Russia responds to Trump’s revelation about potentially assassinating Bashar Al-Assad

By News Desk -2020-09-19

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s revelation about wanting to assassinate Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad after Washington accused his government of carrying out a chemical weapons attack.

“We recently heard about plans to assassinate the president of a sovereign state, President Bashar Al-Assad,” Nebenzia said during the U.N. Security Council session on Friday. “How is this not a policy of regime change?”

Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations stressed that “the unilateral sanctions, which are unlawful in and of themselves, which are used as a tool of collective punishment and aim to stir up social discontent impede the efforts of those who want peace in Syria.”

He called on parties that show their lack of respect for international law to abandon this practice.

Trump previously said in a televised interview with Fox News earlier that he had the opportunity to “get rid of Bashar al-Assad,” but then Defense Secretary James Mattis objected.

For its part, Damascus condemned the recent statements of U.S. President Donald Trump, stressing that Trump’s recognition of such a step confirms that the U.S. administration is a rogue and outlaw country, and is pursuing the same methods as terrorist organizations with killing and liquidation without taking into account any legal, humanitarian or ethical measures.

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UN Rights Expert Lashes Out At ‘Israeli’ Anti-Palestinian ‘Collective Punishment’

UN Rights Expert Lashes Out At ‘Israeli’ Anti-Palestinian ‘Collective Punishment’

By Staff, Agencies

United Nations [UN] Human Rights Expert Michael Lynk slammed the ‘Israeli’ regime’s “collective punishment” against Palestinians, which is “most strikingly” in its persisting siege against the Gaza Strip, stressing that this must end.

“It is an affront to justice and the rule of law to see that such methods continue to be used in the 21st century and that Palestinians collectively continue to be punished,” Lynk said on Friday.

Lynk, who is the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, also warned that ‘Israeli’ punitive actions are harming millions of innocent people on a daily basis.

“These practices entail serious violations against Palestinians, including the right to life, freedom of movement, health, adequate shelter, and an adequate standard of living,” the UN official further stressed following the submission of a report to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council this week.

Gaza has been under a Zionist siege since June 2007.

Since 2008, the occupation regime has waged three wars against Gaza, where two million Palestinians live under a 12-year Zionist blockade. Thousands of Gazans have been killed in each of these deadly wars.

The crippling blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty in the Gaza Strip.

“The extent of the devastating impact of ‘Israel’s’ collective punishment policy can be most strikingly seen in its ongoing 13-year-old closure of Gaza, which now suffers from a completely collapsed economy, devastated infrastructure, and a barely functioning social service system,” Lynk further said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the UN official touched on Tel Aviv’s condemned policy of demolishing Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, stressing that such practice is in clear violation of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“Since 1967, ‘Israel’ has destroyed more than 2,000 Palestinian homes,” Lynk said.

Zionist occupation authorities usually demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, claiming that the structures have been built without permits. They also sometimes order the Palestinian owners to demolish their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality if they do not.

With Criticism Crushed in the West, Israel Can Enjoy Its Impunity

Global Research, July 29, 2019

Recent events have shone a spotlight not only on how Israel is intensifying its abuse of Palestinians under its rule, but the utterly depraved complicity of western governments in its actions.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House two-and-a-half years ago has emboldened Israel as never before, leaving it free to unleash new waves of brutality in the occupied territories.

Western states have not only turned a blind eye to these outrages, but are actively assisting in silencing anyone who dares to speak out.

It is rapidly creating a vicious spiral: the more Israel violates international law, the more the West represses criticism, the more Israel luxuriates in its impunity.

This shameless descent was starkly illustrated last week when hundreds of heavily armed Israeli soldiers, many of them masked, raided a neighbourhood of Sur Baher, on the edges of Jerusalem. Explosives and bulldozers destroyed dozens of homes, leaving many hundreds of Palestinians without a roof over their heads.

During the operation, extreme force was used against residents, as well as international volunteers there in the forlorn hope that their presence would deter violence. Videos showed the soldiers cheering and celebrating as they razed the neighbourhood.

House destructions have long been an ugly staple of Israel’s belligerent occupation, but there were grounds for extra alarm on this occasion.

Traditionally, demolitions occur on the two-thirds of the West Bank placed by the Oslo accords temporarily under Israeli control. That is bad enough: Israel should have handed over what is called “Area C” to the Palestinian Authority 20 years ago. Instead, it has hounded Palestinians off these areas to free them up for illegal Jewish settlement.

But the Sur Baher demolitions took place in “Area A”, land assigned by Oslo to the Palestinians’ government-in-waiting – as a prelude to Palestinian statehood. Israel is supposed to have zero planning or security jurisdiction there.

Palestinians rightly fear that Israel has established a dangerous precedent, further reversing the Oslo Accords, which can one day be used to justify driving many thousands more Palestinians off land under PA control.

Most western governments barely raised their voices. Even the United Nations offered a mealy-mouthed expression of “sadness” at what took place.

A few kilometres north, in Issawiya, another East Jerusalem suburb, Israeli soldiers have been terrorising 20,000 Palestinian residents for weeks. They have set up checkpoints, carried out dozens of random night-time arrests, imposed arbitrary fines and traffic tickets, and shot live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets into residential areas.

Ir Amim, an Israeli human rights group, calls Issawiya’s treatment a “perpetual state of collective punishment” – that is, a war crime.

Over in Gaza, not only are the 2 million inhabitants being slowly starved by Israel’s 12-year blockade, but a weekly shooting spree against Palestinians who protest at the fence imprisoning them has become so routine it barely attracts attention any more.

On Friday, Israeli snipers killed one protester and seriously injured 56, including 22 children.

That followed new revelations that Israeli’s policy of shooting unarmed protesters in the upper leg to injure them – another war crime – continued long after it became clear a significant proportion of Palestinians were dying from their wounds.

Belatedly – after more than 200 deaths and the severe disabling of many thousands of Palestinians – snipers have been advised to “ease up” by shooting protesters in the ankle.

B’Tselem, another Israeli rights organisation, called the army’s open-fire regulation a “criminal policy”, one that “consciously chose not to regard those standing on the other side of the fence as humans”.

Rather than end such criminal practices, Israel prefers to conceal them. It has effectively sealed Palestinian areas off to avoid scrutiny.

Omar Shakir, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, is facing imminent deportation, yet more evidence of Israel’s growing crackdown on the human rights community.

A report by the Palestinian Right to Enter campaign last week warned that Israel is systematically denying foreign nationals permits to live and work in the occupied territories, including areas supposedly under PA control.

That affects both foreign-born Palestinians, often those marrying local Palestinians, and internationals. According to recent reports, Israel is actively forcing out academics teaching at the West Bank’s leading university, Bir Zeit, in a severe blow to Palestinian academic freedom.

Palestinian journalists highlighting Israeli crimes are in Israel’s sights too. Last week, Israel stripped one – Mustafa Al Haruf – of his Jerusalem residency, tearing him from his wife and young child. Because it is illegal to leave someone stateless, Israel is now bullying Jordan to accept him.

Another exclusion policy – denying entry to Israel’s fiercest critics, those who back the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement – is facing its first challenge.

Two US congresswomen who support BDS – Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who has family in the West Bank – have announced plans to visit.

Israeli officials have indicated they will exempt them both, apparently fearful of drawing wider attention to Israel’s draconian entry restrictions, which also cover the occupied territories.

Israel is probably being overly cautious. The BDS movement, which alone argues for the imposition of penalties on Israel until it halts its abuse of Palestinians, is being bludgeoned by western governments.

In the US and Europe, strong criticism of Israel, even from Jews – let alone demands for meaningful action – is being conflated with antisemitism. Much of this furore seems intended to ease the path towards silencing Israel’s critics.

More than two dozen US states, as well as the Senate, have passed laws – drafted by pro-Israel lobby groups – to limit the rights of the American public to support boycotts of Israel.

Anti-BDS legislation has also been passed by the German and French parliaments.

And last week the US House of Representatives joined them, overwhelmingly passing a resolution condemning the BDS movement. Only 17 legislators demurred.

It was a slap in the face to Omar, who has been promoting a bill designed to uphold the First Amendment rights of boycott supporters.

It seems absurd that these curbs on free speech have emerged just as Israel makes clear it has no interest in peace, will never concede Palestinian statehood and is entrenching a permanent system of apartheid in the occupied territories.

But there should be no surprise. The clampdown is further evidence that western support for Israel is indeed based on shared values – those that treat the Palestinians as lesser beings, whose rights can be trampled at will.


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A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Recorded Moments of War, Suffering, Resistance and Victroy

Western Media Perpetuate Gaza’s Brutal Blockade

Western Media Perpetuate Gaza’s Brutal Blockade

Tue May 07, 2019 7:59

TEHRAN (FNA)- Human rights groups continue to slam corporate media outlets in the West for perpetuating anti-Palestinian sentiments in their reporting on the recent Israeli violence against Gaza.

As always, major news sources gave little in-depth information or a timeline regarding the Israeli military’s killing of Palestinians at a protest on Friday, may 3 – one of the weekly demonstrations Palestinians have held for more than a year to call for an end to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, blockades which have led to food and medicine shortages, and ongoing attacks by the Israeli forces.

Instead, they reported mainly on more than 200 rockets which Hamas and the Islamic Jihad launched into illegal Israeli settlements, writing that Israel retaliated for those attacks and ignoring what led up to the rocket strikes.

This is while even the United Nations had said earlier this year that Israeli soldiers who attack Palestinians at the peaceful protests along the Gaza border could be found liable for war crimes. So those who come up with headlines to frame the recent violence on Palestinians are complicit in Israeli war crimes as well.

Unsurprisingly, the United States and other Western governments that arm Israel also backed Israeli forces as they bombed the besieged city of Gaza yet again. It’s a sign of utter criminality between Tel Aviv, the West and mainstream media outlets in colonizing Palestine and projecting militarism upon Palestinians, whether through direct force, clandestine subversion, or blockade, illegal settlement construction and false news reporting.

It’s also an expression of complicity on the part of the US and certain European powers. They are assisting through their corps of engineers and companies with the construction of underground steel impenetrable walls and illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian lands.

No doubt the ongoing Palestinian protests are an expression of the desperation created in Gaza as a result of the Western-backed blockade that’s been going on for years in a severe and continuing form. Gaza’s suffering is unacceptable and must end. Israel must lift the blockade and end its collective punishment of the civilian population. The relentless air assault has seen Israeli forces flagrantly disregard civilian life and property, which must be protected under international humanitarian law.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders are pretty much aware that what they are doing to Gaza is a war crime. Deliberately attacking civilian homes is a war crime, and the overwhelming scale of destruction of civilian objects points to a distressing pattern of repeated violations of the laws of war. Netanyahu must bear responsibility for his war crimes – identified by the UN Human Rights Council in its investigation into Israel’s last year assault on Gaza.

With Tel Aviv still refusing to respond to the language of diplomacy and peaceful protest, the international civil society should call for greater diplomatic pressure to force the paranoid, exclusivist, and imperious regime to lift the illegal blockade and allow international supporters to help.

It is time for leading international organizations not to admit Israel as a member. The blockade has been presented as punishment for the democratic election of Hamas; punishment for its subsequent takeover of Gaza; and punishment for justified resistance through attacks on illegal settlements. True, the UN has criticized Israel over its blockade. But, criticism alone is not enough. The international body needs to do more than just lip service.

Meantime, to help bring change and peace to the Middle East, business companies, universities, organizations and individuals, especially those that advocate human rights and democracy in the West, should support the international campaign to boycott Israeli goods and the companies that support the regime financially in illegal settlements.

Israel has expanded its illegal settlement construction in the occupied territories in the past few years in defiance of international calls to end its expansionist policies. Over half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since occupation of the West Bank in 1967.

Too many years have gone by with no change in the brutal isolation of Gaza. Since the siege is being backed by the West, mainstream media and military violence, only armed resistance on the part of Palestinians and international pressure on Egypt and Israel can help reopen Gaza’s border to the outside world permanently.


‘They have punished the victims’: Hebron struggles 25 years after Ibrahimi mosque massacre

zzat Karaki, centre, demonstrating with Youth Against Settlements for the reopening of Shuhada Street on 22 February 2019 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

The repercussions of the attack are still felt keenly by Palestinians in Hebron, who have seen their rights eroded and their formerly bustling city centre turn into a ghost town



Hebron, occupied West Bank

“Since the massacre, everything changed.”

Jamal Fakhoury, 40, struggles to find the right words to describe his hometown.

With a furrowed brow and damp eyes, he utters: “Every day it’s a difficult life for Hebron.”

Fakhoury is reflecting on the Ibrahimi mosque massacre – the 25th anniversary is on Monday – and its impact on the southern occupied West Bank city.

On 25 February 1994, a Jewish-American settler named Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Palestinian worshippers inside the Ibrahimi mosque – also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs – in the centre of the Old City of Hebron.

We are not humans at all. We are numbers

– Izzat Karaki, activist with Youth Against Settlements

Goldstein killed 29 men in an instant, and injured well over 100 more. Six other Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in the ensuing chaos.

Although it is the biggest city in the West Bank, Hebron’s residents are interconnected in almost every way through its cultural and family structures. Nearly every citizen has ties to the Ibrahimi mosque massacre through some relative, friend or neighbour.

“A settler from the US came and killed Palestinians,” Izzat Karaki, a 29-year-old activist with the Palestinian-led group Youth Against Settlements (YAS), said exasperatedly. “And after that they punish us, the victims.”

Beyond mourning for the lives lost, the attack has also affected the people of Hebron – and its generations to come – in a profound and structural way.

Full of life

“Before the massacre, I felt something like peace in the old city,” Fakhoury recalls.

He is from the Old City and still resides there, just around the corner from Shuhada Street and the mosque.

Along some two kilometres, Shuhada Street is tightly packed with shops sitting below several-storey high homes. The road leads directly to the Ibrahimi mosque and once stood as the heart of the Old City.

Munir, 65, owns a shop directly across from the mosque that remains open to this day. He likes to show laminated pictures to passing tourists of the bustling Shuhada Street back in its heyday, brimming with cars and people.

Munir shows a photo of Shuhada Street in the days before the massacre, back when the road was the bustling centre of Hebron (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)
Munir shows a photo of Shuhada Street in the days before the massacre, back when the road was the bustling centre of Hebron (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

He does point out that the First Intifada, which started in 1988, only ended in 1993, five months before the massacre. “The six years of the Intifada were really not a normal time,” he said, pointing out that the area around the mosque “was part of the ‘playground’ where the Intifada took place”.

But, he explains, “before, this area was full of life”.

“We used to have four people working in this place,” Munir continues, showing the shop where he is standing. “Today, it is me alone and I am also taking care of two stores which belong to my neighbours.”

Collective punishment

“After the massacre, the mosque was closed for six months, and they [Israeli forces] closed Shuhada Street,” Karaki tells MEE.

For nearly three months, Karaki said, Palestinian residents of Hebron lived under an Israeli-imposed curfew while military checkpoints were built in the Old City – checkpoints that are still present today.

The aftermath of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre Hebron on 25 February 1994 (AFP)
The aftermath of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre Hebron on 25 February 1994 (AFP)

When the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the surrounding area was reopened to the public, the religious site had now been divided into two – a synagogue on one side, a mosque on the other.

Palestinians were no longer allowed to drive cars in the area, Munir says, and the number of Israeli soldiers and cameras around the Ibrahimi mosque dramatically increased.

The post-massacre changes made to the city were in a lot of ways a preface to the dramatic transformation that the Hebron Protocol was to create three years later.

The 1997 agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation divided the city into two areas: Palestinian Authority-controlled H1 and Israeli military-controlled H2.

In H2, making up nearly 20 percent of Hebron, some 40,000 Palestinians currently live under Israeli military law, while the 800 Israeli settlers in H2 are ruled by Israeli civil law.

“Animals here have rights more than us,” Karaki exclaims. “Any cat, any dog can go to Shuhada Street. But me? I cannot.”

“Why? What did I do? We are not human at all.”

In the wake of the Hebron Protocol, shops were permanently closed in H2, and many Palestinians were driven out of their homes, many of whom “by military order”, Karaki explains.

The harsh living conditions and restricted freedom of living and movement in H2 drove many Palestinians out – turning the bustling city centre into a ghost town.

“We are talking about 1,827 shops closed and 140 apartments empty,” Karaki adds.

There are currently 20 permanent checkpoints inside the city of Hebron, dominating Palestinians’ lives with curfews and indiscriminate closures.

It is now necessary to go through two separate checkpoints just to enter the Ibrahimi mosque.

“When I go to my home every day they check my ID,” Fakhoury says, “I wait 20 minutes behind the checkpoint near the mosque.”

“If you don’t have your ID you are not allowed to get in or to pass through the checkpoint,” Karaki concurs. “We are not humans at all. We are numbers.”

Monitoring group expelled

The massacre led to the creation of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), an international organisation meant to monitor the situation in the city and document violations of international law and human rights.

In its 22-year-long presence, TIPH filed more than 40,000 incident reports – many of which Karaki says the Palestinians Authority can take to the International Criminal Court.

Jamal Fakhoury waits in line at one of 20 Israeli army checkpoints in H2 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)
Jamal Fakhoury waits in line at one of 20 Israeli army checkpoints in H2 (MEE/Megan Giovannetti)

But last month, the Israeli administration refused to renew TIPH’s mandate, forcing it out of the city.

Fakhoury, like many Palestinians in the Old City, enjoyed TIPH and felt safe with its monitors’ presence.

“I think it will be difficult now with no one watching the problems,” Fakhoury says. He fears things “will get worse, because the Israeli government doesn’t like to tell people what is happening here”.

There are currently four Israeli settlements inside the city of Hebron – Avraham Avino, Beit Romano, Tel Rumeida, Beit Hadassah – all established well before the 1994 massacre.

But since the expulsion of Palestinian from H2, it has become easier for Israelis to occupy Palestinians homes.

“Usually settlers focus on the empty houses,” Karaki explains. “Where there is an empty house, they occupy it and change it from a Palestinian (home) to a settlement.”

With TIPH gone, Palestinians fear that they will witness an increase in both settlement expansion and settler violence.

“When I go to my home I need to protect myself, protect my home,” Karaki says.

Citing the Fourth Geneva Convention as an example, he says: “On paper, soldiers are here to protect me like they protect settlers. But unfortunately, we see something different.”

Hope for the future?

YAS has stepped in recently to fill in the void left by TIPH. Its activists walk around the Old City most mornings, monitoring settler activity and protecting Palestinian children on their walk to school.

On Friday, YAS organised its 10th annual “Open Shuhada Street” demonstration to denounce the ongoing situation in Hebron – just like every year in the past quarter century. Israeli forces reportedly fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators, injuring at least two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy.

“Here, nothing changes,” Munir says. “It’s the same year after year after year.”

But despite the grim circumstances, Karaki says it is important for him as an activist to keep fighting with a purpose.

“Often people are shocked when I say if there is a tomorrow, there is hope,” he says.

But his optimism is dampened by what he and all Palestinians in Hebron have witnessed for years.

“Usually when tomorrow comes, it only gets worse.”

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Read more

Occupied Palestine in 2018: Record Deaths and Injuries, Food Insecurity, Demolitions, Record Low Humanitarian Funding

Global Research, December 30, 2018
ReliefWeb 27 December 2018

Trends affecting humanitarian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory

Today, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) released a summary of data collected during 2018. Further breakdowns and statistics from previous years are available through the links below.

Record numbers of Palestinian deaths and injuries

A total of 295 Palestinians were killed and over 29,000 were injured in 2018 by Israeli forces. This is the highest death toll in a single year since the Gaza conflict of 2014 and the highest number of injuries recorded since OCHA began documenting casualties in the oPt in 2005.

About 61 per cent of the fatalities (180 people) and 79 per cent of the injuries (over 23,000) were in the context of Gaza’s ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations by the fence. Across the oPt, 57 of the Palestinian fatalities and about 7,000 of the injuries were under 18 years of age. At least 28 of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in 2018 were members of armed groups in Gaza and another 15 were perpetrators or alleged perpetrators of attacks against Israelis in the West Bank.

A total of 14 Israelis were killed during the year by Palestinians and at least 137 others were injured. While the number of fatalities is nearly the same as in 2017 (15 people), the proportion of civilians among these fatalities (50 per cent) increased compared to the previous year (27 per cent).

Uptrend in attacks by settlers

In 2018, OCHA recorded 265 incidents where Israeli settlers killed or injured Palestinians or damaged Palestinian property, marking a 69 per cent increase compared with 2017; as a result, one Palestinian woman was killed, and another 115 Palestinians were injured (another two Palestinian suspected perpetrators of attacks were killed by Israeli settlers). Palestinian property vandalized by settlers includes some 7,900 trees and about 540 vehicles.

There were at least 181 incidents where Palestinians killed or injured settlers and other Israeli civilians in the West Bank or damaged Israeli property, a 28 per cent decline compared with the previous year. However, the number of Israelis killed in these incidents in 2018 (seven), increased compared to 2017 (four).

West Bank demolitions continue, but fewer Palestinians are displaced

In 2018, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 459 Palestinian structures across the West Bank, mostly in Area C and East Jerusalem, overwhelmingly on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain, slightly more than in 2017. Such incidents displaced 472 Palestinians, including 216 children and 127 women, the lowest such figure since OCHA began systematically recording demolitions in 2009. In Area C alone, there are over 13,000 pending demolition orders, including 40 issued against schools.

The blockade on Gaza still extremely restrictive

The land, sea and air blockade on the Gaza Strip, imposed by Israel citing security concerns, continued, with people being able to exit on an exceptional basis only. On a monthly average, in 2018 (Jan-Nov) there were some 9,200 exits from Gaza by permit holders through the Israeli-controlled Erezcrossing, a 33 per cent increase compared to 2017, but 35 per cent less than the 2015-2016 average. The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing has opened on a regular basis since May, recording about 56,800 exits in all of 2018, up from a yearly average of less than 19,000 in 2015-2017.

The rate of approval of permit applications for UN national staff to leave Gaza stood at 59 per cent during 2018, up from 47 per cent in 2017. However, the total number of applications submitted in 2018 dropped by 24 per cent, primarily due to the larger number of staff that were denied for security reasons and banned for reapplying for 12 months, currently 131 compared to 41 staff by the end of 2017.

Kerem Shalom, controlled by Israel, remained the almost exclusive crossing for the movement of commodities to and from Gaza, with limited imports also allowed via the Salah Ad Din Gate on the border with Egypt. On a monthly average, about 8,300 truckloads of goods entered Gaza via both crossings in 2018, 17 per cent below the equivalent average in the previous two years, while 209 trucks exited Gaza on average, mostly to West Bank markets, nearly the same as in 2016-2017. Access to fishing areas and to farming lands near the fence inside Gaza remained restricted.

More people in Gaza food insecure

About 1.3 million people in Gaza, or 68 per cent of the population, were identified as food insecure in 2018, primarily due to poverty, up from 59 per cent in 2014, when a similar survey was conducted. The unemployment rate in Gaza reached an average of almost 53 per cent in the first three quarters of 2018, an all-time record, with youth unemployment at 69 per cent. By contrast, in the West Bank, 12 per cent of the Palestinians are food insecure, down from 15 per cent in 2014, while unemployment stood at an average of 18 per cent.

Record-low in humanitarian funding

While humanitarian needs across the oPt rose during 2018, funding levels for humanitarian interventions declined significantly: only US$221 million had been received, against the $540 million requested in the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan

Note: Data on casualties and demolitions is as of 26 December 2018 and is subject to caveats and definitions available in these links. Israeli fatalities exclude a baby delivered prematurely after the injury of his mother. Data on exits via Erez crossing is up to 30 November 2018, and data on imports and exports, as well as on the Rafah crossing are as of 15 December 2018.


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Trump is willing to starve Palestinians into compliance with his Deal of the Century

Source / If Americans Knew Blog

The Trump administration has permanently cut $250 million in aid for the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, saying the appropriated funds will be “redirected” elsewhere.

Palestinians have always had just 3 wishes: a capital someday in Jerusalem, a return to the 1967 borders, and the Right of Return. Between Trump and Israel, there’s nothing left to even dream of: the barest minimum is disappearing – food, medicine, the title of “refugee.”

by Kathryn Shihadah, Palestine Home

President Trump seems to think he’s the perfect blend of Santa Claus and Scrooge. On Tuesday, he revealed that since Israel got its present last May – the embassy (what a glorious day) – the Palestinians will now “get something very good” because “it’s their turn next.”

What could it be? A pony? What could the Palestinians possibly wish for?

Ever since the 1948 Nakba, Palestinians have had only 3 modest longings.

  • Each generation has dreamed of worshiping unimpeded in Jerusalem, the city that PLO executive Hanan Ashrawi has called “the core of Palestinian existence, history and culture” and “beyond price,” the capital of their future state
  • Palestinians have imagined a return to the 1967 borders (no doubt many have fantasized about reclaiming the whole land, but 22% would be a windfall)
  • Palestinian refugees have visualized returning home to Palestine – the “Right of Return”

A capital? Nope.

Of course, Jerusalem is now just a memory to Palestinians: Trump essentially gave it as a Hanukkah gift to Israel last December.

(My Jewish acquaintances responded in the days following, “well, Jerusalem was ours all along, so this just makes it official. It’s no big deal. Nothing has changed.” Does this indicate ignorance or privilege, or perhaps a combination? Because for every Palestinian in the world, a part of their soul died that day.)

President Trump explained that his idea was brilliant (not stupid and reckless, like we thought): he had “taken Jerusalem off the table,” so now it’s no longer a point of contention. So simple, yet so elegant. This should streamline the peace process. Definitely.

African refugees in Israel face deportation.

1967 borders? Fat chance.

As for the 1967 borders, Palestinians recognize that’s a pipe dream. Settlements are growing, unimpeded – in spite of the United Nations’ frequent reminders that settlements are illegal. Israel is apparently the exception to every rule – breaking international laws, shooting unarmed people, imprisoning children, ethnically cleansing villages, dropping bombs on civilians.

Yep, that’s the country with which we share an “unbreakable bond based on common values.” These inspiring words have been uttered countless times by our Congress people, in spite of the above atrocities.

As of 21 August, 500 undocumented children in the US are still separated from their parents as they await deportation.

(Our legislators have a point: the United States and Israel have both treated indigenous peoples somewhat unreasonably; both have behaved rather shamefully toward minorities; each believes itself to be “a nation of immigrants” with total disregard for the natives of the land, and selectivity about which immigrants are desirable. We do have much in common.)

But to return to the issue of the settlements: there are now over 600,000 Israelis living on Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Although there was plenty of available land within Israel, they took Palestinian land to build homes, schools, settler-only roads (does that sound like apartheid?); they created roadblocks so that Palestinians couldn’t drive or walk near settlements; they built a 25-foot-high concrete wall that blocks many Palestinians from their own families, farmland, schools, and businesses.

(Don’t bother with the argument that “the wall keeps the terrorists away,” because it doesn’t fly. It took 15 years to complete the wall – that means for 15 years, people could go around it. As recently as 2017, tens of thousands of Palestinians were illegally slipping into Israel every day – mostly through gaps where the wall had not yet been completed. Also, 1.5 million Palestinians live in Israel. One more thing: take a look at any detailed map of the wall, and you will see that – heavens to Betsy –  some settlements are on the same side of the wall as the Palestinians. So really, it is only the good will of Palestinians that will keep Israelis safe.)

So, in order for Palestinians to see their dream fulfilled, to return to the 1967 borders, 600,000 settlers would have to be relocated. Back in 2005, when only 8,000 settlers were evacuated from Gaza, they were given a generous compensation package and all kinds of incentives, totaling – in 2005 dollars, mind you, for just 8,000 settlers, mind you – about $2.5 billion. Israel “asked” the US to pay at least $2 billion of that, which is only fair since the US also paid for the building of the Gaza settlements to begin with. Someone (I’m guessing not Israel) would have to cough up a rather large sum today to relocate 600,000+ settlers.

An Israeli Jewish settler shoots in the air as Palestinians protest against the forced relocation of Israel’s Palestinian Bedouin minority from their villages in the Negev Desert.

But not to worry. According to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Israeli settlers “aren’t going anywhere.” More and more settlers today – and the IDF soldiers who would enforce an evacuation – believe that the land in question was not snatched away from Palestinian farmers, but “given to them by God.” Resistance against any relocation program would be fierce, so it’s out of the question. Sorry, Palestinians. You’ll have to make do.

Golly, it’s a shame that the Israeli government actually encouraged ideological settlement, and that the Israeli Supreme Court approved settlement building time and time again (although the UN has declared settlements illegal), because now Palestinians are stuck with the burden of Israel’s failure to think ahead.

Right of Return? No can do.

A Jewish, Zionist acquaintance of mine explained why the Right of Return can never happen: Israel needs to have a Jewish majority. If a bunch of non-Jewish “Arabs” (um, they’re Palestinians) came swarming in, the Jewish State would no longer be Jewish.

Never mind that the United Nations guaranteed the Right of Return to the Palestinians in 1948. It’s just not really convenient.

Gee, maybe the founding fathers of the Jewish State should have thought about that 70 years ago. Their neglect to plan ahead is now the burden of several million Palestinian refugees.

But again, not to worry! President Trump will take care of it. When he’s not busy figuring out how not to get impeached, he’s working on a scheme to strip the refugee status from all but 20,000 Palestinians – rendering the Right of Return practically meaningless. (Not exactly the fix that Palestinians were hoping for.)

Which would also kill the last of the Palestinians’ dreams.

“For Hanukkah this year, Israel, Uncle Donald is giving you something you think is already yours: Jerusalem. Mazel tov!”

When Trump announced the embassy move, Palestinians suspended contact with him and his Dream Team. Clearly he is too partisan to be trusted. He went on to cut $65 million in funding to UNRWA; week after week he has ignored Gazan deaths during the Great March of Return; he wants to disappear millions of refugees.Thanks but no thanks

Now suddenly he says “it’s your turn,” and he expects Palestinians to come running back, ready to accept whatever crumbs he wants to drop on them? Is he surprised that they aren’t interested in his trinkets?

Spurned and insulted by this indifference, now Trump has also cut $251 million in economic aid to Palestinians. If there was any food or medicine left after the cuts to UNRWA, Palestinians can now count on starving until they get on the Trump Train.

What kind of “deal” is so bad that you have to be forced to take it?

And have you met Palestinians, Mr. Trump? They don’t cave.

Hanan Ashrawi

In the words of Hanan Ashrawi,

The US administration is demonstrating the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool. The Palestinian people and leadership will not be intimidated and will not succumb to coercion. The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale.

There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation. The US administration has already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources; now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this occupation.

No, President Ebenezer Scrooge, you won’t get Palestinians to sign on any dotted lines by persecuting them – they have mastered the fine art of survival in the face of oppression. They will settle for nothing less than justice.

Source / If Americans Knew Blog

Ariyana Love

Ariyana Love is Founder of Occupy Palestine TV, TLB Director of Middle East Rising and Goodwill Ambassador to Palestine (ICSPR, Gaza). Ariyana is Chairwoman of Meta Nutrients Trust, a Human Rights Defender and Activist.

Netanyahu Uncensored – must watch!

June 11, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Guaranteeing ’Israel’s’ ’Ethnic Purity’

Darko Lazar

07-04-2018 | 09:14

Palestinian officials say “Israeli” forces are guilty of indiscriminant murder. “Israel’s” Avigdor Lieberman says his soldiers deserve a commendation.

Nakba Day

Shockingly, both are talking about the same event, when tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered in the besieged Gaza Strip to mark Land Day – the anniversary of the expropriation of Palestinian lands in 1976.

The protests also kicked off a six-week rally, dubbed the Great March of Return. The demonstrations will carry on until the Nakba anniversary on May 15, marking 70 years since 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their villages and towns by Zionist militias.

But in just one week, the “Israelis” have already martyred 30 Palestinians and wounded thousands of others.

According to “Israeli” officials like Lieberman, the Palestinian protesters are guilty of ‘charging’ the fence that separates Gaza from the remainder of occupied Palestine.

“”Israeli” soldiers did what was necessary. I think all our soldiers deserve a medal,” Lieberman said last week.

The “necessary” appears to include a combination of live rounds, rubber-coated steel pellets, unmanned drones used to unleash tear-gas, and artillery fire.

On the receiving end of this massive firepower are unarmed Palestinian youths like Abdel Fattah Abd al-Nabi. Footage posted online shows this 18-year-old running with a car tire in his hand, before being shot in the back by an “Israeli” sniper.

“These gatherings are peaceful marches,” an activist with the anti-wall and settlements movement, Jamal Juma, explains. “The side resorting to violence and force is the “Israeli” military. They don’t care about Palestinian lives.”

The 11-year-long deadly blockade of Gaza and three massive, genocidal attacks in just over five years certainly reinforce the argument that the “Israelis” are not too concerned with taking Palestinian lives.

However, massacring dozens of protesters in broad daylight also suggests that Tel Aviv is by no means indifferent when it comes to peaceful methods of resistance and remains highly sensitive to the Gandhian approach.

Gandhian tactics of unarmed protest have been widely used in the West Bank for decades. Now the strategy has been adopted en masse by Palestinian resistance groups and residents in Gaza – a place often demonized by Tel Aviv and its allies as a hotbed of terrorism.

But perhaps the biggest threat to the “Israeli” occupation of Palestinian lands is the size of the demonstrations.

The high death toll indicates that Tel Aviv is extremely alarmed by the number of Palestinians that remain attached to the ‘right of return’ – the notion that Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants should be allowed to return to the homes their families were ethnically cleansed from to ensure “Israel’s” “ethnic purity.”

The demographic threat

Although much of the western coverage of the Middle East loves to label “Israel” as the region’s ‘only liberal democracy’, Tel Aviv’s actual policies expose a drastic dissonance between such descriptions and the reality on the ground.

In no other category is this more evident than in Tel Aviv’s pursuit of ethnic purity.

In an effort to preserve their racial makeup, the “Israelis” have gone as far as injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control, often without their knowledge or consent, while introducing an effective ban on marriages between “Israelis” and Palestinians.

More importantly, in 2015, the “Israeli” Supreme Court provided legal cover for the demolition of Palestinian communities, making it that much easier to simply shove Palestinians off their own land.

Meanwhile, in 1950, the “Israeli” Knesset passed the so-called Law of Return that allows Jews from anywhere in the world to claim citizenship in “Israel”, while barring Palestinians expelled after various wars from returning home.

As such, the ethnic purity of “Israel” is contingent upon the 1.8 million Palestinians – 80 per cent of whom are refugees – remaining in an open-air prison in the Gaza Strip.

The consequences of these policies often manifest themselves in the form of “Israeli” soldiers killing unarmed protesters – a practice involving heavily armed troops doing little more than ‘defending’ “Israel” from a population regarded as a demographic threat.

Decades of “Israeli” impunity

The Palestinian Authority described the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, as the ‘ambassador of hatred’ after she blocked any condemnation of Tel Aviv for the latest slaughter of Palestinians.

Last April, Haley famously stood up during a UN Security Council meeting and displayed images of Syrian children allegedly killed by the Damascus government in a gas attack.

However, last weekend, Haley failed to show any such compassion for Palestinian children, killed in full view of the world’s media, with no disputes over who perpetrated the killings.

Instead, the US diplomat first blocked a draft statement urging restraint and calling for an investigation into the killings, and then rose to greet her “Israeli” counterpart Danny Danon with hugs and kisses.

According to Jamal Juma, the “Israelis” “are getting away with every crime because they are immune by this international system, particularly [with the help] of the US and European countries that are silent.”

In many respects, Land Day is also a reminder of the decades of “Israeli” impunity against Palestine and the western-backed Zionist expansion, which is defined by colonialism, racism and the obliteration of Palestinian heritage.

Source: Al-Ahed

Israel Takes Steps to Bar Gaza Christians for Easter Holiday

Posted on 

[ Ed. note – Israel’s supporters and its legions of hasbara apparatchiks are quite fond of telling us how wonderfully Christians are treated in the Jewish state. But an article published today in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz gives us a slightly different perspective. Palestinian Christians in Gaza are required to obtain permits to travel to Jerusalem for Easter observances, and according to the Haaretz report, Israeli authorities are refusing to issue permits to Christians aged 55 and under.

One other thing you’ll note about the article below: it makes mention of an Israeli government agency known as “COGAT.” COGAT stands for “Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.” It is a part of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and generally speaking is responsible for implementing government policies in the occupied territories. Back in February it was none other than a COGAT official who made the ludicrous assertion that Muhammed Tamimi, the young cousin of Ahed Tamimi who was shot in the head with a rubber bullet, had actually injured himself by falling off his bicycle.

Immediately below the Haaretz report, you’ll also find a Press TV program from Easter of two years ago. One of the guests on the program discusses travel restrictions on Palestinian Christians from visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem–so in other words, while the age restrictions discussed in the Haaretz article below may be new, the travel restrictions in general are not. And also, in the same video, you’ll hear about hate crimes against Christians, including vandalism of churches and spitting upon Christians.

One final thing I’ll mention–I have not reported it so far because I’ve been busy on other things lately, but the case of Ahed Tamimi was finally adjudicated by the Israeli military court. The girl was sentenced to eight months in jail following a plea bargain deal reached with prosecutors. She will also pay a fine of nearly $1,500. The arrangement was announced on Wednesday of last week.

Ironically, in the same week, an Israeli military parole board ruled that Israeli soldier Elor Azarya should be released after serving only nine months for shooting a wounded Palestinian in the head and killing him back in March of 2016. But wait, there’s more. Also last week (a rather stunning week for irony, even perhaps by Israeli standards), yet another Israeli, David Muial, is reported to have been sentenced to community service for participating in a lynching of an Eritrean assylum seeker that occurred back in October of 2015.

So let’s see. Azarya, when he is released in May, will end up having served just nine months for carrying out what in reality was a cold-blooded murder of a Palestinian…while Ahed, for the horrible crime of slapping a soldier at the front entrance to her home, will remain behind bars for eight months–a mere 30 days less than Ararya got for an act of murder. And Muial’s appallingly brutal sentence of community service I guess speaks for itself.

So…imposing draconian discipline upon “chosen people” for petty crimes like murder and lynching–what in the heck is that all about? It looks like Jews really do have it tough in Israel after all!

Of course, we do know of one Jew who paid the ultimate price–for the “crime” of preaching peace, love and compassion. ]



Only Christians over the age of 55 will be allowed to enter Israel from the Gaza Strip to pray at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre during Easter, according to a document issued by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Five hundred permits have been issued for the holiday, as compared to 700 for Christmas, but sources in Gaza say that the age restriction means that only about 10 percent of the quota will be filled.

According to Christian clergy in Gaza, who say the limitations are unjustified, only about 120 Christians meet the age criteria and many will not be able to travel without relatives who are under the age limit. George Anton, a Christian community activist from Gaza, said that no permits for Easter have been issued so far.

Easter, also known as the “great feast,” is the most important holiday on the Christian liturgical calendar in the Middle East, as opposed the West, where Christmas takes precedence. Catholics and Protestants will celebrate Easter on Sunday, while the Orthodox churches will mark the holiday two weeks later.

Anton told Haaretz that there are about 1,200 Christians living in Gaza (as opposed to 1,313 documented by a Vatican delegation in 2014). Similar age restrictions were imposed in the past, he said. For the Easter holiday in 2015, following the war in the Gaza Strip the previous year, entry to Israel was barred for people age 16 to 35. However, after church leaders in Israel and abroad intervened, the restriction was lifted and 850 permits were issued.

According to COGAT, restrictions are eased during Muslim and Christian holidays as part of the policy to encourage religious activities of all faiths. But in Gaza, news of the relaxed restrictions are usually made public late, and responses to permit applications are often given too late or are turned down with no reason given.

In a video posted on COGAT’s Facebook about three weeks ago, the day the quota was made public, an Israeli army officer named Alaa Halabi asked Gaza residents who had received permits for Christmas and had not yet returned to do so immediately. Halabi warned that their failure to return would “impact the ability” of COGAT “to take steps ahead of Easter.”

Sources in Gaza believed that a few dozen people did not return after leaving the Strip for Christmas.

The COGAT document did not reveal the reason for the age restrictions but the office confirmed the age restriction and did not deny that it was a punitive measure. “The State of Israel is a sovereign state that has the right to decide who enters it,” the response stated. “Foreigners have no inherent right to enter Israel, including Palestinian residents of Gaza.” It was decided to issue permits only to those over 55 “In light of the recurring phenomenon of Palestinians who took advantage of the permit to remain in Israel illegally” and “as part of the actions to limit illegal presence in Israel,” COGAT said.

Lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint List asked Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan to change the entry conditions so that all Christians would “be able to exercise their basic right to freedom of religion.” Touma-Sliman said she has not yet received an answer. “Israel boasts to the whole world that it is a safe place for all religions. But in fact it continues to harm the Palestinian Christian population,” the lawmaker said. She added that the age restriction “constitutes more proof that Israel has never left Gaza and continues to control everything that happens there.”

Following requests for action from Gaza, the nonprofit organizationGisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement demanded in a letter to COGAT that the age restriction be lifted and that the number of permits for the holiday be increased. “There is no justification for arbitrary impairment of freedom of movement and religion,” Gisha wrote, “certainly not a dialogue of threats. This is another example of collective punishment of the residents, and generally the punitive and arbitrary nature of Israel’s permit regime with regard to Gazans.”


My Contribution to Antisemitsm in 2017

February 25, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon


According to the annual report of the Swiss Jewish Lobby CICAD, 2017 brought along 150 “acts of anti-Semitism.”*  Apparently yours truly is responsible for 2 incidents  (published by

The Swiss Jewish lobby CICAD didn’t approve of the following:

1) “The shift from total sinner into the new messiah figure was certainly rapid for serial predator Weinstein. But this shouldn’t take us by surprise. Weinstein’s regard for himself as a ‘martyr for social change’ is consistent with Tikun Olam – the misguided Jewish belief that it is down to the Jews to  repair the world.”

2) in reference to history operating as a collective suppression of shame I  said that  “the Americans conceal slavery and imperial genocidal aggression, the Brits conceal their colonial blunders, the Jews turn their eyes away from anything that may have contributed to turning  Jewish history into an extended shoah.”

I promise to improve my record in 2018!

If they want to burn it , you want to read it..

cover bit small.jpg

Uranium and microfission in Gaza, a particular case / Uranium et microfission à Gaza, un cas particulier [français plus bas]

Source: Uranium and microfission in Gaza, a particular case / Uranium et microfission à Gaza, un cas particulier [français plus bas]

Roger Waters Discusses BDS, Attempts to Block His Current US Concert Tour

Posted on 

Roger Waters’ “Us and Them” tour is scheduled to perform this Friday and Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, on Long Island, in Uniondale, New York. Apparently Nassau County officials have backed down on their plans to shut down the show (see article below). Waters was interviewed on “Democracy Now” with Amy Goodman and co-hosts.

Roger Waters Shows Will Go On Despite Nassau County Anti-BDS Law


The New York Civil Liberties Union is urging lawmakers in Nassau County to repeal a bill denying county contracts to any companies participating in the Boycott, Divest and Sanction [BDS] movement, which seeks to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Nassau County cannot be in the business of telling people what to say or think,” Susan Gottehrer, the NYCLU’s Nassau chapter director, wrote in a letter to County Executive Edward Mangano on Monday. “The BDS movement is a form of protected political speech.”

The letter comes in response to County Attorney Carnell Foskey’s threat to take “appropriate legal action” against the Nassau Events Center (NEC) if it does not cancel upcoming concerts by Roger Waters, a vocal BDS supporter and longtime critic of Israel’s settlement expansions. During a Facebook Live chat in July, Waters said that he expected the county’s attempts to fail.

“You would have to tear up the Constitution of the United States of America, particularly the First Amendment, and throw it into the Hudson River, or the East River if that’s closer, in order for that to happen,” he noted.

Just a week earlier, Nassau County Legislator Howard J. Kopel wrote in a Facebook post that “the Nassau County Attorney confirms that Roger Waters’ proposed upcoming tour dates at the Nassau Coliseum are indeed in violation of Local Law 3-2016.” That law was passed passed in 2016, one month before Governor Cuomo signed a similar order stipulating that any entity boycotting Israeli businesses would also be boycotted by the State of New York.

According to the NYCLU, the law itself is a violation of the constitution. “The law targets political boycotts, which the Supreme Court has long held as a form of political speech,” Zachary Ahmed, policy counsel at NYCLU, told Gothamist. “Here we had an example of the county threatening to enforce this law, and that’s what prompted us to respond.”

Asked to comment on the letter, the county attorney said that they would not be pursuing legal action against the events center, after all. “After extensive legal review, we had determined that factual issues and a lack of legal precedent had precluded success if the County were to litigate,” the county attorney said.

Neither the attorney nor County Executive Edward Mangano responded to questions about whether the decision applies just to Roger Waters, or enforcement of the bill as a whole. The executive also did not respond to a question, initially posed by the NYCLU, about whether the county had previously enforced or threatened to enforce the anti-BDS law.

“As long as law remains on books, there’s a possibility that the county could enforce it against other businesses,” Ahmed added. “We believe that would be unconstitutional.”

Waters will perform at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum this Friday and Saturday nights.

To see “The Occupation of the American Mind,” narrated by Roger Waters,  click here.

“Folded Flags” by Roger Waters


Though unsuccessful at getting his venues shut down (at least so far), Jews nonetheless are holding protests at Waters’ concerts. According to a report in the pro-Zionist Washington Free Beacon, Stand With Us, along with another Jewish organization, identified as “Artists 4 Israel,” are planning to follow the tour from city to city. Their plans reportedly include setting up a 15-foot inflatable Pinocchio doll as well as deployment of a van with a billboard which reads, “”Roger Waters, Don’t Need Your Hate and Censorship Against Israel.” The article includes a quote from a Stand With Us official who smears Waters as an “antisemite” and a “bigot.”


Report: Israel May Be Planning ‘Forced Transfer’ of Residents from 2 Palestinian Villages

[ Ed. note – The email below was sent out yesterday by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Apparently the Israeli government authorities are planning to completely eradicate two Palestinian villages and forcibly transfer the population. To where is not clear. But B’Tselem is calling it an “extreme escalation,” and judging from the tone of the email there are concerns that what’s apparently in the works now may just be a precursor to an ethnic cleansing operation on a far wider scale. ]

Dear friend,

According to Haaretz, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told journalists in late August that plans for the implementation of a measure virtually unheard of since 1967 were months away from completion. These are plans for the eviction: Eviction and demolition of two whole West Bank Palestinian villages. Together, the two villages, Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills, and Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, are home to hundreds of people, about half of them minors.

Demolishing these communities would constitute the forcible transfer of protected persons, a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention. A forcible transfer occurs whenever residents do not leave of their own free will – for instance, when the authorities make living conditions impossible. This is exactly what Israel has been doing to these and to many other Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank for years –  forcing residents to live without connections to electricity or running water and under the constant threat of demolition. Still, demolishing an entire community would be an extreme escalation of this already abusive policy.

Crimes are usually committed far from the public view, and effort is put into covering them up. Seasoned politicians do not usually declare their criminal intentions, especially in on-the-record conversation with journalists. The fact that Minister Lieberman did so attests to his confidence that the planned evictions will receive the full backing similar actions – albeit less extreme – have always been given here, including the disgraceful support of the High Court. This is an official policy and is not seen as a crime.

For that reason, last week we sent a letter to the prime minister, the defense minister, the justice minister, the chief of staff and the head of the Civil Administration cautioning that demolishing an entire community would constitute a war crime for which they would bear personal liability. This was an unusual step for B’Tselem to take: we do not use the term lightly and it rarely appears in our publications. Yet the extreme circumstances demand it.

For many years, B’Tselem has been advocating for the Palestinian communities that are struggling against Israel’s de facto expulsion policy in Area C. We are determined to do everything in our power to help the residents of Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar escape expulsion, and ensure Israel avoids committing a war crime.

Sincerely yours,

Hagai El-Ad
Executive Director

Following Stabbing and Shooting Attack in Occupied Jerusalem, Israeli Forces Impose Collective Punishment Measures Against the City and Deir Abu Mash’al Village

June 18, 2017 3:44 PM

18 JUN  3:44 PM

Following a stabbing and shooting attack in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, 16 June 2017, that resulted in the killing of three Palestinian youngsters and an Israeli female soldier, the Israeli forces imposed additional collective punishment measures against the Palestinian civilians in occupied Jerusalem and later in Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah, from which the three youngsters come.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns these measures and stresses they fall within the collective punishment policy which is prohibited

he Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns these measures and stresses they fall within the collective punishment policy which is prohibited in the international human rights law. PCHR further calls upon the international community to work on protecting the Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and ensure its application.

According to PCHR’s investigations, after the abovementioned attack, the Israeli forces completely closed Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) area, Sultan Suleiman Street and all gates of Jerusalem, excluding Bab al-Asbat (Lions Gate).

They banned the Palestinians from entering and exiting the Old City and obliged the commercial stores’ owners to shut down otherwise they would pay a fine of over NIS 40,000.

The Israeli forces also erupted metal barriers in the streets leading to Bab al-Amoud and prevented vehicles from using these streets. The Israeli officers chased the civilians who were at Bab al-

The Israeli officers chased the civilians who were at Bab al-Sahera (Herod’s Gate), al-Mesrara and Nablus Street and fired sound bombs at them. Moreover, they assaulted some civilians and pushed the journalists away from the scene.

The Israeli forces mobilized all over Jerusalem, mainly the streets of Nablus, Bab al-Sahera, Sultan Suleiman and al-Mesrara. Israeli forces stopped the by-passers and checked their IDs and then deported the West Bank residents by buses distributed throughout the city. The Israeli police declared they “Deported over 350 Palestinians, who entered Jerusalem without permits, and returned them to the Palestinian territories”.

In the same context, after the identities of the three Palestinian youngsters, who carried out the stabbing and shooting attack, were disclosed, Israeli forces moved into Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah, from which the youngster come. They closed the main entrance by establishing an iron gate and closed the roads with sand and rocks, isolating the village from the world.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 05:30 on Saturday, 17 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into the said village and imposed a curfew.

The Israeli soldiers accompanied by an engineering team raided the houses belonging to the families of the three attackers and surveyed them. Before

The Israeli soldiers accompanied by an engineering team raided the houses belonging to the families of the three attackers and surveyed them. Before withdrawal, the Israeli forces handed over the owners of the houses decisions to demolish the houses without mentioning the date. The killed youngsters, whose family houses were raided, were identified as:

  1. Osama Ahmed Dahdouh ‘Ata (18). The area of his family house is 150 square meters and his family members are 6;
  2. ‘Adel Hassan ‘Ankoush (19). The area of his family house is 110 square meters and his family members are 10; and
  3. Bara’ Ibrahim Saleh Ata (18). The area of his family house is 140 square meters and his family members are 6.

Furthermore, Israeli forces raided, searched and damaged the contents of dozens of houses belonging to relatives of the attackers and confiscated permits they had to Israel.

In the meanwhile, a number of youngsters gathered in the center of the village and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers, who immediately opened fire in response.

As a result, two Palestinian civilians were wounded. The first sustained a live bullet wound to the right leg and the other sustained a rubber-coated metal bullet wound to the right hand. They were both taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive the necessary medical treatment.

PCHR condemns the Israeli government’s measures against the Palestinian civilians in occupied East Jerusalem and Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah, which fall within the collective punishment policy that is internationally prohibited, especially under article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and:

  1. Demands the United Nations to work on protecting the civilians in the oPt;
  2. Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to ensure Israel’s commitment as a State Party to the Conventions to apply them in the oPt; and
  3. Demands States Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under these Conventions by exercising their Universal Jurisdiction to hold the war criminals accountable regardless of the criminals’ nationalities and the place where the crimes were committed and put an end to the impunity they enjoy for decades.

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Palestine news

israel’s war on Palestine’s food supplies: Israeli Navy Injures A Palestinian Fisherman In Northern Gaza

May 8, 2017 9:49 PM

Israeli navy ships attacked, on Monday evening, several Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip, wounding a fisherman.

Medical sources said the fisherman, identified as Mohammad Abu Ryala, suffered moderate wounds, and was moved to the Indonesian hospital, in northern Gaza.

The attack pushed the fishermen back to shore in fear additional Israeli escalation against them, and their boats.

The fishermen in Gaza are subject to daily Israeli assaults and violations, including many fatal attacks, and incidents that led to injuries, property damage and many abductions, in addition to the illegal confiscation of their boats.

Palestine news

House of Hate

caged but undaunted

(Originally published on Al Jazeera March, 30, 2017)

House of Hate

Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
―Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

I remember as a young boy sitting and watching my father’s blank stare as he looked at a documentary about WWII and concentration camps. He seemed to travel to distant places, as if he was all alone and not seated there right next to me. Only once did he share with me what he had seen as a soldier when part of a group that had liberated camps.

On that occasion he described carrying the skeletal remains of a still as yet living man from the darkened catacombs far below the ground to the light of day, as they both cried… the survivor because he expected to die and my dad, I am…

View original post 1,438 more words

Today in Palestine! ~ Tuesday, 11 April 2017  <— go here if the message arrived truncated

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Palestinian teen succumbs to wounds weeks after being shot by Israeli forces

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Palestinian teenager Jassem Muhammad Nakhla, who was shot and grievously injured by Israeli forces near the al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank in March, succumbed to his wounds on Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported. Nakhla, whose family said was 17 years old contrary to earlier reports, died in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv after Israeli forces shot him in the head and foot on March 23 when he was in a vehicle with three other young Palestinians. One of the other youths, 17-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Hattab, died that day, while the two others, Muhammad Hattab, 18, and Muhammad Moussa Nakhla, 18, were also seriously wounded. Medical sources told Ma‘an on Monday that Nakhla had been clinically dead since he was injured, and had been kept on life support since. Both Jassem and Muhammad Nakhla were transferred for treatment in Israel on March 28 in an attempt to save their lives, while Hattab remained at the Palestine Medical Complex in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
The circumstances of the shooting have been highly contested, as local sources told Ma‘an at the time of the deadly shooting that Israeli soldiers in a military tower near the entrance of the camp, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, fired heavily towards the teens’ vehicle while they were inside. An Israeli army spokesperson claimed at the time that the boys were throwing Molotov cocktails at the settlement, and that they were outside of their car when they were shot.  However, video and photographic footage taken by locals at the scene following the shooting showed the vehicle riddled with bullets, windows shattered, and blood staining the seats, casting doubt on the Israeli army’s narrative of the event. When questioned by Ma‘an in March about how the teens could have re-entered their car and driven away from the scene after being injured with multiple rounds of live fire to the head and chest, the Israeli army spokesperson said she could not comment. The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday about Nakhla’s passing, nor about whether an Israeli investigation into the shooting had yielded any results….

Thousands partake in funeral march in Ramallah for slain Palestinian teen

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Thousands of Palestinians marched through Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank for the funeral of 17-year-old Jassem Muhammad Nakhla on Tuesday, a day after the teen succumbed to wounds he sustained on March 23 when he was shot by Israeli forces … The funeral set off from the Palestine Medical Center, where mourners carried Nakhleh’s body, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, through the main streets of Ramallah and finally to al-Jalazun. Nakhleh’s body was taken to his family house in the refugee camp, where family members said their final goodbyes before the teen’s body was taken to the camp’s mosque and then to the camp’s cemetery for burial. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) said on Tuesday that they held the Israeli government responsible for Nakhla’s death, with PA spokesman Tariq Rishmawi writing in a statement that Israel was perpetuating its “successive crimes” against the Palestinian people and turning a blind eye to international law. “This crime won’t be the last as long as the international community remains silent,” Rishmawi said of Nakhla’s death. Rishmawi urged the international community and human rights organizations to coerce Israel into ceasing its ongoing violations against the Palestinian people, especially children. The PA also denounced Israel’s “systematic assault” against Palestinians.

Report: Israel admits to ‘losing’ remains of Palestinians killed during Second Intifada

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — The Israeli government has admitted to losing the remains of seven Palestinians who were killed while “committing attacks” against Israelis during the Second Intifada, Israeli news daily Haaretz reported on Monday. According to Haaretz, the admission came from the Israeli state prosecutor’s office in response to petitions to Israel’s Supreme Court filed by the slain Palestinians’ families, demanding the return of the bodies. During a Supreme Court session last month, it was revealed that the number of Palestinians whose burial places are unknown is far higher than the seven that Israel has admitted to losing. Haaretz quoted Israeli prosecutors as saying that as of 2015, out of 123 petitions submitted by Palestinian families, only two bodies had been located. “A number of Israeli legal and military officials say they believe the state has no information about the whereabouts of many of the bodies. In a few cases, the remains had been in Israel’s possession since the 1990s,” Haaretz said, adding that Israel has yet to decide which government agency will be tasked with handling the matter. Haaretz quoted a Ministry of Justice official as saying that the burials of dozens of missing Palestinian bodies could have been carried out by “a few companies working for the National Insurance Institute” or the Israeli police. The official pointed out that one of the companies involved in the burial of Palestinians during the Second Intifada went out of business a few years ago, and the documents relating to the identities of the interred were destroyed … The Director of the Center for the Defense of the Individual Dalia Kirshstein criticized the Israeli government, saying that “every smashed Jewish gravestone around the world raises a hue and cry in Israel, but when it comes to dozens of bodies of Palestinians that disappeared, there’s complete silence.” …
Meanwhile, a coordinator for the Palestinian national campaign to restore the bodies of slain Palestinians, Amin al-Bayid, spoke to Ma‘an on Monday and contradicted the Haaretz report, saying that the bodies of Palestinians who were killed in the Second Intifada “who blew themselves up seeking to die martyrs are all available and there is no problem identifying them.” Separately, al-Bayid added that the committee had previously filed an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court through the Jerusalem Center for Human Rights to release 65 bodies of Palestinians who were killed before 1980 and were buried in what Israel calls “enemy fighter cemeteries,” known to Palestinians as “cemeteries of numbers.” ….

Opinion: Bodies should be returned, not lost / Zvi Bar’el

Haaretz 12 Apr — The conclusion is that the state must not be allowed to play games with the bodies of Palestinians, to use them either as merchandise or as a deterrent, collateral for the future, or as a show of revenge — It reads like a thriller. The best ones are made into Hollywood blockbusters, sometimes marketed as being “based on a true story.” The shocking story that government agencies admitted to having lost track of the remains of Palestinian terrorists that were buried in Israel (Or Kashti, April 10) could be prefaced by: “This is a true story, unfortunately the film itself was lost in the archive.”  The horrific synopsis would be simple, direct and easy to understand. Out of 123 bodies whose return has been requested by families, only two have been found. Two is more than none.
Israel has demanded that Hamas in the Gaza Strip return the bodies of two soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. And in exchange for the bodies of two soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Israel released five Lebanese prisoners and the remains of 199 Lebanese combatants and infiltrators, in a deal with Hezbollah. The abduction of the soldiers, we might note, was the pretext for the Second Lebanon War. If Hamas or Hezbollah were holding the remains of 123 Israelis, a world war could be expected. No excuse, explanation or shrug of the shoulders from these organizations would save them. Would anyone believe that Hamas or Hezbollah, groups that control every single thing within their territories, lost 123 bodies, or 10, or even one? But a state may do what a terror group may not, especially a state that is willing to send soldiers to their deaths in order to recover bodies back, a state country that does not quail at killing on a wholesale scale in order to free the bodies of Jews.

Israeli settlers harm livestock, intimidate shepherds in Jordan Valley, Palestinians say

Haaretz 10 Apr by Amira Hass — Two Israelis killed a sheep and wounded a goat as they threw stones at a flock belonging to a Palestinian family in the northern Jordan Valley on Friday, according to family members, in what locals are describing as a clear escalation between them and an illegal outpost in the area. A third sheep was wounded and fled and has not yet returned. Two members of the Iyoub family were with the grazing flock at 3 P.M. some two kilometers from their residence at the [Khirbet] Tel al-Hima camp, family members told the Ta’ayush organization on Saturday morning. They claimed that two Israelis arrived on the scene, one of whom was riding a horse, wearing black and had his face covered. The masked Israeli allegedly threw rocks at the flock from horseback. According to the family, the Palestinians were verbally abused by the Israelis who used words “that we can’t repeat.” The stone-thrower referred to himself as Soheil, according to the Palestinians. Although his face was covered, the Palestinian family says they recognized the stone thrower and know his name. In September, a group of Israelis erected an unauthorized outpost on a hill above Tel al-Hima, where Palestinian shepherds have been grazing their flocks for years. Since September, the Israelis in the outpost have been preventing the shepherds from grazing in the area. The incident on Friday represents an escalation in the situation for the locals. Police, the Israeli army and the Civil Administration in charge of the West Bank are aware of the existence of the unauthorized outpost and attacks against neighboring shepherd families.

When remembering the Sabbath day enables settler violence

+972 Blog 12 Apr by Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din — Settler violence on the Sabbath is not uncommon in the West Bank: Israeli civilians feel emboldened to attack Palestinians, knowing that law enforcement will refrain from taking serious action until the following week — They came riding on a horse, two Israeli civilians armed with firearms. One of them jumped off, drew a box cutter, and informed the Palestinian shepherd, B., that “this is our land.” As if to prove the point, he added that he would kill the sheep as well. The two Israelis began throwing stones at the animals, killing one of them with a direct hit to the head. The herd began running away in panic, and B. saw two of them falling down, their legs broken. One of the attackers began hitting sheep in the eyes with a stick. The place: Khirbet Tel Al Hime, Tubas Region, Jordan Valley. The date: February 17, 2017. Khirbet Tel Al Hime is a small enclosure located some 250 meters west of Road 90, the major north-to-south highway in Israel-Palestine that runs through the West Bank. Around 30 people, all of them from the Ayoub family, live there, and have been living there since 1962. Until the last few months, say the residents, they had few problems, and none with settlers — though the army did demolish some of their tents from time to time. They shepherded their flock and made cheese from the milk, selling it in the nearby town of Tubas. There is no infrastructure in place, and even the water has to be delivered in tanks from another town. But, all in all, the residents say it wasn’t bad. All this changed in September 2016. The army raided the enclosure and demolished it. Almost at the same time, a new Israeli outpost was built nearby …  One suspects we see the old method, the one described in Yesh Din’s The Road to Dispossession report, in action: first, the army allows Israelis to take over land, then turns a blind eye when they use ideological violence against Palestinians, all of which is part of an attempt to push them into despair so they’ll leave.

When shooting a teen in the back is a ‘professional error’

+972 Blog 11 Apr by ‘John Brown’ & Noam Rotem — An IDF brigade commander shot a Palestinian teen who threw a rock at his jeep, while the boy was running away, and then left him bleeding on the road. Initially, the colonel claimed his life was in danger. With each subsequent interrogation, the story changed. The military police determined the incident was a ‘professional error’ –  bad aim – and closed the case despite evidence that tells a very different story — On July 3, 2015, Col. Yisrael Shomer, then-commander of the IDF’s Binyamin Brigade, was driving towards the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank. Mohammad al-Kasbeh, a 17 year-old Palestinian, threw a large rock at the windshield of Shomer’s vehicle, and started to flee. The Binyamin Brigade commander stepped out of the car, fired two bullets into the back of the fleeing boy, and left him wounded and bleeding on the ground without offering any help. Kasbeh died from his wounds. The military police file was closed with no indictment filed, and Col. Shomer was promoted to commander of the IDF’s Southern Command. Now, for the first time, our investigation reveals that a subordinate soldier who was with Shomer at the time of the shooting testified to Military Police investigators that neither man was in immediate danger, and that his commander failed to follow the protocol for arresting suspects. Furthermore, while Shomer claimed that the boy was holding an object, the soldier testified that that the boy held nothing…. [See also Shooting and lying: a textbook example of IDF impunity]

Israeli soldiers abduct a legislator and a Hamas spokesperson from their homes in Ramallah

IMEMC 12 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, a Palestinian legislator who is originally from Jerusalem and a Hamas spokesperson, after storming their homes in Ramallah, in the central West Bank. One Palestinian was also abducted in Hebron. The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers abducted legislator Ahmad ‘Attoun and Hamas spokesperson in the West Bank Fayez Abu Warda, after violently searching and ransacking their homes, and took them to an unknown destination. It is worth mentioning that legislator ‘Attoun is from occupied Jerusalem, but was forcibly exiled from the city, and has not been allowed to return. He was repeatedly abducted and imprisoned by Israel, spending at least ten years behind bars. The abduction of ‘Attoun brings the number of imprisoned democratically elected Palestinian legislators, to 13, including senior Fateh movement leader, Marwan Barghouthi, and the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Sa‘adat
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers invaded Doura town, south of the city, and abducted a young man, identified as Hazem Khaled Khallaf, 24.

Israeli forces detain 11 Palestinians in West Bank, East Jerusalem raids

HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Israeli forces detained at least 11 Palestinians during military raids between Sunday and before dawn Monday morning, with the Israeli army saying they uncovered a weapons manufacturing workshop for the second day in a row. Local sources in Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank said Israeli forces detained two young Palestinian men during raids in the city, when soldiers also confiscated equipment from a blacksmith workshop that the Israeli army alleged was used for manufacturing weapons. Israeli troops stormed the workshop, located in the Aqbat Taffuh neighborhood in the west side of Hebron, and confiscated its equipment before sealing it off.  Israeli soldiers detained the workshop owner’s son, Raafat Maher Sharabati, and also detained Musab Abu Turki after raiding his house in Hebron.  The Israeli army claimed in a written statement that a joint security force confiscated seven “weapon manufacturing machines” before “seizing” the workshop. Meanwhile, locals in southern Hebron told Ma‘an that Israeli forces ransacked several homes, damaging furniture, during searches in the area. Israeli forces also raided Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem and detained a Palestinian when police found a gun in his home …  Separately, Rosenfeld said that five Palestinians between the ages of 17 and 24 were arrested in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Sunday, after they were accused of throwing homemade bombs at Rachel’s Tomb near ‘Aida refugee camp and at passing Israeli cars on Route 60, “over the last few weeks in the area.” … In the central Ramallah district, one Palestinian was detained in the village of Ni‘lin, and one was detained in Qalandiya refugee camp. Another Palestinian was detained in the village of Sanur in the northernmost district of Jenin.


Israel arrests 17 far-right Jews allegedly attempting to sacrifice goats on Temple Mount for Passover

Haaretz 12 Apr by Nir Hasson — Fanatic group that seeks to dislodge Muslim presence from Jerusalem holy site attempted to carry out ancient Passover tradition — Seventeen people have been arrested for allegedly attempting to disturb the peace and policemen on duty while trying to smuggle baby goats onto the Temple Mount to reenact the Passover sacrifice. Six of the detainees were minors. Six goats were rescued and handed over to the Agriculture Ministry’s investigative department, police say. All day Monday police halted and searched cars entering the Old City of Jerusalem to foil activists from sacrificing baby goats according to ancient Passover traditions. Earlier in the day the joint Temple Mount administration stated that police had detained 11 activists in the morning hours. Police later revised that number to 17. The day before, seven activists, including Raphael Morris, head of the Return to the Mount movement, were arrested on suspicion of planning to reenact the Pesach sacrifice on Temple Mount….

Israeli forces search Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after detaining Palestinian from the area

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday night to inspect the premises after detaining a Palestinian man following evening prayers, in the latest of dozens of Israeli detentions carried out on Palestinians as Jewish Israelis marked the start of the Passover holiday. The compound’s director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian man as he left the compound following evening prayers. Israeli forces raided the compound several hours later, he said. The Israeli officers claimed that they were searching for a bag belonging to the Palestinian man who was detained earlier, which they said was hidden in the compound, according to al-Kiswani. Israeli forces inspected storehouses and surrounding gardens but did not find anything. Al-Kiswani added that on Tuesday morning some 30 Israeli settlers had entered the compound from the Moroccan gate during Passover celebrations. The settlers toured the compound under Israeli military protection, he said….

Restriction of movement / Closures

Israel denies head of Palestinian Federation of Chile entry into West Bank
MEMO 11 Apr — Israeli authorities reportedly prevented the head of the Palestinian Federation of Chile, Anwar Makhlouf, who holds Chilean citizenship, from entering the country through the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank yesterday. Hebrew-language news sites reported that the Israeli Minister of Media and Strategic Affairs Gideon Saar said in a statement: “The days when BDS activists used to work here freely have long gone and we will not allow enemies of the state in.” Neither a spokesperson from the Israeli Airports Authority or the Israeli Security Agency were immediately available for comment. Last month, chairman of the London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Hugh Lanning was denied entry into Israel and deported just one week after Israel passed the controversial “BDS ban” law. B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad highlighted in March that “Israel controls not only who enters Israel, but also who enters Palestine,” hence affecting pro-Palestinian activists’ access to the occupied territory.

Opinion: On lockdown – questions for Seder Night / Salman Masalha

Haaretz 10 Apr — While households in Israel prepare for the Festival of Freedom, Palestinian households also need to prepare: With the advent of Jewish holidays they are obliged to remain under siege — You are probably deliberating and asking yourselves how this (Monday) night is different than any other night. Well, on this night, as on many others, no one can leave or enter. A decade comes and a decade goes and the occupation stands forever. While households in Israel prepare for the Festival of Freedom, Palestinian households also need to prepare. For many years the Palestinians have had to accept the fact that with the advent of Jewish holidays they are obliged to remain under siege. On this backdrop, it seems worthwhile to address those in charge of Jewish traditions. They apparently haven’t paid attention to the fact that over the years further traditions have been added to the holidays, becoming part of the Zionist experience. These new traditions are those of robbers, occupiers and thieves. One tradition has stood out and become entrenched over the last decade – the tradition of laying siege and closure to the sons of Ismail. Thus, as the House of Israel turns its attention to getting rid of leaven, purifying the Passover dishes and preparing for the seder night, the House of Ismail, revolted by the customs of the occupation, prepares for the night of closure about to be imposed on them, lest they disturb the Festival of Freedom. Should one even mention the obvious? Liberty is indivisible, and a nation’s freedom cannot be complete if this involves the subjugation of another people….

Israeli forces close off Hebron’s old city, block entrance to Palestinian medical center

HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Israeli forces stationed in the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank closed the entrance to the Palestinian Health Work Committees’ emergency center on Monday, leaving patients and ambulances unable to reach the center. According to locals, the closure was conducted in line with a series of procedures that Israeli forces routinely take in the Old City during Jewish holidays. Monday’s closure saw all entrances leading to the Old City shut down with iron gates and cement blocks, including the only entrance leading to the medical emergency center. The entrance leading to the center was closed with an iron gate, which prevented anyone from reaching or leaving the center, including those in need of medical care.
Locals told Ma’‘an that the center has been “subjected to all types of aggression by Israeli forces over the years,” highlighting that it had been raided multiple times, and used by Israeli forces as a military post, notably for soldiers to fire tear gas and live fire at Palestinians during clashes or protests in the area. In response to Monday’s closure, a spokesperson from the center told Ma‘an that the center “will stay present in the area and will continue providing medical care to more than 60,000 Palestinians, despite all Israeli forces and settlers violations and aggressions against it.” … An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that the roads had been closed, but said early Monday evening that they had since been reopened. Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes.

For first time in 17 years, some Palestinian business people can enter Israel in their own cars

JPost 11 Apr by Adam Rasgon — Palestinian business people have not driven their personal cars into Israel since the start of the Second Intifada, over a decade ago — A limited number of Palestinian business people have received permits to enter Israel in their Palestinian-plated vehicles, a Palestinian Authority official said on Tuesday. “A total of 270 business people were granted permission to drive their cars into Israel,” PA Civil Affairs Ministry spokesman Walid Wahdan told The Jerusalem Post. Palestinian business people have not been allowed to drive their personal cars into Israel since the start of the second intifada in 2000, when Israel banned their entry as a part of its crackdown on the largely armed uprising. The intifada is considered to have ended more than a decade ago. “This is very important for us,” Jamal al-Nimr, a Palestinian businessman from Ramallah, who was granted a permit, told the Post.  “Time is money for us,” Nimr said. “We need to be able to move around quickly, especially when we travel to Israel to meet with Israeli businessmen, authorities and others.” Nimr and many other Palestinian business people work closely with Israeli business people to import goods to the Palestinian territories and undertake other transactions. According to Nimr, the permits will also dramatically cut expenses. “Before, I had to hire a chauffeur at the cost of NIS 800-NIS 1,000 a day,” he said. “Now all I have to pay for is the fuel.”….

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Israeli archaeological dig forces 25 East Jerusalem residents to evacuate homes

Haaretz 9 Apr by Nir Hasson — Twenty-five residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan were evacuated from their homes last week, from a building they say was undermined by archaeological excavations being conducted underneath it. The municipality declared the building unsafe and temporarily moved the residents to a hotel in the city, though just the next day, they were informed they would have to leave the hotel. “Our home was ruined, it is impossible to live there any longer, we have nowhere to live,” said Suleiman Oweida, one of the evacuated residents. The building includes three apartments, and residents say it is located above the underground excavations of the Herodian stepped street being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Elad nonprofit organization. Most of those living in the building are children, members of the extended Oweida family. The residents said that although they noticed cracks opening in their walls three years ago and engineers came a number of times to examine the cracks, they remained in their homes. Recently, the cracks have expanded in a number of rooms and the family has complained of the floor and walls shaking. “All the time we hear noises under the house day and night but yesterday we felt as if something was moving,” said Oweida last week … The Herodian street that’s being excavated is from the Second Temple period and leads from the Siloam (Shiloach) Pool at the bottom of the City of David up to the Western Wall. A month ago, Haaretz reported that two senior IAI archaeologists criticized the excavations in internal correspondence. They wrote that the work being done in the tunnels, contrary to accepted practice, was “bad archaeology” and added that “the authority could not be proud of this excavation.” The excavation is being conducted in an underground tunnel supported by wood and steel beams. In the past, Palestinians from the neighborhood have claimed the excavations have caused damage to their homes, but the high Court of Justice denied a petition from the residents trying to prove a connection between the dig and damage to the buildings … The cause of the cracks in the building is being investigated, said the city.

Palestinians in Silwan defend their homes from ongoing settler excavations

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr  — After Israel ordered the evacuation of three homes in occupied East Jerusalem due to severe structural damage caused by settler-led tunnel construction below, Palestinian residents say they refuse to leave, and accuse Israel of indirectly attempting to expel them from the city, where Israel has openly called for maintaining a Jewish majority.
The homes are located in the Wadi Hilweh area of Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood just south of the Old City walls, where Israel frequently allows excavations and archaeological digs that threaten the structural integrity of Palestinian homes and holy sites in the area. Rights groups claim that these excavations often seek to promote Jewish heritage and attachment to the occupied city, while erasing Palestinian history, in order to promote claims of Jewish ownership and further displace Palestinians, particularly those living in neighborhoods around the Old City. Last October, UNESCO denounced Israel for failing to put an end to the practice…
Palestinian residents in Wadi Hilweh have long reported sounds of underground digging and the resultant cracks appearing on the walls of their aging homes, but the Oweidas said that the “life-threatening” damages in their homes seen in recent weeks were “more severe than ever before.” However, Khadija Oweida affirmed to Ma‘an that her family would not leave. “We have been living in these houses for decades despite cracks in the foundations and despite the risks,” she said. While the municipality says the buildings have become too dangerous to inhabit, Oweida explained that if the families abandoned the houses, they also ceded control over what happened to them. Settler groups, such as the Elad organization, have long been trying to take over any house in the area by any means, she argued … Rather than force them out of their homes, Oweida demanded that Israeli authorities simply put a stop to the excavations … Israeli authorities have claimed, according to Siyam, that the excavations “are based on engineering standards to ensure the safety of neighborhood.” Siyam said that the cracks and collapses sections in walls, rooftops, and floors in numerous homes in the area are proof of the contrary. Meanwhile, according to experts, archaeologists abandoned the practice of digging horizontal tunnels as long as a century ago, as it is considered professionally unethical and actually leads to the destruction of antiquities.

On Passover, settlers take over for state inspectors to mark Bedouin structures for demolition

Haaretz 12 Apr by Amira Hass — Five volunteer jeep owners from settlements near Ma’aleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, are watching the Bedouin encampments in the area to thwart any construction while Civil Administration inspectors are on Passover vacation. They answered the call of a group known as the Jerusalem Periphery Forum. According to a forum activist who asked to remain anonymous, the five are working in shifts of a few hours each. On weekends, when the Civil Administration inspectors are also off duty, Yariv Aharoni of Kfar Adumim, and the forum’s coordinator of issues involving land, is the inspector. However, during Passover week, Aharoni is on partial vacation and so the forum called for volunteer backup. The Jerusalem Periphery Forum includes representatives of the settlements of Alon, Kfar Adumim, Nofei Prat and Mitzpeh Yeriho, and a representative of the Binyamin Regional Council.
According to the activist, the forum works “against the illegal Palestinian-European construction in this area and along Route 1 between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.”  According to the forum activist, during Purim vacation two years ago, the Bedouin put up 22 prefabricated dwellings in various encampments, which the official called “outposts.” Those structures were donated by European organizations. After that, the forum decided to fund special manpower from the settlements to oversee what was happening in the encampments. The oversight, according to the forum activist, serves as a deterrent, even if not every structure built without a permit is discovered in real time. “The volunteers in their jeeps immediately report any deviation to the Civil Administration and the police, so that even if someone built, it will be destroyed immediately without the need to be dragged to High Court of Justice petitions,” he said. “The European Union also understands that this is a wasted investment for it and [its representatives] go build elsewhere,” he added.

Israeli settlers trespass on Palestinian lands to skinny dip in local well

SALFIT (Ma‘an) 20 Apr — A group of Israeli settlers trespassed onto private Palestinian land and vandalized property in the central occupied West Bank district of Salfit on Sunday, a local activist told Ma‘an. Nathmi Salman said that nine settlers went to a water well belonging to Jamal Abu Hijla near the villages of Deir Istiya and Haris, fully removed their clothes and jumped into the well to swim. Salman added that a heated argument broke out between Abu Hijla and the settlers before the latter got dressed and left the premises. In a separate incident in Saida, an area of Deir Istiya, Palestinian farmers encountered a group of Israeli settlers with construction equipment trying to transform a well owned by Khalid Abu Nasser into a swimming hole, Salman said. The settlers fled the scene once they saw the farmers, who also found Hebrew graffiti on nearby rocks. Incidents involving Israeli settlers damaging Palestinian property in the occupied Palestinian territory are a regular occurrence in the occupied territory….

Israeli forces uproot olive trees while settlers level lands in Salfit district

SALFIT (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Israeli authorities on Tuesday uprooted and chopped down more than a dozen olive trees in one area of the central occupied West Bank Salfit district, while Israeli settlers used bulldozers to level lands in another area of the district, according to reports from locals. Director of the Ministry of Agriculture’s office in Salfit Ibrahim al-Hamad told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities uprooted 15 olive trees and chopped down three others in the al-Zibaq area of Deir Ballut village in western Salfit. According to al-Hamad, the destruction was part of ongoing land works for a project to build a water pipeline in the area meant to serve illegal Israeli settlements built on the private Palestinian lands of Deir Ballut. The trees in question were more than 40-year-old trees, he added, highlighting that more trees are expected to be cut down as bulldozers remained in the area and continued to work on the pipeline.
Separately, Israeli settlers leveled privately owned Palestinian lands north of the Kafr al-Dik village in Salfit. Witnesses told Ma‘an that they saw bulldozers escorted by settlers from the nearby illegal Leishim settlement level agricultural lands and pastures in preparation to expand the settlement, highlighting that the archaeological site of the Church of Saint Simeon Stylites, known to locals as Deir Samaan, was “harmed” in the incident. Local farmer Mahmoud al-Dik expressed frustrations over settlement activity in the area, saying that settlers “have started to take control of the whole area north of Kafr al-Dik,” with bypass roads constructed for settlers “swallowing Palestinian lands.” ….

Israeli colonizers uproot 310 olive trees near Jerusalem

IMEMC 10 Apr — Many extremist Israeli colonists invaded, earlier Monday, Palestinian olive orchards in Mikhmas village, southeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, in the West Bank, and uprooted 310 old olive trees, owned by several Palestinian villagers. Media sources said the assailants invaded orchards owned by Ali Aref al-Haj, Abdul-Samea Mhanna and Dahesh Mhanna. The sources added that Israeli soldiers came to the orchards while the settlers were uprooting the old olive trees, but did not remove or apprehend any of them. The attack is the second targeting Mikhmas orchards in the past two years, as the previous invasion into the orchards resulting in uprooting 200 olive trees.


Reports: Gaza security forces arrest suspected killer of Mazen Fuqahaa

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Gaza security forces have reportedly detained a person suspected of killing prominent Hamas member Mazen Fuqahaa, Arabic-language news site Falastin Alan (Palestine Now) reported on Monday evening. The Palestinian media outlet wrote that it was “almost confirmed” that the suspect had been arrested, adding that they would be tried promptly. However, the Hamas movement, the de facto ruling party in the besieged Gaza Strip, had yet to officially confirm the news as of Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, Israeli news site Ynet reported that a Hamas-appointed committee investigating Fuqahaa’s death had submitted its conclusions to Gaza politburo chief Yahya Sinwar. Fuqahaa was shot dead in Gaza City on March 24, in what Hamas quickly branded an assassination ordered by Israel, although it has yet to make public evidence to support its accusation. The attorney general in the small Palestinian territory has meanwhile issued a gag order banning publication of any information about the ongoing investigation unless it came from official Palestinian judicial sources. Following Fuqahaa’s death, Gaza security forces imposed unprecedented restrictions on freedom of movement in the blockaded coastal enclave for nearly two weeks as part of the search for those involved in the deadly shooting….

Israel detains 2 Palestinians for crossing Gaza border into Israel

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians on Tuesday evening after they crossed the Gazan border into Israel’s Eshkol Regional Council bordering the besieged enclave. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that two suspects had “infiltrated” Israeli territory from southern Gaza. They were subsequently transferred to the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, for interrogations, according to the spokesperson.

Israel reopens commercial crossing with Gaza after 2-day closure

GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli authorities on Wednesday reopened the Karem Abu Salam (Kerem Shalom) commercial crossing between Israel and the southeastern Gaza Strip after two days of closure, while civilian passage for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza would remained closed until April 17 for the Jewish holiday of Passover. Palestinian management of the crossing told Ma‘an that said that 750 truckloads, including 15 truckloads of diesel, were expected to enter the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The Karam Abu Salam crossing serves as the only point through which commercial and industrial goods are allowed to enter the besieged coastal enclave, which has been suffering under a near decade-long Israeli blockade.

Crisis point reached in Gaza hospitals due to fuel shortage

IMEMC/Agencies 11 Apr — Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), on Tuesday, called upon the UK government to help ensure that the lives of Palestinians in Gaza are not put at greater risk as a result of the critical lack of fuel there. In a statement issued on Thursday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that the fuel at its disposal to run generators at hospitals and other medical facilities will deplete in about one week. There is a tangible risk of operating theatres and hospital departments having to close, endangering the lives of patients. Fikr Shalltoot, Director of Programmes for MAP in Gaza warned: “The lack of fuel at Gaza hospitals is as dangerous as the lack of life-saving drug items. The absence of either one will cause the death of seriously ill patients.” “Most at risk are the lives of seriously ill patients in intensive care, and in neonatal and kidney dialysis units which lack the fuel to keep their ventilators and hemodialysis equipment running.” MAP, a British humanitarian and development organisation, is calling on the UK government and the international community to urgently intervene, to avert the worsening crisis. In the immediate and short term, adequate emergency funding for fuel must be delivered to Gaza to sustain Gaza’s already overstretched health services.

Israel expresses concern, blames Palestinian leadership for Gaza water crisis

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Israeli authorities — which have maintained a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for nearly ten years — have contacted international organizations to urge them to address the deteriorating water situation in the small Palestinian enclave, Israeli media reported on Sunday. A United Nations report warned in 2012 that water from Gaza’s sole aquifer would become completely undrinkable by the end of 2016, with damages becoming irreversible by 2020. In November, the World Bank stated that only 10 percent of the population in Gaza had access to safe drinking water. According to the Army Radio, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry and international representatives — including United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov — on the issue in the past week. For the second time in the span of six months, the Times of Israel reported, COGAT head Yoav Mordechai called on international aid organizations to advance projects to build desalination plants in Gaza to alleviate the water crisis.
According to the Times of Israel, Mordechai attributed the grave shortage of drinking water in the Gaza Strip to “excessive pumping,” and blamed both the Hamas-led de facto government in Gaza and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) for stalling the process of improving water infrastructure in Gaza — implicitly attributing responsibility for the humanitarian crisis to internal Palestinian political tensions instead of the Israeli blockade. Mordechai reportedly blamed Hamas for refusing to connect a recently completed desalination plant built by UNICEF in Khan Yunis to Gaza’s electrical grid, while saying that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had not responded to an Israeli offer to double its supply of water to Gaza from 10 to 20 million cubic meters per year….

Palestinians fear return of power crisis in Gaza

MEMO 10 Apr — Fears reemerged yesterday of a new energy crisis in the Gaza Strip, as fuel supplies from Qatar and Turkey are due to end in mid-April. The Gaza Energy and Human Resources Authority announced that it will not be able to buy fuel at the price determined by the – West Bank based – Palestinian Authority, due to financial conditions resulting from Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip. “The fuel supply for the two fuel refineries will have been exhausted by Thursday. This includes the Qatari supply which was worth $12 million and lasted for over three months and the grant from Turkey, which has supplied 8,000 tonnes of fuel for power,” the Gaza Energy Authority said. The Energy and Human Resources Authority explained that it is not possible to buy fuel at the price set by the Palestinian Authority due to the high price resulting from additional taxes. A member the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Talal Abu Zarifa, said that for the last ten years the electricity crisis has become a source of political disruption. In an interview with Quds Press, he called on the Palestinian leadership to implement projects that would end the electricity crisis permanently. Gaza currently runs on an eight-hour cycle for electricity, in which power is supplied for eight hours before being cut for eight, however if the power plant stops working it could return to a six-hour cycle.

Palestinian PM conditions salaries on Hamas concessions

MEMO 11 Apr — Palestinian Authority (PA) employees in the Gaza Strip will receive their full salaries depending on the availability of funds and Hamas’s response to certain political demands, Rami al-Hamdallah, head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian government, said Tuesday. He made the assertion in a press statement released following a weekly meeting in Ramallah, during which he reportedly vowed that his government would “not abandon the Gaza Strip”. “The recent decision to reduce the salaries of [PA] employees in Gaza is a temporary one,” he said in the statement. Full salaries, he went on to assert, “will be paid once the needed funds are available and Hamas responds to proposals made by Palestinian President [Mahmoud] Abbas”. Last week, Abbas called on Hamas — which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 — to dissolve a recently established “administrative committee” tasked with coordinating between various branches of the Hamas-run Gaza government.
Hamas MP Yahia Moussa, for his part, said the seven-member committee had been drawn up with a view to “coordinating between the ministries of the Gaza government in the absence of any governing role by the Ramallah-based unity government”. The PA’s Gaza-based employees were surprised early last week to find that their monthly salaries for March had been cut by some 30 percent. In an effort to resolve the crisis, Fayez Abu Eita, a spokesman for Abbas’s Fatah movement (which leads the unity government), said a Fatah delegation would visit the Gaza Strip “within days” to meet with Hamas officials. Abu Eita did not provide an exact date for the visit but voiced hope that Hamas would “respond positively” to Abbas’s request for the new administrative committee’s dissolution … Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, for his part, said that reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas could only be achieved “if President Abbas wills it”. “Reconciliation hinges entirely on the president; it depends on his personal discretion,” Qassem told Anadolu Agency, going on to assert that Abbas “rejects any kind of national partnership”.

Bringing back water to farmers in Gaza

ACTED 11 Apr — Like in many places in the world, farming is a way of life in the southern Gaza Strip. However, the 2014 conflict has had a significant impact on agriculture in the area, severely limiting access to water, land and resources, and amplifying the already high levels of food insecurity. Faced with such challenges, many hardworking farmers struggle to grow crops and yield only a small, if any, profit despite all their constant efforts. Alia, a 65 year old Palestinian farmer who heads a household of six people, was spending as much as 80% of her farming revenue on water and fertilizers alone, gaining very little reward for her hard work. Add to this the high cost of seeds and inadequate water infrastructure in the area, and it is no surprise that many farmers cannot afford or are unable to cultivate their own land. While the challenges farmers face in Gaza are not always the most apparent, they impact the food security of the wider area. With help from the local community, ACTED and the Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD) came together in 2016 as part of a project funded by UNOCHA to improve water access and restore the livelihoods of farmers in the southern Gaza Strip. Through the installation of 26 water ponds and the repair of 15 kilometers of damaged irrigation lines, 502 dunums (50 hectares) of land are now once again being cultivated by farmers as a direct result, both improving their livelihood and income opportunities and strengthening the area’s food security. With the improved access, Alia’s water costs have now halved, allowing her to cultivate two more dunums of land with her savings. Like Alia, 656 other farmers have benefited from this project….

Most of Gaza’s libraries have been closed or destroyed — and you can help a new one get off the ground

The Nation 12 Apr by Katha Pollitt — There are as many opinions about Israel and Palestine as there are minds and mouths (and fingers to type a tweet), but here is something everyone can agree on: People in Gaza need more books. Mosab Abu Toha, a young Gazan with a degree in English literature who has never been able to explore the world due to Israel’s ban on travel, escapes through reading. Now he is trying to start an English-language library and book shop. (It will have books in Arabic as well—there is a great shortage of books in any language in Gaza, much fewer than one per person.) He and his friend Shafi Salem have collected hundreds of books, which currently live in his apartment. His dream is to set up a library in a building of its own, with a coffee shop and a book shop—the sort of social and cultural amenity that is practically nonexistent in Gaza, where most of the public libraries have been closed or destroyed, and where the remaining ones hold only 70,000 books for a population of 1.8 million. Now the two young men have started a crowdfunder to raise $15,000 [so far they’ve only collected $3,463] to get the library off the ground–for rent, shelves, tables, chairs, and staff. Can you chip in to help make the library a reality and do something concrete and positive for the people of Gaza? Noam Chomsky has donated books to the library project. Here’s what he says about it:….

How Israel worsened a farm crisis in Gaza

GAZA STRIP (EI) 11 Apr by Sarah Algherbawi — Israel stands accused of worsening a crisis in Gaza’s livestock sector. Earlier this year, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in Gaza. For 17 days, Israel blocked the entry of vaccines required to prevent the virus from spreading, according to Gaza’s veterinary services. The delay hampered efforts to deal with the outbreak. By obstructing the delivery, Israel appeared to renege on its own commitments. In February, the Israeli agriculture ministry announced that it would provide 30,000 doses of a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine to the Palestinian Authority. The provision of these vaccines was presented as a response to the outbreak. The announcement was made after it was confirmed that cattle had been diagnosed with the disease at an Israeli kibbutz close to the boundary with Gaza. The Palestinian Authority had not informed Israel about how the disease “started its circulation” in Gaza several weeks previously, a statement by the Israeli agriculture ministry claimed. Hassan Azam, director of the veterinary services administration in Gaza, said last month that most sheep and goats in the territory have been vaccinated, but decried the lack of Israeli response to the ongoing need for vaccines. He advised The Electronic Intifada on 7 April that a further 102,000 doses are still required for ongoing safety throughout the year – 72,000 for sheep and 30,000 for cows. The outbreak had harsh consequences for Waleed Abdeen, a farmer in the Khan Younis area of Gaza. Around 40 of his 400 cows died in the two days following the outbreak….

After waiting for eight years, Wataniya mobile to soon launch service in Gaza Strip

RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 Apr — Wataniya Mobile Palestine, a member of Ooredoo Group, is expected to start operations in the Gaza Strip this year after an eight-year wait, officials said on Monday, ending 18 years of monopoly by the only other cellular telephone company in Palestine, Jawwal. Company CEO Durgham Maraee said Wataniya has started work on providing mobile service in the Gaza Strip after a launch and operation in the West Bank since November 2009 … He said technical teams have started to build the transmission towers throughout the Gaza Strip as a prelude to start full operation there within this year.  While Wataniya Mobile Palestine was launched in Ramallah in November 2009 and built a mobile phone network in the West Bank, Israel did not allow it to bring equipment into the besieged Gaza Strip to offer service to the two million people there … Ooredoo CEO Sheikh Saud Al Thani also expressed his delight that Wataniya will finally be able to operate in Gaza, which he expects will have good benefits for his company’s Palestine subsidiary….

Photos: Celebrating Palestinian Children’s Day in Gaza

MEMO 10 Apr –Palestinian Children’s Day was marked in the besieged Gaza Strip with local and international NGOs sponsoring activities on 5 April.

Israeli occupation damages Palestinian crops in Gaza Strip

GAZA ( 11 Apr — The Israeli occupation continues destroying agriculture fields in the besieged Gaza strip as Israeli planes damage crops of Palestinian farmers in the farming areas along the border areas … Israeli aircraft spray herbicides on fields of vegetables causing great damage to the [crops] and also farmers. For the second time in less than two weeks, Israeli planes destroyed the vegetable fields of the Palestinian farmer Zakaria Ghalia, 30 years old, who survived the last round where Israeli planes destroyed his field. This time, Israeli planes sprayed herbicides on his potato field , and it was completely damaged. Zakaria’s field is only 150 meters away from the separation barrier between Gaza and Israel. Israeli planes damaged some 20 dunums of  squash, broccoli and cabbage. Zakaria said that few days ago, Israeli  aircraft sprayed pesticides above the farming area where wind helped to spread it, and it damaged large fields in the areas including his field, where fruits and were entirely destroyed. Several dunums of zucchini were completely damaged where farmers were about to harvest it and give it to the merchants for selling….

Palestinian refugees – Lebanon

Death toll rises to 8 amid ongoing clashes in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Clashes in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp continued for the fourth consecutive day, after the death toll rose to at least eight people as of Monday morning according to Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA), breaking a short-lived ceasefire declared the previous night. At least 35 more have been injured since violence broke out Friday — including four-year-old Zaher Khattab who was shot by a stray bullet Sunday evening — as armed clashes raged between a new joint Palestinian force deployed in the camp and Islamist militants led by Bilal Badr, who has alleged links to al-Qaeda and lives in the camp’s al-Tira neighborhood. Palestinian security forces chief Subhi Abu Arab was quoted by Lebanese news sites as saying that Palestinian forces were committed to continuing operations until Badr and other gunmen turned themselves in.

Palestinian factions agree to dissolve Takfiri group in Ain al-Hilweh

Al-Manar 11 Apr — Palestinian factions announced on Tuesday an agreement had been reached to dissolve a self-proclaimed security zone of a Takfiri group which has been engaged in fierce clashes with the Joint Palestinian Security Force in Sidon’s Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp in the last five days. Following a meeting for representatives of Palestinian factions in the Lebanese southern city, Fatah Movement Secretary Fathi Abu al-Ardat said the factions agreed to dissolve the Bilal Badr group’s so-called “security square” in Al-Tireh neighborhood, the scene of fierce clashes which took place between the terrorists and the Joint Security Force in the refugee camp. It has been circulated since Monday night that the terrorist group leader Bilal Badr had fled Al-Tireh neighborhood. Abu Al-Ardat said Badr is now at large and the Joint Security Force is seeking his arrest in a bid to hand him over to Lebanese authorities. The official in Fatah movement stressed meanwhile that the Joint Security Force will be deployed in any post across Ain Al-Hilweh camp. Tensions have been high in Sidon since last Friday, when Badr group opened fire on the Joint Security Force fighters as they were deploying in Al-Tireh neighborhood, as a part of an agreement following an earlier battle which lasted for days in the refugee camp last February. Schools and universities have been closed due to fierce clashes which killed at least 8 people and injured dozens of others.


Tufts students vote to divest from Israeli occupation

EI 11 April by Charlotte Silver — Tufts University’s undergraduate student senate passed a resolution on 9 April that calls on the university to divest from companies involved in Israel’s occupation and violation of Palestinian human rights. The resolution, written by the Boston school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, passed by 17-6 with eight abstentions, despite strong opposition from pro-Israel groups. It was endorsed by the school’s Jewish Voice for Peace chapter. While Tufts’ specific holdings are not public, the resolution calls on the school to create “a human rights screen” to bar investments in companies involved in “human rights violations against Palestinians, non-US-citizens in detainment and deportation proceedings, and incarcerated individuals.” It identifies Elbit Systems, G4S, Northrop Grumman and Hewlett Packard Enterprise as companies that provide military, surveillance and prison services to the Israeli and US governments….

Other news

Fatah delegation to meet with Hamas in Gaza in bid toward reconcilation

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — A delegation representing the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party is set to travel to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, after Israel ends its lockdown on the occupied West Bank and Gaza imposed for the Jewish holiday of Passover to end Monday night. Member of Fatah’s Central Committee Jamal Muheisin told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the delegation would appeal to Hamas officials to uphold to the terms set out in the 2012 Cairo agreement. Muheisin accused Hamas of taking steps that violated past agreements made toward reconciliation, namely, a recent plan unveiled by Hamas to form a new administrative committee to run the Gaza Strip. Hamas officials have meanwhile countered that the committee was merely a temporary solution to coordinate between Gaza’s ministries in Gaza, and lobbed accusations back at the PA for failing on efforts towards forming a unity government for both territories. Regardless, Muheisin warned that if Hamas did not back down on such moves, “possible future steps will be discussed upon the delegation’s return in order to protect our national project.” The Fatah official’s remarks came after sources close to the PA told Ma‘an on Monday that the Palestinian government would be “reshuffled” if Hamas does not adhere to policies set out in the 2014 agreement to form a national unity government….

Opinion: Australia is in danger / Amira Hass

Haaretz 12 Apr — The state Down Under recently revoked the visa of a noted Palestinian activist – the long arm of Israel is most apparent — Why is the Australian government afraid of Bassem Tamimi, a Palestinian from the village Nabi Saleh? Last Wednesday, Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection revoked the entry visa it had given him a day earlier. Tamimi, who with other popular resistance activists in his village and across the West Bank have managed to focus international attention on the evils of the Israeli occupation, was invited by a left-wing organization and some pro-Palestinian groups to hold a series of lectures and meetings in Australia. No less than Tamimi, they were shocked by the hysterical revocation of his visa. As expected, pro-occupation and pro-expulsion websites were delighted. The revocation document, posted on the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), says “the [immigration] department has recently been made aware of information that indicates there is a risk that members of the public will react adversely to Mr. Tamimi’s presence in Australia regarding his views of the ongoing political tensions in the Middle East. his presence in Australia would or might pose a risk to the good order of the Australian community.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin couldn’t have better formulated the rationale for silencing any opposition voice … “His views,” says the official document. As if this were a debating salon and not irrefutable, first-hand testimony about a regime of ethnic segregation that Israel fashions….

Two electoral lists for local councils are female-only, says election commission

RAMALLAH (WAFA) 11 Apr – Statistics on the preliminary register of electoral lists and candidates for the upcoming local council elections released Tuesday by the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) said that two electoral lists had only female candidates. In addition, eight lists were headed by woman candidates, said the CEC, putting the percentage of woman candidates in all the lists at 26 per cent. A total of 735 lists were submitted for 391 districts in the West Bank broken down into 116 city councils and 275 village councils. The CEC said the number of lists registered as political parties or coalition of parties represented 41.6% of the total candidate lists, whereas independent lists which are not affiliated to any political party represented 58.4% of the total lists. Young candidates aged 25-35 accounted for the majority of candidates in the lists representing 31% of the total number of candidates with Hebron district topping the list where percentage of candidates under the age of 36 reached 38% of the total number of candidates….

EU provides €12 million to support families in need in the West Bank and Gaza

JERUSALEM (WAFA) 11 Apr — The European Union (EU) contributed almost €12 million to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) quarterly payment of social allowances to 109,000 poor Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza, an EU press release said on Tuesday.  This contribution amounts to €11.75 million and is funded by the European Union (€10 million), the Governments of Austria (€1.25 million) and Ireland (€0.5 million). It will cover the payments made to around 71,500 families. “The EU supports the payments to households living in extreme poverty that are registered in the cash transfer program of the Ministry of Social Development. Two thirds of the families benefiting from this program live in Gaza,” said the statement. “The fight against poverty is at the heart of the EU’s political, economic, and social agenda,” said the Deputy EU Representative Tomas Niklasson.

For Palestinian family, an udder-ly unique power source

AFP 12 Apr — Power comes in many forms, but Kamal al-Jebrini’s family looked to where others may fear to tread for a new source of it: cow dung. The family has begun recycling waste from its cows to produce electricity for one of the largest Palestinian dairy plants and even to provide power to some houses. They discovered the idea during trips abroad and decided cow dung that would otherwise mainly rot in the sun — apart from some used as fertiliser by neighbouring farmers — could be put to better use. “It was a shame to allow all of that manure to be lost and impact the environment when we can produce electricity with it,” said Jebrini, who owns a large farm of about 1,000 cows with his brothers. He spoke after inspecting the milking room, where workers looked after lumbering cows. The project in the occupied West Bank is the first of its kind in the Palestinian territories, where renewable energy usually means solar panels. The family turned to Maher Magalsay, who specialises in renewable energy at the Polytechnic University of Hebron, the major city located nearby in the south of the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel for 50 years. Magalsay brought engineers and a large generator from Germany to develop the project that involves using heat to produce methane and biogas from the cow dung, eventually leading to electricity … Now, he proudly shows off two large silos where manure and biogas are stocked to be later cooled and transformed. It allows the 30 tonnes of dung produced daily by Jebrini’s cows to generate 380 kilowatt hours. He can even route part of the energy produced to the local electricity company. There is no power plant in the West Bank, and nearly 90 percent of the 5.3 gigawatts of energy consumed are bought from Israel….

Facebook vs Palestine: Implicit support for oppression

Al Jazeera 11 Apr by Nadim Nashif — Facebook’s censorship and information sharing policies reveal a persistent pro-Israeli bias — Between 2015 and 2016, Israel arrested more than 400 Palestinians because of content they circulated online, often on Facebook, that Israel alleged amounted to “incitement”. Around 200 are embroiled in court cases. One of the best-known cases is that of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, who faces up to eight years in prison for a poem she posted on her Facebook page in 2015. The last witnesses in her case testified on March 28, and a verdict is expected in a few months. At the same time, Facebook has been cooperating with the Israeli government to remove content the latter finds objectionable, including briefly shutting down the page of the political party Fatah in March, because of an old photo posted of former leader Yasser Arafat holding a rifle….

Israel’s ‘slow’ plan for peace

Al-Monitor 11 Apr by Daoud Kuttab — Israeli politicians are arguing that at least 10 years of calm and negotiations are required before the possibility of founding an independent Palestinian state — The most prominent Israeli politician with a chance of replacing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that peace with the Palestinians will take decades. Speaking at a rally in Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, on March 26, Yair Lapid, chairman of the center-right Yesh Atid, said “Any negotiations with Palestinians would need to be conducted in very slow stages.” By “slow” he meant 15-20 years. Earlier, Israel’s current opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, had called for a decade of calm before any peace process could bear fruit. The Israeli Labor Party leader on Feb. 23 outlined a 10-point plan that called for 10 years of absolute calm on the west bank of the Jordan River, anchored and supervised by a UN Security Council resolution, before a Palestinian state could be truly independent. It is not clear why such extended periods are deemed necessary before implementation of the internationally accepted two-state solution. While some might argue that the above statements were made in light of the growing expectation of early Israeli elections, according to some politicians and analysts, there is no doubt that the politicians making them believe that they are what the Israeli public wants to hear … The arrogance of Israeli politicians arguing for an almost indefinite continuation of illegal occupation and colonial settlement stems from one simple fact: The cost of occupation is so cheap that it gives them little incentive to tackle it, as the Israeli population has moved farther right and become more hawkish on the issue. The situation will only change once Palestinians, Arabs and the international community make Israel pay a serious price for its continued occupation and violations of human rights.

EU Blasts Israel for Razing, Seizing Palestinian Homes

[ Ed. note – Another EU official has dared open his mouth and criticize Israel. I wonder how much longer he will have a job. They generally don’t seem to last too long. ]

Press TV

The European Union (EU) has lashed out at Israel for pursuing the policy of demolishing and confiscating Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, calling on the Tel Aviv regime to end its practice.

EU’s ambassador to the occupied territories, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, made the criticism in a message delivered to Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Director General Yuval Rotem during a meeting last week, with envoys from all EU member states present.

“The practice of enforcement measures such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes and humanitarian assets (including EU-funded) and the obstruction of delivery of humanitarian assistance are contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law,” Faaborg-Andersen said.

He further urged “Israel, as the occupying power, to meet its obligations vis-à-vis the Palestinian population … [and] completely stop these demolitions and confiscations and allow full access of humanitarian assistance.”

In February, Israeli forces distributed 42 demolition orders in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in Area C of the occupied West Bank.

Tents, huts and a school, many of them funded by the EU, are among the structures that will be destroyed.

Delegations from EU embassies have regularly visited the village, hoping to secure an Israeli Supreme Court injunction against the demolitions.

“We’re not giving up,” said an EU diplomat, whose name was not mentioned in the report.

International bodies and human rights groups say Israel’s sustained demolitions of Palestinian homes are aimed at uprooting Palestinians from their native territories and expropriating more land for the expansion of settlements.

Tel Aviv has accelerated its land grab and settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands after pro-Israel US President Donald Trump took office earlier this year.

Latest figures provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs show a sharp rise in Area C demolitions by Israeli forces over the past year.

Between 450 and 560 Palestinian structures were torn down each year from 2012-2015, compared to 876 recorded in 2016 and 121 in January 2017, according to the available figures.

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