“Israel” is worried about the Palestinian elections. It believes Abbas is too

The Israeli security services have no wish to rock the boat, but they have few measures to influence the upcoming polls

An electoral worker leaves the Palestinian Central Elections Commission’s office in Gaza City (Reuters)

By Yossi Melman in Tel Aviv, Israel

Published date: 24 February 2021 15:34 UTC 

From the perspective of the Israeli security establishment, it would have been better if the scheduled Palestinian elections would not take place at all.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered general elections to be held on 22 May, a presidential one on 31 July and Palestinian National Council polls on 31 August.

Hamas, the main opposition to Abbas’ Fatah movement currently running a parallel administration in Gaza, welcomed the announcement.

About two million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza Strip are eligible to vote. Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community, most likely will not allow Jerusalemites to vote.

‘The elections pose for Israel more risks than opportunities’

– Colonel Michael Milshtein, ex-Israeli Military Intelligence

But Israel also remembers how it was shocked to realise that Hamas had won the last elections for the Palestinian legislature in 2006. Judged to be free and fair by international observers, Hamas defeated Fatah, which had been established by its founding father Yasser Arafat and led since his death by Abbas.

“The elections pose for Israel more risks than opportunities,” says Colonel Michael Milshtein, who headed the Palestinian branch in the research department of Israeli Military Intelligence, known by its Hebrew acronym as Aman.

A year after the elections, Hamas took power in Gaza in a coup following violent clashes with Fatah – and has controlled the coastal enclave ever since.

The general elections are a promising development to enhance the democratic process, increase public trust, create international support for the Palestinian predicament and refresh the stagnated Palestinian politics and its ageing politicians.

Fatah suffers from internal tensions, factional rifts and a deteriorating public image. Meanwhile, Hamas shows determination, a high degree of unity and organisational skills.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hands the election decree to Chairman of the Palestinian Central Election Committee Hana Naser in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) hands the election decree to Chairman of the Palestinian Central Election Committee Hana Naser in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Reuters)

These traits were already present in the turbulent years of 2006-2007, which resulted in Hamas’s election victory and domination of Gaza.

Thus, Israeli security officials from Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet, who monitor and analyse developments in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, are worried.

Fatah fears

According to Israeli security officials, Abbas and his top lieutenants are no less concerned than Israel. They say that Abbas was very reluctant to agree to call the elections.

Abbas’s weakening leadership is challenged by Marwan Barghouti, who is considered the most popular leader among Fatah and Palestinian Authority supporters. So far, all attempts by Abbas to persuade Barghouti to drop his candidacy have failed.

To facilitate Abbas’s aim, Israeli security officials went out of their way to allow the president’s advisers to visit Barghouti in his prison cell, where he is serving multiple life sentences after being convicted of murder by an Israeli court during the Second Intifada.Palestine elections: Gaza voters sceptical about upcoming polls.

But, eventually, Abbas succumbed to the pressure, which was mounted on him by the younger generation of Palestinians that hope to see a change of guard, and by Egypt.

Egypt has over the years played a major role in the attempts to bring about a genuine national Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, which has so far failed. Calling the elections is another effort to unify the Palestinian people.

Abbas now faces a dilemma. Without the elections, his attempts to bring national unity and to reinstate Fatah as a significant force in Gaza are doomed to fail. But if the elections take place, Fatah may be defeated again and Hamas would increase its power, not only in its solid base of Gaza but also in the West Bank.

The Israeli security perception is that the elections are a threat.

If Hamas wins the elections, it will increase its self-confidence to challenge Israel more drastically.

Military Intelligence and Shin Bet analysts have already drawn up scenarios arguing that if Hamas emerges as the winner, or only increases its power in the elections, it will employ the same military tactics used in Gaza – launching rockets, planting bombs and using hit and run tactics – against Israeli troops and Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Israel’s approach is: why rock the boat?

However, there is truly little that Israel can do. It cannot openly oppose the elections, and it knows that it has no real measures to influence them.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (11-17 February 2021)

 February 18, 2021

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (11-17 January 2021)

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine

11 – 17 February 2021

  • Palestinian woman dies of heart attack during violent IOF raid into her house in Nablus
  • IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem: 19 Palestinians wounded
  • Two IOF incursions into eastern Gaza, and two shootings reported at fishing boats western Gaza Strip
  • In 106 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 71 civilians arrested, including 13 children and a woman
  • IOF delivers 20 demolition notices to houses in Nablus and Bethlehem; 5 buildings were self-demolished in occupied East Jerusalem and evacuation notices served to several buildings in the city
  • Settler-attacks: settlers kidnap a Palestinian man in Tulkarm, and attack civilian homes and vehicles in Nablus and Ramallah
  • IOF hinder the entry of Covid-19 vaccines into the Gaza Strip for two days
  • IOF established 69 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 13 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

Summary           

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. Additionally, IOF conducted widescale demolition operations; and served demolition and cease-construction notices, mostly in the northern Jordan valleys, eastern West Bank. Settler attacks continued this week, particularly attacks on civilian houses and vehicles in Nablus.

Also, the Israeli occupation authorities stalled the entry of 2,000 Covid-19 vaccines into the Gaza Strip for two days. The vaccines were sent by the Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

This week, PCHR documented 199 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

On 17 February 2021, 67-year-old Rahma Khalil Abu-Ahour, from Abu Nujaym village in eastern Bethlehem, died of a heart attack she suffered during an IOF raid into her nephew’s house where she was visiting. Additionally, IOF shot and injured 19 civilians in its attacks on peaceful protests in the West Bank: 4 at a protest in Beit Dajan – Nablus; 9 others at two protests in Kafr Qaddum – Qalqilya; and 6 by Salfit’s northern entrance.

In the Gaza Strip, two IOF shootings were reported on agricultural lands eastern Gaza Strip, and twice at fishing boats off Gaza’s northern shore.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 106 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 71 Palestinians were arrested, including 13 children and a woman.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted 2 limited incursions into eastern Khan Younis and Northern Gaza.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 12 incidents:

  • Nablus: 11 demolition notices served (4 houses, 6 barracks and water tank) in central Jordan valleys; and 13 demolition notices (houses) in Yatma.
  • Hebron: barracks served demolition notice in Halhul.
  • Bethlehem: 3 houses served demolition notices in al-Khader.
  • East Jerusalem:
  • 5 self-demolitions: an external room overlooking the al-Aqsa Mosque; an apartment in Sur Baher; 2 barracks in Silwan; an apartment building in Shu’afat.
  • IOF served an apartment building an evacuation order in Silwan.
  • An Israeli court rejected the appeal of 4 families to annul the evacuation order issued against their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
  • A house was demolished in Ras al-Amud.
  • Metal fence surrounding a plot of land in Jabel Mukaber removed.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 8 settler-violence incidents:

  • Hebron: shepherds and a Palestinian family assaulted in eastern Yatta
  • Nablus: assault on civilians and worshippers in Khan al-Laban; a farmer was also assaulted in the area. A bus and civilian houses were assaulted in Asira al-Qibliya and Qusra. Also, a car was set on fire.
  • Tulkarm: civilian was kidnapped while at his land; IOF later released him.
  • Ramallah: assaults on the vehicles of Palestinian workers parked near “Shilo” settlement, which is established on the lands of Turmus Ayya in northeastern Ramallah.

 Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

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

  • At approximately 01:30 on Thursday, 11 February 2021, IOF moved into Ramallah in the center of the West Bank. Meanwhile, Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at IOF, who responded with teargas canisters to disperse them. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Friday, 12 February 2021, a peaceful protest took off in front of Beit Dajan village council, east of Nablus, north of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in Nablus, towards lands under the threat of confiscation, east of the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers, annexation wall and deal of the century. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 4 protestors were shot with live bullets and taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment. Also, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 12:30 on Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased Palestinian young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired live and sponge bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 8 protestors were wounded; one was wounded in his face while the rest wounded in their lower limbs.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Salfit, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men against lands under the threat of confiscation in favor of settlement projects. IOF chased Palestinians gathered in the area, clashed with them, and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 6 civilians were directly hit with teargas canisters.
  • At approximately 14:30 on Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased Palestinian young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired live and sponge bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, an 18-year-old male was wounded with a sponge grenade in his thigh.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and stationed in al-Khelwa neighborhood. IOF established military checkpoints at the neighborhood entrances, searched Palestinian civilians and checked their IDs. During which, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones, Molotov Cocktails and fireworks at IOF, who chased the protestors in the neighborhood and fired heavy rubber bullets and teargas canisters at them. As a result, dozens of Palestinians suffocated due to teargas inhalation. Also, IOF arrested Mohammed Hatem Abu al-Hawa (19) and withdrew later.
  • At approximately 20:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, and off al-Sudaniyia Shore, west of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them until 21:30, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 20:00 on Sunday, 13 February 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Ras Karkar village, northwest of Ramallah, stationed in several areas and checked civilians’ IDs. IOF deployed between residential houses and patrolled the area, causing fear among the villagers and forcing the shop owners to close at gunpoint. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF, who chased the stone-throwers and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, many stone-throwers suffocated due to teargas inhalation. At 22:00, IOF withdrew towards the village’s main entrance and established a military checkpoint there.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 15 February 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyia Shore, west of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 11 February 2021:

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Jalqamus village, southeast of Jenin, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Abdul Baset Abed al-Hajj (48) and Abdul Rahim Sami Suleiman al-Hajj (40) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (8) civilians; Mohammed Hamdi Abu Maria (50), Saqer Mahmoud Abu Maria (46), Ayesh Naser Ikhlaiel (26), Lo’ay Shehda ‘Alqam (35), Mohammed Sameer Abu Maria (20), Abdullah Mohammed Ikhlaiel (20), Mohammed Bassam al-‘Allama (20), and Issa Hashem Bahr (22).
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into al-Jalamah village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mahmoud Anis Sha’ban (35) and Mohammed Ali Yehya (22) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Shu’afat refugee camp, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Yasine Taha’s (27) house and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Islam Emad Hashash (17).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. They raided and searched Mohammed As’ad Abu Khalifa’s (40) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Bireh, and stationed at al-Jinan neighborhood. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Nadeem Saleem Ghaith (22).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Naser Saqer al-Soufi (18), and Musallam Dawoud Yehya (19).
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF arrested Ra’fat Na’eem Abu Akr (53), from al-Doha, west of Bethlehem, while present in one of the Khader village’s streets, south of the city.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Waheed Eid Shabana (52), from al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, while present in Salah al-Dein street in the city center. IOF claimed that his presence in that area was not legal due to holding the West Bank ID card, and he was taken to al-Bareed police center until they returned him to the West Bank on the morning of the next day.

Shabana’s wife, an Israeli ID holder, said that her husband grew up, educated, and lived in Jerusalem, but his father moved to live in Ramallah in the 80s due to arresting Waheed when he was only 14. She added that her husband returned to Jerusalem after spending 4-years in the Israeli prisons, despite losing his right to obtain the Jerusalem ID card. After they got married he applied to the competent authorities to obtain unification four times, but his requests were rejected for security reasons. Shabana’s wife stated that she and her husband were arrested in June 2020, and they were mistreated and insulted at “Oz” police center in Jerusalem, as they stayed outside waiting their turns in the cold weather, then she was released without being investigated but Waheed was taken to al-Zaytouna military checkpoint. However, she mentioned that her husband was prevented to live between his sons, ages between 23-13, and from living in the city that he grew in, in addition to preventing him from his work and livelihood under the pretext of the illegal residence.

  • At approximately 23:30, IOF moved into Ein al-Beida village in the northern valleys, east of Tubas. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Maram Hikmat Abu Mutarea’ (28).
  • IOF carried out (15) incursions in Zeita, Attil, Nur Shams refugee camp, Tulkarm refugee camp, Tulkarm, and Kafr al-Dik villages, east of Salfit; Zababdeh, Arranah, and Umm al-Tut villages, southeast of Jenin; Tell, Badhan, and Sebastia in Nablus governorate; Dura, Samu, and Arrub refugee camp, in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 12 February 2021:

  • At approximately 13:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Monthir Atiya (20) and Mohammed Ahmed Atiya (19), from al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, while present in Damascus Gate area in the occupied city, after finishing the Friday prayers in the Aqsa Mosque. IOF took them to al-Bareed police center in Salah al-Dein street.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF stationed at al-Jib military checkpoint, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem, arrested Laith Eid Barakat (29) and his brother Ahmed (27), from al-Nabi Samwil village, while passing through the checkpoint. It should be noted that the village is surrounded by the annexation wall, and its residents can pass to Jerusalem and the West Bank only through al-Jib checkpoint, and no one is allowed to pass through it despite being registered on the checkpoint passers’ list.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into al-Shuhada village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched Rabea Fadel Wishahi‘s (32) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF arrested Ahmed Abdul Hafiz Atiya (17), while heading to a medical center in the Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, to receive treatment. IOF took him to al-Bareed police center in Salah al-Dein street.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF severely beaten and arrested Sufian Ahmed Abu Nab (20), causing wounds and bruises that required taking him to hospital while he was under arrest.
  • IOF carried out (11) incursions in Azzun and Kafr Thulth villages, east of Qalqilya; Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin; Arraba and Kafr Ra’i, southwest of Jenin; Sanur, Bir al-Basha, and al-Jalamah, southeast of Jenin; Nablus, Tall, and Huwwarah in Nablus governorate. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin; Azmut, northeast of Nablus; Sa’ir, Dura, and Nuba villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 14 February 2021:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Ashraf Sbeitan (16) and Mohammed Samer Abu al-Hawa (16) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF moved into Shu’afat neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses belonging to Abu Khudair’s family and arrested (4) children; Saif Waleed Abu Khudair (16), his brother Mohammed (17), and their cousins, Abdul Rahman Abu Khudair (16) and Mohammed Emad Abu Khudair (17).
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF moved into Bab Huta neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Majd Khaled Sharifa’s (20) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services at Moscovia Detention Centre. It should be noted that Sharifa was accused of throwing stones at the settlers’ cars and arrested on 18 June 2017, when he was 16, and spent 11-months in the Israeli prisons.
  • IOF carried out (8) incursions in Zububa and Jalamah, southeast of Jenin; Deir Sharaf, west of Nablus; Izbat Shufa, southeast of Tulkarm; Fawwar refugee camp, Dhahiriya, Beit Ummar, and Sa’ir villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 15 February 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Balata al-Balad village, east of Nablus. They raided and searched Hatem Mawhoob Dweikat’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Ram village, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; the photojournalist Saif al-Dein al-Qawasmi (19), Zuhair Ahmed al-Hinnawi (22), and Wissam Ra’ed al-Hinnawi (19), and released them after several hours. It should be noted that Wissam is a former prisoner, and he was injured with a rubber bullet in his left eye during clashes with the Israeli soldiers several years ago.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into a village north of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Abu Danhash’s house and arrested Oday Issam Abu Danhash (22), and his brother Qusai (25).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, and stationed in the center of the camp. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Mohammed Jameel Nassar (19) and Assem Wael Awadallah (18).
  • At approximately 02:20, IOF moved into Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched Mazen Seitan Abu al-Rab’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Surda, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Qusai Alaa’ Bazzar’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Araqah village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) children; Mahdi Saleh Yehya (15), Oday Tamim Yehya (15), and Shukry Hasan Lotfi (15).
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Azzun, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched Saleem Mohammed Badwan’s (48) farm and arrested him along with his son (22).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Tareq Mahmoud Abu Srour’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Ibrahim Ahmed al-Tamimi (21), Obay Saleh al-Tamimi (20), and Abdul Rahman Mohammed al-Tamimi (18).
  • At approximately 08:20, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved 50-squaremeters to the west of the border fence, east of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip. They leveled and combed lands that were previously leveled amidst Israeli sporadic shooting. At approximately 10:00, IOF withdrew, and no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Ahmed Subhi al-Sous (22), from Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, while passing through a temporary military checkpoint established at the entrance of the camp.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF reinforced with dozens of military vehicles moved into Ras Karkar village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided Sufian Abdullah Abu Fukhaida’s house in the eastern side of the village, evicted its residents and seized the house, and got on the top of the house and prevented anyone from entering it. Meanwhile, people of the village gathered, and quarrels occurred between them and the Israeli soldiers to withdraw from the house. At approximately 02:15, they withdrew and headed to a three-stories house which is under destruction belonging to Hamdi Fadel Samhan, as they stuck the Israeli flag on the top of the house and turned it into a military barrack.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Rami Ahmed Abu Zneid (37) and Wael Abdul Aziz Abu Zneid (46). No arrests were reported.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Yatta, south of Hebron, and stationed in al-Karmel area. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Sami Issa Shatat (44) and Hatem Mahmoud Makhamra (49). No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Yaser Dawoud Mansour (54), a member of Hamas Movement in the dissolved legislative council, and Adnan Ahed Asfour (58), a leader in Hamas Movement.
  • Around the same time, IOF infantry units reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. They deployed and stormed dozens of houses and arrested (19) civilians, including 2 children, and underwent to field investigation for three consecutive hours and half, before releasing 14 of them. IOF kept three young men and two children under arrest and took them to an unknown destination. The arrestees are: Mohammed Abdul Hameed Awwad (16), Ahmed Yousef Ayyad (17), Mahdi Abdul Qader Hammad (19), Tareq Ziyad Hamed (28), and Mohannad Sameer al-Tawil (20), who is a former prisoner.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Ramallah, and stationed in Kadoura refugee camp adjacent to the city. They raided and searched Ra’fat Shihda Abu Shaqra’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Salem village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Shadi Ghassan Jabara (30).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Rujeib village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Eyad Ahmed Rawajba (32).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into the southern side of Hebron. They raided and searched al-Ja’bari’s houses and arrested (3) civilians; Mos’ab Omar al-Ja’bari (19), Ammar Mahmoud al-Ja’bari (52), and his son Emad (22).
  • At approximately 23:30, IOF stationed at Checkpoint 300, north of Bethlehem, arrested Akram Emran al-Atrash (25), while passing through the checkpoint back from his work in Israel to his home in al-Dheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Rujeib, Urif, southeast of Nablus; Beit Kahil and Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Qalandiya refugee camp, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Mostafa Abu Romouz (21) and Mohammed Maher Mutair (23) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles and bulldozers 50-meters to the east of al-Fukhkhari village, east of Khan Yunis. They leveled and combed lands along the border fence amidst Israeli sporadic shooting which continued for hours before deploying again inside the abovementioned fence.

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

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 09:00 on 11 February 2021, IOF accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration SUV moved into ‘Ein Shebli in the Central Jordan Valleys, northeast of Nablus. The Civil Administration officer notified 4 houses, 6 barracks and a water tank with demolition under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C.
No.NameNotified Facility
1-Shehdah ‘Abed Rabboh Abu al-Kabbash5 barracks; each is 200 sqms
2-Nabil Mohammed ShtayyahAn under-construction house (80 sqms)
3-Aisha Mohammad ShtayyahAn under-construction house (100 sqms)
4-Nizam Khader ShtayyahA 60-sqm barrack
5-Shukri ShtayyahAn under-construction house (100 sqms)
6-Moussa Ka’abnahAn under-construction house (100 sqms) and 5 barracks; each is 120 sqms
7-Ministry of AgricultureA 500-cbm water tank established 10 years ago
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF backed by military vehicles and accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration vehicle moved into northern Halhoul, north of Hebron. The Civil Administration officer handed Khairy ‘Abdel Qader al-Herbawi military order no. (1797) relevant to the demolition of a tinplate and steel barrack built on an area of 20 sqms.  The demolition notice was issued allegedly for building in Area C and gives al-Herbawi only 96 hours from the date he received the notice.  Al-Herbawi was supposed to graze sheep in that barrack as he owns 8 dunums in the area.
  • On Thursday afternoon, IOF handed 3 Palestinians 3 demolition notices in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, allegedly for having no license. The Coordinator of al-Khader Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, Ahmed Salah, said that Isma’il Mohammed Mousa, ‘Ali Salim Mousa and his son Ahmed were handed demolition notices for their houses in Abu Soud area, west of the village, allegedly for unlicensed construction, after Beit El Court rejected their appeal against the demolition decision.  Salah added that Mousa Family has suffered a lot due to the ongoing IOF campaign for years against them.  He said that Ismail’s Mousa’s house (70 sqms) shelters 7 persons, was demolished in 2014. The houses of ‘Ali Salim Mousa and his son, Khaled, are 80 sqms each.  Salah added that ‘Ali Mousa’s house was demolished four times within the last ten years under the pretext of unlicensed construction and for its location approximate to the annexation wall.  Salah also said that the houses of ‘Ali Mousa’s other sons, Mohammed and Ahmed, are threatened of demolition, which renders 20 persons  under the threat of losing their houses and becoming displaced.  It should be noted that Abu Soud area is adjacent to the bypass road around the village and is considered the only outlet for urbanization in the western side of al-Khader village.
  • On Friday morning, 12 February 2021, Abu Hedwan Family self-demolished an outside room built of steel and shed cloth and overlooking al-Aqsa Mosque, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision issued under the pretext of unlicensed construction. Mohammed Abu Hedwan, one of the family members, said that the room was built few years ago in the Dung Gate (Magharba) neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.  He said that it was not covered in the beginning but later roofed with shed cloth to protect it from rain.  Abu Hedwan explained that the family built the room so that all its members gather inside as their houses are very narrow and small.  He added that the Israeli Municipality sent them a notice to demolish the room and threatened them last week either to demolish it themselves or the Israeli Municipality crews will do and fine them with the demolition fees.  Abu Wahdan also said that the room is 90 sqms near al-Aqsa Mosque, 70 members of Abu Hedwan family benefited from it by using it as a family council to receive guests.
  • On Saturday afternoon, 13 February 2021, Nemer Khalil Nemer self-demolished his residential apartment in Sur Baher neighborhood, south of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction. The house’s owner, Nemer Khalil Nemer, said that the apartment was built in 2015 on an area of 85 sqms, and he recently started repairing it so that his son, Jihad, and wife live in it.  However, the Israeli Municipality issued a decision to demolish it and gave him until Monday morning to implement the decision.  Nemer said that he was forced to implement the demolition decision and collect the rubble to spare himself the demolition fees imposed by the Israeli Municipality.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration SUV moved into Yatma village, southeast of Nablus. The Civil Administration officer notified 13 houses of the demolition in Hazouret As-Sha’b, Khelet Qudeiri and Zaytoun Jabarin area, west of the village, under the pretext of illegal construction in Area C.

Those affected were as follows:

No.NameNotified FacilityNumber of Family MembersNotes
1-Anwar Yousif Moti’a NajjarUnder construction house (120 sqms) 
2-Mo’in ‘Abdel Qader Najjar2-storey house and a roof (each floor is 150 sqms while the roof is 70 sqms)Ready
3-Mohammed Mahmoud Muti’a ‘Najjar2-storey house; each floor is 130 sqmsReady
4-Ahmed Nabih Tawfiq NajjarA 160-sqm houseReady
5-Mohammed Amjad Najjar2-sotey house (150 sqms)Under construction
6-Yahiya Wajih Najjar2-stoey house; each floor is 170 sqms7, including 4 childrenInhabited
7-Ahmed ‘Adnan Ahmed Sanobar2-storey houseUnder construction
8-Iyad ‘Ata Abu Baker2-storey house; each floor is 170 sqms6, including 3 childrenInhabited
9-Mus’ab ‘Ata Abu Baker2-storey house; each floor is 150 sqms3, including 1 childInhabited
10-Anas Mohammed Farah Najjar2-storey house; each floor is 150 sqms6, including 4 childreninhabited
11-Nidal Ahmed ‘Abdel Fattah Sanobar2-storey house; each floor is 140 sqms6, including 2 childrenInhabited
12-Mohammed Mahmoud farah Najjar2-storey house; each floor is 130 sqmsUnder construction
13-Yazid Mohammed Khudeir2-storey house; each floor is 130 sqms8, including 4 childreninhabited
  • On Sunday morning, 14 February 2021, ‘Awadallah family continued the demolition of their 2-storey residential building in Sho’afat neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision allegedly for unlicensed construction.

Jihad ‘Awadallah stated that his family’s residential building was built 20 years ago, and its construction cost nearly half a million shekels. He added that the building comprised two apartments, each with an area of ​​120 sqms; one of them was uninhabited while the other was for his brother Mohammad and his family after he prepared it and paid more than 100,000 shekels to live in it.  However, he had to leave it a while ago, after the Israeli municipality had haunted the family via courts and imposing fines of more than 120,000 shekels. ‘Awadallah added that at the end of last year, the Israeli court issued its final decision to demolish the building and gave them until 05 January 2021, to implement the decision.  As a result, the family had to demolish part of the building at the time, and today it resumes the demolition with the help of workers and vehicles, which cost them around 70,000 Shekels.

  • On Sunday afternoon, 14 February 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities handed Batn al-Hawa Families’ lawyer in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, a decision by the Israeli Magistrate Court to vacate a residential building belonging to Younis Shehadah and his sons in favor of Ateret Cohanim Jewish organization.

Ibrahim Shehadah, Younis Shehadah’s son, said that he was surprised with the Magistrate Court’s decision to vacate his family’s building comprised of 5 residential apartments and give them till next July to implement it.  Shehadah said that his father presented all the papers to the court that prove he has lived in the building since before 1967.  He added that “all the allegations are void and fake, and we will resort to the courts to refute them although we know that the Israeli judiciary will not bring us justice,” emphasizing they would stay at their home and stick to it.  Ibrahim also said that his father has not received the eviction decision yet, but their lawyer, Yazid Qe’awar, has it.  He added that his father and siblings live in the residential building comprised of 5 apartments in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood.  It should be noted that Younis Shehadah (83), his wife and children, Yousif, Mohammed, ‘Ali and ‘Alaa and their families of 22 members live in the building.

Head of Batn al-Hawa Neighborhood Committee, Zuhair al-Rajabi, said that 9 families out of 87 families have so far received eviction decisions from the Israeli courts from, indicating that most of them have filed appeals to the decisions, and others are waiting for the responses to their appeals. It is noteworthy that the families that received eviction decisions in Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood are: Dweik, Shweiki, ‘Awad Jaber al-Rajabi, ‘Odah, Jawad Abu Nab, ‘Abd Jaber al-Rajabi, Selm Ghaith, Rushdi Abu Ramouz and Shehadeh. The eviction decisions issued by the Israeli courts against the Palestinian families in favor of “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association came under the pretext of the land on which the houses are built belonged to the Yemeni Jews in 1892. Al-Rajabi indicated that the Israeli courts stated issuing eviction decisions against the residents of Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in 2015. The number of residents at risk of eviction ranges from 850 to 1000. He added that the Neighborhood Committee, in cooperation with human rights organizations, filed a case before the Israeli court against the “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association. The committee also filed a request to the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop the political evacuation decisions supported by the Israeli government, which aims to displace about 1,000 Palestinians.

  • On Monday afternoon, 15 February 2021, the Israeli District Court rejected the appeal filed by 4 Palestinian families from Karam al-Ja’ouni area in Sheikh Jarrah, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, demanding the court to stop evacuation of their houses in favor of Israeli settlers, who claim their ownership of the land, where the houses are built.

The families’ lawyer, Sami Irshayed, said that the Israeli District Court rejected the appeal filed against the decision of the Magistrate Court to evict the families of Iskafi, Kurd, Ja’ouni and Al-Qasem from their houses in favor of settlers, and the families were given until 02 May to implement the eviction decisions.  The families’ lawyer, Sami Irshayed, added that Israeli bodies claimed ownership of the land where the families’ properties are built in the “Karam al-Ja’ouni” neighborhood in Sheikh Jarrah, and it was registered in 1972.  Thus, the Magistrate Court issued an eviction decision against the aforementioned families last October, and the families filed an appeal to the District Court which was rejected on Monday. The families intend to go to the Supreme Court to file another appeal. Lawyer Irshayed explained that the residents of the “Karam al-Ja’ouni neighborhood” in Sheikh Jarrah have lived in their houses since 1956, upon an agreement between the Jordanian government represented by the “Ministry of Construction and Development” and UNRWA, to provide residences for 28 refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in exchange for giving up their UNRWA relief cards, and one of the conditions was to pay a symbolic rent, provided that the property will be authorized for housing after 3 years, but this has not been done.  Several years following the occupation of Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities began to pursue the residents of Sheikh Jarrah and demand that they vacate their houses under the pretext of “ownership of the land.”

  • At approximately 07:00 on Tuesday, 16 February 2021, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a house built of bricks and fortified tinplate in Ras Kabsah area in Ras al-Amud neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of building without a license.

The houseowner, Jihad Hasan Abu Romouz (40), said that he was surprised with IOF surrounding his house on Tuesday morning, ordering him and his children to leave and vacate the house contents.  He added that IOF did not allow him to take all his house contents and demolished it on the furniture, rendering him and his family homeless, without any prior warning in light of this cold rainy weather.  Abu Romouz said that he built the house last November with 2 rooms of bricks and a barrack of steel and fortified tinplate that included a living room, kitchen and toilet on an area of 90 sqms.  Jihad Abu Romouz lived in the house with his wife and 2 sons, Mohammed (12) and Qosay (10).  Abu Romouz added that the Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished last August a 90-sqm house and re-demolished it on Tuesday morning under the pretext of building without a license although the Israeli Municipality refused to give him a license to build the area.

  • At approximately 11:00, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers removed an iron fence surrounding a 55-sqm land in Deir As-Sanah in Jabal Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and damaged construction materials belonging to Amjad Talab.

Amjad Talab said that he set cement foundations on an area of 25 sqms to build a house, but the Israeli Municipality handed him a demolition decision and forced him to destroy it a month and a half ago.  Talab also said that the Municipality bulldozers raided his land in the morning and removed the fence and steel angles surrounding it in addition destroying bricks, cement and sand that were in the place.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • At approximately 09:00 on Friday, 12 February 2021, a group of settlers from “Karmiel” settlement established on Palestinian lands confiscated from eastern Yatta, south of Hebron, moved into Sedet al-Tha’lah area near the settlement. The settlers attempted to attack shepherds with their sheep in their lands.  IOF intervened after the shepherds refused to leave.  The settlers attempted to attack the family of Mahmoud Mohamad Shonaran who lives in one of the caves in the area.  It should be noted that the Israeli authorities declared the area state lands under the jurisdiction of the State of Israel; the Palestinian landowners filed a complaint before the Israeli Supreme Court to restore their ownership.
  • At approximately 12:00 on Friday, settlers under IOF’s protection attacked worshippers while performing Friday Prayer in the Ottoman Khan threatened to be confiscated in eastern al-Laban village, southeast of Nablus. IOF fired teargas canisters at the worshippers; as a result, many suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and were treated on the spot.
  • At approximately 16:20, a group of settlers chased Mohammed Nabil Kattanah, from An-Nazla al-Gharbiya village, north of Tulkarm, while being in his land namely al-Mughraqah in the eastern side of the village and kidnapped him to “Hermesh” settlement. IOF released him at 18:30 following the Israeli Military Liaison’s intervention.
  • At approximately 16:55 on Saturday, 13 February 2021, settlers from “Yitsahar” settlement in eastern ‘Asiret al-Qabaliyah, southeast of Nablus, under IOF’s protection threw stones at Palestinian houses. The local residents confronted the settlers and IOF, who fired teargas canisters at them.  As a result, a number of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • Around the same time, settlers from “Esh Kodesh” settlement established in eastern Qusra village, southeast of Nablus, under IOF’s protection, threw stones at Palestinian houses. The local residents confronted the settlers and IOF, who fired teargas canisters at them.  As a result, a number of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation and were treated on the spot.  The settlers burnt tires of a car belonging to ‘Awad Mahmoud Ahmed ‘Odah.
  • At approximately 16:30 on Sunday, 14 February 2021, a group of settlers from “Yitzahar” settlement established on southeastern lands of Nablus threw stones at a public transport bus belonging to Bisan Busses Company at ‘Asira al-Qibliya village in al-Hawouz area. As a result, the bus sustained damage, but no injuries were reported among its passengers, noting that the bus was driven by Naser Mousa ‘Abdel ‘Aziz ‘As’ous (51) from Burin village and carries 15 passengers.
  • At approximately 23:30 on Moday, 15 February 2021, settlers from “Levona” settlement established on Al-Laban As-Sharqiya village lands, southeast of Nablus, threw stones at Salah Majed Samih Daraghmah (27) while he was planting olive seedlings in his land, south of the village, and beat him up. As a result, he sustained bruises all over his body and was taken to Rafida Governmental Hospital in Nablus for treatment.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 16 February 2021, a group of settlers from “Shilo” settlement established on Turmus Ayya village, northeast of Ramallah, attacked the buses carrying Palestinian workers parked near the settlement and punctured their tires.

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

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

On Monday, 15 February 2021, Israeli authorities denied the entry of 2000 doses of Coronavirus vaccine into the Gaza Strip. These doses were sent from the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) in Ramallah, but Israeli authorities refused its entry as the political leadership in Israel had not yet approved the Palestinian Authority’s request to transfer the vaccine to Gaza. The Palestinian Minister of Health, Dr. May Al-Kailah emphasized in a press statement that the Israeli authorities prevented the entry of 2000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine into the Gaza Strip. IOF allowed the entry of the vaccines on Wednesday.

The West Bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals 62 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 2 of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Ramallah:

  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • On Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Nabi Salih village and near “Halamish” settlement, northeast of the city.
  • On Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints on a road connecting between Ni’lin and Shuqba villages, at Ras Karkar village’s intersection, at the entrance to Nabi Salih village, and at the entrance to Deir Nidham village.
  • On Monday, 15 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Nabi Salih and Silwad villages.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near ‘Atara village, north of the city.

Jericho:

  • On Monday, 15 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near “Ma’aleh Ephraim” settlement, north of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 02 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 11 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village and at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, south of the city.
  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village and near al-Nashnash intersection, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near al-Nashnash intersection, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the western entrance to Tuqu village, at the entrance to Za’atara village and near al-Nashnash intersection, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Monday, 15 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern and western entrances to Tuqu village, at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village and near Al-Khader village entrance, south of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Beit Jala village, at the western entrance to Tuqu village and near Dar Salah Bridge, east of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 17 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near al-Nashnash intersection, south of Bethlehem.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 11 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at Beita village intersection and on Madama village’s bridge, southeast of Nablus.
  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at al-Moraba’a intersection, which connects between Nablus’ eastern and southern villages.
  • On Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to An-Nassariya village, northeast of Nablus.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 11 February 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Yatta city, Idhna village, at the southern entrance to Hebron, and at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp
  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa and Idhna village, at the northern entrance to Halhul city, at the western entrance to Hebron, and at the entrance to Jalael village.
  • On Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Al-Arroub refugee camp, and at the entrances to Surif, Beit Awwa and Tarrama villages.
  • On Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the northern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Monday, 15 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa and Idhna villages, and at the eastern entrance to Dura City. Beit Ummar village, at the northern entrance to Halhul city, at the southern entrance to Yatta, and at the eastern entrance to Dura village.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Ummar and Ash-Shuyukh villages.

Qalqilya:

  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to the city.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Azzun, Izbat al-Tabib and Jit villages, and at the eastern and southern entrances to the city.

Salfit:

  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit.
  • On Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Kifl Haris and Kafr ad-Dik villages, at the entrance to Salfit.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit.

Palestine elections: A leap into the unknown for Fatah and Hamas

HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

18 February 2021 14:31 UTC

Both parties are going into the elections without an agreed vision for Palestine and a detailed plan for obtaining it

You can tell when elections are being planned in the occupied West Bank. 

This is the fifth time elections across Palestine have been attempted in the past 15 years since they were held in 2006, when Hamas, to everyone’s surprise, not least their own, swept the board. This time President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be serious about holding them.

How can one tell? Because between them his Preventive Security and Israeli forces are arresting anyone who opposes their candidates. The Palestinian Prisoners Club says that 456 civilians were arrested in January in the West Bank and on one night alone in February, 31 Palestinians were rounded up. 

A Palestinian member of Central Elections Commission displays an ID to a colleague as they check the work of the first Voter Information and Registration Centre in Gaza City on 10 February, 2021 (AFP)

A serious escalation

The arrests are politically colour blind. Every faction has been targeted – even those that have not yet been established. For over a year, Israeli forces have been targeting hundreds of young men and women from a left-wing social and political network.

Politically motivated arrests are nothing new in the West Bank. What may surprise some is that the Hamas leadership in Gaza is still pushing ahead with the election plan regardless

They face charges of  “terrorist activity,” “visiting an enemy state” or even vaguer “communicating with foreign agents”. Their interrogators put them in little doubt about why they are being detained . They want fear to spread in the community.  Detention and torture are tools to stop the network before it can grow. Hamas members in the West Bank are threatened they will be next if they dare to stand. 

Khaled al-Hajj, a Hamas leader in Jenin who supported President Abbas’s elections decrees, was arrested last week. Another Hamas member, who had just had surgery for cancer, was severely beaten.

Wasfi Kabha, a former Hamas minister, told MEE: “We are facing a dangerous and serious escalation, not only by the occupation, but also by the security services that belong to the PA. That arrest campaign aims to scare, intimidate and terrorise members of the movement and also those who have sympathy for Hamas. The arrests are meant to influence the election. There are many others that the Israeli forces threaten to arrest if they nominate themselves or take part in the elections.”

Kabha added: “The Palestinian security services severely beat Abdel Nasser Rabbi despite the fact he had suffered from cancer and had surgery a short time ago. Unfortunately, Palestinian security services finish the job of whoever Israel can not manage to arrest.”

Politically motivated arrests are nothing new in the West Bank. What may surprise some is that the Hamas leadership in Gaza is still pushing ahead with the election plan regardless.

A divided Hamas

The interesting question is why? During three rounds of negotiations with Fatah in Beirut and Ankara, the Hamas leadership insisted on holding all three elections for the Legislative Council , the presidency, and the National Council of the PLO simultaneously. This is because they did not trust Abbas to keep his word once he himself had been reelected as president.After 15-year wait, Palestinian elections face new obstacles following law amendments

Hamas also insisted that the PA end its security cooperation with Israel and the arrest campaign in the West Bank. For a while Abbas complied, only to abandon that strategy when it became clear to him last November that Donald Trump was out of office. In subsequent talks in Cairo, Hamas failed to get either demand. 

The other two factions, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), both tabled reservations. Islamic Jihad announced it was not running for the elections, but the delegation from Hamas stayed in.

Proponents of the deal with Fatah claim that Hamas were given guarantees that some 38,000 civil servants in Gaza would not only be paid by the PA, but receive permanent tenure. They claim a new election court would be formed to avoid the heavily weighted constitutional court that Abbas created. They also claim Hamas would secure the collaboration of the international community, including renewing relations with the European Union. They also claim that no one could criminalise the resistance.

Opponents of the deal within Hamas say all of these promises are wishful thinking. They point out that the issue of civil servants, which is at least a decade old, has been put off until after the elections. A new election court has not been announced by Abbas and, even if it were to be formed, it could not supplant the existing constitutional court, which remains the highest legal authority in the West Bank. 

Lastly, they say that it is not in Fatah’s power to guarantee international recognition of Hamas, which is still designated as a terrorist organisation by both the US and the EU

This combination of pictures created on 11 January, 2019 shows (L) Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (AFP)
This combination of pictures created on 11 January, 2019 shows (L) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (AFP)

Hamas’s senior leadership is clearly divided. Hamas in Gaza is hemmed in, unable to break out of the prison camp that has become Gaza following the 2006 elections, the attempted coup by Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, and the split with Fatah. They are fed up with being held responsible for the continuing siege and are desperate to find a way out. Money is also running out. Iran is no longer funding them as before, and there are signs that other foreign backers are pushing them into Fatah’s arms.  Israel’s arrest campaign aims to destroy a new Palestinian movement

But the anger at the crackdown on Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP members in the West Bank is mounting. While there is sympathy over the conditions they face in Gaza, the Hamas leadership, which is now based entirely in the enclave, will face mounting pressure to pull out of elections in which Hamas can only lose. 

No one expects a rerun of the 2006 result.

One measure of the backlash which the leadership in Gaza will face is spelled out in a leaked letter from one of the most prominent Hamas leaders in Israeli prisons. Ibrahim Hamid was a leader of the military wing in the West Bank during the Second Intifada and received one of the harshest terms: 54 concurrent life imprisonment sentences. Hamid called the decision by Hamas’ political bureau to run in the elections “hasty”.

He said the decision had been made independently of the Shura Council, a consultative body that elects Hamas’s politburo, and without the full knowledge of the prisoners’ movement. Ibrahim added that running for the elections would only serve Abbas’s purpose of reviving his legitimacy while curtailing that of Hamas.

In Hamid’s analysis, Hamas is facing a lose/lose scenario: should it win the elections, what is to prevent a repeat of the 2006 scenario, which launched the siege of Gaza and the split with Fatah? Should it lose the elections, would Hamas hand over both the administration and its rockets to Fatah in Gaza?

Even if Abbas kept his word and created a genuinely representative national Palestinian government, and Hamas was allowed to return to parliament and enter the PLO, what would stop Israel from arresting MPs as they do now? 

Fatah’s problems

Fatah is faring no better. Abbas’s drive to refresh his mandate and seek the legitimacy he has lost as one of the architects of Oslo is being threatened by two other Fatah leaders. Abbas has long been aware of the plan which I first revealed in 2016 to replace him with his arch-rival Dahlan.

The plan for a post-Abbas era was hatched by the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt. Since 2016, Egypt and Jordan have not stopped pressuring Abbas to reconcile with Dahlan. The latest message was passed to Abbas when Egypt and Jordan’s heads of intelligence visited Ramallah recently.

The new card in this operation is the man who ran against Abbas and then withdrew his candidacy in the 2005 presidential election, the Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the First and Second Intifadas who is in prison on five concurrent life sentences. 

Barghouti remains a consistently popular figure of the resistance. At one point he polled higher than both Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader, for the post of president. In April 2017 Barghouti organised a hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

This time round, Barghouti announced his intention to run for the presidency and the PNC through one of his supporters, Raafat Ilayyan. Ilayyan quoted Barghouti as saying that a united Fatah list “should be open to all including those accused of taking sides and those sacked from the movement”.

A man holds a photo of prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti calling for his release during a rally supporting those detained in Israeli jails after hundreds of them launched a hunger strike, in the West Bank town of Hebron on April 17, 2017
A man holds a photo of prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti calling for his release during a rally on 17 April 2017 (AFP)

This was a clear reference to Dahlan, who lives in exile and has been sentenced in absentia to three years in prison on corruption charges and expelled from the party. Dahlan’s lawyer at the time called the conviction a “cleansing exercise” for Abbas.

Does Fatah want to liberate Palestine from the occupation, or does it want to govern as a surrogate for Israel, whatever conditions it is put under?

After nearly two decades behind bars, Barghouti wants to get out of jail. Is Dahlan, who is Israel’s preferred Palestinian leader, the Fatah leader’s get out of jail card? Barghouti’s announcement ruffled feathers in Fatah. Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of Fatah’s central committee, who led negotiations with Hamas, accused foreign countries of meddling in the Palestinian elections. 

Rajoub told Palestinian TV: “Some messages have been received from some countries trying to interfere in the path of dialogue, including Arab states which rushed [to normalise relations with Israel]. However, Fatah’s position is clear and does not take directions from any foreign capital.” 

In their campaign to position Dahlan as the next Palestinian leader, Egypt, Jordan and UAE are keen to exploit the distrust between Fatah and Hamas. The latest sign of this is the arrival of the first of what will be a large group of Dahlan men in Gaza after many years in exile. This could only have been achieved with the consent of Hamas leaders in Gaza. 

The true winner of the election may, therefore, be a man who does not even stand on the ballot. One way or another, Dahlan is determined to return to Palestine at the expense of both Abbas and Hamas. 

The jockeying for position within Fatah is about power. But aside from this, Fatah has a real problem with its identity and its purpose. Does Fatah want to liberate Palestine from the occupation, or does it want to govern as a surrogate for Israel, whatever conditions it is put under?

Rajoub and Dahlan are sworn enemies only because they are rivals. Neither has a vision for a free Palestine. Abbas momentarily found his voice as a Palestinian leader in pushing back against the normalisation of ties with Israel, which he called a betrayal. But as soon it became clear Trump was on his way out, Abbas tossed his principles out of the window and returned to business as usual both with Washington and Israel.

The real leaders

Who then are the real leaders of this struggle? For this, we should not look to elections but to what is happening on the streets because it is only here that liberation movements are reborn. That was the case when the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat started Fatah and when Hamas became a dominant force in the First Intifada. No one, either in Ramallah or Gaza, is leading or directing events that are now taking place in Palestine.

Israel is playing a delaying game, and unhappily, both Fatah and Hamas leaders are playing into its hands

It has been a long time since there were major demonstrations by Palestinian citizens of Israel. Earlier this month, protests erupted in several towns and villages. The spark this time is the crime rate and the lack of policing. But the Palestinian flags and the slogans tell a different story, one that has not been seen or heard since the First Intifada. 

There are more and more youth initiatives taking root in the West Bank, including the one Israeli forces are so keen to dismantle. There is clearly a new generation of protest underway that is independent of Fatah, Hamas or the now divided Joint List in the Israeli Knesset.

In the diaspora, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is becoming an international movement. This, too, is independent of any Palestinian leadership. Rudderless, there is every chance that a new Palestinian movement in and outside Palestine will seize control. 

Israel is playing a delaying game, and, unhappily, leaders of both Fatah and Hamas  – one crippled by its decision to recognise Israel, the other imprisoned by it – are playing into its hands. If this continues, the impetus to break the deadlock will come from the streets, as it always has done in the past.

No vision

What a contrast Palestinian leaders make to other liberation movements. When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison on 11 February 1990, he made a speech that resonates to this day. He said the armed struggle would continue until apartheid collapsed. He called on the international community to continue the boycott of the apartheid regime.

Mandela and the ANC showed determination and vision to the end. Both are sadly lacking in Palestine

“The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement would be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle… To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid. Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way,” Mandela said.

Compare this to what Fatah has done. It signed the Oslo agreement that criminalised the armed struggle and opened the way for Israel to normalise its relations with China, the Soviet Union in its last days, India and many African countries. Oslo gave nothing to the Palestinians. It ended up giving a lot to Israel, culminating in the opening of embassies in Abu Dhabi and Manama. 

The Palestinian Authority created by Oslo became a surrogate of Israeli forces, even when Israel was starving Ramallah of tax revenue collected on its behalf. In Abbas’s own words, the PA provided Israel with “the cheapest occupation in history”.

What did Abbas get in return? Another 600,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Mandela and the African National Congress showed determination and vision to the end. Both are sadly lacking in Palestine. The mice of this struggle are in Ramallah. The lions are on the street – where they have always been.

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

Related

Palestinian Resistance running in the New Legislative Elections Simulates Insanity,إستراتيجية فلسطينية واقعية في مقابل انتخابات تحاكي الجنون

**Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

Palestinian Resistance running in the New Legislative Elections Simulates Insanity

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter
* Palestinian writer and Political researcher

Amro Allan

First published in Global Research

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results:” this quote is wrongly attributed to Einstein, but regardless of who said it, this is what best describes the Palestinian resistance participation in the new Palestinian legislative elections. The new elections are being sold as the way for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. However, the Palestinian division occurred in the light of the results of the 2006 legislative elections, and as a direct result of the contrast between Hamas and Fatah strategies towards the Palestinian cause. 

The strategies of the Palestinian factions have not changed since the previous elections. On the contrary, the Palestinian Authority (which in fact represents Fatah) has become entrenched further with the occupation, and the foreign actors’ stance against the Palestinian resistance has become more rigid. And it is stands to reason that a significant change in at least one of these two factors is a prerequisite to expect different outcome of any new elections 

So, away from the slogans of the reconciliation between Palestinian factions and the accompanied PR campaigns, what does each of the Palestinian factions hope to achieve from these elections?  And more importantly, what is the solution to break the siege imposed on the Palestinian resistance in Gaza?

The Palestinian Authority (PA)

In January 2020, the former U.S. administration announced the ‘deal of the century’; this deal in fact exposed the hidden intention of the successive U.S. administrations. This announcement was preceded by the Zionist Entity revealing its intention to annex the West Bank. Add to this, the ‘Jewish nation-state’  laws which the Zionist Entity passed in 2018 that may lead to transportation of the Palestinians in the 1948 territories out of their homes. After all these developments, Mahmoud Abbas declared Oslo Accords dead and the end of the security coordination with the occupation. With this, a glimmer of hope within the Palestinian factions that the PA had finally benefited from its disastrous experience over the past 30 years has emerged. It was said at the time that it was possible for Fatah to agree with the other Palestinian factions on the basis of civil resistance to the occupation. And a meeting of the Secretaries-Generals of the Palestinian factions was held in Beirut on this basis. However, soon the hope of any change in the performance of the PA evaporated. The PA continued to coordinate fully with the ‘Israelis’ forces in order to thwart any attempt to resist the occupation and continued to suppress any popular movement on the ground, no matter how peaceful it was. The PA relentlessly suppressed Even the peaceful popular demonstration of solidarity with the hunger-striking detainee Maher al-Akhras at the time. Then came the shocking statement of Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA Civil Affairs Minister, when he announced the return of the PA diplomatic relations with ‘Israel’ to how it was, including the security coordination- which in truth never ceased. 

It has become clear to most observers that the PA function has become limited to two tasks: first, collecting financial aid; and second, paving the way (knowingly or unknowingly) for the occupation to accomplish its aims of annexing what little that remains of the West Bank. 

By stifling any form of Palestinian movements, peaceful or otherwise, to resist the occupation’s changing the facts on the ground, the Pa has become de-facto complicit of the occupation. Hence, all PA talk still possessing a Palestinian national project becomes no more than empty rhetoric. Because even he who believes in the negotiations as the only path to attain Palestinian rights does not strip himself of all negotiation leverages as the PA has indeed done. The PA has become a mockery of itself. It now mimics the French government of Vichy or the South Lebanon Army; with the difference that the last two had a project, regardless of our view of their projects, whereas the PA no longer has a task to speak of. These are not labels that can be given lightly or as a matter of populism, nor it is a call for internal fighting which must be avoided at all cost, especially in the presence of the occupation. But this is a description of the current situation that must be taken into account when assessing any future Palestinian strategy.

Thus, it can be reasoned that the goal of Mahmoud Abbas and the PA from the elections is to renew their legitimacy, or more precisely to take allegiance from Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions, and then to return to the vortex of what they call peace process and with no horizons in sight, of course. 

Hamas and the Palestinian resistance factions

Hamas and the Palestinian resistance are going through an evident crisis, because of their limited options and their failure to lift the 15-year siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. It can be argued that the origins of the blockade were Hamas’s strategic miscalculations to run in the 2006 legislative elections- which did not secure Hamas any immunity nor protected it as it had hoped. Notwithstanding this argument, the occupation remains the prime source of the blockade. The Zionist Entity is the holder of the blockade keys and no one else. This is the primary fact and must not be ignored when formulating any   strategy to dismantle the blockade.

It is not a secret that Hamas is hoping that running in the upcoming elections will lead to lifting the blockade or at the very least easing it. This presents two assumptions: either Hamas competes against Fatah to win the majority in the legislative elections or runs with Fatah on the same party list. Suppose it is the former, and Hamas wins the election. In that case, Hamas will face a repeat of the 2006 scenario if there is no change in the Palestinian faction’s policies nor any change in the key international players’ stance towards the Palestinian resistance. 

But if Hamas runs in the elections on a party list with Fatah, and it agrees to be a minority in the legislative elections, it will become an opposition party within the Oslo system. At which point, they will be obliged to play according to the Oslo rules. We observe the emergence of two parallel lines on the Palestinian scene- that can never converge. One represents the PA which has become linked to the occupation (and part of it, in reality), and which does not believe in any form of confrontation with the occupation, even a peaceful one; whilst the other believes in Resistance to restore Palestinian rights. As a result, the resistance factions will find themselves facing the same current dilemma. With the difference that this time they will have given to the opposite side new ammunition to use against them. The Palestinian resistance will be required internally and internationally to respect the elections’ results and hand over the Gaza Strip to the PA before any easing of the blockade takes place.  And because the blockade keys are with the occupation, the Palestinian resistance will have to follow the Zionist Entity’s definition of handing over control of the Gaza Strip. And that means the disarmament of the Palestinian resistance and nothing else.

The solution to break the siege on the Palestinian resistance

It must be recognized first that finding a solution to the Gaza crisis is not a simple task, because the blockade is linked first and foremost to the occupation itself and is only one of its   symptoms. Nevertheless, what deserves attention is that the Occupation Entity has allowed a lot of financial aid to the PA in Ramallah and even to the Gaza Strip, whenever the status quo nears the point of collapse in the West Bank or Gaza. This indicates that the Zionist Entity fears an explosion in either of these arenas. For instance, Netanyahu retreated from his decision to announce the West Bank’s annexation fearing the break of a third intifada based on the estimates of his security advisers and nothing else. This casts doubt on the idea that the West Bank    is not ready for a popular movement and a third intifada. It is true that starting a popular movement is not without many obstacles, first of which   is the presence of the PA intelligence services, who are now directly coordinating with the Shin Bet. Nevertheless, is it really possible that the Palestinian factions are short of the means to motivate people and move onto the street if they put their mind to it?

In addition to what has been said, if we put the blockade imposed on the Palestinian resistance in its broader context as part of the economic war imposed on all resistance forces in the region, movements and states alike, the lifting of the siege on Gaza clearly becomes a common interest for all these actors. And this calls for the Palestinian factions to try to formulate a unified strategy with all the resistance forces in the region (i.e. the Axis of Resistance) to lift the blockade. It is, of course, obvious that this requires rounds and rounds of discussion, and that any strategy to break the siege with the support of the Axis of Resistance will be a medium-term strategy, but this remains the more productive option. Engaging in uncalculated adventures such as new elections will only lead to more time-wasting, even according to the most optimistic estimates.

Conclusion

The siege imposed on the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip is a vital component in the overall strategy of the Zionist Entity, and any counter plan to break the siege that does not take in account this fact is bound to fail. Therefore, steps that can change the equations on the ground and the development of a comprehensive national Palestinian strategy are paramount for dismantling the siege. Today the Palestinians have a realistic opportunity to impose withdrawal of the occupation from the 1967 territories through a   third intifada. This would undoubtedly change all the existing equations on the ground. 

What is put forward in this article are only thoughts for deliberation. The formulation of a complete future Palestinian strategy needs the participation of many minds. But what this article has tried to avoid is sugar-coating the reality, simplifying the status quo, and providing solutions that appear attractive on the outside but bear the seeds of their own failure in the inside.

* Palestinian writer and Political researcher

إستراتيجية فلسطينية واقعية في مقابل انتخابات تحاكي الجنون

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter
*كاتب فلسطيني وباحث سياسي

عمرو علان

First published in Arabic in Al-Akhbar Fri 5 Feb 2021

الأخبار الجمعة 5 شباط 2021

«الجنون هو أن تكرّر الفعل نفسه أكثر من مرّة وتتوقّع نتائج مغايرة». يُنسب هذا الاقتباس خطأ إلى آينشتاين، لكن بغضّ النظر عمّن كان قائله الحقيقي، لعلّه أفضل ما يُوَصِّف حالة انتخابات المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني المزمع إجراؤها قريباً. لقد وقع الانقسام الفلسطيني، أصلاً، على ضوء نتائج انتخابات عام 2006 التشريعية، وكنتيجة لتباين النظرة بشأن الاستراتيجيات بين حركتَي «حماس» و«فتح»، ومنذ ذلك الحين، لم يطرأ أيّ تغيير على الظروف الداخلية الفلسطينية من ناحية المواقف، ولا الرؤى تجاه المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني، ولا الموقفان الخارجيان الدولي والعربي قد تبدّلا بشيء. بل على العكس، زاد انحدار السلطة الفلسطينية وارتباطها بالاحتلال داخلياً، وزاد الموقفان الدولي والعربي نكراناً للحق الفلسطيني وصلفاً تجاه القوى الفلسطينية عموماً، فكيف إذن يمكن توقّع أن تكون نتائج الانتخابات الجديدة أفضل من سابقتها، وأن تؤدّي إلى مصالحة فلسطينية؟ فما الذي يبتغيه، إذن، كلّ طرف من هذه الانتخابات بعيداً عن الشعارات المعلنة وحملات العلاقات العامّة؟ وما هو الحل للخروج من حالتَي المراوحة والتيه الواضحتين في الوضع الفلسطيني؟

السلطة الفلسطينية

مع إعلان الإدارة الأميركية السابقة عن صفقة القرن، هذه الصفقة التي تمثل التوجه الحقيقي للإدارات الأميركية المتعاقبة، وما تلاها من إفصاح الكيان الصهيوني عن مسعاه لضمّ أراضي الضفّة الغربية، ناهيك بسَنّ قوانين يهودية الدولة التي تهدّد أصل وجود فلسطينيّي أراضي الـ48 في ديارهم، ظهر بصيص أمل ولو كان ضئيلاً عن احتمالية كون السلطة قد استفادت من تجربتها الكارثية، خلال الأعوام الثلاثين الماضية، عندما أعلن محمود عباس عدم الالتزام بمخرجات أوسلو ووقف التنسيق الأمني، وقيل حينها إنّه يمكن التوافق بين سائر القوى الفلسطينية على أرضية الحدّ الأدنى في مقاومة الاحتلال على أساس المقاومة الشعبية. وعلى وقْع ذلك، تمّ عقد اجتماع أمناء الفصائل في بيروت، لكن سرعان ما تبدّد الأمل في أي تبدّل ولو كان طفيفاً في أداء السلطة، فقد استمرت السلطة في التعاون الكامل مع قوات الاحتلال بهدف إحباط أيّ محاولة لمقاومة الاحتلال، وتابعت قمع أيّ حراك شعبي على الأرض مهما كان سلمياً، وحتى مجرّد التظاهرة الشعبية السلمية للتضامن مع الأسير المضرب عن الطعام آنذاك، ماهر الأخرس، تمّ قمعها دون هوادة. وتبع ذلك تصريح حسين الشيخ مستهزِئاً بعقول كلّ الشعب الفلسطيني بلا استثناء، عندما أعلن ما أسماه «انتصار الشعب الفلسطيني» وعودة التنسيق الأمني رسمياً (ويا دار ما دخلك شر).

لقد بات جلياً من طريقة تعاطي السلطة الفلسطينية مع الواقع الفلسطيني، أنّ وظيفتها صارت محصورة بأمرين لا ثالث لهما؛ الأول: تحصيل المخصّصات، والآخر: تمهيد الأرضية في الضفة الغربية – بعلم أو بدون علم – كي يُنجِز الاحتلال مشروعه بابتلاع ما بقي من أراضي الضفة عبر منعها لأيّ شكل من أشكال المقاومة أو الحراك من أجل التصدّي لخطوات الاحتلال التي يستمر بتنفيذها على أرض الواقع. وكلّ حديث عن مشروع وطني فلسطيني لدى السلطة ما هو إلا صرخات في البرّية، فحتى من كان يؤمن بطريق المفاوضات لتحصيل حقوقه لا يعمد إلى تجريد نفسه من كلّ ما لديه من أوراق ضغط أو تفاوض من تلقاء ذاته. وعلى هذا، صارت السلطة الفلسطينية تحاكي حكومة فيشي الفرنسية أو جيش لحد الجنوبي مع فارق أنّه كان لهذين الأخيرين مشروع، بغضّ النظر عن رأينا في مشروعيهما، بينما لا يوجد أي أفق مستقبلي أو مشروع للسلطة الفلسطينية، هذه ليست توصيفات يمكن إطلاقها بِخِفّة أو من باب الشعبوية، ولا هي دعوة إلى الاقتتال الداخلي الذي يجب اجتنابه بأيّ ثمن، ولا سيما في ظلّ وجود الاحتلال، لكن هذا توصيف لواقع حال يجب أن يؤخذ في الحسبان عند تقدير أيّ موقف.

وإذا ما ألقينا نظرة فاحصة، نجد أنّ السلطة فعلياً باتت تمثّل مشروع الفلسطيني المهزوم. لذلك، نجد محمود عباس يقول إنّه سيفاوض ويستمر بالمفاوضات والاستجداء عساه يُحصِّل شيئاً من الحقوق الفلسطينية، ويُعلّل ذلك بكون الفلسطيني جرّب الطرق الأخرى ولم يحصل على مراده لأنّ الظروف الدولية والإقليمية والداخلية في غير مصلحته، بحسب فهمه غير الدقيق ولا الواقعي. لكن يغيب عن هذا التصوّر أنّه حتى خيار الاستسلام غير متاح للفلسطيني الموجود في الضفة وأراضي الـ48، فالكيان الصهيوني لم يَعُد يخفي مشروعه في هضم أراضي الضفة وترحيل سكانها عاجلاً أم آجلاً، وربما يكون مردّ التشويش في هذا التصوّر تجاهل أصل المشروع الصهيوني الذي هو مشروع إحلالي يقوم على اقتلاع السكان الأصليين للأرض وإحلال المستوطنين مكانهم، وقد ساعد في ظهور هذا التصوّر بروز بعض الأطروحات المشوِّهة لحقيقة الصراع من قبيل نظريات الفصل العنصري (الأبارتايد)، أو أنّ القضية الفلسطينية هي قضية كرامة أو مساواة. لكنّ المفارقة، هنا، أنّ خيار الاستسلام ربما يكون متاحاً لأهالي غزّة إذا ارتضوا العيش بذلّة تحت سيطرة الصهيوني، وليس لباقي سكّان المناطق الأخرى في أرض فلسطين. نكتفي بهذا القدر كي لا نستطرد عن أصل النقاش الحالي أكثر.

بناءً على هذا العرض، يمكن الخلوص إلى كون هدف محمود عباس والسلطة عموماً من إجراء الانتخابات هو تجديد شرعيتها، أو أخذ البيعة من حركة «حماس» وباقي الفصائل، بتأييد خطّها السياسي إن صحّ وصفه بالخط سياسي، ومن ثم لتعود إلى دوّامة ما يسمونه مفاوضات سلام وبلا أيّ أفق طبعاً، بينما تواصل تأدية دورها الوظيفي في تأمين الحماية لقوات الاحتلال والمستوطنين، ريثما يُجْهِز الكيان الصهيوني على باقي أراضي الضفة وعلى الوجود السكاني لأهالي الضفة وأراضي الـ48.

«حماس» وفصائل المقاومة

تمرّ «حماس» بأزمة خيارات واضحة وحقيقية، بسبب إخفاقها في فكّ الحصار عن قطاع غزة، هذا الحصار الذي تشارك فيه السلطة ذاتها وبعض الدول العربية المتواطئة، والذي بات يشكّل عبئاً على أهالي القطاع ويتسبّب في عجز الحكم في غزة عن تأمين الكثير من الحاجيات الأولية للغزّيين، ناهيكم بتعطيل حركة الدخول والخروج من وإلى القطاع، ما حوَّل قطاع غزة إلى سجن مفتوح بكل معنى الكلمة. ويمكن المحاجّة بأنّ منشأ الحصار كان بسبب تقدير «حماس» الاستراتيجي الخاطئ الذي خاضت بموجبه الانتخابات التشريعية في عام 2006، التي لم تؤمّن للحركة أي حصانة ولا هي حمت ظهرها كما كان مرجواً، لكن بعيداً عن كلّ هذا النقاش يبقى الاحتلال هو مصدر الحصار الأول والأخير، ومفتاح فكّه ليس مع أحد سواه، لا مع السلطة ولا مع تلك الدول العربية المتواطئة، وهذا أمر أساسي لا يصحّ تجاهله عند صياغة أي استراتيجية لفكّ الحصار.

بناءً على ما سلف، يمكن استنتاج أنّ «حماس» تأمل من دخول الانتخابات فكّ الحصار أو تخفيفه على أقلّ تقدير، وهذا بالتالي يطرح فرضيّتين: إما دخول «حماس» الانتخابات على أساس المغالبة، وإمّا خوضها على أساس المشاركة بصيغة قائمة مشتركة مع «فتح» أو بصيغة أخرى يُتّفَق عليها.

فإذا كانت الانتخابات مغالبة، واستطاعت «حماس» الفوز بالأكثرية، عندها نكون أمام تكرار سيناريو عام 2006 بحذافيره، طالما لا تغيير في المواقف الداخلية للأطراف ولا تبديل للمواقف الدولية كما ذكرنا. وأما إذا كانت الانتخابات بالمشاركة وارتضت «حماس» أن تكون أقلية، أو إذا ما فشلت في تحقيق الأغلبية بالمغالبة ففي الحالتين ستتحوّل إلى معارضة ضمن منظومة أوسلو، وعندها ستكون ملزمة باللعب وفق قواعدِه، وفي ظلّ وجود خطّين متوازيين على الساحة الفلسطينية لا يتقاطعان، أحدهما بات مرتبطاً بالاحتلال عضوياً وبالطبيعة لا يؤمِن بأيّ شكل من أشكال مجابهة الاحتلال حتى ولو كانت سلمية، والآخر يؤمِن بالمقاومة كسبيل لاستعادة الحقوق.

فستجد «حماس» وسائر فصائل المقاومة نفسها أمام ذات المعضلة الحالية، لكن هذه المرة ستكون قد منحت للطرف المقابل ذخيرة جديدة للاستقواء عليها، فهي ستكون مطالبة داخلياً ودولياً باحترام نتائج الانتخابات وتسليم قطاع غزة قبل أيّ تخفيف للحصار. وهنا لن ينفع التذاكي فالحصار مفتاحه مع الاحتلال والآخرون هم مجرد تفصيل كما جادلنا، وتسليم القطاع لدى الكيان الصهيوني يعني تسليم كلّ فصائل المقاومة لسلاحها الموجود فوق الأرض وتحت الأرض ولا شيء دون ذلك.

لكن يردُّ البعض بأنّ دخول الانتخابات يمكن أن يمنح «حماس» وسائر فصائل المقاومة وضعاً في الداخل الفلسطيني يماثل وضع حزب الله في لبنان، وهنا يمكن قول الآتي: من الصعب مقارنة وضع قطاع غزة وحال فصائله بالحالة اللبنانية، لا من ناحية وجود سوريا على الحدود اللبنانية التي لا تشارك في حصار لبنان، والتي فوق ذلك تشكّل خطّ إمداد لحزب الله منها وعبرها، ولا من ناحية قوة حزب الله الذي بلغ مرحلة من القدرة التسليحية يستطيع معها تبديل معادلات إقليمية. ومع هذا، يجب الانتباه إلى أنّ من يطْبِق الحصار على غزّة هو الكيان الصهيوني بشكل مباشر، بينما يعدّ الأميركي الوحيد الذي لديه قدرة على ممارسة أشكال من الحصار على لبنان. وكان الأميركي يتَّبِع في الفترات الماضية استراتيجية المساكنة في لبنان لحسابات معقّدة ومخاوف لديه لا مجال لذكرها هنا، بينما تخلّى اليوم عن فكرة المساكنة، وهذا ما يفسر الضغط الاقتصادي الذي يمرّ به لبنان بالأساس، بالإضافة إلى عوامل داخلية لبنانية أخرى مساعِدة. وخلاصة القول أنّ جميع قوى المقاومة في الإقليم تتعرّض، اليوم، لحصار مالي واقتصادي تتفاوت فعاليته وآثاره تبَعاً لظروف كلّ فصيل وجغرافياً موقع تواجده.

الخروج من حالة المراوحة

استعرضنا في ما سبق كيف أنّ دخول «حماس» الانتخابات لن يفضي إلى حلٍّ لحصار غزة، بل يرجّح أن يؤدّي إلى نتائج عكسية تعود بالضرر على المقاومة الفلسطينية. هذا ولم نفصل في المخاطر على المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني وثوابته وأهدافه لضيق المساحة. وقبل الخوض في الحلول، يجب الاعتراف بداية بأنّ إيجاد حلّ لأزمة غزة ليس بالأمر الهيّن كون الحصار مرتبطاً أولاً وأخيراً بالاحتلال ذاته وما هو إلّا أحد أعراضه، وهو ضريبة تدفعها قوى المقاومة إلى جانب ضرائب أخرى كثيرة يتحمّلها كلّ من يسعى إلى التحرير كما جادلنا. لكن يجب أيضاً الإشارة إلى أمر آخر جدير بالانتباه، وهو سماح كيان الاحتلال لقدر من المساعدات المالية بالوصول إلى سلطة رام الله، وحتى قطاع غزّة، كلّما أوشك الوضع على الانهيار، سواءً في الضفة أو قطاع غزة. وهذا يشير بوضوح إلى أنّ ما يخشاه العدو هو حصول انفجار في أيٍّ من هاتين الساحتين، ويبدو أنّ العدو بات مدركاً لمكامن ضعفه واختلال موازين القوى لغير مصلحته أكثر من إدراك بعض الفلسطينيين لهذه الوقائع، فنجد بنيامين نتنياهو يتراجع عن قراره الذي استثمر فيه كثيراً بإعلان ضمّ أراضي الضفة الغربية تحسّباً لانفجار الانتفاضة في أراضي الـ67، بناءً على تقديرات أجهزته الأمنية ولا شيء سوى ذلك، وهذا يدحض الفكرة القائلة بكون الضفة مترهّلة وغير حاضرة للتحرّك شعبياً. صحيح أنّ الحراك الشعبي دونه صعاب عديدة، أوّلها وجود جيش من مخبري أجهزة السلطة الذين باتوا يأتمرون بأمر الشاباك مباشرة، لكن هل يُعقل أن تعدم الفصائل الوسيلة في تحريك الشارع؟

وفي المقابل، فليس مردّ التذمّر الشعبي ضيق الحال المعيشي فقط، لكنّ حالتَي السكون والمراوحة اللتين يعيشهما الوضع الفلسطيني هما سببان لا يمكن تجاهلهما، حيث كون هذا الوضع يوحي بانسداد الأفق على الصعيد الوطني، وفي هذه الحالة تطفو المصاعب المعيشية على السطح لتأخذ موقع الصدارة على القضايا الوطنية الأخرى. وهذه ليست دعوة للهروب إلى الأمام كما ربما سيحاجج البعض، فأيّ حراك شعبي في الضفة هذه المرة ستكون حظوظه في فرض الانسحاب على كيان الاحتلال من أراضي الـ67 مرتفعة للغاية، بناءً على استقراء التوازنات الدولية والإقليمية وحالة التراجع التي يعيشها الكيان الصهيوني. ولا تغرّنكم حالة انهيار بعض الأعراب أمام هذا الكيان، فهؤلاء مصيرهم مرتبط بهذه المنظومة الاستعمارية وليس بمقدورهم تعديل موازين القوى بشكل حقيقي، ويصحّ فيهم القول الشعبي: «عصفور يسند زرزور».

بالإضافة إلى ما تَقدَّم، إذا ما وضعنا الحصار المفروض على قوى المقاومة الفلسطينية في إطاره الأوسع كجزء من الحرب المفروضة على كلّ قوى المقاومة في الإقليم أحزاباً ودولاً، كما نوّهنا في الفقرة السابقة، يصير فكّ الحصار عن غزة مصلحة مشتركة لكلّ هذه الأطراف مجتمعة، ويستدعي العمل من جهة الفصائل الإسلامية والوطنية الفلسطينية على محاولة صياغة استراتيجية موحّدة مع كلّ قوى المقاومة في الإقليم. ندرك كون هذا الأمر يلزمه جولات وجولات من التباحث، وكون أيّ استراتيجية لفكّ الحصار بالتوافق مع القوى الداعمة ستكون من طبيعة الاستراتيجيات المتوسّطة المدى، لكن هذا يظلّ أجدى من الدخول في مغامرات غير محسوبة العواقب كالانتخابات، التي لن تؤدي إلّا إلى المزيد من إضاعة الوقت بحسب أكثر التقديرات تفاؤلاً.

خاتمة

حصار قوى المقاومة في غزة ليس بالأمر الثانوي ضمن استراتيجية العدو، لهذا لا يُتوقع أن تفلح الخطوات الملتوية ولا الهروب من حقيقة الأمر في فكّه، ويلزم لذلك خطوات من شأنها تبديل المعادلات على الأرض، ومشروع وطني متكامل. واليوم، أمام الشعب الفلسطيني فرصة واقعية لفرض الانسحاب على الكيان الصهيوني من أراضي الـ67 عبر انتفاضة ثالثة، وهذا من شأنه بلا شك تبديل كل التوازنات القائمة، وما تمّ طرحه في هذا المقال هو عبارة عن أفكار للنقاش والتداول كون الأمر يحتاج إلى العديد من العقول للخروج باستراتيجية مجدية. يقول المثل الإنكليزي: «يُغَلِّف الموت بالسُّكَّر»، كناية عن عدم مواجهة الأمور على حقيقتها، وهذا ما حاول هذا المقال تفاديه بدلاً من تبسيط الوضع القائم وتقديم حلول ظاهرها سهل وباطنها فشل، وتبقى هذه هي ضريبة التحرير والمقاومة التي لا مناص من دفعها.

* كاتب فلسطيني وباحث سياسي

Israel will pull out all the stops to avoid facing war crimes charges

An ICC ruling has panicked Israeli officials who can now be investigated, but they will likely respond with intensified threats 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gaza%20rubble%202014%20afp.jpg
A Palestinian girl walks on the rubble around her family’s home in Gaza in 2014 (AFP)
Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

11 February 2021 11:04 UTC 

Israel has been sent into a tailspin by a ruling last week from the war crimes court in The Hague. Senior Israeli officials, including possibly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, can now be held accountable for violations of the laws of war in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The decision by judges at the International Criminal Court  (ICC) does not ensure Israelis will be put on trial for war crimes – not yet, at least. But after years of delay, it does settle the question of whether the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza fall under the court’s jurisdiction. They do, say the judges. 

While Israel is only too aware of what its top war crimes suspects have been up to, Netanyahu is right to observe that last week’s ruling by the ICC is a political one

Perhaps the most preposterous – if entirely predictable – of the reactions to the ICC’s decision came from Netanyahu himself. 

That the door is now open for Israelis to be investigated for war crimes is the reason Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum responded so angrily to the ruling. The court’s chief prosecutor has already completed a preliminary inquiry, in which she concluded there was a legal basis for a full investigation.

At the weekend, he falsely declared in a video in English, intended for foreign audiences, that the ICC was investigating Israel for what he called “fake war crimes” – and then attributed its imagined actions to “pure antisemitism”. He also threw in a reference to the Nazi Holocaust for good measure.

There was no little irony to his claims. On Friday, Netanyahu denounced the judges’ ruling as proving that the ICC was “a political body and not a judicial institution”. In fact, it is Netanyahu who is playing politics, by character-assassinating the court in what should be a purely legal and judicial matter. He hopes to use antisemitism smears, Israel’s favoured tactic, to keep the ICC’s investigators at bay. 

Court officials have already shown an interest in pursuing three separate lines of inquiry: Israel’s attacks on Gaza that have left large numbers of Palestinian civilians dead; the repeated lethal shooting of Palestinian protesters at Gaza’s perimeter fence; and decades of illegal Israeli settlement-building on occupied land, which has often entailed the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Attack on aid boat

Whatever Netanyahu’s current protestations, the truth is that Israel’s own legal teams have long advised that its military commanders, government ministers and senior administrators are vulnerable to prosecution. That is why they have travelled for many years with a special “panic button” on their phones to alert local diplomatic staff of the threat of arrest at a foreign airport. 

Just such an incident occurred in 2013, when former navy commander Eli Marom hit the button after he wrongly suspected border officials at London’s Heathrow airport were preparing to arrest him under so-called “universal jurisdiction” laws.

Three years earlier, Marom had approved a lethal attack in international waters by navy commandos on an aid convoy of ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Demonstrators chant slogans during a 2016 rally in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the sixth anniversary of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident (AFP)
Demonstrators chant slogans during a 2016 rally in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the sixth anniversary of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident (AFP)

Marom had reason to be nervous. Earlier, in 2005, a retired general, Doron Almog, hid on an El Al plane for two hours after landing at Heathrow before quickly taking off again, to avoid a UK arrest warrant over the demolition of 59 Palestinian homes. Scotland Yard reportedly allowed Almog to escape rather than engage in a gun battle trying to arrest him.

In fact, Israel knows enough about which of its senior officials have broken international law – and how – that last summer it compiled a secret list of hundreds who were most likely to be investigated for war crimes.  

Bid to terrorise court

But while Israel is only too aware of what its top war crimes suspects have been up to, Netanyahu is right to observe that last week’s ruling by the ICC is a political one. 

In fact, the court’s treatment of Israel has been deeply mired in politics ever since the Palestinian Authority acceded to the ICC in 2015. Western allies have sought repeatedly to intimidate and strong-arm the court to ensure Israeli officials are not tried for war crimes.The PA, the ICC and Israel

It is no coincidence that ICC judges found the backbone to assert jurisdiction over the occupied territories immediately after Donald Trump stepped down as US president. His administration had waged a campaign to intimidate the court, which included a ban on ICC staff entering the US and threats to freeze their assets.

The timing of the ICC’s ruling may also be related to the fact that its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is due to quit her post in a few months. She is unlikely to launch any investigations of Israelis before then, leaving the task to her successor.

Such a delay will buy Israel more time. And under an onslaught of pressure, the new chief prosecutor may be persuaded that Israel – despite decades of law-breaking – is not a high enough priority to justify the court’s limited resources. 

Campaigning begins 

Just such a campaign has already begun. On Sunday, the Israeli foreign ministry sent an urgent, classified cable to dozens of its ambassadors, urging them to recruit their respective capitals to a campaign to put pressure on the ICC.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi – a former military chief of staff who is almost certainly on Israel’s secret list of war crimes suspects – rang his counterparts in foreign capitals, urging them to help. That will likely include lobbying for a more sympathetic chief prosecutor to replace Bensouda.

There will continue to be many large obstacles – few of them related to law – that need to be dealt with before any Israelis end up in the dock at The Hague

Israeli media reported security sources as saying that several ICC member states had already agreed to tip Israel off should they learn that any arrest warrants have been issued against Israelis.

Already, the Biden administration in the US, Germany and the Australian government, stalwart defenders of Israel, have issued denunciations of the ICC decision – and implicitly the international norms of war the court is supposed to uphold. 

Responding to Germany’s attack on the court, Hanan Ashrawi, a former senior Palestinian official, tweeted on Tuesday: “So your ‘legal view’ supersedes the ruling of the ICC judges and the resolutions of the UN [General Assembly]? No self-respecting state should accept instructions from (or intimidation by) Israel.”

Other states, with their own self-interested calculations, may soon follow suit. Those that have allied themselves most closely with the US-led “war on terror”, including the UK, have every reason to ensure that Israel – a state very much in the “western diplomatic club” – is not held to account for war crimes of the kind they too have committed. They prefer that the ICC continues to limit its indictments to African leaders. 

Behind-the-scenes lobbying and intimidation may explain the seemingly perverse reasoning of the ICC in December to close its investigation of UK officials without issuing any indictments. It did so even while accepting that British forces had likely committed war crimes in Iraq. Israel may hope for a similar, fudged reprieve.

Shielding Israel

The reality is that the case against Israel was always going to depend on political factors far more than legal ones once it became vulnerable to investigation. But the shielding of Israel over war crimes was evident long before Palestine’s ratification of the Rome Statute in 2015.

Six years earlier, for example, Israel orchestrated a campaign of intimidation against a celebrated South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, over the report of his UN committee into Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza. The report found Israel and Hamas responsible for committing war crimes, and possibly even graver crimes against humanity.

Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who probed the 2009 Gaza conflict, attends a media conference in Geneva in July 2009 (AFP)
Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who probed the 2009 Gaza conflict, attends a media conference in Geneva in July 2009 (AFP)

Goldstone repudiated his strongest findings months later after the personal campaign against him culminated in the South African Zionist Federation barring him from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah.

Similarly, “universal jurisdiction” rules, which allow foreign citizens to seek the arrest of an official suspected of violating international law if his or her state refuses to adjudicate, have never been enforced in practice against Israelis. 

Foot-dragging by ICC

The ICC had an opportunity to investigate Israeli officials over the attack in international waters on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to Gaza in 2010. Ten Turkish civilians, one of whom was also an American citizen, were killed by Israeli commandos who boarded the ships. Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Instead, Bensouda chose in 2014 not to proceed with the case initiated by the Comoros, the flag under which the boat was sailing. In an appeal last year, ICC judges criticised her for a series of “errors” in reaching that decision, in refusing to reconsider after they mandated she do so, and in failing to investigate the incident again in 2019.

But the judges concluded it was “unclear” what power they themselves had to rectify these failings and so did not ask for a further review.

Delays and buck-passing have also plagued the ICC’s latest ruling. The court has been foot-dragging on jurisdiction issues ever since 2015. There will continue to be many large obstacles – few of them related to law – that need to be dealt with before any Israelis end up in the dock at The Hague.

Slivers of hope

Nonetheless, last week’s ruling offers Palestinians a few slivers of hope. It confirms that Israel’s battle to deny the Palestinian fight for statehood is not entirely going its way. And it suggests that the post-Trump political climate may turn out to be more stormy for Israel than expected. Its leaders may have to be slightly more cautious about the scale and visibility of the war crimes they approve. 

The real test is whether it can rise above the name-calling and gaslighting to apply international law in a way that truly protects Palestinians

The court may settle to leave the sword of a possible investigation hanging over Israel, hoping that alone will be enough to curb Israel’s worst excesses, such as plans to annex swaths of the West Bank. 

Or the ICC may trust that its jurisdiction ruling will serve as a wake-up call to the Israeli Supreme Court, whose failures to enforce international law in the occupied territories paved the way to The Hague. But settling for any of these outcomes will be more evasion by the court, more playing politics. 

The test of whether the ICC is a judicial body rather than a political one is not, as Netanyahu demands, that it refuse to investigate Israel. The real test is whether it can rise above the name-calling and gaslighting to apply international law in a way that truly protects Palestinians. 

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

RELATED

WARNING Zionist brutality: the everyday nightmare in Palestine

Investigation to Move Forward: Everything You Need to Know about ICC Latest Ruling on Israeli War Crimes (SPECIAL REPORT)

February 6, 2021

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. (Photo: UN Website)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

On Friday, February 5, the last hurdle in the way of an international investigation into war crimes committed in occupied Palestine has been removed, as the International Criminal Court in the Hague has finally approved the Prosecutor’s request to open legal proceedings regarding war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza.

“Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court .. decided, by majority, that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” the ICC said in a press release that was made available to international media, including The Palestine Chronicle.

The Investigation

After years of haggling, the ICC had resolved in December 2019 that, “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to Article 53(1) of the Statute.”

Article 53(1) merely describes the procedural steps that often lead, or do not lead, to an investigation by the Court.

That Article is satisfied when the amount of evidence provided to the Court is so convincing that it leaves the ICC with no other option but to move forward with an investigation.

Indeed, Bensouda had already declared late last year that she was,

“satisfied that (i) war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip… (ii) potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible; and (iii) there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

The Reactions

The decision, then, has angered Israel and its Western allies, who insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction, since Palestine, they alleged, is not an independent state. 

As soon as Bensouda made her decision, although, after much delay, the US administration swiftly moved to block the Court’s attempt at holding Israeli officials accountable. On June 11, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order slapping sanctions on members of the global judicial body, citing the ICC’s investigations of US war crimes in Afghanistan and Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

In an historic irony, Germany, which had to answer to numerous war crimes committed by the Nazi regime during World War II, stepped in to serve as the main defender of Israel at the ICC and to shield accused Israeli war criminals from legal and moral accountability.

Germany, among others, then argued that the ICC had no legal authority to discuss Israeli war crimes in the occupied territories. These efforts, however, eventually amounted to nil.

Dr. Triestino Mariniello, member of the legal team for Gaza victims at the ICC,  told Palestine Chronicle TV: 

“There are at least eight countries that are openly against an investigation of the Palestinian situation. Germany is one. Some of the others came as a surprise, to be honest, for at least four other countries, Uganda, Brazil, Czech Republic, and Hungary had explicitly recognized that Palestine is a State under international law, yet are now submitting statements before the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber saying that this is not true anymore.”

The Pre-Trial Chamber

Consequently, Bensouda referred the matter to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber, requesting a “ruling on the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in the State of Palestine”.

The pre-trial chamber consists of judges that authorize the opening of investigations. Customarily once the Prosecutor decides to consider an investigation, she has to inform the Pre-Trial Chamber of her decision.

According to the Rome Statute, Article 56(b), 

“… the Pre-Trial Chamber may, upon request of the Prosecutor, take such measures as may be necessary to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the proceedings and, in particular, to protect the rights of the defence.”

According to Dr. Mariniello:

 “This request to the Pre-Trial Chamber was not necessary, for a simple reason: because the situation is being referred by the State of Palestine. So, when a State party refers a situation to the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor does not need authorization by the Pre-Trial Chamber.”

The Court’s Jurisdiction

The State of Palestine became a signatory of the Rome Statute in January 2015. By accepting the jurisdiction of the Court, Palestine became a State Party. 

The Pre-Trial Chamber 1 reiterated that Palestine is a State Party, therefore the Court has jurisdiction over its territory. Dr. Mariniello told The Palestine Chronicle: “The Pre-trial Chamber did not only recognize that Palestine is a State, they also stated that the Court’s jurisdiction extends to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. What we feared was a further fragmentation of the Palestinian territory” but, according to the ruling, this was not the case.

A Victory

“It is a landmark decision since all the comments expressed by the legal team representing the Gaza victims have been approved. Therefore, they rejected all the arguments by civil society organizations or even states who were trying to persuade the Court that Palestine is not a State,” Dr. Mariniello added.

Professor Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, told Palestine Chronicle TV that the ICC investigation is a “breakthrough”.

“It’s a breakthrough even to consider the investigation, let alone the indictment and the prosecution of either Israelis or Americans that was put on the agenda of the ICC, which led to a pushback by these governments … Israel has denounced the Court as if it is improper to examine any State that claims the matter of geopolitical impunity. So you have a core denial of the rule of law.”

The Narrow Scope

Professor Falk elaborated, 

 “The scope of the investigation is something that is ill-defined, so it is a matter of political discretion,” Professor. Falk said, adding that “the Court takes a position that needs to be cautious about delimiting its jurisdiction and, therefore, it tries to narrow the scope of what it is prepared to investigate. I don’t agree with this view … but it does represent the fact that the ICC, like the UN itself, is subject to immense geopolitical pressure”.

The legal representatives of the ‘Palestinian Victims Residents of the Gaza Strip’ had expressed their concern on behalf of the victims regarding “the ostensibly narrow scope of the investigation into the crimes suffered by the Palestinian victims of this situation.”

The ‘narrow scope of the investigation’ has thus far excluded such serious crimes as Crimes Against Humanity. According to the Gaza legal team, the killing of hundreds and wounding of thousands of unarmed protesters participating in the ‘Great March of Return’ is a crime against humanity that must also be investigated.

The ICC’s jurisdiction, of course, goes beyond Bensouda’s decision to investigate ‘war crimes’ only.

Article 5 of the Rome Statute – the founding document of the ICC – extends the Court’s jurisdiction to investigate the following “serious crimes”:

(a) The Crime of Genocide

(b) Crimes Against Humanity

(c) War Crimes

(d) The Crime of Aggression

It should come as no surprise that Israel is qualified to be investigated on all four points and that the nature of Israeli crimes against Palestinians often tends to constitute a mixture of two or more of these points simultaneously.

That in mind, according to Mariniello,

“The scope of the investigation is not binding for the future. The Prosecutor can decide, at any moment, to include other crimes. We hope it will happen because, otherwise, many victims will never get justice.”

What Now

Mariniello told The Palestine Chronicle,

 “Now, the hard work starts for the legal representatives of the ‘Palestinian Victims Residents of the Gaza Strip’, we cannot lower the guard. We need to work so that the ICC Prosecutor can identify the people responsible for international crimes and their criminal behavior as soon as possible.”

The Prosecutor

The decision that there were sufficient elements to investigate war crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was taken by ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who is currently nearing the end of her term. 

A new prosecutor should be elected soon.

(Managing Editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Romana Rubeo, composed this report) 

HRW: “Israel” Systematically Repressed Palestinians in 2020

HRW: “Israel” Systematically Repressed Palestinians in 2020

By Staff, Agencies

Human Rights Watch [HRW] says the apartheid “Israeli” regime “systematically repressed and discriminated” against Palestinians last year.

HRW said in a report on the year 2020 that the “Israeli” regime’s practices “far exceeded the security justifications” it often gave.

In the occupied West Bank, including East al-Quds [Jerusalem], the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] martyred 20 Palestinians and injured at least 2,001 as of October 5, HRW cited figures presented by the United Nations [UN] Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA].

“‘Israeli’ authorities have rarely held accountable security forces who used excessive force or settlers who attacked Palestinians,” HRW said.

It also cited the “Jerusalem [al-Quds] Legal Aid and Human Rights Center” as saying that the apartheid  “Israeli” entity held, as of September, the bodies of 67 Palestinians martyred since 2015.

The apartheid “Israeli” regime said in September last year that it would use the bodies of deceased Palestinians as bargaining chips to have the bodies of IOF members purportedly held by resistance factions in Gaza released.

The HRW also criticized the entity’s 13-year-old siege of the Gaza Strip and other restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the enclave.

“These restrictions, not based on an individualized assessment of security risk, robbed with rare exceptions the 2 million Palestinians living there [the Gaza Strip] of their right to freedom of movement, limited their access to electricity and water, and devastated the economy,” the organization said.

The HRW also denounced the “Israeli” move to tighten the restrictions in August as “unlawful collective punishment.”

The report added that, “Egypt also sharply restricted the movement of people and goods at its Rafah crossing with Gaza.”

The New York-based group also said that the apartheid “Israeli” regime facilitated the further transfer of “Israelis” into settlements constructed in the occupied West Bank, slamming the practice as “a war crime”.

The HRW referred to a report by Peace Now in which the “Israeli” group said the “Israeli” entity last year approved the construction of more settler units in the occupied West Bank – 12,159 as of October 15 –more than in any other year since the group began tracking those statistics in 2012.

More than 600,000 “Israeli” settlers live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 “Israeli” occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All “Israeli” settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

The HRW also cited OCHA as saying that the “Israeli” entity demolished 568 Palestinian houses and other structures in the West Bank, including in East al-Quds, as of October 19, 2020, leaving 759 people displaced.

Most buildings were demolished under the pretext of lacking “Israeli” building permits, which are almost never given.

Referring to about 600 checkpoints and other permanent obstacles set up by the entity within the West Bank as of June, the HRW said, “‘Israeli’ forces routinely turn away or humiliate and delay Palestinians at checkpoints without explanation.”

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine 31 December 2020 – 06 January 2021

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine
31 December 2020 – 06 January 2021
  • Palestinian man killed near “Gush Etzion” Junction, southern Bethlehem, in an alleged stab attack
  • IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem: 30 Palestinians wounded, including 4 children and a paramedic
  • 9 IOF shootings reported at Palestinians and agricultural lands, and 3 times at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip
  • In 79 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 58 civilians arrested, including 11 children
  • Wide-scale land razing in the West Bank and 4050 trees uprooted; Bethlehem lands’ confiscation decision ratified
  • Occupied East Jerusalem: one house received evacuation order; 6 walls, a water well and a barracks demolished
  • Settler-attacks in the West Bank: 300 trees uprooted; civilians and their properties assaulted
  • IOF established 56 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 2 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints




Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. This week witnessed an escalation in settler attacks, mainly stone throwing at civilian houses and vehicles in the West Bank. Additionally, IOF demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties continued as part of Israel’s de facto annexation and under various pretexts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This week, PCHR documented 189 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

IOF killed one Palestinian and wounded 30 civilians, including 4 children and a paramedic in excessive use of force in the West Bank: ‘Ahed ‘Abed al-Rahman Mahmoud Qawqas Ekhlayl (25) from Hebron was killed on 05 January 2021 near “Gush Etzion” Junction in the southern parts of Bethlehem. IOF alleged the victim attempted to stab Israeli soldiers. Moreover, IOF wounded 14 Palestinians, including a child and a paramedic, in its oppression of a peaceful protest in Deir Jarir – Ramallah; 8 others sustained wounds in IOF attack on Kafr Qaddum weekly protest in Qalqilya; another child was injured in IOF attack on another protest in northern Qalqilya; and three sustained wounds, including a father and son, near the Annexation Wall in Jenin. Also, another Palestinian from Hebron was shot from a close distance by Israeli soldiers without any threat to their security; his injury resulted in complete paralysis.

In the Gaza Strip, 9 IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands, and three times at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 79 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 58 Palestinians were arrested, including 11 children.

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

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 9 incidents, including:

  • Occupied East Jerusalem: house floor self-demolished; evacuation decision issued against a house in Silwan; 6 walls, a well and a barracks were demolished in Anata.
  • Nablus: construction vehicle detained in Rujeib.
  • Salfit: 550 trees razed in Biddya; 300 dunums razed and 3500 trees uprooted in Deir Ballut.
  • Bethlehem: Israel ratifies land confiscation for settlement expansion; agricultural room demolished in al-Khader.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 16 settler-violence incidents:

  • Salfit: 300 trees uprooted, and a notice of land confiscation placed; sand and blocks put in a land in Deit Ballut.
  • Nablus: attacks on the streets and stones thrown at vehicles passing by the entrance of “Homesh” settlement; assaults with stones on civilian houses in Huwara where a Palestinian woman sustained wounds; attacks on Ramallah – Nablus road damaging a journalist’s vehicle; al-Khan area assaulted and an attempted confiscation of the area.
  • Qalqilya: attacks and stone throwing on the main street near Kafr Qaddum.
  • Hebron: civilians and farmers assaulted in southern Yatta.
  • Bethlehem: sewage water flooded lands in Husan village on wide-scale.

 Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

      I. Shootings and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity
  • At approximately 13:45 on Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Abu Safiyia area, northeast of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area; no causalities or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 15:45, IOF stationed in the memorial site, southeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at the border area, causing fear among Palestinian farmers; no causalities or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 01:40 on Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron. Meanwhile, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stoned and empty bottles at Israeli vehicles. Israeli soldiers stepped out of the military vehicles, stationed between residential houses and fired teargas canisters and sound bombs at stone-throwers. As a result, many of Palestinian young men suffocated due to teargas inhalation. Clashes continued until 03:00 and IOF withdrew later; no raids to houses were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, a peaceful protest took off in front of Beit Dajan village council, east of Nablus, north of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in Nablus, towards lands under the threat of confiscation, east of the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers, annexation wall and deal of the century. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 11:30, a peaceful protest took off in front of Deir Jarir village council, northeast of Ramallah, in the center of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in the area, towards lands under the threat of confiscation and in protest to the establishment of new settlement outposts in al-Shurfa area, where Israeli settlers set up a tent and conducted excavation works on the village’s agricultural lands. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers, annexation wall and deal of the century. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors performed the Friday prayer on the lands under the threat of confiscation while Israeli soldiers surrounding them. Following the Friday prayer, the protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 14 protestors, including a paramedic and a child, were wounded; 2 were shot with rubber bullets, while the rest sustained teargas canisters shrapnel wounds and received treatment on the spot. The wounded were:
  • The paramedic Ahmed Mohammed ‘Alawi (25), shot with a rubber bullet in his foot;
  • A 20-year-olf male, shot with a rubber bullet in his head.

Both of them were taken to Silwad Medical Center for treatment. Also, dozens of protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.

  • Around the same time, a group of Palestinian young men gathered in the eastern outskirts of Kafr Malik village, near ‘Ein al-Samiyia area, northeast of Ramallah. The Palestinian young men threw stones at IOF stationed at the entrance to ‘Ein al-Samiyia area, which is closed with sand berms. IOF fired heavy sound bombs and teargas canister at the stone-throwers and chased them between agricultural fields. As a result, many stone-throwers suffocated due to teargas inhalation; no arrests among them were reported.
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased Palestinian young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 8 protestors, including 2 children, were shot with rubber bullets and another protestor was shot with a teargas canister.
  • At approximately 13:30, Haroun Rasmi Yousef Abu ‘Arram (23), was shot with a live bullet in his neck from the left side by an Israeli soldier when he attempted to prevent IOF from confiscating an electric generator in Kherbet al-Rakiz, east of Yatta city, south of Hebron. According to investigations conducted by PCHR’s fieldworker, at approximately 13:00 on Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Kherbet al-Rakiz, east of Yatta City, south of Hebron, and stationed near Ashraf Khalil Abu ‘Arram’s (39) house. The Israeli Civil Administration officers raided and a searched a cave, where Abu ‘Arram lives, in addition to a tin-plate barrack used for breeding livestock.

The Israeli Civil Administration officers confiscated an electric generator and other tools. When Abu ‘Arram attempted to stop them, an Israeli Civil Administration officer beat him with a gun butt in the left side of his head , pushed him to the ground and kicked him in his back and abdomen. In the meantime, Rasmi Yousef Abu ‘Arram, who lives 150 meters away, arrived at the area and intervened to prevent the Civil Administration officers from confiscated the electric generator, but they assaulted him and pushed him to the ground. Meanwhile, Haroun’s brother also arrived at the area on the same time and attempted to help his father and withdraw the generator. The hand-to-hand combat continued for 3 minutes, during which, an Israeli soldier fired 2 live bullets from 2 meters distance; a live bullet wounded Haroun in his neck, so he fell on the ground. Haroun’s mother and father started to scream, meanwhile, Ashraf quickly drove his relative vehicle in order to take Haroun to a medical center in Yatta city. In the meantime, an Israeli soldier opened fire at the vehicle and punctured its rear tires. Al-Tawana villagers arrived at the area and IOF fired live bullets at them, forcing them to flee. The al-Tawana villagers managed to take Haroun via a vehicle which passed on al-Tawana village road. When they arrived at al-Karmil village intersection, Israeli soldiers attempted to stop them, but the vehicle’s driver did not obey the soldiers’ orders. Haroun arrived at a medical center in al-Karmil village, where he received first aid. After that, Haroun was transferred via an ambulance to Abu al-Hasan al-Qasem Hospital in Yatta city and was admitted to the emergency department at 15:30. The doctors stopped the bleeding and referred him to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). According to medical sources at al-Ahli Hospital, Haroun was shot with a live bullet in the left side of his neck, causing fractures and laceration in his backbone. Haroun’s four limbs are paralyzed.

  • At approximately 14:25, IOF stationed at “Eyal Crossing”, which is established in northern Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased the young men, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canister at them; a 15-year-old child was shot with a rubber bullet in his right foot.
  • At approximately 20:10, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Islamic Shuhada Cemetery, and off Abu Safiyia area in eastern and northeastern Jabalia refugee camp, opened sporadic fire at the border area and fired flare bombs in the sky; no causalities or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 06:00 on Sunday, 03 January 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Khuzaʽa village; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF moved into Sinjil village, north of Ramallah, and stationed in the western neighborhood. IOF pushed Maher Ahmed ‘Awashrah (10) while he was on his way to the market. As a result, he sustained bruises in his back and neck and received treatment in a medical center in Turmus Ayya village.
  • At approximately 20:25, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, and off al-SudaniyiaShore, west of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them and fired flare bombs in the sky, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Tulkarm, chased stone-throwers and fired sound bombs at them. IOF also raided Dr. Thabet Hospital at 03:10 and fired sound bombs in the hospital, under the pretext that the stone-throwers were hiding there, causing fear among patients, their companions and medical staff. The Palestinian Ministry of Health stated that IOF raided the mentioned hospital and fired 4 sound bombs inside it; a sound bomb in the reception and 3 others in the emergency yard, causing fear and panic among the patients, especially children and elderlies. The ministry emphasized that 81 patients are receiving treatment at the hospital, including 10 premature babies in the nursery department, 5 children in the pediatrics department, 7 patients in the ICU, 13 patients in the obstetrics department, in addition to 39 medical and health staff.
  • At approximately 03:20, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, southwest of Jericho. IOF were deployed in the camp and patrolled its streets. During which, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at IOF, who fired sound bombs, teargas canisters, rubber bullets at the protestors and clashed with them. As a result, a 19-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his leg, and a 23-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his thigh. Both of them were taken to Jericho Governmental Hospital.
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Maghazi and Bureij refugee camps, in the center of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 10:50, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stationed near the annexation wall, near al-Mariha and Daher al-‘Abed villages, west of Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin, opened fire at Palestinian workers who attempted to enter Israel via the annexation wall halls. As a result, 3 civilians, including a father and his son, were wounded and taken to Dr. Khalil Suliman Governmental Hospital in Jenin.
  • Around the same time, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into al-Dawara area, east of Sa’ir village, north of Hebron. IOF were deployed between residential houses. After that, they indiscriminately fired sound bombs at Palestinians’ houses, under the pretext that they were exposed to stone-throwing. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation. At 20:30, IOF withdrew from the village.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF indiscriminately fired teargas canisters at Palestinians’ houses in al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, under the pretext that a military watchtower established adjacent to the camp’s entrance was exposed to stone-throwing. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 23:45, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, southeast of Beit Hanoun, east and northeast of Jabalia refugee camp, opened heavy fire at border area; no causalities or damage were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 05 January 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched ‘Abed al-Rahman Mohammed Jawabra’s (62) house in ‘Ereq al-Latoun area and withdrew later. No arrests were reported. During IOF withdrawal from the village, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at IOF vehicles. A number of Israeli soldiers stepped out of the vehicles and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at the stone-throwers. At approximately 03:00, IOF withdrew from the village.
  • At approximately 11:00, dozens of Palestinians and foreigner activists organized a peaceful protest in lands under the threat of confiscation in al-Jomjoma area, east of Halhul city, north of Hebron. The activists brought olive seedlings and planted them. Meanwhile, IOF arrived at the area and fired teargas canisters and sound bombs at the protestors. As a result, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation. IOF also uprooted the olive seedlings, declared the area as a closed military zone and threatened to arrest anyone present in the area. It should be noted that the protest was organized after an Israeli settler set up a tent in al-Jomjoma area a week ago.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF stationed near “Gush Etzion” intersection, south of Bethlehem, killed ‘Ahed ‘Abed al-Rahman Mahmoud Qawqas Ekhlayl (25), from Hebron, with several live bullets under the pretext that he attempted to carry out a stabbing attack. IOF stated that Ekhlayl approached a checkpoint, where a number of Israeli soldiers stationed, in front of “Gush Etzion” petrol station, and carried an ax. IOF also claimed that when they ordered him to stop, he refused, so IOF opened fire at him. IOF in its statement stated that: “ there was an attempt to carry out a stabbing attack near “Gush Etzion” intersection, and the suspect was neutralized.” In addition, Israeli media claimed that another young man was accompanied Ekhlayl, but he managed to escape. It should be noted that Israeli authorities did not publish any video to prove their claims or to show the threat that Ekhlayl posed to the soldiers, especially that “Gush Etzion” intersection is a fortified area, full of advanced surveillance cameras and military watchtowers, and settlement guards are heavily deployed in it. Israel Hayom Newspaper published that the settlement guard opened fire at Ekhlayl. PCHR’s staff continue to investigate the incident, as no Palestinian eyewitnesses were available so far.
  • PCHR also notes that the soldiers could use less lethal force against Ekhlayl such as wounding or arresting him instead of killing him, because he was walking on his feet and did not have a firearm. Following the incident, IOF closed the main street (367), which connects between Bethlehem and Hebron, and established many checkpoints in “Gush Etzion” intersection, causing jam traffic. It should be noted that Ekhlayl was a resident of Safa area in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, and he had opened a sweets shop in the village less than a month ago. IOF summoned his father and uncles to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service “Shin Bet” for investigation.
  • At approximately 14:35 on Tuesday, 05 January 2021, IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun village, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds who approached the fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee; no causalities or damage were reported.
  • At approximately 23:00 on Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Bureij refugee camp, in the center of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 04:00 on Wednesday, 06 January 2021, IOF moved into Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, southwest of Ramallah. They were deployed between residential houses. In the meantime, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at IOF, who chased the stone-throwers and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, a 20-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his foot and was treated on the spot. Also, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 14:35, IOF stationed in a military site (16), northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds who approached the fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. No casualties of material damage were reported.




       II. Incursions and arrests:

Thursday, 31 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Qalqilya and Kafr Thulth, east of Qalqilya, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Fo’ad Na’eem Jitawi (22), and Omar Ayman Shawahna (19).
  • At approximately 02:55, IOF moved into Nur Shams refugee camp and Anabta village, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Oday Samer Jaber (23), who is a former prisoner, Sa’eed Izzat Jaber (22), and Ahmed Tareq al-Nimri (20).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Dheesha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians after beaten them. The arrestees are: Ibrahim Munir Arafa (26), Haidar Izzat Abu Dayya (23), and Ahmed Tawfiq Tayeh (33).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Saf street in Bethlehem. They raided and searched Ahmed Rebhi al-Haremi’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Kobar village, north of Ramallah, and stationed at al-Iskan street. They deployed between civilians’ houses, while dozens of soldiers stormed a 4-storey building, included 6 apartments, and stormed and searched Omar Abdul Raheem al-Barghouthi’s (29) apartment, which is in the ground floor, and arrested him. IOF also raided and searched the houses of Ali al-Ka’ba and Mohannad al-Rayyan.

Haya al-Barghouthi, Omar’s cousin, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

My husband and I woke up to loud noise in our building; we went out of our apartment to see a number of the Israeli soldiers and border guards in the third floor with the building owner, Shadi. They were shouting loudly “where is al-Barghouthi”, and asked Shadi about Omar’s apartment, and headed there, immediately detonating the front door. Omar lived alone, as his wife was travelling abroad. I asked the soldiers to go and wake Omar up, but they refused and stormed his apartment and started beating him and insulting him, then they handcuffed him and took him to their military vehicle. At approximately 08:00, Saif, Omar’s brother, received a phone call from an Israeli Intelligence Services’ officer, and told him that Omar is in a critical health condition and he was taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Israel, and that the soldiers hit him on his head and all over his body, which caused wounds, bruises, and loss of consciousness”.

  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Beit Ummar, Hebron, Sa’eer, and al-Shuyukh villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 01 January 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Yatta, south of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Eyad Hasan Abu Obaid’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF stationed at Za’tara military checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested Khalil Mo’een Fawzi Mousa (27), from Qaryut village, southeast of Nablus. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 11:30, IOF arrested Eyad Mohammed al-Jo’ba (27), while present near al-Silsila gate, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s Gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • In the evening hours, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Deir Istiya, north of Salfit. They took the measures of the location and withdrew.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Tarqumiyah and al-Shuyukh in Hebron governorate; Haris village, north of Salfit; Kafr Laqif, Sir and Qalqilya. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 02 January 2021:

  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Zububa village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Suliman Amarna (19).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron, and stationed at al-Harayiq area. They raided and searched Tareq Anwar Da’eis’s (41) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF stationed at “Eyal” military checkpoint, established in the north of Qalqilya, arrested Ahmed Mahmoud Ayyash (16) and Anis Mohammed Abu Tayba (17).
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Yousef Alaa al-Haddad’s (11) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to ‘Ammar Mahmoud Thawabta (15) and Ahmed Jamal Taqateqa (16) and arrested them.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in Halhul, Beit Kahil, and Nuba villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 03 January 2021:

  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Jaba’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ahmed Mohammed Alawna (21).
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Diya’ Mohammed Obaid’s (15) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF reinforced with dozens of military vehicles moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah governorate, after throwing stones at an Israeli settler’s car in the street adjacent to “Halamish” settlement, where the settler suffered serious wounds, according to the Israeli media. However, the Israeli vehicles, IOF, the border guards and the Israeli infantry units surrounded the village and closed the main and western entrances of the village. IOF fired sound bombs and teargas canisters, causing fear and panic among civilians. Meanwhile, they raided and searched dozens of houses and arrested (20) civilians including two children in the main street and detain them for 3 consecutive hours under the investigation. Lately, IOF released 17 civilians while kept the two children and the young man under arrest and took them to an unknown destination. The arrestees are: Sajed Abdul Ghani al-Khateeb (17), Mohammed Kheir al-Tamimi (17), and Osama Firas al-Tamimi (18), who is a student at Birzeit University. IOF established a tent near the main entrance and confiscated all the surveillances cameras of the houses and stores.
  • At approximately 18:00, the Israeli bulldozer combed al-Ein land, near “Wad Rayya”, adjacent to the village, they raided and searched several houses and continued closing the entrances and some streets, then stormed the village and the houses again until Monday’s evening, 04 January 2021.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Yazan (25), and his brother, Islam Kamel Abu Shamla (18).
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Sanniriya and Azun, east of Qalqilya; Sa’ir, Bani Na’im, Samu and Dura, in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 04 January 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Surif, west of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Hadi Mahmoud Ghunaimat (30), and Fadi Mousa Ghunaimat (29).
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron. They raided and searched four houses and arrested (4) civilians; Hussam Hasan Abu Hussain (32), Miqdad Abdullah al-Qawasmah (38), Abdul Aziz Abu Sunaina (34), and Mohammed Hamed al-Rajabi (29).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Nablus, from its southern side, Jabal al-Tur, north of the West Bank, and stationed at Nablus’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Alaa Nidal Abu Shamla (25).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Jannata village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Abdul Rahman Sa’eed al-‘Arouj’s (31) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:20, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Jericho. They raided and searched Hasan Shaker Ballou’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians including a child; Abdul Rahman al-Bashiti (16), Zakariya al-Bakry (19), and Mustafa Abu Sunaina (18).
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians, including a child; Hamza Abu Ghannam (19), Fadi Abu Ghannam (17), and Mohammed Abu Sbaitan (22).
  • IOF carried out (1) incursion in Ein al-Sultan refugee camp, in the western side of Jericho. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 05 January 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Eyas Hussain Obaid’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Nablus, entering it from the northern side by checkpoint (17), and stationed in Baker street and Kallet al-Amud neighborhood, northeast of the village. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Yaser al-Madmouj (28), and took him to Millennium Technology Company, where he works. It should be noted that the company’s owner was arrested on 21 December 2020.
  • At approximately 01:40, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Tulkarm refugee camp. They raided and searched Ra’ed Mohammed Qawzah’s (50) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Zeita Jamma’in village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Zakariya Ahmed Rayyan (51) and Jom’a Mahmoud Ramadan (53).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Batin al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Harbi Abdul Samea’ Abu Subaih (43) and his brother, Wajdi (39), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF stationed on the main entrance to Nabi Saleh village arrested Ahmed al-Rimawy (32) and took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Tubas, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses, only 3 of the houses were identified; Oday al-Shahrouri, Munir and his brother Omar Foqaha, and interrogated the civilians, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Sami al-Fakhouri’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF signed to guard the annexation wall west of Rummanah village, west of Jenin, arrested Kareem Ahmed al-‘Ammour (28), while present near the wall. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into ‘Anin village, west of Jenin. They threatened to destroy and set fire to street carts that were previously served removal notices.
  • IOF carried out 2 incursions in Deir Ballut and Sarta in western Salfit. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 06 January 2021:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Nablus, from its eastern entrance. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Subhi Tabanja (38), from Khallat al-‘Amud, southeast of Nablus; and Omar Eyad Staitiya (26), from Zawata village, west of Nablus.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beita, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Yousef Musbah Abu Mazen (23), a water technician employee in Beita municipality.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Kahil in northern Hebron and raided Mohammed Assafra’s (30) house. They searched and ransacked through the house before arresting Assafra and taking him with them.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-‘Alqa al Fawqa, southern Hebron and raided Ahmed Dodeen’s (40) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah. They deployed between civilians houses, raided and searched Ragheb Mohammed al-Tamimi’s (18) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF reinforced with several military and construction vehicles moved 100 meters into Al Fukhkhari, eastern Khan Younis. They razed the area for hours and then withdrew.
III. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 08:00 on Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF accompanied with military bulldozers moved into Khelet ‘Elian in Biddya village, west of Salfit. IOF started leveling 550 fruitful trees and retaining walls as well as the fence wires surrounding the land belonging to the heirs of Yousef Salim, ‘Abdel Rahim Salim and Mohammed Salim.

The landowners said that land razing had wiped off the agricultural field that was funded by the International Relief, inflecting a loss of ILS 300,000.  It should be noted that that was the second time the project was destroyed, and the trees uprooted.

Youssef Kamel Youssef Salamah said that:

“IOF moved into the area and closed the entrances, denying citizens and journalists’ access to it.  IOF leveled all the olive, almond, grape and fig trees my cousins and I had planted in a joint project funded by the International Relief.  The uprooted  trees included around 250 olive trees, 100 grapevines, 100 almond trees and 100 fig trees.  We also bought huge amount of sand and brought workers and vehicles to work in the land.”

  • On Saturday morning, 02 January 2021, Amjad Ja’abees self-demolished a concrete slab he built on his land in Jabel Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and removed the steel-wired fence surrounding the land, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Ja’abees said that last October, he established a concrete slab as a prelude to build a small house on a plot of land he inherited from his family in Jabel Mukaber village.  Ja’abees added that the Israeli Municipality instantly warned him to self-demolish the slab and remove the fence surrounding his land.  However, when he did not obey, the Municipality handed him an administrative decision signed by the Israeli Ministry of Interior regarding the slab and gave him only 7 days to implement the decision; otherwise, the Municipality crews will carry out the demolition and fine him with the costs.  Ja’abees said that the Israeli Municipality previously reject his request for the land use regulation and to have construction license, and this applies to all the surrounding plots of land in the area.

  • On Sunday morning, 03 January 2021, the High Planning Council (HPC) ratified confiscation of Land plots in different areas of Bethlehem to allocate them to settlements.

Hasan Breijiyah, Head of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission in Bethlehem said that the Israeli authorities had ratified the allocation of the following land plots for settlement expansion: Land plot no. (8) in al-Shefa and Wad al-Hendi areas in al-Khader village; Land plot no. (1) in Artas village; Land plot no. (4) in ‘Arab Ta’amra and Land plot no. (5) in al-Morouj area.  Breijiyah added that in the morning IOF handed ‘Ali Salim Mousa from al-Khader village a notice to stop construction works in Jabel Abu Sodah area allegedly for being located in an archaeological area.

  • In the afternoon, IOF handed Nizam Abu Romouz a decision to vacate his family house in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in favor of settlers.

Abu Romouz Family said that the evacuation decision was issued in absentee in 2016 when court hearings were held in absentee to deliberate the status of the estate without notifying or summoning the family to attend the court or even handing them any judicial notices in this regard.  The family added that the court fined them ILS 7,000 for the court and the settlers’ lawyer fees.  The family also said that they will file an urgent appeal to the District Court’s evacuation decision, denying receiving any judicial notice to seize the land where the estate is established.  It should be noted that the family estate is comprised of 3 floors and shelters 3 families.  The estate is within the “Ateret Cohanim” settlement organization’s plans to seize 5 dunums and 200 sqm from the Central quarter in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood under the pretext of being a Jewish ownership since 1881 as ruled by the Israeli Supreme Court.  It is also noteworthy that 87 families live in the plot of land under the threat of confiscation and evacuation.

  • On Monday morning, 04 January 2021, IOF demolished 6 fences, a water well and an agricultural barrack in ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Mayor of ‘Anata village, Taha al-Refa’ie, stated that the Israeli Municipality’s vehicles started demolishing a fence belonging to Mohammed al-Bayaa’ and another fence as well as a 40 sqm agricultural barrack and a water well belonging to Jamal ‘Alqam in al-Nejmah neighborhood in eastern ‘Anata near the industrial area.  The demolition came after a week of handing both civilians  demolition notices allegedly for unlicensed construction. Al-Refa’ie added that the Municipality crews demolished 3 more fences in al-Rahinah area belonging to Isma’il Shihah, ‘Othman Abu ‘Omer, Rami Hamdan, and Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim and another belonging to Mohammed Helwah in al-Thaher area.  Al-Refa’ie said that the Municipality crews distributed many demolition notices in the nearby area and withdrew.

  • In the same morning, IOF demolished an agricultural room belonging to Lutfi Salah in al-Khader village, west of Bethlehem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Salah said that an Israeli military force raided his land and demolished the room and confiscated its contents, including chairs and water tanks used for irrigation.  Salah added that the demolition was carried out without any prior notification, noting that such tin-roofed rooms do not need a license as it is used for agricultural and storing purposes.

  • At approximately 11:30 on Tuesday, 05 January 2020, IOF accompanied with a Civil Administration SUV moved into Rujeib village, southeast of Nablus, northern West Bank.  They confiscated a bulldozer belonging to Majed Ibrahim ‘Abed Dweikat while working in an under-construction house in Khelet Rajeh area, northeast of Rujeib village, and arrested the driver.  IOF took the driver and the bulldozer to “Huwara” military camp, southeast of Nablus, and later released the driver but kept the bulldozer under custody allegedly for illegal construction work in Area C.
  • At approximately 12:00 on Wednesday, 06 January 2021, IOF backed by 8 bulldozers and tens of SUVs and trucks moved into  Khalet al-‘Abhar Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit, where part of the annexation wall is established on its lands.  IOF leveled a vacant area; around 200 dunums and 3400 olive and olive trees and grapevines planted 5-10 years ago.  IOF also seized a large number of trees after uprooting them.  These leveled lands belong to ‘Ezat Mousa, heirs of Husni ‘Issa Mousa and ‘Abdullah Mousa. 

IOF also handed 5 new notices to the nearby lands’ owners to vacate them as a prelude to confiscate them in favor of settlement expansion.

While land-razing, IOF attacked and beat up the owners of the leveled lands, including Mohammed Husni Mousa and ‘Aisha ‘Abdullah Mousa.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • On Thursday morning, 31 December 2020, a group of settlers from “Rafafa”  attacked a plot of land belonging to the head of the village council, ‘Omer Samarah,  in al-Ta’erat area in Haris village, north of Salfit.  The settlers uprooted around 300 olive trees planted on an area of 14 dunums 14 years ago, without any prior warning.  They also left a notice in a plot of land belonging to Khaled Mohammed ‘Ali Shamlawi in the same area, saying that this land is owned by the state and giving the owners 45 days to appeal.
  • At approximately 20:00 on Thursday, 31 December 2020, settlers rioted at the entrance of “Homish” settlement that was vacated in 2005 and established on the lands of Burqa and Silat ad-Dhahr villages, northwest of Nablus.  They also threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling on Nablus-Jenin Street, but no damage was reported.
  • At approximately 21:55 on the same day, a group of settlers from “Yitsahar” settlement established on Nablus lands threw stones at civilian houses in Huwara village, southeast of Nablus.  As a result, Mo’ataz ‘Ezat Qasrawi’s house windows were broken and his wife, Lina Hasan ‘Awad ‘Odah (34) was injured with a stone in her right leg when she was in her bedroom in the first floor of the 2-storey house while her 4 children and husband were in the second floor of the house. 
  • At approximately 22:00, settlers from ” Shiloh” and “Eli” settlement established on the villages of Qaryout and al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, southeast of Nablus, threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling on Nablus-Ramallah Street.  As a result, a car belonging to Salim ‘Abdel ‘Aziz Salim Bsharat, Palestine TV photojournalist in Tubas, sustained damage; the right door window and mirror were broken while the front and right side sustained damage.
  • On Friday morning, 01 January 2021, settlers from “Leshem” settlement attacked a plot of land belonging to Ya’qoub Hadrous in Khelet Mathar area in Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit.  The settler added tons of sand piles on the land, burying the olive trees there, without any prior notice or warning.

‘Omer Ya’qoub Hadrous said that:

“On Friday morning, we found settlers from Leshem settlement transferring piles of sand into my land in Khelet Mathar area, east of Deir Ballut village. We informed the Liaison, and the settlement guardian came after we refused what was going on.  He told the workers who were transferring the piles, “wait until I make a phone call to know if this land belongs to the state or what.”  He made the phone call and immediately ordered them to stop the transfer into this land because it belongs to ‘Omer and not a state property. This talk occurred after they completely covered the land with around 1.5 meter sand and construction remnants, and even if I cleaned it, the land won’t return as it was because it was all ruined.  This means that all the olives were damaged and the land as well.”

  • At approximately 16:55 on Friday, 01 January 2021, a group of settlers from “Shvut Rachel” settlement established on the lands of southeastern al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village  attacked and tried to seize al-Khan area.  A number of citizens immediately gathered and throw stones at the settlers to force them to go back.  It should be noted that al-Khan is an ottoman site which IOF has been trying to seize for a while.
  • At approximately 18:30, a group of settlers from “Kedumim” settlement gathered on the main street near Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqilya.  They threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling in the area and closed the main street connecting Qalqilya with Nablus to perform religious rituals in the area.
  • At approximately 21:00 on Saturday, 02 January 2021, a group of settlers from ” Beit Yatir” and “Susya” settlements attacked members of al-Nawaj’ah family while plowing their land in Um Lakhous area, south of Yatta, southern Hebron.  The settlers attempted to stop the tractors despite the Israeli court’s decision to prevent settlers from entering that land.  Clashes occurred between the settlers and citizens while IOF patrols and Israeli Civil Administration crews arrived to force settlers leaving the land.
  • At approximately 19:00 on Sunday, 03 January 2021, a group of settlers from the Israeli “Hilltop Youth” group called for protests at the intersections of the main streets  used by the Palestinians.  An hour later, large groups of settlers gathered at the intersections of Adam, northeastern Jerusalem; “Yitsahar” and “Ma’ale Efrayim”, southwestern Nablus; Bypass 60 Ofra; “Pisgat Yahuda” Street on Ramallah-Nablus Street, “Nof Hasharon” settlement; Jit Sarra, southwestern Nablus; and “Shiloh” and “Eli” settlements, southeastern Nablus.  The settler rioted at the intersections and threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling there.
  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 04 January 2021, a group of settlers from “Brukhin” settlement moved into Sarta village, west of Salfit.  They threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles and houses, breaking windows of cars belonging to Sa’id Sarsour, Mukhtar ‘Abdullah Sarsour, Mustafa Ibrahim al-Khatib, Mohammed Hisham Sarsour and Ma’zouz Sarsour.  Moreover, wheels belonging of a bulldozer belonging to Youssef Mohammed al-Khatib were punctured.
  • In the morning, settlers from “Beitar Illit” settlement established on the Palestinian lands of Husan, Nahalin and Wadi Fukin villages, southwest Bethlehem, flooded sewage into vacant areas of lands in Husan village, west of the city. 

Husan Village Council stated that settlers flooded sewage into vacant areas of lands planted with grapevines and olive trees, inflecting huge losses and damage in these lands.  The Council added that such attacks are constant as settlers often pump wastewater into Palestinian-owned lands in the villages of Husan, Jab’a, Nahalin and Wadi Fukin.

  • At approximately 19:00, dozens of Israeli settlers gathered on Street no. (1) in central occupied East Jerusalem and closed it, starting to attack Palestinian vehicles and passers-by.

Eyewitnesses said that settlers closed the abovementioned street and nearby Musrara Street and set fire to tires.  They then threw stones at passers-by and Palestinian vehicles, causing damage to them.

  • At approximately 20:00, settlers from “Hilltop Youth” group rioted the streets and threw stones at different intersections, particularly Soliman al-Faresi “Yitzhar” intersection in Huwara village, southeast of Nablus (the entrance to Yitzhar); Beit El Camp Road; Route 60 between Hizma and Jaba’ on Ramallah-Nablus Highway; and al-Nabi Younis intersection in Hebron.
  • At approximately 22:00, dozens of Israeli settlers on Jerusalem-Hebron Street protested near Gush Etzion settlement intersection for the third week consecutively.

Eyewitnesses said that settlers under IOF protection raised slogans calling for Arabs to leave and closed the main streets before Palestinian vehicles.  The settlers threw stones at the vehicles, causing severe damage to them.

  • At approximately 19:00 on Tuesday, 05 January 2021, a group of settlers from “Hilltop Youth” group rioted and threw stones at different intersections, particularly at the entrance to Homish settlement on Jenin-Nablus Road, northwest of Nablus; Soliman al-Faresi “Yitzhar” intersection in Huwara village, southeast of Nablus (the entrance to Yitzhar); Za’atara checkpoint intersection; at the entrance to “Shilo” settlement, southeast of Nablus; Kedumim intersection and completely closed it, southeast of Qalqiliya; and at the entrance to Jurat ash-Sham’a village between “Efrat” settlement and Teqoa on Hebron Road. However, no injuries were reported.
  • On Wednesday morning, 06 January 2021, settlers from “Amihai” settlement established on Jalud village, southeast of Nablus, uprooted and stole 150 olive seedlings from Mahmoud Fawzi Haj Mohammed’s land in Ma’aser Ghzayel area, 100 meters away from the abovementioned settlement.
 IV. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

The West Bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals 56 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Jerusalem:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.

Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint near the entrance to Ofra settlement, which is established in northeast of Ramallah.
  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of Taybeh village.
  • On Sunday, 03 January 2021, IOF closed Wadi al-Dalb road, which leads to Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah. IOF also established a checkpoint at the main entrance to the village. They also closed the metal detector gate established at the entrance to Aboud village and established a military checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village, northwest of the city.
  • On Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of Shuqba village and at the entrance to Nabi Salih village, northwest of the city.
  • IOF established three military checkpoints on the northern and southern Jericho entrances, and on al-Mo’arajat road intersection.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint near Um al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Beit Jala village, at the western entrance to Tuqu village and in ‘Aqabet Hassnah area, leading to Bethlehem’s western villages.
  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the western entrance to Tuqu village, in Kermizan area in Beit Jala village and near Um al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho for 5 consecutive hours.
  • On Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho, at the entrance to Al-Auja village, and on al-Mo’arajat road (connecting between Jericho and Ramallah).
  • On Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho and at the entrance to Ein ad-Duyuk village, north of the city.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement and at the entrance to Beita village, southeast of Nablus.
  • On Sunday, 03 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement and at al-Moraba’a intersection.

Tubas:

  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established a checkpoint in al-Me’yar area, east of ‘Atouf village, southeast of Tubas.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Yatta city and at the entrance to as-Samu village.
  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa and Idhna villages, at the northern entrance to Halhul city, and at the southern and western entrances to Hebron.
  • On Sunday, 03 January 2021. IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Halhul city and at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp.
  • On Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Ummar, Sa’ir and Jalajel villages, at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp, and at the southern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Tuesday, 05 January 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Hebron and at the entrances to as-Samu and Beit Ummar villages.
  • On Wednesday, 06 January 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp, and at the entrances to ad-Dhahiriya and Beit Kahil villages.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Kafr Laqif and Azzun villages, at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya, and at the entrance to Izbat al-Tabib village, east of Qalqilya.
  • On Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya.
  • On Sunday, 03 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Azzun and to Izbat al-Tabib villages, east of Qalqilya.

Salfit:

  • On Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Kafr ad-Dik, Kifl_Haris, Rafat amd Qarawat_Bani_Hassan villages.

“Forbidden Weapons” Used Against Gaza Strip Palestinians. Israel Deliberately Targets Palestinian Civilians

By Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh

Global Research, January 08, 2021

The following research article will explore three forbidden weapons that were and are still being used against the Palestinian civilians of the besieged Gaza Strip. These weapons are the DIME, the Flechette Shells and the Vacuum Bomb. Furthermore, this research article will attempt to answer an important question: Why does Israel deliberately target Palestinian civilians?

The DIME Components

DIME shell stands for Dense Inert Metal Explosives, is supposedly a “low collateral damage” weapon that was developed by the US Air Force.[1] Already in 2006, the DIME weapon has been used by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip. It has been dropped by Israeli drone aircraft.[2]

It should be pointed out that the chemical components of the DIME shell could not have become known to Palestinian physicians because Israel had destroyed Gaza’s only criminal laboratory on June 27, 2006, the first day of the siege.[3] This is indicative of the Zionist sinister future plans to use forbidden weapons against the Palestinian civilians and to keep the world in the dark including the Palestinians. However, after acquiring help from a group of Italian scientists and investigators, Palestinian physicians became aware of the chemical structure of the DIME shell whose extreme dangerous toxicity Israel was trying to conceal.

On October 19, 2006, a group of

“… Italian investigators had tissue samples from the victims in Gaza analyzed by Dr. Carmela Vaccaio at University Parma. Dr. Vaccaio reportedly found “a very high concentration of carbon and the presence of unusual materials, such as copper, aluminum and tungsten.” The doctor concluded that her “findings could be in line with the hypothesis that the weapon in question is DIME.”[4]

According to the spectrometry analyses of biopsies taken from amputation injuries of Palestinian patients from the Gaza Strip, and carried out by a group of Italian scientists affiliated with the New Weapons Research Committee (NWRC), the DIME shell included a combination of the following seventeen metals: “…aluminum, titanium, copper, strontium, barium, cobalt, mercury, vanadium, caesium, tin, arsenic, manganese, rubidium, cadmium, chromium, zinc and nickel…”[5] The combination of that many metals, including heavy metals, makes the DIME shell an extremely toxic chemical weapon and a highly dangerous one.

It should be pointed out that the “DIME weapons consist of a carbon fiber casing filled with a mixture of explosives and very dense microshrapnel, consisting of very small particles (1–2 mm) or powder of a heavy metal…”[6] When it explodes, DIME bombs blast a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered heavy metal tungsten alloy.[7]

The DIME Health Hazards

The initial reports on the health hazards of the DIME bomb came out few months after Israel began to use it in the summer of 2006.  Dr. Jom’a Al-Saqqa, chief of the emergency unit at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, observed that the DIME was “a new ‘chemical’ weapon” and Israeli siege was “a live exercise on a new ammunition that, so far, has resulted in killing 50 Palestinians and injuring 200.” He added that, “despite the damage in internal soft tissue in the bodies of injured people, the fragments were not detected by X-ray. In other words, they had disappeared or dissolved inside the body.”[8]

Dr. Al-Saqqa, a surgeon by profession, continued his observation by adding that “There were usually entry and exit wounds. When the wounds were explored no foreign material was found. There was tissue death, the extent of which was difficult to determine. … A higher deep infection rate resulted with subsequent amputation. In spite of amputation there was a higher mortality.”[9]

Moreover, Dr. Al-Saqqa, added the following observation on the death-causing health impact of the DIME weapon.

“When the shrapnel hit[s] the body, it causes very strong burns that destroy the tissues around the bones…it burns and destroys internal organs, like the liver, kidneys, and the spleen and other organs and makes saving the wounded almost impossible. As a surgeon, I have seen thousands of wounds during the Intifada, but nothing was like this weapon.”[10]

Dr Joma Al-Saqqa, chief of the emergency unit at Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa added that, “despite the damage in internal soft tissue in the bodies of injured people, the fragments were not detected by X-ray. In other words, they had disappeared or dissolved inside the body.”[11]

Another witnessing surgeon is Dr. Habas al-Wahid, the Palestinian head of the Emergency Unit at Gaza’s Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital. He made the following shocking observation. “Israel’s new weapon “slices” off its victims’ legs, leaving “signs of heat and burns near the point of the amputation”. It’s “as if a saw was used to cut through the bone…”[12]

Due to the penetration of the body by a number of heavy metals, this situation produces “[m]ultiple syndromes of heavy metal poisoning …” in addition it produces “…polycythemia, which can be induced by cobalt overdose.”[13] Polycythemia is “… a type of blood cancer that causes the bone marrow to make too many red blood cells, a health case that thickens the blood, slowing its flow, and a development which may cause serious problems, such as blood clots. Furthermore, Polycythemia produces cancer of the blood and bone marrow, namely acute leukemia.[14]

It should be pointed out that “[t]he whole Gaza population and their environment, including generations yet to be conceived, have been put at risk of serious long-term injury from heavy metal pollution of the air, soil and groundwater (and possibly the seawater too), while the causal pollution is likely to cross state borders into Egypt and even into Israel…”[15]

As a direct result of use by Israel of forbidden chemical weapons, all sorts of cancer cases have increased in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Ministry of Health has revealed that in the beginning of 2019, there were 8,515 cancer patients inside the Gaza Strip, including 4,705 women and 608 children. Cancer “Patients’ in the Gaza Strip suffer from the permanent shortage of equipment, drugs and medical supplies as a result of Israel’s stifling 12-year siege of  the enclave.”[16] They also suffer from denial of exit permits to children cancer patients and their companions for treatment abroad.[17] Other cancer patients are denied any medical treatment. According to the World Health Organization “Getting a permit to access the health care needed outside can be a stressful and unpredictable process, and many apply multiple times before being able to exit. Even then, some patients are never able to secure the permits they need to access care”[18]

These health hazards caused by the use of DIME shells by Israel constitute war crimes. The Israeli generals who were responsible for them are among others, Beni Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi, the leaders of the Blue White Israeli party. Ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, his defense minister are also war criminals. Due to the fact that these war crimes have continued to take place also under the present Israeli government, Benyamin Netanyahu and his defense minister Beni Gantz are also war criminals.

The Flechette Shell Components

The Flechette shell is “…made out of steel and had a very sharp pointy end… For increased aerodynamics, they featured fins on their other end – most likely to increase the speed of descent.”[19] It explodes in the air and releasesapproximately 2,200 flechettes.[20] The metal darts disperse in a conical arch three hundred meters long and about ninety meters wide. It is considered an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank.[21] On impact, the Flechette darts are “… capable of penetrating a combatant from head to foot and creating an instantly incapacitating wound…”[22]

One of the hazardous developments that take place is that the “… head of the dart is designed to break away. Having penetrated inside a person, this breakage inflicts a second wound per single dart entry, multiplying the amount of internal damage done by the razor-like darts…”[23]

The Health Hazards of the Flechette Shell

Israel has, numerously, used the Flechette shells in the Gaza Strip. During the war of 2008-2009, Israeli tanks assaulted Palestinian civilians with Flechette shells. There were a number of Palestinian victims of the Flechette shells. The following is the story of two Palestinian medics who were victims of the Flechette shell.

… In the initial shelling that day, Hammad lost his foot when Israeli tanks fired at, according to Hammad, a region filled with terrified civilians fleeing Israeli bombing. His friend Ali was shot in the head while trying to evacuate Hammad. The medics then arrived. Abd al-Dayem and Sarhan had loaded Hammad into the ambulance and were going to retrieve Ali’s body when the flechette shell was fired at the medics and fleeing civilians. Ali was decapitated…[24]

According to Palestinian traditions, parents and relatives of a deceased person usually hold two mourning houses, one for men and another for women. These mourning ceremonies are held outside the house so they can accommodate the largest possible gathering of mourners.

The Palestinian medic Jamal Abd al-Dayem explained what happened at the mourning ceremonies that were held for his late cousin Arafa Abd al-Dayem, the 35-year-old paramedic who died as a result “… of slashes to his lungs, limbs and internal organs.”[25]

After my cousin Arafa was martyred on 4 January, we immediately opened mourning houses, with separate areas for men and women. The next day, at 9:30am the Israelis struck the mourning area where the men were. It was clearly a mourning house, on the road, open and visible. Immediately after the first strike, the Israelis hit the women’s mourning area.” Two strikes within 1.5 minutes, he reported.[26]

The former four Flechette shelling incidents clearly show that the Israeli army is systematically and deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians. They cannot be dismissed as misguided targeting or mistakes. These are repetitive similar shellings of Flechettes that targeted civilians. We should pose the following question. If the Israeli army have on numerous occasions, deliberately targeted civilians, there should be reasons for that.

According to Dr. Bassam al-Masari, a surgeon at Beit Lahiya’s Kamal Adwan hospital, Flechette darts have caused “… more injuries than other bombs precisely because they spread in a larger area. And while the darts appear innocuously small, their velocity and design enable them to bore through cement and bones and “cut everything internal…”[27] Al-Masri added that “… their velocity and design enable them to bore through cement and bones and “cut everything internal…” Accordingly, the prime cause of death is severe internal bleeding from slashed organs, particularly the heart, liver and brain. Brain injuries are the most fatal…[28]

They Target Schools, don’t they?

It is noticeable that, during the past twelve years, Israeli air raids and shelling have targeted a number of civilian facilities inside the Gaza Strip. These facilities included schools, universities, hospitals, medical clinics, mosques, markets, shopping centers, factories, farms, banks, mourning cites, warehouses, a power station, and other essential civilian infrastructure. The following is a partial review of actual incidents.

Hundreds of Palestinian civilians who were forced out from their apartments and houses by the Zionist army, sought refuge inside UNRWA schools thinking that they would be in a safe haven. Nevertheless, Zionist criminal generals thought otherwise.

Author Mike Head reported that, “At least 20 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday, including UN workers, when Jabalia Elementary Girls School in Gaza City, which was sheltering 3,300 families, was hit by three artillery shells.”[29] Was it a mistake?

What happened to one UNRWA school was revealed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who reported that “… the exact location of this elementary school has been communicated to the Israeli military authorities 17 times…”[30] yet the Israeli army attacked the school and a number of Palestinians were killed and wounded.

Despite this evidence and during the 2014 war, US President Barak Obama claimed to be “extremely concerned” about the killing of people in UN designated shelters. At the same time Obama accused Hamas of hiding weapons in UN facilities.[31] By accusing Hamas of “hiding weapons in UN facilities” he reiterated Zionist lies and provided a justification for Zionist criminal bombing of UNRWA schools.Israel Killed and Injured More Civilians with Explosive Weapons than Any Other State in 2014

Author Vincent Di Stefano reported that until Dec 2010, “Seven schools in Gaza were totally destroyed, and 135 were substantially damaged. The Al-Azhar University of Gaza was reduced to rubble. Hospitals, medical clinics and Red Crescent warehouses were all targeted…”[32]

The author added that

“It was the second attack, and the sixth strike, on a UN school since Israel’s military offensive in Gaza began on July 8. Last week, 15 people died and about 200 were wounded when another UN school, in Beit Hanoun, was hit as the playground was filled with families awaiting evacuation.”[33]

Author Vincent Di Stefano concluded that “…By deliberately targeting UN schools, [Israel] is sending a chilling message: no one in Gaza is safe from ‘Operation Protective Edge.’…”[34]

In another criminal incident, “… three air strikes killed 15 people and injured 150 in a market area on the outskirts of Shujaiyah. As smoke billowed from the initial air strike, witnesses said emergency services and civilians rushed to help the victims, only to be hit by a further two air strikes minutes later.[35] Was this incident a mistake?

In another criminal assault that was reported by the British Guardian, we quote the following.

During the 2009 war, Mounir a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip reported the following story. While he was sitting around with his family drinking tea in their small courtyard, he heard the loud buzzing of an Israeli drone, clearly visible in the sky above. “He went inside for a moment and, as he returned, he saw a ball of light hurtling down toward him. There was a loud explosion and he was thrown backward. He gathered himself and stumbled out into the courtyard, where he saw the scene he says will never leave him.”[36] In his own words, Mounir described what happened to members of his family by saying: “We found Mohammed lying there, cut in half. Ahmed was in three pieces; Wahid was totally burnt – his eyes were gone. Wahid’s father was dead. Nour had been decapitated. We couldn’t see her head anywhere.”[37] Mounir continued by relating. “You cannot imagine the scene: a family all sitting around together and then, in a matter of seconds, they were cut to pieces. Even the next day we found limbs and body parts on the roof, feet and hands,” Mounir says.[38] Was this incident a mistake?

Despite these deliberate criminal incidents, the Israeli colonial army, as well as, Israeli colonial politicians claim that “… the IDF … intensively trained its personnel on the requirements of the Law of Armed Conflict. It delayed, diverted, or refrained from attacks to spare civilian life. It provided numerous and varied types of concrete warnings before launching attacks.”[39] As reported earlier, concrete evidence points to the contrary.

In addition to schools, Israeli military strikes targeted residential and public structures thus producing utter destruction. Author, Patrick O’Conner reported that “…At least 5,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 20,000 damaged, with many urban centers reduced to nothing more than rubble…”[40]

Moreover, Israeli military assaults targeted public structures. “… The parliament and cabinet buildings in Gaza City were destroyed, as was the city’s police headquarters, the Bank of Palestine building, the main university, several mosques…”[41], and six major water wells were damaged or destroyed.[42] In addition, Gaza’s water and electricity networks were destroyed by the Israeli army.[43]

Israeli war crimes that took place in the Gaza Strip during the last three wars was an election issue adopted by former Israeli army chief, Benny Gantz. He produced an election video for his party in which he bragged about killing 1,364 Palestinians and returning parts of the Gaza Strip to the stone ages.[44] Gantz admits responsibility for these war crimes but is ready to use his crimes as means to win the votes of racist Israelis.

Moreover, on Thursday, August 9, 2018 the Said al-Mishal Centre, a cultural center in Gaza housing the region’s second-largest theater, was bombed by Israeli military forces. The five-floor edifice housed a library, an Egyptian community center, offices for cultural associations, and a theater for arts and dabkeh.[45]

As usual, the Zionist army claimed that the center “… was being used by “the Hamas terror organization for military purposes”[46], an evidence that has never been proved.

Moreover, during the war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Zionist President Shimon Peres met with a delegation from AIPAC, the American Zionist lobby. In his speech to the delegation, Peres admitted that “… Israel’s aim, … was to provide a strong blow to the people of Gaza so that they would lose their appetite for shooting at Israel…”[47] That was a clear admission that the Zionist army deliberately and systematically targets Palestinian civilians.

One here should pause and ask the following question: Why the Israeli military, target Palestinian civilians in its aggressive wars? This is an attempted answer.

In the last three Israeli wars against the Gaza Strip, Israeli shelling deliberately targeted schools including UNRWA schools, market places, mourning houses and packed houses. This policy has been also implemented in Lebanon, and in Egypt during the Israeli bombardments in the seventies. The Israeli sinister logic behind this criminal policy is this: if you maximize civilian losses, civilians will stop backing Hamas or Hizballah. This faulty logic produced a systematic and deliberate policy of “mini” Zionist massacres. The shelling of civilian structures that are fully packed with people cannot be dismissed as mistakes nor as acted out in self-defense. So, the final aim of the Zionist aggressive colonial policy of choosing these targets, is to maximize civilian killings and terrorize the civilian population in order to force civilians to submit to Zionist colonial policies.

Components of the Vacuum Bomb

The Vacuum Bomb, named also the fuel–air explosive (FAE) is a type of explosive that depends on the use of two highly toxic fuels ethylene oxide and propylene oxide.[48] Once they detonate, they use the oxygen from the “… surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion. In practice, the blast wave typically produced by such a weapon is of a significantly longer duration than that produced by a conventional condensed explosive…”[49]

Once the Vacuum Bomb explodes,

“… the area around the explosion becomes overpressurized, resulting in highly compressed air particles that travel faster than the speed of sound. This wave will dissipate over time and distance and will exist only for a matter of milliseconds. This initial blast wave inflicts the most damage…”[50]

After explosion,

“… the bomb casing, as well as any additional shrapnel (nails, screws or other items included in the bomb), will be violently thrown outward and away from the explosion. When these fragments strike buildings, concrete, masonry, glass and even people, they may fragment even further — and cause even more damage…”[51]

The developments that immediately take place after the explosion are extremely dangerous because of the intensity in the creation of the vacuum and its immediate refill by the surrounding atmosphere. They were described by the author Tom Scheve in the following manner:

At the explosion site, a vacuum is created by the rapid outward movement of the blast. This vacuum will almost immediately refill itself with the surrounding atmosphere. This creates a very strong pull on any nearby person or structural surface after the initial push effect of the blast has been delivered. As this void is refilled, it creates a high-intensity wind that causes fragmented objects, glass and debris to be drawn back in toward the source of the explosion.[52]

It should be pointed out that chemical structure, the explosions, the consumption of the surrounding oxygen, and the vacuum creation, all lead to a number of health hazards.

Health Hazards of Vacuum Bombs

When it explodes, the Vacuum Bomb, “… predominantly affects the pulmonary, cardiovascular, auditory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems…”[53]

Moreover, there are a number of internal injuries that are caused by the health hazards of the vacuum bomb explosion. They could be showed as follows:

…”the effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense. Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.”[54]

In short, Vacuum Bombs are highly dangerous weapons that should be treated as forbidden weapons that should not be dropped on highly populated localities like the Gaza Strip. Despite this, the consecutive Israeli governments have been using these dangerous weapons against the Palestinian civilians since 2006.

Could It Be Genocide?

Al-Dameer, a Palestinian human rights organization, had published on 20 December 2009  “… another paper in Arabic on the increase in the number of babies born in Gaza with birth defects, thought to be the result of radioactive and toxic materials from Operation Cast Lead.The birth defects included incomplete hearts and malformations of the brain…”[55]

The conglomeration of Zionist war crimes caused by the use of forbidden weapons, the colonial siege of the Gaza Strip, the deliberate undernourishment of the Gazan Palestinians to the point of severe hunger, the criminal colonial Israeli policy of denying medical permits and restricting the importation of medicines to Gaza, the policy of shoot to kill at Gaza’s borders with the Zionist entity – all these policies and war crimes might very likely lead to genocide. But what is genocide according to International Law?

Article II of the Genocide Convention contains a narrow definition of the crime of genocide, which includes two main elements[56]:

    1. A mental element: the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”; and
    2. A physical element, which includes the following five acts, enumerated exhaustively:
  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Throughout this research article, we have clearly encountered evidence of war crimes in the first four categories. However, the fifth category has not been so far committed by Israel. So, based on this evidence, the Palestinian civilian authorities can submit a demand to the United Nations relevant bodies to force Israel to become accountable for committing these war crimes.

Israel has violated a number of international laws and has violated a number of UN conventions, and resolutions. Due to American hegemony on the Security Council and the use of the veto power Israel was not held accountable for its violations. The Israelis actually admit these violations but they have a criminal way of looking at them. According to the Israeli violators:

If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries. … International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert easily into the legal molds. Eight years later, it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.[57]

This is the sick logic of settler colonialists that are armed and supported by Western imperialism. The American imperialists not only do that but they obstruct the work of the Security Council to prevent it from holding Israel accountable for its war crimes. However, this misconduct does not make Israel innocent because its war crimes cannot be hidden, forgotten, permitted or deleted. Israeli war crimes are strongly imprinted in the black annals of human history.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh teaches sociology at Birzeit University in the colonized West Bank. He is a resident of Nazareth, Palestine. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Manchester and is author of a number of books and research articles.

Notes

[1] As quoted by Brooks, James “Starve Them; Shoot Them; then Give Them Cancer: An Inquiry into Israel’s use of DIME weaponry in of the Gaza Strip”, Vermonters for a Just Peace, https://vtjp.org, 22-1-2009

[2] Ma’an News, “Palestinian injuries suggest Israel is using chemical weapons in Gaza”, http://www.maannews.net 7-10-2006 and Shaoul, Jean, “Israel used chemical weapons in Lebanon and Gaza”, Centre for Research on Globalization, http://wsws.org, 24-110-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[3] Centre for Research on Globalization/Gulf News, “Israel ’is using chemical ammunition’ in Gaza”, http://www.globalresearch.ca, 13-6-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[4] Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[5] Halpin, David, “Are New weapons Being Used in Gaza and Lebanon”, Electronic Intifada, http://electronicintifada.net, 14-8-2006. As quoted by Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011.

[6] Wikipedia,” Dense Inert Metal Explosive”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 5-12-2020

[7] Brooks, James, op. cit.

[8] Al Baik, Duraid, “Israel ’is using chemical ammunition’ in Gaza”Centre for Research on Globalization/Gulf News, http://www.globalresearch.ca, 13-6-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[9] Halpin, David, Are New Weapons Being Used In Gaza and Lebanon, Electronic Intifada, http://electronicintifada.net, 14-8-2006 and Palestine News Network, Ministry of Health report on toxic Israeli weapons confirmed by Gaza City medical sources, http://www.pnn.ps, 13-7-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[10] “Doctors Report Unusual Weapon Used in Gaza”, Pacifica/Free Speech Radio News,  http://www.pacifica.org, 11-7-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Italian TV: Israel used new weapon prototype in Gaza Strip”, Israeli daily Ha’aretz, 10/19/2006 http://www.haaretz.com, 19-10-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[13] Kalinich et al, “Embedded Weapons-Grade Tungsten Alloy Shrapnel Rapidly Induces Metastatic High-Grade Rhabdomyosarcomas in F344 Rats”, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 113, Number 6, June 2005, http://www.ehponline.org. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[14] Mayo Clinic Staff, “Polycythemia vera”, https://www.mayoclinic.org. Accessed on: 1-1-2021

[15] Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011

[16] Middle East Monitor, “8,515 cancer patients in Gaza “https://www.middleeastmonitor.com, 5-2-2019

[17] Nedaa Alabadla, King-Hadduck, and Kevin, Edward, TEAM FUNDRAISER, “Cancer Patients in the Gaza”, https://www.gofundme.com. ACCESSED 12-12-2020

[18] WHO, “Palestinian cancer patients in Gaza wait months for Israel permits”,  https://www.middleeastmonitor.com, 6-2-2019

[19] Chambers, Jay, “Meet the Flechette – the Deadliest Weapon of World War I?”, https://www.historyandheadlines.com, 22-1-2020

[20] Centaurs in Vietnam, “Rockets”, http://centaursinvietnam.org. Accessed 8-12-2020

[21] Btselem, “Firing of Flechette shell that killed Reuters cameraman violates laws of war”, https://www.btselem.org, 17-4-2008

[22] Sabot Designs LLC, “Flechette Shotgun Amunition”, http://www.sabotdesigns.com. Accessed 8-12-2020

[23] Bartlett, Eva, “Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza”, The Electronic Intifadahttp://electronicintifada.net, 16-3-2009

[24] Bartlett, Eva, “Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza”, The Electronic Intifadahttp://electronicintifada.net, 16-3-2009

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Head, Mike, “US rearms Israel as its war crimes mount in Gaza”, https://www.wsws.org, 31-7-2014

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Di Stefano, Vincent, “And What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Gaza”, https://www.commondreams.org, 25-12-2010

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Chassay, Clancy, “Cut to pieces: the Palestinian family drinking tea in their courtyard”, https://www.theguardian.com, 23-3-2009

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Cook, William A., Now Israel Is Free to Declare Its Innocence before the International Court of Justice”, http://salem-news.com, 15-4-2011

[40] O’Connor, Patrick , “Reports reveal devastation wreaked by Israeli military in Gaza”, https://www.wsws.org, 20-1-2009

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Abunimah, Ali, “Israeli election ad boasts Gaza bombed back to stone ages”, https://electronicintifada.net, 21-1-2019

[45] Weber, Jasmine,  “Palestinian Cultural Center Destroyed by Israeli Military in Recent Attacks”, https://hyperallergic.com, 10-8-2018.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Fay Cashman, Greer, “’Solidarity during war is Israel’s finest hour’”, https://www.jpost.com, 14-1-2009

[48] Wikipedia, “Thermobaric weapon”,  https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 9-12-2020

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Andr, David, “MUNITIONS – Thermobaric Munitions and their Medical Effects”, https://jmvh.org. Accessed 4-1-2021

[54] Wikipedia, “Thermobaric weapon”,  https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 9-12-2020

[55] Salam, Kawther, “Abortions, Cancer, Diseases and…in Gaza”,  http://www.intifada-palestine.com, 29 December 2009. As quoted by Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011

[56] United Nations, “Genocide”, https://www.un.org, 2-1-2021

[57] “Israel: Transforming International Law by Violating It”, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/4/09. As quoted by Di Stefano, Vincent, “And What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Gaza”, https://www.commondreams.org, 25-12-2010

Related

Anis al Naqqash: how Soleimani and Mugniyeh helped Palestine

A New Year’s Wish

See the source image
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

PHILIP GIRALDI • JANUARY 5, 2021 
Source: The Unz Review

Let’s remove Israel from American politics

There has been one good thing about the COVID-19 virus – for the first time many among the general public are beginning to ask why a rich country like Israel should be getting billions of dollars from the United States taxpayer at a time when many Americans are struggling. Inevitably, of course, the press coverage of the questions being asked about the cash flow failed to discuss the real magnitude of the “aid,” trade concessions, co-production projects and dicey charitable contributions that our federal and many state governments shower on the Jewish state, which easily exceed $10 billion per year.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Pollard-and-Netanyahu-600x337.jpg

There has been one good thing about the COVID-19 virus – for the first time many among the general public are beginning to ask why a rich country like Israel should be getting billions of dollars from the United States taxpayer at a time when many Americans are struggling. Inevitably, of course, the press coverage of the questions being asked about the cash flow failed to discuss the real magnitude of the “aid,” trade concessions, co-production projects and dicey charitable contributions that our federal and many state governments shower on the Jewish state, which easily exceed $10 billion per year.

During his 2016 campaign Donald Trump swore that he would be the best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House, a pledge that some of us viewed skeptically as Trump was also committed to bringing the troops home from “useless wars” in Asia, most of whom were in the Middle East supporting Israeli interests. More recently Trump admitted that America was in the Middle East to “protect Israel” and he has indeed proven to be the great benefactor he promised to be in responding fully to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wish list. Trump has increased tension dramatically with Iran, moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, has recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, and has basically given Israel the green light to do whatever it wants on the Palestinian West Bank, including getting rid of the Palestinians. And as all that has played out the Israelis have attacked and killed thousands of civilians in Gaza, Syria and the West Bank with impunity, protected by the U.S. veto in the U.N. Security Council against any consequences for their actions while a subservient Congress gives Netanyahu twenty-eight standing ovations and bleats that “Israel has a right to defend itself.” Trump has made the United States completely complicit in Israeli war crimes and has committed a few of its own to include the widely condemned assassination of the senior Iranian official Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad one year ago.

Israel more-or-less openly admits that it controls the actions of the United States in its region, its leaders having boasted how the U.S. federal government is “easily moved” when it comes up against the Israeli Lobby. Nor is there any real secret to how the Lobby uses money to buy access and then exploits that access to obtain real power, which is then used to employ all the resources of the U.S. government in support of the Jewish state. The top donor to the Democratic Party, Israeli-American Haim Saban has stated that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel. This single-minded focus to promote Israel’s interests at the expense of those of the United States makes the Israel Lobby the most formidable foreign policy lobby in Washington and it recalls the warning once issued by George Washington in his Farewell Address, where he stated that “permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges toward another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

The complete contempt that the Israelis and Israeli supporters in the U.S. have for other Americans and their interests was on full display last week when convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard flew “home,” meeting Netanyahu as he disembarked from a private plane that had departed from Newark New Jersey before being given a hero’s welcome.

Pollard is the most damaging spy in American history, having stolen the keys to accessing U.S. communications and information gathering systems. He was an unlikely candidate to become a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, and one review board determined that he had been hired in the first place under pressure from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). A month after Pollard’s arrest in 1985, C.I.A director William Casey stated: “The Israelis used Pollard to obtain our war plans against the USSR – all of it: the co-ordinates, the firing locations, the sequences, and Israel sold that information to Moscow for more exit visas for Soviet Jews.” According to a C.I.A. after-the fact-damage assessment “Pollard’s operation has few parallels among known U.S. espionage cases…. his first and possibly largest delivery occurred on 23 January [1984] and consisted of five suitcases-full of classified material.”

Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger wrote a forty-six page review of the case that remains largely classified and redacted to this day, detailing what incredible damage Pollard had done. Part of the document states: “In this case, the defendant has admitted passing to his Israeli contacts an incredibly large quantity of classified information. At the outset I must state that the defendant’s disclosures far exceed the limits of any official exchange of intelligence information with Israel. That being the case, the damage to national security was complete the moment the classified information was given over. Ideally, I would detail…all the information passed by the defendant to his Israeli contacts: unfortunately, the volume of .data we know to have been passed is too great to permit that. · Moreover, the defendant admits to having passed to his Israeli handlers a quantity of documents great enough to occupy a space six feet by ten feet… The defendant has substantially harmed the United States, and in my view, his crimes demand severe punishment… My foregoing comments will, I hope, dispel any presumption that disclosures to an ally are insignificant; to the contrary, substantial and irrevocable damage has been done to this nation. Punishment, of course, must be appropriate to the crime, and in my opinion, no crime is more deserving of severe punishment than conducting espionage activities against one’s own country.”

The Pollard trip to his “home” occurred because Donald Trump had obligingly lifted the travel restrictions on him the week before, one more favor to Israel. At the airport, Pollard and his wife knelt to kiss the Israeli soil before Netanyahu handed him an Israeli citizen ID and welcomed him. The 737 luxury-fitted executive jet Pollard and his wife flew on belongs to Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, chief donor to the Republicans and to Donald Trump. Adelson is married to an Israeli and famously has said that he regrets having worn a U.S. Army uniform when he was drafted, much preferring instead that he might have done military service in the Israel Defense Force.

I should point out that permitting dual nationals with singular loyalty to a foreign nation to have such significant influence over the two leading political parties in the U.S. by virtue of money alone is a recipe for disaster, and so it has proven. What were Trump and Hillary Clinton thinking when they tied themselves to Adelson and Saban? Or were they thinking at all?

The Israeli boosters in the United States have flat out corrupted our political process to get where they are. They have bought or intimidated every politician that matters to include presidents, congressmen and even those in state and local governments. Anyone who criticizes Israel or Jewish collective behavior in support of the Israeli state is subject to character assassination and blacklisting a la Mel Gibson and Rick Sanchez. Those who persist are denounced as anti-Semites, a label that is used liberally by Zionist groups.

Anyone who is bold enough to either criticize the Israelis or defend the Palestinians is targeted, and if they happen to be in Congress like Cynthia McKinney, Pete McCloskey, Paul Findlay, James Traficant, William Fulbright and Chuck Percy they are first vilified in the media and then set up against a very well-funded candidate to drive them from office. The end result is that when Israel kills civilians and rampaging armed settlers destroy their livelihoods the United States government chooses to look the other way and shower the rogue state with money so it can continue to do its dirty work.

The corruption extends to the state level, where twenty-six governments have passed Israel lobby-promoted legislation that limits free speech rights if anyone seeks to criticize Israel. This sometimes includes forcing employees, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support any boycott of the Jewish state. The massive interference in the internal governance of the United States by Israel and its U.S. born lackeys far exceeds that of any other country, including inappropriately vilified Russia or China.

It is well past time to get rid of the Israel parasite that feeds on the American government and people. The special relationship with Israel, sanctified in the halls of Congress and by a Jewish dominated media, does nothing good for the United States and for the American people. Israel’s constant interference in the U.S. political system and economy comes at a huge cost, both in dollars and in terms of actual American interests.

And then there are the hot buttons which, if the U.S. actually had a functional government that is responsive to the people, should have been pushed long ago. Israel is ranked by the FBI as the number one “friendly” country in terms of its spying against the United States. Pollard is an exception, but Israeli spies are routinely slapped on the wrist when caught and never face prosecution. The Mossad agents who were the “Dancing Shlomos,” celebrating while the twin towers went down on 9/11, were allowed to go home. And Israel has never truly paid any price for the horrific bombing and torpedoing of the U.S.S. Liberty fifty-three years ago, which killed 34 Americans and injured over one hundred more. The completely unprovoked attack took place in international waters and was later covered-up by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Congress. May they burn in hell. The surviving crew members are still waiting for justice.

So, let’s all resolve for 2021 to do whatever we can to pull the plug on Israel. Let Israel pay its own bills and take care of its own defense. American citizens who prefer the Jewish ethno-religious state to our constitutional republic should feel free to emigrate. Lacking Washington’s backing, Israel will also be free to commit atrocities and war crimes against all of its neighbors but without the U.S. United Nations veto it will have to begin facing the consequences for its actions. But most of all, as Americans, we will no longer have to continue to carry the burden of a country that manipulates and uses us and also has a certain contempt for us while doing so. And maybe just maybe freeing the United States from Israel could lead to an end to all the wars in the Middle East that Washington has been waging in spite of the fact that we Americans are threatened by no one in the region and have no real interest whatsoever in prolonging the agony of staying there.

What Educational, Religious, Moral, Humanitarian References Justify Normalization with Zionists?

Source

By: Prime Minister Dr.. Abdul Aziz bin Habtoor

Translated from Al-Mayadeen

What Educational, Religious, Moral, Humanitarian References Justify Normalization with Zionists?

Middle East: Arab and Islamic various media showed “downward” models of citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries participating, with tremendous joy and overflowing happiness, with the Zionists their joys and celebrations, visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque and also touring with the Zionists on the beaches of Jaffa, Acre and Tel Aviv

With brazenness, they also visited the Syrian Arab Golan Heights, which Donald Trump had “granted” to the Zionist enemy as a “gift”, to send from there audio messages that are closer to ‘spreading the vice’ that they promote without respect the simplest feelings of millions of free Arabs.

If we try to justify the “Arab” rulers for their “normalization” step, and say that they did so under the tremendous pressure that they are subjected to by the Zionist and US administration, and they may not be blamed because of the presence of US warships, bases and military camps in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and the Saudi Arabia, the Arab and even Islamic public opinion may turn a blind eye to the “normalization” that they committed, which is considered a betrayal.

But how can we explain this “popular” trot by individuals, groups, businessmen, and journalists from those countries, who demand popular “normalization” to the extent of integration and infiltration into Arab families, unfortunately? What kind of people are these from ?! What is their educational, religious, moral and humanitarian reference ?! Here,the question is: Have some of the people of these (financially wealthy) countries lost their connection and ties to their Arabism and religion ?!

This leads us to a general explanation that those belonging to the lavish consumer society in the Gulf have lost their collective consciousness, and their culture and spiritual ties of their belonging to their Arab and Islamic nation have been corrupted, so they no longer distinguish between the occupied Zionist and the oppressed owner of the land. 

There is a permissible amount of openness to others, and there is no harm in it being in a humane and understandable manner, and this relations with others should not make us forget our fateful Arab-Islamic issues.

However, what Arab public opinion showed on the media, was a remarkable phenomenon, the first of its kind, that these “Arab Muslims”, if they are still Arab and Muslims, was abnormal and unacceptable behavior? This is what made us ask: What are the patriotic and religious education that they were brought up with in their families and schools? 

We have witnessed the huge sacrifices made by the Palestinian people in their resistance to displacement, Judaization, starvation and siege. Returning to the history of the national political sacrifices that people made in Palestine, it is similar to the sacrifices made by the Arab peoples who resisted British and French colonialism, offering caravans of martyrs, wounded and missing. Were all these massive sacrifices in the concepts of the ‘new Arabs’ absurd and wrong with no value?

If that were so, we would not have studied in the history the story of the revelution of Spartacus and the slave revolt that did not accept slavery at all. Why do we teach our children and grandchildren concepts of freedom, dignity, morals and shame?

I would like to remind you that the six-year-old Palestinian child, who was enforced to emigrate from his village, returns to his town, his village and the site of his old house, carrying a small bag with him, to take soil of the ground, and he puts it in that bag, after inhaling its perfume saturated with dignity, history and painful memories, then go back to a place and home in the country of expatriation.

This phenomenon is repeated with every Palestinian who was enforced one day to leave his land. They travel thousands of kilometers from where they live and work automatically, without receiving instructions from anyone to do such things.

Therefore, we reiterate that “normalization” with the Israeli enemy has no value nor a real future for it, because the people of Palestine and all the free people of the whole world, will not abandon a just cause, as long as they irrigated its pure soil with their pure blood and planted figs and olives trees in it  to be pegs as mooring mountains.

The Arabs in the Gulf Cooperation Council, rulers or people, except for the free among them, must understand the equation of Palestine as a land and a person, and they must understand the scene of an elderly woman embracing the olive tree to prevent the Zionists from uprooting it.

We have to understand the scene of the children of the stones as they resist the troop carrier and the invading hordes of Zionists soldiers. We have to understand the scene of a Palestinian young woman while she was treating a wounded Palestinian, and she was also hit by a fatal bullet from a reckless Israeli soldier.

Let us remember Laila Khaled and her comrades as they forced the enemy aircraft to surrender, and let us think a lot about the long queue of Palestinain martyrs, including the martyr Sheikh Izz al-Din Al-Qassam, Yasser Arafat, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abu Ali Mustafa, Abu Jihad, Khalil al-Wazir, Wadih Haddad, Fathi al-Shaqaqi, Fatima al-Najjar, Moataz Qassem, Bayan al-Asali, Diaa al-Tahamah, Yahya Ayyash, the child martyr Muhammad Abu Khedira, Muhammad al-Durra, the martyr Razan Ashraf Al-Najjar, and tens of thousands of martyrs.

Talking about these martyrs, the wounded and the steadfast on the borders of dignity is not an old talk of outdated time, as it is promoted by who normalized. No, these are living lessons, and they will continue as long as the Zionist enemy is the same enemy, and as long as the occupation continues. The Zionist hate speech and supremacy remains the same for seven decades. The Zionist attacks on the Gaza Strip continue, and the arrests and killing of Palestinians remain the same. So, what has changed in the scene ?!

We will answer with confidence: As long as the equation does not change, the resistance will continue until liberating the land, and the free Arabs and Muslims will remain supportive of all the Palestinian until victory.

Palestinian Resistance revives its Joint Operations Room

مناورة «الركن الشديد»: غزة ليست الحلقة الأضعف

«الركن الشديد»: غزّة ليست الحلقة الأضعف
جرت المناورة المشتركة بالتنسيق مع «الأصدقاء في حلف المقاومة» الذي دعا الفصائل إلى الاستعداد لسيناريوات عدّة (نضال الوحيدي)

الأخبار

 رجب المدهون الأربعاء 30 كانون الأول 2020

غزة | بموازاة الانفجارات واستعراض القوة ومراقبة العدو الإسرائيلي مناورة المقاومة الفلسطينية في قطاع غزة، وزّعت «الركن الشديد» رسائل متعدّدة إلى الأطراف كافة في المنطقة والإقليم. فبينما تتّجه الأنظار تجاه تطبيع الدول العربية مع العدو، أكدت غزة تموضعها في الخندق الآخر الذي يتجهّز لمواجهة الاحتلال، معلنةً أن الحصار الإسرائيلي، وكذلك المصري، سياسات لا يمكنها أن تدفع القطاع إلى التنازلات. وقد تجلّت كبرى الرسائل والدلالات في تعليق صور كبيرة لقائد «قوة القدس» الراحل، الشهيد قاسم سليماني، قبل ليلة من المناورات، وعلى مقربة من الشق البحري للمناورة.

وعلمت «الأخبار»، من مصادر فلسطينية، أن المناورة المشتركة جرت بالتنسيق مع «الأصدقاء في حلف المقاومة» الذي دعا الفصائل إلى الاستعداد لسيناريوات؛ أبرزها المشاركة في مواجهة شاملة وكبرى ضدّ العدو لتحرير الأراضي الفلسطينية. وفي الوقت الذي ظنّ فيه عدد من الدول العربية أنه يمكن إنهاء ملف المقاومة في غزة، جاء القرار الفلسطيني موحّداً خلف خيار المقاومة بمناورة تُظهر جزءاً من قدراتها بعد سنوات من مراكمة القوة، مضيفة إلى ذلك رسالة بأن دعم بعض الدول العربية لضربة كبيرة ضدّ القطاع قبل مغادرة الرئيس الأميركي، دونالد ترامب، لن تكون ذات جدوى، فما تملكه المقاومة يؤهّلها للمشاركة في معركة التحرير وليس للحفاظ على بقائها في القطاع فقط، كما تشرح المصادر.

أيضاً، حملت «الركن الشديد» رسائل بالغة إلى رام الله، بعدما اختارت السلطة العودة علناً وبكلّ ما لديها إلى الحضن الإسرائيلي، مؤكدة خيار الوحدة في مواجهة الاحتلال الذي لا يعطي التنازلات إلّا تحت وقع الضربات. وكانت لافتة مشاركة أربعة أذرع عسكرية تنتمي إلى حركة «فتح»، وهي الأذرع التي لا يعترف بها رئيس الحركة، محمود عباس، بعد إصداره قراراً بحلّها كافة في 2007. مع ذلك، لم يكن غريباً تجاهل وسائل الإعلام التابعة للسلطة و«فتح» المناورة والاكتفاء بالترويج لاحتفالات الانطلاقة “الفتحاوية” الـ 55.

من رسائل المقاومة التحذير من أيّ ضربة كبيرة قبل رحيل ترامب


وفي الوقت الذي بات يشعر فيه الفلسطينيون بحالة أشبه بالضياع بعد انحدار السلطة وطنياً، وتغوّل الاحتلال على الضفة والقدس، وحفلة التطبيع العربية العلنية، جاءت المناورة بمكانة رسالة مهمّة لجميع الفلسطينيين في الداخل والخارج، تقول إن ثمة بصيص أمل وقاعدة صلبة يمكن الاعتماد عليها لمواجهة الاحتلال. كما تأتي هذه الخطوة تتويجاً لعمل المقاومة في غزة خلال السنوات الأخيرة على قاعدة تعبئة الشارع وبناء القدرة العسكرية. فخلال العام المنتهي 2020، كشفت المقاومة على مراحل مجموعة من عملياتها الأمنية في مواجهة الاحتلال، ليتبعها الكشف عن أن طائراتها نفذت مهمّات محدّدة فوق وزارة الأمن الإسرائيلية خلال حرب 2014، وكذلك الإفراج عن تفاصيل عملية «موقع أبو مطيبق» خلال الحرب نفسها، وليس أخيراً عثورها على «كنز عسكري» في بحر غزة واستخراجه وإعادته إلى الخدمة.
أخيراً، يرى مراقبون أن «الركن الشديد» تُمثّل «بداية فعلية لعمل الغرفة المشتركة لعمليات المقاومة» بطريقة مختلفة لكن منظمة، ما قد يؤسِّس مستقبلاً لتنسيق أكبر على المستويين العسكري والأمني، ويمهّد لتطوّر عمل الفصائل تحت «هيئة أركان موحدة».

من ملف : مناورة «الركن الشديد»: غزة ليست الحلقة الأضعف

«الركن الشديد»: 12 فصيلاً مقاوماً يبدأون مناورة واسعة

أطلقت فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية أمس، مناورة واسعة أولى من نوعها باسم «الركن الشديد».

وأعلنت «الغرفة المشتركة» لفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية في غزة، أمس، عن انطلاق مناورة «الركن الشديد»، الأولى من نوعها.

وقال متحدث باسم الغرفة خلال مؤتمر صحافي، داخل أحد المواقع العسكرية للمقاومة: «نعلن بعون الله عن انطلاق مناورات الركن الشديد التي ينفذها مقاتلونا ومجاهدونا من كافة الأجنحة تحت قيادة الغرفة المشتركة».

وأطلقت الغرفة المشتركة رشقة صاروخية تجريبية باتجاه بحر قطاع غزة بالتزامن مع إعلان بدء المناورة.

وأوضح المتحدّث أن المناورة تُنفذ بالذخيرة الحية عبر سيناريوات متعددة ومتنوعة في مناطق القطاع من شماله حتى جنوبه.

وبيّن أن المناورات «تحاكي تهديدات العدو المتوقعة وتهدف إلى رفع كفاءة وقدرة مقاتلي المقاومة على القتال في مختلف الظروف والأوقات».

وشدّد على أن «هذه المناورات الدفاعية تأكيد على جهوزية المقاومة للدفاع عن شعبنا في كل الأحوال وتحت الظروف كافة».

وأكد أن «قيادة المقاومة جاهزة لخوض أي معركة للدفاع عن شعبنا وأرضنا، ولن تقبل أن يتغول العدو على أهلنا».

وقال: «سلاحنا حاضر وقرارنا موحد في خوض أي مواجهة تُفرض على شعبنا في أي زمان ومكان».

وحذّرت الغرفة المشتركة قيادة الاحتلال «بأن مجرد التفكير في مغامرة ضد شعبنا؛ سيواجه بكل قوة ووحدة وسيحمل الكثير من المفاجآت».

وأضاف «هذه المناورات المشتركة تعبر بوضوح عن القرار المشترك ووحدة الحال بين الفصائل بكافة أطيافها».

ويشارك في المناورة 12 جناحًا عسكريًا هم: كتائب القسام، وسرايا القدس، وكتائب الشهيد أبو علي مصطفى، وألوية الناصر صلاح الدين، وكتائب المقاومة الوطنية، وكتائب شهداء الأقصى – لواء العامودي، وجيش العاصفة، ومجموعات الشهيد أيمن جودة، وكتائب الشهيد عبدالقادر الحسيني، وكتائب المجاهدين، وكتائب الأنصار، وكتائب الشهيد جهاد جبريل.

هذا وأكدت الغرفة المشتركة لفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية أن قرارهم موحّد في خوض أية مواجهة تُفرض على الشعب الفلسطيني في أي زمان ومكان، محذرة قيادة الاحتلال من أن «مجرد التفكير في مغامرة ضد شعبنا ستواجه بكل قوة ووحدة وستحمل الكثير من المفاجآت بإذن الله».

وفي السياق، تابع العدو الصهيوني هذه المناورات بقلق بالغ، ونشر «موقع إسرائيل نيوز24» خبراً تناول فيه المناورات العسكرية المشتركة لفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية في غزة، وتضمن: «بدأت الساعة العاشرة من صباح اليوم (أمس) مناورات عسكريةٌ واسعةٌ النطاق، وهي الأولى من نوعها حيث تجري بمشاركة كافة الفصائل الفلسطينية في قطاع غزة، وعلى رأسها حماس والجهاد الاسلامي».

الموقع الصهيوني أضاف: «وفي المناورات العسكرية التي أطلق عليها «مناورات الركن الشديد» حيث ستديرها غرفة العمليات المشتركة للفصائل الفلسطينية في قطاع غزة، وحتى اليوم قامت كل جماعة مسلحة بإجراء مناورات وحدها، وهذه هي المرة الأولى التي يجرون فيها مناورات مشتركة تكون بها لكل فصيل دور ومناطق محدّدة، وهنا تكمن أهمية هذه المناورات».

من جهته قال موقع صحيفة «يديعوت أحرنوت» إن توقيت مناورة غزة يأتي بعد مناورات الجيش الصهيوني قبل أسابيع في فرقة غزة وعند الحدود الشمالية، وأضاف أن المناورة العسكرية «الركن الشديد» تدار للمرة الأولى من غرفة عمليات مشتركة تابعة للأذرع العسكرية في قطاع غزة.

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

Gaza’s Strong Support Military Drill: Our Decision Is Unified, And Our Weapons Are Ready

Gaza’s Strong Support Military Drill: Our Decision Is Unified, And Our Weapons Are Ready

By Staff

The Joint Operations Room [JOR] – also known as the Common Room – of the Palestinian resistance factions announced the commencement of the Strong Support military drill. Fighters and mujahideen from all military wings are taking part in the drills using live ammunition in multiple scenarios extending from the north of the Gaza Strip to the south.

 “Thank God, we remain loyal to the pledge to our martyrs and captives. We have not abandoned our pledge and promised to our people to continue the path of resistance, jihad, and struggle, with a pure rifle and a weapon drenched with the blood of the martyrs and the sweat of the fighters in the fields of giving,” the JOR’s spokesperson said. “The joint military and jihad work is not new to the fighters and the mujahideen from our rebellious Palestinian people.”

He explained that “these maneuvers simulate the expected threats from the enemy and aim to improve the efficiency and ability of the resistance fighters to carry out combat operations under various circumstances and at different times.”

“The maneuvers are an affirmation of the readiness of the resistance to defend our people in all cases and under all circumstances,” he added. “The leadership of the resistance is ready to fight any battle to defend our people and our land.”

The spokesman for the JOR affirmed that “we will not accept that the enemy poses a danger to our people, and our weapons are ready.”

Moreover, he pointed out that their “decision is unified in waging any confrontation imposed on our people at any time and place, God willing.”

“The occupation leadership must realize that the mere thought of an adventure against our people will be met with all strength and unity and will carry many surprises, God willing,” the spokesman warned. “These joint maneuvers clearly express a unified decision among the different wings of the resistance factions with all its spectrums.”

“Today, the resistance is stronger, stiffer, and more capable of confronting it, deterring it, and hurting it. It will not allow the Zionist enemy to impose rules of engagement that it does not accept.”

“The message of our resistance to the whole world is that our word will remain decisive, and our hand will remain with the power of God the highest. The shameful agreements and failed normalization ceremonies will not change anything on the ground.”

The spokesperson extended greetings from the resistance factions and the leadership of the Common Room to all people embracing the resistance and standing in the face of all conspiracies.

He saluted the souls of our righteous martyrs who watered this land with pure blood. He also saluted the wounded and injured, saying, “Greetings to the free and heroic prisoners who are the title of freedom and dignity.”

Palestine Resistance Groups Hold First Joint Military Exercise

Palestine Resistance Groups Hold First Joint Military Exercise

By Staff, Agencies

Palestinian Resistance groups started their first-ever joint military exercise on Tuesday.

The Joint Chamber of Military Operations for Palestinian Factions announced the start of the first joint military exercise across the Gaza strip.

Palestinian Resistance drones were flying over the Gaza strip, it added.

The Joint Chamber of Military Operations for Palestinian Factions announced that the Resistance to react ‘fiercely’ to any ‘Israeli’ ‘adventurism’.

The drill comes as part of the cooperation between Palestinian Resistance groups and in a bid to show continuous efforts aimed at raising their military readiness.

In one of their latest attacks, on December 26, Zionist fighter jets targeted a number of hospitals and schools in the Gaza Strip.

On December 27, the Spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] said that the Zionist regime is responsible for the consequences of the recent attack on the Gaza Strip.

The resistance movement will not give up its national duty to defend the inalienable interests of the Palestinian people and to break the equations of the Zionist regime, Fawzi Barhoum stated.

على الهواء مباشرة…المقاومة الفلسطينية تطلق صواريخ مناورات “الركن الشديد”

 الميادين نت

الناطق باسم سرايا القدس يقول إن المقاومة الفلسطينية هي صمام الأمان للحفاظ على القضية الفلسطينية، ويعلن اطلاق مناورة “الركن الشديد” في غزة.

انطلاق مناورة
سيتخلل المناورة انتشار لعناصر المقاومة وأجهزة أمنية وشرطية

أطلقت المقاومة الفلسطينية رشقات صاروخية باتجاه بحر غزة، كما أطلقت طائرات أبابيل المسيّرة في إطار المناورة التي تحاكي تهديدات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

وإيذاناً ببدء المناورة أطلقت المقاومة الفلسطينية رشقات صاروخية باتجاه بحر غزة، كما أطلقت طائرات أبابيل المسيّرة في إطار المناورة التي تحاكي تهديدات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

 سيتخلل المناورة انتشار لعناصر المقاومة وأجهزة أمنية وشرطية

أطلقت المقاومة الفلسطينية رشقات صاروخية باتجاه بحر غزة، كما أطلقت طائرات أبابيل المسيّرة في إطار المناورة التي تحاكي تهديدات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

وإيذاناً ببدء المناورة أطلقت المقاومة الفلسطينية رشقات صاروخية باتجاه بحر غزة، كما أطلقت طائرات أبابيل المسيّرة في إطار المناورة التي تحاكي تهديدات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

كذلك سيتخلل المناورة انتشار لعناصر المقاومة وأجهزة أمنية وشرطية، وحركة نشطة لمركبات اسعاف والدفاع المدنيّ وامن والشرطة في جميع المحافظات.

وأعلنت فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية اليوم الثلاثاء إطلاق مناورة “الركن الشديد” في غزة.

وانطلقت رشقات صواريخ على الهواء مباشرة وأمام وسائل الإعلام، في وقتٍ قال فيه مراسل الميادين في غزة إن طائرات استطلاع تابعة للمقاومة جابت سماء منطقة المناورات.

وقال الناطق باسم “سرايا القدس” أبو حمزة إن “المقاومة الفلسطينية ما زالت على عهدها في مواصلة طريق الجهاد، وهي صمام الأمان للحفاظ على القضية الفلسطينية”.

أبو حمزة أشار إلى أن “هذه المناورات الدفاعية هي تأكيد على جهوزية المقاومة للدفاع عن شعبنا، وأضاف أن “سلاحنا حاضر وقرارنا موحّد في خوض أيّ مواجهة للدفاع عن شعبنا، وأن المناورات المشتركة تعبر بوضوح عن وحدة قرارنا”.

وقال  أبو حمزة إن “المقاومة اليوم هي أقوى وأصلب وأكثر قدرة على مواجهة العدو وردعه، و لن تسمح للعدو بفرض قواعد اشتباك لا ترضاها”.

وعن التطبيع مع الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، أشار أبو حمزة إلى أن “المطبعون وأذناب الاحتلال إلى مزابل التاريخ وستظل فلسطين قضية العرب والمسلمين”.

وفي السياق، قال مراسل الميادين في غزة إن طائرات استطلاع تابعة للمقاومة تجوب سماء منطقة مناورات “الركن الشديد”.

أخبار ذات صلة

Sayyed Nasrallah: Resistance Missiles Multiply in Quantities, Can Reach any Point in Occupied Palestine

Sayyed Mayadeen
Click to see the Video

Sara Taha Moughnieh

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah denied Sunday having any data around Israeli or US intention to perform any operation before the end of Trump’s presidency dubbing the latter a “crazy who is in a state of severe madness”.

“It is not something only concerning Iran, Lebanon or Palestine but even the Republican and Democratic leaderships are worried about what he could do,” he pointed out, stressing that “the resistance axis should be cautious throughout these couple of weeks so it wouldn’t be dragged into an uncalculated confrontation…”

In an interview to Al-Mayadeen TV channel, Sayyed Nasrallah revealed that he, along with other Hezbollah leaders are targets for the US, Israeli and Saudi Arabia, adding that the latter have been instigating to assassinate him since many years, even before the Yemeni war began.

“Saudi King, Mohammad bin Salman proposed this issue in his first visit to the US after the election of Trump, and the latter approved assigning this operation to “Israel”,” his eminence clarified, noting that “Saudi Arabia, specifically in the last few years, has been acting with grudge not mindfulness”.

Sayyed Nasrallah disdained Israeli threats assuring that “when you hear Israelis waging threats on media know that there will be no action… and all the action taking place on the borders with Lebanon only reveal Israel’s concern and alertness”.

As his eminence considered that the military operation that targeted Hajj Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis was a trilateral operation by US-Israel-Saudi Arabia, he remembered Suleimani saying “he had a strong charisma and the power to influence anyone who knows him. He was special on the humanitarian and moral levels. He was a frontline man not a man in the operation room, a man of strategy and tactics and very conscious and well-educated on political and cultural levels.”

“In the last period before his assassination, his role and movement was highlighted a lot in Western media. They usually do that before the assassination of anyone to show their people the significance of the man targeted. I was very concerned about him and I warned him about that,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding “I miss him so much, I used to feel that we are one person”.

“As for Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, he was a great leader and resembled Hajj Qassem so much. He had a major role in both victories against the US and ISIL,” he further stated.

In parallel, Sayyed Nasrallah spoke about the strong relation Hajj Qassem had with all the resistance factions in Palestine and his concern that these factions get all the support they need to resist the occupation, revealing that he was the one behind sending Kornet missiles to the resistance in Gaza Strip.

“President Bashar Al-Assad bought “Kornet” missiles from the Russians, and they are the missiles we used in July war. Hajj Qassem demanded that these missiles be sent to Gaza, and I proposed the issue to President Assad who instantly approved,” his eminence explained, asserting that “I am not surprised with the Arab betrayal to the Palestinians because most of the Arab regimes have only been selling words to Palestine and have only used Iran as an excuse to normalize the relations with Israel. This took place because the Palestinian cause has become a burden on them. There is no excuse for anyone to abandon Palestine.”

As he considered that these countries have long had ties with Israel but were not made public, he assured that this new peace deal is positive because it brought this hypocrisy to public and divided the lines.

“When lines are divided this means a great victory is on its way,” he said.

In this context, Hezbollah SG stated that the relation between Hezbollah and Hamas is based on the legitimacy of the resistance and the Palestinian cause despite the conflict that emerged between Damascus and Hamas due to the Syrian developments.

He further assured that the resistance axis is stronger than before and the Palestinian people have not been influenced by the normalization treaties as they still stand firm and steadfast, praising the joint maneuvers between the resistance factions in Gaza.

While his eminence expressed that the Palestinians of 1948 in the occupied territories want the liberation of Palestine more than anyone else, he stated that “as an Islamist, I find the stance of the Justice and Development Party in Morocco concerning normalization with Israelis more painful than other stances”.

On Hajj Qassem’s role in Iraq, Sayyed Nasrallah revealed that the Iraqi resistance factions who defeated ISIL were the ones who performed most of the operations that urged the US to pull out if Iraq, unlike what media portrayed about Al-Qaeda being behind them.

“I assure to you that the Iraqi resistance groups were the ones performing operations against the occupation under the support of Al-Quds force led by Hajj Qassem Suleimani, and we were in contact with them since then,” his eminence said, indicating that “4 800 suicide attacks were waged in Iraq, while the resistance operations were very accurate and merely against the occupation”.

Moreover, he added that “The US Army had threatened Hajj Qassem and Al-Quds Force to bombard locations in Iran if they continue to support the resistance in Iraq… If it weren’t for the Iraqi resistance, the US embassy would’ve been the one ruling Iraq now”.

Based on that, Hezbollah SG pointed out that “despite the significance of Hajj Qassem and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and their great roles, what happened with them according to our culture, methodology, history and path is a natural and expected outcome because we are in a state of historical conflict… and these two martyrs fell on the path of victories and defeat of great schemes.”

“Our axis does not rely on individuals, and while the goal behind the assassination of Hajj Qassem and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis was to erase the name of the resistance, millions of people came out and shouted “we are all resistance… we are all Qassem Suleimani”.”

Hezbollah SG recalled the speech of Imam Khamenei in which he asserted that whoever ordered and implemented the assassination of these two martyrs should be personally punished wherever he is, stating that “this should be the duty of every honorable person in the world, specifically our people in Iraq as Hajj Qassem was their guest and was martyred on their territories.”

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that “one day after the toppling of former Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak, Hajj Qassem was in the Southern Suburb of Beirut and expressed discomfort telling us that the Americans will take advantage of the “Arab Spring” to change regimes in the region for their benefit and topple governments that support the resistance specifically in Syria.

“We took his words into consideration and warned the Syrian president who chose to embrace any public movement that takes place. However, funded groups refused any political solution and started using force.”

“We don’t exaggerate when we say it was a global war on Syria. They wanted to replace the regime with another one that supports US policies, submits to Turkey and Qatar, and improves relations with Israel,” his eminence added, noting that “the war on Syria was not only because of its stance from the Palestinian cause but also for its oil and gas and for occupying it and controlling it strategically “.

“President Assad chose to stand firm and never left Syria, and his decision urged us to support him”.

Furthermore, Sayyed Nasrallah revealed that Hajj Qassem went to Moscow and met with President Putin for two hours, playing a major role in convincing him to interfere militarily in Syria.

“After its role in Syria and the regional changes, Russia regained its role in the world through the Syrian gate,” Sayyed Nasrallah assured.

On the Lebanese level, Hezbollah SG stressed that the Israelis have been in a state if alertness for months now expecting a retaliatory attack for the martyrdom of one of Hezbollah members in Syria.

“All the drills and measures the Israeli is taking on the borders are because he is aware that we will respond. The Israeli is in a state of confusion and recognizes that the resistance missiles can reach accurate goals in any place inside the occupied territories, he said, assuring that “the resistance according to the people in South Lebanon is a shield not a burden”.

Answering a question about the influence of Iran-US negotiations on some files in the region, his eminence assured that “Iran, unlike other states, does not buy and sell files in the region. It does not negotiate with the Americans about countries’ affairs on behalf of these countries. It had informed the Europeans that it will not discuss the Yemeni affairs on behalf of the Yemenis and had refused to discuss Iraqi affairs with Washington without the presence of an Iraqi delegation.”

Source: Al-Manar

Related Videos

Full Video

Related Articles

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (10 – 16 December 2020)

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (10 – 16 December 2020)

10 – 16 December 2020

·         Palestinian with disability succumbs to wounds sustained in IOF shooting at Qalandia Checkpoint

·         16 Palestinian civilians wounded, including 1 woman, in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem

·         Uninhabited house shelled, and 5 shootings reported at agricultural lands, and once at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip

·         In 107 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 94 civilians arrested, including 13 children and a woman

·         Limited incursion into eastern Khan Younis and pamphlets were left demanding farmers harvest their lands

·         2 houses and a shop self-demolished in Jerusalem, and 30 cease-construction and demolition notices served in the West Bank

·         Settler-attacks: settlers assault a child in Jerusalem, others built a hut and assaulted Palestinian civilians and a journalist in Hebron

·         IOF established 46 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 6 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

 

 

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. This week, IOF demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties continued as part of Israel’s de facto annexation and under various pretexts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, IOF also served wide-scale demolition and cease-construction notices and confiscated several vehicles. Also, Israeli settlers continued their assaults on Palestinian civilians and their attempts to seize Palestinian lands located near settlements.

This week, PCHR documented 187 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

On 11 December 2020, Abdul-Naser Waleed Halaweh (56), a Palestinian man with disability, succumbed to wounds he sustained on 17 August 2020 after Israeli soldiers shot him as he was travelling via Kalandia checkpoint, northeastern occupied East Jerusalem. Also, 16 civilians, including a woman, were wounded during IOF incursion into Nablus; 10 civilians wounded in two separate incidents in Ramallah, a woman was wounded while inside her home in Tulkarm, which is located near the annexation wall; a Palestinian man was wounded in IOF suppression of Kafr Qaddum weekly protest; 3 sustained wounds in an IOF incursion into Tulkarm, and another was wounded in a similar incursion into Nablus.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF shelled (arterially) an uninhabited house in southeastern Gaza, causing damage. Additionally, 5 IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands, and once at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 107 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them.7During this week’s incursions, 94 Palestinians were arrested, including 13 children and a woman.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted an incursion into eastern Khan Younis, and put signs demanding farmers harvest their crops within 200 meters from the border fence

Demolitions:

 PCHR documented 12 incidents, including:

  • Ramallah: garbage truck confiscated in Al-Mazra’a Algharbeyeh.
  • Occupied East Jerusalem: shop and two houses self-demolished; 2 residential barracks removed and confiscated; demolition and raising at Yusufia cemetery near Bab al-Asbat Minaret.
  • Nablus: coffee streetcar confiscated, and a caravan used as a car wash in Huwara; 5 cease-construction notices served to 4 houses and 1 barracks in Qaryut village.
  • Jericho: 2 tractors confiscated, and work stopped at an agricultural land.
  • Tubas: an SUV and a tractor confiscated in the northern Jordan valleys.
  • Jenin: 11 demolition notices served against street food carts
  • Hebron: 14 cease-construction notices served to houses and barracks; 500 meters of stone walls demolished; and 19 dunums razed.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 4 settler-violence incidents: assault on a child in occupied East Jerusalem; a hut built on Palestinian land near “Kiryat Arba” settlement and Palestinian civilians were assaulted in the area; a journalist assaulted in Hebron.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

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

·         At approximately 07:30 on Thursday, 10 December 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.

·         On Friday, 01 December 2020, ‘Abed al-Naser Waleed Halawa (56) succumbed to wounds he sustained on Monday, 17 August 2020, after Israeli soldier opened fire at him while passing through Qalandia military checkpoint, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. Halawa, a person with a disability (deaf and mute) living in Nablus, was shot and killed by IOF when he passed Kalandia military through vehicles lane. IOF claimed that he attempted to stab an Israeli soldier and did not obey their orders. Halawa was taken to Shaare Zedek Hospital in West Jerusalem for treatment. Faten Halawa, Abed al-Naser’s sister, said that her brother, a deaf-mute man who has 3 sons, got out of his house on Monday heading to his sister’s house in occupied East Jerusalem. Abed al-Naser told his family that he wants to visit his sister and perform prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. Faten pointed out that IOF conducted some changes at Kalandia checkpoint, so her brother accidentally crossed from the area designated for the soldiers crossing. She clarified that Israeli soldiers shouted at her brother, but he did not hear them. Meanwhile, IOF opened fire at him, wounding him with several live bullets in his feet. He was then taken to an Israeli hospital, where he stayed for 3 months. During which, he underwent 4 surgeries, and was waiting other surgeries before returning him to Nablus 2 weeks ago. Halawa added that her brother was in a serious health condition when he arrived at Nablus, as he lost his memory and did not know any of his family members. Halawa said that: “It seems that the drugs had a great effect on him, as he was losing his appetite for food. Few days later, his health condition was deteriorated until he died at dawn.”

·         At approximately 07:00, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Kafr Malik village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses, during which, they deliberately fired a barrage of teargas canisters between Palestinians’ houses. As a result, many villagers suffocated due to teargas inhalation. IOF incursion into the village continued until 10:00. They then withdrew from the eastern entrance to the village, closed it with sand berms and stationed there. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered near the village’s eastern entrance and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF, who clashed with them and fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters at them. As a result, dozens of protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation. The clashes continued, during which, a military SUV crashed a civilian car carrying 3 Palestinians. IOF immediately opened fire at the car, wounded two of its passengers and arrested another one. The passengers were identified as:

1.      The driver, Ahmed ‘Abdullah Ba’irat (26), who was shot with a rubber bullet in his hand;

2.      Shaker Anwar Shaker (26), whose left hand was fractured when he attempted to flee from the car; and

3.      Mohammed Mostafa Hamayil (28), who was arrested by IOF and taken to an unknown destination.

The wounded civilians were taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for treatment.

  • At approximately 08:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israeli, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands in eastern Al-Fukhari village; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, a peaceful protest took off in the center of al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah, at the call of the villagers, towards lands under the threat of confiscation and in protest to the establishment of new settlement outposts in Ras al-Teen area near the eastern entrance to the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers and annexation wall. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 9 4 civilians sustained rubber bullets wounds in their lower extremities and received treatment on the spot. Also, dozens of protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 13:30, a number of Palestinian young men gathered in al-Taweel Mount area, east of al-Bireh city, and threw stones at a military checkpoint established near “Psagot” settlement, which is established on the village’s eastern lands. IOF chased the stone-throwers and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, many protestors suffocated dye to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot. No casualties or arrests among the protestors were reported.
  • At approximately 16:20, IOF conducted a military training near the annexation wall established on Far’un village lands, south of Tulkarm. As a result, Subiha Nemer Omar (42) was shot with a live bullet in her shoulder while present in her house located near the mentioned training site and taken to Dr. Thabet Governmental Hospital for treatment. 
  • At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinians. IOF chased the protestors, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, a 22-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his foot.
  • At approximately 14:00, a number of Palestinian young men gathered in Bab al-Zawiyia area in the center of Hebron and threw stones at a military checkpoint established at the northern entrance to Hebron, so-called Checkpoint (56). IOF chased the stone-throwers and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, many young men suffocated dye to teargas inhalation. The clashes continued until 17:00; no arrests among the protestors were reported.
  • At approximately 17:15, IOF moved into Showika suburb, north of Tulkarm. IOF chased Palestinian young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 3 civilians were wounded; 2 with rubber bullets and one with a teargas canister. IOF also arrested ‘Obada Jamal al-Badou (22) and withdrew later.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, fired several live bullets around a sanitation truck in eastern Khuzaʽa village; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 14:45, IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds approached the border fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 14:00 on Monday, 14 December 2020, IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds approached the border fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

Mohammed al-Nasher’s house was shelled in eastern Gaza City

  • At approximately 22:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israeli, fired an artillery shell at uninhabited house belonging to Mohammed Yousef ‘Abed al-Kareem al-Neser (24), 1200 meters to the west of the border fence, east of Gaza Valley, south of Gaza City. As a result, the house sustained material damage; no casualties were reported. The targeted house was comprised of one floor built on an area of 100 square meters and 2 rooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom.  Mohammed Yousef ‘Abed al-Kareem al-Neser said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “ while I was on my way back to my family house in Gaza Valley village (Juhor ad-Dik), south of Gaza City, after inviting my friends to attend my wedding next day, I heard loud explosion near our house, so I harried up. When I arrived there, I saw my uninhabited house was burning. My relatives and I tried to put out the fire until the arrival of the Palestinian Civil Defense teams who put out the fire. My house sustained material damage. It should be noted that the security situation was stable in the area, and I do not know why IOF targeted the house.”
  • At approximately 12:15, IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds approached the border fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 15 December 2020, IOF moved into Nablus, north of the West Bank. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian young men gathered, set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli infantry units. IOF immediately fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters at them to disperse them. As a result, a 20-year-old male, from Nablus, sustained live bullet shrapnel in his face and received treatment at Rafidia Hospital. Also, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Bireh city and deployed along the main street in front of al-Bireh municipality. IOF raided and searched Zakaria Jehad al-Nahhas’ (44) house and arrested him. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at IOF, who clashed with them and fired teargas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, dozens of civilians, including two journalists namely Moahmmed Turukman and Kareem Khamasia, suffocated due to teargas inhalation 

  II.            Incursions and arrests:

Thursday, 10 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and stationed near the UNRWA distribution center. They deployed between Palestinian houses causing fear and panic among civilians. They raided, searched and destroyed the contents of several houses after breaking the doors, and arrested (12) civilians. The arrestees were taken to the watch tower established at the western entrance of the camp, by foot, to be investigated by the Israeli Intelligence services’ officers who threatened them to storm their houses if they continued throwing stones at Bypass Road (60). At approximately 07:00 on the next day, the arrestees were released. The arrestees are: Ammar Mohammed Jawabra (27), Samed Mahmoud Jawabra (35), Ammar Mahmoud Jawabra (30), Nader Jaser al-Sharif (34), Moheeb Mahmoud al-Najmi (25), Salah Emad al-Kindawi (26), Ma’moun Rasheed Abu Jouda (28), Salah Mohammed al-‘As’as (27), Mohammed Fathi al-Yasouri (26). Fathi Jaber al-Badawi (63), Wael Fathi al-Badawi (41), and Mostafa Maher Abu Warda.

Meanwhile, IOF stormed and searched several places as; the headquarter of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), the office of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Abu Judeh Print shop that owned by Abdul Rahman Sufian Abu Judeh (36), where IOF confiscated equipment estimated at (4,000 NIS).

Fathi Abu al-Badawi said to PCHR’s fieldworker that IOF brutally stormed his house and his son’s house, Wael, and damaged the contents of the house after detaining his family in the living room.

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Jamal Mohammed Brighith (62) and Mo’tasem Sameer Brighith (26) and took them to “Gush Etzion” settlement’s detention center, south of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Tubas, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and handed Mus’ab Jaser Siyaj (35), works as a soldier in the Palestinian National Security Forces, a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • At approximately 03:15, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Kobar, north of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched five houses and arrested (5) civilians; Tamer Hisham al-Barghouthi (32), Montaser Mahmoud Yousef (28), Alaa Farhat Yousef (25), Ra’ed Abdullah al-Fahel (22), and Tha’er Tawfiq al-Barghouthi (26); who was released in the morning of the next day.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into Abu Dis village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Mahmoud Afana and Ali Fayez Salah, and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Shuyukh al-Arrub village. They raided and searched Zakariya Mahmoud Owaidat’s (30) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Ein al-Sultan refugee camp, in western Jericho. They raided and searched Mohammed Khamis al-Jahalin’s (50) house and arrested his two sons Ibrahim (24) and Ali (19).
  • At approximately 08:30, IOF arrested Ammar Mohammed Jawabra (26) and Moheeb Mohammed al-Najmi (25), from al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, after being summoned for investigation by the Israeli Intelligence Services in “Gush Etzion” settlement.
  • At approximately 20:30, IOF moved into al-Dahra neighborhood in al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mansour Ali Naser (22) and Mohammed Belal Abu al-Hums (23) and took them to al-Bareed police station in Salah al-Dein street, for investigation. IOF released them after two hours.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF moved into Shu’afat neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Naser Subhi Abu Khudair’s (59) house and arrested him. It should be noted that Abu Khudair who is one of the Palestinian National Movement leaders, and belongs to the PFLP, was wounded while preparing an explosive device (bomb) in the beginning of 80’s. However, he was arrested more than 12 times and spent almost about 16 years in the Israeli prisons.
  • IOF carried out (13) incursions in Hajja, east of Qalqilya; Tayasir, east of Tubas; Zububa. Jalamah, and Jaba’, in Jenin governorate; Kafr Qallil and Sebastia in Nablus governorate; Sa’ir, Tabaqa, and Idhna, in Hebron governorate; Qarawat Bani Zeid, Deir Ghassana, and Mazari al-Nubani, in Ramallah governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 11 December 2020:

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into Qablan, southeast of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Belal Sharif al-Emla (25).
  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mus’ab Mahmoud Muhaisen’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Bireh, and stationed in al-Khan street. They raided and searched Fadi Abdul Dayim al-Faransi’s (29) house and arrested him. Meanwhile, another IOF was raiding al-Faransi’s store, next to their house, after breaking the door of the store, and damaged all its contents.
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF moved into Ras Kabsa area in al-Eizariya, wast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ahmed Jehad Damdoum’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:25, IOF stationed at the entrance of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya village, southeast of Nablus, arrested Mohammed Raja Owais (16) and Mohammed Yousef Owais (16), from the village. IOF took them to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 13:30, IOF stationed at the entrance of Huwara military camp, southeast of Nablus, arrested Isma’el Mohammed Isma’el (20), from Tell village, southwest of Nablus. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF arrested (3) civilians while present in al-Wad street in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF severely beaten and took them to one of the police centers in the city. The arrestees are; Mohammed Taha (21) and Rajeh Riyashi (23), and the third one is still not identified.
  • IOF carried out (9) incursions in Nablus, Asira al-Qibliya, Sarra, and tall villages in Nablus governorate; Ti’inik and Silat al-Harithiya villages, west of Jenin; Arraba, southwest of Jenin; Hebron and Bani Na’im in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 12 December 2020:

  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Taysir Yousef Muhaisen’s (14) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested Qusai Ibrahim Hazayla (19), while present near Bab Hutta, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF severely beaten and took him to one of the police centers in the city.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mousa Haitham Mustafa (15) and Mohammed Baker Mustafa (22) and arrested them.

Sunday, 13 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Saf street, in the center of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Firas Ibrahim al-Yamani (34) and Saleh Abed al-Harimi (45) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Karkafi street, in the center of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Mohammed Abdul Ghani Salhab (18), Mustafa Emad Salhab (18), and Nour Khaled Qaraqi’ (20).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Eizariya, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Atta Maher Hamdan’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Abu Dis, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Yazan Khaled Mohsen’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:15, IOF arrested Laith Basem Ja’ara (22), from Tulkarm, while referring to the Israeli Intelligence Services, that recently summonsed him.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF stationed at al-Container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Hazem Zakaria Owaidat (20), from al-Shuyukh village, north of Hebron. Owaidat was arrested while he was on his way back home from his university in Birzeit.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF stationed at Za’tara military checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested Mohammed Essam Hammad (20), from ‘Arraba, southwest of Jenin. IOF took him to an unknown destination.

Monday, 14 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Zawata, west of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Alaa Ahmed Hmaidan (44).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched three houses and arrested (3) civilians; including two children. The arrestees are: Feras Zakaria al-Qiq (18), Fo’ad Amjad Hadoush (17), and Amjad Ayed al-Titi (17).
  • At approximately 02:15, IOF moved into Kifl Haris, north of Salfit. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ahmed Zeid Saleh (23).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Alaa Abdul Naser Abu Shanab (24).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron. They raided and searched Lo’ay Abdullah Ghaith’s (45) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF arrested the wounded child Omar Ahmed Mahmoud (16), while going out of the Aqsa Mosque in the ocuupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took him to one of the police centers in the city and extended his arrest until the next Thursday.

It should be noted that Mahmoud was shot with a rubber bullet below his eye while present in front of his house in al-Isawiya, during the clashed between IOF and the village’s young men on 06 December 2020.

  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Saleh Bader Abu ‘Asab (20) and Mohammed Baker Mustafa (21) and handed them summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Zububa, west of Jenin; Nablus and Jamma’in, southeast of Nablus; Idhna and Beit Kahil, in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, huge Israeli forces accompanied with dozens of Israeli soldiers and special forces moved into Obaid neighborhood, northwest of Isawiya village. They raided and searched dozens of houses. Meanwhile, dozens of young men gathered, they threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who chased the demonstrators and responded by firing teargas canisters. The clashes resulted in dozens of civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation, and 8 civilians, including 2 children, were arrested. The arrestees are: Mohammed Yaser al-Jayyar (14), Rawhi Yaser al-Jayyar (16), Mohammed Issa Bader (23), Mohammed Haitham Mustafa (18), Mahmoud Mousa Mustafa (18), Adam Fadi Mustafa (19), Rasheed Mousa Darwish (18), and Mahmoud Sultan Derbas (24).
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Jaber Abu Sil (20) and Rabah Belal Fdailat (23), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Hizma, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Fathi Kan’an’s (58) house and arrested him along with his wife, Najla’ Mohammed Kan’an (51).

Fathi Kan’an said that he was released after an hour of his arrest at Benjamin police station in Jaba’ village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem, and his wife was referred to Ariel investigation center. Kan’an said that he was surprised to see the IOF and the police dogs storming his house in Tublas, in Hizma village. They broke the front door, raided and searched the house and the garden around the house accurately, then took him and his wife to Benjamin police station. Kan’an explained his concerns about his wife, who was arrested for the first time, and suffers from several chronic illnesses since years and needs special health care and medicines. He added that this was not the first time that IOF storm and search his house, they moved into his house several times before arresting his son, Hamza (23), 12 days ago, and he is still under arrest in Ofer detention center in Ramallah. Fathi notified that his son was arrested several times for investigation and spent 17 months in the Israeli prisons. Fathi also mentioned his other son, Sufian, was also detained in Ofer prison for two years and half, without issuing any sentence against him. It is important to mention that Fathi’s eldest son, Mohammed (29), was shot killed by the Israeli soldiers near Hizma cemetery at the end of July 2017.

  • At approximately 03:20, IOF moved into Birzeit, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Ibrahim Shamasna’s (27) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Ayda refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Montaser Riyad Abu Srour (24) and Hamza Abdul Aziz Abu Srour (26) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into Obaid neighborhood, in al-Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Hamza Obaid’s (15) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF raided and searched two houses belonging to Tha’er Riyad Abu Lafi (31) and Nader Ahmed Halahla (28) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF arrested Sami Fteiha (34), while present near Bab al-Asbat, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took him to one of the detention centers in the city and released him after issuing a decision of banning his entry to the Aqsa Mosque for 6-months.
  • At approximately 18:15, IOF moved into Qalqilya, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Hassan Abdul Qader ‘Amer (22).
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Ayman Onaid (20), while present near his house in Obaid neighborhood, northwest of Isawiya, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Iraq Burin, southeast of Nablus; Halhul, al-Shuyukh and Beit Kahil in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron. They raided and searched Mohammed Sami al-Ja’bari’s (37) house in al-Sheikh neighborhood and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Qarawat Bani Hassan, west of Salfit. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Bara’ Sa’ed Assi (23), Mustafa Ya’qoub Assi (25), and Ahmed Moheeb Mir’y (21).
  • At approximately 01:45, IOF moved into Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Mahdi Ayman Abu Sirr (22), Hamad Mohammed Abu Jamous (21), a medical student at al-Najah University, and Emad Shukry al-Buth (21).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Zohdi Hesham Awad’s house and arrested his two sons; Mohammed (16) and Sharif (15).
  • At approximately 02:20, IOF moved into Dura al-Qar’, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mohammed Subhi Hamdan’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Nidal Ya’qoub Nfei’at (31).
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles and a Bulldozer moved into Silwad, east of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched the house of the prisoner Mo’ath Saleh al-Najjar, and detained his family in one room, then confiscated a Gust vehicle belonging to Mo’ath’s father without providing any previous verbal or written notice.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles and bulldozers moved 100-meters to the East of Abasan al-Kabira and Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis. They combed and levelled lands adjacent the border fence to the south, east of al-Fukhari, as they extended the incursion to 200-meters, and combed a well-prepared agricultural land. They put banners written in Arabic and Hebrew stating: “Farmers, your crops have breached the area allowed for farming, if all crops are not harvested in the declared period they will be removed.” Later, the deployed again inside the abovementioned border fence.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Ein Beit al-Ma’ refugee camp, Zawata, Deir Sharaf, Sebatia, Tell, and Einabus villages in Nablus governorate. No arrests were reported.

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

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF accompanied by 3 Civil Administration SUVs and a trailer moved into Huwara town in southeastern Nablus, northern West Bank. They stationed in Ras-Zeid area, south of the town, and confiscated Abdul-Fatah Yusuf Damdey’s tin-plated coffee cart (8sqm). They also confiscated Jamal Khader Oda’s tin-plated caravan (24 sqm) intended for use as a carwash. IOF claimed the confiscations were due to illegal presence in Area C.
  • Also on Thursday, Mounir ‘Eweisat self-demolished his shop in al-Madaris street in Jabel Mukaber, southeastern occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality decision for unlicensed construction.

‘Eweisat stated that his family shop (35 sqm) is more than 40 years old, and that he and his brother turned it into a grocery store four years ago. Since then, the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem has haunted him with demolition notices and dozens of raids into the shop, the last of which was three days before the demolition when they handed him a final demolition notice for him to carry out; otherwise, Municipality crews would conduct the demolition and bill him, and on top of that fine him dozens of Israeli shekels for building violations. ‘Eweisat added that the shop was the only source of income for his family of five and noted that it would be very difficult for him to find a job especially with the coronavirus crisis.

  • Early on Saturday, 12 December 2020, Mahmoud and Mohammed Khaled Mousa al-Khales self-demolished their houses in Silwan, southern Old East Jerusalem, pursuant to Israeli Municipality decision for unlicensed construction. Mohammed’s house sheltered a family of 5, including 3 children. And Mahmoud’s sheltered a family of 7, including 5 children.

Their father, Khaled al-Khales, stated that he had built both houses for his sons a year ago on an area of 180 sqm. He added that since the construction was finalized, the Israeli Municipality followed him with demolition orders. He hired a lawyer and engineers who filed for a license, but the Municipality refused to approve it. Almost two months ago, the Municipality attempted to demolish the houses but one of the construction vehicles broke down and could not finalize the demolition; they withdrew and billed the family ILS 70,000 for the demolition. The Municipality order the family to finish the demolition; al-Khales sons complied with the decision to avoid another fine that could exceed ILS300,000.

  • At approximately 10:30 on Sunday, 13 November 2020, IOF accompanied by a Civil Administration SUV moved into Qaryut, southeastern Nablus, northern West Bank. They stationed in Adababis area, opposite “Shiloh” and “Shafut Rachel” settlements. They posted 5 cease-construction notices on 4 houses and a barracks for alleged illegal construction in Area C. The notices granted a two-week period for objections, until 30 December 2020.
No.NameFacilityNotes
 Ammar Ibrahim Mousa2-story house (200sqm each)Ready for move-in
 Ibrahim Amin I. Mousa1-story house (120sqm)In final construction stages
 Aysar M. Y. Mousa1-story house (130 sqm)In final construction stages
 Suliman Z. Ar-Rashaydeh200 sqm residential barracksIn final construction stages
 Zaied Ar-Rashaydeh50sqm house (room and bathroom)In final construction stages
  • At approximately 12:40 on Sunday, IOF stationed on a military point in northern Ramallah, shot tear gas and stun grenades at farmers in Ein Harasheh area in the southern parts of al-Mazra’ al-Gharbieh town. The forces cornered a municipal garbage truck, forced its driver off and confiscated it. No casualties or arrests were reported. It should be noted that Ein Harashed is targeted for Israeli settlement expansion projects and witnesses escalated settler-attacks; also, Israeli authorities ban any construction by the indigenous people in prelude to its confiscation.
  • Early on Monday, 14 December 2020, IOF construction vehicles removed and confiscated two residential barracks in al-Za’atreh community in az-Za’ayyem village, eastern occupied East Jerusalem, for alleged unlicensed construction. The barracks are property of brothers Imran and Murad M. Azza’atreh.

Chairman of az-Za’ayyem village council stated that IOF construction vehicles removed Imran and Murad Za’atreh’s barracks (70sqm each) which housed 4 individuals. It should be noted that the az-Za’ayyem area residents live in proximity to the annexation wall, an Israeli military checkpoint and a metal gate that controls their movement, which has turned their lives into a true tragedy. Israeli authorities had replaced a checkpoint that separated az-Za’ayyem from At-Tur village with a huge metal gate, which opened for 4 hours a day. After an appeal to the Supreme Court of Israel, the gate is now open 8 hours a day solely for entry into az-Za’ayyem.

  • At approximately 10:00, IOF reinforced with a construction vehicle and the Civil Administration moved into Khirbet Zanuta, western ad-Dhahiriya city, 20 km south of Hebron City. The Civil Administration distributed 14 cease-construction notices to Palestinians in the area for alleged construction without license in Area C. The area has a population of 70 persons, who live in tin-plated rooms and rely on sheep farming for a living. They had built a tan-plated school in the area, that was demolished by IOF and then rebuilt by the community; the Israeli Civil Administration has targeted the school ever since with demolition notices.
NameFacilityDescriptionAreaYearFamilyChildrenFundingNotice typeNotice No.
Shihda KhdeiratHouseTin-plated16sqm20182PersonalCease-construction
Shihda KhdeiratSheep farming barracksTin-plated with plastic roofing120sqm20202PersonalCease-construction30871
Basem KhdeiratRoomStones and tin plates30sqm201842PersonalCease-construction30869
Hamad KhdeiratBarracks for sheep farmingPlastic cover and pipes100sqm201984PersonalCease-construction30870
Amer al-TulDwellingPlastic cover and pipes40sqm199475PersonalCease-construction30862
Ahmed al-TulBarracks for sheep farmingPlastic cover and pipes80sqm201831PersonalCease-construction30863
Suliman al-TulResidential roomConcrete floor and tin plates30sqm201563PersonalCease-construction30864
Suliman al-TulArborTin plates20sqm201063PersonalCease-construction30864
Suliman al-TulBarracks for sheep farmingPlastic roofing90sqm201863YMCACease-construction30873
Mohammed al-TulDwellingConcrete floor and tin plates35sqm201486YMCACease-construction30866
Bajis al-TulDwellingTin plates36sqm20142YMCACease-construction
Faris SamamraBarracks for sheep farmingPlastic roofing and pipes150sqm20181711YMCACease-construction30861
Susya village councilRoomTin plates40sqm2020OrganizationsCease-construction30872
ClinicRoomTin plates20sqm2020OrganizationsCease-construction30872
  • At approximately 13:30, IOF accompanied by a Civil Administration SUV moved into Um al-Qiba area in the northern Jordan valley, eastern Tubas, northern West Bank. They stationed in Ad-Dababis area and immediately confiscated Mahdy Daraghmeh’s SUV, Chairman of al-Maleh and al-Madareb Bedouin Community Council. They also confiscated a tractor; both vehicles were taken to an Israeli military camp and detained allegedly for working in Area C.
  • Early on Tuesday, 15 December 2020, Israeli bulldozers continued the demolitions at the Yusufia cemetery near Bab al-Asbat Minaret for the second consecutive day, after it had demolished its stairway two weeks ago.

Mustafa Abu Zahra, Head of the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli municipality demolished a large portion of the cemetery’s northern wall and the land adjacent to decades old graves. The demolition is part of the Israeli authorities’ plan to establish the “Biblical garden path” project around occupied Jerusalem’s fence.

For his part, Ahmed Dajani, Executive Director of the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, said that Municipality crews demolished the cemetery’s stairway two weeks ago; which is used to access both the cemetery, al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City via Bab al-Asbat. The Municipality demolished its northern wall and nearby graves. Dajani condemned the Israeli Municipality’s intent to establish a park in the area as it is not needed and that the Yusufia cemetery is overcrowded with graves and needs expansion rather than confiscating parts of it.

It should be noted that the idea of “Biblical garden path” project appeared in 1970, but in the recent years, it was escalated and developed. This project is concentrated in areas surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem’s historic fence and the area surrounding occupied East Jerusalem in addition to areas overlooking it, especially the southern, eastern, and northern areas.

  • At approximately 11:00, IOF accompanied by several military and Civil Administration vehicles, including construction vehicles, moved into Souba area in Idhna town western Hebron. The soldiers deployed in the area while the construction vehicles proceeded to demolish 500-meter stone walls and razed 19 dunums of agricultural lands: 9 dunums of 20-year-old almond trees; 7 dunums of 20-year-old olive trees; 3 dunums of 10-year-old cactus. The land is owned by Ali Amer Abriosh, and the demolition was allegedly for work in Area C.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 16 December 2020, an Israeli military force reinforced with military vehicles moved into az-Zubaidat village in the northern Jordan valleys, northern Jericho. Israeli Civil Administration employees stopped Fadi Abdallah Zbaidat, and Mansour H. Zbaidat from working in their lands under pretext of being State lands; the soldiers confiscated two Fiat 466 tractors and transported them to “Argaman” settlement.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Wednesday, IOF accompanied by a Civil Administration SUV moved into ‘Anin village, western Jenin, northern West Bank. The Civil Administration employee served 11 demolition notices to food and beverage carts near the annexation wall for alleged illegal work in Area C; they were given a one week period to execute the demolition. The carts are property of: Radi and Mahmoud Khdour; Aseed, Yazeed and Waleed Issa; Ismail Yassin; Assem Issa; Hakam and Ashraf Yassin; and Mohammed Issa.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • On Thursday evening, 10 November 2020, an Israeli settler assaulted Samir Alaa Rowaydy (6) while present in front of his house in al-Ain area, Silwan, southern occupied East Jerusalem.

Rowaydy’s father, Alaa, stated to PCHR that the settler assaulted his son while he was with his cousin, Mohammed (8), a few meters from the house. The settler pushed the boy and kicked him in the stomach and foot then chased him and his cousin into the house, insulting them. He added that his son was terrified and unable to speak or move, he called him an ambulance that transported him to receive treatment and he called the police. Rowaydy filed a complaint with the police and presented them with medical reports.

  • Early on Friday, 11 December 2020, a group of settlers built a hit on Aref Jaber’s land in Al Baqa’a eastern Hebron, near “Kiryat Arba” settlement. Jaber stated to PCHR fieldworker that “I received a call that settlers built a hut inside my 50 dunum land in al-Baqa’a area while Israeli soldiers were present in the area. I went there my relative Saher Jaber and we spoke with the soldier; the settlers attacked us and pushed us out, throwing stones at my vehicle breaking its rear window; meanwhile, the soldiers did nothing to stop them. We went to “Kiryat Arba” police station to file a complaint.”
  • At approximately 11:00 on Saturday, 12 December 2020, a settler assaulted journalist Mohannad Kofeisheh (28) before the Israeli soldiers near Gilbert military checkpoint, established on the entrance of Tel Rumeida neighborhood while shooting a report on the coronavirus pandemic.

Kofeisheh made the following statement to PCHR fieldworker:

“I work for Palestine Sports TV and freelance with different media agencies. At approximately 11:00 on Saturday, I was near Gilbert checkpoint where a group of settlers was present and one of them said in Hebrew, which I understand, “I am going to beat him.” I approached one of the soldiers in the area and told him what I heard, and while I was speaking to him a settler approached me and hit me on the head, so I photographed him with my camera. The soldier yelled at me and told me and the settler to step away after a group gathered around us. Approximately 15 minute later an Israeli police force arrive in the area and I told a policeman what happened and showed him the photo of the settler and filed a complaint with him. Later, I went home and received a call from the Israeli police who ordered me to go to Gilbert checkpoint. Upon my arrival, they asked me to accompany them to the Ibrahimi Mosque police station to identify the settler; I went and stayed there for 30 minutes where I was told that I am under arrest as the settler had filed a complaint against me. I was taken to “Beitar Illit” police station via a police car in western Jerusalem. I was there for an hour; I was then admitted to an investigation room where I was investigated on the incident. I showed the investigator the footage on my camera which documented the settler’s assault on me. I was left in the hall and the police brought in the settler who stayed with the investigator for an hour and a half. The investigator ordered my release after I signed an unpaid bail of ILS3,000.

  • At approximately 12:00 on Sunday, 13 December 2020, a group of settlers from “Kiryat Arba” settlement assaulted civilian homes in al-Uddeisa village, northern Hebron. In an attempt to control the land. The settlers cursed the residents and threatened to burn their homes. The attack was preceded by settlers building a hut on Jaber family lands the day before.

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

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

The West bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals 64 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 6 of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Ramallah:

  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF shut the eastern entrance to Kafr Malik town, northern Ramallah for four hours.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF shut Beit El DCO checkpoint from 18:00 – 22:00 hindering traffic.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established two temporary checkpoints at the entrance of Teqoa own and Akbat Hasna area.
  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established two temporary checkpoints at the entrance of Teqoa and Akbat Hasna area.
  • At approximately 15:30 on Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF shut the Container checkpoint hindering traffic. It was reopened later.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF established 3 temporary checkpoints on the entrance to Beit Jala, Teqoa and al-Khader.
  • On Monday, 14 December 2020, IOF established 4 temporary checkpoints on the western entrances to Teqoa and Husan towns, and at the entrance to Akbat Hasna area and Marah Rabah village.
  • On Tuesday, 15 December 2020, IOF established 4 military checkpoints on the northern and western entrances to Teqoa town, Fureidis village, and in Akbar Hasna area.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho and at the intersection of al-Mo’arajat road, connecting between Jericho and Ramallah.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of “Shafi Shomron” settlement, west of Nablus.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of “Shafi Shomron” settlement, west of Nablus.
  •  On Monday, 14 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of Burin, Tell and Madama villages, south of Nablus.
  • On Tuesday, 15 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint in the northern bridge of Madama village, southeast of Nablus. 


Jenin:

  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at al-Maniyia village square, northeast of Jenin.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Halhul village, at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp.
  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp and at the northern entrance to Yatta city.
  • On Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp, at the western entrance to Hebron and at the entrances to Susya and as-Samu villages.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to as-Samu, Ash-Shuyukh and Tarqumiyah villages, and at the southern entrance to Hebron.

Qalqilya:

  • On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jit village, north of Qalqilya, and removed it later.
  • On Sunday, 13 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Jit and Azzun villages, east of Qalqilya.

Salfit:

·         On Thursday, 10 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit.

·         On Friday, 11 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit and prevented the city residents from entering or exciting it and allowed them to pass later.

·         On Saturday, 12 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Ballut and Deir_Istiya villages.

·         On Tuesday, 15 December 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Kafr ad-Dik village, west of Salfit; at the entrance to Kifl_Haris village, north of Salfit; and at the entrance to Salfit.

PCHR Demands Relief for Workers Hurt by the Coronavirus Pandemic

Source

See the source image

Date: 14 December 2020

Time: 08:00 GMT

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights follows with concern the humanitarian conditions of Gaza Strip’s workers under the government-imposed restriction to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including nighttime curfew and weekend shutdowns that stated last Saturday, 11 December 2020. PCHR warns of the catastrophic deterioration in the living conditions of thousands of workers who lack the minimum standards for dignified life due to the shutdown or reduced work in the facilities they work in. PCHR demands the Palestinian government and the Gaza authorities to support these workers without political or geographical discrimination.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, at least 160,000 workers, mostly daily workers who earned a living through daily work in institutions and facilities that had shutdown or reduced operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, mainly factories, shops, schools, universities and daycares, as well as, wedding halls, restaurants, coffee shops, popular markers and in transportation. These workers have lost their sources of income and their means to support their families’ minimum needs. Some workers were let go or their hours/workdays were reduced, others had pay cuts inflicted on their already low wages; 80% received wages below the minimum wage decided in the Council of Ministers decision No. 11 of 2012, which set the minimum wages at 1,450ILS/month, and minimum wages for daily workers, especially those working on ad-hoc basis, to 64 ILS/day.

PCHR has monitored the government interventions to support workers who lost their sources of income. The Palestinian government, through the “Waqfat Ezz” Fund – Ministry of Social Development, has released a one-time relief payment of USD 150-200 to 5,000 workers from the Gaza Strip.[1] The Gaza authorities, mainly the Ministry of Labor, released a one-time relief payment of USD 100 for 81,850 workers affected by the pandemic in four installments. According to Eng. Maher Abu-Raya, Director General of Employment at the Ministry of Labor, said that the Gaza government’s relief payment was funded by the Gaza-Ministry of Finance, the Qatari fund and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The government action to relieve the pandemic’s negative impact on the Gaza Strip’s workers during the state of emergency do not meet their minimum needs and did not cover all affected workers. Also, the fact that these were one-time payments does not support workers’ livelihoods, especially that they have been out of work for a lengthy period. Even more, many workers and union members complained that they were deprived of any government aid and it was not distributed on a clear criterion.

Even before the curfew was imposed, which is deemed necessary for the sake of public safety, the people of the Gaza Strip suffered from harsh living conditions with high rates of unemployment and poverty due to the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip for the last 14 years and the accompanying restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, the ban on exports, targeted attacks on the industrial and production sectors and destroying 70% of both sectors during past Israeli offensives on the Gaza Strip.

All of the above was a main contributing factor to the increased unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip to 45% (i.e. 217,100 unemployed workers) and resulted in a 53% poverty rate among its population. Meanwhile, more than 62.2% of the Gaza population suffer from food insecurity according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In light of its fear of deteriorating living conditions for the Gaza Strip workers, especially per-day workers, in the case of a prolonged emergency situation, PCHR:

  • Believes that the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip has led to this catastrophic situation, and the international community bears responsibility for the continuation of the closure for 14 years, due to its utter failure to take effective measures to end the closure, which encouraged Israel to act as a State above the law and to perpetrate further violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law;
  • Calls on the Palestinian government to create clear mechanisms for the relief of the Gaza Strip workers and expand the scope of support for workers affected by the pandemic, as the support should include all workers in all sectors, especially daily workers. Thus, we can ensure that workers enjoy a decent standard of living, and are able to provide their basic needs;
  • Calls upon the Palestinian government to find alternatives and solutions to help the affected workers; prominently the government should apply the Labor Law as a legal umbrella to preserve workers’ rights during these compelling circumstances; also, governmental support should be given to affected companies and institutions to be able to fulfill their duties towards their employees; and
  • Calls upon the Palestinian government to follow up on the commitment of private companies and institutions to paying workers’ wages during the lockdown, as stipulated in Article 38 of the Labor Law, which remains in force during the declared state of emergency, while underlining the importance of government support to affected companies and institutions to be able to fulfill their duties to their employees.

[1] Gaza – Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions data

%d bloggers like this: