Weekly report on israel’s terrorism on Palestinians (13 – 19 June 2019)

 

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (13– 19 June 2019)

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

(13 – 19 June 2019)

 

  • Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protesters in the Gaza Strip.
  • 95 Palestinian civilians, including 34 children, 1 woman and 4 paramedics, were wounded; one of them sustained serious wounds.

 

  • Israeli forces conducted 58 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 other incursions into Jerusalem.
  • 51 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children and 1 woman, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • 17 of them, including 6 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

 

  • Israeli warplanes launched 7 missiles in 3 airstrikes against different targets in the Gaza Strip.

 

  • Israeli forces continued to open fire at the farmers and shepherds in the border areas of the Gaza Strip, but no injuries were reported.

 

  • Israeli authorities continued their settlement activities in the West Bank.
  • Israeli forces demolished 4 dwellings, rendering 33 persons homeless, including 20 children, south of Hebron, and another house in Jericho.
  • Israeli forces damaged and confiscated plates and iron arches, north and west of Hebron.
  • Settlers burnt 42 trees and punctured 22 cars in addition to attacking a farmer and his child.

 

  • Israeli authorities continued to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • The Israeli municipality demolished a residential building in Sho’fat refugee camp and forced 2 brothers to self-demolish their buildings in Silwan.
  • The Supreme Court decided to demolish 15 buildings comprised of 120 residential apartments in Sour Baher, claiming they are close to the annexation wall.

 

  • Three Shooting incidents were reported against the fishing boats off Rafah shore in the southern Gaza Strip.
  • The Israeli forces imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Sea, preventing any fishermen from sailing or fishing.

 

  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 13th consecutive year.
  • Two Palestinian civilians were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

 

Summary

 

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (13 – 19 June 2019).

 

Shooting:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized within the activities of “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed the 61st Friday of the peaceful protests along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, the Israeli forces also used force against civilians who participated in the demonstrations organized against the Israeli incursions into the West Bank cities and villages.  In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces wounded 95 Palestinian demonstrators, including 34 children, 1 woman and 4 paramedics. In the West Bank, the Israeli forces wounded 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, during their participation in Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqiliya.

 

Injuries in the Gaza Strip from 13 – 19 June 2019 According to the Governorate

 

Governorate Injuries
Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip 6 2 0 0 0 0
Gaza City 19 5 0 0 0 0
Central Gaza Strip 25 11 0 0 0 1
Khan Yunis 5 1 0 0 0 0
Rafah 40 15 1 0 4 0
Total 95 34 1 0 4 1

 

As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating an ongoing Israeli policy of targeting fishermen’s livelihoods.  During the reporting period, PCHR documented 3 incidents off the western Rafah Shore in the southern Gaza Strip.

 

As part of the Israeli airstrikes, on 13 June 2019, Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles at an agricultural land, east of al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip.

 

On 14 June 2019, Israeli drones launched 2 missiles at al-Mina military site belonging to the Palestinian armed groups, west of Khan Younis.  Minutes later, the Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the same site, causing damage to it.  However, no injuries were reported.

 

As part of targeting the border areas, on 16 June 2019, Israeli forces opened fire at the agricultural fields, east of ‘Abasan al-Kabirah, east of Khan Youni.  No injuries were reported.

 

As part of targeting the border areas, on 13 June 2019, Israeli soldiers opened fire at agricultural lands, east of al-Shokah village, east of Rafah City.  However, no injuries were reported.

 

On 16 June 2019, Israeli forces opened fire at the agricultural fields, east of ‘Abasan al-Kabirah, east of Khan Younis.  Howoever, no injuries were reported.

 

In the West Bank, Israeli forces wounded 4 civilians, including 1 child, while participating in the Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqiliya, north of the West Bank.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 58 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 other incursions into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 34 Palestinians, including 1 child and 1 woman, in the West Bank while 17 other civilians, including 6 children, were arrested from Jerusalem and its suburbs.

In the Gaza Strip, on 04 June 2019, Israeli forces moved 100 meters into al-Shokah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.  They combed lands in front of the Return encampment before redeploying along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Israeli authorities continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

As part of settlement expansion, demolitions and house demolition notices, on 18 June2019, two brothers namely Basel and Hatem al-‘Abbasi self-demolished their residential buildings in ‘Ein al-Lozah neighborhood, in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, applying the Israeli municipality’s decision, under the pretext of building without a license.  Al-‘Abbasi Family clarified that the building is comprised of 2 stories; each of which is around 170 square meters and still under-construction.  The family added that they started building it in early May and was preparing to move and live in it.

 

On 18 June 2019, an Israeli municipality bulldozer demolished an under-construction building in Sho’afat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem, after forcing its owner to self-demolish parts of it last week.  The 2-story and 300-square-meter building belongs to ‘Emran ‘Alqam and is comprised of 4 residential apartments where ‘Alqam family members were supposed to live.

 

In the same context, on 13 June 2019, , the Israeli Supreme Court decided to demolish 15 buildings comprised of 120 residential apartments in Wadi al-Humus area in Surbaher village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall and obstructing the Israeli soldiers’ work. Mohamed Abu Tair, Member of the Defense Committee of Wadi al-Humus houses, said that Wadi al-Humus case started when Israeli forces distributed collective demolition orders of 16 residential buildings upon the Israeli Military Commander decision under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall between occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank. Thus, the village residents decided to appeal the decision before the Israeli Supreme Court, but the court refused the appeal and upheld the Israeli Military Commander’s decision about demolishing all houses near the annexation wall and preventing Palestinians from using their lands located up to 250 meters away from the wall.

 

Settlement activities and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

 

  • As part of the house demolitions and notices, on 13 June 2019, the Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the Israeli Construction and Organization Department in the Civil Administration cut and confiscated steels from a shop used for selling scrap in Fqeiqes village under the pretext of working in area classified as Area C without a prior permission from the Israeli competent authorities.

 

  • On 17 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into Kherbit al-Halawa in al-Masafer area southeast of Hebron. They demolished 3 dwellings built of bricks and tin plates, rendering 21 civilians, including 13 children, homeless.

 

  • On the same day, Israeli forces moved into Kherbit al-Dabi’, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Israeli vehicles demolished two residential rooms built of bricks and tin plates, rendering 12 persons, including 7 children, homeless. They laso confiscated solar panels, which supply the rooms with electricity.

 

  • On the same day, the Israeli forces confiscated iron arches for a plant nursery built on an area of 300 square meters in Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron.

 

  • On 19 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-Karama crossing area, east of Jericho. They demolished an under-construction 240-square-meter house belonging to Shadi Ibrahim Sunuqrot, from occupied Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without a license in Area C as classified in the Oslo Accords.

 

As part of settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, Israeli settlers carried out 7 attacjs against Palestinian civilians and their property during the reporting period.  The attacks were as follows:

 

On 13 June 2019, a group of settlers from “Yitsahar” Settlement established to the southeastern side of ‘Einabus village, south of Nablus, attacked the central village and wrote racist slogans against Arabs on the walls of the Old Mosque, village clinic and a house.  The residents of the village then caught the settlers and forced them to leave the village.

 

On the same day, settlers severely beat up with a stick Mohammed Yehia al-Tamimi (42) and his son Rami (15), from Deir Nizam village, northwest of Ramallah, when they were both in an agricultural area belonging to Mohammed near “Halmish” settlement established  along the borders of that area, northwest of the city.

 

On the next day, under the eyes of the SIraeli forces, dozens of Israeli settlers from “Ramat Yishai” settlement outpost established on Palestinians lands of Tal al-Ramidah neighbourhood in Hebron, attacked members of Abu ‘Eishah Family, who were building a wall in the vicinity of their house.  The settlers also destroyed the timber, which was fixed in the place to put the concrete inside.

 

On 17 June 2019, a group of settlers punctured the tires of 3 vehciles belonging to Hasan Ibrahim Hamayel (33) and Hussein ‘Atef Hamayel (30) from Kafr Malek village, northeast of Ramallah, and wrote racist slogans on them.

 

On the same day, a group of settlers from “Giv’at Asaf” settlement set fire to agricultural lands of Biteen and Burqah villages, east of Ramallah.  As a result, 35 olive trees, 5 Fig trees, and 2 grape vines were burnt.

 

On 18 June 2019, a group of settlers carried several attacks in Deirsita village, north of Salfit, as they punctured the tires of 18 vehciles and wrote hostile slogans that included threats to escalate their attacks against civilians on the walls of many houses in al-Khayousah and al-Njeimah neighborhoods, west of the abovementioned village.  Of those slogans was “People of Israel is Alive and Stones Equal Death.”

 

 

Details

 

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

 

Thursday, 13 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 00:30, Israeli forces moved into Bedia village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Abbas Mahmoud Ahmed Salamah (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:40, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sha’ban Mahmoud ‘Ouweisi (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Mousa Zarinah (49) and then arrested his wife Lailah and his son Mousa (23). It should be noted that 3 days ago the Israeli forces demolished 4 barracks and a residential room belonging to Mohammed Zarinah in Beir ‘Ounah area in Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem.

 

  • Around the same time, an Israeli force accompanied with several military vehicles moved into Hebron and stationed in al-Sheikh neighborhood. They raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested Yazan Yusri Abu suneinah (30) and Ramadan Mohammed No’man Jaber (15).

 

  • At approximately 02:45, Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles at an agricultural land, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, but no injuries were reported.

 

  • At approximately 13:00, an Israeli force accompanied with a number of military vehicles moved into Kharsa village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. The soldiers surrounded a house belonging to Mofeed Mousa Abdul Majid Shadid (33) and then demolished it. The Israeli forces arrested the abovementioned civilians and later withdrew taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 16:00, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah, opened fire at agricultural lands, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a shop for car spare parts and then arrested Mohammed ‘Adel Mohammed ‘Enayah (30).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (9) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hebron; Surif, al-Hadab and Beit ‘Omrah villages in Hebron; ‘Atil, Deir al-Ghusouna, Zeta and Baqah al-Sharqiyah villages in Tulkarm, and ‘Azzoun village in Qalqiliyah.

 

Friday, 14 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 00:54, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at al-Mina site belonging to Palestinian armed groups, west of Khan Younis. Few minutes later, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the same site. As a result, the site sustained damage, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the shore, but no casualties were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (8) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hadab al-Fawar village and al-‘Aroub refugee camp in Heborn; Bedia village in Salfit; Tulkarm, Noor Shams and Tulkarm refugee camps in  Tulkarm, ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyah and Ramallah.

 

Saturday, 15 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Kharsa village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Suheib Abdul Hamid Abu Jarour (33) and then arrested him. They also confiscated NIS 1000 from the family, handing them a transcript of the confiscated money.

 

  • At approximately 05:40, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of the central Gaza Strip shores, chased and opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within less than one nautical mile and forced them to leave the sea, but no injuries were reported. It should be noted that the Israeli forces have closed the sea and prevented fishermen from sailing freely since last Wednesday evening.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Samou’a, al-Thaheriyah, Yatta, and al-Majd villages in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 16 June 2019

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested Mahmoud Nabil Taqatqah (18) and Mahmoud ‘Ali Taqatqah (18).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Lo’ai ‘Eid al-Razeq al-Tamimi (33) and Karim Saleh al-Tamimi (25) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 08:10, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Youni, fired live bullets at the agricultural fields, east of ‘Abasan. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (7) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Maithaloun village, southeast of Jenin; Qasrah village, southeast of Nablus; Hebron and al-Fawar refugee camp, west of the city; Juyous and ‘Azzoun villages, east of the city.

 

Monday, 17 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Amour neighborhood in Taqou’a village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 8 civilians and took them to an unknown destination.

(PCHR keeps the names of the arrestees)

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Ya’bud village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Belal Talal Abu Baker (22).

 

  • Around the same time, the Israeli forces moved into Deir Ghassanah village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Aysar Sharif al-Sha’ibi (21) and Karim Hatem al-Barghuthi (48).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forced moved into Northern ‘Asirah village, northwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Diya’a Yaseen Abdul Fattah Jarar’ah (24).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested 3 civilians namely Ahmed Hamdan al-‘Alami (25), Warad Husein ‘Aadi (22) and Ahmed Karim Mohammed Ekhleil (18).

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Yatta, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Amjad Ibrahim Hammad (35) and then arrested him.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Kafel Hares and Kafer al-Deek villages in Salfit and Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus.

 

Tuesday, 18 June 2019:

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces accompanied with a number of military vehicles moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and then withdrew from the village. However, no arrests were reported. Some of the houses’ owners were identified as Mahmoud ‘Eid ‘Awad, Mohammed Abdul ‘Aziz ‘Awad, Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Awad, Mohamed Hassan ‘Aadi and ‘Ali Mohammed Ekhleil.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Rema village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud Mustafa ‘Asidah (28) and then arrested him. It should be mentioned that Mahmoud was a former prisoner in the Israeli jails where he served 3 years.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir, Bani Na’im, al-Thaheriyah and Beit al-Roush villages in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019:

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Halhoul, north of Hebron, and stationed in al-Nabi Younis area. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Asem ‘Emad al-Tawaihah (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, an Israeli force accompanied with a number of military vehicles moved into Yatta, south of Hebron, and stationed in Roq’ah neighborhood. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Saif ‘Ayed Abu Fanous (26) and Ibrahim ‘Essa al-Shawahin (25) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 20:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Thaheriyah, al-Samou’a, Beit Marsam villages, and al-Fawar refugee camp in Hebron.

 

 

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

 

Israeli forces continued to use excessive lethal force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip within the so-called “Great March of Return and Breaking Siege” and in the West Bank against the settlements, confiscation of lands, and Israeli crimes. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations on the 61st Friday, the border area witnessed large participation from Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstrations were fully peaceful. The incidents during the reporting period were as follows:

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • Northern Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting and teargasing at Palestinian demonstrations, which continued from 16:30 until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 6 demonstrators, including 2 children. Three of them were hit with rubber bullets, and one was directly hit with a tear gas canister.

 

  • Gaza City: The Israeli shooting and teargasing at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 19 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children. Seven of them were hit with rubber bullets, and 7 were directly hit with tear gas canisters.

 

  • Central Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting and teargasing at the demonstrators resulted in the injury of 25 demonstrators, including 11 children. Fourteen of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, and 11 were hit with teargas canister and rubber bullets. Doctors classified the injury of a child, who was hit with a live bullet to the chest, as serious. Moreover, others suffered tear gas inhalation and received medical treatment on the spot.

 

  • Khan Younis: The Israeli shooting and teargasing at the demonstrations, which continued from 16:30 until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 5 demonstrators, including a child, with directly-hit tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. Moreover, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation. Those directly wounded were transferred to Nasser, European and Algerian Hospitals, while the other wounded received medical treatment on the spot and in medical points.

 

  • Rafah: The Israeli shooting at the demonstrations, which continued from 16:00 until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 40 demonstrators, including 15 children and 4 paramedics. Three of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, and 37 were hit with rubber bullets. The wounded paramedics were identified as Sabreen Jaber Abdul Rahim Qeshtah (28), who was hit with a rubber bullet to the head; Mohammed Saleh Ahmed Sheikh al-‘Eid, who was hit with a rubber bullet to the left leg; Tawfiq Ibrahim Salman al-Mashwakhi (58), who was hit with a rubber bullet to the right shoulder; and Taiseer Abdul ‘Aziz Jom’ah al-‘Ajili (42), who was hit with a rubber bullet to the back. It should be noted that Sabreen and Mohammed work at the Pulse of Life Youth Team while Tawfiq and Taiseer work at the Palestinian Civil Defense.

 

West Bank:

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Friday afternoon, 14 June 2019, a group of Palestinians organized a peaceful demonstration which started from the center of Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, and headed to the eastern village entrance, which has been closed for 15 years in favor of “Kedumim” settlement The demonstrators chanted national slogans demanding end of the occupation and protesting the Israeli forces’ crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. . The protestors threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand berms while the soldiers immediately fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 4 civilians, including a child, were hit with rubber bullets.

(PCHR keeps the names of those injured)

 

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

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

 

Gaza Strip

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(12-18 June 2019)

Category 12 June 13 June 14 June 15 June 16 June 17 June  18 June
Patients 119 54 5 128 104 116
Companions 103 46 2 114 90 102
Personal needs 22 17 4 19 14 23
Families of prisoners 17
Arabs fromIsrael 5 11 13 16 4 3
Diplomats 80 5
Meetings in Erez
International workers 30 39 17 14 32 31
TravelersAbroad 1 43 6 1 56
Business people+ BMC 471 441 1 800 527 455
Economic and agriculture    interviews
Security interviews 3 3 2 5
Death cases
Companions’ Deaths
Return to the West Bank
Christians’ Holidays
Conferences and Training courses 1
Permits’ renewal 1
VIPs 1 1
AmbulancesPatient 3 4 1 1 3 2
Ambulancescompanion 2 2 1 3 3

 

 

Following table illustrates temporary and permanent checkpoints and arrests at these checkpoints in the West Bank between 13 – 19 June 2019

 

Governorate Permanent temporary Temporary checkpoints Closed Roads Arrested persons
Jerusalem 13 6
Nablus 10 13 2
Jenin 5 7
Ramallah 11 8 4
Tulkarm 7 3 1
Tubas 2 3 1
Salfit 3 7 1 2
Qalqiliyia 5 5 4
Hebron 20 33 15
Bethlehem 11 5 2
Jericho 5 2
Al-Karama Crossing 1
Total 92 92 30 2

 

Arrests at Military Checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Monday, 17 June 2019, Israeli forces arrested 2 civilians near “Ariel” settlement, north of Salfit, namely Sajed Nawaf Souf (19) and Murad Ra’ed Souf (24), from Hares village, northwest of the city and released them later.

 

  • Efforts to Create A Jewish majority

 

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

 

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 01:50 on Thursday, 13 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested 6 civilians identified as Mahmoud ‘Esam Shanti (15), Wadee’ Murad Suliman (13), Yaseen Mahmoud Manasrah (11), Jehad Fares Ghateet (17), Ameer Mohamed Salhiyah (17), and Salah Ayoub Abu al-Humus (15).

 

  • On the same day morning, Israeli police arrested Basem al-Halaq(61), Head of the Construction Department at the Islamic Endowments (Awqaf); Taha ‘Owidah (51), an engineer at the Department; and Mohamed al-Hadrah (37), an employee at the Department. All of them were arrested while present near al-Qataneen Gate, one of al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They were then taken to an investigation center in the city.

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Sunday, 16 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Mahmoud Hasan al-Shawish (18), Mahmoud Miswadah (20), and ‘Areen al-Za’aneen (24).

 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Sunday, Israeli forces moved into al-Wad neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Khalil Ibrahim al-Tarahouni (32), Mohamed Khaled Sharifah (20) and ‘Obada Sameer Najeeb (21).

 

  • At approximately 02:00 on Monday, 17 June 2019, Israeli forces moved into Hizma village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud Daher Sa’ied (32) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Khaled Abu al-Hawa (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • House Demolitions:

 

  • At approximately 21:00 on Monday, 18 June 2019, the two siblings Basel and Haten al-‘Abasi self-demolished their building in ‘Ain al-Louz village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, to implement the Israeli Municipality decision under the pretext of non-licensing. Al-‘Abasi family clarified that the under-construction building was comprised of 2 floors, each one was around 170 square meters. The family added that last May they started to build it, but the Israeli Municipality issued a demolition order a week ago and did not give them time to license it. The family pointed out that the municipality order forced them to self-demolish the building or the municipality bulldozers will do so and the family will be forced to pay the demolition costs.

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 18 June 2019, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished an under-construction residential building in Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem, after ordering its owner to self-demolish parts of it a week ago. The building belonging to ‘Imran ‘Alqam was comprised of 2 floors, each of them included four 300-square-meter apartments. It should be noted that ‘Alqam started to self-demolish his building on Monday, 10 June 2019, along with his relatives to avoid paying the demolition costs. The Israeli Municipality staff headed to the area and ordered him to use a bulldozer while demolishing the building, but he refused for fear of causing damage to his neighbors’ houses and then stopped the demolition. As a result, the municipality decided to demolish the building. ‘Alqam said that he previously attempted to license the building, but the municipality refused under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall. It should be noted that the building is adjacent to “Bazat Ze’ev“ settlement, which is established on Beit Hunina village’s lands, and only settlers are allowed to build on it .

 

  • In the same context, on Thursday, 13 June 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court decided to demolish 15 buildings comprised of 120 residential apartments in Wadi al-Humus area in Surbaher village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall and obstructing the Israeli soldiers’ work. Mohamed Abu Tair, Member of the Defense Committee in Wadi al-Humus, said that Wadi al-Humus case started when Israeli forces distributed collective demolition orders for 16 residential buildings upon the Israeli Military Commander decision, under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall, between occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank. The village residents decided to appeal the decision before the Israeli Supreme Court, but the court refused and upheld the Israeli Military Commander decision about demolishing all houses near the annexation wall and preventing Palestinians from using their lands located up to 250 meters away from the wall. Abu Tair clarified that the Israeli forces claimed that they want to vacate this area for security reasons and to help the Israeli soldiers pursuing Palestinians from the West Bank if the latter attempt to sneak into occupied Jerusalem. Abu Tair pointed out that the buildings are comprised of 120 residential apartments as 11 buildings are located in Area A, which is under the Palestinian Authority control, and 3 buildings are located in Area C while 2 buildings are located in Area B. He added that the area is marginalized by the municipality because it does not belong to it. Moreover, the Israeli forces prevent Palestinian civilians from the West Bank from entering the area, noting that this area is supposed to be within the Palestinian local governance. He added that around 100 families, comprising of 500 persons, were supposed to live in these buildings and some of these buildings are already inhabited while others are under construction. Furthermore, the residents of Wadi al-Humus neighborhood in Surbaher village organized a protest on Sunday, 17 June 2019, against the Israeli Supreme Court decision. During the protest, the residents established a tent near the houses threatened to be demolished before the Israeli forces moved into the area and forcibly dismantled it. Belal al-Kasawani, one of the residents affected by the decision, said that he attempted several times to license his house, but the Israeli court refused under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall and “threaten the security of the State.” Al-Kasawani also added that he paid a lot of money to build his house and shelter his children and now they became homeless.

 

  • Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

  • At approximately 15:00 on Thursday, 13 June 2019, Israeli forces backed by 2 military vehicles, a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a truck moved into Faqiqis village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration officers cut and confiscated steels from a shop used for selling scrap and located on the roadsides, under the pretext of working in area classified as Area C without a prior permission from the Israeli competent authorities. The shop belongs to Omar Ahmed al-Atrash (30).
  • At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 17 June 2019, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles, a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, a digger, and a bulldozer moved into Kherbit al-Halawa in al-Masafer area southeast of Hebron. The Israeli vehicles started to demolish three 40-sqaure-meter houses built of bricks and tin plates. Those houses were donated by GVC. As a result, 21 civilians, including 13 children, became homeless. The houses were demolished under the pretext of non-licensing. The demolished houses belong to:

 

  1. Mohamed ‘Ali Abu ‘Arram, comprised of 12 persons, including 6 children.
  2. Mohamed Ahmed Isma’il Abu ‘Arram, comprised of 4 persons, including 2 children.
  3. Yaser Khalil Yunis Abu ‘Arram, comprised of 5 persons, including 3 children.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles, a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, a digger, and a bulldozer moved into Kherbit al-Dabi’, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Israeli vehicles demolished two 40-sqaure-meter residential rooms built of bricks and tin plates. The rooms belong to Mohamed ‘Ali Mohamed Dababsah, whose family is comprised of 12 persons, including 7 children. It should be noted that the Israeli Civil Administration officers confiscated solar panels that supply the rooms with electricity.

 

  • At approximately 13:00 on Monday, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a mounted-crane truck and a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They then stationed in Beit Za’tah area, adjacent to Bypass Road (60). The Israeli forces dismantled iron arches for a plant nursery built on an area of 300 square meters and then confiscated them. The nursery belongs to Mahdi Mujahed Jameel Museef (31), from Beit Ummer village. The Israeli forces handed him a 30-day transcript of the confiscated arches in case he wants to take back the iron arches. The demolition and confiscation came under the pretext of working in area classified as Area C without a prior permission. It should be noted that Mahdi started to build his plant nursery in October 2018 and then he received a notice to stop construction works.

 

  • At approximately 09:30 on Wednesday, 19 June 2019, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration and a bulldozer moved into al-Karama crossing area, east of Jericho. The Israeli bulldozer demolished an under-construction 240-sqaure-meter house belonging to Shadi Ibrahim Sanaqrat, from occupied Jerusalem. The house was demolished under the pretext of non-licensing and being in area classified as Area C.

 

  • Settlers’ aatcks against Palestinian civilians and property

 

  • Israeli settlers’ attacks:

 

  • On Thursday morning, 13 June 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement established in the southeastern side of Ainabous village, southeast of Nablus, attacked the center of the village and wrote racist slogans against Arabs on the walls of the Old Mosque (Mosque of the Forty Martyrs), the village clinic and a house belonging to Tariq Al-Sulwadi. After that, the village residents saw the settlers and made them leave the village.

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, 13 June 2019, a group of Israeli settlers severely beat Mohammed Yehia Al-Tamimi (42), from Deir Nitham, north west of Ramallah, with a stick while he was in an agricultural area belonging to him near “Helmish” settlement, which is established along the borders of the abovementioned area, northwest of the city. Mohammed said that he was surprisingly attacked by two settlers, who severely beat him along with his son Rami (15), noting that Rami suffers an “Impaired mobility”. As a result, Mohamed and his son sustained bruises throughout their bodies, and Rami was taken to nearby Bait Rima emergency center to receive medical treatment.

 

  • At approximately 08:00 on Friday, 14 June 2019, for the second day in a row and in light of Israeli tight measures, dozens of Israeli settlers moved into Solomon’s Pools area, south of Bethlehem, under the Israeli forces’ protection. Eyewitnesses said that about 100 Israeli settlers, raided Solomon’s Pools area and a high hill overlooking the Qirtas village, which is classified within Area (A). Eyewitnesses said that the armed settlers accompanied with their sniffer dogs wandered in the pools and nearby forests and then bathed in the pools, claiming that it is a holy area for Jews. The eyewitnesses said that the settlers, who moved into the area, were youngsters aged between 16 to 17 years old. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities always bring them to this area before they join the conscription to incite settlers and tell them that this area is for Jews and they must preserve it. The settlers move into this area from time to time under the Israeli forces’ protection. It should be noted that Solomon’s Pools are under the full control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) because it is located in Area (A).

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 16 June 2019, a group of settlers, from “Ramat Yishai” settlement outpost established in Tal Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron, attacked members of Abu Aysha Family while they were building a cement wall around their house. It should be noted that the family got an approval from the Israeli Civil Administration to build the wall. The Israeli forces were in the area and did not disperse the settlers, who destroyed the wood fixed in around the house as a prelude to pour the concrete in them. It should be noted that this is the second time that the settlers attacked Abu Aysha family while building the abovementioned wall.

 

  • On Monday morning, 17 June 2019, a group of settlers punctured the tiers of 4 vehicles belonging to Hassan Ibrahim Hamayel (33) and Hussain ‘Atef Hamayel (30) in Kafr Malik village, northeast of Ramallah. They then wrote racist slogans on the vehicles. Hussain ‘Atef said that they were surprised with the Israeli moving into the village and attacking around 4 vehicles parked in front of their owners’ houses. He added that the settlers wrote racist slogans on the vehicles.
  • On Monday, 17 June 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Givat Asaf “ settlement, set fire to agricultural lands belonging to Beteen and Barqah villages, east of Ramallah. As a result, around 35 olive trees, 5 fig trees and 2 grape vines were burnt. The agricultural lands belong to Esam Darwish (40) and Bahjat Darwish (44).

 

  • At approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 18 June 2019, a group of settlers attacked Dirsitiyia village, north of Salfit, where they punctured 18 vehicle’s tiers and wrote racist slogans on the houses’ walls in the “Khayousa” and “Njaima” neighborhoods, west of the abovementioned village. PCHR keeps the names of the vehicles’ owners.

 

 

Recommendations to the International Community

 

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

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

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………

Public Document

For further information please visit our website www.pchrgaza.org or contact PCHR’s office in Gaza City, Gaza Strip by email pchr@pchrgaza.org or telephone +972 08 282 4776 – 282 5893.

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I am on trial in Germany for peacefully protesting Israeli apartheid

BDS activist Majed Abusalama shares a court statement he delivered after being tried for protesting an Israeli MK’s talk in Berlin
'It is my civil duty to speak up for my Palestinian community' (AFP)

‘It is my civil duty to speak up for my Palestinian community’ (AFP)

I am in the midst of a nightmare because I dared to call for equality, justice, freedom and dignity for Palestinians. My activism in Germany as part of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has landed me before the court.

Last month, charges were levied against me and my two Jewish comrades, Ronnie Barkan and Stavit Sinai. Together, we are known as the #humboldt3, because we peacefully protested a talk at Humboldt University in Berlin by Knesset member Aliza Lavie, who supported Israel’s 2014 war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

I have been deeply touched by the international support we have received throughout this ordeal. However, we still need all human rights defenders and friends of Palestine to stand with us, since we are going through a re-trial following Israeli pressure to convict us.

Many have told me that I will overcome – but what they might not know is that as a three-decade survivor of the Israeli occupation, the experience of violence, oppression and collective punishment has taught me to keep fighting for life.

In the courtroom, sitting as a criminal, I gave the following statement.

Shared humanity

I am standing here on trial as a criminal defendant, along with my comrades, as a result of us daring to speak up publicly against Israel’s crimes against humanity in my beloved Palestine. It came out of my responsibility as a humanist, and as a Palestinian, to respond to Aliza Lavie, who was in the coalition that decided to slaughter, displace, bombard, torture, imprison and obliterate my beloved people in 2014.

It was my moral duty to call her out for her crimes against humanity. Throughout the event, I was silent, only listening in pain as Lavie spoke. I saw her speaking with joy about her so-called democratic country – but in reality, she was rejoicing at the blood of my people, without any shame.

There was one image that I saw in my mind and felt in my heart: that of my friends who lost their limbs while protesting peacefully

There was one image that I saw in my mind and felt in my heart: that of my friends who lost their limbs while protesting peacefully for justice and freedom inside the Gaza ghetto.

I thought of all my family and friends living a brutal, horrific life under Israeli apartheid, imprisoned and illegally collectively punished.

I saw tens of thousands of homes destroyed in Israeli massacres. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been rendered homeless as a result of the 2014 Gaza massacre and other Israeli onslaughts.

Your honour, if you were in my place – and you will not be, because you will never understand the feeling of waiting for a bomb to fall on your family’s or your neighbour’s home – you would understand how hard it is to live in this continuous horror.

Collective duty

I was shot in the leg with a live bullet while protesting peacefully – planting olive trees – at the Gaza fence in 2014. Lavie, who has been in the Knesset since 2013, is among those who bear responsibility for the bullet that disabled me for months, and damaged me for a lifetime.

Our actions at Humboldt University should be honoured, as it is the moral duty of every humanist to speak up against criminals, especially those complicit in crimes against humanity. As activists for human rights, this is our collective duty – not only in Israel, but also in Europe and specifically Germany, where we live.

We, human rights advocates, think it is our duty collectively to confront any criminal, not only in Israel, but also in Europe.

Gaza’s Great Return March: How Palestinians are reclaiming their land

Read More »

We, the Palestinians and Jews who escaped apartheid in Israel, are here in Germany to fulfill our civil and moral duty to fight for transnational solidarity, equality and justice – to rally all communities together around our shared humanity.

I came to live in Germany as a citizen of this world, hoping that I would no longer suffer under the confinement of Israeli apartheid. But I have discovered that Israeli apartheid is spreading to Germany.

Fear of speaking out

The thousands of Muslims and Palestinians in Germany do not feel safe to speak up. They feel they could be persecuted at any time, simply for shouting “Free Palestine” or dreaming to return freely to their homes, in accordance with the UN-mandated right of return. They fear persecution for calling for equality, dignity, freedom and justice in Gaza.

It is my civil duty to speak up for my Palestinian community

Your honour, for days, I was unable to sleep after encountering the fabrication of us being criminals for speaking up against Israeli apartheid. Yet I realise it is my duty as a future citizen of this country to change the discourse in Germany around Israel’s crimes.

It is my civil duty to speak up for my Palestinian community and for the implementation of international law in our land – and for our freedom to express ourselves and to protest in Germany.

I am standing in front of you today to demand justice, not only for myself and my comrades, but for all those pursuing justice and equality in Germany and Palestine.

The above statement has been edited for length and clarity.

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

Majed Abusalama
Majed Abusalama is a human rights defender, scholar and independent journalist who hails from Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza. He has been worked with International and Palestinian non-profit organisations on the intersections of sustainability, reforming aid, entrepreneurship, and organic conflict transformation. He tweets@MajedAbusalama.

Norman Finkelstein: Israel is An Apartheid State, Netanyahu is an Obnoxious, Racist, Jewish Supremacist

Norman Finkelstein Interview, March 20, 2019.
Transcript:
Jimmy Dore: Hi everybody! Welcome to the Jimmy Dore Show.
We have a special guest today. Norman Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist, Professor and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by the experiences of his parents who were Jewish Holocaust survivors. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and received his PhD in Political Science from Princeton University.

Welcome, Norman Finkelstein. Thanks for being our guest.

Norman Finkelstein: Thank you for having me.

Jimmy Dore: You know, you’re an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I just wanted to… You know, most people don’t really know the cause of the conflict, they just know that there is a conflict and that the United States is friendly to Israel because they’re a democracy and they’re the only democracy in the Middle East, as people like to say.

So how would you explain this conflict to people who don’t really know much about it, which is most of the people in the United States, and they certainly don’t know much about it if they watch the TV news. So I don’t think your average person knows anything really about it. So how do you inform people about that conflict, well, how it started and what it’s about?

Norman Finkelstein: I think the most effective way to inform people is by way of analogy. Effectively, what happened to the Palestinian people over the past century is pretty close to what happened to the Native American population in the United States. If you take for example the fate of the Cherokee Indians, who originally resided in the Eastern coast of the United States, and they were gradually pushed, pushed, pushed, until they were ended up in Arkansas. And then they were pushed into a portion of Arkansas, which then, once all White settlers crowded in that portion, became Oklahoma. And so the Cherokee were effectively the victims of a policy of expulsion, “transfer” as you want to call it in the Israeli vernacular. And basically there are obviously differences, and one doesn’t want to pretend as if there are no differences, but to look at the big picture, the big picture I would say, it is not fundamentally different than what happened to the Native population in the US.

Jimmy Dore: Wow! I’ve never heard it described that way before. And you know, ironically, you know, most Americans aren’t too aware of how horrible that’s a chapter in our history either. So the United States gives aid and billions of dollars in funding to Israel every year, and people say that Israel is running an Apartheid State, and that Gaza is an open-air prison. Now are those two things true, and how could that be? How could that be if we’re supporting them?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, I think both are true. Israel both benefits from two facts. Number one: they benefit in the fact that there’s a convergence of interests between US ruling elites and Israel on many basic occasions. So for example, right now, there’s a convergence of interests between the US and Israel in strengthening Saudi Arabia, strengthening the Gulf and trying to contain Iran. That’s a fundamental convergence of interests, and that in part, probably in the most significant part, it explains US support for Israel.

But there is also another factor, and one shouldn’t pretend as if that other factor doesn’t exist, which is to say there’s a very powerful Israel lobby operating in the United States, not unlike the Gun lobby, the Cuba lobby, etc. The Israel lobby is another lobby, very effective, probably one of the most, if not the most effective lobbies operating in Washington. And its core component is a very powerful, articulate and organized American Jewish community, though even there you have to enter qualifications because among younger Jews, there’s certainly a diminishing of support for Israel. But the big picture is, both because of a convergence of interests and because of a powerful, articulate, organized, strategically placed lobby, a lobby that has a lot of influence in the media, a lot of influence in publishing, a lot of influence in journals of opinion, a lot of influence on Hollywood, that lobby has been a major factor in determining aspects of US policy towards Israel.

Now on the second point, I don’t really think it’s any longer controversial whether or not Israel is an Apartheid state. I don’t say this as a polemicist, I’m trying to be objective and dispassionate about the situation. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, now, you could say there are roughly about 12 or 13 million people, roughly. Now that includes the West Bank, it includes East Jerusalem, it includes Gaza. And Israel has controlled the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, it’s controlled it now for more than a half-century. And the Israeli government has made clear it has no intention whatsoever of returning to the borders from the June 1967 war, that is pre-controlling West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. So we can’t any longer talk about an occupation, we have to be talking about an annexation. The territories have been de facto annexed. After a half-century, that seems to me to be the reasonable conclusion, there has been a de facto annexation.

So of all that population that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, roughly, roughly speaking, about half has either second-class status or overwhelmingly no rights whatsoever within the State: no voting rights, and then from there down they don’t even have rights to property, property can be confiscated overnight and at whim, with the support of the  [Israeli] Courts. So it seems to me, again trying to be rational, trying to be objective and trying to be dispassionate, there’s no other term to describe a situation in which close to half the population, close to half the population either has second-class rights (that would be within Israel proper), or no rights whatsoever (which would be the West Bank and Gaza). That’s an Apartheid situation.

But again that shouldn’t shock us. You have to remember, I don’t know how old you are, but I have a vivid recollection during the last days of the [South African] Apartheid, Ronald Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, as did Margaret Thatcher. They were calling till the very end, you’re recalling, Nelson Mandela and the ANC, the African National Congress, a terrorist organization. So if our government was until the very end, the end of Apartheid, if our government was supporting South Africa, because it’s sort of a bastion of Western-called, you know, Western civilization, whatever you want to call it, in Africa, so for the same reason, they support Israel in the Middle East.

Jimmy Dore: So you think it’s without… Because I you know you say it’s without question that Israel is an Apartheid State, which I agree with. But there are people who question it, people very loudly push back against that and they quote the numbers of Palestinians… Well they say there’s an Arab political party, that’s the third largest party in Israel, and all day they quote numbers of Palestinians who are allowed to vote… What do you say to those arguments?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, first of all, I’m glad you asked the questions, because there’s no effective, no more effective way to have a discussion. And if someone of us has to play the devil’s advocate, in this case it should be you.

First of all, I tried to be clear, I said there’s a gradation of rights in the case of Israel. The Palestinians have second-class rights. Israel has now officially declared that it declared Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people. So I for example am Jewish, and if the United States were declared the Nation-State of the Christian people, I would certainly experience that declaration, especially once it becomes enacted in laws, I would certainly experience that as me being a second-class citizen, that is to say I don’t belong here. It’s the State of the Christian people, it’s not my State.

But having said that, let’s keep in mind that it’s not only one component of the Palestinian population that’s under Israeli control or has been effectively annexed by Israel. The West Bank, people in the West Bank, they don’t vote in Israeli elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Knesset. The people in Gaza, they don’t vote in Israeli  elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Parliament, the Israeli Knesset. So far, the vast, the vast preponderance of Palestinians currently annexed to the Israeli State, they have no rights whatsoever.

Jimmy Dore: Okay, alright.

Norman Finkelstein: The only way you can get around that is by saying that well, there’s a peace process. But the Israeli government has already made clear, you’d have to be blinder than King Lear not to see that the Israeli government has said we’re not returning to the old Wars [pre-67 borders]. Once you’ve made that Statement, it’s a Declaration of annexation, and if it’s annexation, then you have to accept that when deciding whether or not Israel is an Apartheid State. It can’t be limited to Israel and its pre-67 border: it’s the whole area, including the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, including Gaza.

Jimmy Dore: You know, I’ve heard people say that the majority of the Jewish people don’t support the policy of the Israeli government when it comes to Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank. How could that be? And can you speak about the Likud party, which is like the extremist party, a right-wing party in Israel: what would you say is the percentage of support they actually have in the population inside of Israel and out?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, we should be clear that number one, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, he’s been the head of State now for about a decade, and he’s gone through many elections. And even though he’s surrounded by what scandal after another, none of these scandals have actually made a big dent in his popularity. And the reason for that, I think, is pretty straightforward, it’s pretty uncontroversial at any rate in my opinion. That is to say Benjamin Netanyahu is an obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist. And on all of those descriptives: obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist, he’s wholly representative of the Israeli population. And the reason they keep reelecting him despite the scandals, which are always said to be imminently going to bring him down, despite the scandals that never bring him down, it’s because when they look at Benjamin Netanyahu, most of the Israeli population, they see themselves. And they vote for him because in his mental outlook, I wouldn’t really call it values because I don’t think people like Mr. Netanyahu have any values per se, but in terms of mental outlook, contempt for Arabs, contempt for Muslims… Actually, with all due respect to you, Mr. Dore, and to all your listeners, unless they’re Jewish, he has contempt for all of you. These are Jewish supremacists.

But he also happens to be in a separate category a racist, and now even though I don’t like to use the terminology, because it’s too simple and too sloganeering, it happens to be, I think, in these particular circumstances, it’s illuminating. Why do Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump get along so well? Why is Mr. Netanyahu Mr. Trump’s biggest cheerleader in the world? Well, the answer is simple: they both like walls. Mr. Trump wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, Mr. Netanyahu wants to build a wall to keep out Arabs.

They both hate Black people. Mr. Netanyahu, when President Obama, the Head of State in the United States, Mr. Netanyahu, he didn’t see it at all amiss, he didn’t see it at all awry for him to come barging in the United States, barging into the Capitol building and instructing, telling Obama what American policy should be towards Iran. I dare say, and of course you’re free to contradict me, it’s inconceivable, it’s inconceivable, had there been a White Head of State, had it been George Bush or even a Jimmy Carter, had it been even a Jimmy Carter, Mr. Netanyahu would not have dared carry on the way he did with Obama. He’s a racist.

And just like Mr. Trump the racist loathes Muslims, so Mr. Netanyahu loathes Black people, which is why he made it a part of his policy to expel the Arab migrants [from Erythrea, Soudan…], about 30,000, who were fleeing a war situation, fleeing very serious, life challenging situations, and came as refugees to Israel. And he ruled it because you have to remember, Mr. Netanyahu he grew up, a large part of his life was spent in the United States. His father was a professor at Cornell University, and they hated Black people, the Schwartzs, the Schwartzs as it’s called, the Black people, they loathe them. And so now, for Mr. Netanyahu to have to face the prospect that the Schwartzs are invading Israel [is unbearable], so they have to go.

And so it’s that same mindset. It’s not values, it’s a mindset. You can choose what descriptive you want for that mindset: some people would say it’s a Nazi mindset, some people would say it’s a fascist mindset, some people would call it a right-wing racist White supremacist mindset, whatever you want to call it. And they have it, and that’s these ruling people.

It’s a sorry thing to have to say, but I’m not one of those people who in the name of political correctness recoil at generalizations. If you could say most White people in the American South, in the pre-Civil Rights era, if you could say most of them were mean, White racist supremacists, very few people would take issue with that quote-unquote “generalization”. But the moment you use exactly those same terms to describe Israel or Israelis, it suddenly becomes politically incorrect. I disagree. If you want to understand the Israeli mentality, these are the Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims, it’s very easy for an American to understand: just look at Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern States in the pre-Civil Rights era. That’s the mentality. That’s the Israeli mentality. And Mr. Netanyahu, in his mindset, he’s not very much different from a George Wallace or a Lester Maddox, with those who remember that era.

Jimmy Dore: So let me ask you: the Jewish people or the people of Israel, do they not see the tremendous irony that’s actually being played out right now, that the Israeli State was invented as a safe haven for the Jewish people because they’ve been persecuted, and now they turn around, and for the last couple of decades they’ve been doing the exact same thing or a very horrible thing, not the exact same thing, but a very similar thing to the Palestinian people, you know, making them be second-class citizens, stripping them of rights, controlling their movements in and out of wherever they go, and also having economic blockades and medical blockades… And you know, like we’ve said, it’s an open-air prison. Do they really miss the irony of that? Do they not see that?

Norman Finkelstein: Yes, I do think they don’t see it. I do think they miss the irony. First of all, remember that a large portion of Europeans who came to the United States, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, they were fleeing religious persecution. And then they proceeded to inflict a really quite grotesque crimes on the indigenous population when they came here. The fact of the matter is just as the European settlers, White settlers who came here, the Euro-Americans, they couldn’t conceive the domestic population, the indigenous population, they couldn’t conceive them as being human beings of the same order as themselves. They were savages. And in the same way, the Israeli people can’t conceive Arabs or Muslims as being on the same moral order as themselves. They’re terrorists or they’re savages. So I think it’s correct to say that they don’t see anything awry in the way they’re carrying on.

In fact, if you read most of the testimonies of Israelis on the situation there, most Israelis haven’t the slightest of interest in what goes on in the West Bank and Gaza. They live very good lives, they have a very high standard of living, they travel a lot, but for them, the West Bank and Gaza are far-off distant, almost exotic places for Israelis. I know that might come as a surprise, but remember, for example, when I was growing up living in New York City, it’s a compact city as I suppose you know, 99% of White New Yorkers talked about Harlem, were terrified of Harlem, but had never stepped foot in Harlem. They had never seen it, let alone physically placed themselves there. And there was a funny thing back then, when Europeans came over, visitors, you know, young people, you’d ask them where do you live, and they would all say “Harlem, of course”, [Laughter], yeah, because Harlem was exciting, you know, it was clubs, it was jazz… But for White New Yorkers, Harlem was some sight of terror. “Harlem?! You live in Harlem?! Oh my God!”

And I remember when I first went over to the Occupied Territories in 1988, I lived with some families in the West Bank, and when I told Israelis “You know, I went to the West Bank”, they’d say “You went to the West Bank?!” I mean their eyes buldged.  It’s a foreign place to them.

Jimmy Dore: That’s a fascinating… I mean it’s amazing these analogies you’re making, they’re very helpful actually.

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Outlaws openly running in israel’s (apartheid state) election

OUTLAWS OPENLY RUNNING IN ISRAEL’S ELECTION

Former MK Michael Ben-Ari, who heads Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) and could return to Knesset thanks to a Netanyahu-blessed union with Jewish Home, has ties to non-governmental organizations linked to Meir Kahane’s Kach Movement, outlawed in Israel and on US Treasury and State Department blacklists; to make matters worse, some of these NGOs get their funding from US Jews.

The Otzma Yehudit Party, including (L-R): Itamar Ben-Gvir, Michael Ben-Ari, Benzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel (Photo: Avi Mualem)

The tangled web of Israel’s extreme right, American Jewry and the US terror blacklist

Yehuda Shohat

There were quite a few smiles in the Jewish Home party, the most moderate of the right-wing religious-Zionist factions, after most of its members voted in favor of teaming up with Ozma Yehudit (Jewish Power) in the upcoming April 9 elections. And thus in an almost off-hand manner, these politicians de facto joined forces with former members of Kach—a racist movement outlawed in Israel and featured on the list of terror organizations at both the US State Department and the US Treasury.

US Jews were quick to express their shock and outrage over the union and the involvement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who put a lot of pressure on both sides and even made concessions of his own to make it happen.

Over the weekend, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued harsh condemnation of the move, perhaps unaware that some of the funding for the organizations that succeeded Kach — with former members now directly linked to Otzma Yehudit —comes from US Jews, seemingly in violation of American anti-terror laws.

The Kach Movement, which was established by Rabbi Meir Kahane, and its younger sister organization Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives), which was founded after Kahane’s murder, were both outlawed in Israel following a terror attack carried out by Kach member Baruch Goldstein exactly 25 years ago, when he murdered 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

But since then, members of Kach have continued operating in different NGOs and organizations, in seemingly legitimate ways, and recently also returned to the political field in the form of Otzma Yehudit.

One of the key players in this story is Ben-Zion “Benzi” Gopstein, the head of the anti-assimilation Lehava organization (which is not a registered organization). Behind Lehava hides a network of other organizations, in which Gopstein allegedly has or had direct involvement.

Under Gopstein’s leadership, Lahava leads a racist and inciting line against Israeli minorities. Four years ago, when he was serving as defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon considered declaring Lehava a terror organization. In November 2017, the State Prosecutor’s Office recommended charging Gopstein with incitement, and the case is now awaiting a decision by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

The first organization with which Gopstein’s name is linked is “Hemla” (Compassion)—an NGO that purports to aid young women from broken homes who are “at risk of assimilation,” a euphemism for marrying Arab men. Shortly after Gopstein became involved with the organization, it started receiving a regular budget of hundreds of thousands of shekels from the Welfare Ministry, which the NGO uses to operate a hostel in Jerusalem for “at-risk” women and teenage girls.

A 2014 investigative report already found many connections between Hemla and former Kahane activists. For example, Baruch Ben-Yosef, who founded an association seeking to remove Kach from the terror organizations list, received funding from Hemla. A member of Hemla’s committee, Elyakim Neiman, also serves as the chairman of Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi, a Jerusalem seminary founded by Meir Kahane that is still considered a terror organization by the United States. Neiman is also among the founders of The Fund to Save the People of Israel, and when we sought to donate to Lehava, we were directed by Gopstein himself to The Fund to Save the People of Israel.

Gopstein was a paid employee of Hemla, working as a “lead PR in Israel”; he was also an authorized signatory at the NGO, alongside Elyakim Neiman. According to the NGO’s records, Gopstein was fired (although he says he quit), but it was nevertheless decided to “continue employing him for his assistance in raising funds for a probationary period,” which has since ended.

Who funds Hemla? Other than the Welfare Ministry, which in 2016 transferred over NIS 1 million to the NGO, we were able to uncover several other financers, such as the estate of the late Miriam Orin, the Love of Israel Fund, the “Your People’s Poor Fund,” and the Central Fund of Israel—an American fund headed by Jay Marcus.

The Central Fund of Israel, which doesn’t make its list of beneficiaries public, donated almost NIS 100,000 to Hemla in 2015, and tens of thousands of shekels in 2014. Many of the Americans who donated to the fund—both directly and indirectly—don’t know where the money eventually goes.

Another American organization that gives money to Hemla is the Traditional Fund, which also donates to a variety of right-wing organizations in Israel.

The Jewish idea

The second organization in the massive network is Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi (the Jewish Idea Yeshiva), which is listed as an NGO and was founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1987 to spread his teachings. In addition to Kahane himself, other founders include Moshe Neiman, Michael Ben-Ari, Tiran Pollack, Gad Struman, Yekutiel (Mike) Ben-Yaakov and Baruch Marzel. The president of the yeshiva is Yehuda Kroizer and the CEO is Elyakim Neiman.

According to records from June 2018, Ben-Ari was a member of the audit committee of the NGO, which to this day remains on the US terror organizations list. In other words, it is illegal to donate to the organization, and Michael Ben-Ari, who could become a member of Israel’s parliament, is allegedly a member of an NGO on the US terror list.

From 2002 to 2005, the NGO reported the grants it gave out, with one of the main beneficiaries being Benzi Gopstein, whose wife Anat was a paid employee of the organization. In 2002, Gopstein got NIS 24,000 from the NGO, in 2004 the sum went up to NIS 26,000 and in 2005 it went back to NIS 24,000.

According to official records, Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi is funded by different American donors, among them two US organizations. The first is Charity of Light, a tax-exempt NGO that was first registered in New Jersey in 2001. Five years later, it became the Charity of Light – Hemla Fund. At the time, the NGO’s chairman was Levi Hazan, a known Kahanist who was sentenced to prison for his part in a 1984 shooting of a bus north of Ramallah, which left six Palestinians wounded.

The very same Hazan also appeared in the Israeli NGO Hemla’s records as a PR employee working abroad. Among the donors who gave money to this charity over the years is the Charitable Foundation of the IDT Corporation, an American telecommunications company founded by known Likud and Netanyahu donor Howard Jonas.

The second US donor organization is the American Friends of Yeshivat HaRaayon, an NGO registered in 1991 in Skokie, Illinois, which raises funds for Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi, despite the fact that the latter is on the US terror list. A possible loophole allowing donations is the NGO’s use of the yeshiva’s Hebrew name, rather than the English translation that appears in the US terror lists.

As of 2015, Levi Hazan was this NGO’s director as well. According to the NGO’s records, from 2011 the organization donated to Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi sums ranging between $44,000 and $136,000 every year. This too is seemingly a criminal offense violating three different prohibitions on funding for terror organizations.

“There are different definitions within the State Department’s list of terror organizations,” says David Saperstein, a former senior State Department official. “The leaders of the organizations on the list are subject to all of the limitations of the law. Donors to these organizations are breaking the law and are subject to criminal sanctions, even if they don’t know where the money they donated went to.”

‘Price tag’ situation room

The next organization is Chasdei Meir, which is headed by Gopstein himself, according to different reports. Our investigation found no evidence the organization is registered in Israel, only in the United States. When we called the phone number the organization lists for donations, the woman who answered the phone gave us the bank account number and PO box belonging to the NGO “Hemla – Aid for the Needy.” Later, we learned we could also donate to the organization through Hemla’s donations center.

This isn’t a trivial matter. Unlike Hemla, which seemingly only aids needy women, Chasdei Meir is an organization that aids “residents of the hilltops.” According to past reports, Chasdei Meir was part of the “price tag” vandalism situation room, which was established in 2011 to avenge the demolition of structures in the illegal West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad. The organization’s activity includes fundraising for the Hilltop Youth organization of extremist settlers, as well as planting trees near settlements and hills in the West Bank.

In 2010, Gopstein himself was quoted by Haaretz, saying “We have a group called the Chasdei Meir Charity Fund, which helps the outposts.” In a video Gopstein posted online in the past, he called for donations for Chasdei Meir to benefit activities in the West Bank.

The Chasdei Meir website was registered by Levi Hazan, and an examination of the organization’s funding sources found it raises tax-exempt funds in the US through Charity of Light. Conversely, the PO box and fax number on Chasdei Meir’s website belong to the HaRaayon HaYehudi NGO. An older version of the site included an address in the US, which is the same as the address listed for HaRaayon HaYehudi and Charity of Light.

The next NGO, The Fund to Save the People of Israel, was registered in 2011. Its declared objectives include the “fight against the phenomenon of assimilation; activity to benefit the victims of infiltrators and illegal migrant workers; activity and humanitarian aid; strengthening the settlement enterprise and the hold on the Land of Israel; legal assistance.”

The NGO’s founders are Elyakim Neiman, Yaron Adler, Israel Diskind, Ayala Ben-Gvir (Itamar Ben-Gvir’s wife), Benzi Gopstein, Levi Hazan and Matilda Harutz. According to its general assembly’s records from May 2018, Gopstein is an authorized signatory in the organization and is defined as the “NGO’s operator,” grossing NIS 66,764 annually.

The NGO’s email address is the same one that appeared in Chasdei Meir’s website—Gopstein’s personal email. One of the fund’s audit committee members was Yitzhak Gabbai, who was convicted and imprisoned for three years for his part in the arson attack at the Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem.

As of 2016, the NGO’s incoming donations stood at some NIS 260,000 a year; among its donors over the years we found the Eretz Yisrael Shelanu Party (a far-right religious party founded by Baruch Marzel and Shalom Dov Wolpo), as well as the Segal Foundation for Israel, which was criticized by Israel’s Registrar of Associations for failing to do anything to reach its objectives.

‘Our fight is legal’

“Since the Kach Movement was outlawed, Kahane’s ideological successors have developed new systems to operate and get funding,” says Ran Cohen, one of the founders of the Democratic Bloc organization. “If they previously relied on political mechanisms, today they are using a network of NGOs that pose as charity and social organizations. In reality, they raise funds—both in Israel and abroad—to continue to incite and undermine the foundations of democracy. Money transferred from the state to such organizations is only one example of the way the government whitewashes Kahanism. The biggest example recently was the fact Netanyahu worked to ensure Gopstein and Marzel’s (Otzma Yehudit) party, which has Kahanist characteristics, gets into the Knesset.”

Benzi Gopstein offered the following response to the report: “These are lies. The goal of this report is to once again try to bring down the right-wing rule and prevent Otzma Yehudit from getting into the next Knesset. This won’t help; I will continue with the legal fight against assimilation in the Holy Land.”

Michael Ben-Ari offered the following response: “This is a collection of fabrications that have already been published and disproven years ago. But when the goal is to bring down the right-wing rule, journalistic ethics are being trampled.”

In an interesting coincidence, when we turned to the Hemla NGO for a response, we were directed to the Yeshiva HaRaayon HaYehudi call center.

Later, Hemla offered the following response: “For nearly 20 years, the NGO has been operating a hostel for at-risk Haredi teenage girls, who went through serious abuse (and you should know all about this topic), and with God’s help we are able to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society. The NGO deals with the social and rehabilitative field and has no ties to any political body.

“Benzi Gopstein finished working for the NGO in October 2014, and since then there have been no ties between him and Hemla – Aid for the Needy. Anat Gopstein finished working for the NGO in April 2015, and since then there have been no ties between her and the NGO. Unfortunately, the media has already slammed the holy work our dedicated staff does at the hostel several times, and we demand an end to dealing with this matter, which has been behind us for many years.”

The Welfare Ministry offered the following response: “Hemla won a tender to operate a hostel for at-risk teenage girls from the Haredi sector, who are directed to social services in local authorities. The funding given to the NGO is for the operation of the hostel only.”

Mairav Zonszein contributed to this story.

Iran urges immediate action to stop ‘racist’ israeli (apartheid state) regime

Iran urges immediate action to stop ‘racist’ Israel

Israeli forces patrol near an entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)Israeli forces patrol near an entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

Tehran has condemned Israel’s recent move to shut down al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on Muslim countries and the international community to take “immediate” action and stop the “racist” regime.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Thursday said Israel’s actions are a violation of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third holiest site to Muslims.

“The process of the massacre and ethnic-religious cleansing (of Palestinians) in al-Quds has been underway incessantly and in a systematic way since the occupation of Palestine (in 1948),” he added.

Qassemi further censured the “deadly silence” of the regional states in the face of such violations of Palestine’s historic and Islamic sites, calling on the international community, the UN in particular, to take “immediate” actions and stop the “racist” regime.

He hailed the Palestinian people’s resistance against the Israeli regime.

On Monday, Israeli soldiers placed locks and metal chains on the al-Rahma gate of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds and prevented hundreds of Palestinian worshipers from entering the site, while several were arrested inside the holy site.

Local sources, requesting not to be named, told the Arabic-language Palestine al-Aan news agency that 10 Palestinians sustained injuries on Tuesday evening after Israeli troops assaulted them at Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy).

Qassemi also took a swipe at certain regional states for participating in a recent US-organized Warsaw conference, noting that their participation and attempts to normalize ties with Israel have emboldened the occupying regime to commit such acts of aggression and violations.

The international gathering took place in the Polish capital from February 13 to 14.

The Palestinians, who boycotted the conference, strongly denounced the summit and the participation of Arab ministers.

Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, wrote in a column published by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that the Warsaw conference lacked credibility as aimed to “normalize” the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

“By fully siding with the Israeli government, (the Americans) have tried to normalize the Israeli occupation and the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination,” he said.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, called it “an attempt to bypass” the Arab Peace Initiative

israel (apartheid state) steps up attacks on Palestinian schools

Israel Steps Up Attacks on Palestinian Schools

Maureen Clare Murphy

Israeli forces shutter a school in the West Bank city of Nablus in October 2018.

Shadi Jarar’ah APA images

When Israeli occupation forces shot three secondary school students, critically injuring two of them, last week, it was hardly an isolated incident.

The students were injured after soldiers raided Tuqu village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, surrounding a high school. The military fired tear gas and live ammunition after being confronted by youths.

The frequency of such violence in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank has increased during the current academic year.

“Incidents of interference in schools by Israeli forces” include “threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and the violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions,” according to a statement by United Nations officials.

The bulk of the 111 “interferences to education” in the West Bank documented by the UN in 2018 took place in the last four months of the year.

“More than half of the verified incidents involved live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades fired into or near schools by Israeli forces, impacting the delivery of education or injuring students,” according to the UN officials.

Israeli forces demolished or seized five Palestinian schools in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, last year, and 50 more are under threat of demolition.

“Orief secondary school for boys near Nablus has also been forced closed twice due to settler violence, and children from this school have been hospitalized with multiple injuries, including from gunshots,” the UN officials add.

Regular violence in Hebron

In the H2 area of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to hostile Israeli settlers, “tear gas is regularly used around schools, and new measures are being applied at checkpoints that expose students and teachers to violence – at one particularly affected H2 school, more than 20 such incidents were documented in 2018.”

Video published by the human rights group B’Tselem shows heavily armed Israeli Border Police forces apprehending students in Hebron’s city center as they were leaving school in December:

Two of the students detained by the Israeli officers were under the age of 12.

One of the boys, 13 years old, was taken to a police station, where he was “interrogated with no parent or other adult acting on his behalf present.”

He was held overnight without being given food or drink until the morning. He was released that afternoon after his father posted bail at a military court, deposited by the soldiers far away from his home.

Soldiers drove the boy to the entrance to al-Arroub refugee camp and removed his handcuffs. One of the soldiers punched the child on the head, causing him to fall to the ground, before they drove off.

Demolitions on permit pretext

Human Rights Watch also emphasizes Israel’s violations of Palestinian children’s right to education in its shadow report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights review of Israel.

Israeli forces have demolished or confiscated Palestinian school buildings or property in the West Bank at least 16 times since the beginning of this decade, according to the rights group.

“Israeli authorities have justified the destruction or damage to schools on the basis that they lacked building permits from the Israeli military, but the military almost never grants Palestinians building permits in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where it exercises exclusive control,” Human Rights Watch states.

More than a third of Palestinian communities in Area C do not have primary schools and some 1,700 children are forced to walk five or more kilometers to school due to road closures and lack of infrastructure.

“The long distances and fear of harassment by settlers or the military lead some parents to take their children out of school,” Human Rights Watch adds.

Gaza schools attacked

The Israeli military also disrupts Palestinian children’s education in Gaza.

Schools in both Gaza and southern Israel were closed for at least one day during a three-day military escalation in the coastal enclave last November and some incurred severe damage.

More than half of Gaza’s schools were damaged during Israel’s 51-day assault on the territory in summer 2014.

“Israeli restrictions on the delivery of construction materials to Gaza and a lack of funding have impeded reconstruction of damaged or destroyed facilities,” Human Rights Watch notes.

During that military offensive, Israel hit three schools administered by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, being used as shelters, killing 45, including 17 children.

“The Israeli military alleged that Palestinian fighters were operating near the school, or had fired mortars ‘from the vicinity’ of it, but it has offered no information or evidence to support that claim,” Human Rights Watch adds.

One rocket fired from Gaza during that offensive hit a building used as a daycare in southern Israel, but caused no casualties.

 

OCHA: 10% increase in israeli (apartheid state) demolition of Palestinian structures in 2018

OSCHA: 10% increase in Israeli demolition of Palestinian structures in 2018

Ma’an – January 20, 2019

BETHLEHEM – During 2018, Israel demolished or seized 460 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, a 10% increase compared to 2017, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory confirmed in a new report.

The OCHA report stated, “While in Area C, which makes over 60% of the area of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military control, the number of structures targeted in both years was approximately the same and stood at 270, occupied East Jerusalem recorded a 25% increase compared to 2017. Of all structures targeted during 2018, 56 were donor-funded humanitarian aid structures, representing a 46% decline, compared to 2017 figures.”

In December, said OCHA’s monthly report on West Bank demolitions and displacement, “39 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities, the same as the 2018 monthly average, displacing 56 people and affecting over 270 others.”

OCHA added that two of this month’s demolitions were on punitive grounds and the rest were due to the lack of the difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permits.

The report confirmed that “about 70% of the structures targeted this month were in Area C. The largest incident took place on December 4th in the Beit Hanina – al-Marwaha neighborhood, a community on the ‘Jerusalem side’ of the wall barrier, where eight commercial structures were demolished and goods were confiscated.”

“Five families, who reported a financial loss of almost 1.5 million Israeli shekels (. $400,000), were affected. In another incident, the livelihoods of 70 people were affected by the demolition of a leather store on the margins of al-Bireh City near the Ramallah district.”

On December 5th, the Israeli authorities dismantled and seized two structures in the Hebron district to be used as a school for 45 students. Three tents erected subsequently by the Palestinian Ministry of Education to replace the targeted structures were also seized.

OCHA mentioned that this is the seventh case during 2018 where educational structures were targeted under the pretext of “lack of building permits.” It is estimated that 50 West Bank schools, 42 in Area C and eight in East Jerusalem, have pending demolition orders against all or part of their facilities, according to the Education Cluster.

“In East Jerusalem, nine structures were targeted during December, nearly half the monthly average during the rest of 2018.”

“In one incident, Palestinians were forced to demolish a 20 year-old building home to two families, comprising 14 people. The families reported that since the start of the legal proceedings, they have paid the municipality 160,000 shekels ($43,382) in fines, in addition to 25,000 shekels ($6,778) they spent on the demolition itself.”

“During the month, the Israeli military carried out two punitive demolitions, bringing the total in 2018 to six, compared to nine in 2017.”

In addition, the report mentioned that in al-Amari refugee camp in the Ramallah district, Israeli forces blew up and destroyed a four-story building and severely damaged two adjacent buildings, displacing 23 people, including six children. The targeted building was home to the family of a man who reportedly killed an Israeli soldier with a brick during a search operation in the camp in May 2018.

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