet. Some of those wounded were taken to al-Maqased Hospital in al-Tur neighborhood for treatment.
  • It should be noted that in afternoon, IOF moved into Al-Eizariya village, where they raided the Red Palace Hall near the village entrance, prevented holding a celebration for Majd Barbar and warned the hall owner of hosting Barbar family.

Incursions and arrests

Friday, 25 March 2021:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into al-Dheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Hamza Naser Abu ‘Ajamiya (21) and Abdullah Khaled Abu Hadeed (18). Meanwhile, IOF handed Oday Adnan Shehada (25) a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of the city.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Beit Kahil, north of Hebron, and stationed in the center of the city. IOF deployed between civilians’ houses and arrested (20) civilians and took them to a detention center at “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of the city, and released them later. (PCHR keeps records of the names of the arrestees).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Abu Dis, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Jawhar Naser Jawhar (25) and Mohammed Abdullah Jaffal (17) and arrested them. IOF took them to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 02:20, IOF moved into Tal village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Hammam Ahmed al-Banna (25).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Murad Mohammed Idris’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 06:30, IOF established a temporary military checkpoint on the entrance of Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus. They stopped and arrested Amjad Khaled Fayed (19) and Tamer Ahmed al-Saffouri (19), from Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF moved into Ras Atiya village, south of Qalqilya. They raided and searched Ibarhim Hazem ‘Arrar’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF moved into Saouane neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Sheikh ‘Akrama Sa’eed Abdullah Sabri’s (82) house, the Head of the High Islamic Supreme Council, and handed him a expandable decision signed by the Israeli minister of interior affairs , Aryeh Deri, that bans him from travelling for a month.

It should be noted that IOF arrested and interrogated Sheikh Sabri and banned him from entering the Aqsa Mosque several times, latest of which was on 10 March 2021, after announcing his intention to join a religious meeting in Bab al-Rahma in the al-Aqsa Mosque.

  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Dura, Beit Ummar, Bani Na’im villages in Heborn; al-Mughayyir, northwest of Ramallah; and Sebastia, northwest of Nablus. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 26 March 2021:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Illar village, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched Samer Mwafaq Abu Hafiza’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Hebron, and stationed at several neighborhoods in the city. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians, including former minister and deputy. The arrestees are: Issa Khairy al-Ja’bari (55), the Palestinian minister of local government, was arrested 9 times and spent 10-years in the Israeli prisons, and he was arrested without searching his house; Hatem Rabah Qfaisha (68), former Hamas Movement Deputy; and Mazen Jamal al-Natsha (46), a leader at Hamas Movement in Hebron.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in Nuba and Halhul in Hebron; and Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 27 March 2021:

  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into Illar, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched Sameer Abdul Khaliq Abu Sa’da’s (27) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF stationed at Bab al-Hadid “Iron Gate”, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, severely beaten and arrested Murad Mohammed al-Tarhouni (21), and took him to one of the police center in the city.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF arrested Ahmed Hassan Ghayatha (28), while present near “Kfar Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem. IOF took him to one of the detention centers and released him after several hours. It should be noted that Ghayatha is a person with disability.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Sa’ir, Beit Ummar, and al-Shuyukh villages in Hebron governorate; Ras Karkar, west of Ramallah; and Aboud, northwest of the city. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 28 March 2021:

  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested Ahmed Mohammed Ghazzawi’s (28) house, claiming that he attempted to run over an Israeli soldier near “Ma’ale Adumim” settlement, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Murad Abu Hammad (13) and Mohammed Fayez al-Debs (20), from Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, while present near Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque, north of the city.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in Hebron, Bani Na’im, and Tarrama villages, in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 29 March 2021:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Riyad al-Qarrawi (20) and Mahdi Abu al-Hawa (20), and took them to unknown destinations.
  • At approximately 07:30, IOF reinforced with 4-military vehicles moved 50-100 meters to the west of the border fence, east of Deir al-Balah. They combed and leveled lands and deployed again at approximately 16:00.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF stationed at the entrance of Salem court, west of Jenin, arrested Mohammed Husain Bani Ghurra (17), from Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. IOF claimed that he attempted to smuggle a bombshell into the court.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF arrested Muna Azmi al-Qawasmi, a journalist at Jerusalem Newspaper, and the former prisoner Sedqi Suliman al-Maqt (54), after conducting an interview in the yards of the Aqsa Mosque. IOF took them to al-Kishle police center, where their mobile phones were confiscated, and they were interrogated for hours and accused of inciting riots. Later IOF released them on condition that banning his entry to the Aqsa Mosque for 7 days, which may be renewable. It should be noted that al-Maqt is from Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, and he was released in January 2020, during a prisoner exchange deal, after he spent 32-years in the Israeli prisons.
  • At approximately 15:00, the Israeli Intelligence Services handed the Jerusalem Affairs Minister, Adnan Adel Ghaith (46), a new military decision that bans his entry to the West Bank for another 6-months for unjustified/false security reasons. Jerusalem governorate stated that this is the fifth decision in raw that bans the entry of Ghaith to the West Bank and to his workplace, north of Jerusalem. it should be noted that IOF arrested and interrogated Ghaith over than 27 times since he was signed as a governor.
  • At approximately 19:30, IOF stationed at Container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Ramzi Naser Abu Ajamiyya (20), from al-Dheisha refugee camp, south of the city, while passing through the checkpoint. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, southwest of Jericho; and Ti’inik village, west of Jenin. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Jenin. They raided and searched Ahmed Huthaifa al-Jamal;s (20) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Ram village, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Emran Mousa Zawahra’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Yasuf, east of Salfit. They raided and searched Nour Jamal Azzam’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into the southern side of Hebron, and stationed in Kiton area. They raided and searched Mohammed Hamed Barqan’s (36) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOD moved into Ein Musbah neighborhood in Ramallah. They raided and searched Abdul Majid Majed Hasan’s (22) house and arrested him. It should be noted that Hasan is a university student.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mus’ab Mohammed Srour’s (32) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into Qarawat Bani Hassan village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mo’nis Jamal Mer’i (24) and Saher Ammar Mer’i (26), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF arrested Jom’a Khaled Abu Mfareh (24), from Teqoa, east of Bethlehem, after summonsing him to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of the city.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Tubas and Tammun, southeast of Tubas; Qalqilya, Jericho, Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, near Jericho; and Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Tubas, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched Abdul Wahab Shadi Daraghmah’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:20, IOF moved into Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Ayman Rami Zeid’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:50, IOF moved into Deir Jarir village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mu’in Abdul ‘Alim Olwi’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF reinforced with 4 military vehicles moved 50-100 meters to the west of the border fence, east of Deir al-Balah. They combed and leveled lands and deployed again at approximately 16:00.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF moved into Samu village, south of Hebron. They deployed in the Old City of Hebron, closed the main street of the city to provide protection to settlers to perform their religious rituals in an old Roman synagogue in the city center. The closure continued until at approximately 10:00.
  • At approximately 10:00, Israeli infantry unit moved into Bab al-Zawiya area in Hebron. Meanwhile, several military vehicles came and closed the road to Bir al-Hams, and forced the stores’ owners to close their stores, and prevented the Palestinian vehicles from moving to provide security for a group of settlers to perform their religious rituals in an old building called “Etni’il Tomb”, until at approximately 11:30. Meanwhile, a group of Palestinian activists attempted to obstruct the settlers’ way and reopened their stores and rose banners that calls for the eviction of settlers out of Hebron. IOF responded by attacking the Palestinians and arrested the activist Wael Mohammed Amro (25) and took him to police center in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF arrested Emran al-Ashhab (41), the employee at Islamic Waqf rehabilitation committee, while present in the Aqsa Mosque’s yards in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took him to al-Kishle police center, in the Old City.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Beita village, southeast of Nablus; and Beit Ur al-Fauqa village, in Ramallah. No arrests were reported.

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

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 13:00 on Monday, 29 March 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles and accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration vehicle moved into At-Tuwani village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. They deployed around a house belonging to ‘Omer Mohammed Rab’ie while plowing the land around the house.  The soldiers tried to confiscate an excavator that was working there while the villagers intervened and prevented them. Before leaving, the Israeli Civil Administration officer handed Rab’ie a notice to stop construction works in the area under the pretext of monument destruction. 
  • At approximately 17:00 on Monday, 29 March 2021, IOF handed a citizen from Teqoa village, a notice to stop the construction of a retaining wall around his land, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Director of Teqoa village, Taysir Abu Mefreh, said that IOF notified Sami ‘Ali Ibrahim al-Ta’amrah to stop the construction of a retaining wall around a plot of land he owns in Kherbet al-Deir, west of the village, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • At approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 25 March 2021, settlers beat up Ahmed Sa’id Sbeih (39) when he was in his land in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, causing him bruises and wounds.

As’ad Sbeih said that his brother Ahmed was surprised with 4 Israeli settlers storming his land in ‘Ein Qasis area, west of al-Khader village.  When he tried to ask them about their presence in his land, they started beating, pushing and kicking him.  As a result, he sustained bruises and injuries all over his body and was referred to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital to receive treatment.

  • At approximately 16:30 on Sunday, 28 March 2021, a group of settlers from Brukhin village, established on west Salfit lands, attacked Rami Tahsin ‘Abdel Jawad (41), and damaged his family agricultural room in Wadi Sousia area, north of Kafr al-Deek village, west of Salfit.

Rami Tahsin ‘Abdel Jawad said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“I was working in the village lands when someone called me to say that there were settlers damaging the agricultural room in Wadi Sousia.  I immediately stopped working and headed to the land.  When I arrived, the settlers ran away to the top of the Mountain and started throwing stones at me and my car, breaking its windshield.  I could not bear it and called the settlement’s guard.  An Israeli officer arrived, and I told him that I will not leave until they fix what they ruined.  The officer told me to calm down and I will get what I want.  All they did is trying to calm me down, and nothing happened as the officer told me to go and file a complaint to Ariel police station.  I refused and went back.  It was all in vain although I took photos of the settlers and the settler who damaged my car.”

  • At approximately 11:30 on Monday, 29 March 2021, a group of settlers from Rafafa settlement established on west Salfit lands attacked an agricultural road and destroyed the stone chains established there in Kherbet al-Nafakh, turning it into a road for settlers’ motorbikes. The settlers also cut 15 olive trees in lands belonging to heirs of Yousif Hasan Souf; Hussein Hasan Jaber; ‘Aref Hussein Saleh Souf and ‘Aisha Mahmoud ‘Abdel Qader Qasem.

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  55 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 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 Saturday, 27 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Al-Eizariya village, east of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 30 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Anata village, east of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 31 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jab’ village, northeast of the city.

Bethlehem:

  • On Friday, 26 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Jannatah and Tuqu villages, east of the city.
  • On Sunday dawn, 28 March 2021, IOF closed al-Container checkpoint, east of the city, and re-opened it later. IOF also established a checkpoint at the entrance to Wadi Fukin village, west of the city.
  • On Monday, 29 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the western entrance to Tuqu village, at Nahalin village’s intersection and near al-Nashash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 30 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, east of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 31 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, east of the city.

Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 25 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the main entrance to Aboud village, northwest of the city.
  • On Friday, 26 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Abu Mash’al and Nabi Salih villages.
  • On Sunday, 28 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of “Ofra “settlement and at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • On Monday, 29 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Nabi Salih,  Deir Abu Mash’al  and Abwein villages.
  • On Tuesday, 30 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near Atara village’s bridge.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 25 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the Dead Sea intersection and at the southern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Friday, 26 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Sunday, 28 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Jericho, at the entrance to Ein ad-Duyuk village, and on al-Mo’arajat road.
  • On Monday, 29 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Tuesday, 30 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the norther entrance to Jericho, near the Dead Sea intersection and on al-Mo’arajat road. 

Nablus:

  • On Sunday, 28 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of Deir Sharaf village, west of the city.
  • On Monday, 29 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement, west of the city.

Jenin:

  • On Sunday, 28 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 25 March  2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrance to Sa’ir, as-Samu and Idhna villages, at the western entrance to Hebron.
  • On Friday, 26 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp.
  • On Saturday, 27 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the entrances to Deir al-‘Asal and al-Moreq villages.
  • On Sunday, 28 March 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to as-Samu and Susya villages, at the northern entrance to Yatta city, and at the southern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Tuesday, 30 March 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa, Idhna and Khasa villages, and at the northern entrance to Hebron.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 25 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to the city and at the entrance to Izbat al-Tabib village, east of the city.
  • On Friday, 26 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint between Jayyous and Nabi Ilyas villages, east of the city.  

Salfit:

  • On Sunday, 28 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Kifl Haris village, north of Salfit.
  • On Monday, 29 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Slafit and at the entrance to Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit.

Nine Fatah Candidates Withdraw from Electoral List

April 2, 2021

The Central Elections Commissions (CEC) announced that 28 electoral lists have submitted nomination applications. (Photo: Central Elections Commission website)

Nine members of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement – Fatah – withdrew on Thursday from the movement’s electoral list for parliamentary elections just as the Central Elections Commission closed registration for the polls.

Fatah candidate in Gaza, Riad Al-Astal, announced on Facebook that he had withdrawn from the movement’s electoral list to protest “the irresponsible decision to ignore the number of votes in Khan Yunis,” as well as the disregard of popular opinion and conduct that was not representative of Fatah’s spirit.

“Returning to that which is right is better than persisting in dishonesty;” he said in reference to the withdrawal of his nomination.

Al-Astal explained that more than five reputable electoral lists had offered him to join them, however, he refused their offers.

“I apologize to all these lists, and I wish them further progress and success,” he added.

Another Fatah candidate in Gaza, Prof Muhammad Abu Hamida who had also withdrawn from the movement’s electoral list said he had taken his decision for reasons that he will keep to himself.

Elsewhere, in the West Bank, unknown gunmen opened fire on the home of a Fatah candidate in the southern governorate of Hebron shortly after he officially announced joining the movement’s list.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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جورج عبدالله: لن أتنازل عن موقفي ولا تُفاوضوا على براءتي George Abdullah: I will not give up my position nor negotiate my innocence

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

Al-Akhbar

Lea Al-Qazi Thursday, April 1, 2021

I will not regret, I will not bargain, I will still resist

The visit of Minister Marie-Claude Najm and General Abbas Ibrahim to Paris, and their meeting with French officials to discuss the issue of the Freedom Fighter Georges Ibrahim Abdullah, reactivated the stagnant waters and raised the level of hope as his release approaches. “Negotiations are advanced,” according to follow-up sources, without exaggerating, because France still requires Abdullah to apologize for his past, while he rejects the principle of researching the origin of his political position on his struggle and from his present and his present.

«… I promise you That I will not leave you,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the Lebanese after his visit to Mrs. Fairouz last September… He was the one who came, leaving Georges Ibrahim Abdullah in French custody. Since the August 4 Beirut explosion, Macron has come twice to Lebanon, without seeking to erase the shame of his country in the Abdullah case. He spoke about the titles of “Reform” and gave lessons in “nation-building”, forgetting France’s flagrant violation of human rights in the subject of Abdullah and the continued detention of his freedom despite the expiry of his sentence in 1999. 37 years have passed since the son of the “Lebanese Revolutionary Brigades” was arrested in Paris. Since then, France has implemented the orders of the USA and ‘Israel’ enemy to prevent his release and to implement requests for parole. In 2013, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in France abstained from implementing the decision of the Paris Sanctions Enforcement Chamber to release Abdullah, and then it was entitled to reject many requests for parole.

In 2018, the Lebanese state, for the first time, embraced the cause of the fighter George Ibrahim Abdullah, to no avail. The French “blackmailed” Abdullah with his freedom and stipulated that he apologize for his past and announce his repentance, which George refused. But suddenly, his has returned to the forefront of the Lebanese scene, and talk of his release is coming to an end.

In her first is the visit to the prison of “Lanmezan”, the Minister of Justice in the caretaker government, Marie-Claude Negm, met with George twice in one day for a period of three hours. The goal of visiting France was not to meet Abdullah, rather it was basically a private visit. Before leaving Lebanon, She discussed with President Michel Aoun, Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, and the rest of the concerned parties, if they would welcome her meeting with Abdullah, and the answer was positive.

President Aoun approached the French President, while he was in Lebanon, about Abdullah’s case. Macron raised the legal dimension, which led Aoun to decide to send a legal figure. Preparations for Najm’s visit to the prison took place after her arrival in France, and the French were keen to link approval of the visit request by not allowing the minister to give any information to the media before and after the visit, according to diplomatic sources.

Robert Abdullah, George’s brother, says that the latter “was comfortable during his meeting with Najm, especially since it was the first time that a Lebanese minister visited him, and she informed him that there is an official follow-up to his case.”

The French demand abdullah’s apology for his past to grant him a presidential pardon


The second development is the visit of the Director General of Public Security, General Abbas Ibrahim, France, and his meetings with French officials during which he discussed Abdullah’s release, as part of an additional agenda that includes the French position on the government issue in Lebanon and the background of French talk about sanctions against Lebanese officials on charges of obstructing the formation of the government.

“This time there is a French seriousness in the case of Georges Abdullah that we have not previously entrusted,” said sources following up on the issue, considering that “the negotiations have come a long way.” However, betting on the “French conscience” remains an obligation. The case did not reach the finish line, due to obstacles that the French authorities are still raising in the face of Lebanon. According to the information, before Najm’s visit accompanied by Ambassador Rami Adwan – and meeting prisoner Abdullah, she met with French officials who told her that “the key to resolving the issue is Abdullah’s issuance of a statement presenting his apology to the families of those who have fallen into the operations he was accused of carrying out and his remorse for the past, at which time a French presidential pardon will be issued for him. Set him free ».

George, who is celebrating his 70th birthday on April 2nd, reminded the Minister of Justice of his positions against imperialism, stressing his commitment to the resistance approach, reiterating his lack of remorse and refusal to apologize for his past. More importantly, George is sticking to what he had previously said: he refused to beg for his freedom, and he wishes the authorities in Beirut not to negotiate his release on French terms. He sees himself as a political prisoner, and France is responsible for his detention or even execution in prison.

Abdullah’s lawyer, Jean-Louis Chalansse, told Al-Akhbar that there were no new factors in the file, especially since “last September, we applied for a new parole for George, and we still have not received an answer until now.” The lawyer is currently considering transferring the file to the European judicial services.

The official French silence was matched by a rise in popular movements condemning the decision to arrest George. Robert Abdallah says that the movements are escalating “slowly but regularly, whether through popular solidarity or the letters that MPs send to the Elysee to release George.” It can be said that, to a certain extent, the subject has begun to turn into an issue of public opinion in France ». In this context, Alain Pujola, one of the founders of New Anti-Capitalism Party (NPA), says that in previous years, “we have been suffering from campaigns of intimidation and misinformation against George and his family in the French press.” Currently, participation in demonstrations and meetings is still relatively small, but they are widespread in many French cities.” Pujola is the founder of The Liberation Of Abdullah Rally, in an interview with Al-Akhbar, considered that “the ball is in the court of the Lebanese who have to exploit their relations with the French administration and press for release.”

The most basic rules of diplomatic work and international relations if it is committed to the release of Abdullah through the use of “legitimate” means, to suspend any cooperation with Paris until resolving Abdullah’s case ….
Not to allow Macron to restore his “colonial glories”, acting as if he were qualified to launch “rescue” initiatives, threaten political sanctions and appoint ministers and officials, Especially since Macron represents a continuation of the submissive French mentality in the face of “Israel” interests. His speech is still echoed at the Higher Institute of Business ESA before his election as president in 2017, when he announced from Beirut that he was “against France’s recognition of the Palestinian state without a peace agreement between the two parties, and against any pressure on Israel.” George is not accused of carrying out any operation against French citizens, but because his struggle was in the face of the forces of domination and colonialism and in defense of peoples, his “crime” will remain unpardoned.

جورج عبدالله: لن أتنازل عن موقفي ولا تُفاوضوا على براءتي

الأخبار

ليا القزي الخميس 1 نيسان 2021

جورج عبدالله: لن أتنازل عن موقفي ولا تُفاوضوا على براءتي
تقدّم محامي جورج بطلب إفراج مشروط في أيلول من دون جواب (مروان بو حيدر)

زيارة الوزيرة ماري كلود نجم واللواء عبّاس إبراهيم لباريس، ولقاؤهما مسؤولين فرنسيين لبحث قضية المناضل جورج إبراهيم عبد الله، أعاد تحريك المياه الراكدة ورفع منسوب الأمل باقتراب إطلاق سراحه. «المفاوضات مُتقدمة»، تقول مصادر مُتابعة، من دون أن تُبالغ بالإيجابية، لأنّ فرنسا ما زالت تشترط اعتذار عبدالله عن ماضيه، فيما هو يرفض مبدأ البحث في أصل موقفه السياسي من نضاله ومن حاضره«… أعدكم بأنّني لن أترككم»، قال رئيس فرنسا إيمانويل ماكرون للبنانيين بعد زيارته السيّدة فيروز في أيلول الماضي… هو الذي أتى تَاركاً جورج ابراهيم عبدالله في المعتقل الفرنسي. منذ انفجار 4 آب، قَدِم ماكرون مرّتين إلى لبنان، من دون أن يسعى في أيّ منهما إلى محو عار دولته في قضيّة عبدالله. تكلّم عن عناوين «إصلاحية» وأعطى دروساً في «بناء الدولة»، مُتناسياً انتهاك فرنسا الفاضح لحقوق الانسان في موضوع عبدالله واستمرار احتجاز حرّيته رغم انتهاء مدّة محكوميته سنة 1999. 37 سنة مرّت على اعتقال ابن «الألوية الثورية اللبنانية في باريس، ليُصبح في ذلك أقدم الأسرى السياسيين في أوروبا. ومن حينه، تُنفّذ فرنسا أوامر الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والعدّو الاسرائيلي في منع إطلاق سراحه وتنفيذ طلبات الإفراج المشروط. في الـ2013، امتنعت النيابة العامة في فرنسا عن تنفيذ قرار غرفة تطبيق العقوبات في باريس الإفراج عن عبدالله، ثمّ لحقها رفض العديد من طلبات الإفراج المشروط.

عام 2018، تبنّت الدولة اللبنانية للمرّة الأولى قضيّة المناضل جورج إبراهيم عبدالله، عبر ثلاثي رئاسة الجمهورية – وزارة الخارجية والمغتربين – الأمن العام، من دون نتيجة. فالفرنسيون «ابتزّوا» عبدالله بحريته عبر اشتراط تقديمه اعتذاراً عن ماضيه وإعلانه التوبة، ما رفضه جورج. لكن فجأةً، عادت قضية المُناضل الأممي لتتصدّر المشهد اللبناني، ويرتفع الحديث عن اقتراب الإفراج عنه.
تطوران «يُبرّران» هذه الإيجابية؛ الأول هو زيارة وزيرة العدل في حكومة تصريف الأعمال، ماري كلود نجم، سجن «لانميزان» ولقاؤها جورج مرّتين في يومٍ واحد، لمدّة ثلاث ساعات. لم يكن هدف وجود نجم في فرنسا لقاء عبدالله، بل كانت زيارة خاصة في الأساس. قبل مغادرتها لبنان، بحثت مع الرئيس ميشال عون، ورئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال حسّان دياب، وبقية المعنيين، إن كانوا يُرحّبون باجتماعها بعبدالله، فأتى الجواب إيجابياً. الرئيس عون كان فاتح الرئيس الفرنسي، أثناء وجوده في لبنان، بقضية عبدالله. ماكرون شرح البعد القانوني، وهو ما جعل عون يقرر إرسال شخصية معنية بالجانب القانوني. التحضيرات لزيارة نجم للسجن تمّت بعد وصولها إلى فرنسا، وقد حرص الفرنسيون على ربط الموافقة على طلب الزيارة بعدم تصريح الويزرة بأي معلومة للإعلام قبل الزيارة وبعدها، وفق ما تؤكّد مصادر دبلوماسية. يقول روبير عبدالله، شقيق جورج، إنّ الأخير «كان مُرتاحاً خلال لقائه نَجم، ولا سيّما أنّها المرّة الأولى التي يزوره فيها وزير لبناني، وهي أبلغته وجود متابعة رسمية لقضيته».

يشترط الفرنسيون اعتذار عبدالله عن ماضيه لمنحه عفواً رئاسياً


أما التطور الثاني، فهو زيارة المدير العام للأمن العام، اللواء عبّاس ابراهيم، فرنسا وعقده لقاءات مع مسؤولين فرنسيين بحث خلالها إطلاق سراح عبدالله، ضمن جدول أعمال إضافي يشمل الموقف الفرنسي من المسألة الحكومية في لبنان وخلفيات الحديث عن عقوبات مفترضة على مسؤولين لبنانيين بتهمة عرقلة تأليف الحكومة.

«هذه المرّة يوجد جدّية فرنسية في ملفّ جورج عبدالله لم نعهدها سابقاً»، تقول مصادر مُتابعة للقضية، مُعتبرةً أنّ «المفاوضات قطعت شوطاً مُهمّاً». إلا أنّ الحَذَر وعدم المبالغة في الرهان على «الضمير الفرنسي» يبقيان واجبين. القضية لم تصل خطّ النهاية، بسبب عراقيل ما زالت السلطات الفرنسية ترفعها في وجه لبنان. تُفيد المعلومات بأنّه قبل زيارة نجم – برفقة السفير رامي عدوان – الأسير عبدالله، التقت مسؤولين فرنسيين أبلغوها أنّ «مفتاح حلّ القضية هو إصدار عبدالله بياناً يُقدّم فيه اعتذاره لذوي الذين سقطوا في العمليات التي اتُّهم بتنفيذها وندمه عن الماضي، حينها سيصدر عفو رئاسي فرنسي عنه ويُطلق سراحه». جورج، الذي يحتفل في 2 نيسان بعيد ميلاده الـ70، ذكّر وزيرة العدل بمواقفه ضدّ الامبريالية، مؤكداً التزامه نهج المقاومة، ومُكرّراً عدم ندمه ورفضه الاعتذار عن ماضيه. والأهم من ذلك، أنّ جورج مُتمسّك بما أعلنه سابقاً: رفض تسوّل حريته، وهو يتمنى على السلطات في بيروت عدم التفاوض باسمه حول إطلاق سراحه بناءً على الشروط الفرنسية. وهو يرى نفسه سجيناً سياسياً، ولتتحمل فرنسا مسؤولية احتجازه أو حتى إعدامه في السجن.

يقول محامي عبدالله، الفرنسي جان لوي شالانسيه لـ«الأخبار»، إنّه لم تطرأ عوامل جديدة على الملفّ، خاصة أنّه «في أيلول الماضي، تقدّمنا بطلب إفراج مشروط جديد عن جورج، وما زلنا حتى الساعة لم نتلقّ جواباً». ويبحث المحامي حالياً في نقل الملفّ إلى الدوائر القضائية الأوروبية.

الصمت الفرنسي الرسمي، قابله ارتفاع في التحركات الشعبية المُندّدة بقرار اعتقال جورج. يقول روبير عبدالله إنّ التحركات تتصاعد «ببطء ولكن بانتظام، أكان عبر التضامن الشعبي أم الرسائل التي يوجهها نواب إلى الإليزيه لإطلاق سراح جورج. يُمكن القول إنّه إلى حدّ ما، بدأ الموضوع يتحوّل إلى قضية رأي عام في فرنسا». وفي هذا الإطار، يقول أحد مؤسّسي «الحزب الجديد المناهض للرأسمالية ، آلان بوجولا، إنّه في السنوات السابقة «كنّا نعاني من حملات ترهيب، والتضليل الممارس ضدّ جورج وعائلته في الصحافة الفرنسية. حالياً، ما زالت المشاركة في التظاهرات واللقاءات ضئيلة نسبياً، ولكن نجد أنّها مُنتشرة في العديد من المدن الفرنسية». بوجولا هو مؤسّس «تجمّع تحرير عبدالله» يعتبر في حديث مع «الأخبار» أنّ «الكرة في ملعب اللبنانيين الذين عليهم أن يستغلوا علاقاتهم مع الإدارة الفرنسية والضغط لإطلاق السراح».

أبسط قواعد العمل الدبلوماسي والعلاقات الدولية، تفرض أن يُعلّق لبنان أي تعاون مع باريس قبل حلّ قضية عبدالله… إذا كان مُلتزماً بالإفراج عنه عبر استخدام الوسائل «الشرعية». لا أن يُسمح لماكرون باستعادة «أمجاده الاستعمارية»، ويتصرّف كما لو أنّه أهلٌ لإطلاق مُبادرات «إنقاذية» والتهديد بعقوبات سياسية وتعيين وزراء ومسؤولين رسميين، خاصة أنّ ماكرون يُمثّل استمرارية للعقلية الفرنسية الخانعة أمام مصالح «إسرائيل». لا يزال يتردّد صدى خطابه في «المعهد العالي للأعمال قبل انتخابه رئيساً سنة 2017، حين أعلن من بيروت أنّه «ضدّ اعتراف فرنسا بالدولة الفلسطينية من دون اتفاق سلام بين الطرفين، وضدّ ممارسة أي ضغط على اسرائيل». جورج غير مُتهم بتنفيذ أي عملية ضدّ مواطنين فرنسيين، ولكن لأنّ نضاله كان بوجه قوى الهيمنة والاستعمار ودفاعاً عن الشعوب، ستبقى «جريمته» غير مغفورة لدى «ورثتهم».

Land Day 2021: Existence, Resistance, Resurgence

March 30, 2021

A child raising a Palestinian flag on Land Day. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

“In 2019 I went to Palestine twice,” wrote Ibtisam Barakat, “one time with Palestine Festival of literature in April.” When an officer informed her at the border that she didn’t exist in Israeli records, Barakat started to cry. She “cried for two weeks nonstop. Nothing and no one could stop [her], not even a delicious falafel sandwich.” All that time, recalled the Palestinian-American poet, she “ate falafel and cried.”

On Land Day 2021, Barakat’s words are more relevant than ever. Forty-five years ago, on March 30, 1976, Israeli police murdered six Palestinian protestors as they were calling attention to the Israeli government’s expropriation of thousands of dunums of Palestinian land. Since then, notes Yara Hawari, March 30 has been commemorated as Land Day.

An important “event in the Palestinian collective narrative,” explains Hawari, it incorporates resistance to colonization, in particular “colonial policies of erasure,” efforts by Israelis to erase all Indigenous presence on the land. Indeed, since 1948, Palestinians have defied those policies with characteristic sumud (resilience), both by holding fast to a collective narrative that incorporates individual perspectives.

When Barakat returned to Palestine, an officer asked why she was coming back a second time in one year. At the time, she had no idea how to reply. “Now,” she explains, she knows “the world was going to change and the universe knew that I needed to see Palestine twice in a year” before it became impossible. “Seeing my Palestine or not seeing my Palestine is a spiritual experience for me,” she says, thereby calling attention to her individual refusal to be erased that is in turn part of a collective experience.

On March 30, 2018, Palestinians in Gaza began a series of weekly demonstrations that would last for months, resulting in a staggering number of deaths and injuries from Israeli snipers that drew the attention of the media. What did not get covered so much were the cultural aspects of the rallies—storytelling, cooking traditional dishes, performing dabke, and even weddings took place—thereby passing down traditions to a younger generation.

“What is largely missing from the discussion on Gaza is the collective psychology behind this kind of mobilization,” writes Ramzy Baroud, “and why it is essential for hundreds of thousands of besieged people to rediscover their power and understand their true position, not as hapless victims, but as agents of change in their society.”

In the same way that Barkat worked through her grief at being told of her non-existence, so Palestinians on a collective scale have maintained a narrative that resists the official story. As Baroud explains,

“For 70 years, Palestinians have embarked on that journey of recreation of the self. They have resisted, and their resistance in all of its forms has molded a sense of collective unity, despite the numerous divisions that were erected among the people. The Great March of Return is the latest manifestation of the ongoing Palestinian resistance.”

Two years later, in 2020, the spread of Coronavirus added to ongoing problems. In order to provide a safe space to commemorate the day, Samidoun: Palestinian Solidarity Network issued a virtual call to action:

“Mark Palestine Land Day (Yawm Al-Ard), a day of remembrance for six Palestinian citizens who were murdered by Israelis while protesting the Israeli government’s expropriation of thousands of dunums of their land. March together online on the second anniversary of the Great March of Return.”

Thanks to donations from Russia and the UAE, Gaza recently initiated a vaccine program in an effort to confront the virus pandemic and break the cycle of deaths.

According to Hawari, Land Day commemorates ongoing resistance, but it also “reminds us how the domination of space is an integral aspect of the Zionist settler-colonial project.” Moreover, she points out, “settler-colonial states the world over are in a constant process of colonizing more and more indigenous land while squeezing indigenous peoples into as little space as possible.”

In order to steal more land, colonists in both Israel and North America developed the myth of the vacant land. For example, on March 8, 1969, Golda Meir reportedly asked: “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.”

Propaganda around the Indigenous in North America sounds much the same. As Steven Salaita tweeted: “you’ll never understand Zionism without a concomitant understanding of Manifest Destiny,” a phrase devised in 1845 to explain that the United States was destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its territory across the entire North American continent.

“Of all myths associated with American Indians,” explains Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes), “no myth is as pervasive as the myth of the vanishing Indian.”

In my American history classes, there would invariably be the student who said that Native people no longer exist, despite the fact that just by looking around the classroom that student might have reached a different conclusion. Nevertheless, because dominant society has been “indoctrinated with the idea of the vanishing Native their whole lives,” Gilio-Whitaker asserts, “the assumption that there is no such thing as real Natives anymore is like a software program constantly running in the background.”

To these deniers, the “real Indians were the ones who dressed in buckskins and hunted buffalo and deer for their living, and didn’t speak English,” Gilio-Whitaker notes, and, in reality, they have “been gone a long time.”

Despite all of the efforts to deny their existence, which makes it all the easier to steal land and resources, both Palestinians and Indigenous people in the States are still around. The commemoration of Land Day attests to that, as do efforts on the part of Native Americans to make their presence known.

Quoting Gerald Vizenor, a citizen of the White Earth Nation, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz calls attention to his notion of “survivance”:

“Survivance is an active presence: it is not absence, deracination, or ethnographic oblivion, and survivance is the continuance of narratives, not a mere reaction, however pertinent. Survivance stories are renunciations of dominance, the unbearable sentiments of tragedy, and the legacy of victimry” (An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, 2014, p. 217).

Decades after their displacement, the Palestinians long for a place, a homeland that could provide them with grounding to affirm that they exist. In the introduction to Nakba: Palestine, 1948 and The Claims of Memory (2007), Ahmad Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod write that “making memories public affirms identity, tames trauma, and asserts Palestinian political and moral claims to justice, redress, and the right to return” (p.2).

Memory, then, “continuance of narratives” as Vizenor calls it, serves as an expression of the need to officially exist. Manifested in events like Land Day, alternative histories affirm what happened in the past but also what should be done in the present to assure that all formerly oppressed peoples have a future.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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Land Day: Palestinians mark the 45th anniversary

Palestinian farmers say they face constant threats while working on family lands due to Israel’s annexation policies

Gaza farmer working on land MEE
Iyad Abughleiba, a Palestinian farmer, finds it increasingly difficult to work on his land in the Gaza Strip due to Israel’s annexation policies. (MEE/Sanad Latifa)

By Maha Hussaini in Gaza Strip

Published date: 30 March 2021 12:22 UTC 

On 30 March 1976, six Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces as hundreds of Arab citizens in the occupied territory took to the streets to protest Israel’s expropriation and occupation of Palestinian lands.

The event became known as the Land Day and a symbol of national struggle that unites Palestinians around the world.

Forty-five years later, Palestinians say that not much has changed, as Israel continues its policy of annexation.

Middle East Eye met with Palestinian farmers and land owners in the Gaza Strip, who have been unable to access hundreds of dunums of land belonging to their families due to Israel’s restrictions and annexation policy.

Land theft normalised

Iyad Abughleiba, 49, a Palestinian who owns agricultural land in the eastern central Gaza Strip, says that farmers find it increasingly difficult to work in the blockaded enclave as Israel continues to “normalise land theft”.

Since age 15, he and his brothers would help their father cultivate the family lands. When his father passed away, the siblings inherited the lands and continued to work as farmers.

“My grandfather had owned more than 400 dunums of land. But over the years, and with every Israeli decision or new policy, the lands have been gradually shrinking. Today we only have 25 dunums left,” Abughleiba told MEE.

‘Our safety depends on the Israeli soldiers’ mood. You could be killed at any moment’

– Iyad Abughleiba, Palestinian farmer

Although Israel dismantled its settlements in Gaza in 2005 and withdrew its forces and settlers from the enclave, it still controls vast areas of land in the northern and eastern perimeter of the Strip.

“Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip is the biggest lie. They are controlling every inch of the Strip – the land, the sea, and can you hear that noise? They are also controlling the air,” Abughleiba said as an Israeli drone buzzed at low altitude above his land.

“Like the majority of Palestinians, our grandparents lost most of their lands in Gaza and the West Bank during the [Palestinian] Nakba. But land theft did not stop here.”

The Nakba, meaning the “disaster, catastrophe or cataclysm”, marks the partition of Mandatory Palestine in 1948 and the creation of Israel. At least 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes that year. A further 280,000 to 325,000 fled their homes in territories captured by Israel in 1967. 

Following its disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel established a “buffer-zone”, a military no-go area that stretches across the Strip’s borders with Israel. The first reference to a buffer-zone in the Strip appeared in the Oslo Accords in 1993, which mentioned a 50-metre wide area along the enclave. 

Today, it extends to more than 300 – 2,000 metres inside the Strip.What is the Nakba? Day of catastrophe for Palestinians, explainedRead More »

“When Israel first established the buffer zone, we lost part of our lands. Then when they expanded it in 2009, we lost another part. This is how they gradually annex more parts of our lands every now and then,” Abughleiba explained.

Abughleiba is always on high alert while farming, even though it’s been a couple of years since Israel last annexed parts of his family’s lands.

“Even if the rest of our lands is still accessible, we are always cautious due to threats of crops being bulldozed or shots being fired at us whenever we are working.

“In 2008, the Israeli forces bulldozed our lands, uprooting dozens of olive trees and destroying a water well. In 2014, during the war on Gaza, they did it once again,” he said.

Gaza farmers and landowners bear the brunt of Israel’s policies, facing periodic bulldozing of lands, flooding of crops, and shooting by Israeli forces stationed adjacent to their lands.

“After they bulldozed our lands, we planted them again and still insist on coming back to them because they are our only source of living.

“But after all, our safety depends on the Israeli soldiers’ mood. You could be killed at any moment.” Abughleiba told MEE.

‘Modernised’ methods to steal land

Um-Emad is a Bedouin woman who was expelled from her family’s land in Beersheba during the Palestinian Nakba in 1948.

The 79-year-old lives in a small room in her sons’ house, built in the middle of their agricultural land in the eastern Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip.

For Um-Emad, living on agricultural lands is part of her family’s heritage.

‘I can never imagine my life away from our land. One metre of this land is worth a thousand apartments elsewhere.’

– Um-Emad, 79, Gaza resident

“I can never imagine my life away from our land. One metre of this land is worth a thousand apartments elsewhere,” she told MEE as she sat on the ground of her room overlooking the fields.

“If I have to leave my land in Gaza, then it has to be to my family’s land in Beersheba. That is the only place I can leave to before I die.”

Um-Emad, who was evicted to Gaza at gunpoint when she was six years old during the Nakba, thinks that Israel intends to make Palestinians pay a high price for sticking to their lands, while facilitating their migration from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

For years, Israel has been implementing an annexation plan in the West Bank that was accelerated following the announcement of former US president Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, in January 2020.

As a result, dozens of families across the West Bank and East Jerusalem have been evicted and displaced.

According to rights groups, Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, and “can have no effect on the legal status of the territory, which remains de jure occupied”.

Palestinian farmers in Gaza Strip
Palestinian farmers work in the fields in the Gaza Strip (MEE/Sanad Latifa)

“Israel today implements a systematic policy of forcing Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to migrate and leave their lands.

“The occupation does this both softly and by force. They make Palestinians believe that living in Europe with better life standards is a dream, and thus make thousands of youth leave in search for a better life, in order to make room for [Israeli] settlers.

“We are being forced to abandon our lands, but I would rather be buried here before selling one centimetre of my family’s land,” he said.

‘Every day is Land Day’

Jalal Abujlala, 47, depends mainly on his agricultural land in the eastern central Gaza Strip for living.

But with the remaining area of land after annexation by the buffer zone, the father of eight children can barely cover his family’s expenses, which include the tuition fees for his daughter who’s attending university to study medicine.

‘I always tell (my children) about our stolen lands, and that one day we will regain them back’

– Jalal Abujlala, 47, Gaza farmer

“A large part of our lands was annexed by the Occupation during the Palestinian Nakba and also due to the establishment of the Israeli buffer zone. Now the remaining area can only provide the life’s necessities,” said Abjlala.

“I can see my family’s annexed lands in the occupied territory from here. Sometimes, I approach a bit and take my children to see them. I always tell them about our stolen lands, and that one day we will regain them back,” he said.

“You would think that cultivating in this land is safe since it is not very close to the Israeli borders. But in fact, it does not have to be close in order for the farmers to be hurt,” he continued, recalling memories from Israel’s military attack on Gaza in 2014, where artillery shells targeted vast areas of agricultural lands.

“Owning a land in our country comes with no guarantees. At any moment you are threatened with bulldozing or eviction and annexation.”

For Abujlala, Israel’s measures in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are similar to the event that sparked the Land Day demonstrations in 1976.

“History repeats itself. The Land Day happens everyday in Palestine.”

Land day: Israel’s programme of Palestinian land theft goes on undisturbed

Palestinian protesters mark Land Day in the Umm Al-Hiran village in the Wadi Atir area of the Negev (Naqab) desert (AFP)
Ghada Karmi is a former research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. She was born in Jerusalem and was forced to leave her home with her family as a result of Israel’s creation in 1948. The family moved to England, where she grew up and was educated. Karmi practised as a doctor for many years working as a specialist in the health of migrants and refugees. From 1999 to 2001 Karmi was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where she led a major project on Israel-Palestinian reconciliation.

Ghada Karmi

30 March 2021 13:32 UTC | Last update: 

For Palestinians, Land Day continues to be an inspiration and a tribute to the just struggle of an unbowed people for their land

The centrality of the struggle for land has always been fundamental to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is at the heart of two major events whose anniversaries fall due on 30 March. The first, Land Day, commemorates the surge of Palestinian resistance to the takeover of their land by Israel in 1976; and the second marks the start of the Great March of Return in 2018, when thousands of Palestinians in Gaza demonstrated for the right of refugees to return to their confiscated lands in Israel.

From the start the Zionist movement was predicated on the acquisition of an empty territory on which to establish a state exclusively for Jews. Since no such land was available in the Palestine of the time, it had to be carved out, first by purchase, and later by war.

The land-grabbing journey

As Jewish immigrants began to arrive in the country in increasing numbers after 1917, Zionist organisations such as the Jewish National Fund and the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association set about buying Palestinian land, provided it was untenanted at the time of purchase.

Today, Israel’s settlements have meant that Palestinian ownership of West Bank and East Jerusalem land has shrunk to under 13 percent

Many Arab landowners living outside Palestine, in addition to a minority of Palestinian peasants, sold them land. These sales were mainly motivated by economic necessity, since the Zionist organisations had access to foreign funds unavailable to Arabs.

Years of intense Zionist effort, however, yielded disappointing results. By 1947, and despite their funding and connections to powerful supporters of Zionism, these organisations had acquired no more than a meagre 6.7 percent of Palestine’s land.

But this disappointment was soon reversed by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. In that war Israel captured 78 percent of Mandate Palestine, taking large swathes of Palestinian land, mostly untenanted thanks to population flight and expulsions in the war. 

After 1948 the new Israeli state swiftly enacted a series of laws designed to acquire more Palestinian land by pseudo-legal means. These included the 1950 Absentee Property Law, permitting the state to take over Palestinian land and property in their owners’ absence; and soon after, the 1953 Land Acquisition Law, which introduced a new category of “state lands” and “closed areas”.

This had the effect of making the state the majority owner of the land, which was to be permanently out of the reach of its previous Palestinian owners.

Subsequent events up to and including the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, that put Israel in occupation of the rest of Palestine, have been stages on the same land-grabbing journey. Today, Israel’s settlements have meant that Palestinian ownership of West Bank and East Jerusalem land has shrunk to under 13 percent. That is set to diminish further as the settlement process continues with further land loss. 

Palestinian children hold up pictures of keys, symbolising the homes they left behind (AFP)
Palestinian children hold up pictures of keys, symbolising the homes they left behind (AFP)

This is the background to the dramatic protests of Land Day in 1976. Their trigger at the time was the Israeli government’s plan to expropriate thousands of dunums of Arab land in the Galilee to build Jewish industrial villages. In line with the Israeli government’s 1975 “Galilee Development Plan” to expand Jewish settlement, it would accelerate Judaisation of what was a majority Arab area. 

A turning point

On 30 March a general strike was called, and widespread demonstrations in Arab towns erupted from the Galilee to the Negev. Thousands marched in protest, while solidarity demonstration were held in the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.Land Day: A potent symbol of the Palestinian struggle

Unexpected at the time from what had been a largely quiescent Arab population, Israel was alarmed and deployed thousands of police, army units and tanks to quell the protests. Six Arabs were killed, hundreds wounded, and hundreds more arrested.

Land Day, as it became known, was a turning point. It was the first time since 1948 that the Arabs in Israel acted as a national collective, refusing to accept the theft of their land after years of control by Israel’s military rule. Land Day was an expression of national pride and self-confidence. It marked the assertion of an Arab presence that Israel’s politics could no longer ignore, and the starting point for Arab political participation in Israel. 

From that time to this, Land Day has been commemorated annually by Palestinians everywhere. In 2018 it was marked by the start of another great Palestinian protest over land. The Great March of Return saw 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza demonstrate near the Israeli separation fence of electrified barbed wire and sensors. It was a peaceful protest, demanding the right of refugees to return to their lands and an end to the blockade of Gaza. Intended to last from 30 March to 15 May, Nakba Day, the same protests took place every Friday.

A double heroism

As in 1976 Israel retaliated with murderous violence. Between 30 March and 15 May 2018 an estimated 110 protesters were killed, and 13,000 wounded by a combination of sniper fire and drones. By the time the March of Return was halted by Hamas in December 2019, 214 people had been killed, and 36,000 wounded. Of these, 1,200 needed long term rehabilitation following bone infections and limb injuries. Israeli soldiers seemed to be using a “shoot-and-maim” policy, deliberately targeting the legs of protestors to cause maximum disability.

Land Day marked the assertion of an Arab presence that Israel’s politics could no longer ignore

Gaza’s health system, damaged by years of blockade, understaffing, and equipment and power shortages, has been unable to cope with the toll of so many injured. Yet that did not stop Palestinian youth braving death and injury each week for nearly two years, and creating a new Palestinian legend to commemorate on 30 March. 

Israel never changed course in the face of that double Palestinian heroism celebrated on Land Day. It went on to build “Development towns” for Jews, 26 by 1981, with the effect of altering the Galilee’s demography in favour of Jews.

In Gaza, likewise, the blockade continues, and Israel’s pretext of its brutality as self-defence against the Great March of Return has been accepted by many Western governments. Its programme of Palestinian land theft goes on undisturbed.  

But for Palestinians on 30 March, Land Day continues to be an inspiration, and a tribute to the just struggle of an unbowed people for their land.

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

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Historical References:

The Story of Palestine’s Land Day

The Story of Palestine’s Land Day

By Staff

Palestine’s Land Day is commemorated on March 30 every year marking the day on which in response to the ‘Israeli’ occupations government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of Palestinian land in 1976.

A general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the al-Naqab. In the ensuing confrontations with the Zionist army and police, six unarmed Arab citizens were martyred, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others detained.

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‘Split in half’: Gaza mother’s years-long wait to reunite with her children in West Bank

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Rights groups say Israel’s ‘separation policy’ is keeping apart dozens of families

Niveen Gharqoud has submitted five exit permit requests to Israeli authorities since 2018 in the hope of joining her husband and children (MEE/Mohammed A Alhajjar)

By Maha Hussaini in Gaza

Published date: 29 March 2021 08:23 UTC

Niveen Gharqoud has only seen one of her five children in the past four years. She has been cut off from the others since sending them to live with their father, roughly 100 kilometers away in Qalqilya, a city in the occupied West Bank.

Niveen and Ameer on a call to the rest of their family in the West Bank, March 2021 (Mohammed A. Alhajjar)
Niveen and Ameer can only interact with the rest of the family in the West Bank through the phone, March 2021 (Mohammed A. Alhajjar)

Gharqoud, 39, who lives with her parents and youngest son in the Juhr al-Deek village, in the central Gaza Strip, has submitted five separate exit permit requests to Israeli authorities since 2018 in the hope of joining her husband and children in the West Bank.

None have been approved.

“It has been four years since I last saw my children. I used to sleep with the five of them on one bed, and now I cannot see them except through a mobile phone screen,” Gharqoud told Middle East Eye.

“It is painful to accept the idea that my four children are taking care of themselves without a mother, while their father is working most of the time.”

Policy of separation

In 2007, a year after it won legislative elections, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip. Israel soon imposed a suffocating blockade on the coastal enclave, restricting the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, under what the Israeli government calls “the separation policy”.

According to the Israeli government, the policy aims to restrict travel between Gaza and the West Bank to avoid transferring “a human terrorist network” out of the Strip.

“Even if the Israeli government wants to reduce what it calls the transfer of terrorists into the occupied territory, its separation policy imposed on over two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is simply collective punishment that is prohibited under international humanitarian law,” Mohammed Emad, director of the legal department of the Stockholm-based advocacy group Skyline International for Human Rights, told MEE.

“Such restrictions are imposed arbitrarily on random civilians and are resulting in the separation of dozens of families.”

Families like the Gharqouds.

A family divided

Niveen married Sami Gharqoud in Gaza 18 years ago. He has been working various labourer jobs in Israel throughout their marriage.

“He used to move between Gaza and the West Bank,” Niveen said. “He worked there and used to come to visit me every now and then.

“He has not witnessed any of the births of our five children, and has never seen me pregnant except in photos and video calls,” Niveen told MEE.

“I used to go to the hospital with my mother, go through all the pain [of labour] alone, give birth and return home. He would visit us only after the delivery of each child, stay a couple of weeks then leave to the West Bank again.”

Niveen and Sami Gharqoud. March 2021 (Mohammed A. Alhajjar)
Niveen and Sami Gharqoud, March 2021 (MEE/Mohammed A Alhajjar)

But since the start of the ongoing blockade, Sami has only visited his family in Gaza once.

“Before the last war on Gaza [in 2014], I visited him in the West Bank, stayed for about six months, and got pregnant with my last child, Ameer,” said Niveen. This turned out to be the only time she could visit Sami.

“I then had to come back to Gaza, because the [Israeli authorities] only allowed me to take two of my four children with me to the West Bank. They intentionally did not allow me to take all four children. They wanted to force me to return to Gaza. So I was obliged to come back.”

‘They [Israel] intentionally did not allow me to take all four children. They wanted to force me to return to Gaza’

– Niveen Gharqoud, Gaza 

Sami has never met his youngest child, Ameer, who is now six years old.

Niveen has been trying to rejoin her husband since the birth of their last child, in 2014, but Israeli authorities have not allowed her to travel to the West Bank.

She decided in 2016 to send her children to their father first, after her relatives and friends told her that this would help her get a permit to join them all later on.

“My father took my four children and travelled via the Rafah border [with Egypt] to Jordan. But he left them at the Allenby Bridge [that connects Jordan to the West Bank] because he could not cross – his ID states that he lives in Gaza, unlike my children and their father, whose IDs state that they live in the West Bank.

“Now I cannot send Ameer to join his four siblings. My eldest daughter, who is now 17, already shoulders the responsibility of her three brothers and takes care of them. She is still a child, but she is overwhelmed with all those responsibilities.”

Niveen’s four children in Qalqilya see their father barely once or twice a week due to his work, and spend the rest of the week alone. Whenever they need anything, the children call their mother in Gaza.Covid-19: US announces $15m aid package for Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza.

“About two years ago, my daughter called me screaming,” Niveen Gharqoud recalled. “She said that boiling water had spilled onto her younger brother’s face while she was boiling some eggs for him to eat. I did not know what to do – I called their neighbour and begged her to go help them.”

“This was not the last time that such a thing happened,” Niveen continued. “A few days ago, Malak [the eldest sister] called me, scared. She told me that someone was trying to open their apartment door. I could not do anything but tell her to lock the door very well and turn the television on to make noise.”

“I have their neighbours’ numbers in cases of emergency because I am helpless here, while their father is absent most of the time.”

Gharqoud is still hopeful that she will make it to her children and husband in Qalqilya, but says that the Israeli authorities “do not even respond to my exit permit applications, they leave them pending”.

When an exit permit is denied or pending, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have to wait for three months until they can submit another request.

A long history of separations

In July 2003, the Israeli parliament passed a law that prevents family unification for Israeli citizens married to Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territory.

According to Amnesty International, the law constitutes a “further step in Israel’s long-standing policy aimed at restricting the number of Palestinians who are allowed to live in Israel and in East Jerusalem.”

Israel has long been criticised for separating Palestinian children from their families, including those from the Gaza Strip who are referred for medical treatment in the occupied Palestinian territory.

‘Since he saw his siblings leave, he has become so needy that he follows me everywhere – to make sure I don’t abandon him’

– Niveen Garqoud

Figures collected by NGO Physicians for Human Rights Israel revealed that more than half of the applications filed in 2018 by parents attempting to accompany their children for medical treatment in the occupied territory were rejected. 

In 2019, around a fifth of the children referred for medical treatment from the Gaza Strip travelled without their parents.

A position paper released by the Israeli human rights group Gisha in 2020 said that by isolating the Gaza Strip and imposing movement restrictions on Palestinians between cities and villages, Israel has “pursued a divide and conquer strategy” to disrupt the ability of Palestinians to maintain unified social and family life.

Israeli authorities didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Traumatic separation

The Garqouds’ youngest son, Ameer, accompanied his grandfather and siblings to the Rafah border crossing when he was three years old. Once they arrived at the border, he realised that his closest brother, Muhammed, and three other siblings, were leaving without him. Unlike them, Ameer was too young to travel without a parent.

“A few months ago, I went to attend a relative’s wedding. When I left, he kept screaming and fainted, thinking that everyone was lying to him and that I had gone to the West Bank and left him behind.”

Fearing her son Ameer's anxiety might worsen, Gharqoud now teaches him at home. March 2021 (Mohammed A. Alhajjar)
Fearing her son Ameer’s anxiety might worsen, Gharqoud now teaches him at home. March 2021 (MEE/Mohammed A Alhajjar)

To avoid leaving him alone at school, and fearing his anxiety might worsen, Gharqoud now teaches him at home.

“Since he saw his siblings leave, he has become so needy that he follows me everywhere – to make sure I don’t abandon him.”

‘Missing mum’s dishes’

“Your sister told me that you did not go to school the other day, why is that?” Niveen asked her 10-year-old child Muhammed during a video call.

“I woke up and looked for my pants and couldn’t find them, so I could not go,” he answered.

“If he had a mother living with him, this would never happen,” Niveen, sitting in her living room, told MEE.Palestine elections: Gaza voters sceptical about upcoming pollsRead More »

With Sami still in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus, Niveen also made sure her children had eaten their lunch.

“We usually eat sandwiches or order food deliveries because we have nobody to cook for us. But Malak sometimes calls mum and asks for some food recipes to feed us,” Muhammed, 10, the Gharqouds’ fourth child, told MEE.

Niveen said that she avoids sending photos of family gatherings to her children so that they do not feel they are missing out, or crave “food they cannot have”.

“Malak cooks well,” said Muhammed, “but I am missing mum’s dishes, that only she can make this good.”

Malak, who celebrated her 17th birthday in February, has taken on her mother’s role: keeping an eye on her brothers’ studies and helping with their day-to-day needs.

“A few weeks ago, her 23-year-old neighbour asked for her hand in marriage,” said Niveen. “In the normal situation, I would never accept the idea of allowing my daughter to get married at this age. But since she has no one to take care of her, I want her to feel emotionally stable with someone she can rely on.

‘What is so hard about allowing me and my six-year-old son to reunite with our family?’

– Niveen Gharqoud

“We initially agreed on her engagement, but Malak still refuses to proceed with it until I can join them and meet the man.”

Niveen says her children could easily come back to Gaza, but she refuses to bring them back to live away from their father. She is unsure if they would get a permit to leave again if they did return, and the trip, via Jordan and Egypt, is too expensive.

“My children are growing up and they need their father in their life. I am split in half; I want them here with me, but I also want them to live in a healthy environment with me and their father together,” she told MEE.

Recommended

Yair Lapid Meets Mansour Abbas in Bid to Reach Coalition Agreement

March 29, 2021

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on Sunday met with Head of the Ra’am Party Mansour Abbas to discuss forming a coalition government, Israeli media reported.

Abbas, according to Ynet News, presented his movement’s demands to Lapid. The demands included scrapping the Nation-State Law, having the freedom to vote on pro-LGBT bills, freezing the Kaminitz Law, recognizing unrecognized Arab towns in the Negev, and fighting crime among the Arab community in Israel.

Both Abbas and Lapid issued brief statements following their meeting, stating that they had agreed to continue their communications.

Following Tuesday’s election, Ra’am has emerged as a kingmaker as both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Lapid’s Yesh Atid lacked enough seats in the Knesset to enable either party to form a coalition government.

Right-wing pro-Netanyahu hardliners, including Head of the Fascist Religious Zionism Party Bezalel Smotrich, have rejected joining a coalition including Arab MKs or reliant on an Arab party.

This also came following a Likud meeting with Abbas, during which they discussed prospects of the latter’s participation in a Likud-led government.

Ynet News reported that Abbas met with Lapid after realizing that joining a right-wing government may not be a viable option, pointing out that his meeting with Lapid came after several postponements.

The bloc consisting of Likud and its pro-right-wing parties have 59 seats out of 120. The left-wing, along with the anti-Netanyahu parties, has 57. Abbas, the current kingmaker, has five seats.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Faced with ICC Investigation, Apartheid Israel Asserts Moral Superiority Over The Victims of Its Terror

Having created enemies by its own criminal behavior, Israel then claims the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through these criminal acts.

Source

March 29th, 2021

By Miko Peled

Israel ICC Feature photo

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s army chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, recently commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes. In his speech, General Kochavi said:

There is a moral abyss that exists between us and our enemies. They do everything in order to target civilians; we do everything to prevent hurting their civilians. They rejoice when our civilians are killed; we investigate when theirs are killed.”

Sounds like a pretty good opening statement for his defense once the trial at The Hague commences. The only problem is, none of what he said is true.

As these words are being written, Israel is in the process of figuring out the results of its fourth elections in two years. These elections mark what could be the final step in a political strategy that would make Machiavelli proud. This strategy is one that was planned and executed brilliantly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that brought about the total disintegration of his opposition. 

All that is left of those who ran against him are tiny fragments. The hungry politicians who lead these fragments cannot possibly compete with Netanyahu’s domestic political acumen. 

Similarly, no Israeli politician is able to compete with Netanyahu’s gravitas in the international arena. This is something that was clearly demonstrated by the recent visit to Tel-Aviv by the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, to discuss cooperation among the three countries.

“A moral abyss”

The speech given by the Israeli army chief represents a righteous indignation that is typical of Israeli officials. He says that “a moral abyss” exists between Israel and its enemies, and that is a very interesting choice of words. One might think it is self-defeating for the Israeli military and political officials to bring up morality. And yet, here is yet another general who made a career of killing civilians and maintaining a brutal military regime claiming moral superiority.

In truth, a moral abyss does exist between Israel and the Palestinian people. A quick comparison shows the following: From its very founding, Israel had invested billions of dollars in developing and maintaining its military; Palestinians have never had as much as a tank, much less a military force.

For decades Palestinians have been searching for ways to make Palestine peaceful again. Palestinians had suggested establishing a secular democracy with equal rights. When that was rejected, they had agreed to end their resistance and recognized the State of Israel. Then the Palestinian Liberation Organization entered negotiations with Israel and accepted that all it would receive was a small Palestinian State on less than one-quarter of historic Palestine.

When this proved to be impossible, the Palestinians initiated a peaceful, dedicated, and morally just campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanction against the State of Israel. The demands set out by this call are all remedial and are all rooted in international law.

During these same decades, Israel had been engaged in dispossession, land theft, and violence. Palestinians are targeted by Israel regardless of their status or geographic location. Be they citizens of Israel, residents of the West Bank or Gaza, internally displaced, or refugees in camps outside of Palestine, Palestinians are living without rights — pushed off of their lands, prevented from access to basic resources like water, roads, and health care — and are killed on a daily basis.

Israel will not even provide Palestinians with a Covid vaccine. So yes, General Kochavi is right about the moral chasm. However, he and his army have nothing to be proud of.

“Our enemies”

One constantly hears that Israel is surrounded by enemies and that therefore it has no choice but to maintain a strong military force and strike whenever and wherever it sees a threat.

This is not unlike criminals who steal and are then afraid of retribution from their victims or the authorities. The criminals are constantly in need of more weapons, more recruits, and they must always hit first in order to strike fear into their potential enemies.The Anti-Semitic Birth of the Zionist State: A History of Israel’s Self-Hating FoundersSelf-Hating Jews: Miko Peled dives into the history of Zionism and its founder’s prosperity for racism and their disdain for non-secular JewsMintPress News Miko Peled | Mar 24

The Anti-Semitic Birth of the Zionist State: A History of Israel’s Self-Hating FoundersSelf-Hating Jews: Miko Peled dives into the history of Zionism and its founder’s prosperity for racism and their disdain for non-secular JewsMintPress News Miko Peled | Mar 24

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

They rejoice

Driving south from Jerusalem towards Gaza, one reaches an intersection just north of the first entry point into Gaza, called Erez. Then you drive down a road that goes along the Gaza Strip just east. At one intersection there is a gas station and a dirt road that winds from behind the gas station and up a sandy hill.

At the top of the hill, there are a few trees — one can see the Mediterranean from there, and also Gaza City. When Israel drops bombs on Gaza one can see the smoke and hear the explosions from that spot. Someone dragged up a couch and a few chairs, turning this spot into a favorite for Israelis who enjoy the spectacle.

A Danish news report shows Israelis watching the 2009 bombing of Gaza. TV2 Denmark | YouTube

In fact, a piece in the British paper The Guardian describes the place and the scene during the 2014 assault on Gaza: “People drink, snack and pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll mounts in ongoing offensive.”

It goes on, describing what I too personally witnessed:

A group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke…Some bring their children.”

“We investigate”

Kochavi claimed the army investigates, though clearly Israel’s investigations of its own crimes are few, far between, and rarely end up with the violators being held accountable.

“We do everything to prevent killing their civilians,” he says, which should make us wonder in what world General Kochavi lives. Israel not only does not do anything to prevent the death of civilians but for decades has been targeting civilians in both Palestine and Lebanon. This is obvious because, as stated earlier, Palestinians have never had an army.

As the world wonders what the next Netanyahu government will look like, it is clear that Palestinians will continue to live in fear of Israeli terrorism. One has to wonder at what point the world is likely to end the destruction of Palestine and its people by Israel.

Feature photo | Palestinians block Israeli soldiers targeting peaceful protesters near a Jewish settlement Beqa’ot in Jordan Valley in the West Bank, Feb. 29, 2020. Majdi Mohammed | AP

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

JOE BIDEN’S HEARTFELT ILLOGIC ABOUT ISRAEL

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Stale Foreign Policy

Almost everyone in the West who is not a fan of Donald Trump—and if they are a fan, their sanity is to be doubted— assumes that U.S. President Joe Biden is now helping to save both the United States and the world. In some categories such as climate change, environmental regulation, economic reform favoring the poor and middle class, equal rights and, of course, combating the Covid-19 virus, they might have a point.

Nonetheless, it really saddens me to say that, at least in this author’s opinion, President Biden is not “the sharpest tack in the box.” That is, he is not the smartest guy in Washington, D.C. On the other hand, Joe has a strong point. He has the good fortune to have drawn together some very strong and progressive advisers on the domestic side of the political equation. It would also seem that, unlike his predecessor, Biden has the capability to actually listen to these people. He also has accommodated himself to the pressure put forth by true progressives such as Bernie Sanders.

The one exception to this wealth of good advice is on the other half of the job, in the area of foreign policy, in particular foreign policy toward the Middle East, and specifically policy toward the country of Israel. Here is where Joe has difficulty thinking straight and is out of luck with his chosen advisers.

To wit Andrew Bacevich of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft:

“Beneath a veneer of gender and racial diversity, the Biden national security team consists of seasoned operatives who earned their spurs in Washington long before Donald Trump showed up to spoil the party. So, if you’re looking for fresh faces at the departments of state or defense, the National Security Council or the various intelligence agencies, you’ll have to search pretty hard. Ditto, if you’re looking for fresh insights. In Washington, members of the foreign policy establishment recite stale bromides, even as they divert attention from a dead past to which they remain devoted.”

Part II—Analytical Shortcomings Nos. 1 and 1A: Policy Formulation toward Israel and the Palestinians

In the field of U.S.-Israeli relations, there are two areas where President Biden’s analytical shortcomings show themselves.

(1) The inability to formulate foreign policy that takes into account the behavior of the object of that policy.

President Biden says “my commitment to Israel is completely unshakable. As president, I’m going to continue our security assistance … and maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. I’m not going to place conditions for the security assistance.” Essentially, this position abdicates U.S. national interests in favor of Israeli interests.

Here is a metaphor for such blind commitment. Think of how one adjusts attitudes toward friendships held over time. If you had a friend (we will refer to this friend as male) who, for whatever reason, evolved into a robber, would you give him a gun every year on his birthday? Would you do that because you remember he was a battered child and you think the arsenal you provide will make him feel secure and, hopefully, lead him to give up his criminal behavior? Or maybe you think he needs the gun because he lives in a bad neighborhood?

Biden believes that “Israelis wake up every morning facing an existential threat. That’s why we always have to be adamant that Israel must be able to defend itself.” But this is just a long-obsolete rationalization for spoiling your friend, who turns out to be head of the strongest gang on the block.

In the meantime, Biden points fingers at his predecessor for adopting exactly the same stance toward the Saudi Kingdom. Biden complained that “Donald Trump has given the government of Saudi Arabia a blank check to pursue a disastrous set of policies.”

(1A) The reverse side of this coin entails Joe Biden’s uninformed attitude toward the Palestinians. These are people who allegedly pose an “existential” threat to Israeli lives.

“The Palestinians need to end incitement in the West Bank and rocket attacks in Gaza. … No matter what legitimate disagreement they may have with Israel, it’s never a justification for terrorism.”

The truth is that it is the Palestinians who are under the “existential threat” and it is the Israelis who exercise massive violence against them, more often than not of a terroristic nature. When Palestinians resist Israeli oppression they are labeled terrorists, they are killed and their infrastructure is destroyed. When they do not resist, more and more of their land is taken. Volunteers must come from Europe to the West Bank so that farmers can harvest their olives without getting shot by Israeli settlers.  Gaza is under blockade, not able to obtain basic supplies or vaccines. It should come as no surprise that “the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which has compiled month-to-month fatality records, looking at the figures since 2005, 23 out of every 24 conflict deaths have been Palestinian.”

Biden also insists that the Palestinian Authority should “acknowledge, flat-out, Israel’s right to exist—period–-as an independent Jewish state and guarantee the borders.” Actually, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) did so in 1993. The Palestinian Authority suspended recognition in 2018 due to incessant theft of Palestinian land by Israel.

It appears that Joe Biden takes none of these facts into consideration. Is it because he does not know them? Such ignorance is certainly possible, though for a U.S. president it would be inexcusable. More likely, he has heard the Palestinian side, but cannot interpret it objectively because he is ideologically committed to the Israeli worldview.

President Biden has declared that “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Commitment to Zionism is commitment to an ideology. Seeing the world on the basis of an ideology—any ideology—must distort your understanding. Thus, Biden’s view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict becomes as lopsided as the conflict’s death toll.

Part III—Analytical Shortcoming No. 2: The BDS Movement

President Biden’s personal refusal to adjust U.S. policy to confront even those aspects of Israeli behavior he says he opposes—settlement activity and threats of annexation—carries over into his personal opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, active both in the U.S. and Europe. Just as his reasoning is often faulty when refusing to match policy to Israeli behavior, it is also faulty as to his opposition to BDS.

On the one hand, “Joe Biden will protect the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.” On the other, the president “has been unequivocal in condemning calls in the United States to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.” In other words, Americans can say it, but in this case, Joe ain’t listening.

According to the president, “the BDS movement singles out Israel—home to millions of Jews—in a way that is inconsistent with the treatment of other nations, and it too often veers into anti-Semitism.”

It is obvious that in the case of the BDS campaign, Israel is “singled out.” However, this is not unusual or “inconsistent with the treatment of other nations.” It is quite consistent. Cuban Americans single out Cuba. Other groups single out China, or Russia, or Myanmar and the like. Does the president dismiss these defenders of human rights because of their single-country focus? Of course not. Thus, he is being a hypocrite when singling out BDS.

In the case of Israel, those involved in BDS are mostly victims of Israeli oppression (Palestinians) or Jews who are utterly disgusted with what the Zionists are doing in their name. Israeli actions, particularly in the Occupied Territories, are in clear violation of international law and human rights declarations, and this gives the BDS a solid legal grounding. So what is Biden complaining about? Nothing that he has seriously thought through. And, when pushed on this, he falls back on the charge of anti-Semitism. Yet, the suggestion that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is just a red herring.

Here is another quite legitimate justification for Americans, and others in the West, to “single out” Israel for attention by supporting BDS. Israel is indeed unique in that through its agents—Zionist lobbies—it is powerful enough to divert the debate over the aims of foreign policy in relation to much of the Middle East. That is, these agents of a foreign power divert the debate away from what is in the best interests of the U.S. or this or that Western nation, toward the question what is in the best interest of Zionist Israel. As a result, billions of dollars, pounds, euros and other resources have been diverted into making Israel a supremely powerful apartheid state.

Can President Biden understand these arguments? No more than any other self-proclaimed Zionist. As a Zionist he must, if he is to stay ideologically consistent, let Israel off the hook for its crimes. Sometimes this blinkered way of thinking creates embarrassingly contorted positions.

Consider this emotional proclamation made by then Senator Joe Biden at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference, on March 20, 2016.

“Singling out Israel, [either at the UN or by BDS] is wrong! It’s wrong! I know it’s not popular to say, but it’s wrong, because as the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all. It’s incumbent upon us, all of us, that we stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, who seek to scare and divide us for political gain, because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.”

Let’s unpack this declaration. We start with the sentence “the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all.” It is correct that, given their history, many Jews should recognize Biden’s statement as true. But all those who are Zionists will make an exception for Israel. They must do so in order to avoid outright contradiction. Why so? Because Israel has posited both its identity and its security on the “marginalization of one ethnic and religious group,” namely, Palestinians. Maybe President Biden senses that there is some inconsistency here, but being a Zionist he dismisses it as justified. Addressing an AIPAC audience, of course, meant no one challenged him.

We move on to the next sentence. “It is incumbent that all of us to stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes.” When Israeli leaders and Zionists such as Joe Biden constantly refer to Palestinians who resist Israeli oppression as “terrorists,” they too are “trafficking in pernicious stereotypes.” It is a safe guess that Biden does not realize this.

Next sentence, “It is incumbent that all of us that stand up against those who … seek to scare and divide us for political gain.” I cannot think of a more apt description of what the Zionist/Israeli aim is here in the United States and the West in general—to scare us away from the defense of Palestinian rights and divide us when it comes to legitimate criticism of Israeli behavior, all done for political gain in the form of maintaining an extraordinary level of financial and military support of an apartheid state.

Finally, the last statement, “because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.” It is amazing that, given his immediate audience, Biden made this statement with a straight face. For he was addressing those infamous for building a wall that divides and isolates.

Essentially, this entire declaration by Joe Biden attributes to BDS all the negative characteristics that Israel in fact displays. As a self-declared, true-believer Zionist, he does this without any recognition of the deep irony his declaration contains.

Part III—Conclusion

How much history does Joe Biden, or his foreign policy advisers, know? For instance, do they know the history of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency? Lyndon Johnson could have gone down in U.S. history as a remarkably successful and progressive leader. He could have done this on the basis of his championing civil rights. But he was destroyed by the Vietnam War—a war fought by the U.S. because of ideological imperatives.

President Biden may well be faced with the same choices. He probably could go down in U.S. history as the 21st century’s first truly great president for all those reasons listed at the beginning of this essay. But these achievements may be diminished by adherence to obsolete and dangerous foreign policies in the Middle East. If he follows his current trajectory he will bury the 2015 Iran agreement—one of the most promising diplomatic achievements of the 21st century. He may linger on in that “forever war” in Afghanistan. He will let both the Israelis and the Saudis off the hook for their past and future abominations. And, he will sustain Israeli dominance in the region even as that country confirms itself as a rightist, racist threat to human rights and international law. Through all of this Joe Biden may lose his moment in history.

.

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine 18 – 24 March 2021

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 18 – 24 March 2021

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine 18 – 24 March 2021

  • IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem: 1 Palestinian killed and another wounded in Nablus
  • Four IOF shootings reported at agricultural areas (east) and four others on fishing boats in Gaza sea
  • In 167 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 98 civilians arrested, including 6 children
  • Three houses self-demolished and IOF demolished another one in occupied east Jerusalem
  • Israeli military order to confiscate 17.5 dunums in Salfit for settlement road construction
  • Settler-attacks: 2 vehicles set ablaze in Jerusalem; 2400 seedlings uprooted in Ramallah and 25 others in Nablus
  • IOF established 75 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. Even more, IOF continued its demolition operations and delivery of cease-construction and demolition notices in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. PCHR documented 193 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

IOF killed Atef Y. A. Hanaysheh (46) on 19 March 2021 with a bullet in the head while suppressing a peaceful protest in Beit Dajan, northeastern Nablus. No threat was present to the lives of Israeli soldiers. IOF also shot and wounded another Palestinian in another peaceful protest in Nablus.

In the Gaza Strip, 4 IOF shootings were reported on agricultural lands eastern Gaza; and 4 at fishing boats in the Gaza sea.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 167 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, 98 Palestinians were arrested, including 6 children.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted one limited incursion into eastern Rafah.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 7 incidents:

  • East Jerusalem: 2-storey house demolished in Silwan; 3 houses were self-demolished in Isawiya and Shufat camp; land and cement pillars demolished (under-construction house) in Shufat.
  • Jenin: demolition notice served to car repair workshop in Arraba.
  • Salfit: military order to confiscate 17 dunums and 497 meters from Bruqin, Haris and Sarta.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 5 attacks:

  • Occupied east Jerusalem: 2 vehicles set ablaze.
  • Ramallah: 2400 almond seedlings uprooted, and fence cut
  • Bethlehem: lands razed in Kisan for construction of a settlement road
  • Nablus: 25 tree seedlings uprooted.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

IOF imposed a complete 24-hour shutdown from Tuesday midnight, 23 March 2021, justifying it with the Israeli Knesset elections.

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 United Nations confirmed that the Gaza conditions are worsening, with deteriorating health, power, and water services. The UN emphasized that the Gaza Strip requires immense efforts in the housing and education sectors and to create job opportunities.

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 08:20 on Friday, 19 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and heavily opened fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:50, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Maghazi camp, in the center of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds; no casualties were reported.
  • On Friday, 19 March 2021, in a new crime of excessive use of lethal force, IOF killed a Palestinian civilian during the suppression of a peaceful protest in Beit Dajan village, northeast of Nablus, northern West Bank. The civilian died with a bullet in his head shot by an Israeli soldier at him without him posing danger or imminent threat to the soldiers’ lives. According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 12:30 on Friday, 19 March 2021, a peaceful protest took off in front of Beit Dajan village council, northeast of Nablus, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the national labor factions in Nablus, towards lands under the threat of confiscation, east of the village.  The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation and settlers.  They parked their vehicles in al-Marhan area, east of the village, and continued walking to the settlement outpost established on the eastern mount, around 2000 meters away from al-Marhan area.  At approximately 12:50, the protesters were surprised with IOF deploying on the top of the mountain, around 1500 meters away from the outpost. IOF immediately opened fire at the protesters, and clashes that continued for 10 minutes broke out, during which the protesters threw stones where the Israeli soldiers were stationed.  The soldiers moved forward until they were 70 meters away from the protesters.  Meanwhile, one of the soldiers fired a live bullet at a protester; the bullet settled in his head wounding him under his right eye.  The protesters carried the injured protester, whose face and head were all covered in blood, and took him to Harayeq al-Damanah prairie, where they put him in a civilian car that drove him to Nablus.  A Palestinian ambulance was there, and when they wanted to put him inside the ambulance, he was already dead.  His body was taken to Rafidia Governmental Hospital in Nablus.  He was later identified as ‘Atef Yousif Ahmed Hanayshah (46), Imam of al-Jadeed Mosque from Beit Dajan village in Nablus.  He was a father of 3 children, including a daughter with cancer.
  • At approximately 14:00 on Friday, IOF suppressed a peaceful protest organized by the residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, international activists and representative of national activities in protest at vacating and displacing 7 Palestinian families from the neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in favor of Israeli settlers. The protest started from the neighborhood, at the call of the families whose houses are threatened to be vacated, towards the neighborhood’s main entrance. The participants raised banners, chanted slogans against Israeli occupation and ethnic displacement in favor of Israeli settlers. The Israeli police surrounded the area and ordered the protestors to leave. Meanwhile, the participants headed to another place in the neighborhood. Few minutes later, IOF returned, attacked the suppressed the protest, prevented the protestors from raising the Palestinian flags, fired sounds bombs at them, beat them up, and attempted to arrest Bodour Hasan. It should be noted that the Israeli Central Court recently gave al-Kurd, al-Qasem, al-Ja’ouni, and Iskafi families until the beginning of May to vacate their houses for settlers, under the pretext that the ownership of the lands, where houses are established, belongs to settlers. Additionally, the Israeli Central Court gave Hammad, al-Dawoudi and al-Dejanu families until the beginning of August 2021 to vacate their houses.
  • At approximately 07:50 on Saturday, 20 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and heavily opened fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah city in the center of the Gaza Strip, and east of Gaza Valley (Juhor al-Deek) village, southeast of Gaza City, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 20:05 on Sunday, 31 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Gaza Seaport, west of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 6 nautical miles, causing fear among them and forcing them to leave. No causalities or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah city, in the center of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 07:00 on Monday, 22 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, heavily opened fire around them and pumped water at them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Al-Fukhari village, east of Khan Yunis; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 01:40 on Tuesday, 23 March 2021, IOF along with Israeli settlers and accompanied with a bulldozer and a helicopter moved into al-‘Umra Mount, southeast of Beita village in Nablus, north of the West Bank. IOF suppressed dozens of civilians, who gathered in the area at 20:00 in the previous day to protect it from settlers. IOF fired live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters at the civilians to disperse them. The clashes continued until 11:40. As a result, a 25-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his head and taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Also, dozens of civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot. IOF arrested Salem Hussain Dowikat (38), taking him to an unknown destination.

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 18 March 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Hizma, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Waleed Salem al-Khateeb’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Ibrahim Abdul Hameed Abu Maria’s (52) house, damaged its contents and detained all his family in one room. Meanwhile, IOF stormed two houses belonging to ‘Alqam and Awad families, and arrested Omar Abdul Aziz ‘Alqam (39), and Mahmoud Mohammed Awad (32).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Hebron. They raided and searched Ameed Ghazi Jabareen’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Qalandiya refugee camp, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ghassan Ali Shawamra’s (26) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Thabet Waleed ‘Ataterah (23).
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Ahmed Ashraf Abu Sbeitan (16) and Abdullah Abu Ghannam al-Mukhtar (17) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Salfit, arrested Yousef Mahmoud al-Yousef (32), from Kifl Haris, north of Salfit.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF moved into Abu Dis, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Dawoud Bader’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (11) Saffarin and Shufa, north of Tulkarm; Beit Lid, south of Tulkarm; Burin, Rujeib, Huwwarah and Sebastia, in Nablus governorate; Surif, Karma, Shuyukh and Bani Na’im villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 19 March 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beit Awwa, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Mahmoud Mohammed Sweity’s (37) house and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Teqoa, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Khader Abdullah al-‘Amour’s (20) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services at “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of the city.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF moved into Tura village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Majd Mohammed Qabha (19).
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF established a temporary military checkpoint on a bypass road, northwest of Jenin. They arrested Sedqi Sadeeq Zakarnah (18), from Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (13) incursions in Ya’bad, Bir al-Basha, Kufeirit, Jaba’, Fandaqumiya, Sanur, Arabbuna and Deir Ghazaleh, in Jenin governorate; Dura, Sa’ir and Shuyukh al-Arrub in Hebron; Abu Shukheidim and Kobar, north of Ramallah. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 20 March 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Hebron. They raided and searched Anwar Mohammed Massouda’s (33) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF arrested Ra’fat Sameeh Najeeb (39), while present in Souq Khan al-Zeit (market), in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and took him to one of the police centers. IOF released him after several hours of interrogation.
  • At approximately 16:20, IOF moved into Khillat Hassan area, west of Salfit, arrested (7) civilians from Sanniriya village, south of Qalqilya, and took them to unknown destinations. The arrestees are: Mohammed Ibrahim A’mar (35), his brother Hussam (32), Mahmoud Ali Taha (27), his brother Ahmed (24), Mohammed Hamed Younis (32), Anis Ma’zouz Younis (26), and Anas Riyad Younis (23).
  • At approximately 15:05, IOF stationed at the bypass road between Tulkarm and Kafr al-Labad, south of Tulkarm, arrested Mohammed Nabil al-‘Amouri (22). IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Shuyukh and Deir al-A’sal villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 21 March 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Dhahiriya, south of Hebron. They raided and searched Ahmed Wael al-Toll’s (28) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses, severely beaten and arrested (4) civilians; Fayez Mohammed Taqatiqa (27), his brother, Salama (25), Waleed Eisa Taqatiqa (23), and Atef Mohammed Thawabtah (22).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Ayman Abu al-Hawa (16), and Dawoud Khaled al-Huneity (21).
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF established a checkpoint to ambush civilians near Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin, and arrested Ahmed Mohammed al-Damj (21) and Wadea’ Sameer al-Ghoul (21), both from Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. IOF took them to unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Shuqba, northwest of Ramallah; Dura and Kharsa, in Hebron; Saffarin, Shufa and Beit Lid villages in Tulkarm governorate. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 22 March 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Abu Dis, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ameer Yousef Rabea’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Dhahiriya, south of Hebron, and stationed at al-Deir area. They raided and searched (3) houses and arrested (3) civilians; Hani Abdul Aziz Qaisiyah (30), Nabil Hashem Qaisiyah (37), and Mohammed Fadel Qaisiyah (39). IOF took them to “Otniel” settlement military camp, south of Hebron, and released them on the morning of the next day.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, and stationed at the city center. They raided Ali Izz al-Dein Abu Maria’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Jadawil area in Beit Jala, northwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Nafiz Othman Shehada’s (33) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (13) civilians including 2 children. The arrestees are: Mohammed Khaled Sharifa (20), Mohammed Bassem Hijazi (17), Abdullah Omar al-Hirbawi (22), Ameer Fareed al-Basti (24), Mahmoud Hasan al-Shawish (21), Sufian Omar al-‘Ajlouni (22), Mustafa Eyad Abu Ghazaleh (17), Rawhy Mahmoud Kulghassi (24), Jihad Naser Qaws (25), Ameen Mohammed Dweik (35), Ya’qoub Mohammed Dabbagh (19), Mohammed Hazina (23), and Khaled Milhis (22).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Abdu Faisal Abu Hammad’s (37) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Hebron, and stationed at Tamra area. They raided and searched Abdul Samea’ Mohammed al-Ja’bari’s (46) house, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF arrested Ahmed Eid Abu Akar (33) and Hamdi Mustafa Abu Akar (24), from Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, while present in ak-Khadir village, south of the city. It should be noted that it was not the first time for IOF to raid the arrestees’ houses.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, southeast of al-Bireh, north of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched Bilal Kifaya’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Shurfa neighborhood in al-Bireh. They raided and searched Mohammed Ahmed Hawamda’s (26) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF arrested Mansur Mahmoud (23) and Ahmed Haitham Mahmoud (20), while present at the entrance to al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took them to one of the police centers and released them after several hours of investigation.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF arrested Ameer Anwar Qindah (23)v and Ahmed Nafiz Abu Shukheidim (22), from Abu Shukheidim village, north of Ramallah, while present at al-Khilla area, near “Nahliel” settlement, northwest of the city.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF arrested Tha’er Jaber (22), while present near the bus station of Nablus street, in the occupied East Jerusalem.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into ‘Anata, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ra’ed Najeh Abu Ali’s (26) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF moved into Bir Ayub neighborhood in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mohammed Abdullah Owda’s (44) house and arrested him along with his sons; Abdullah (20), and Khader (15).
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Suhaib Hamed Karaja (28), from Halhul, north of Hebron governorate, after stopping him on a temporary military checkpoint established on the northern entrance to the city.
  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli Intelligence Services arrested Ali Hussain Deiriyyah (26), from Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem, after summonsing him for investigation at “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of the city.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Eyas Hussain Obaid’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Ra’ed Rami Abu Sbeitan’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in Hebron, Beit Ummar, and Tarqumiyah villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Yatta, south of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Samer Mousa Abu Malash (39), and Mohannad Mahmoud Abu Malash (37).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians; Ahmed Issam Abu al-Rab (21), Majed Faisal Nazzal (31), ‘Allam Ahmed Nazzal (22), and Mohammed Adel Saba’na (22).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Hashemiya village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Sati Jarrar (27).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Tammun, southeast of Tubas. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Marwan Ahmed Bisharat (30).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Saf street, in the center of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Islam Adel Hijazi (22) and Marwan Saleh Abu ‘Aahour (27), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Anazzah village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ahmed Mohammed al-‘Amour (27).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Um al-Sharayet neighborhood, south of al-Bireh, north of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched the house of Hamas leader, Jamal Mohammed al-Tawil (58), and arrested him. IOF released him after several hours. It should be noted that al-Tawil spent 13 years in the Israeli prisons in separate periods.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into the southern side of Hebron. They raided and searched Makroum Naser al-Ja’bari’s (29) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (7) civilians; Bajes Ma’rouf Nakhla (57), his son Ma’rouf (30), Eyad Mahmoud Safi (49), Maher Ayoub Dalaisha (46), Awwab Ahmed Mubarak (28), Abdul Aziz Mohye al-Dein al-Khateeb (20), and Mohammed Saher Dabour (21).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Jaba’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians; Ibrahim As’ad Baddad (45), Mohammed As’ad Shreim (32), Fareed Mohammed Balsha (48), and Nasri Saleh Khaliliyah (26).
  • At approximately 06:00, a group of Mista’arvim, (Israeli Special Unit dressed like Palestinian civilians), sneaked to a local market in the center of Jenin, using a vehicle with a Palestinian registration plate. Three gunmen came out of the vehicle and arrested Majdi Azmi Hasaniya (26), from Jenin refugee camp, while he was organizing vegetables at his father’s shop. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Khalil Atta Abu al-Hawa’s (18) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 07:30, IOF established a temporary military checkpoint near the entrance to Arraba, southwest of Jenin. They arrested Asem Mustafa Arqawi (18), and Mohammed Eyad Souqiyya (18), from Jenin. IOF took them to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved 50-meters to the west of the border fence, east of al-Shawka village, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. They combed and leveled lands and deployed again later.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Dura and Idhna villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

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

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • On Thursday, 18 March 2021, Two brothers, Khaled and Monir al-‘Abbasi, vacated the contents of their 2-storey house in Deir al-Saneh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, upon an Israeli Municipality’s notice to vacate their houses under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Khaled al-Abbasi said that the 2-storey building was established in 2016; he lived with his wife, 5-year old child and 7-month baby in a 100-sqm apartment in the first floor while his brother Monir lived with his pregnant wife in his 90-sqm apartment in the second floor.  Al-‘Abbasi added that the Israeli municipality promptly pursued them and issued an administrative decision to demolish their houses. Their lawyer managed to freeze the decision and applied for a house license, but in vain.  Al-‘Abbasi pointed out that the Israeli Municipality imposed on him a fine of 70,000 shekels in 2019, and he is still paying it.  He added that he and his brother were handed an order to vacate their houses within 21 days last September, so they headed to the Israeli court, which gave them until 11 March to self-demolish the house, but he did not do it.  He said that the Israeli Police called him on Thursday morning to notify him to vacate his house to demolish it in the coming days.  Al-‘Abbasi said that the construction of the house cost him 700,000 shekels while the lawyer fees were around USD 13,000. 

  • On Sunday morning, 21 March 2021, Raja’ie Talal ‘Atiah self-demolished his house in al-Madares neighborhood in al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Raja’ie ‘Atiah said that the house was under construction and he lived in the 120-sqm third floor.  He added that he started building the house 5 months ago so that his son, Ahmed, move in, but the Israeli Municipality promptly haunted him and issued a decision to demolish the house.  ‘Atiah added that he hired a lawyer to appeal the decision, but the Israeli District Court issued a decision to self-demolish his house and gave him a month to carry out the demolition.  He pointed out that the Israeli Municipality called him yesterday afternoon and threatened him that a fine of 200,000 shekels would be imposed on him if the Municipality’s vehicles carried out the demolition.

  • On the same morning, Mohammed Bassam al-Sabbah Karshan self-demolished his 2-storey house in Sho’fat refugee camp, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Mohammed Karshan said that he built his house 7 months ago on an area of 500sqms, but it is still under construction.  The first floor was supposed to include 5 shops and the second floor should include 2 residential apartments.  Karshan added that the Israeli Municipality notified him last November to stop the construction works and then handed him an administrative demolition decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction and its location near Sho’fat refugee camp checkpoint. He said that he appealed the decision and hired a lawyer, but the court notified him that a fine of 300,000 shekels would be imposed on him if he did not carry out the demolition.

  • In the same morning, Sami Mohammed Sa’ied ‘Abbeid self-demolished his house in al-‘Issawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction. Sam’ ‘Abbeid said that the 100-sqm house was under construction, and he started building it at the end of last year so that his son, Mohammed, moves in, but the Israeli Municipality promptly pursued him and issued a decision to demolish his house.  ‘Abbeid added that he hired a lawyer to try to freeze the demolition decision, but the court rejected his request and insisted on the demolition decision.  ‘Abbeid said that he was forced to self-demolish his house after the Israeli Municipality threatened him of imposing a fine in case its vehicles carried out the demolition.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration SUV raided an auto-repair workshop near ‘Arraba intersection, southwest of Jenin. The Civil Administration officer asked the workers for the workshop’s owner.  When they told him that the owner was not here, he fixed a notice to the workshop door relevant to the demolition of the workshop, which is a 150-sqm tinplate barrack and costs 150,000 shekels.  The workshop, which belongs to Hussam ‘Emad Abu Salah, from ‘Arraba village, southwest of Jenin, was notified under the pretext of illegal construction in Area C.
  • At approximately 12:00 on Sunday, 21 March 2021, IOF handed a military order to confiscate 17 dunums and 497 sqms from civilians’ lands in Burqin village and Haris and Sarta villages, to build a settlement road that connects Barkan settlement with the “Trans-Samaria Highway,” which connects Tel-Aviv with the Jordan Valleys. Tens of settlements were established on both sides of the road, and many changes and expansions were made to the road that led to changes in the features of Salfit City and confiscation of tens of Palestinian agricultural dunums.
  • At approximately 08:00 on Wednesday, 24 March 2021, the Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished the concrete pillars and floor belonging to Mahmoud ‘Alqam in Shu’fat refugee camp, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Mahmoud ‘Alqam said that he built a cement floor 2 months ago on an area of 100 sqms, intending to build a house so that he moves in with his wife and 5 children; the eldest is 16 years old and the youngest is 6 months old.  ‘Alqam added that he was surprised with IOF moving into Ras Khamis neighborhood and surrounding the place.  They started demolishing the pillars and floor in addition to completely levelling the land and the fence surrounding it, without a prior warning.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • At dawn on Friday, 19 March 2021, a group of settlers burnt 2 vehicles and wrote racist slogans in Beit Iksa village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem.

Sa’adah al-Khatib, Mayor of Beit Iksa village, said that a group of settlers moved into the village at dawn and wrote racist slogans on some walls in the village.  They also burnt 2 vehicles belonging to Hamdan Karshan, and the Palestinian Civil Defense crews arrived to extinguish the fire, which completely caught the 2 vehicles. He added that this is the fourth incident of its kind during the past period.

  • At approximately 07:30 on Saturday, 20 March 2021, Monjed Ahmed al-Tamimi, from Deir Nidham village, arrived at his agricultural land in Wad Raya area, north of the village, which is 700 meters away from “Halamish” settlement, and was surprised that the land fence was cut and around 2400 almond seedlings were uprooted and broken. He added that he later found out that a group of settlers from “Halamish” settlement did this.  It should be noted that in March, IOF confiscated a tractor belonging to al-Tamimi as well when he was plowing another land near al-Nabi Saleh village near Deir Nidham village.
  • On Sunday morning, 21 March 2021, settlers levelled vacant lands in Thaher al-Mazareb area in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem, to build a settlement road.
  • Ahmed Ghazal, Head of Kisan Village Council, said that a group of settlers from “Ma’ale Amos” settlement established on the Kisan lands built a settlement road of 4 kilometers in Thaher al-Mazareb area, east of the village, preluding to confiscate hundreds of dunums from the area lands.
  • At approximately 10:30 on Tuesday, 23 March 2021, 3 settlers on tractors from “Havat Gilad” settlement, established on southern Tal village, southwest of Nablus, attacked the Palestinian lands in Khelet Mohra al-Qebli, south of the village, uprooted 25 five-year-old olive seedlings and confiscated 22 of them. Those seedlings belong to Mohammed Ibrahim ‘Othman Ramadan from the village.

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  75 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, 21 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near the entrance to Biddu village’s tunnel, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • On Wednesday, 24 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near the entrance to Biddu village’s tunnel, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 18 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Friday, 19 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, east of the city.
  • On Saturday, 20 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint in ‘Aqabet Hassnah area, west of the city.
  • On Sunday, 21 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village and at the entrances to Jannatah and Marah Rabah villages, south of the city.
  • On Monday, 22 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village and at the entrance to Marah Rabah village, south of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 23 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the western entrance to Tuqu village, east of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 24 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.

 Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 18 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of the city.
  • On Friday, 19 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of the city.
  • On Saturday, 20 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of “Hallamish” settlement, northwest of the city.
  • On Sunday, 21 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • On Monday, 22 March 2021, IOF stationed at “al-Mahkama” military checkpoint established near “Beit El” settlement, north of Al-Bireh city, tightened their measures, searched Palestinians’ vehicles and checked their IDs. Also, IOF established 2 checkpoints on a road connecting between Silwad and Ein Yabrud villages and at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • On Tuesday, 23 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Beitin, Deir Abu Mash’al and Nabi Salih villages.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 18 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at Al-Auja village’s intersection and at the northern entrance to Jericho
  • On Friday, 19 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 20 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the norther entrance to Jericho.
  • On Sunday, 21 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Monday, 22 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho.
  • On Tuesday, 23 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 18 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Awarta village and near the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement, west of the city.
  • On Friday, 19 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near the intersection of Sarra village, southwest of the city.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 18 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp.
  • On Friday, 19 March 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa, Idhna and Khasa villages, and at the northern entrance to Hebron.
  • On Saturday, 20 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron, at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp and at the entrance to Beit Ummar village.
  • On Monday, 22 March 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to as-Samu and ad-Dhahiriya villages, at the southern entrance to Halhul city, on Khelet al-Mayia road, and at the southern entrance to Dura city.
  • On Tuesday, 23 March 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Ummar and Susya villages, at the western entrance to the city, and at the northern entrance to Yatta city.
  • On Wednesday, 24 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Dura city and at the entrance to ad-Dhahiriya village.

Qalqilya:

  • On Saturday, 20 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jit village, northeast of the city.
  • On Sunday, 21 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints under the bridge of Azzun villages and at the entrance to Azzun village, east of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 23 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Hableh and Izbat al-Tabib villages, east of the city.

Salfit:

  • On Saturday, 20 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Kifl Haris and Kafr ad-Dik villages, west of the city.
  • On Sunday, 21 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Kafr ad-Dik, Deir Ballut and Haris
  • On Monday, 22 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Kafr ad-Dik and Deir Istiya villages and at the northern entrance to Salfit.
  • On Tuesday, 23 March 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Iskaka, Deir Istiya, Deir Ballut, and Az-Zawiya villages.

Save Sheikh Jarrah: The online campaign giving hope to Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem

Residents of Karm al-Jaouni live under the threat of forcible eviction that would see them replaced by Israeli settlers

Nabil al-Kurd, a long-time resident of Karm al-Jaouni, stands next to a wall graffitied with “We will not leave” in Arabic (MEE/Aseel Jundi)

By Aseel Jundi in Sheikh Jarrah

Published date: 22 March 2021 16:06 UTC 

At first glance, everything looked seemingly normal in Karm al-Jaouni in the Sheikh Jarrah district, but the clamour of gathering news outlets and legal institutions last week told another story of a neighbourhood in turmoil.

The Sheikh Jarrah district is inhabited by refugees who were expelled from their towns and villages by Zionist militia during the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) in 1948. But due to Israel’s push to populate the area with Israeli settlers, Palestinian residents are now, once again, facing the spectre of expulsion.

In an effort to garner international support, activists launched an online campaign, #SaveSheikhJarrah, in Karm al-Jaouni on Monday to help save the residents, who have lived in the neighbourhood for decades, from forcible removable, which many of their neighbours have already endured. 

Nabil al-Kurd, a 70-year-old Jerusalemite and resident of Karm al-Jaouni, sees the campaign as a glimmer of hope that could help him retain his current home, and avoid reliving the experience of having been forced out of his family house in Haifa in 1948.

Karm al-Jaouni
Israel’s judicial system has repeatedly shown bias toward Israeli settlers (MEE/Aseel Jundi)

“We want to relay our voices to Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations and international law organisations because all these parties are involved in our issue, which has certainly reached the level of war crime,” he said.

In 1956, the Jordanian government, together with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, reached an agreement to settle these families in Jerusalem in return for their UNRWA documents.

Some 28 families were selected and provided with housing units, built by the Jordanian government, for three years, after which the ownership of the property will be automatically theirs. The lease contracts expired in 1959 and the residents became the owners of the property.

‘Their dogs attack us, their trash floods the entrance, they have killed the trees and turned the house into ruins’

– Nabil al-Kurd, resident

However, after the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, with the eastern part of the city coming under Israeli control, the inhabitants of Sheikh Jarrah district were taken by surprise when two Jewish committees registered their ownership of the 18-dunums of land at the Land Department in 1972.

Thereafter, dozens of judicial cases were raised in Israeli courts, as the 28 nuclear Palestinian families expanded and the number of residents facing eviction in favour of settlers rose to around 600 Palestinians.

In 2019, lawyer Sami Ershied told MEE that Sheikh Jarrah eviction cases are discriminatory because the legal procedures do not take into account that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory.

Under international law, an occupying state cannot forcibly transfer residents of occupied territories because it has an obligation to preserve the demographic composition of the inhabitants.

Another point of contention has been claims made by religious Israelis that a sacred shrine belonging to Shimeon al-Siddiq (founder of the Israelite Tribe of Simeon) is located in the heart of the Karm al-Jaouni district.

Palestinian residents refute this claim, asserting that the shrine is Islamic, and known as the saint Saad al-Din Hijazi, who was buried there 400 years ago, and that “Ottoman maps” prove their narrative.

Relentless harassment

Al-Kurd’s experience with the Israeli occupation is a flagrant example of Palestinians suffering at the hands of settlers.

In 2001, he built a house adjacent to the one he already had, only for Israeli occupation authorities to confiscate the keys to the new house, just four days before he was planning to move in. In 2009, settlers came and occupied the house, turning Kurd’s life into hell. 

At the time, al-Kurd erected a tent at the entrance of the house where Palestinian, European and Jewish activists came to demonstrate their support. Settlers harassed the activists by spraying them with spoiled milk, hitting them with rotten fruits, vegetables, and waste and setting rodents on them while they slept.A decade in, Palestinian family fights on against East Jerusalem eviction

Five years later, the settlers set fire to the tent and burned it down, but the harassment of the family did not stop, even after the sit-in ended.

“Settlers would take their clothes off and stand at the windows overlooking our home. I had to hang a fabric barrier to protect my wife and daughters,” Nabil said. 

“Their dogs attack us, their trash floods the entrance, they have killed the trees and turned the house into ruins.”

Since his retirement several years ago, this elderly Jerusalemite has divided his time between keeping an eye on settlers, lest they suddenly attack his family, and countering the Israeli judicial system.

The Israeli district court has recently issued a verdict giving al-Kurd a grace period to vacate his house before May.

Al-Kurd said that although the settlers lack any proof of ownership of the land, they are adamant to evacuate its residents in accordance with the Judaisation policies in occupied East Jerusalem.

Residents of the neighbourhood, he said, have had no means of defending themselves except resorting to the law, but that avenue has been marred with challenges as the judicial system has repeatedly shown bias toward the settlers.

‘I did not surrender’

The online campaign, which has been trending in both Jordan and Palestine, has given hope to Fawziah al-Kurd, who was forcibly removed from Karm al-Jaouni in 2008, that an international campaign would stop Israel from expelling these refugees for a second time, and allow her to return to her neighbourhood.

Fawziah, who is better known as Um Kamel al-Kurd, said that although it has been 13 years since she was forced to leave, she still visits the place three times a week. 

Fawziah al-Kurd
A 2008 photo shows the tent that Fawziah al-Kurd lived in for a year after she was expelled from her home in Sheikh Jarrah (provided)

She said she passes by her house, which is currently occupied by settlers, as a show of resilience and to reiterate her refusal to abandon it. 

“I lived in the house for 40 years, the last five of which were the hardest because Israelis took half of my house by force before practically throwing me out on the street along with my ailing husband,” Fawziah told MEE. 

“Despite all of this, I did not surrender and I lived in a tent adjacent to my house for a whole year.”

Save Sheikh Jarrah

One of the coordinators of #SaveSheikhJarrah, Karmel al-Qasim, who lives in the area, said that his family was given until early May to vacate their house in which they have been living since 1956.

‘Our one and only demand is to let us live peacefully in our homes just like any normal family anywhere in the world’

– Karmel al-Qasim, resident

He pointed out that the goal behind the campaign is to convey the voice and the suffering of Karm al-Jaouni residents to the whole world and generate international political pressure to stop the displacement and dispersion of its inhabitants, once again.

“Our one and only demand is to let us live peacefully in our homes just like any normal family anywhere in the world, without the threat of eviction and displacement,” Qasim said. 

“Through the #SaveSheikhJarrah campaign, we call upon UNRWA and Jordan to assume their legal and moral responsibilities toward us because we have been living here in compliance with an agreement that both parties reached in the 1950s.” 

Karmel said he will not abandon his right to resist the policy of eviction and will continue to follow in the footsteps of his late mother Amal al-Qasim, a refugee who was expelled from Jaffa in 1948. 

He, along with his brothers and sisters, intend to stand fast in their neighbourhood, which is strategically located near the Old City of Jerusalem.

Aref Hammad, a member of Sheikh Jarrah Refugees Housing Units Committee, told MEE that the Skafi, Qasim, al-Kurd, al-Jaouni, Hammad, al-Daoudi and al-Dijani families are in the process of filing an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, in a last push in the legal recourse against the eviction verdicts recently issued by the district court. 

Hammad said that 169 residents of the neighbourhood have received orders to vacate their homes, including 46 children from 12 different families. 

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