Palestinians are fighting battles through their phones

23 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Aya Youssef 

Despite their battles on the ground and in the virtual world, Palestinians are still able to go viral.

Palestinians are fighting battles on their phones

“You are stealing my house!” yelled the Palestinian woman facing the illegal Israeli settler in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, in occupied Al-Quds. 

“If I don’t steal it someone else is gonna steal it,” the settler replied with no hesitation. 

Comment, retweet, share, like, repost, and download. The outcome?

 Palestine has gone viral. 

Starting from the inside

Raw video footage of Israeli occupation forces storming Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan in 2021 started to circulate all over social media platforms. The videos were showing Israeli soldiers storming through screaming crowds throwing grenades and shooting rubber bullets into them. 

European states, US lawmakers, and prominent figures started to condemn such brutal acts on their social media platforms, and it didn’t take months for this footage to become viral; it took seconds.

Israeli brutality has gone viral. 

Palestinians are fighting battles through their phones


Salhiyya family’s home

Mahmoud Salhiyya stood up against the Israeli forces and threatened to set himself on fire as a last resort to prevent them from taking his and his sister’s home. Palestinian activists held their phones and live-streamed, took photos, and published with the click of a button.

At dawn, Israeli occupation forces bulldozed Salhiyya family home, but Palestinians were wide awake to live stream, hashtag, take pictures, and tweet.

Israeli occupation authorities have been trying everything to uproot Sheikh Jarrah residents, from sending aleatory and unlawful court-mandated eviction orders to allowing settlers to attack Palestinians living in the neighborhood. 

But guess what? Israeli crimes have gone viral, too. 

Save Al-Naqab

The Israeli occupation forces arrested a 12-year-old Palestinian girl named Julian Al-Atrash. While she was being dragged and handcuffed, she didn’t hesitate to smile.

That smile made it through social media platforms. Pro-Palestine activists started to draw, illustrate, and post the moment that girl smiled. 

Occupation forces started to storm Al-Naqab villages to bulldoze the area as a part of a plan led by the “Jewish National Fund” to confiscate Palestinian lands. 

There are more than 30 villages in Al-Naqab dubbed as “unrecognized” villages under the Israeli occupation government, so there are no means of transportation, no roads, and no schools in the area. 

Despite all of this, during the Israeli storming, Al-Naqab was being recognized more than ever online, with people retweeting and sharing “#SaveNaqab”.

The greenwashing of Israeli crimes has gone viral.

What’s going on in Al-Naqab in Palestine?

Palestine is going viral from the outside

Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced from their lands have been facing the Israeli occupation every single day. They have been fighting battles on their own. 

Shahd Abusalma’s case

Shahd is a Palestinian refugee and a lecturer living in the UK. Sheffield Hallam University suspended her teaching duties due to anti-Semitic claims and decided to investigate her. Shahd has done nothing but retweeting, liking, and commenting on videos showing the Israeli occupation’s brutality.

Solidarity campaigns started to go viral, websites started to write about Shahd’s case, and “#InSupportOfShahd” started to circulate all over Twitter. 

How did all this start? As soon as Shahd announced that she was subject to these campaigns on her Twitter account, retweets skyrocketed. 

The university restrained Shahd’s teaching duties without dropping the investigations regarding her case. Shahd didn’t stop there because guess what? 

Shahd’s case has gone viral.

Shahd has walked her followers through her journey regarding any new update on her case. 

A few days later, the university dropped all of the investigations that were made against Shahd and offered her a more secure contract that will afford her employee status.

Rasmy Hassouna’s case

A Palestinian-American citizen who was about to renew his contract with the government before he noticed a legal clause that forbids him and his company A&R Engineering and Testing, Inc, from ever protesting “Israel” and its products.

Rasmy filed a lawsuit against the Texas state law, which bans government contractors from boycotting the Israeli occupation and won the case.

US District Court Judge blocked Texas from imposing its anti-boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) law against Hassouna because boycotting, any kind of boycott, was protected by the First Amendment, which is the right to participate in economic boycotts as a form of protest.

“It’s great, isn’t it?” Rasmy said to Al Mayadeen English as he received the news.   

Determined as ever, Rasmy said “Stand up for your rights, as expatriates, I believe we can do a lot for Palestine.” 

His victory made it through websites and social media platforms. 

And guess what? Rasmy’s victory has gone viral. 

Palestinians are fighting battles on their phones

Don’t let tech giants fool you: Al-Kurd siblings as an example 

23-year-old Palestinians had nothing to defend their land with except their phones. They had no idea that anyone would care enough to watch illegal Israeli settlers storming their house or brutally assaulting young Palestinians. They didn’t know that anyone would care enough about a neighborhood in occupied Palestine. 

With every video or live-streaming posted, their followers were piling up by day, people started to refer to their accounts for news or updates regarding Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood. 

And now? Muna Al Kurd has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram while her brother, Mohammad al Kurd, has +7K followers on the platform. 

“Instagram is preventing me from going live!” 

Mona Al-Kurd was one of many live-streaming the ongoing events in Sheikh Jarrah when her streaming cut off suddenly. Al Kurd explained that her live-streaming feature was blocked while she was documenting the moment Al Salhiyya’s family home was demolished.

This has exposed Instagram’s complicity and censorship of Palestinian content. 

Censorship of Palestinian content is not new to some of the giant tech companies. Toward the end of last year, activists and journalists have started a campaign against Meta’s policies, which have been targeting Palestinian content and the Palestinian narrative. 

It is important not to forget Human Rights Watch’s report that highlighted Facebook’s policy, and how the tech giant has wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including content regarding human rights abuses committed by “Israel” against Palestinians during its 11 days aggression on Gaza in 2021.

Israeli Ambassador to the UK Evacuated from Event Amid Protests

Nov 10, 2021

By Al Mayadeen

Israeli ambassador protest: LSE investigating threats against Tzipi  Hotovely - BBC News

Source: Agencies

Israeli ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, was rushed out of the London School of Economics amid protests condemning her appearance.

“Israel’s” ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, was rushed out of an event at the London School of Economics Tuesday, as protests formed on campus condemning her appearance.

Politics For All, a UK Political account on Twitter, posted a video of the evacuation, showing Hotovely being rushed out into a car as crowds chanted “shame on you!”

Hotovely had been invited by the LSE’s student union to take part in a debate, sparking controversy, as pro-Palestine groups at the school accused the student union of giving a platform to racism.

The Israeli occupation’s ambassador is a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and is a supporter of the occupation’s settler colonialist practices. She has also used Islamophic rhetoric on numerous occasions.

No evidence to back up Israeli claims

The occupation has also recently designated 6 Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organizations,” sparking condemnation from various human rights groups and EU countries.

Five European members of the UN Security Council revealed Tuesday their serious concerns over the Israeli move. France, Estonia, Ireland, Norway, and Albania released a joint statement on the matter.

“Israel” has failed to provide evidence to convince European officials that the 6 NGOs were linked to the PFLP or “violent activities”, as they claimed.

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Eva Bartlett: About me, update

November 9, 2021

moi

Hi folks,

Since some of you may have come across me in recent years/months/weeks…I’m sharing my “about” section, filled with links to my journalism & activism from 2007 on, in occupied Palestine, Syria, Venezuela, the Donbass and elsewhere.

Perhaps you’ve come across me regarding my reporting from Syria, and maybe haven’t read about the things I witnessed & documented in occupied Palestine, particularly in my three years in Gaza (spanning from late 2008 to early 2013, including 2 Israeli massacres of the people of Gaza and many daily Israeli terrorism bombings that never make the “news”, as well as working with farmers and coming under Israeli live fire (which also doesn’t make the news), and the brutal effects of Israel’s draconian siege on Gaza.

In any case, read here for more on my earlier reporting (sadly, it is still very pertinent today, the situation in Gaza even worse than when I wrote about it 10 years ago, and still out of the headlines…).

Check here for my Linktree–links to various media platforms, since censorship is so rampant.

Join my Telegram channel, where I share news from a variety of other sources & channels.

And thank you to all who support in any way!

The Bell Tolls for Israel

November 8, 2021  

About me

Posted by Lawrence Davidson

Six Human Rights Groups Shuttered and Still the Bell Tolls for Israe

Part I—Six Human Rights Groups Shuttered

On 19 October 2021, the Israeli Defense Ministry officially labeled six well known Palestinian human rights associations as “terrorist organizations.” Israel uses a definition of “terrorism” that is unreasonably broad. Just about any criticism as well as non-violent resistance to its evolving apartheid regime can and often is deemed “terrorism.” As this instance shows, this arrangement allows Israeli authorities to themselves terrorize groups that most sane people would recognize as having nothing to do with terrorism.

The six organizational victims of this strategy are Addameer, al-Haq, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees. Applying the terrorist tag “authorizes Israeli authorities to close their offices, seize their assets and arrest and jail their staff members, and it prohibits funding or even publicly expressing support for their activities.”

There are only two classes of people who would fall for this deceit: (1) those embedded in the Zionist thought collective—the world of Israel “über alles” (my use of this specific term is explained below); and (2) those politicians and bureaucrats so firmly tied (financially or otherwise) to the various Zionist lobbies that they would be compelled to forgo reason and agree to anything the Zionists say. Much of the Washington power structure falls into this category.

Beyond those categories, people capable of independent thought and in knowledgable positions condemned the Israeli action:

 The Israeli news magazine +972, which has obtained copies of the classified testimony providing “evidence” against the six groups, has characterized the charges as unproven. +972 describes it as a “political attack under the guise of security.” In their estimate the entire case is a hodgepodge of innuendo and assumption, some of it obtained by Israel’s security service, Shin Bet, by threatening witnesses and their families.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, both of which have long interacted with many of the charged groups, condemned the Israeli action in harsh terms:

“This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement. For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. … Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. … The decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.”

The often clear-sighted Israeli newspaper Haaretz also took exception to the government action. 

“The government’s declaration of civil society organizations in the West Bank as terrorist organizations is a destructive folly that tarnishes all of the parties in the coalition and the state itself. The outlawing of human rights groups and persecution of humanitarian activists are quintessential characteristics of military regimes, in which democracy in its deepest sense is a dead letter.”

Besides its habitual and often sadistic persecution of Palestinians, Israel had immediate reasons to silence these six organizations. An analysis given by Open Democracy noted that on 5 February 2021 the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court  (ICC) ruled that the ICC had jurisdiction over events occurring in Israel’s Occupied Territories. Then, on 3 March the court opened up a criminal investigation into Israeli practices and policies in this area. Open Democracy then explained:

“All six banned organizations have for decades been critically involved in the documentation and monitoring of alleged Israeli human rights violations, war crimes and Apartheid in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories]. … All of this work has been a major evidential basis for the demand to open criminal investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

In other words, Israel’s “terrorist” canard is, at least in part, the Zionists seeking to obstruct justice. Like most organized groups of law-breakers they prioritize their own interests above those of the community—in this case the international community. In doing so they undermine inter-community standards of ethics and values enshrined in international law. Ultimately, they see such law as an obstacle to their ideologically driven goal of national expansion and Jewish (that is, the Zionist version of Judaism) supremacy.  

Part II—Yet the Bell Still Tolls for Israel

None of this is new. The Zionists have always been this way. Driven by an ethnic-centered, settler nationalism, their incapacity to deal fairly with the Palestinians was recognized even before the Balfour Declaration was announced in 1917. Below are some of the earlier, prescient warnings of the danger to Judaism inherent in a Zionist state ideology.

Ahad Ha-am (the pen name of the famous Jewish moralist Asher Ginzberg) noted as early as 1891 that Zionist settlers in Palestine have “an inclination to despotism. They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds.” He warned that such behavior stemmed from the political orientation of the Zionist movement which could only end up “morally corrupting” the Jewish people.

Unlike the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, who famously desired that the Jews become a nation like all other nations, Ha-am believed that the return to Zion was worthwhile only if the Jews did not become like other nations. By 1913, Ha-am knew this was not to be, and he rejected the nature of Zionism as it was evolving. “If this be the Messiah,” he wrote, “I do not wish to see his coming.”

 As the issuance of the Balfour Declaration drew nearer, other Jews voiced their worries. In the United States, a letter representative of the Jewish opposition to Zionism was sent by Henry Moskowitz to the New York Times on 10 June, 1917. Moskowitz was an Jewish activist and cofounder of the NAACP. He wrote the following: “What are the serious moral dangers in this nationalistic point of view from the standpoint of the Jewish soul? First, it is apt to breed racial egotism.”

In a 1945 essay, Hannah Arendt, one of the most insightful Jewish political philosophers of the 20th century, described the Zionist movement as a “German-inspired nationalism” (thus my use of “über alles” above). That is, as an ideology that holds “the nation to be an eternal organic body, the product of inevitable natural growth of inherent qualities; and it explains peoples, not in terms of political organizations, but in terms of biological superhuman personalities.”

In 1948, Arendt and 27 other prominent Jews living in the United States—including Albert Einstein—wrote a letter to the New York Times condemning the growth of rightwing political influences in the newly founded Israeli state. Citing the appearance of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut) led by Menachem Begin, they warned that it was a “political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy, and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.” Begin would go on to become one of Israel’s prime ministers. The contemporary Israeli party Likud is a successor of the “Freedom Party.”

Albert Einstein was also a person of moral sensitivity. As such, he turned down an offer to become Israel’s president and distanced himself from both Zionism and the Israeli state. The Zionist treatment of the Arabs had alienated him. In 1938, he observed, “I would much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain–especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our ranks.”

In August 2002, as a consequence of aggressive Israeli behavior in the occupied West Bank, England’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, warned that Zionist state policies, as they manifest themselves in the colonization process and the associated persecution of the Palestinians, are perverting “the deepest ideals” of Judaism.

Today, the American organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP); the British organization, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP); and Jews for a Just Peace (JJP), a federation of groups in ten European countries, all keep up this tradition of admonition and critical analysis while promoting the “human, civil, and political rights” of the Palestinians.

Part III—Conclusion

Toward the end of his life, Albert Einstein warned that “the attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people.” The conclusions drawn by every human rights organization that has examined Israeli behavior toward the Palestinians over the last 70 years, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Israel’s own B’Tselem, and the Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO), leave no doubt that the Zionists have failed Einstein’s test. 

Yet that conclusion is just what the Zionists have never been able to face. Thus, any reminder of the movement’s failure in the form of contemporary critiques and documentation are not only denied, but condemned as anti-Semitic. Jews who express such concerns are systematically denigrated as “self-hating.” The U.S. media, still bound by the mythology of Israel as a democratic, modern, secular state that shares America’s pioneering tradition, have traditionally ignored or downplayed critics of Zionism. This leaves most in the West ignorant of Israel’s actual policies and practices.

Today, Judaism is now on the cusp of ethical collapse. The vehicle for this collapse is the purposeful transformation of the religion into an arm of Zionist-Israeli state ideology. Simply put, Ahad Ha-am, Henry Moskowitz, Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein, Jonathan Sacks, JVP, JFJFP, and JJP were and are correct in their criticism of Zionism and Israel. Thus, we confront an ironic situation. The survival of the Jewish people as a civilized group with a collective sense of ethical standards is not in the hands of the State of Israel, but in the hands of those Jews who oppose that state and support the humanity and rights of Palestinians. 

Israel is gaslighting the world by branding Palestinian human rights groups ‘terrorists’

Nov 3, 2021, RT.com

Here's what's wrong with Israel branding human-rights groups 'terrorists'
FILE PHOTO. Palestinian members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. © AFP / Musa Al SHAER
moi
Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). Follow her on Twitter @EvaKBartlett

-by Eva K Bartlett

The Israeli government has designated several human-rights groups ‘terrorist organisations’ in a blatant attempt to further cover up the crimes they commit against the Palestinian people.

On October 22, Israel branded six respected Palestinian human-rights groups “terrorist organisations,” outraging the UN and the wider global community. This, coming from a state that imprisons and kills Palestinian children, and murders uniformed medics. 

On the Israeli Defense Ministry’s list were Addameer, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), the Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. 

The groups either document Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, which, in my opinion, routinely amount to terrorism themselves, provide legal support to targeted or imprisoned Palestinians, or work to empower Palestinian civilians. In what bizarre world can they be deemed “terrorist groups”? 

A joint statement by leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem and numerous other Israeli and Palestinian rights organisations described the ministry’s action as “a draconian measure that criminalises critical human-rights work,” and noted the importance of documentation, advocacy, and legal aid for the protection of rights worldwide. “Criminalising such work is an act of cowardice, characteristic of repressive authoritarian regimes,” it said.

A number of UN special rapporteurs have condemned the decision as “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human-rights movement and on human rights everywhere.”

Meanwhile, Israel continues to attack unarmed protesters with rubber bullets, live ammunition and tear gas; approve new buildings in illegal Jewish colonies on Palestinian land; and bulldoze centuries-old Palestinian graves in Old Jerusalem; and Israeli colonists continue to brutalise Palestinian civilians, as they have long done. And, of course, Gaza remains under a cruel blockade – the longest lockdown in the world. The roughly two million Gazans barely living in the territory are deprived of the most basic essentials, including urgently needed medical supplies, and Israel guns down and abducts their fishermen, often destroying their boats.

But, no, according to the state responsible for these and countless other acts of terrorism, the “terrorists” are the human-rights groups. This is the state that not only abuses and murders Palestinian civilians, and flattens entire neighbourhoods of Gaza, deliberately destroying vital infrastructure, but also occupies Lebanese and Syrian land, violates Lebanese airspace, and routinely illegally bombs Syria.

This is not the first time Israel has harassed Palestinian (and Israeli) rights organizations.

The children’s agency, DCIP, is “an independent, local Palestinian child-rights organisation dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.” In July 2021, prior to its “terrorist” designation, its main office was raided by Israeli forces.

At the time, DCIP described the raid as “the latest act by Israeli authorities to increasingly push forward a campaign to delegitimise and criminalise Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations.” They also noted this was a campaign that has been on the rise in recent years, “advanced by a network of rising nationalist Israeli civil society organisations and associated organisations elsewhere, with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

With the minister of defence designating such groups as “terrorists” and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supporting the delegitimization campaign, it is not credible to argue the persecution is not coming from the Israeli government itself.

For one of the other listed groups, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Israel’s targeted harassment caused the Dutch government to cease funding. Israel’s 972 magazine reported on this, saying “for years, a global network of Israel advocacy groups had been lobbying European governments to cut off funding to UAWC, a group that assists Palestinian farmers to cultivate and remain on their land, market their produce, and develop water infrastructure.” 

Some of the work UAWC had done in recent years, the article noted, included establishing “52 cooperatives in the West Bank and Gaza, [and] rehabilitating almost 10,000 dunums of Palestinian land that were under threat of confiscation by Israeli authorities in Area C.” 

It also planted nearly two million trees, and developed connecting routes amounting to almost 700km in distance. “UAWC also worked to provide better water access to Palestinians in Area C, where water and sanitation services are regularly interrupted by Israeli settlement expansion,” the article also said.

My experiences in Gaza, volunteering for years with impoverished Palestinian farmers and farm labourers coming under Israeli live fire on a near-daily basis, demonstrated to me that the work of groups like UWAC is essential to help farmers rehabilitate destroyed farmland. These are people simply trying to eke out an existence, being maimed and murdered by Israeli fire while doing so, their farmland and wells bulldozed and destroyed, their crops burned.

I also have some experience with the work of DCIP, which documents Palestinian child detainees in Israeli prisons, including children in solitary confinement, as well as children killed by Israeli soldiers or colonists. Without groups like this documenting these crimes, advocating for the children becomes all the more impossible. Clearly, this is one of the reasons Israel has made the outrageous terrorist designation.

But DCIP also helps sick and injured Palestinian children get medical care. The group helped rehabilitate a terribly injured, bedridden, 16-year-old Palestinian teen I met in a Cairo hospital in July 2008, months after an Israeli soldier shot him in the spine.

In March 2008, Abdul Rahman Abu Oida went to the roof of his home, checking the water tank to see why the family suddenly had no water, and was shot in the spine by an Israeli sniper hiding on another rooftop.

As I later wrote“The bullet destroyed three vertebrae; the shot left Abed paralysed in a puddle of his own blood until his 13-year-old brother, 15 minutes later, found him and dragged him downstairs. Ambulances were prevented from accessing the area. Abed lay untreated for three hours before he reached a hospital in Gaza City.”

In the Cairo hospital where I met him, he was emaciated, with appallingly large bedsores on his backside and feet. These festering bedsores would be the cause of other ailments which plagued him and eventually caused his death. Through a contact at DCIP, Abed began to get proper treatment for his original wound and the consequences of the bedsores.

Although he survived the 2008/9 Israeli massacre, including Israel’s attack on the rehabilitation hospital in which he and 60 other patients were, in 2014 he finally passed away. But without DCIP’s intervention, Abed would surely have died not long after I met him in 2008.

I have written many times about the crimes Israel has perpetrated against Palestinians in Gaza, including sniping at medics and killing and maiming still other medics, including with dart bombs – both war crimes – as well as assassinating children and infants, and firing white phosphorus on civilian areas. These are all just from my personal documentation in the span of a few years.

Without people to document these crimes, Israel’s actions could be even more monstrous than they already are.

Last May, in an attempt to prevent journalists from reporting its war crimes, Israel precision-bombed key media buildings in Gaza (which it had previously done in 2009, 2012, and 2014).

Throughout occupied Palestine, the work of human rights groups in documenting Israel’s crimes remains imperative, and the country’s continued harassment of these groups – including their “terrorist” designation – indicates the effectiveness of their advocacy and the determination of Israel to whitewash its crimes.

RELATED LINKS:

Observations from Occupied Palestine: Gaza

The Broken Sparrows of Palestine

Killing before the Calm: Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Civilians Escalated before Cease-fire

The hardest thing: Palestinian parents speak of their children killed by Israeli bombings

how israeli policies and attacks have ravaged Gaza’s agricultural sector

Lost in the Buffer Zone

Dirty Tricks: Israeli Soldiers Shoot Deaf Palestinian Farmer, 4th Farmer Shot in 3 weeks

dignified beyond losses:Palestinian farmers’ livelihoods destroyed by Israel

Israel destroying Gaza’s farmlands: arson in Johr ad-Dik

The Flattening of Gaza

UN predictions fall short: Gaza uninhabitable today

Israel a criminal offender at large, UN listing or not

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians, steal land with impunity. Imagine outrage & calls for sanctions if any other state did it

Israel’s airstrikes in Syria are not newsworthy for Western media, as a result status quo continues & civilians suffer

Gaza has suffered the longest, most barbaric, lockdown in the world – I know, because I lived through three years of it

Israel never stopped pirating in Palestinian waters

Israeli army kills Palestinian medic with dart bomb

Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (21– 27 October 2021)

October 28, 2021

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (21– 27 October 2021)

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine

21 – 27 October 2021

  • Persecution and Termination next: Israel designates 6 pioneering Palestinian NGOs as terrorist
  • IOF shoot and wound 7 Palestinians in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem
  • Two fishing boats confiscated, contents of a third destroyed in southern Gaza Sea
  • 6 IOF shootings reported against fishing boats, and twice at agricultural lands in the Gaza Strip
  • In 94 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 61 civilians arrested, including 7 children
  • Israeli occupation ratifies decision to build 3,144 settlement units in the West Bank
  • Occupied East Jerusalem: two houses self-demolished, as well as parts of a third one. Razing of Martyrs’ Graveyard Continues.
  • IOF demolish 4 shops in Ramallah, dismantle a classroom in the Jordan Valleys; 7 cease-construction notices served in Hebron
  • Settler attacks: Palestinian civilians wounded and vehicles damaged in settlers’ attack on farmers harvesting olive trees in Ramallah.
  • IOF established 37 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 3 Palestinians on said checkpoints

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse, and attacks on civilians, turning the West Bank into isolated blocks of land. This week, Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, designated six pioneering Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, allegedly for affiliations with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, aiming to free Palestine and abolish the State of Israel. This is an obvious ploy to silence and end these leading organizations, who expose the occupation’s crimes, aim to prosecute them before international justice, and support Palestinian people’s resilience.

The Israeli settlement expansion works continued on Palestinian lands and properties. Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip enters its 15th year under closure, exacerbating the humanitarian hardships across the territory.

Persecution of Palestinian civil society organizations and human rights defenders

Israeli occupation authorities designated six pioneering Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, allegedly for affiliations with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, aiming to free Palestine and abolish the State of Israel.

According to the Israeli decision the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees are all terrorist organizations based on information supplied by NGO Monitor, a right-wing organization known to be anti-Palestinian.

 These organizations are well known, each pioneering in their field with significant achievements over the course of their decades long work in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemns in the strongest terms the Israeli decision and asserts that it is an obvious ploy to silence and end these leading organizations, who expose the occupation’s crimes, aim to prosecute them before international justice, and support Palestinian people’s resilience. PCHR warns that the Israeli decision is an attempt to provide legal coverage to persecuting these organizations, targeting their personnel, and liquidating them.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

IOF shot and wounded 7 civilians in excessive use of force in the West Bank: 3 wounded in IOF assault on Kafr Qaddum weekly protest, Qalqilya; 2 others as IOF protected a group of settlers attacking farmers in Ramallah; 1 wounded in Bidu; and another during IOF incursion into Yabad, Jenin.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF confiscated 2 rowboats and destroyed the contents of a third at sea. PCHR documented 6 IOF shootings at fishing boats in the Gaza Sea, and two others on agricultural lands in eastern Gaza.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 94 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 61 Palestinians were arrested, including 7 children.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted a limited incursion into eastern Khan Younis.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 9 incidents:

  • Occupied East Jerusalem: 2 Palestinians forced to demolish their homes; another family forced to destroy an entire floor of their house in Wadi Joz. Razing and demolitions continue in al-Shuhadaa graveyard in Bab al Asbat.
  • Hebron: cease-construction notice served against a house, water well and sheep barn. Sit-in tent demolished in eastern Yatta. Four houses receive cease-construction notices in western Ethna.
  • Tubas: classrooms dismantled in al-Maleh in the Jordan valleys.
  • Ramallah: 4 shops destroyed in Dayr Qadis.

Settler-attacks: 

  • Ramallah: two farmers assaulted during olive harvest in Turmus Ayya; a vehicle set on fire and tires of three other vehicles punctured.
  • Salfit: shepherd assaulted and an attempt to steal his sheep in Jabel Natif
  • Bethlehem: 25 olive tree seedlings uprooted in southern al-Masara.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Israeli occupation authorities continued to ban the entry of dozens of goods, including construction materials, in collective punishment measures against the Gaza Strip as the Israeli closure imposed on the territory entered its 15th year, without an end in sight that would fulfil Palestinians’ right to enjoy their economic, social, and cultural rights.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the 2000 Second Intifada -still closed to this date- and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest, especially at al-Karama border crossing, alongside the Palestinian-Jordanian border.

Attacks on civil society organizations and human rights defenders

On Friday, 22 October 2021, Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, designated six pioneering Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations. According to the Israeli decision the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees are all terrorist organizations, affiliated with the leadership of the PFLP which aims to destroy Israel and free Palestine. The decision also claimed that these organization are run and operated by PFLP leaders and activists.

According to Israeli allegations, the designation was the result of a collaboration between the Israeli Shin Bet and the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing of Israel that started early this year.

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

  • At approximately 12:30 on Friday, 22 October 2021, IOF stationed on the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, northern Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest led by dozens of Palestinians. IOF chased the protestors and clashed with them; IOF fired bullets, tear gas canisters and stun grenades. As a result, 2 Palestinians sustained bullet wounds in their extremities, and 1 in the back.
  • At approximately 15:00 n Friday, dozens of Palestinians gathered near Bidu village, northwestern occupied East Jerusalem, and threw stones at IOF and their military vehicles in protest to IOF detention of the bodies of three Palestinians from the village who were killed by IOF a month ago. Immediately, IOF fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors, wounding Ahmed J. Abdulqaher (21) with a rubber bullet in the back. He was taken to Palestine Medical Complex for treatment.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF assaulted the weekly march in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood against settlement expansion activities. Participants were physically assaulted, particularly after they attempted to raise the Palestinian flag. Mohammed Kh. Abulhomes (55), an activist, was pushed to the ground, kicked, and beaten, as well as Nafisa Khwaiseh, an elderly woman, and Iyad Sab-el-laban, who was summonsed to interrogation for refusing to turn in his cellphone and for allowing his son to hold the Palestinian flag.
  • At approximately 18:00, a joint Israeli security and intelligence force backed by a helicopter raided Raed Syam’s house in Jabel Mukaber, southeastern occupied East Jerusalem. They ransacked through the house and assaulted all residents. They withdrew after arresting 4 members of the family.

Raed Syam stated that at approximately 17:30 a reconciliation meeting was scheduled between his family and neighbors in the area. As more than 20 persons were gathered in the house yard, they were shocked to see Israeli forces raid the area. IOF broke the front gate, and within moments, dozens of Israeli soldiers surrounded the house and assaulted all those inside, including women, children, and elderlies. IOF used buttstroke them and sprayed pepper spray at them. They forced everybody to take to the ground in order to cover the Israeli intelligence forces as they broke into the house. They ransacked through the house, took down AC units to search them, and searched each of the vehicles parked in front of the house.

Syam pointed out that he requested the soldiers show him a search warrant, but they refused, assaulted him, and threatened to shoot him. They yelled at him, demanding that he present his Palestinian passport, but he denied having any identification documents issued by Palestinian authorities. They searched through his personal files. Syam said that IOF assaulted his cousin, Alaa, who recently underwent a critical kidney surgery despite their pleads for them to stop; the soldiers did not care and continued to beat him more intensely as they said, “let him die.”

Syam mentioned that IOF assaulted the women who were praying inside the house before pushing them out forcibly and putting them to the ground. IOF arrested Ibrahim M. Syam (72), Ibrahim R. Syam (26) Alaa A. Syam (42), Omar A. Syam (30). They were interrogated for several hours before releases. All the arrestees suffered bruises and cuts in the face and entire bodies; no medical attention was provided.

  • At approximately 20:00, IOF moved into the road leading to al-Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron and stationed by its entrance. Dozens of young Palestinians gathered and threw rocks at the military vehicles. The soldiers deployed in the area, shot stun grenades, tear gas bombs and rubber-coated bullets at the stone-throwers, causing them to suffocate. The clashes continued until 23:00. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 21:30, IOF gunboats in the northern Gaza sea chased Palestinian fishing boat sailing at 3 nautical miles, pumped water at them and opened heavy fire at them, stirring fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 02:30 on Saturday, 23 October 2021, IOF gunboats in the northern Gaza sea chased Palestinian fishing boat sailing at 3 nautical miles, pumped water at them and opened heavy fire at them, stirring fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:30, IOF stationed along Gaza border area opened fire in eastern Khan Younis at nearby agricultural lands. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 19:30, IOF stationed along Gaza border area opened fire sporadically in northern Beit Lahia at nearby lands. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:00 on Sunday, 24 October 2021, IOF gunboats in the northern Gaza sea chased Palestinian fishing boat sailing at 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire at them. The attack recurred at 11:00, stirring fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 05:30 on Monday, 25 October 2021, IOF gunboats in the northern Gaza sea chased Palestinian fishing boat sailing at 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire at them. The attack continued on and off until 08:00, stirring fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Yabad, southwestern Jenin; a group of Palestinians gathered and threw rocks at Israeli military vehicles. IOF fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them, as well as rubber-coated bullets. As a result, a Palestinian male sustained a bullet in the left thigh and was transferred to hospital for treatment.
  • At approximately 08:00 on Wednesday, 27 October 2021, IOF gunboats in the southern Gaza sea confiscated a 2 rowboats and took them to an unknown destinations. The gunboats opened fire in the area at a 3rd rowboat and destroyed its contents.

The Fishermen Syndicate in Rafah stated that the Israeli naval forces confiscated two rowboats anchored at 7 nautical miles. The boats area used for lighting purposes as each holds a generators and at least 25 flashlights. The boats belong to Mohammed Omar al-Bardawyl (35) and Mohammed Adel al-Bardawyl (30). IOF also fired at another rowboat, destroying two generators and 26 flashlights, property of Mohammed Adel al-Bardawyl.

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 21 October 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Nour Ishaq Ghaith (20), after raiding and searching his house in Hebron.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Tayseer Azmi Manasra (25), after raiding and searching his house in al-Dawha village, west of Betheem.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested Hamza Mahmoud al-Wahsh (23) along with his brother, Mohannad (21), after raiding and searching thier house in al-Khader, southwest of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF arrested (3) civilians, including a child, after raiding and searching their houses in Bayt Fajar village, south of Bethlehem. The arrestees are: Rabea’ Ahmed Taqateqa (17), Mohammed Wajeeh Thawabtah (18), and Yousef Mohammed Thawabtah (18).
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested Omar Mo’amar Abu al-Hawa (24), from al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, while present in Bab al-Amud area, in the city.
  • At approximately 19:30, IOF arrested (3) civilian from al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, while present near the entrance of al-Eizariya village, east of Jerusalem. The arrestees are: Omar Marwan Obaid (23), Mohammed Ayman Obaid (22), and Mohammed Fo’ad Abu Rajab (18).
  • At approximately 22:30, IOF arrested Abdullah Abu Romouz (23), after raiding and searching his house in al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Dura and Samu villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 22 October 2021:

  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested No’man Naser and Saleem Ayed after raiding and searching their houses in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

Saturday, 23 October 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Mo’tasem Faraj Obaido (20), after raiding and searching his house in Hebron.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF arrested Na’el Riyad Omar (47) along with his son, Saher (20), after raiding and searching their house in Far’un village, east of Tulkarm.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Naseer Ya’qoub Jaradat (26), after stopping him on a temporary military checkpoint established at the entrance of Beit Einun village, north of Hebron.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Shuyukh, Yatta, Dayr Samet and Idhna villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 24 October 2021:

  • At approximately 02:30, IOF arrested Nader Ramzi Zahida (25), after raiding and searching his house in Hebron.
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF arrested (3) civilians after raiding and searching their houses in Husan, west of Bethlehem. The arrestees are: Qassam Ramzi ‘Amira (18), Qusai Adli Hamamera (22), and Mohammed Ra’ouf Abu Yabis (22).
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF arrested Mohammed Mahmoud Owda (13), after raiding and searching his house in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF arrested Na’el Rebhi Taqateqa (15), after referring to “Gush Etzion” investigation center, south of Bethlehem, on a prior summons.
  • At approximately 21:40, IOF arrested Yaser Arafat Shuqair (11) and Yazan Na’eem Qadous (10), after raiding and searching their houses in al-Zawiya village, west of Salfit.

Monday, 25 October 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested (3) civilians after raiding and searching their houses in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. The arrestees are: Amir Adnan al-Karaki (22), Yehya Ziyad Sharaf (20), and Saif Ibrahim Samrin (20).
  • At approximately 02:15, IOF arrested Abdul Baset Mohammed Mo’tan (48), after raiding and searching his house in al-Bireh, north of Ramallah governorate. It should be noted that Mo’tan is a former prisoner who is receiving cancer treatment and needs a medical follow-up.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF arrested Anas Adnan Hamarsha (21) and Mus’ab Belal Hirzallah (22), after raiding and searching their houses in Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin governorate.
  • At approximately 04:10, IOF arrested (3) civilians after raiding and searching their houses in Beita, southeast of Nablus governorate. The arrestees are: Eyad Diab Shamsah (29), Salah Salama Shamsah (33), and Yehya Mohammed Diab (21).
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved dozens of meters to the east of al-Fukhari village, southeast of Khan Yunis. They levelled and combed lands adjacent to the border fence, heading to the south, before they deployed again inside the border fence.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Ahmed Salah Abu ‘Azab (26), after raiding and searching his house in al-’Am’ari refugee camp, southeast of al-Bireh, north of Ramallah governorate.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF arrested Khaled Fawwaz Salah (30), after raiding and searching his house in al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli Intelligence Services arrested Abdul Rahman Bkairat, head of Zaid Bin Thabit School for Quran Memorization, after referring to al-Maskobiya investigation center in West Jerusalem, on a prior summons.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF arrested Murad Sami Asakra, after stopping and searching his vehicle at a temporary military checkpoint established at the entrance of Teqoa village, east of Bethlehem.
  • IOF carried out an incursion in Azzun Atme village, south of Qalqilya. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Ibrahim Munir Arafa (29), after raiding and searching his house in Dheisha refugee camp, southwest of Bethlehem.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Suhaib Mohammed al-Qawasmah (23), after raiding and searching his house in Hebron.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Montaser Yousef Abu Ayyash (33), after raiding and searching his house in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested Mohye Ayman al-Shirwana (24) and Hazem Husain al-Shirwana (25), after raiding and searching their houses in Dura, southwest of Hebron.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF arrested Ehab Rakiz Huweity (27), from Tulkarm governorate, while passing through al-Container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem. It should be noted that al-Huweity had a road accident 20 days ago, and he was heading to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital to complete his treatment.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF raided and searched a supermarket belonging to Ghawadera family, in ‘Arraba, southwest of Jenin governorate, and arrested Alaa Hisham Ghawadera (20), from Mirka village.
  • At approximately 21:40, IOF arrested As’ad Ziyad Shadeed (34), after raiding and searching his house in Illar village, north of Tulkarm.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF stormed the yard of Abouna Ibrahim Monastery in Ras al-’Amud neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They banned organizing art or culture events for the students and their families in Jerusalem with a decision signed by the Israeli Minister of Interior, under the pretext that the event was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Marwan al-Ghoul, director of Silwan Sports Club, confirmed that the events organized by Silwan sports club were in cooperation with the Palestinian National Theater (Hakawati), National Conservatory of Music and moving theater, with the sponsorship of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Al-Ghoul stated that he received a phone call from the Israeli Authorities to inform him to cancel the events which supposed to start at approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 26 October, and finish on Thursday evening. He added that the administrative board of the club refused to cancel the events because they did not receive any official decision. As soon as they started the first event in Abouna Ibrahim Monastery’s yard, they noticed IOF stationing at the monastery’s gates without storming the place because the French consul participated in the event. Al-Ghoul stated that, as soon as the French consul left the monastery, the Israeli soldiers stormed the monastery’s yards wearing civilian clothes and handed him a summons to refer to al-Qishla investigation center. Furthermore, IOF handed the director of the monastery a decision that bans any future events sponsored by the PA.

Al-Ghoul emphasized that when he referred to Moscovia Investigation Center, the Israeli Intelligence Services informed him that the Israeli Security Chief issued a decision that bans such events, claiming that they pose threat on the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem under the pretext that they were sponsored by the PA. Also, al-Ghoul highlighted that the events aimed to spread joy among children and students in the occupied Jerusalem, by performing music shows and theater performances, in addition to evening shows special for families.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021:

  • At approximately 02:30, IOF arrested Yazan Amer Sabbah (15) and Ibrahim Sameer Sabbah (15), after raiding and searching their houses in Teqoa, east of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF arrested (5) civilians after raiding and searching their houses in Bir village, southwest of Jenin governorate. The arrestees are: Mohammed Mahmoud Ghawadera (35), Marwan Mohammed Ghawadera (27), Ahmed Ali Ghawadera (25), Laith Hamza Ghawadera (24), and Ragheb Emad Ghawadera (20).

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

Land razing, Demolitions, and Notices:

  • On Saturday afternoon, 16 October 2021, Jaber family self-demolished their house in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s demolition decision allegedly for unlicensed construction.

Nader Jaber said that his father built the house in 1991 on an area of 92 sqms in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood.  Jaber said that the Israeli municipality has haunted the family since 1998 and imposed fines on his mother after his father passed away.  His mother has paid fines for 14 years, and although the Israeli municipality decided to exempt her from paying the fines as she was over 90 years old, it notified the family of demolishing the house after she passed away.   Jaber said that his mother died in 2019 and the house had become a reunion for the 100 family members.  However, IOF again haunted them and the Israeli court issued a final decision to demolish the house, forcing the family to self-demolish their house to avoid paying the demolition costs for the municipality or arresting any of the family members in case the municipal crews implemented the decision.  Jaber stressed that the Israeli municipality has not given a construction license for tens of years specifically in this area, which is of a strategic location and connects many areas with each other.

  • At approximately 11:30 on Sunday, 24 October 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles and accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration vehicle moved into At-Tuwani village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Civil Administration distributed notices to stop construction works in several facilities under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C.  the notices included the following:
  1. A 3-storey house belonging to Ghanem Hussein al-Hreini;
  2. A 70-cbm water well belonging to Fo’ad Fadel al-‘Amour; and
  3. A sheep barn of shed cloth and a tinplate bathroom belonging to Ghandi Na’im al-‘Amour.
  • At approximately 17:20 on Monday, 25 October 2021, IOF accompanied with a bulldozer, a truck-mounted crane and a Civil Administration SUV moved into al-Maleh area in the Northern Jordan Valley in eastern Tubas.

IOF surrounded al-Tahadi School, levelled and a confiscated a 150-sqm metal shed.  The workers brought by the Civil Administration from private companies dismantled and confiscated 2 barracks of 25 sqms; one was used as a classroom and the other as a clinic, under the pretext of their presence in Area C.

  • In the same afternoon, Jaber family self-demolished a floor in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City only 2 days after demolishing the second floor, pursuant to the Israeli municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Nader Jaber said that 2 days ago, the family self-demolished their deceased mother’s house that was built in 1991; it was a 92-sqm second floor, pursuant to the Israeli municipality’s decision and to avoid paying tens of thousands of shekels for the municipality crews’ demolition costs.  Jaber explained that the family sent photos of the demolished second floor to the municipality, which ordered the family to demolish the first floor as well, giving them only 48 hours to demolish the 40-sqm residential room and its facilities or it will send the bulldozers to do so.  Jaber stressed that his family was forced to self-demolish the first and second floors with hand tools like thousand other Palestinian families who self-demolished their houses for fear of Israeli municipality’s prosecution.

  • In the same afternoon as well, Isma’il ‘Aramin self-demolished his house in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, pursuant to the Israeli municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

‘Aramin said that his house was built in 2010 replacing his old family house, which was demolished by the Israeli municipality under the pretext of unlicensed construction. ‘Aramin added he has lived in his 90-sqm house with his wife and two children for 8 years, and the municipality started pursuing him around a year ago. Only few months ago, the Israeli court issued a final decision to demolish the house, without the possibility of appealing the decision, giving him until last August and then postponed the demolition until the end of October. ‘Aramin said that he had to self-demolish his house, fearing that the occupation municipality would send its crews to implement the decision and fine him with tens of thousands of shekels.

  • At approximately 10:30 on Monday, 25 October 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles and accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration vehicle and a bulldozer moved into at-Tuwani village in eastern Yatta, south of Hebron. The bulldozer demolished a tent of 50 sqms set by activists in the area in solidarity with al-Mafqarah village, east of the city.  The demolition came under the pretext of unlicensed construction.
  • At approximately 07:00 on Tuesday, 26 October 2021, IOF accompanied by military vehicles and a bulldozer moved into Deir Qaddis village, west of Ramallah and demolished an under-construction facility of 4 stores on an area of 300 sqms. The demolition was carried out without any prior warning under the pretext of its presence in Area C.

The facility’s owner, Ayman ‘Adnan Steih (44), said to PCHR’s fieldworker that,

“I was surprised in the morning with IOF’s incursion into the village and closure of its streets. IOF accompanied with a military bulldozer surrounded my facility of four under-construction stores in the eastern side of the village and demolished it.  I approached the soldiers trying to talk with them, but they shouted at me and fired sound bombs in the air to keep me away from the area.  The Israeli authorities handed me a notice to demolish the facility last June, but I filed a complaint at the competent authorities, including Jerusalem Centre for Legal Aid.  Although there was a lawful complaint, IOF carried out the demolition without a prior warning, noting that the construction cost me around 170,000 shekels.” 

  • In the same morning, the Israeli municipality bulldozers and the Nature Authority continued excavation works in al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery adjacent to al-Yousifiyah Cemetery in al-Asbat Gate area in central occupied East Jerusalem. The municipality intends to turn the cemetery into a biblical park and started building a metal wall around it as well as piling sand berms to bury its features, according to the Israeli court’s decision issued last week.

Tens of outraged men and woman gathered to confront the Nature Authority workers but IOF pushed and beat them as well as arresting 3 of the protesters after severely beating them.  The arrestees were identified as Laith al-Shalabi, Mousa Khalaf and Nawwaf al-Salaymah.

‘Alaa Nabatah, an eyewitness said that IOF assaulted the protesters and banned them entry into the cemetery. IOF also fired sound bombs at them after performing al-Maghreb prayer near the cemetery.  Nabatah added that an Israeli female soldier beat her more than once when she was near her son’s grave in the cemetery.

It should be noted that the Israeli Magistrate’s court refused last week a request applied by Jerusalem Cemeteries Committee to obtain a decision that would ban the Israeli municipality and Nature Authority from continuing the excavation works in the graves at al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery near al-Yousifiya Cemetery near al-Asbat Gate.  It should be noted that the Israeli police banned Mustafa Abu Zahrah, Head of the Islamic Cemeteries Committee in Jerusalem, from entering al-Yousifyah Cemetery for 10 days and handed him a map showing the path he should take in order to reach al-Aqsa mosque.

It is noteworthy that the al-Shuhadaa’ and al-Yousifyah cemeteries have been under systematic attack over the past years. the Islamic Cemeteries Committee resorted to the Israeli court and submitted documents proving that the cemetery belongs to the Islamic Endowments.  At the time, the court issued a decision to ban any works in the cemetery, but after a while, a person was buried there; as a result, the grave was taken as an excuse to abolish the decision. In late July, the court’s judge responded to the Israeli municipality and Nature Authority’s request to resume razing the cemetery land after seven months of issuing a precautionary order to stop it. Al-Yousifiyah cemetery is one of the most famous Islamic cemeteries in Jerusalem. It is located to the north of Al-Asbat Gate and houses the graves of Palestinian families who live in Jerusalem. It also includes to the north al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery, where the Jordanian soldiers martyred in 1967 are buried.

  • At approximately 10:00, IOF backed by military vehicles and accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration vehicle moved into Khelet Harb area, west of Ethna village, west of Ramallah. They handed the Civil Administration officer 4 notices to stop construction works under the pretext of unlicensed  The notices included the following:
  • A 100-sqm house belonging to ‘Adnan Ibrahim ‘Awad;
  • An 80-sqm house belonging to Sa’diyah Ibrahim ‘Awad;
  • An under-construction 270-sqm house belonging to ‘Abdel Fattah Ahmed ‘Awad; and
  • An under-construction 170-sqm house belonging to Jamal Ahmed Nofal.
  • On Wednesday, 27 October 2021, the Israeli Civil Administration approved 3,144 new settlement units in the West Bank, noting that last Sunday the Israeli Land Authority opened tenders for marketing of 1,355 new settlement units in the West Bank.

Settlers’ attacks on civilians and their property:

  • At approximately 13:00 on Saturday, 23 October 2021, a group of settlers from Adei Ad settlement, northeast of Ramallah, assaulted farmers while harvesting olives from their lands in eastern Turmis’iya village, northeast of the city. The settlers pepper-sprayed ‘Abdel Naser (48) and Montaser (47) Naji Hizmah; as a result, they suffocated and sustained minor burns in the face. The settlers also pushed Nabihah Mahmoud Jbarah (80) and set fire to a vehicle as well as puncturing tires and breaking windows of three other vehicles belonging to Taysir Jbrarah, Montaser Naji Hizmah, Nabihah Mahmoud Jbarah and ‘Abdel Naser Naji Hizmah.
  • At approximately 14:00 on Sunday, 24 October 2021, Israeli settlers assaulted sheep belonging to Fozan Rayan while shepherding in the pastoral area on al-Nweiteif Mountain in Qarawet Bani Hassan in Salfit. The settlers attempted to steal the sheep and take them to Havot Yair settlement, but the villagers managed to return them.
  • On Tuesday morning, 26 October 2021, a group of settlers uprooted 25 olive tree seedlings in southern al-Masara, southwestern Bethlehem. According to Hassan Breijiyeh, Director of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Commission in Bethlehem, settlers uprooted 25 olive tree seedlings belonging to Mohammed Ahmed Breijiyeh.

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

The Gaza Strip:

The Israeli authorities continued to impose collective punishments against the people of the Gaza Strip, including tightened restrictions on imports and exports, causing a serious deterioration in Palestinians’ enjoyment of their economic and cultural rights.

The West Bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of 37 temporary checkpoints that restrict the movement of goods and individuals, where IOF searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs, and arrested 3 of them. IOF reinforced its restrictions on civilians’ freedom of movement at its permanent checkpoints in the West Bank and shut some checkpoints for several hours on multiple occasions.

Here follows PCHR documentation of restrictions on the freedom of movement and IOF-established temporary checkpoints across the West Bank this week:

Jerusalem:

  • On Monday, 25 October 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Beer Ayoub neighborhood in Silwan village.

Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 21 October 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Teqoa village and near al-Nashash intersection leading to western Bethlehem villages
  • On Friday, 22 October 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Teqoa village.
  • On Monday, 25 October 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Fajjar and Teqoa villages.
  • On Tuesday, 26 October 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints near the entrance to Wadi Foqin village, the northern and western entrances to Teqoa village and near al-Nashash intersection.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 21 October 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at entrances to Dura, Sa’ir village and al-‘Arroub refugee camp.
  • On Friday, 22 October 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Ethna and Beit ‘Awwa villages.
  • On Saturday, 23 October 2021, IOF established 2checkpoints at the northern entrance to Hebron and the entrance to Bani Na’im village (Wad al-Joz).
  • On Sunday, 24 October 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and the entrances to al-Fawwar refugee camp, Sorif, al-Samou’a and Bani Na’im villages.
  • On Tuesday, 26 October 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to al-‘Arroub refugee camp, Sa’ir and Sorif villages.
  • On Wednesday, 28 October 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit ‘Aynoun Road, east of Hebron, eastern Dura, southern Hebron and Khelet al-Mayyah Road in eastern Yatta.

Qalqilya:

  • On Friday, 22 October 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to ‘Azoun and ‘Izzbit al-Tabib villages in eastern Qalqilya.
  • On Tuesday, 26 October 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrances to ‘Izzbit al-Tabib village in eastern Qalqilya.

Salfit:

  • On Sunday, 24 October 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Ballut and Qarawet Bani Hassan villages in western Salfit.

UN: “Israel’s” Classification of Palestinian NGOs As Terrorist “Arbitrary”

26.10.2021

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

The United Nations says “Israel” is putting human rights defenders at risk with their decision to designate several Palestinian NGOs as terrorists based on no evidence.

See the source image
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

“Israel’s” designation of 6 prominent Palestinian civil society groups as outlawed “terrorist organizations” is an unjustified attack, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations Commissioner of Human Rights, said Tuesday.

The Israeli occupation had classified last week 6 Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist,” attributing their baseless decision to said organizations “financing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”

Bachelet said the decision was an attack on human rights defenders, on freedoms of association, opinion and expression, and the right to public participation, calling for the move to be immediately revoked.

“Anti-terrorism legislation” should be applied to legitimate human rights and humanitarian aid activities, she asserted.

“The organizations… face far-reaching consequences as a result of this arbitrary decision, as do the people who fund them and work with them,” she said.

The NGOs “Israel” designated terrorist have been delivering humanitarian aid to Palestinians harmed by the Israeli occupation and who’ve had their human rights abused in the occupied territories.

The commissioner argued the decision would have “a chilling effect” on human rights defenders.

“The crucial work they perform for thousands of Palestinians risks being halted or severely restricted,” she added.

The Commissioner also argued that claiming rights before the United Nations or other international bodies does not constitute an act of terrorism, citing advocating for women’s rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians.

She stressed that those actions are not acts of terrorism while pointing to the obvious: The Israeli occupation did not present any evidence to support its allegations against the NGOs, nor did it conduct a public process to establish the accusations.

HRW Criticizes Facebook Censorship of Palestinians, Demands Investigation

October 8, 2021

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Facebook has “wrongfully removed” content by Palestinians and pro-Palestine activists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Friday.

According to the New York-based international NGO, Facebook unfairly removed posts describing human rights abuses carried out during the May 2021 Israeli aggression.

“Facebook has suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine,” said Deborah Brown, senior digital rights researcher and advocate at HRW. “With the space for such advocacy under threat in many parts of the world, Facebook censorship threatens to restrict a critical platform for learning and engaging on these issues.”

According to the HRW report, several posts were also removed by Instagram, the American photo and video sharing social networking service that was recently acquired by Facebook.  

“In one instance, Instagram removed a screenshot of headlines and photos from three New York Times opinion articles for which the Instagram user added commentary that urged Palestinians to ‘never concede’ their rights,” the report reads.

HRW also condemned Facebook policy to designate certain organizations as ‘dangerous’, thus limiting the freedom of expression.

“Facebook relies on the list of organizations that the US has designated as a ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ among other lists,” HRW report said. “That list includes political movements that also have armed wings, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas.” 

“By deferring to the broad and sweeping US designations, Facebook prohibits leaders, founders, or prominent members of major Palestinian political movements from using its platform. It does this even though, as far as is publicly known, US law does not prohibit groups on the list from using free and freely available platforms like Facebook.”

In its report, HRW called for an “independent audit .. (to) evaluate Facebook’s relationship with the Israeli government’s Cyber Unit, which creates a parallel enforcement system for the government to seek to censor content without official legal orders.”

The California-based social media giant did not provide exhaustive explanations to justify its behavior, according to HRW. 

“Facebook has acknowledged several issues affecting Palestinians and their content, some of which it attributed to ‘technical glitches’and human error. However, these explanations do not explain the range of restrictions and suppression of content observed.”

The NGO ultimately asked for an independent investigation and urged Facebook to ensure “that investigators closely consult with civil society at the outset of the investigation, so that (it) reflects the most pressing human rights concerns from those affected by its policies.”

Last April, HRW issued a report, titled ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution’, concluding that Israel is committing the crime of “apartheid” by seeking to maintain Jewish “domination” over Palestinians and its own Arab population.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Sheikh Jarrah’s Activists Muna, Muhammed El-Kurd Make TIME Top 100 List

September 16, 2021

Mohammed and Muna el-Kurd. (Photo: via Twitter)

Time magazine has named Palestinian twins and activists, Muna and Muhammed El-Kurd of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The magazine said Muna and her twin brother Muhammed have become symbols of the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation’s attempts to evict Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

“Through online posts and media appearances, sibling activists Muhammed and Muna El-Kurd provided the world with a window into living under occupation in East Jerusalem this spring—helping to prompt an international shift in rhetoric in regard to Israel and Palestine,” the magazine wrote.

“Charismatic and bold, they became the most recognizable voices of those threatened with losing their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.”

A statement by Mohammed El-Kurd after he and his sister were designated by Time Magazine as being among the 100 most influential personalities in the world. https://t.co/c0jlTE7RBZ

— J. Shawa جاسم الشوا (@shawajason) September 15, 2021

In response to the announcement, Muhammed El-Kurd wrote: “My sister and I’s selection as part of the ‘100 most influential people in the world’ may be a positive indicator of the centralization of the Palestinian cause in the global public sphere. However, the creation of symbols – which reduces the struggle of a whole people to a single face – is not enough.”

“What we are demanding is a tangible, radical change in the media system (including the Times) to end its Zionist bias.”

“The untold story of Sheikh Jarrah, of Jerusalem – in fact, of all of Palestin,” Ramzy Baroud is at it again: Muna is Palestine, Yakub is Israel: The Untold Story of Sheikh Jarrah – https://t.co/JhsGfRkrM3 https://t.co/c5J8AH5wyp

— Nasser Rabbat (@nasserrabbat) May 15, 2021

The list also includes current US President Joe Biden, his predecessor Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Salvador President Nayib Bukele, who is of Palestinian origin, was also named.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

NSO Group’s Spyware Used on Bahraini Activists – Report

August 25, 2021

NSO Group’s Spyware Used on Bahraini Activists - Report

By Staff, Agencies

In the course of violating human rights in the Bahraini kingdom, nine activists from Bahrain had their iPhones hacked by advanced spyware made by the ‘Israeli’ company NSO Group, the world’s most notorious hacker-for-hire firm, a cybersecurity watchdog reported on Tuesday.

Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto said NSO Group’s Pegasus malware successfully hacked the phones between June 2020 and February 2021. Those reportedly hacked included members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and two political dissidents living in exile. At least one of the activists lived in London when the hacking occurred, Citizen Lab said.

Citizen Lab said it has “high confidence” that at least four of the activists were hacked by the Bahraini government, which has a history of using commercially available spyware.

One of the activists targeted is Moosa Mohammed, who said he was previously a victim of spyware, in 2012.

“When I fled torture and persecution in Bahrain, I thought I would find safety in London but have continued to face surveillance and physical attacks by Gulf regimes,” he said.

The government of Bahrain, a tiny island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia that’s home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, has a long history of suppressing dissent. Bahrain’s National Communication Centre dismissed Citizen Lab’s findings as “misguided” and said in a statement the country is committed to safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

NSO Group said in a statement that it had not yet seen the report, but questioned Citizen Lab’s methods and motives. “If NSO receives reliable information related to the misuse of the system, the company will vigorously investigate the claims and act accordingly,” the company said.

Citizen Lab found that in some instances the malware infected targeted iPhones without the users taking any action — what’s known as a zero-click vulnerability.

Bill Marczak of Citizen Lab said the exploits worked against a recent versions of the iPhone’s operating system, adding that there’s “no indication that the bugs exploited have been fixed.”

Ivan Krstic, head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture, said such attacks are costly and often have a short shelf life. “They are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users,” he said in a statement, adding that Apple constantly adds new protections for its devices and data.

The new report is the latest unwelcome news for NSO Group. The firm was the focus of recent reports by a media consortium that found the company’s spyware tool Pegasus was used in several instances of successful or attempted phone hacks of business executives, human rights activists and others around the world.

Activists Occupy ‘Israeli’ Arms Factory in UK, Halt Its Operations

August 23, 2021 

Activists Occupy ‘Israeli’ Arms Factory in UK, Halt Its Operations

By Staff, Agencies

As part of their nationwide campaign against an ‘Israeli’ arms manufacturer, pro-Palestine activists in the United Kingdom have staged a protest outside the company’s plant in the borough of Oldham.

Palestine Action, a London-based pro-Palestine advocacy group, shared a series of tweets showing masked activists standing on the roof of the Zionist arms factory on Monday, holding ‘Shut down Elbit’ banners.

They announced that they had taken to the roof of the Zionist arms factory in Oldham “once more,” spraying it with fire extinguishers, and “laying bare the profits of a military occupation and extinguishing Elbit through direct action.”

In another tweet, the group said they had “blockaded” the gates of the ‘Israeli’ arms factory in Oldham by vehicles, and halted its “deadly production line.”

“The roof’s ours,” it declared.

One of the pictures showed an activist sitting on the roof, with clenched fist. The caption read: “They may try to lock us up in chains but we’ll always keep coming back and taking the fight to Elbit to tear apart their links in ‘Israel’s’ killer supply chain.”

In a statement published on its website, Palestine Action said the move comes “as ‘Israel’ continues to raid Palestinian communities in Gaza and the West Bank while brutalizing civilians, using UK-manufactured weapons and technologies produced by firms such as Elbit Systems.”

It said the Oldham arms factory is used for the “production of a range of specialist weapons technologies, including components for ‘Israeli’ drones and battle tanks.”

“The activists currently occupying the Elbit Ferranti factory have once again shown the power of direct action against ‘Israeli’ oppression. While Western governments continue to side with the oppressors, and while media attention in Palestinian suffering has dwindled, Palestinians are still exposed to daily brutality, starvation, apartheid and death. These activists are bravely standing against this injustice – and we will continue to do so until Elbit is shut down,” the statement quoted the spokesman as saying.

It is the second time in three months that pro-Palestine activists in UK have scaled the roof of an ‘Israeli’ arms factory. In May, the week-long protest in Leicester, a city in the English Midlands, had resulted in court action.

The group has been vigorously campaigning against Elbit, the Zionist regime’s largest arms producer, across the UK since last year, targeting a number of sites owned by the arms company.

Amnesty: PA Response to Nizar Banat Demonstrators ‘Violent Repression’

July 9, 2021

Palestinians rally to protest Nizar Banat’s assassination. (Photo: Mohammed Asad, via MEMO)

Recent violence by Palestinian government forces against demonstrators in the West Bank has constituted a “chilling campaign of repression”, according to Amnesty International.

The rights NGO slammed the use of “unlawful force” by the authorities in a press release on Wednesday. It said reporters, campaigners, and lawyers had been detained without justification, and that arrestees had suffered torture.

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrate in Hebron city in the occupied West Bank against the the assassination of Palestinian opposition activist Nizar Banat and demanding to apprehend the perpetrators, today.#NizarBanat pic.twitter.com/PAMWbqzMZg

— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) July 9, 2021

The group explained that anger has reached boiling point after prominent anti-government dissenter Nizar Banat died two weeks ago in Palestinian detention.

It said the authorities have used unnecessary strength against demonstrators, including this Monday, when they “violently” broke up those rallying at a Ramallah police station before making 15 or more arrests.

Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s deputy MENA director explained: “Over the past two weeks, Palestinian authorities have launched a deliberate campaign of repression, clamping down on peaceful protesters and carrying out arbitrary arrests in an attempt to instil a climate of fear and crush dissent”.

When the PA men descended on Banat’s house on June 24, the ferocity of their violence was unprecedented https://t.co/1K1lRsyOFr via @PalestineChron #NizarBanat #Palestine pic.twitter.com/jQOyZ7s6Ua

— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) July 9, 2021

Higazi called for Palestine’s long-time president, Mahmoud Abbas, to put a stop to the “chilling crackdown” and see to it that any officers who have perpetrated abuses are held responsible.

Last week, also in Ramallah, Palestinian reporters gathered by a United Nations building to urge freedom of the press in the wake of the authorities’ aggression at Nizar Banat demonstrations.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

Prominent Palestinian Activist Nizar Banat Dies during Arrest by PA Forces

June 24, 2021

Palestinian prominent activist Nizar Banat. (Photo: via Social Media)

A prominent Palestinian political activist and outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority died during his arrest by PA forces early Thursday.

In a brief statement, the Hebron governorate said that Banat’s “health deteriorated” when a force of the security services went to arrest him early Thursday. It added that he was taken to a hospital where he was later announced dead.

The Palestinian Authority has deliberately targeted and killed Nizar Banat in Hebron.
Nizar spoke up about repression and failed policies which keep Palestinians silent, chained.
Today, the PA proved that it doesn’t intend on keeping Palestinians safe and free. #nizar_banat pic.twitter.com/YPmVIGMSIr

— مريم البرغوثي (@MariamBarghouti) June 24, 2021

Nizar’s cousin, Mohammad Banat, told Quds News Network that around 25 Palestinian security forces stormed the home where Nizar was staying, blowing out doors and windows.

He added that they beat Nizar with an iron bar and sprayed pepper spray in his eyes before undressing him and dragging him away to a vehicle.

Mohammad and another cousin were present during the arrest.

(Quds News, PC, Social Media)

London: pro-Palestine activist defies death during solidarity action

Wednesday, 16 June 2021 12:52 AM  [ Last Update: Wednesday, 16 June 2021 12:52 AM ]

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Robert Carter
Press TV, London

The area surrounding the US embassy in London was brought to a total standstill early on Tuesday as a pro-Palestine activist staged, what’s been described as a “courageous stunt.” The action came after a disappointing debate was conducted at the Westminster, where MPs failed to convince the government to sanction Israel over its crimes to the Palestinians.

The area surrounding the US Embassy in London was brought to a complete standstill on Tuesday morning after a 69 year old pro-Palestine activist climbed atop a nearby crane.

Carrying nothing but some minor equipment and a large Palestinian flag, Nicholas Georges hopes his death defying stunt will help raise further awareness of the Palestinians suffering.

This action comes following a parliamentary debate held at Westminster the day before. Despite the demands from over 300,000 Brits to sanction Israel, the government sided with Tel Aviv.


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British schoolchildren face punishment for wearing Palestine flags and keffiyeh’s

Students said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and barred from taking exams due to their pro-Palestine activism

Children across the UK have faced disciplinary action for their Palestine activism on school premises (AFP)

By Areeb Ullah

Published date: 26 May 2021

Schoolchildren in the UK are being punished for their pro-Palestine activism on school premises, with some being disciplined for wearing keffiyehs and holding Palestine flags.

Several students who spoke to Middle East Eye said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and being blocked from taking their exams if they continued protesting for Palestinian rights on school premises.

The forms of activism being penalised by schools include displaying the Palestinian flag on face masks or their hands and putting up posters designed by students to educate their peers on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

Every student and teacher who spoke to MEE requested anonymity as they feared possible repercussions from their school for speaking out.

Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds (Supplied)
Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds. Students had to take pictures in secret as phones are banned on school premises (Supplied)

Pupils who spoke to MEE attended schools in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Rochdale and different areas of London.

Taking inspiration from last year’s Black Lives Matter protests (BLM) and her school’s awareness campaigns on LGBT rights and mental health, Jay assumed Allerton George would encourage discussion on Palestine.

But when students put up posters around the school in communal areas without permission, teachers quickly took them down.

“The teachers went as far as ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching the ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching them up in our faces,” Jay told MEE.

“When we asked why they took down the posters, the teachers said they didn’t have to justify it to us and were given clear instructions to take down these posters as they were seen as sending antisemitic messages.”

Jay stressed the messages on the posters were not antisemitic and said: “End Israeli Apartheid, End illegal Occupation and Free Palestine”. 

She added: “They took our lanyards from us because they had the Palestine flag.

“When we asked them why it was okay to wear BLM or LGBTQ+ flags on our lanyards but not Palestine, they couldn’t give us an answer and later said as a political cause, it caused distress to others.”

Students from Allerton Grange later posted a video of headteacher Mike Roper describing the Palestinian flag as a “call to arms” and “symbol of antisemitism”. Roper has since apologised after facing protests outside the school. 

‘Posters were torn down and binned’

Jay said the school had refused to take down the Israeli flag displayed in the library after seeing the Palestine flag taken down.

Allerton George had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment at the time of this article’s publication.

Some teachers from other schools who spoke to MEE also confirmed that students were placed in detention for putting up posters in support of Palestine.

Like Jay, Sam from West London put up posters in his school for Palestine on their class boards and wore badges to raise awareness about Palestine.

“We put up small Palestinian flags and posters on our class poster boards wearing badges that read ‘Free Palestine’, drawing Palestine flags on our hands and wearing keffiyehs to spread awareness and pique student interest,” Sam told MEE.

“The posters were torn down and binned, the students were told to remove their badges at the threat of suspension from school and all ‘flags and symbols’ were removed from sight at the threat of detention.” 

Sam added that students were threatened with being withdrawn from their GCSE exams if they refused to delete a video of senior staff taking down posters or wore a Palestine badge.

Aisha faced a similar situation as Sam did at Brampton Manor Academy in Newham, east London, where she says she was punished for wearing a Free Palestine badge in her school.

She said her teachers banned students from protesting and threatened them with detention if they continued putting them up. 

Students fear speaking out

Several students from other parts of the UK also expressed their disappointment at how their schools reacted towards their activism following the BLM protests.

Letters given to MEE that were sent to teachers and parents by Redbridge Council and a school in Birmingham told them that schools are “apolitical” bodies and could not allow students to participate in Palestine protests despite holding discussions for BLM and selling poppies to students.

Ilyas Nagdee, an activist who campaigns against the Prevent strategy, said children and their parents had contacted him about schools clamping down on pro-Palestine activism.

‘What we are seeing now is a product of years of Prevent trying to micro-manage political conversations’

– Shereen Fernandez, Queen Mary University

His call-out on Twitter to help students facing issues at school for their Palestine protests was retweeted 1,300 times at the time of writing.

Since then, Nagdee has received nearly a hundred requests for help, with many students afraid to speak out publicly.

“The cases we have received span the entire length of the country with hotspots where there are sizeable Muslim communities. The sanctions applied are wide in range, from young people being spoken to in class or given lunchtime isolation all the way to exclusions,” said Nagdee.

“We are also receiving a growing number of concerned parents who are contacting us due to fear their child has fallen into the clutches of Prevent or fearful of visits from the police.

Prevent in schools

Shereen Fernandez, a lecturer at Queen Mary University in London who specialises in Prevent in schools, believes the school reaction to Palestine protests is a direct result of the Prevent strategy telling teachers that campaigning for Palestine is associated with extremism.

Prevent is a strand of the British government’s counter-terrorism strategy that aims to “safeguard and support those vulnerable to radicalisation, to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.

It was publicly launched in the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings and was initially targeted squarely at Muslim communities, prompting continuing complaints of discrimination and concerns that the programme was being used to collect intelligence.

“Although Prevent will maintain that schools are ‘safe spaces’, that is not the case, as teachers will be anxious about approaching ‘controversial’ topics like Palestine because of its alleged association to extremism as indicated in the training material.”

“Symbols of solidarity such as wearing a badge supporting Palestine has been enough to refer students in the past to Prevent.”

In 2016, MEE revealed that the UK government told teachers in schools, colleges and universities to monitor Muslim students who display an interest in Palestine as being susceptible to terrorism.

And in 2014, Rahmaan Mohammadi, a 17-year-old student from Luton, was reportedly referred to Prevent and visited by the police after he organised a Palestine fundraiser at his school.

A teacher from Mayfield school in the London area of Ilford said the school’s reaction to pro-Palestine protests was “confusing”, adding that colleagues perceive “pro-Palestine activism as racism”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Prevent is involved in constructing that line for schools across the country, and I’d say issues like BLM and poppies are allowed because they are considered neutral enough for schools to talk about.”

Mayfield School had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment by the time of this article’s publication.

Nagdee, the activist, said that many parents who spoke to him said they feared their children would be referred to Prevent because of their campaigning.

‘Biased’ assemblies

Following the protests, many schools across the UK held assemblies to address student concerns on raising awareness. 

But students who spoke to MEE said the assemblies fuelled further anger among students.

Images posted online showed students protesting at Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester after it was perceived to minimise Palestinian suffering. 

It remains unclear whether students in the video were punished for protesting.

Sam noted how his teacher described the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians as similar to a “messy bedroom” and disputed the phrasing of tensions as a “conflict”. 

“To address the discomfort many students felt about censorship of student voices, they organised an assembly on the concept of ‘conflict’ where the events in Palestine was compared to a ‘messy bedroom where a rebellious child and their parent had differing opinions on how it should be dealt with,” said Sam. 

“It just felt patronising and demeaning to us all.” 

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Amnesty Urges Saudi To Release Female Activists

Source

By Staff, Agencies

Amnesty Urges Saudi To Release Female Activists

Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately release women human rights activists, including those who are “being punished for daring to drive.”

The kingdom on Thursday marked the second anniversary of the end of the ban on women driving.

“It’s been almost two years since the Saudi authorities detained Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, and a group of Saudi women activists simply for demanding equality and defending human rights in the kingdom,” the group’s UK chapter said in a statement.

“For the first three months of their detention, several of the women activists endured torture, physical abuse and other forms of ill-treatment when they were held incommunicado and in solitary confinement with no access to their families or lawyers.”

Up until June 24, 2018, Saudi Arabia had been the only country in the world to prevent women from driving, and even jailed some who defied the ban.

Amnesty UK has launched a “Beep for freedom” campaign in support of the persecuted women’s rights defenders.

The campaign involves supporters sharing photos of themselves behind the wheel of a car or sharing the campaign’s “Beep for Freedom” car horn symbol, with an appeal to the Saudi authorities to “immediately and unconditionally” release the activists and drop all charges against them.

Dissidents in the conservative country are often arbitrarily detained without charge or trial.

WhatsApp: “Israeli” NSO Deeply Involved in Hacking Our Users

By Staff, Agencies

In new court filings, WhatsApp has revealed that an “Israeli” spyware company used US-based servers and was “deeply involved” in carrying out mobile phone hacks of 1,400 WhatsApp users, including senior government officials, journalists, and human rights activists.

The new revelations about NSO Group state that the “Israeli” company bears responsibility in serious human rights violations, including the hacking of more than a dozen Indian journalists and Rwandan dissidents.

For years, NSO Group has claimed that its spyware is purchased by government clients for the purpose of tracking down “terrorists” and that it had no independent knowledge of how those clients – which in the past have reportedly included Saudi Arabia and Mexico – use its hacking software.

But a lawsuit filed by WhatsApp against NSO Group last year – the first of its kind by a major technology company – is revealing more technical details about how the hacking software, Pegasus, is deployed against targets.

In the court filings last week, WhatsApp said its own investigation into how Pegasus was used against 1,400 users last year showed that servers controlled by NSO Group – not its government clients – were an integral part of how the hacks were executed.

According to WhatsApp’s filing, NSO gained “unauthorized access” to its servers by reverse-engineering the messaging app and then evading the company’s security features that prevent manipulation of the company’s call features. One WhatsApp engineer who investigated the hacks said in a sworn statement submitted to the court that in 720 instances, the IP address of a remote server was included in the malicious code used in the attacks. The remote server, the engineer said, was based in Los Angeles and owned by a company whose data centre was used by NSO.

NSO has said in legal filings that it has no insight into how government clients use its hacking tools, and therefore does not know who governments are targeting.

But one expert, John Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab, who has worked with WhatsApp on the case, said NSO’s control of the servers involved in the hack suggests the company would have had logs, including IP addresses, identifying the users who were being targeted.

“Whether or not NSO looks at those logs, who knows? But the fact that it could be done is contrary to what they say,” Scott-Railton said.

The new developments in the case come as NSO is facing separate questions about the accuracy of a tracking product it has launched following the outbreak of Covid-19. The new program, called Fleming, uses mobile phone data and public health information to identify who individuals infected with coronavirus may have come into contact with. A report by NBC last weekend said NSO’s new tool was being marketed in the US.

But in a Twitter thread, Scott-Railton said his analysis showed it was relying on data that appeared very imprecise.

“When you are working with data with this much built-in inaccuracy, it would be pretty intense to issue alerts each time this happened. Or to require quarantines. Or testing. The rates of false positives here would be through the roof. But … so would false negatives,” he said.

Leading Saudi Activist Dies in Detention: Amnesty International

Leading Saudi Activist Dies in Detention: Amnesty International

By Staff, Agencies

A leading activist serving an 11-year prison sentence has died in detention in Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International said, highlighting the kingdom’s human rights record.

Abdullah al-Hamid, 69, died after a stroke in his prison cell earlier this month, according to multiple rights groups, including Amnesty International.

“Dr. Hamid was a fearless champion for human rights in Saudi Arabia,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director at Amnesty.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends, who for the past eight years had been deprived of his presence as a result of the state’s inhumane repression.”

“He, and all other prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, should never have been in jail in the first place,” Maalouf added.

Hamid was a founding member of the rights group the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association [ACPRA] and was sentenced to prison in March 2013, the rights groups said.

He faced multiple charges, including “breaking allegiance” to the Saudi ruler, “inciting disorder” and seeking to disrupt state security, Amnesty explained.

Other ACPRA members have also been imprisoned in the past, including another co-founder, Mohammad al-Qahtani, who was jailed for 10 years in 2013, Amnesty said.

Saudi Arabia has long faced international criticism over its human rights record. That criticism has grown since Mohammed bin Salman was named crown prince and heir to the Saudi throne in June 2017.

The murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 and the increased repression of dissidents have overshadowed so-called efforts by the prince to modernize the economy and society.

Amnesty International Calls on Saudi Authorities to Release Prisoner of Conscience Has Been in A Coma

Source

2020-04-19


Amnesty International called on The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately release Dr Abdullah al-Hamid, a prisoner of conscience who remains detained despite being in coma and in critical condition early April.

“It is heartbreakingly cruel that Dr Abdullah al-Hamid remains in detention, even while in a coma,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. “Dr al-Hamid, and all other prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, should never have been in jail in the first place. All those imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their human rights must be immediately and unconditionally released.

The organization also called on the authorities to consider taking into account the immediate release of elderly prisoners, thoe with current health conditions, who are still at risk of contracting Covid-19, as well as all who are still awaiting trial.

In March 2012, Dr al-Hamid and Mohammad al-Qahtani were arrested and interrogated regarding their work with ACPRA and their peaceful activism. In March 2013, they were sentenced to 11 and 10 years in prison respectively, on charges of “breaking allegiance to the ruler”, “questioning the integrity of officials”, “seeking to disrupt security and inciting disorder by calling for demonstrations”, and “instigating international organizations against the Kingdom”.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamid, a prominent human rights activist, is serving a 11-year prison sentence for his peaceful activity and suffering from high blood pressure. The doctor told him, three months ago, that he needed to have heart surgery in the coming months, and prison authorities have threatened him that if he is told His family, on his health, will cut his contact with his family, and among the prisoners of conscience still in detention in the Kingdom are many prominent women’s rights activists, including Lujain al-Hathloul.

It is reported that conditions in many of Saudi Arabia’s overcrowded prisons, like its counterpart in Bahrain, greatly increase the risk of the spread of Covid-19 virus. Amnesty International has previously expressed concern about the authorities’ failure to provide adequate medical care in the country’s prisons.

Executions Double In Saudi Arabia under King Salman

Executions Double In Saudi Arabia under King Salman

By Staff, Agencies

Saudi Arabia carried out its 800th execution last week, marking an almost two-fold increase in the use of the medieval practice since King Salman assumed power in 2015, a rights group warned.

Reprieve, a UK-based non-profit organization, alarmed in a report on Tuesday that the Riyadh regime last week beheaded Abdulmohsin Humood Abdullah al-Ghamdi, a national accused of committing murder, marking the 800th execution in the Arab country since Salman assumed power in January 2015, following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah.

The report said that executions had almost doubled in just five years in comparison with the 423 executions conducted in Saudi Arabia from 2009 through 2014.

Reprieve added that the Saudi regime had executed 186 people in 2019 alone, 37 of whom were killed in one mass execution on April 23 last year. It said six of the men beheaded during the mass execution had been juveniles at the time of their purported offenses.

Of those who had been executed in 2019, at least 58 people were foreign nationals targeted for preaching Shia Islam, which the Saudi regime considers a crime, the report said, adding that others were executed last year for allegedly participating in or inciting political demonstrations.

Reprieve also criticized Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is regarded as the de facto ruler of the kingdom, for not keeping his word to limit the number of executions as part of what he initially claimed would be “reforms” in the highly-conservative kingdom. “The reality is far from that statement,” Reprieve said.

According to the report, the increase in the number of executions during the past five years is partly due to the number of people accused of politically-motivated crimes under Salman.

“For all the rhetoric of reform and modernization, Saudi Arabia is still a country where speaking out against the king can get you killed,” said director of Reprieve, Maya Foa.

In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of the Riyadh regime, along with 46 other men on “terrorism” charges.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up the politically-motivated arrest, prosecution, and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners, particularly in the country’s Shia-populated Eastern Province.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

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