Forget the anti-Semitism fallacy, let’s focus on the Palestinians

Forget the anti-Semitism fallacy, let’s focus on the Palestinians
Jewish anti-Zionist rabbi

Speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on 16 July 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron repeated the slogan that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic. According to Macron, anti-Zionist and anti-Israel expressions are “a new type of anti- Semitism”. We hear this almost daily, and pretty soon one of us anti-Zionists will land in jail for arguing that only a democratic, Palestinian state in Palestine has a right to exist there.

Only a few decades ago, and only for a few decades, Zionism proclaimed by many as racist, but now, according to Mr Macron, the allegation is that it is anti-Zionism that is racist.

There is, however, a large logical flaw in the argument that believing Israel should be replaced by a democracy is anti-Semitic: the anti-Zionist position denies only the right of a Jewish state to exist in Palestine, at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians. It does not deny the right of Jews, or “the Jews”, to a state of their own somewhere, at nobody’s expense. Nor does it necessarily affirm it. This pro-Palestinian position simply denies the right of any state, whether Jewish or anything else, to impose itself on Palestine against the will of the indigenous Palestinians.

A British-enabled European colony

The issue has never been “Yes” or “No” to the question of Jewish self-determination as such, embodied in a state. Even if the answer is “Yes”, a “Yes” to Israel does not follow: the claim of some Jews, or Zionist Jews, or European Jews, or Christian Zionists, that “the Jews” own Palestine does not stand up. The land belonged and still belongs to the flesh-and-blood 20th century inhabitants whose ancestors had lived there for centuries or millennia.

Instead, the issue has always been on whose land and at whose cost a Jewish state could justly be established. Palestine could always be ruled out because, on any rational moral standard, the property rights and political rights of the Palestinians – be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish or atheist – had precedence.

These are the problems that make it impossible for Zionism – which insists its state must be in Palestine – to have any ethical justification. That the imposed state is Jewish is not relevant. What is relevant is only that it is imposed.

Anti-Zionism – better, pro-Palestinianism – thus takes no stand at all on the general question of Jewish self-determination. It can even, in spite of strong arguments in principle against ethno-religiously defined states, hold great sympathy for the wish of many Jews for a haven where they are safe from European persecution. But not at others’ existential expense.

For this discussion, it is not even necessary to define what one means by “Jewish state”: whether it is something cuddly, with a flag showing the Star of David and Hanukkah instead of Christmas, or the real Zionist entity which legally privileges Jews and refuses ethnically-cleansed Palestinians their right of return, is of no relevance. Either state, if rejected by a majority of Palestine’s indigenous people, is illegitimate.

This is in fact what it means to reject Israel’s legitimacy: it is a British-enabled, European colony. A necessary condition of the Zionist state was and is the eradication of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. The case for Israel’s illegitimacy thus has nothing to do intrinsically with Judaism or Jews, but only with the fact that Zionism threw the first stone of aggressive colonialism. The rightful polity never wanted Israel, period.

Thus, from a moral point of view Zionism’s problem is that Israel is in the wrong place. Any place would be wrong if the state’s existence presupposed military conquest and ethnic cleansing. That the anti-Semitism that gave rise to Zionism in the first place was European, having nothing to do with Palestinians, merely rubs salt in the wounds of Palestinians and of justice.

So, we can say that Israel has no right to exist (it is not right that it exists), where it is and in the manner that it maintains itself, without saying a single word about Jews, a Jewish collective, Jewish statehood or Jewish self-determination. We are talking about Palestine and Palestinians.

We should in fact start any discussion of Palestine and Israel with Palestine, not with philo- or anti-Semitism or with the ins and outs of the Zionist endeavour or with the historical claims of some long-ago residents. In the beginning of modern political Zionism were indigenous Palestinians, and their enduring and inalienable rights should be our focus, a positive focus in no need of defence against far-fetched accusations concerning one or the other attitude towards Jews and their national aspirations.

Our arguments for the sole legitimacy of a state determined by the majority of the Palestinians – wherever they now live – do in fact entail the negatively-expressed conclusion that Israel is illegitimate. But the argument for Palestinian self-determination, in Palestine, makes no necessary mention of the particular non-indigenous ethnic or religious group in terms of which Israel defines itself. Thus, the claim that the anti-Zionism entailed by full recognition of Palestinian rights is anti-Semitic simply falls flat for lack of an object.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition

The conflation of opposition to Israel with opposition to Jews is thus embarrassingly illogical. Yet we see the president of France doing exactly that, and likewise the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), but before looking at that organisation’s definition, what is anti-Semitism? It is not all that complicated. It is antipathy or violence towards Jews, or any other abuse of them, because of their descent or religion. (Without this motive, violence and abuse remain crimes, but not racist ones.) Nobody can help who their ancestors are, so such attitudes and actions are criminal and racist.

The definition of anti-Semitism now being used to shift the term away from Jews as such over on to Zionism and Israel has a long history, but here it is, black-on-white, in its IHRA version: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Although the formulation “hatred toward Jews” leaves out the decisive phrase ‘because they are Jews’, let’s accept this so-called “non-legally binding working definition” adopted by the IHRA on 26 May 2016.

Then come the illogical parts: “Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity… Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life… include… denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour.”

But, of course, anti-Zionism doesn’t target Israel because it is a “Jewish collectivity” (whatever that means) and it doesn’t deny the abstract right of any ethnic or religious group to try to peacefully set up its own state. It does identify Zionism as racist against the non-Jews of Palestine.

Again, you can shout from the rooftops for the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in the form of a sovereign state – if done without violence on land purchased fair and square – and still reject Zionism and Israel. Saying that the wrong of European persecution of Jews does not justify the wrong of Palestinian dispossession is an ethical stand independent of the ethnicities or religions involved. Where is the anti-Semitism?

Baffling, at first sight, is the IHRA’s use of the phrase “a state of Israel” in place of “the state of Israel”. My guess is that the authors of the definition know very well that there are sufficient non-anti-Semitic reasons to reject Israel – mainly that it is in Palestine, paid for by the Palestinians. Through this elision I think they are trying to pin on us anti-Zionists opposition to any Jewish state, anywhere. But we have seen that this isn’t true. With full sympathy for any ethnic or religious groups under persecution, we are agnostic on this point.

Freedland weighs in

Next we have the same conflation committed by Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian’s resident apologist for the violent colonial entity in Palestine and who, to the discredit of that paper’s editors-in-chief, was and perhaps still is entrusted with overseeing the paper’s foreign-affairs editorial policy.

On 29 April 2016 Freedland explained, in an elaborate if not baroque piece in his newspaper, why returning Palestine to its rightful owners – why affirming the Palestinians’ right to self-determination – is racist against Jews.

He sets the stage for the conflation by drawing an analogy with a theoretical black state, rather than a Jewish one – “the only place in the world where the majority of the population… were black”. He then imagines there are a lot of people who reject this state, want it replaced. Disingenuously omitting mention of any reasons for this rejection (for instance, the state’s discrimination against non-blacks), he then asserts that such an attitude would obviously be anti-black racism, parallel to anti-Semitism: all good people “on the left… would be suspicious of this insistence that loathing of the world’s only black country was separate from attitudes to black people in general, especially because most black people had a strong affinity with this country, seeing it as a constitutive part of their own identity”.

The non-sequitur is obvious. To oppose Jewish or Aryan or Muslim or Hindu or Martian country X because it eliminates, expels and discriminates against other ethnic groups is not to oppose Jews, Aryans, Muslims, Hindus or Martians, respectively.

The argument is empty enough, but arguing from black people’s “strong affinity with this country” reduces it to a mere point about the subjective feelings of some ethnic or religious group. And, in fact, Freedland then leaves his analogy with the hypothetical black state to attest that Jews have “this connection to – this need for – Israel. … 93 per cent [of British Jews] told a 2015 survey that Israel forms some part of their identity as Jews… Though Israel’s creation came at a desperately high price for Palestinians… it is impossible for most Jews to see it as a mistake that should be undone.”

One can only as: since when do the feelings of any group override ethical principles and historical context? Using the obvious analogy, since when would the “affinity” of southern US whites for a slave-owning polity override the rights of blacks in that territory? Surely, such whites were heartbroken upon the demise of the Confederate States of America.

Freedland next detaches the discussion from fact or ethics altogether by claiming, with a straight face, that “when Jews call out something to be anti-Semitic”, it is anti-Semitic. This is Alice-in-Wonderland logic.

He then three times says that that “something” which “Jews” subjectively declare to be anti-Semitic is opposition to Israel’s “right to exist”. “Most Jews will defend Israel’s existence,” although it was “forged in bloodshed”. Yes, this is chilling right-wing stuff, but the general problem is that if such group feelings are the only compass, disagreements can only be settled by violence.

Freedland also rides hard the fact that Israel is “the world’s only Jewish country” – implying, I suppose, that were there several Jewish states, it would not be anti-Semitic to fundamentally oppose one or the other of them. But whether there is one ethnocracy of type X, or many, is irrelevant to the point that it is the racist violation of others’ rights in any one of them that motivates fundamental opposition.

Finally, Freedland graciously allows us to criticise Israel “for this or that policy”, but if we feel it is “better that this one black [Jewish] country had never been created”, we are OK with the “periodic persecution and slaughter” of a black/Jewish “minority”. Opposing British imposition of Zionism in the 1930s, as we oppose it now, we “would have denied those six million [Jewish victims] the one lifeline that might have saved them”. And if that isn’t anti-Semitic, what is?

This seems to be the “lifeboat ethics” argument of soft Zionism – it was either us or them. But Freedland is making the further claim that taking the side of the Palestinians in the lifeboat necessarily entails racial prejudice towards the Jews in the lifeboat. Again, a non-sequitur. But what is noteworthy is that since all Palestinians, ever since Zionism was put to paper, opposed the politicide it entailed, all Palestinians are, according to Freedland, anti-Jewish racists. A more slanderous, historically ignorant and generalised assertion, more devoid of empathy for the dispossessed and cleansed Palestinians, is not imaginable.

Go to jail

Macron, Freedland and the IHRA don’t get the point because they don’t take the Palestinians seriously. The Palestinians are simply not relevant to their stories, which begin and end with the Jewish experience. Because the indigenous Palestinians are the monkey wrench ruining their conflated arguments, they don’t count. Orientalism is alive.

Our immediate cause of concern, however, due to the power of these Zionists, is now to stay out of jail. The IHRA, which has equated anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, is not nobody. It is made up of countries, namely all European Union countries except Bulgaria and Portugal plus Argentina, Israel, Switzerland and the US. The European Parliament Working Group on anti-Semitism has adopted the IHRA definition word for word, as has the Austrian and UK governments, albeit not as law but only as policy guidance, and it has been recommended by the EU Parliament for adoption by all EU states.

We have seen that the president of France has a solo part in the IHRA choir, and it so happens that France has a recent history of trying to criminalise fundamental opposition to Israel and even to the rights-based Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Concerns about freedom of expression aside, the attempt is to criminalise as Jew-hatred the well-argued identification of Israel as a racist and usurper state.

In the US as well, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act passed the Senate unanimously on 1 December 2016. The Section 3 of the act defines anti-Semitism by reference to the US State Department’s Fact Sheet of 8 June 2010, which in turn – you guessed it – adopts as its definition of anti-Semitism the IHRA definition. Under the Fact Sheet’s heading “What is anti-Semitism relative to Israel?” we find our old chestnut: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist.” Don’t forget, anti-Semitism is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The IHRA definition has, to be sure, recently been rejected in an essay in the London Review of Books and by a legal opinion refuting the definition’s allegation that “claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour” is anti-Semitic: “Unless such a claim was informed by hatred to Jews, it would not be anti-Semitic to assert that as Israel defines itself as a Jewish state and thereby by race, and that because non-Jewish Israelis and non-Jews under its jurisdiction are discriminated against, the state of Israel is currently a racist endeavour.” To date, fortunately, the Macrons and Freedlands of this world do not openly assert that racist states have a right to exist.

In light of such refutations of the definition, a bill was unanimously passed by the US House of Representatives on 17 May 2017 seeking implicitly to unite all concerned behind the IHRA’s absurd definition.

My point about the definition’s basic fallacy is not new. Already 42 years ago Palestinian liberationist Shafiq al-Hout gave a lecture in Ottawa soon after the General Assembly had passed its resolution condemning Zionism as racist:

There was an intense discussion after my speech, with one rabbi asking: “You have talked about the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, but don’t the people of Israel also have the right to live by themselves in their own state?” I answered: “Yes, they do – as long as it is on land that legitimately belongs to them, and not over land that they have annexed.” He then metaphorically cut his own throat by saying: “But that means less than 10 per cent of the land.” I smiled, as I fine-tuned his answer: “Yes, 6.4 per cent, to be precise.” (Al-Hout, My Life in the PLO, p.136)

Clear Language

I am suggesting it is a good defensive argument to explain that denying Israel in no way implies denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. Israel is a particular way in which some Jews can self-determine, and it is of necessity in a particular place, Palestine. There might be other places, and other ways of self-determining that do not require murder, dispossession and humiliation of another “self”. However, how and where the real Israel was “done”, and is still done, is immoral.

However, such defensive work is necessary only because Zionism has succeeded in setting the agenda of the debate. It has started with the Jewish, rather than the Palestinian, experience, and ridden on Western sympathy for persecuted Jews, enabling libellous accusations of anti-Semitism to seem legitimate. Anti-Zionists end up in the dock.

In reality, though, the burden of proof is on the person who accuses another person of something as horrible as racism. Supporters of all the rights of all the Palestinians are innocent until proven guilty. Proof of guilt requires demonstration of a necessary connection between wanting the removal of the state of Israel in favour of a Palestinian state comprised of all Palestinians, and ill-will towards Jews as Jews. This necessary connection cannot, of course, be found because it is not there.

I think we should simply say that when we are talking about who should rule the land of Palestine, we are first and foremost talking about just that – not about Jews, or Muslims, or Christians. Yes, it was Zionism which entered the picture through British power, uninvited, but it could have been anybody of any ethnicity. On the other hand, it wasn’t just anybody who got expelled and degraded, but by necessity the Palestinians who were living there.

In other words, I think we should shift the focus onto the rights of Palestinians. The end of the state presently occupying (all of) Palestine is not the point. It is only a consequence of justice. The entire argument which leads to a Palestinian successor state to Israel can and should be made without having to mention the specific ethnicity or religion by which Israel defines itself. If justice for Palestine leaves no choice but rejecting Israel, so be it. It has nothing to do with Israel’s being a Jewish state.

It might be a blessing in disguise that the Zionists have gone out on such an illogical limb, because it opens space for reframing the debate from negative to positive: What? Anti-Jewishness? We only want to redress injustices to the population of a colonised country. We are looking for a state to function in a de-partitioned Palestinian homeland which achieves redress. There is no room for any state entity not chosen by the colonised and expelled, whatever its ethno-religious self-definition.

Macron’s statements to Netanyahu with which this article began have drawn a reply from Israeli writer Shlomo Sand, who balks when Macron says that “anti-Zionism… is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism”. After first pointing out that Zionism is not Judaism and that many Jews were and are anti-Zionists, he fingers the ethical problem, namely the fact of the overwhelming anti-Zionist majority of indigenous Palestinians, and incisively wonders “if [Macron] seriously expect[s] of the Palestinians that they should not be anti-Zionists!”. He says of himself, not as an anti-Semite, but “as a democrat and a republican… I cannot support a Jewish state”.

There is no need to beat around the bush any longer over Israel’s “right to exist”. Anti-Zionism is not just criticism of this or that Israeli policy but of the very idea of an ethno-religious state in violation of the wishes of Palestine’s rightful citizenry. It is a no-brainer that the Zionist state should give way to a democracy in Palestine. Yet many supporters of Palestinian rights often fudge this issue, claiming that a state in Palestine that is somehow “Jewish” is somehow tolerable.

This includes supporters of the two-state solution, such as Barack Obama or Jeremy Corbyn, a Zionist solution tautologically, because one of the two advocated states is, alas, an intruder Jewish state in Palestine. But there is no reason to fear charges of racism when rejecting Israel. That rejection follows logically from the positive rights of the Palestinians, absent all connection to the anti-Semitic type of racism.

We can thus confidently dissociate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism. To do this we need only stress that what must be corrected – the usurpation of Palestine, against the will of the people of Palestine – has nothing to do necessarily with Israel’s Jewishness, only with its colonialism and racism. But we can go one better by retaining a Palestinian orientation. That is, the whole discussion is first and foremost a question of justice for the dispossessed, from which the illegitimacy of Israel simply follows. It is a question of Palestine, not of Israel.


*Blake Alcott is an ecological economist and the director of One Democratic State in Palestine (England) Limited. A version of this article first appeared in The Palestine Chronicle

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#Ireland Deportations and Harassment of Irish Group Traveling to West Bank

Deportations and Harassment of Irish Group Traveling to West Bank

By Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin,

A trip to Palestine resulted in deportations and harassment by security as the Israel authorities step up attempts to intimidate or frighten future travelers to the area. During our trip we experienced CS gas, checkpoints, apartheid in action and military harassment of Palestinians. Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin relates his experiences as a member of the group.

Departure

I joined the group in Dublin airport on the morning of September 8th and we flew out to Istanbul where we waited in a transit area cafe for a couple of hours. As it turned out our flight departure lounge for Tel Aviv was next to the cafe where we were sitting and we noticed that an extra layer of security was being prepared by ground staff for the Tel Aviv flight. After boarding, and a smooth Turkish Airlines flight to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, we disembarked and queued up for passport control. I was on my own and after 2 or 3 questions (what was the purpose of my trip, had I been to Israel before, etc). I was given a one month visa and waved through.

Meanwhile, however, trouble was brewing as I could hear the two Irish girls at the kiosk next to me being asked to bring the group leader over. I went directly through to the arrivals hall as I had not checked in any bags. Then began a long wait as myself and the few who got through unhindered discovered that security had rounded up as many of the group as they could find including those who had decided to wait in the luggage hall rather than in the arrivals hall. In all 21 were detained and 6 questioned, and of those 4 were deported (Elaine Daly, Fidelma Bonass, Joan Nolan and Stephen McCloskey) a few hours later. The four who were detained were informed that they were being deported to prevent ‘illegal immigration’ even though they had valid passports and return tickets. Around 4am the others were released and we finally boarded the bus and made the journey to our hotel in Bethlehem.

West Bank wall and turnstiles

Fact Finding Program

Our tour, though coordinated in Dublin, was organised by the Siraj Centre, a non-profit organization licensed by the Ministry of Tourism and based in Palestine. Our Fact Finding Program included meetings with prominent peace activists, political officials, human rights organizations, settlers and Jewish tour guides. This makes the deportation of our group leader, Elaine Daly, even stranger as she has been organising trips with the Siraj Centre every year from Ireland since 2006.

Sat 9th Sept: Day 1 Bethlehem

On our first morning we attended a talk by Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a local university professor and activist, at the Natural History institute who emphasised the strong link between biodiversity, political struggle for the land and its safeguarding for future generations. It was interesting to note that it had been his son who had first drawn the infamous ‘shrinking’ map of the Palestinian territories showing their loss of land from 1946, 1947, 1967 to the 2000s.

Entrance to Aida refugee camp

CS gas

Afterwards we headed over to the Lajee Center, a cultural centre beside the main Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem for a talk and a traditional dance display from the local children. Soon however they switched off the air-conditioning and when we asked why we were told that tear gas was coming through the system. Directly outside the window local youth were throwing stones at the Israeli army at the far end of the road. Soon more and more tear gas came into the building and the windows and doors were shut. For most on the tour it was their first experience of the burning effects of CS gas yet for the members of the Lajee Center it had become merely a nuisance. After about a half hour we were able to leave and go for a short tour of the area. We passed under the arch of Aida camp with a giant key symbolising the principle that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees and their descendants have a right to return. On our left were simple concrete buildings while on the right the street is cut off from Jerusalem by the Israeli West Bank wall and covered in murals and graffiti.

Wall mural, Aida refugee camp

Sun 10th Sept: Day 2 Hebron

The next day on the way to Hebron we stopped off at a small park beside a main road containing the tomb of Baruch Goldstein, the religious extremist who carried out the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron. Goldstein killed 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounded another 125. He was then overpowered and beaten to death by the survivors. Goldstein was not allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery but his current burial site still attracts Jewish extremists. We drove on to the Cave of Patriarchs or Ibrahimi Mosque where the Goldstein massacre took place. There are now two separate entrances, one for Muslims and one for Jews, both of which we were able to enter. This building is over 2,000 years old is believed to be the oldest continuously used prayer structure in the world. However, it was outside the Mosque at the military checkpoints we witnessed Israeli apartheid for the first time. Palestinians are barred from the using the street and our guide was apprehended by two soldiers. Our group complained to the soldiers but only our guide responded saying he would get a taxi and meet us elsewhere. In the end, the group spontaneously applauded our guide for his patience and perseverance as he was removed from the area. Our waiting bus had only been 50 metres around the corner…

Ibrahimi Mosque, Hebron

We walked through streets of Hebron going through different stages of clearance. In some places only a few Palestinians were left in the old stone buildings and Israeli street signs had been erected pointing to Jewish places of interest. In other streets nets had been used to stop settlers throwing objects on the shoppers below. Afterwards we were brought to meet with a settler where some asked questions about the settlements and their legality but this ended up with some storming out and others realising how it easy it was to become an Israeli citizen and participate in the land confiscations.

Mon 11th Sept: Day 3 Jerusalem

Our guides were Palestinian and Jewish and both were equally as good when it came to explanations and answering questions from our group. As we drove through East Jerusalem it was pointed out by our Jewish guide that Palestinians pay taxes yet their areas had bad roads and poor rubbish collection services.

Tues 12th Sept: Day 4 Nablus

In Nablus we visited Jacobs Well Church, and then to Balata Camp to meet with a representative from the Yafa cultural Center. The centre was set up in 1996 by the Committee for the Defence of Refugee Rights and offers a range of educational and creative programs to camp residents. We were brought around the closely-built neighbourhoods of the camp where some ‘streets’ were less than one metre wide. After lunch we had a tour in the old city of Nablus and visited the Samaritans Museum. The bustling old city gave us a feel for what many areas should have looked like and felt like without occupation.

Yafa cultural Center, Nablus

Wed 13th Sept: Day 5 Ramalah

We began the day driving to Ramalah to meet with a speaker from Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS). BDS has become an extensive movement against Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism. It is also a Palestinian-led movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. We also met with a representative from Al Haq, an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organisation also based in Ramallah. According to their website: ‘Al-Haq documents violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the OPT, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and seeks to end such breaches by way of advocacy before national and international mechanisms and by holding the violators accountable.’ In the afternoon the group were brought on a sightseeing tour of Jerusalem which I did not participate in due to feeling unwell. Instead, I went with our Palestinian tour guide back to Bethlehem on the public bus instead. As the bus approached the wall we all had get off and pass through the many turnstiles and barricaded-off pathways to get to the other side of the wall. The queues moved quickly enough as the military generally do not carry out checks on Palestinians going home to the West Bank from Jerusalem in the evening. It is in the early morning that the long queues form as workers are stopped and permits scrutinised on the way to work in Jerusalem.

Old City, Nablus

Thurs 14th Sept: Day 5 Bethlehem

The next day I went back to Jerusalem from Bethlehem on public bus No. 231. At a major checkpoint a male and female soldier got on the bus while about a third of the bus got off to have their permits checked outside. They questioned a Palestinian woman with children for about ten minutes on the bus before suddenly leaving the bus again and letting the others back on. These checks, the roadworks and traffic jams into Jerusalem added up to about 30 minutes onto our journey, a journey which should have taken only around 20 minutes. In the centre I crossed the road and entered into the Old City through Herod’s Gate. I headed through the old city markets to the Al-Aqsa Mosque but at various Israeli military check points I was stopped and informed that the Mosque was only open in the mornings. There were 4 or 5 groups of about 20 Israeli soldiers each walking and singing down the narrow streets towards the Western Wall. The area was being prepared for a swearing-in ceremony for Paratrooper recruits taking place that evening. After walking the Via Dolorosa and around to the Damascus Gate I got the bus back to Bethlehem. Later, after dinner with the group in a Palestinian restaurant in Bethlehem, a few of us took a taxi to visit the Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel about ten minutes drive away. The ‘Walled Off’ sits beside the massive wall which is covered in graffiti executed in many styles by various artists. Boasting the ‘worst view in the world’ the lobby contains a collection of art and there is a museum upstairs. People sat outside on the veranda between the hotel and the wall having a quiet drink in this most incongruous of places.

Mural near ‘Walled Off’ hotel

Fri 15th Sept: The Dead Sea

For our last day the group decided to visit the Dead Sea. After arriving at the resort, getting to the water’s edge meant walking down layer after layer of beaches as the Dead Sea evaporates. The recession of the water’s edge is believed to be about 1 m (3 ft) a year. The speed and breadth of the recession of the Dead Sea was a fitting symbol for the recession of the West Bank itself as more and more settlements and walls reduce further the size of the Palestinian territories.

Early the next morning we were back on the bus to Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion airport where there was some anxiety as the security checks were known to be more stringent in the departures area than in arrivals area. (Why? a form of damage limitation?) Once again our group was held up to the last minute for our flight to Istanbul. We had a much more pleasant time in Dublin airport where a welcoming committee was waiting for us with a Palestinian flag. Elaine and the other deportees had decided to hold off publicising the deportations so as not to create any unnecessary difficulties for the rest of the group’s departure from Tel Aviv. Of course, our problems were nothing compared to the daily experiences and hardships of the Palestinian people being forced through turnstiles, having to obtain multivaried permits, losing land and dwellings, enduring constant military checks and an oppressive political/legal system (like the 17C Penal Laws in Ireland) all because of a particular nationality or religion. The trip left an indelible impression on us as individuals and as a group which would not be easily removed by the self-serving rhetoric of an all-powerful occupying force.

Since our return the issue of the deportations has been raised in various articles in the national newspapers. It has also been brought up during question time in the Dáil (the Irish parliament). Despite not being able to return to the West Bank again, Elaine is already planning to organise two trips to the West Bank from Dublin for 2018. All aboard!

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist, lecturer and writer. His artwork consists of paintings based on contemporary geopolitical themes as well as Irish history and cityscapes of Dublin. His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

All images in this article are from the author.

A Major Jewish Philanthropist Just Published A Plan To Ethnically Cleanse Palestinians

A Major Jewish Philanthropist Just Published A Plan To Ethnically Cleanse Palestinians

A far-right faction within Israel’s Likud-led governing coalition has endorsed a plan for Israel to annex the entire West Bank and encourage the Palestinian residents to immigrate to neighboring Arab countries. The plan would allow Palestinians who voluntarily gave up all “national aspirations” to remain, granting them limited municipal self-government, but without Israeli citizenship or Knesset voting rights.

Make no mistake about this — this plan amounts to a none-too-subtle form of ethnic cleansing. It presents Palestinians with an untenable choice: Leave your home or be stripped of basic civil rights, perhaps forever.

Despite (or because of) its draconian nature, the plan was adopted unanimously at a September 12 convention of the National Union-Tekuma party, which holds two Knesset seats as the junior partner in the religious-nationalist Jewish Home bloc. National Union leader Uri Ariel serves as minister of agriculture in Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet. The party’s other Knesset member, Bezalel Smotrich, is the author of the annexation plan.

It’s a marginal enough party that those concerned with human rights or with Israel’s international standing needn’t fear the plan’s immediate implementation. But we should be troubled by the plan’s institutional backing — not just in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, but also in the heart of American Jewish philanthropy.

Smotrich’s plan was released September 6 in an 8,600-word lead essay, “The Decision Plan” (Tochnit Ha-Hachra’ah), in the fall issue of the Hebrew-language bimonthly Hashiloach, a conservative journal of ideas published by the New York-based Tikvah Fund.

That’s right — this plan’s institutional backing includes one of the most distinguished philanthropies in Diaspora Jewry. Tikvah is one of several conservative foundations endowed by the estate of the late investment fund manager Zalman-Sanford Bernstein. It is largely controlled by his widow, the philanthropist Elaine Mem Bernstein, and Tikvah’s board of directors includes some of the most prominent names in Jewish neoconservatism, among them William Kristol and Elliott Abrams.

In addition to Hashiloach, launched a year ago, Tikvah has a number of other publications, including the English-language journals Mosaic, Jewish Review of Books and the Library of Jewish Ideas, a book series published jointly with Princeton University Press. Another Bernstein foundation, Keren Keshet-The Rainbow Fund, publishes Nextbook and Tablet magazine. A third, the Avi Chai Foundation, is a major force in Jewish education reform.

Hashiloach takes its name from an early Hebrew-language journal founded in 1897 by the Zionist essayist and gadfly Ahad Ha’am and later edited by the revered poet Hayim Nachman Bialik before folding in 1919. Tikvah’s choice of that name for its journal might be deemed ironic, given the contrast between the liberal stance of the original Hashiloach, which championed a spiritual, anti-nationalist brand of Zionism, and the hard-line politics of the current incarnation.

On the other hand, the choice is in character for the Bernstein family of publications, which tend to combine their core political conservatism with a free-wheeling cultural sensibility and an openness to diverse, challenging ideas.

Still, Smotrich’s right-wing theories are a stretch even for the free-wheeling, open-ended conservatism of Bernstein-world. The notion of a mass population transfer to rid Israel of Palestinians, even if imagined as somehow voluntary, has long been consigned to the fetid corners of Israel’s radical right. If it’s now moved into the mainstream to the point where it can be taken seriously in a distinguished journal of ideas, that’s a depressing comment on the current state of Israeli and Jewish political discourse. If, on the other hand, it hasn’t gained that sort of broad respectability, then its appearance in Hashiloach suggests an alarming erosion of moral focus in Jewish neoconservative thought, as represented by the Tikvah Fund and its affiliates.

The respectability granted to Smotrich’s essay is particularly puzzling given its intellectual weaknesses, from faulty logic to naivete regarding international relations to plain ignorance. He claims, for instance, that the name Palestine, coined by the ancient Romans after their conquest of Judea, was revived by the Arabs of the Holy Land “when they launched their struggle against the Zionist movement” — when in fact the name had been in common use in Europe for centuries before and was imposed on the local Arabs by the British Mandate, not vice versa.

At another point, Smotrich writes that Palestinian extremism and terrorism were products of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Perhaps the 37-year-old settler-lawyer, born and raised in the hermetic world of the settlements, is unfamiliar with the bloody record of the pre-1967 Palestinian Fedayeen. Maybe he’s never heard of the horrific wave of Palestinian terror attacks throughout the 1970s on Israeli homes, schools, hotels, airport terminals and even Olympic athletes. It was before his time.

Smotrich recites at great length the paradoxical argument that coexistence between two nations living side by side in the Land of Israel is impossible because, first, the Palestinians refuse to accept the legitimacy of Jewish statehood, and second, the Jewish claim to the land is the only legitimate claim — meaning, by his lights, that even if the Palestinians were to accept the legitimacy of two states, the Jews could not legitimately do so. That is, the Palestinians are at fault for not accepting the principle of sharing, which we don’t accept either.

Picking at the holes in Smotrich’s arguments shouldn’t distract us from the larger questions raised by his plan. A morally repugnant concept that was rightly condemned as racist a generation ago is now the policy of an Israeli government coalition partner. This should have caused an immediate coalition crisis but, shamefully, it hasn’t. The plan’s mainstreaming in Israeli public life has been partly enabled by one of American Jewry’s most important philanthropies. This should have caused a crisis in Israel-Diaspora relations but, again shamefully, it hasn’t.

If there’s a bright spot in all this, it’s that we have a week and a half until Yom Kippur — time enough to repent our sins, to do justice and love mercy

Read more: http://forward.com/opinion/383106/a-major-jewish-philanthropist-just-published-a-plan-to-ethnically-cleanse-p/

How israel is deliberately disabling Palestinian teenagers

 How Israel is disabling Palestinian teenagers

How Israel is disabling Palestinian teenagers

Mustafa Elayan, 17, was shot in his leg by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

by Jaclynn Ashly, Mondoweiss

Survivors of Israeli live fire speak about Israel’s ‘kneecapping’ practice of shooting youth in their lower limbs.

 

Bethlehem, occupied West Bank – In the Dheisheh refugee camp, it is common to see Palestinian teenagers with deep scars dotting the length of their legs, while posters and murals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces adorn the concrete walls – testaments to a disturbing reality of routine Israeli violence in the camp.

International law prohibits the use of live ammunition on civilians, except as a last resort during an imminent threat of life. However, Israeli soldiers freely fire live bullets at Palestinians during confrontations or military raids.

Both Palestinian and Israeli rights groups have noted that Israel’s excessive use of force on Palestinians has caused scores of permanent and temporary disabilities in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Several residents in the Dheisheh camp have also recently been killed, the latest of whom was 21-year-old Raed al-Salhi, who was shot multiple times during an Israeli army raid last month. He succumbed to his wounds on September 3 at the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem almost a month later.

The Bethlehem-based Palestinian NGO Badil reported a significant increase in Palestinian injuries in the refugee camps last year, the majority of which were caused by live ammunition. Most of the gunshot wounds were directed at the lower limbs of the youth in the camps, now commonly referred to as “kneecapping”.

Residents of the Dheisheh camp say that an Israeli army commander, who the youth in Dheisheh refer to as “Captain Nidal”, has been threatening to intentionally disable Palestinians in the camp. “I will make half of you disabled and let the other half push the wheelchairs,” he has been reported as saying.

Badil underscored that the threats indicate that incidents of “kneecapping” are “not accidental or isolated”. But instead “result from a systematic Israeli military policy aimed at suppressing resistance, terrorising Palestinian youth, and permanently injuring them and/or causing significant damage to their physical and mental well-being”.

Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank shot Issa in the leg during confrontations with Palestinian youth [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

Issa al-Mu’ti, 15: “I could not feel my legs – all I saw was blood” 

Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank shot Issa in the leg during confrontations with Palestinian youth [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

I was 12. It was 2015. Clashes erupted with Israeli soldiers at the northern entrance of Bethlehem. I was at home with my family when I was notified that my younger brother had gone to participate in the clashes.

I was scared for him. He shouldn’t have gone. I decided to go and find him and drag him back to the camp.

When I arrived, the clashes were ongoing. The Israelis were shooting tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. But still, I continued searching for my brother. Suddenly, the soldiers opened up with live ammunition. I fell to the ground. I couldn’t get up or move my legs. I looked around for help and saw the soldiers shooting at Palestinians who were running away.


READ MORE: Nabi Saleh – ‘It’s a silent ethnic cleansing’


An Israeli police dog began to attack me, biting my leg. I tried to fight it off, but then the soldiers came. They dragged me across the pavement and beat me, even kicked my legs. They didn’t realise I was injured. When they saw my wounds, their faces twisted into shock, and they ran away from me.

I immediately looked down. My legs looked so scary. I couldn’t feel anything – all I saw was blood. I found out later that I had been hit with two expanding bullets in each leg. The use of these bullets is illegal under international law.

Issa holding up a camera photo of him when he was at the hospital. It shows his leg after developing gangrene and his arm handcuffed to the hospital bed at the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

The soldiers spent some time staring at me from afar. I could tell they were stunned and didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I was brought to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. I spent three months there, almost a month of which I was handcuffed to the hospital bed.

Issa’s prosthetic leg [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

Armed Israeli soldiers were stationed in my room the

whole time and sometimes Israeli intelligence would come to the hospital and interrogate me about throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at soldiers.

The pain was excruciating. I had one surgery on my left leg and 20 surgeries on my right leg. My right leg had the worst injuries. The doctors told me that my veins had been destroyed by the bullets, so blood was not able to reach my leg.

I developed gangrene in the hospital and the doctors said they would need to amputate my leg.

At first, I refused. What could I do in my life with only one leg? I felt like my life would be ruined. But the pain from the gangrene worsened. My leg turned black and dried out. It got to the point that cutting it off felt like a relief.

The injuries changed everything in my life. I can’t walk long distances. Before my injuries, I was working to help my family. We aren’t a rich family, so it was important for me to contribute to the household. But now I can’t do anything.

My family raised a criminal case against the soldiers in Israeli court.

Soon after, Israeli soldiers would come to our home and harass my father. He works at a bakery in Gush Etzion [one of Israel’s illegal settlement blocs]. The soldiers are always threatening him, telling him that they will revoke his Israeli permit so he can’t work any more – which would destroy our family – or that they will detain me if my family doesn’t drop the case.

I know that the soldiers will probably not be punished. They’re Israelis who will face an Israeli court. But they permanently disabled me and shot me with internationally banned bullets. How could they not be held accountable?

Ramzi standing beside a poster of slain Palestinian youngster Raed al-Salhi [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

Ramzi Ajamiah, 15: “We are affected psychologically”

Israeli soldiers shot me in both legs. The bullet that went through my left leg struck my kneecap. It also hit a nerve, so the doctors were not able to take the bullet out. The bullet fragments remain in my left leg.

I’m not able to walk for long periods of time. Sometimes my legs will just give out. Especially during the winter months, the cold makes the pain worse. At times, the pain becomes so severe that I’m not able to go to school. I’ve missed more than a year of school because of my injuries.

The incident happened at 6am in 2016 when Israeli soldiers raided the camp. I was on my way to school. The soldiers routinely enter the camp in civilian buses, not military vehicles, so they aren’t noticed as easily.

One of these buses was parked outside the school. When the soldiers exited the bus, clashes immediately erupted.


READ MORE: A Palestinian family divided


The soldiers shot me with a live bullet in my left leg. I was in shock and my body collapsed to the ground. My friend saw it happen, ran over to me and attempted to carry me away from the clashes. At this time, one of the soldiers shot my friend in his leg. But he kept going. Then they shot him again in the other leg and we both fell.

That’s when the soldiers shot me again in my right leg.

I spent almost a month in the hospital. The doctors had to remove flesh from other parts of my body and implant it into my leg, because the bullet had blown away huge chunks of flesh from my leg. They inserted nails that held the flesh together as it was healing, and they wrapped my legs in casts.

About two weeks after I was released from the hospital, Israeli soldiers came to my house in the middle of the night to arrest me. I thought the soldiers would leave me alone after shooting me. But they dragged me out of my bed, handcuffed and blindfolded me, and threw me into an Israeli army jeep. They said I had thrown stones at the soldiers in the camp.

The scarring on Ramzi’s leg after he was shot by Israeli soldiers [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

I spent two weeks in Israel’s Ofer detention centre near Ramallah. I received negligent medical care from the prison doctor there. It was like he was focused on making my injuries worse.

The first thing he did was remove my casts. Without the casts, the nails in my leg would get caught on the bed sheets at night. There was so much blood all the time. Instead of replacing the cast, the doctor began removing all of the nails. My injuries worsened after that.

However, the pain is not just physical. All of us who have been injured by the Israelis are affected psychologically from the trauma.

I developed an addiction to the painkillers I needed to cope with my injuries. My dad began hiding the medicine from me. I felt angry when I was unable to get it. I went through severe withdrawals; I even suffered from hallucinations and started speaking to myself.

Every single one of my friends has been injured or detained by Israeli soldiers. Our community is still heartbroken over Raed’s death [Raed al-Salhi]. He was Israel’s latest victim and everyone loved him in the camp. Any of us could have met the same fate.

Issa and I are best friends. We are now the only ones out of our friends not imprisoned or dead because of Israel.

‘I screamed for help, but no one was around,’ says Mustafa [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

Mustafa Elayan, 17: “They want to make us powerless”

I was heading to the entrance of the camp during the morning hours in 2015, where clashes had erupted with Israeli soldiers. When I arrived, I was suddenly shot in my right leg. I did not know it at the time, but there was an Israeli sniper stationed on the roof of one of the surrounding buildings who had targeted me.

I fell to the ground. I screamed for help, but no one was around. Everyone had scattered away from the area, so I started dragging myself back into the camp. Some guys in the camp eventually found me and carried me away.

Israeli soldiers were stationed at all camp entrances and they prevented [Palestinian] ambulances from entering. A private car drove us to the hospital, but it took us at least 40 minutes to find a way out of the camp. I was bleeding everywhere. All I could think about was the pain. I was scared that I would not make it to the hospital alive or that I would be detained by the soldiers.

I ended up at the Beit Jala Rehabilitation hospital, where the doctors told me I had sustained a rare injury. The bullet had cut right through my leg and destroyed a cluster of nerves. At times, an electric shock would travel through my body due to the damaged nerves.

The doctors tried everything to assuage the pain. I consumed painkiller after painkiller. The doctors even injected an anaesthetic into my spine. But nothing worked.


READ MORE: ‘It’s okay to be racist in Israel’


For about five months, all I felt, saw, or thought about was the pain. The hospital then started running out of the pain medication. It was clear I needed to be transferred to another hospital.

The residents in Dheisheh were following my case. For weeks, they protested and blocked traffic on the main street outside the camp and demanded that the Palestinian Authority (PA) do something to help me. Finally, the PA coordinated with the Israelis, and my mother and I got permission to enter Israel in order to be treated at the Tel HaShomer military hospital in Tel Aviv.

The ambulance dropped me off at the “300” checkpoint in Bethlehem where I was supposed to be transferred to an Israeli ambulance. But the soldiers kept me on a stretcher in the street for four hours. They made fun of me, punching me in the shoulder, saying, “Congratulations, you’re a hero now,” and told me that I was going to prison.

‘I consumed painkiller after painkiller,’ recalls Mustafa [Jaclynn Ashly/Al Jazeera]

When we finally arrived, my mother and I could not communicate with anyone. There was no one who would speak to us in Arabic. I was screaming so loud from the pain that the nurses transferred me to a separate room, where an Israeli guard was stationed outside.

They locked the door and sealed all the windows, and would not even allow my mother to leave the room. My mom had to sleep on the cold, hard floor because the Israelis refused to provide her with a mattress.

I spent 19 days at that hospital. I did not receive any treatment. They just gave me Panadol every few hours. Sometimes, a nurse would enter the room and scream at me in Arabic, accusing me of throwing stones and calling me her enemy. When we attempted to get information from her about my treatment, she would pretend not to know any Arabic.

We didn’t know what to do. I regretted coming to the hospital. The way I was treated, it felt like I was being injured for the second time.

Our friends and family back in Dheisheh reached out to 1948 Palestinians [Palestinian citizens of Israel] on Facebook to see if they could help us. A few of them came to the hospital and tried to find out what was happening. The doctors told them that they were going to amputate my leg.


READ MORE: How Palestinian students prepare for settler attacks


We became very scared. One day, the 1948 Palestinians got access to my room in between guard shifts.

They wrapped me in a blanket, put me in a wheelchair, and smuggled me out of the hospital. They carried me to a yellow-plated Israeli car and drove me back to the Beit Jala hospital.

Four months later, a group of Italian activists came to the hospital to see me after hearing about my case. They brought me to Italy to undergo surgery, almost a year after I had first been injured.

The Italian doctors tell me that, one day, I will be able to run again. I do not feel the pain any more, but I can’t feel anything from the knee down. I still can’t even move my foot, so I am not hopeful I will heal completely.

The injuries destroyed my life. I can’t walk normally. I haven’t been to school since I was shot. I don’t do much now except stay at home or sometimes wander around the camp.

But my situation isn’t unique. Israeli policies are centred on disabling us. They don’t even want to kill us. They want to keep us alive, but make us powerless to do anything against them.

Additional reporting by Soud Hefawi

 

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against Palestine (14- 19 September 2017)

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

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

(14- 19 September 2017)

 

  • 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child , were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the border areas in the Gaza Strip and no casualties were reported

 

  • Israeli forces conducted 65 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 7 others in Jerusalem.
  • 48 civilians, including 8 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem.
  • Sixteen of them, including 3 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem.

 

  • Israeli forces continued efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • A residential building was demolished in Za’eem village.
  • A car wash and showroom comprised of 4 barracks were demolished in Beit Hanina.

 

  • Israeli forces continued settlement activities in the West Bank
  • Israeli settlers cut down 40 fruitful olive trees, south of Nablus.

 

  • Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
  • 2 fishermen were arrested and their fishing boat was confiscated, north of the Gaza Strip.

 

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

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (14-19 September 2017).

Shooting:

 

During the reporting period, 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Three of them were wounded in the West Bank while four others, including a child, in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Israeli naval forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and target the border areas.

In the West Bank, on 15 September 2017, 2 Palestinian young men were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets in a protest organized by dozens of Palestinian civilians in the vicinity of a military watchtower established north of ‘Aidah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. The demonstration was organised in protest at burying the corpses of 4 Palestinian victims detained in the Israeli cemeteries of numbers.

On 17 September 2017, a 20-year-old male was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the right leg when the Israeli forces moved into Qalqliyia, in order to arrest Palestinian civilians.

In the Gaza Strip, border areas witnessed protests against the unjust closure imposed on the Gaza population.  During these protests, Israeli forces used force against the protestors, particularly when dispersing them.  As a result, 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded while participating in a protest organized in the east of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip.

In the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen offshore, on 15 September 2017, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, and chased them.  The shooting recurred in the abovementioned area on 16 and 18 September 2017. No casualties were reported, but the Israeli naval forces arrested 2 fishermen who are also brothers and confiscated their fishing boat.

On 18 September 2017, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats, west of al-Sudaniyia shore, north of the Gaza Strip and chased them.  The shooting recurred in the abovementioned area before midnight.

In the context of targeting the border areas, on 17 September 2017, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire at the agricultural lands in ‘Abasan village, east of Khan Younis.  However, no casualties were reported.

Incursions:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 65 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 7 ones in Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 48 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children and a woman. Sixteen of them, including 3 children and a woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.

 

Efforts to create Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem:

 

As part of house demolitions, on 18 September 2017, Israeli Municipality vehicles demolished an under-construction residential apartment belonging to the sons of late ‘Issa Abed  al-Fattah Matour under the pretext of non-licensing. The apartment is on the 2nd floor added to the house exiting before the occupation of Jerusalem, sheltering Issa’s Family of 20 members. Following the House demolition, the 1st floor was mostly damaged and became uninhabitable due to cracks in the walls and ceilings.

On 19 September 2017, the Israeli Municipality demolished a commercial facility belonging to Bashar Bader in Beit Haninah neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem. The abovementioned facility is a car wash and showroom of 4 barracks. The Israeli forces also levelled the land, where the facility was established. Bader said that the court delayed the demolition decision to 28 September 2017, but he was surprised with the facility being raided and completely deolished.

 

Settlement Activities and Settlers’ Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and their property:

 

As part of settlers’ attacks, on 14 September 2017, Israeli settlers from “Bracha” settlement, south of Nablus, moved into Kafur Qaleel village, south of Nablus, and cut down 40 fruitful olive trees with automatic saws.  Those trees which are one kilometer away from the settlement belong to Fathi Rasheed Mnsour and Jaser Abed al-Jabbar.

 

Restrictions on movement:

 

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

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

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

 

Details

 

 

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

 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Yazan ‘Adnan Salim (25) in Kalbunah building on ‘Asirah Street, and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Asker refugee camp, northeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Hasan Suleiman Qatanani (30) and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Abu al-‘Asja village, southeast of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses belonging to Maher Mohammed Shawamrah, Riyadh Mahmoud Namourah, Yasser al-Shawamrah and Yusuf Mohammed Shawamrah. The Israeli forces claimed that they were looking for weapons. However, no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 01:20, Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Samer Khalid Mohamed Ghanem (22) and Hasan Sedqi Abu Zant (22) and arrested both of them.
  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Madama village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Mohammed Salah Sa’ed Qet (23) and ‘Obadah Fathi Mustafa Qet (23) and then arrested them.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Bidyia village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Azmi Yousef Abed al-‘Aziz Mousa (20) and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Zawiyia village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Ibrahim Taha Shoqier (17) and handed him a notice to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service.
  • At approximately 09:50, Israeli forces arrested Mohammed Mousa Jom’ah from ‘Ein Yabrud village, northeast of Ramallah when he referred to the Israeli Intelligence Service.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (9) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Shaqba, al-Mughir, Silwad and Betunia in Ramallah and al-Birah; Tal village, southwest of Nablus; Qaryout village, west of Jenin; Dura and Yatta in Hebron; and Kaful Hares village, north of Salfit.

Friday, 15 September 2017

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Beir al-Basha village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Odai Mousa Ghawadrah (22) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aidah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Ma’moun Bdair (25) and then handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of the city.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Beit Jala. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ehab ‘Essa Omer (34) and then handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of the city.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of the city, and stationed in al-Bayadah neighbourhood. They raided and searched several houses belonging to Ibrahim Sabri ‘Awad, Mahmoud Abdullah ‘Awad, Ibrahim ‘Ayad ‘Awad, and Abdul Qader Mohammed Ekhleil.
  • At approximately 02:15, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village, north of the Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles. They also fired flare bombs at them and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 23:30, Israeli forces moved into Deirsitiyia village, northwest of Salfit. They raided al Salman Petrol Station, east of the village, and confiscated surveillance cameras’ DVRs, claiming that unknown persons threw stones at them while moving into the village and Kaful Hares village.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (9) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: ‘Arabah village, southwest of Jenin; Bani Na’im, al-Deir, al-Nawamis,and al-Mawreq villages in Hebron; Qalqilyia; Far’oun village, south of Tulkarm; Zita village, north of Tulkarm; and Kaful Hares village, north of Salfit.

 

Saturday,16 September 2017

 

  • At approximately 04:30, Israeli forces moved into Siwan village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Khatbi Abed al-Naer Hamed (28) and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Bitouniyia village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jamal al-‘Amawasi and confiscated a PC set and surveillance camera. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 15:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Samou’ village, south of Hebron, and stationed in Khelat al-‘Adas neighbourhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sami Abu ‘Arqoub and held his family in one room. The Israeli soldiers arrested Basel (22) and Nezar (19) and confiscated NIS 20,000 that were in the house.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles. They also fired flare bombs at them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

  • At approximately 10:30, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at the agricultural lands, east of ‘Abasan, east of the city. The shooting continued for few minutes, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Ummer village and Dura in Hebron; Hasaka area, east of Halhoul, Beit Ola and Deir ‘Asal villages in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Bethlehem and stationed on al-Ta’an Street. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud ‘Esam Jaber (34) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:20, Israeli forces moved into Qalqilyia to conduct an arrest campaign against Palestinian civilians. In the meantime, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who fired sound bombs, tear gas canisters and live bullets at them. As a result, a 20-year-old male was hit with a metal bullet to the right leg. The Israeli forces also arrested 3 civilians, who were identified as Qusai Saied Hisham Shreaim (16) and his father (35); and Abed al-Fattah Nidal Harb Maskawi (20).

 

  • At approximately 04:00, Israeli forces moved into Kafur ‘Ain village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mo’min ‘Enad al-Rifa’y and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Ofer” prison, west of the city.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Kuber village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Ahmed Hasan Yousef (25), Basil Fahd Abu al-Haj (23), Raied Mahmoud Sabbah (22), Jadallah Mohamed Ahmed Abu al-Haj (22), and Ibrahim ‘Adnan Ibrahim (23).

 

  • At approximately 10:30, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at the agricultural lands, east of ‘Abasan, east of the city. The shooting continued for few minutes, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

  • At approximately 15:15, Israeli forces move dinto Dersityia village, north of Salfit. They raided and searched a petrol station belonging to Tawfiq al-Salman and detained the station key for 2 houses and later returned it. The Israeli forces later withdrew, and neither house raids nor arrests were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (6) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Qufeen village, northeast of Tulkarm; and Hasaka area, east of Halhoul, Ola and Deir al-‘Asal villages in Hebron; and ‘Izbit al-Tabeeb and ‘Azoun villages, east of Qalqilyia.

 

Monday, 18 September 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqilyia. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud Rasheed Mohamed Ridwan and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service. No arrests among civilians were reported. It should be noted that Mahmoud is an officer at Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PPS).

 

  • At approximately 04:00 Israeli forces moved into Kaful Hares village, north of Salfit. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Salem Moahmed Salem Abu Ya’qoub (17) and Ahmed Mousa Mohamed ‘Obaid (17) and arrested both of them.

 

  • At approximately 06:45, Israeli gunboats stationed in the sea, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats. They surrounded a Palestinian fishing boat sailing 400 meters off shore and manned by ‘Amr ‘Adel Moahmed al-Sultan (25) and his brother Mohamed (22). Both of them are from al-Salateen neighborhood in Beit Lahia. The Israeli forces forced ‘Amr and Mohamed to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. The Israeli forces then arrested ‘Amr and Mohamed, confiscated the fishing boat and nets, and took them to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 19:50, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyia shore, west of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 5 nautical miles. They also fired flare bombs at them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage were reported. The same incident recurred at approximately 23:45.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Surif, Beit Ummer, Ethna, Abu al-‘Asjah villages in Hebron; and Qalqilyia.

 

 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Bethlehem and stationed in al-Maslakh neighborhood in the center of the city. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Fadi ‘Isaa ‘Ateiq (17) and Ameer Sameer Ikhmais (15) and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Abu Ktilah neighborhood in Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Suhaib Abed al-Haleem Qufisha (25) and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gosh Etzion” Settlement, south of Bethlehem. The Israeli forces then moved into Abu Romman area, raided a house belonging to Sufian Hashim Abed al-Rahman Jamjoum (39) and confiscated his car.

Sufian said to PCHR’s fieldworker that,

At approximately 02:30, I woke up to sound of noise in the vicinity my house, so I headed to know what was going on. Suddenly, there were heavy knocks on my door and someone saying “opens the door. We are the Israeli forces”. I opened the door, and around 10 Israeli soldiers raided the house; one of whom ordered me to take my family members and stay in a room because they want to search the house. My wife and I were questioned about if we have money relative to Hamas Movement in our house. The Israeli soldiers also asked my children about the same thing. Two hours later, they confiscated my car of NIS 35.000 and then the Israeli soldiers handed us a paper of the confiscated car, claiming it was bought from the banned money of Hamas Movement.”

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Barta’a village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohamed Ibrahim Qasem Qabha (47) and arrested his 2 sons Naser (17) and Osama (15).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Hawarah village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Member of al-Sawabnah village council, Murad Tawfiq ‘Odah (47) and arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Iraq Bureen village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ramez Tariq Qa’dan (30) and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Dura village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Abed Waleed al-Sowaiti (24) and arrested him. Abed was then taken into an area, where Israeli vehicles stationed. The Israeli vehicles then moved into al-Majour neighborhood and raided a house belonging to Mahmoud Abed al-Rahman al-Fasfous (23) and arrested him.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Faqou’a village, east of Jenin; Beit Ummer, Sa’ir, al-Shayyoukh and Tafouh villages in Hebron.

 

 

Demonstrations in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following the Friday, 15 September 2017, dozens of Palestinian residents from Hebron organized a demonstration in front of ‘Ali al-Bakaa’ Mosque in the city in protest against the Israeli authorities’ decision to build a municipality for settlers in Heron’s Old City. The participants raised Palestinian flags and chanted national slogans. When the protestors approached the old municipality building, dozens of Israeli soldiers moved towards them and pushed them back. They heavily fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters in the area to force the participants to withdraw. After a while, the participants withdrew from the area.

 

  • Around the same time, dozens of residents from Kherbet Qalqas, east of Hebron, organized a peaceful protest to reopen the road to the village that was closed 14 years ago. The resident had to take a bumpy road to reach the street that leads to the city. They raised banners demanding to open the road. Israeli force arrived at the area and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. They also chased them into the olive fields. The Israeli forces arrested Taha Hamad Mohammed ‘Abas (22) and Suheib ‘Awni Abu Turki(19).

 

  • Following the Friday praying, dozens of Palestinians organized a peaceful march which started from Abu Bakr Al-sedeeq Mosque in Aida camp, north of Bethlehem towards the military watchtower near the camp, protesting against Israeli authorities burying corpses of Palestinians detained by them in cemeteries of numbers. When the demonstration arrived in the vicinity of the military watchtower, the Israeli forces intensively fired live and rubber-coated metal bullets and gas canisters towards them. As a result, two young men were hit with rubber-coated bullets. The Aida refugee camp residents said that the Israeli forces intentionally fired gas canisters at the civilians’ houses; dozens suffered tear gas inhalation.  Moreover, parts of a house belonging to Monther ‘Amirah, activist in the Polular Comittees, were burnt.  It should be mentioned that on 13 September 2017, the Israeli Public Prosecution declared the burial of 4 Palestinian corpses in cemeteries of numbers for: Abd Al-Hameed Abu Srour from Aida camp, Mohammed Al-Tarayra and Mohammad Al-Faqeeh from Hebron, and Rami Ourtani from Nablus.

 

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

 

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • At approximately 16:30 on the same Friday, 15 September 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, in response to calls for protests in the border area against the Israeli imposed closure on the Gaza Strip. Some of the young men set fire to tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed along the abovementioned border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 19:30 on the same day. As a result, 4 civilians, including a child, were directly hit with tear gas canisters. They were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia. Medical sources classified as minor.

(PCHR keeps the name of the wounded civilians)

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

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

 

Gaza Strip

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Date Imports
Category Amount
Tons Number Liters
10 September Various goods 3746
Humanitarian aid 11278
Cooking gas 291,610
Benzene 152,007
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 554,99075,990
Construction aggregates 8000
Cement 1640
Construction steel 900
11 September

 

 

Various goods 4565
Humanitarian aid 11347
Cooking gas 291,570
Benzene 155,957
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 599,01876,000
Construction aggregates 8500
Cement 1920
Construction steel 266
12 September Various goods 4844
Humanitarian aid 12691
Cooking gas 293,420
Benzene 77.986
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 338,99075.992
Construction aggregates 9200
Cement 2320
Construction steel 392
Various goods 4900
Humanitarian aid 10213
Cooking gas 257,050
Benzene 37,991
DieselDiesel for UNRWA

 

488,01076.000
13 September Construction aggregates 7200
Cement 2100
Construction steel 232
Various goods 3231
Humanitarian aid 10830
Cooking gas 290,300
Benzene 151,974
DieselDiesel for UNRWA

 

566.97175.991
14September Construction aggregates 8080
Cement 1760
Construction steel 300
Various goods 4552
Humanitarian aid 12141
17 September Cooking gas 293,310
Benzene 151.988
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 599.80676.000
Construction aggregates 8800
Cement 2200
Construction steel 213
Various goods 3972
Humanitarian aid 13465
Cooking gas 293,720
Benzene 75,990
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 748,512113.989

 

18 September Construction aggregates 10000
Cement 2480
Construction steel 362

 

 

Exports:

On Sunday, 10 September 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of a truckload of tomatoes; 4 truckloads of vegetables; and a truckload of animal skin.

On Monday, 11 September 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 19 tons of Aluminum scrap; 4 truckloads of vegetables; and 2 truckloads of tomatoes.

On Tuesday, 12 September 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 4 tons of clothes.

On Wednesday, 13 September 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 5 truckloads of vegetables; 2 truckloads of tomatoes; 0.6 tons of fish; 4 tons of clothes; and 10 tons of furniture.

On Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 2 truckloads of tomatoes; 5 truckloads of vegetables and 5 tons of palm leaves.

On Sunday, 17 September 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 11 truckloads of vegetables and 6 tons of clothes.

On Monday, 18 September 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 150 pieces of animal skin; 10 tons of furniture; 14 tons of clothes; 15 tons of Aluminum scrap; 6 tons of palm leaves; and 2 truckloads of vegetables.

 

 

 

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

 

Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(13-18 September 2017)

 

Category 13 September 14 September 15 September 16 September 17 September  18 September
Patients 42 35 4 66 47
Companions 36 31 4 59 45
Personal needs 29 69 16 33 21
Familiesof prisoners 44
Arabs fromIsrael 20 7 12 8 9
Diplomats
International journalists
International workers 56 62 18 15 27
Travelersabroad
Business people 94 119 2 170 120
Business meetings 1
Security interviews 5 3 3 8
VIPs 2 1
Ambulances to Israel 4 3 2 3 3
Patients’ Companions 5 3 2 3 3

 

 

  • Note:
  • On Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli authorities allowed 4 persons to return to the West Bank.

 

Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:

 

  • Hebron: Israeli forces established (8) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Fawar refugee camp, at the entrances to Beit Ummer and Samou’a villages and at the entrance to Karma village’s road.

On Friday, 15 September 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Halhoul village and at the entrance to Jalajel village.

On Tuesday, 19 September 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Kahel and al-Moreq villages.

 

  • Ramallah and al-Bireh: Israeli forces established (5) checkpoints all over the city.

 

At approximately 20:00 on Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Nizam village, northwest of Ramallah.

On Saturday, 16 September 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of al-Taibah village and under the bridge of ‘Ain Yabroud village, northeast of Ramallah.

On Sunday, 17 September 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Karmel road, east of Yatta and at the eastern entrance to Halhoul village.

 

  • Jericho:

At approximately 20:25 on Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.  

 

  • Qalqiliyia: Israeli forces established (4) checkpoints all over the city.

 

At approximately 16:30 on Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 18:45 on Friday, 15 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint between ‘Azoun and Kafur Thulth villages, east of Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 06:20 on Sunday, 17 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Azoun ‘Itmah viilage, southeast of Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 21:50, a similar checkpoint was established at the eastern entrance to the city.

 

Salfit: Israeli forces established (5) checkpoints all over the city.

 

At approximately 19:50 on Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the western entrance to Hares village, north of Salfit.

At approximately 19:50 on Friday, 15 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint between Kaful Hares and Hares villages, north of Salfit.

At approximately 06:40 on Saturday, 16 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Dersitiya village, north of Salfit.

At approximately 20:00, a similar checkpoint was established between Kaful Hares and Hares villages, north of the city.

At approximately 07:05 on Sunday, 17 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Hares village, north of Salfit.

 

 

Tulkarm:

 

At approximately 10:25 on Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Qufeen village, north of Tulkarm.

At approximately 12:50 on Saturday, 16 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Jebara village, south of Tulkarm.

 

 

 

Arrests at Military Checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 22:00 on Saturday, 16 September 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Jenin. They stopped a motorcycle travelled by Hasan Ibrahim al-sayed (20) and checked his ID card. They then confiscated his motorcycle and arrested him.

 

Efforts to Create Jewish majority

 

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

 

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 00:30 on Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli forces moved into Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Wesam ‘Ataa Lafi and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 05:00 on Friday, 15 September 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Islam al-Natsha (14) and Mahmoud al-A’war (16).
  • At approximately 08:00 on Saturday, 16 September 2017, Israeli forces arrested Mohamed Khaled ‘Owisat (17) while he was on his way to school in al-Mukaber Mount area, southeast of occupied Jerusalem. He was then taken to “‘Oz” police station for investigation.

 

  • At approximately 21:00, Israeli forces arrested Mohamed al-Hindy (25) and Ahmed Ali (24), from Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem. Mohamed and Ahmed were arrested while they were passing via a military checkpoint near the camp entrance.

 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Sunday, 17 September 2017, Israeli forces moved into Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Hanadi al-Helwani, a teacher in al-Aqsa Mosque, and arrested her.

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 18 September 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mostafa Kashour (21) and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Sho’afat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Fares Yousef Mukhaimer (23) and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour village, east of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Tareq Jaber, Wi’am Jaradat, Tareq Jaber, Abdullah Abu al-Hawa, Mohamed Abu Nab and Mohamed Adkeidak.

 

  • At approximately 16:00 on Tuesday, 19 September 2017, Israeli forces moved into Surbaher village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided a construction workshop and arrested Mahmoud Hitham Danoun.
  • House Demolition:

 

  • At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 18 September 2017, Israeli bulldozers accompanied with Israeli Municipality vehicles demolished a residential apartment in Za’eem village, east of the city, under the pretext of non-licensing. Matour family said that the Israeli forces accompanied with Israeli Municipality crews raided their building in Za’eem village and evacuated all residents. They then demolished the 2nd floor without prior warning. The family also said that the 2-storey building belongs to the sons of late ‘Issa Abed al-Fattah Matour. The 1st floor, which shelters the 20 members of Issa Family, exited before the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem while the 2nd floor is under-construction. The family added that the 1st floor was completely damaged and became uninhabitable due to cracks in the walls and ceilings.

 

  • At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 19 September 2017, the Israeli Municipality demolished a commercial facility in Beit Haninah neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem. The abovementioned facility is a car wash and showroom and belonging to Bashar Bader. Bashar said that the Israeli police accompanied with Israeli Municipality crews and bulldozers raided the facility and demolished all the 4 barracks in addition to leveling the land. Bader also said that the court delayed the demolition decision to 28 September 2017, but he was surprised with raiding the facility and demolishing it completely.

 

  • Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and property

 

  • On Thursday, 14 September 2017, Israeli settlers from “Bracha” settlement, south of Nablus, moved into Kafur Qaleel village, south of Nablus, and cut down 40 fruitful olive trees with automatic saws. Those trees, which are one kilometer away from the settlement, belong to Fathi Rasheed Mansour and Jaser Abed al-Jabbar. Mansour said that the Israeli settlers cut down 20 olive trees of 70 from his 3-dunum plot of land. He is also afraid that the settlers would cut down the other trees, as he along with other civilians saw the Israeli settlers wandering in the same land on the same day, but chased and expelled them from his land. He also added that about 20 olive trees out of 300 were cut down from a 25-dumun plot of land belonging to Abed al-Jabbar.

Recommendations to the International Community

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 10 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.

 

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC in 2017 to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area

Anti-Democratic israeli Laws

Anti-Democratic Israeli Laws

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Ziofascists and religious fundamentalists dominate Israel’s Knesset. It shows in deplorable racist, anti-democratic legislation, hardening repression against Palestinians.

Key measures enacted this year and in 2016 focused on land ownership and use, free expression and association, as well as civil and political rights.

In June 2016, an anti-terror law established new criminal offenses, including public expressions of support or empathy for ill-defined terrorist groups. Penalties were greatly increased.

The Settlements Regulation Law enacted in February let Israeli authorities steal vast tracts of private Palestinian land for settlement construction.

It established a process to legitimize about half of Israeli outposts, until now declared illegal by the state. It authorized 3,500 new housing units in existing illegal settlements.

In March, legislation banning foreign nationals and Palestinian BDS supporters from entering Israel was enacted. It violates the fundamental right of free expression and views on any issue.

The measure states “(n)o visa and residency permit of any type will be given to a person who is not an Israeli citizen or does not have a permit for permanent residency in the State of Israel if he, [or] the organization or entity for which he works, has knowingly issued a public call to impose a boycott on the State of Israel, as defined in the Preventing Harm to the State of Israel through Boycott Law…or has committed to participate in such a boycott.”

In March, a measure disqualifying candidates from Knesset elections was enacted, banning aspirants negating Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” – which it’s not!

Enacted in April, the Kaminitz Law expanded regime power to demolish privately owned Palestinian homes. It authorizes prison sentences and fines for violations of discriminatory planning and building laws.

It limits judicial review by Israeli courts. The law’s main objective is preventing Palestinian construction on their own land – unauthorized without near-impossible to get permit permission. The right to appeal state rulings is practically eliminated.

In July, the NGO Foreign Funding Law was enacted, requiring these organizations receiving more than 50% of their annual budget from foreign governments to declare their sources of funding in all publications, including letters to government and public officials, as well as in reports to the Registrar of Non-Profit Associations.

Human rights groups fear the measure will chill views these organizations feel free to express, the law enacted to undermine their ability to operate effectively.

Enacted in July, the Expulsion of MKs Law lets a Knesset majority oust an MK for the remainder of the current term for alleged incitement to racism, support for an enemy state’s armed struggle and/or an Israeli designated terrorist organization.

The measure’s objective is stifling Arab MKs criticism of regime policies and/or expressing support for Syria’s war on US and Israeli supported terrorists.

Pending legislation includes the Negev Development Authority Bill to give settlements equal legal status (sic) to other area communities.

Enactment would contradict Israeli statute law, along with breaching international law and exacerbating human rights violations against Palestinians.

Other pending legislation seeks to annex settlements to Israel, one at a time or altogether. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem was achieved this way.

A measure was introduced to deny tax-exempt status to NGOs criticizing Israeli policies, including accusing the ruling regime of committing war crimes and other human rights abuses.

A pending Cultural Loyalty Bill would require cultural institutions and artists seeking state funding to declare their loyalty to the State of Israel and its laws.

The measure targets Palestinian cultural and artistic institutions, restricting their artistic expression freedom.

The History of israeli Support for Oppression and Genocide across the World (Part II)

(Part II)

The history of supports that the Zionist regime has provided for dictatorships around the world is filled with examples that should be registered in a long list.
South African Prime Minister Vorster meets with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Knesset members Menachem Begin and Moshe Dayan, during a reception at Jerusalem’s Hilton.

The Israeli regime, weak at the beginning in the mid of twentieth century, made attempts to favor the countries from which it could get a mutual support. From the US to Britain, Germany and smaller countries like Myanmar, the Zionists made a long history of lining up with dictatorships.

Between 1973 and 1991, Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile received weapons and training from Israeli governments and the IDF. The regime committed crimes against humanity, disappeared thousands, and tortured tens of thousands. The Pinochet regime brought torture to new heights of cruelty, unseen in modern history.

Between 1991-1995, the second Rabin Government sold arms used in both the Rwandan Genocide and the Bosnian War. As early as mid-1992, reports and footage of concentration camps set up by the Serbs for Bosnian Muslims began to emerge. Detainees in these camps were starved and tortured, and their bodies were thrown to the animals. Additional findings attested to the existence of rape camps, where Serbs held Muslim and Croatian women. Yet Israeli arms exports did not stop.

It was revealed, in September 2016, that Israel is trying to ensure the lifting of sanctions against Sudan, following the latter’s abandonment of its alliance with Iran. This took place although no one can deny that Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir — wanted by the International Criminal Court for the genocide in Darfur — continues to commit grave crimes.

The Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law (1950), The Israeli Law on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (1950) and Article 16 of the Israeli Penal Law (added in 1994) were the Three laws which deals with offenses by “the Law of the Nations.” They have all stipulated universal jurisdiction in Israel for severe crimes under international law. In reality, these laws have been rendered null and void by the IDF, the Ministry of Defense, Israeli arms dealers, and senior Israeli officials.

The State of Israel’s fight against global anti-Semitism has been hollow from the beginning, in view of the racist elements underlying the ostensibly democratic regime within the Green Line and the military government in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as Israel’s treatment of Mizrahi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Palestinian citizens, refugees, and foreign workers.

One cannot fight anti-Semitism seriously without fighting racism inside and outside Israel, and without ending Israeli support for racist regimes across the world. One cannot speak of the lessons of the Holocaust while abetting the genocide of other nations, and even inviting murderers to lay wreaths at Yad Vashem.

Israel is the modern version of dictatorship from which no one could expect justice because it has been ruled mainly by dictators who excuse anything for the sake of reaching selfish and inhumane aims.

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