Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (19– 25 December 2019)

19 – 25 December 2019

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (19– 25 December 2019)

  • 45 Palestinians shot and injured, including 18 children, 3 women and a journalist, by IOF near the Gaza border fence at Great March of Return (GMR) protests in eastern Gaza.
  • 7 shootings reported against Palestinian agricultural lands, and 3 shootings reported against Palestinian fishing boats, east and west of Gaza Strip Shore
  • During 121 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 76 civilians arrested, including 8 children and 5 women.
  • During 2 incursions into the Gaza Strip: 4 Palestinian civilians arrested, including 3 children; one of them was shot and injured, while attempting to sneak into Israel in eastern Gaza Strip.
  • 4 houses in occupied Jerusalem and Hebron demolished, while vehicles confiscated from the West Bank cities.
  • 10 settlers’ attacks reported, including burning and puncturing tires, throwing stones at vehicles and uprooting trees in the West Bank.
  • 71 temporary checkpoints erupted in the West Bank, where 4 Palestinian civilians were arrested

Summary

This week, PCHR documented 224 violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory. This week witnessed an increase of Israeli violation regarding demolition and settlement activities in addition to settlers’ attacks and incursions. They were as follows:

As part of the Israeli shooting and excessive use of force:

In terms of excessive use of force, IOF wounded 45 Palestinian civilians, including 18 children and 3 women, on the 85th Friday of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege protest (GMR) in eastern Gaza Strip. IOF shot and injured 11 civilians with live bullets and shrapnel; 4 of them deemed in serious health conditions, in addition to targeting protestors’ upper body. As a result, many civilians injured despite the peaceful nature of the protests in the 5 encampments. Moreover, 7 shootings were reported by IOF at agricultural lands in the Gaza Strip; while 3 shootings were reported by the Israeli gunboats against the Palestinian fishing boats, east and west of the Gaza Strip; no casualties were reported. Furthermore, a civilian shot and injured in the lower part of his body and arrested while attempting to sneak into Israel via the border fence.

Under IOF incursions and house raids in addition to arresting Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 121 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, arresting and/or injuring many others. During this week’s incursions, 76 Palestinians were arrested, including 8 children and 5 women.  In the Gaza Strip, IOF carried out 2 incursions in eastern Khan Younis and northern Gaza Strip; no levelling works were reported.

Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, PCHR documented 12 IOF violations that included banning farmers from afforestation of their lands in Tulkarm and Kisan village, east of Bethlehem, claiming that these lands are confiscated by IOF; demolishing 2 residential tents; levelling works to expand  ” Shvut Rachel” settlement established in lands of Jaloud village in Nablus; demolishing livestock barns, confiscating water tanks and an agricultural tractor in Tubas; demolishing 2 houses in Jerusalem; confiscating a bulldozer and digger; and demolishing 2 houses in Hebron.

PCHR also documented 10 settler-attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, including puncturing vehicles’ tires, writing racist slogans in Jerusalem; attacking farmers in Bethlehem; writing racist slogans in Hebron; uprooting 300 olive trees in Bethlhem; throwing stones at vehicles in Nablus; setting fire in 2 vehicles in Qalqiliyah; attacking ‘Ain al-Helwas spring in Northern Jordan Valleys; raiding  Solomon’s Pools’ archaeological site, south of Bethlehem; putting the “Menorah Lampstand” at the roof of Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron Old City; and cutting 35 olive trees in Ramallah.

In terms of the Israeli closure policy, on 19 December 2019, Israeli authorities decided to decrease the fishing area from 10 to 6 nautical miles off the Gaza Strip shores, before increasing it to 15 nautical miles in southern Gaza Strip shores starting from Tuesday morning, 24 December 2019. This comes in a time where 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. Furthermore, IOF uses Erez Crossing that is designated for movement of individuals as an ambush to arrest Palestinians who obtain permits to exit via Israel.  Meanwhile, the West Bank is divided into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilians movement is restricted and they are subject to arrest. In this week, IOF established 71 temporary checkpoints and arrested 4  Palestinians.

Violation of the right to life and to bodily integrity

  1. Excessive Use of Force against Protests in the Gaza Strip

On the 85th Friday, 20 December 2019, weekly protests were launched in eastern Gaza Strip, in solidarity with Hebron Governorate, which has been lately the target of Israeli settlement schemes. This Friday’s protest titled: “Hebron is a thorn in the way of efforts to create a Jewish majority”, resulted in the injury of 45 civilians, including 18 children, 3 women and a journalist.

The incidents were as follows:

  • Northern Gaza Strip: demonstrations took place in northeast of Jabalia, and northern Gaza Strip. A few protesters threw stones at IOF stationed along the border fence. Israeli attacks resulted in the injury of 15 civilians, including 6 children, a woman and a journalist; one of them was deemed in serious condition: 3 civilians, including a child and 3 of them, including a girl and an elderly woman, were shot with live bullets and shrapnel; 11, including 3 children, were shot with rubber bullets; and a child was hit with a tear gas canister. The wounded journalist, Thair Khaled Fahmi Abu Rayash (24), was shot with a rubber bullet in his left leg. ‘Emad Fraij Mohammed Soboh (43), was deemed in  serious condition after being shot with a live bullet that entered his back and exited his abdomen.
  • Gaza City: protests took part in Malaka area in eastern Gaza City. IOF shot and injured protestors with live and rubber bullets as well as tear gas canisters. As a result, a child was shot with a rubber bullet in the face.
  • Central Gaza Strip: IOF stationed behind sand berms and in military SUVs along the border fence in eastern al-Buriej Camp fired live and rubber bullets as well as tear gas canisters at protestors. The shooting which lasted until 17:00, resulted in the injury of 6 civilians, including a woman and a child: 3 were shot with live bullets and 3 were shot with rubber bullets. The wounded were taken to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah: Ibrahim Mahmoud Saleh Abu Khashab (24), was deemed in serious condition after being shot with a live bullet in his abdomen and admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU), while others’ injuries were classified between moderate to minor. Furthermore, dozens of protestors suffocated due to tear gas inhalation; some of them were treated on spot while others were taken to hospitals.
  • Khan Younis: Hundreds civilians joined today’s protests in Khuza’ah area in eastern Khan Younis.  Most of the protesters stayed in the encampment for the activities while only few dozens gathered near the border fence and attempted to throw stones and Molotov cocktails. IOF fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 9 civilians, including 2 children and a woman, were shot with rubber bullets. Moreover, dozens of protestors suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
  • Rafah: hundreds of protestors gathered in eastern al-Shawka neighborhood while others remained at the protest encampment, where speeches and theatrical performances were performed. Dozens attempted to approach the fence and throw stones. IOF fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protestors. As a result, 14 civilians, including 8 children, were injured; 2 were deemed in serious condition, including a child: 5 shot with live bullets, 5 with rubber bullets and 4 were hit with tear gas canisters. Those sustained serious wounds were identified:
  • Hazem Khaled Abu Jaridah (20), who was shot with a live bullet in his neck and referred to the Gaza European Hospital.
  • Basel ‘Abdul Raouf Salam al-Lolahi (15), who was shot with a live bullet upper his thigh.
  1. Excessive Use of Force against Protests in the West Bank
  • At the end of Friday prayer on 20 December 2019, dozens of civilians carrying olive trees to implant them in al-Qubeyat area, which is threatened to be confiscated by IOF. Al-Qubeyat area is located near “Homesh” settlement that is unpopulated, northwest of Nablus. When the protestors approached the abovementioned area, a number of soldiers were waiting them. The soldiers dispersed the protestors by firing tear gas canisters at them and chasing them.
  1. Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
  • At approximately 07:30 on Thursday, 19 December 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern Khan Younis, north of the Gaza Strip, fired a number of tear gas canisters at agricultural lands, northeast of the city. As a result, many farmers, the area residents and schools’ students suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. Abu al-‘Ala’a al-Ma’ari School for girls, which is about 1 kilo meter away from the border fence, was evacuated for few minutes.
  • At approximately 09:15 on the same Thursday, Israeli gunboats stationed in northwest of Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip, pumped water at a fishing boat that was moored at a distance of 2 nautical miles. The boat is owned by Zuhair Abdul Rahman Zuhair al-‘Amoudi (21), from al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City. As a result, the boats sustained damage, including 6 searchlights, a generator, and a number of fishing nets in the area.
  • At approximately 16:00 on the same Thursday, a number of Palestinian young men, gathered at the western entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed at a watchtower located in the camp’s main entrance. The soldiers chased stone-throwers and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 23:05 on the same Thursday, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at an empty land in eastern al-Shoka village, east of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 07:50 on Friday, 20 December 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern of the Gaza Strip, chased and heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 10:00 on the same Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern al-Shoka village, east of Rafah, fired tear gas canisters at a number of Palestinian shepherds. As a result, the shepherds suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and left the area.
  • At approximately 21:00 on the same Friday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of Deir al-Balah, opened fire at agricultural lands adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:30 on Sunday, 22 December 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of al-Buraij, opened fire at agricultural lands adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 09:00 on the same Sunday, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at a fishing boat that was moored at a distance of 1.5 nautical miles. The boat is owned by Fahed Zeyad Hasan Baker (43), from al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City. As a result, 8 searchlights were broken.

It should be noted that this kind of boats is called “Felucca Boats”, which is uninhabited boat where lambs are installed on it to gather the fish around it to facilitate fishing. Fishermen usually leave these boats in the water. At approximately 16:00 on the same Sunday, fisherman Baker went to check the boat and found all the searchlights were damaged after Israeli naval forces opened fire at them.

  • At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 23 December 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern Khan Younis, opened fire at a group of bird hunters, east of al-Farahin neighbourhood in ‘Abasan. As a result, bird hunters left the area fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00 on the same Monday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern al-Buraij, opened fire at Sami Namer Salem al-Nabahin (32) when he attempted to sneak through the border fence to Israel. As a result, al-Nabahin was wounded in his lower extremities and arrested by IOF and taken to Soroka Medical Center for treatment. Al-Nabahin (32), from al-Buraij refugee camp, was interrogated at the hospital and released at approximately 16:00 on the next day evening via Erez crossing, north of the Gaza Strip.
  • At approximately 19:30 on the same Monday, IOF stationed along the border fence fired flare bombs and artillery shells at the east of Wadi al-Salqa village, east of Deir al-Balah. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 15:00 on Wednesday, 25 December 2019, a number of Palestinian young men gathered at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and threw stones at Israeli military vehicles stationed near the military watchtower. Israeli soldiers chased stone-throwers between houses and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a number of young men suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. The clashes continued until 18:00 on the same day. The soldiers arrested Mohammed Mahmoud Jawabrah (18) and Jamal Nawaf Jawabrah (19).

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 19 December 2019:

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into ‘Eliyan neighborhood in al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They arrested Ahmed Abdul Salam Abu Roumi (19)  and beat him after raiding and searching his house.
  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Mousa Jalamnah (20), from the eastern neighborhood in the city.
  • At the same time, IOF moved into Jenin refugee camp, west of the city. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Nidal Rebhi al-Shalabi (23) and Walid Jamal Mohammed Husein (26).
  • At approximately 01:00, an Israeli force, reinforced with several military SUVs, moved into al-Thahriyah village, south of Hebron, and stationed in Duma area. They raided and searched the house of Ibrahim Mahmoud Hawarin (40) and withdrew later from the area. No casualties were reported.
  • Half an hour later, an Israeli forces , reinforced with several military SUVs, moved into Beit Kahel village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched Ahmed Sami al-‘Atawnah (23)’s house and arrested him. The same force also raided and searched other houses of al-‘Atawnah family. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. A number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers chased the protestors between residential buildings and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result,  a number of young men suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. In the meanwhile, IOF raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 civilians, including a child, namely: Mousa ‘Essa Sharakah 917), Jihad Mesbah Abu Sbaih (23), and ‘Eliyan Jihad Sharakah (46). An Israeli Intelligence officer phone called ‘Elyain’s wife and ordered her to turn on her son Jihad.
  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Abu Shkhiedem village, north of Ramallah. They arrested Kamal Faisal Qendah (25) after they raided and searched his house.
  • At the same time, IOF moved into ‘Ein Yabrud village, northeast of Ramallah. They arrested Suleiman Samih Qatash (14) after raiding and searching his house.
  • At approximately 15:30, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence in eastern al-Buraij area, arrested 3 Palestinian children, who attempted to sneak into Israel and cross the border fence. The arrested children were identified as: Mahmoud Ahmed Abdul Qader al-Dabbagh (16), Mohanned Tahseen Faraj (17), Osamah Omer Shehdah al-Khaldi (16), all of them are from al-Buraij refugee camp. At approximately 02:30 on the next day, IOF released the them through Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing.
  • IOF carried out (12) incursions in Dura and al-Shuyoukh village in Hebron; ‘Alar village in Tulkarm; ‘Azzoun village in Qalqiliyah; Haras village in Salfit; al-Zababdah village, southeast of Jenin; Madama village, southeast of Nablus; Birzeit, Kuber, Betunia, Abu Qash and Sarda villages in Ramallah. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 20 December 2019:

  • At approximately 08:30, IOF moved into the northern entrance to Talfit village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched commercial shops located at the village main entrance and confiscated the recordings of the surveillance cameras, the head office of the Village Council and a house.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Nablus and Qabatiyah, southeast of Jenin. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 21 December 2019:

  • At approximately 08:30, IOF moved into al-Ras al-Ahmar area in the Northern Jordan Valleys. They raided and searched a number of residential tents and then withdrew from the area. No arrests were reported.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in ‘Azzoun and Juyous villages in Qalqiliyah; al-Samou’a, Yatta, Beit al-Roush al-Fouqa, and Sa’ir villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 22 December 2019:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Hendazah area, southeast of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Mahmoud Hasan al-Wardiyan (42)’s house and hnded him a summons to refer to Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of the city.
  • At approximately 01:40, an Israeli force , reinforced with a number of military SU, moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, and stationed in Khelat al-‘Ain and al-Thuhor areas. The soldiers deployed between houses and patrolled the area. They raided and searched 3 houses of Jawdat Suleiman Bahar and his brother Jawad, Mohammed ‘Essa Bahar, and Mohammed Mohsen Za’aqiq. The soldiers used police dogs during their search and locked each family in a room for 2 hours. They also damaged the houses’ contents. Before their withdrawal, the soldiers arrested Suleiman Jawdat Suleiman Bahar (19) and Mohsen Mohammed Mohsen Za’aqiq (19).
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF moved into Bab al-Rahmah prayer hall, east of al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. They arrested Netham Rushdi Abu Romouz (38) while performing prayers. Abu Romouz was chased several times by the Israeli police due to his constant presence at al-Aqsa Mosque and denied access to al-Aqsa Mosque 3 times. Meanwhile, more than 80 settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque square.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF moved into Taqou’a village, east of Bethlehem. They banned municipality crews from practicing their job at the village northern entrance and detained a number of them. Taiseer Abu Mefreh, head of Taqou’a’s Municipality said that IOF moved into the village northern entrance during the municipality crew’s work. The soldiers banned them and detained a number of them claiming that the crew need a permit from Israeli authorities to do their job.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested Mohammed ‘Ali Hasan Shana’ah (32), from ‘Anata village, north of Qalqiliyah, taking him to “Gilad Zohar” settlement established in the east of Far’ata village. Shana’ah was released after being questioned about a Palestinian flag that was present near his house.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF moved into ‘Ain al-Baida village, east of Tubas. They raidd and searched the house of Abdullah Mustafa Qabha and confiscated a forklift claiming that it was stolen. Qabha confirmed that he owns the forklift and he bought it from Jerusalem and have the purchase papers. He added that the cost of the forklift was about NIS 20,000.
  • At the same time, IOF arrested Abdul Rahman Kahlil Mohammed Mahmoud (39) while he was at his vehicle in north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. Mahmoud is from al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem and served 17 years in the Israeli prison and was released in last February.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into ‘Obeid neighborhood in al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested 3 civilians, including 2 children, namely: Ahmed Moneer ‘Obeid (14), Ahmed Maher ‘Obeid (16) and Amir Abdullah ‘Awad (19).
  • At approximately 20:30, IOF moved into Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched 2 houses of Mohammed Salah Abu Madi (16) and Omer ‘Amer Abu Madi (18) and arrested them.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Yatma and Qablan villages, southeast of Nablus. Durra; Hebron; Nuba; and Taffuh villages in Qalqiliyah.

Monday, 23 December 2019:

  • At approximately 01:00, an Israeli force , reinforced with several military SUVs, moved into Surif village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched 3 houses and arrested 3 civilians namely: Nadim Khalid Ghuneimat (24), ‘Odai Khalid Ghuneimat (26) and Loai Hasan Abu Saleh (19).
  • At the same time, IOF moved into Qalandiya refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Nayef Abu Shanab (23)’s house and arrested
  • At approximately 01:40, IOF moved into ‘Alar village, north of Tulkarm. They arrested Diya’a Namer ‘Adnan Taqatqah (25) after they raided and searched his house.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They arrested Rawhi Mahmoud al-Kalaghasi (23) after they raided and searched his house.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF, reinforced with several military SUVs, moved into Ethna village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched Shaher Rayan Tamizi (33)’s house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:20, IOF moved into Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested 3 civilians namely: Mohammed Salah Sorour (24), Hamed Ibrahim Srour (23) and Sadeq Yasser Sorour (25).
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF moved into Bab al-Rahmah prayer hall in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They arrested and attacked 4 women, who are constantly present in the area and attend religious seminars at al-Aqsa Mosque. IOF claimed that these women were present in the path of Israeli settlers’ incursions. The arrested women were identified as: Fatmab al-Sous (57), Sou’ad Ghurab (60), Lawaheth al-Shuyoukhi (55) and Elham Abu Sbaih (51). It should be noted that arresting these women coincided with the incursion of more than 232 settlers of al-Aqsa Mosque square from Bab al-Magharbah area. The settlers were secured by Israeli police that restricted the entrance of Palestinian civilians and students receiving religious lessons at al-Aqsa Mosque and detained ID cards of some of them.
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli soldiers stationed at Checkpoint (160), east of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the center of Hebron’s Old City, arrested Nour Eden Ra’ed Hasan (16), a child with a disability, claiming that they found a knife with him. The soldiers took him to a police center.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested ‘Ali Hashem Abu ‘Ayash (19), from Beit Ummer village, north of Tulkarm, after detaining him at a temporary checkpoint near the entrance at al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. Abu ‘Ayash was taken to a detention center in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
  • At the same time, IOF moved into Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Majd Ismail al-‘Abasi (21)’s house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Ouz” police station, south of occupied Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF arrested 3 children adjacent to Bethlehem’s northern entrance. The arrestees were identified as Abdullah ‘Essa al-Najjar (15), ‘Ezz Eden Majed al-‘Ezzah (15), and Mohammed Bashir al-‘Ezzah (15).
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Sa’ir and Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019:

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into ‘Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, south of Jericho. They raided and searched Shadi Mohammed Abu Hadid (26)’s house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Beit Daqu village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Khaled Bassam Dawoud (33)’s house and arrested him.
  • At the same time, IOF moved into Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Adam Fathi al-Ghoul (24) and ‘Asef Omer Abdul Ghani (22).
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Nablus and stationed in Nablus neighborhood. They raided and searched Osama Emad al-Masimi (30)’s house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, an Israeli force, reinforced with military SUVs, moved into Beit ‘Awa village, west of Durra, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched Yahiya Mahmoud Saleh (23)’s house and arrested him.
  • At the same time, IOF moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested 3 civilians, including a child, namely: Omer Kayed Taqatqa (22), Fadi Fayez Taqatqa (23) and Sanad Amjad Taqatqa (16).
  • At approximately 03:00, an Israeli force, reinforced with several military SUVs, moved into Halhoul, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Eyad al-Baw (33) and arrested him.
  • At the same time, an Israeli force, reinforced with several military SUVs, moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, and stationed in Saf neighborhood. They raided and searched 2 houses and arrested ‘Obeid Ghazi Hasan ‘Adi (20) and Nadim Falah Mohammed Abu ‘Ayash (28).
  • At the same time, IOF moved into Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Ja’afar ‘Aziz Haroun Kayed (19).
  • At the same time, IOF moved into al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested 13 civilians, including a child, and took them to an unknown destination.

(The names of the arrestees are available at PCHR)

  • At approximately 03:20, IOF, reinforced with a number of military SUVs moved into Um al-Sharayet and Sateh Marhaba neighborhoods in the southern side of the city. A number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at Israeli vehicles. IOF chased the protestors between houses and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them; no casualties were reported. In the meanwhile, Israeli soldiers raided and searched a number of houses, including the house of Ahmed Suleiman Qatamesh (69), political writer and researcher in the Palestinian cause affairs, and arrested him. Qatamesh served more than 12 years in the Israeli prison as he was arrested several times. Israeli soldiers also raided and searched Diya’a Jamil Nawarah (20), a students at Birzeit University from Sateh Marhaba neighborhood, and arrested him.
  • At the same time, IOF moved into Betunia village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched Akram Mohammed Salmah (27)’s house and arrested him.
  • At the same time, IOF moved into Ramallah and stationed in al-Irsal neighborhood. They arrested Ja’far ‘Aziz Kayed (21), a student at Birzeit University, after they raided and searched his house.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Tour neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Daniel Zuhair Abu Nasrah (18)’s house, and beat and arrested him.
  • At approximately 00:00, IOF, reinforced with a number of military SUVs, moved about 100 meters into the east of ‘Abasan villages, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip. They leveled lands adjacent to the border fence for hours and later redeployed along the border fence.
  • IOF carried out (23) incursions in Tal and ‘Iraq burin villages, southeast of Nablus; Yatta, Masafer Yatta, Surif, al-Rihiyah villages and al-Fawa refugee camp in Heborn; al-Zababdah, Rabab, Masliyah, Sanour, al-Silah al-Harithiyah, Romanah and Ta’nak villages in Jenin; Deir Sharaf, Qablan, Yatma and Madama villages in Nablus; Kuber, Deir Netham and al-Mazra’a al-Gharbiyah villages, north of Ramallah; Jericho and al-‘Ouja villages, northeast of Jericho.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF, reinforced with a number of military SUVs, moved into Kherbat Um al-Safa, southeast of Yatta, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 civilians namely Ibrahim Hasan Dawoud (22), Majdi Mahmoud Dawoud (19) and Mohammed Mahmoud Dawoud.
  • At approximately 01:30, an Israeli force, reinforced with a number of military SUVs, moved into al-Samou’s village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched Mohammed ‘Omran al-Daghamin (33)’s house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 08:15, IOF, reinforced with a number of military SUVs, moved about 100 meters into the south of the border fence, north of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza Strip. they leveled and combed lands that were leveled previously and sporadically opened fire at the area. At approximately 22:30 on the same day evening, IOF withdrew from the area; no casualties were reported.
  • In the morning, IOF arrested Ahmed ‘Ali Wahdan (21), from Jenin refugee camp, while passing through a temporary checkpoint established by IOF in the west of
  • IOF carried out (12) incursions in Nablus, Deir Sharaf, ‘Aqraba, Burin, Madama and ‘Ourta villages in Nablus; al-Zababdah and Zabuba villages in Jenin; al-Burj, Dura, Hebron ad Beit Awla villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.
  1. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem
  1. Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property for Settlement Expansion Activities
  • At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 21 December 2019, IOF moved into Middle Mount area, southeast of Tulkarm. They prevented civilians from planting trees in their lands, claiming these lands were confiscated and forcing the farmers to leave the area at gunpoint.

The farmers had planted part of the lands with olive and forest seedlings as part of activities organized by the national factions in Tulkarm and local councils in the villages of al-Kafriyat and ‘Ezbet Shofah.  Those activities came after the Israeli government announced seizure of 788 dunums of these lands in favor of a new industrial settlement area.  According to this project, the agricultural area will turn into industrial and commercial areas where there are transportation, buildings, public institutions, car parking and roads for the new industrial settlement.

  • On the same day morning, an Israeli military force moved into agricultural lands in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem. They prevented the lands’ owners from plowing their lands and forced them to leave after threatening to arrest them.

Hussein Ghazal, an activist, said that IOF moved into this 100-dunum land and the officer in charge informed the Palestinian farmers that they are only allowed to enter their lands if they refer to the Military Governance office in “Gosh ‘Etzion” settlement complex in order to obtain an entry permit.  Ghazal said that IOF impose obstacles before lands’ owners, preluding to seize the lands as the settlers in the nearby settlements  continuously chase and attack farmers; the latest was against farmer ‘Atallah Ibrahim ‘Abyat when settlers sic their dogs on him.

  • At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers and a construction vehicle moved into Kherbet Tana, northeast of Nablus. The construction vehicle demolished 2 residential tents of 50 square meters belonging to Hakam Zohdi Nasasrah and Yousif Fayez Nasasrah and confiscated their pillars.  They then damaged the trees planted by the Ministry of Agriculture and the international and local organizations in Tana Nature Reserve, which is around 90 dunums and planted with 3000 forest trees.
  • At approximately 08:30 on the same day, IOF accompanied with a construction vehicle moved into Khelet Abu Salah in the Northern Jordan Valley, east of Tubas. The construction vehicle demolished residential tents and sheep barns in addition to confiscating drinking water tanks, aiming to displace farmers.

Those affected were:

  1. Ibrahim Sa’id Zayed Abu Thaher: his 60-square-meter tent, which sheltered 9 family members, including 5 children, was demolished as well as a barrack for sheep; and a water tank was confiscated.
  2. Zainab Soliman Salem Abu Thaher: his 60-square-meter sheltering 2 persons was demolished as well as a 120-square-meter sheep barn; and a water tank was confiscated.
  • During the demolition, IOF detained ‘Aref Ahmed Tawfiq Daraghmah (50), B’tselem’s fieldworker, in his own car. After the demolition, an Israeli officer sat next to Daraghmah in his car and forced him to drive to Bak’out settlement, where a Civil Administration officer handed Daraghmah a decision to confiscate his car after telling him that he makes trouble for the Israeli soldiers and settlers in the valleys.  Daraghmah was released but his car was confiscated and taken to al-Mazkouh camp around 2 kilometers away from the settlement.
  • On the same day morning, IOF construction vehicles was leveling in favour of expanding and building more settlement units in ” Shiloh” and “Shvut Rachel” settlements established on the lands of Jaloud, Qaryout and Qesrah villages, southeast of Nablus. Building these units came despite the decision issued last year by the Israeli High Court to stop all the construction and expansion works in “Shvut Rachel” settlement and despite the challenge filed by the Jaloud and Qaryout village councils via “Yish Din” Organization against the plan of expanding “Shiloh” settlement and building more than 175 new settlement units. Although the challenge is being considered by the High Court, IOF started leveling Jaloud village lands without waiting for the final court ruling.
  • At approximately 06:00 on Tuesday, 24 December 2019, Israeli Muncipality construction vehicles demolished a house belonging to Shqeirat Family in “Khelet al-‘Abed” area in al-Mukaber Mount village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without a license. The house was built in 2016 on an area of 260 square meters and divided into 3 residential units sheltering Montaser Salah Shqeirat with his wife and child; and Amin Salah Shqeirat with his wife and 4 children.

Montaser Shqeirat, one of the houses’ owners, said that Israeli Muncipality staffs raided his family house in the early morning and expelled the house residents despite the cold weather in addition to banning them from taking out the house contents.

He added that the Israeli municipality staffs only took out some furniture before starting the demolition.  He also said that the Israeli Municipality imposed on him an “unlicensed construction fine” of 120,000 NIS, forcing the family to pay it monthly.  It should be noted that the municipality surrounded the family house last month to demolish it; however, the demolition decision was frozen.  The court later rejected the decision to freeze the demolition, so the municipality staffs headed on that morning and carried out the demolition.

  • At approximately 10:00 on the same day, the Israeli municipality construction vehicles demolished a residential under-construction building in al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Jamal ‘Ata ‘Elian said that the Israeli vehicles demolished his building for the second time consecutively as it was of 3 floors and demolished last May.  He added that after months of the first demolition he rebuilt it so he can live there with his family and started the licensing measures.  However, on that day morning, he was surprised with the Israeli municipality staffs demolishing the building, which comprised of 2 floors; the ground floor used as a parking and the first floor as an apartment to shelter his family.

  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Thaghret al-Shabak area adjacent to Bypass Road (60), northeast of Hebron. They stormed an agricultural land of 14 dunums belonging to Nabil Munir Baraghit (55) and his brothers and then declared the area as a closed military zone.  They prevented the vehicles from plowing the land and confiscated a construction vehicle belonging to Mohammed ‘Omer Abu Ayyash and an excavator belonging to Samer Mohammed Ikhalyel.  They took the confiscated vehicles to “Gosh ‘Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.  It should be noted that the mentioned land is located near “Beit al-Berkah” that was seized months ago by the Israeli settlers, claiming they bought it from a Swedish organization
  • Around the same time, IOF accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the Civil Administration moved into Kherbet Ghwein, west of al-Samou’a village, south of Hebron. The soldiers were deployed between houses while the excavator started demolishing a house belonging to Ibrahim Khader Isma’il Hawamdah (46) and sheltering his 10-member family.  The 100-square-meter house built of tin plates was demolished under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

It should be mentioned that the Israeli authorities notified on 03 July 2019 to demolish the new building within 96 hours under the pretext of building without a license.  The family then challenged the demolition notice before the court while the Israeli authorities again notified the house under the pretext of rioting archeology. The court rejected the challenge 2 months ago and issued a decision to demolish the building.

  • At approximately 11:30, IOF moved into Moghayer al-‘Abid area, southeast of Yata, southwest of Hebron. The excavator demolished a 66-square-meter dwelling built of bricks and tin plates and belonging to Fayez Ibrahim Shehadah Abu ‘Aram and his 4 member family.  It should be noted that the Israeli authorities notified the dwelling’s owner that they would demolish it within 96 hours, not giving the family enough time to prepare a legal file to challenge the decision before the Beit El Military Court.
  • On Wednesday morning, 25 December 2019, the Israeli construction vehicles leveled lands in favor of expansion activities and construction of new settlement units in “Yitsihar” settlement that was established on the lands of Madma, Burin, ‘Asirah al-Qabaliyah, ‘Einabous and Howarah villages, southeast of Nablus. Eyewitnesses said that the IOF leveled those lands in an area in southern Madama village that is classified Area “B” in a prelude to confiscate it.
  1. Israeli Settler Violence
  • At approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 19 December 2019, Israeli settlers moved into al-Khalaylah neighborhood, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They punctured the tires of Palestinian vehicles and wrote racist slogans on the walls threatening the Palestinian residents.  Recently, the attacks by the “Price Tag” extreme groups against the Palestinian property repeated, especially burning vehicles and puncturing tires in Jerusalem.

It should be mentioned that IOF always arrive at the scene, interrogate the Palestinian civilians and take their testimonies.  However, the incidents are always recorded anonymously.  The Price Tag groups include extreme settlers who carry out hostilities against the Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.

  • On the same day morning, Israeli settlers moved into Kisan village, east of Bethlehem, and prevented the Palestinian farmers from plowing their lands. They forced the farmers to leave and attacked ‘Atallah Ibrahim ‘Abayat (53).  They sic their dogs on him, and he was taken to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital to receive medical treatment.

Ahmed Ghazal, Deputy Head of the Kisan Village Council, said “settlers from “Evi Hanahel” settlement beat up the mentioned farmer and sic their dogs on him.  As a result, ‘Abayat sustained various wounds and taken to Beit Jala Hospital for medical treatment.”  Ghazal added that the settlers attacked ‘Abayat after he refused to obey their orders to leave his land for them, noting that such attacks recently recurred and shepherds have become afraid for their lives.

  • At approximately 04:20, 2 settlers from Giv’at Ha’avot settlement outpost established on the lands of eastern Hebron arrived at the house of ‘Abdel Karim Mahmoud al-Ja’bari in al-Hussein Valley adjacent to the outpost and wrote racist slogans against Arabs signed by the “Price Tag” groups on 2 vehicles parked on the main road.
  • At approximately 06:00, settlers moved into the lands al-Ghawit Valley area in al-Khader village, west of Bethlehem. They uprooted 300 olive trees and seized them.

The land’s owner, Hisham al-Barmil, said that he was surprised with a call from his neighbors telling him about what happened.  He immediately headed to his 30-dunum land to see hundreds of the trees that were planted tens of years ago uprooted and seized by settlers.  It should be mentioned that it was not the first attack by settlers on the area as 2 months ago they attacked plantings in the area, causing losses to the farmers.

  • At approximately 15:30 on the same day, settlers from Yitsihar settlement established on the lands of Burin, Madma, ‘Asiret al-Qabilah and ‘Orif villages, southeast of Nablus, threw stones at the Palestinian cars traveling on “Yitsihar” Bypass Road and Madma Bridge near “Yitshar” settlement. As a result, the windshield of a bus belonging to Redwan Ma’arouf Hussein ‘Asayrah (58) was broken.
  • At approximately 02:00 on Friday, 20 December 2019, settlers from “Havat Gilad” settlement moved into the southeastern area of Fre’ata village, north of Qalqilya. They set fire to 2 vehicles belonging to Saher ‘Abdel Rahim Rafiq Salim and Thaer Raed ‘Abdel Rahim Salim. They wrote racist slogans against Arabs on the floor and walls of a house belonging to Saher ‘Abdel Rahim Salim.

‘Abdel Men’em Shana’ah, Head of Fre’ata Village Council, said:

“At approximately 02:30 on Friday, 20 December 2019, one of the area residents called to tell me that the area and cars were on fire.  I immediately headed to the area, where 2 cars parked in front of Saher Salim’s house were on fire, but we could not do anything. The Civil Defense arrived to extinguish the fire, and the area was full of racist slogans on the walls and floor of Saher Salim’s house.  Next morning, we contacted the competent authority to tell them about what happened.”

  • On the same day morning, settlers moved into the Northern Valleys area, east of Tubas. They started repairing ‘Ein al-Helweh Spring that is used by the Valleys’ farmers for drinking and irrigation.  The farmers said that they were surprised with settlers’ repairing the spring, aiming to seize it and prevent civilians from using it.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 21 December 2019, around 100 armed Israeli settlers moved into ancient Solomon’s Pools, south of Bethlehem. They wandered with their dogs and bathed in the springs while others swam in one of the pools under the IOF protection.  It should be mentioned that settlers come to the pools from time to time under the IOF protection and the area residents are afraid of the Israeli territorial appetites although the pools are located in Area “A” and many Palestinian projects are established there.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 23 December 2019, Israeli settlers under the IOF heavy guard placed the “Menorah” lampstand on the roof of al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City. This step is part of the settlers’ ongoing attempts to take over the mosque that started in 1994 when a settler carried out a massacre against the worshippers in the mosque.
  • On the same day afternoon, Israeli settlers from “‘Aadi ‘Aad” settlement under the IOF protection cut and damaged 35 olive trees in a land belonging to Ratib Haj Na’asan in al-Seder area in al-Moghir village, northeast of Ramallah.

Nash’at Nas’asan (38) said that at approximately 15:30 on the same day he saw 10 settlers approaching the barbed wire surrounding the trees in al-Seder area.  They destroyed it and then entered the land to cut the olive trees and damage the branches.  They then fled away to their settlement.

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

Gaza Strip

On Thursday morning, 19 December 2019, IOF decided to decrease the allowed fishing area between 6 to 10 nautical miles off the Gaza Strip shore.

Nizar ‘Ayash, Head of the Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate in the Gaza Strip, said that the Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian Civil Affairs of reducing the fishing area all the way to the northern Gaza Strip to 6 nautical miles, and to 10 nautical miles in the central and southern Gaza Strip.  It should be noted that the allowed fishing area before the decision was 15 nautical miles off the southern Gaza Strip.  However, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, known as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, said that the fishing area will be expanded back to 15 nautical miles starting from Tuesday, 23 December 2019 at 08:00.  He added that the Gaza fishing area expansion would remain only as long as Gaza fishermen stayed within the permitted boundaries.

West Bank

In addition to permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals movement between villages and cities and deny civilians’ access to their work. IOF established 70 temporary checkpoints and arrested 3Palestinian civilians.

The military checkpoint were as follows:

Jerusalem:

  • At approximately 13:00 on Sunday, 22 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Daqo village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They denied the movement of hundreds of cars and civilians for hours.  Eyewitnesses said that the checkpoint is being almost daily established, especially in the peak hours, only aiming at obstructing civilians’ daily life.
  • On the same day, IOF established 3 checkpoints at Jaba’a village intersection, the entrance to Badou village and the entrance to ‘Anata village in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • On Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance of al-Ram village, north of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • On Tuesday, 24 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Badou village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem.

Bethlehem:

  • On Sunday, 22 December 2019, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrance of Nahalin village, intersection of al-Freides village, in ‘Aqabet Hasnah area and at the western entrance to Housan village.
  • On Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Taqou’a village, near the intersection of al-Nashash, in ‘Aqbet Hasnah area and at the western entrance to Taqou’a village.
  • On Tuesday, 24 December 2019, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Taqou’a village, the entrance to Beit Jala, the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village and ‘Aqbet Hasnah area near the main road to the western villages of Bethlehem.

Hebron: 

  • On Thursday, 19 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Halhoul, and no arrests were reported.
  • On Friday, 20 December 2019, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, al-Nabi Mousa, and Halhoul and northern entrance to Hebron.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Saturday, 21 December 2019, IOF closed the entrances to the villages in Yatta, south of Hebron and established checkpoints. They denied Yatta residents access to the main road under the pretext that a marathon would be organized by settlers.  The closure continued for 4 consecutive hours, forcing the Palestinian civilians to take roads that are far away from the main road.
  • On the same day, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hahoul and the entrance to Tarqoumia village. On Sunday, 22 December 2019, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and the entrances to Ethna, al-Shyoukh and Deir Razeh villages.
  • On Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF established 3 checkpoints at al-Fawar refugee camp, al-Thaheriyah village and al-Kom village.
  • On Tuesday, 24 December 2019, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, Beit Ummar village and Deir Samit village.
  • On Wednesday, 25 December 2019, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to al-Aroub refugee camp, Sa’ir village, Yatta and al-Thaheriyah village.

Ramallah and al-Bireh:

  • On Thursday, 19 December 2019, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit ‘Or village and al-Jalazone refugee camp.
  • On Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF established 3 similar checkpoints at the entrances to al-Nabi Saleh and ‘Otarah villages, northwest of Ramallah.
  • On Tuesday, 24 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village.

Qalqiliyah and Salfit:

  • On Thursday, 19 December 2019, IOF established checkpoints at the entrances to ‘Azoun village in Qalqiliyah and Deir Balout village in Salfit. On Friday, 20 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Ezbet al-Tabib village in Qalqiliyah. On Saturday, 21 December 2019, IOF established checkpoints at the entrances to ‘Ezbet al-Tabib and Jeet villages in Qalqiliyah.
  • On Sunday, 22 December 2019, IOF established checkpoints at the entrance to al-Nabi Elias in Qalqiliyah, at the northern entrance to Salfit and at the entrance to Marda village. At approximately 17:00 on Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF closed the entrances to Salfit City and the entrances to Yasouf and Kafl Haris villages in Salfit.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 19 December 2019, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the western entrance to Qeblan village, southeast of Nablus and at the southern entrance to Tal village, southwest of Nablus. On Friday, 20 December 2019, IOF stationed at ‘Awerta checkpoint at the southern entrance to Nablus tightened their arbitrary restrictions against the Palestinian civilians who cross the checkpoint and undergo thorough searches before being allowed to cross.
  • On Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Bita village branching from Ramallah-Nablus Street. On the same day, IOF obstructed the movement at the checkpoints of Shavi Shamron, northwest of Nablus; Za’tarah, southeast of Nablus; and Beit Forik village, northeast of Nablus.  They checked the passengers’ ID cards, but no arrests were reported.
  • On Tuesday, 23 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint in al-Moraba’ah area that connects the villages of Tal, Burin and ‘Iraq Burin with Nablus, south of the city.

Jenin:

  • On Saturday, 21 December 2019, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the western entrance to al-Zababdah village and at the entrance to ‘Arabah village, southwest of Jenin.
  • On Monday, 23 December 2019, IOF established a checkpoint on the Bypass Road, northeast of Jenin. They stopped the Palestinian vehicles and checked the passengers’ ID cards. However, no arrests were reported.

Netanyahu says ICC has ‘NO JURISDICTION’ to probe Israeli ‘war crimes’ in Palestine

FILE PHOTO. © Reuters / Nir Elias

20 Dec, 2019 

Source

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided it will launch a full-fledged probe into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian lands by Israel. In response, Tel Aviv has declared the court’s jurisdiction there null and void.

The looming probe was announced by the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Friday. A preliminary investigation – opened back in 2015 – has concluded that there is enough data to open a full-scale one.

“I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine,” Bensouda said in a statement. “I am satisfied that… war crimes have been, or are being, committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”

The announcement caused an explosive reaction in Tel Aviv, with the top politicians rushing to condemn it. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu – himself entangled in several domestic probes into alleged corruption – called the ICC move “a dark day for truth and justice.”

PM of Israel@IsraeliPM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“This is a dark day for truth and justice.
The ICC prosecutor has decided not to dismiss outright the Palestinian claim against the State of Israel. It is a baseless and outrageous decision.5476:53 PM – Dec 20, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy242 people are talking about this

“The ICC prosecutor has decided not to dismiss outright the Palestinian claim against the State of Israel. It is a baseless and outrageous decision,” Netanyahu said in a statement, arguing that the court cannot probe alleged war crimes in Palestine altogether.

The court has no jurisdiction in this case. The ICC only has jurisdiction over petitions submitted by sovereign states. But there has never been a Palestinian state.

ALSO ON RT.COMTop IDF lawyer tells The Hague to back off, says Israel can probe own alleged war crimes

A similar opinion was expressed by Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who also said the ICC was only for “sovereign states” and accused Palestinians of playing political games.

Israel has valid legal claims over the same territory in relation to which the Palestinians are seeking to submit to the Court’s jurisdiction.

The fact that the Palestinian authority is a member of the ICC, while Israel is not, makes the jurisdiction issues very complicated. The ICC prosecutors appear to be well aware of that as Bensouda has explicitly stated that she will seek additional confirmation form the courts Pre-Trial Chamber to what territories exactly its jurisdiction extends to before launching the full-scale probe.

Israel has been repeatedly accused of partaking in activities, amounting to war crimes, namely the demolition of Palestinians’ homes, forcible relocation of civilians, killing peaceful protesters and so on. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry formally reached the ICC early in 2018, asking it to investigate Israel’s alleged “crimes against humanity” and its active – and illegal – settlement policies in the West Bank.

‘Israeli’ Demolishing of Palestinian Houses Policy of Ethnic Cleansing

By Staff, Fars News Agency

Political activist Jeff Halper said the Zionist entity aims at taking more Palestinian lands by driving them out of their territory or confine the remaining people in a relatively small area.

Halper told Fars News Agency that ‘Israel’ extends the notorious separation wall “as long and as high as ‘Israel’ needs to define its demographic borders and the cantos in which the Palestinians will be confined”.

Halper is a co-founder of The People Yes! Network [TPYN] and the former Director of the ‘Israeli’ Committee against House Demolitions [ICAHD].

In response to a questions regarding the ‘Israeli’ demolition of Palestinians’ homes, he said: “The ‘Israeli’ policy of home demolitions goes back to the Nakba in 1948, when it systematically demolished more than 530 entire villages, towns and urban areas, some 52,000 homes. Some other 55,000 have been demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967, plus thousands more within ‘Israel’ until today.”

He went on to say that “it is a policy of ethnic cleansing, designed to drive as many Palestinians out of the country or to confine those that stay to small enclaves on 15% of the country.”

Halper further explained that ‘Israel’ will not demolish homes in those enclaves [Areas A & B, Gaza except in military attacks] and the enclaves of East al-Quds and ‘Israel’ since it needs them to house the population in concentrated areas.

He stressed that all kinds of demolitions are war crimes since they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention that protects a civilian population living under occupation.

“The act itself was not unusual. ‘Israeli’ demolition of Palestinian homes is a routine, almost daily occurrence. What set it apart was the scale, the impunity, and the political implications,” he added.

‘Israel’ Advanced Plans for 22,000 Settler Units in West Bank in 3 Years

The Goods, the Bad and the Ugly

August 08, 2019

by Jimmie Moglia (and Patrizia Cecconi) for The Saker Blog

The Goods, the Bad and the Ugly

In the instance, the goods are those boycotted by the BDS measure (Boycott-Divest-Sanctions), proposed in the American Congress .

The bad are the US congressmen and politicians who sold their soul to the Jews for thirty pieces of silver, and rejected even the symbolic and extremely platonic ‘non-binding’ initiative of boycotting goods tainted by crime, theft, barbarities of all sorts, and by the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Actually, there is a better word for ‘soul’ as in ‘politicians who sold their soul’, but I will forbear to mention it out of my inviolable respect for the ladies. Even Tulsie Gabbard, who has made a name for herself as an enemy of the status-quo, chose to oppose the measure, demonstrating the type of caution that cowards borrow from fear and attribute to policy.

Finally, the ugly are the criminals who killed and stole – and continue to kill, maim, imprison, humiliate and steal from the dispossessed Palestinians and rightful owners of Palestine.

If we were not living in a world upside down, the considerations that follow would be unnecessary.

The term ‘Jews’ excludes those (few or many, it is difficult to say), who reject the ‘chosen people’ philosophy of their sect – a philosophy known to many, but not many enough – for its meaning, history and implications.

For the voice of their dissenters is irrelevant, considering that the Jews, as a political-social entity, are a monolith, practicing a cultural-political hegemony that only blindness can deny. Hence, to edulcorate the truth by a quasi-synonym (Zionists) will not, in my view, do justice to the real dissenters.

In fact, many suspect, with cause, that some fake ‘dissenters’ are planted in the right places to ‘cover all bases’ – the metaphor of ‘gate-keepers’ being most appropriate. For hegemony to appear not overly conspicuous it must simulate some kind of antithesis or opposition. Why? So that hegemony may seem a choice and not an imposition.

Quoting from a Jewish writer about Jews in the Middle Ages.

“Without in any way minimizing the force of these factors (earlier referred to by the author as “a sense of frustration and exasperation aroused by Jews at large”), we believe nevertheless that they do not tell the whole story or even the essential part of the story. The most vivid impression to be gained from a reading of medieval allusions to the Jew is of hatred so vast and abysmal, so intense, that it leaves one gasping for comprehension. The unending piling up of violent epithets and accusations and curses, the consistent representation of the Jew as the epitome of everything evil and abominable, for whom in particular the unbounded scorn and contumely of the Christian world are reserved, must convince the most casual student that we are dealing here with a fanaticism altogether subjective and irrational.” (Joshua Trachtenberg, “The Devil and the Jews”)

Yes, it is irrational, but the position regarding the issue was clearly first stated by Pope Callistus II in 1120 AD, with his Bull “Sicut Judaeis Non.” And I quote from the Encyclopedia Judaica,

“It was a general Bull of Protection for the Jews, who had suffered at the hands of participants in the First Crusade (1095–96) and were being maltreated by their Christian neighbors. It forbade killing them, using force to convert them, and otherwise molesting them, their synagogues and cemeteries.”

And it is a position – we may all agree – that all rational people continue to maintain 900 years later. But it was expected from the Jews, at the time and in return, that they would not corrupt the Christian world.

The idea of corruption arose clearly when Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, translated the Talmud into Latin in the twelfth century. Here I quote from Wikipedia,

“Donin translated statements by Talmudic sages and pressed various charges against the Talmud by quoting a series of ‘allegedly blasphemous’ passages about Christianity. He also selected what he claimed were injunctions of Talmudic sages permitting Jews to kill non-Jews, to deceive Christians, and to break promises made to them without scruples.”

Note the inverted commas I added around ‘allegedly blasphemous,’ in view of what comes next.

The Catholic Church had shown little interest in the Talmud until Donin presented his translation. The Pope (now Gregory II) was surprised that the Jews relied on texts other than the Torah; texts that contained alleged blasphemies against Christianity. Equally surprised, we may add, are or would be many Americans today.

This lack of interest also affected, until then, the French monarchy that profited by the Jews’ money-making skills.

Given the astonishment generated by the translated Talmud, a debate was organized in Paris – it began on June 12, 1240. Donin represented the Christians. Four distinguished Rabbis represented the Jews, namely Yechiel of Paris, Moses of Coucy, Judah of Melun, and Samuel ben Solomon of Château-Thierry.

The four rabbis’ objective was to defend the Talmud against Donin’s accusations that it contained obscenities and blasphemies against the Christian religion and God. In one Talmudic passage, for example, reference is made to someone named Jesus, dispatched to hell to be boiled in excrement for eternity. The Rabbis denied that this is the Jesus of the New Testament, stating as a kind of proof that “not every Louis born in France is king.”

Interesting argument, contradicted by another contemporary Jewish scholar– more on this later.

Among the obscene folklore, there is a story that Adam copulated with each of the animals before finding Eve. And Noah, according to the Talmudic script, was castrated by his son Ham. Furthermore, by now and thanks to the diffusion of knowledge via the web, most readers are aware of what the Talmud considers ‘acceptable’ sex, for example, lowering the age of consent to a 3-year old girl.

I don’t know why, but the recent resurrection of the already well-known criminal porno-ring of underage girls in Epstein’s ‘Lolita Island’, comes to mind.

Until the debate of 1240, Christians associated the Jewish religion with the Mosaic faith of the Old Testament. Hence the Church, suddenly and officially, realized that the Talmud was the Jews’ equivalent of the New Testament.

It is usually believed that the crucifixion of Christ is the historical trigger of the inherent conflict between Jews and everyone else. Some prominent Catholic thinkers have advanced the thesis that by rejecting Christ, the Jews have rejected Reason, (also referred to as Logos), as the underlying principle on which Greek-inspired Western civilization was built. Lack of Reason leads to continual upheaval, as in Trotsky’s “permanent revolution.”

Maybe, but the issue precedes the birth of Christ. For example, in 59 BC Lelius, a Pompey’s lieutenant, brought a suit against Flacco, a pro-consul in Asia Minor. The suit had to do with the transport (or lack thereof) of Jewish gold to Jerusalem. Flacco chose Cicero as his defender.

Here are Cicero’s words in his related writing, “Pro Flacco.”

“Now as to the accusation regarding the Jewish gold – which is why this trial is held not very far from the Aurelian square (the Jewish quarter). Yes, for this accusation you (Lelius), have chosen this place and this assembly of people, because you know how great is their number, how great their unanimity of purpose and how much is their power in the assemblies. I will speak softly so as to be heard only by the judges. For individuals are not wanting, ready to incite these people (the Jews) against me and against any other respectable citizen. I don’t want to give them reason to facilitate their attacks.”

Advance the clock by 2060 years, and Cicero’s words could be applied almost verbatim to the US Congress, to the neo-cons, and to the objectively unbelievable proposition that any criticism of Jews amounts to ‘hate-crime,’ as does any reference to their history, or confutation of their documentably fantastic inventions of inexistent or unproven facts.

History is silent as to which seed was sowed, and to where, how, why and what created certain destructive characteristics of Jewish ideology. For all seed-sowings a mysterious thing, whether the seeds fall into the earth or into souls.

Maybe it was a little thing. For what we call little things are merely the causes of great things; they are the beginning, they are the embryos. It is the point of departure that may decide the whole future of an existence of a race or ethnic group. One single black speck may be the beginning of a decomposition, of a storm, of a revolution. From one insignificant misunderstanding hatred and separation may finally issue. An enormous avalanche begins by the displacement of one snow-crystal, and the conflagration of a town by the fall of a match. Almost everything comes from almost nothing. For accident plays a vast part in human affairs. Calculation has its uses but chance mocks it, and the result of a planned calculation is in no wise proportional to its merit.

It is a mystery. For it is in the origin of things that the great secret of destiny lies hidden, although the breathless sequence of after-events has often many surprises for us all. So that at first sight history seems to us accident and confusion; looked at for the second time, it seems to us logical and necessary; looked at for the third time, it appears to us a mixture of necessity and liberty; on the fourth examination we scarcely know what to think of it. For if force is the source of right, and chance the origin of the force, we come back to the first explanation, only with a heavier heart than when we began.

And equally, with a heavy heart, we observe that any effort at understanding the inner mechanisms of time and mind, whereby the US has become the secular arm of Israel, taints the researchers with anti-Semitism.

If the patient reader who read so far will catch his breath, I will now introduce Ms. Patrizia Cecconi, an Italian writer, a botanist and a strenuous defender of the cause of Gaza’s citizens and of Palestine at large.

In what amounts to a guerrilla of tactics, Patrizia has managed so far to reach Gaza and provide what help and support her organization makes possible. Among other things, she has published a very interesting and very well-written book titled “Vagando di erba in erba” (Roaming from herb to herb). In which Patrizia details an extended visit to the West Bank, using as a conductive theme, the description of Palestine’s natural flora, and the characteristic and beneficial uses of various wild plants. While, simultaneously, telling the reader of the life of the Palestinians she met, spoke with or was the guest of. I hope that the book may be available in English in the near future.

I will now translate the text of one of her recent articles published in Italy. The reported event – the destruction of Palestinian houses and apartment buildings in East Jerusalem, accompanied by the laughter of Israeli troops – almost coincided in time with the rejection by the US Congress of the BDS non-binding proposal.

The witness-reported Israeli laughter is not the first example of the lawless confidence of successful robbers. Some readers may remember the picnic tables and picnic chairs positioned above the wall dividing Gaza from the rest of Palestine. From where Israeli onlookers and tourists could watch Israeli soldiers gun down unarmed Palestinians, including women and children, as if they were pins in a bowling alley at a recreation center.

A Specter roams around… but it is not Communism

A specter roams around the Middle East, and from there, crossing seas and mountains, reaches everywhere, demonstrating the absolute inanity of the Universal Humanitarian Law and nullifying every rule of international legality, starting from the Geneva Conventions.

A specter that, with actual incontrovertible facts under our eyes, shows the useless foolishness of the United Nations Organization itself – reduced to be but a glass-palace shown to visiting school-children. Explaining to them how the dream of a “magnificent and progressive future” envisaged in those proud halls, was broken after three short years, thanks to self-declared birth of the Israeli State. A structure that, since its foundation, would ignore, dismiss, discard, disregard and trample-on all the United Nations’ principles and resolutions.

It would be reductive and factious to classify this statement as anti–Semitic. While not realizing, instead, the weight and danger – for the world at large – of Zionism’s long tentacles, obliterating universal humanitarian principles and every rule of international law. Any honest thinker, even minimally aware of reality, cannot but bitterly agree on the consequences of continuing to shelter Israel from the legal sanctions deserved by its criminal actions. Sanctions equally necessary to make that entity comply with the accepted standards of humanity, and to limit the horrendous damage, human and political it has produced for over a century.

For about 80 years, what occurred and occurs in 2000-year old Palestine, is an unrestrained use of power, applied in the name of Zionism. An ideology developed at the end of the 19th century by Austrian-born Theodor Herzl and later implemented in the establishment of the Israeli state, not respecting the UN Resolution 181, but through self-proclamation by Ben Gurion. This occurred shortly before the expiration of the British mandate, therefore outside the terms of the UN Resolution. Showing and declaring to the world that Israel stands above and beyond any human law, international or super-national. And making the only basis for the state’s existence a biblical tale that would entail or allow a “return to the Promised Land.”

What said above is not intended as a historical summary, but the not-to-be-forgotten basis for understanding Israel’s latest violation of international law and of the rights of the Palestinian people. Namely the recent demolition of large apartment blocks in Jerusalem, as part of the continuous, illegal and brutal confiscations of Palestinian property.

The Jewish state is carrying out the project of the “greater Israel,” envisaged prior to the establishment of the state and consisting in the step-by-step annexation of all historic Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, on the ground that God had decreed and promised to Jewish men and women the right to occupy this land. [My note, as clearly stated in the 1982 Odet-Yinon Plan, Israel is supposed to extend from the Nile to the Euphrates. When, thanks to the efforts of President Jimmy Carter, Israel had to give up the illegally occupied Sinai, a day of mourning was declared in Israel. Israeli president Rabin paid with his life for that ‘mistake.’]

In Israel, religion and politics blend as required, ever since 1897, when Theodor Herzl, though an atheist, found the biblical narrative useful for the establishment of a racist state, so that the religious aura would become the trump card, having the force of all founding myths.

Of course, without the interest of the then great powers of having a ‘Western reference point’ at the gates of the Middle East, no Sykes-Picot agreement (1916), nor the Balfour declaration (1917) would have been possible. And without the Shoa of WW2 perhaps we would not witness the Shoa of the Palestinians.

We use the term shoah, meaning a “devastating storm,” leading to the elimination of a population. With Nazism, the population was defined by race and was identified with its religion. The intention was to physically remove every individual associated with the race. In Israel and with the ongoing massacres of Palestinians the intent is not based on race or religion, but rather on the goal of driving them out, and to fully occupy the ground on which they have lived for centuries, even before the emergence of Islam.

Some call it the “ethnic cleansing of Palestine,” tracing it back to the Nakba, the catastrophe of 1948. Others call it the ‘shoa,’ a Hebrew term, to make better understand the similarity between the Nazi-led and the Israeli-led ‘shoas’.

Yet all this does not disturb states that do business with Israel, even though they call themselves democratic, nor international and supranational organizations, even though their institutional representatives replenish their speeches with concepts such as ‘human rights,’ ‘justice’ and ‘peace.’

Israel benefits from a halo of false legality that, along with the tragedy of the (1972-born) Holocaust narrative, protects it as an unassailable armor. This is the will of the Israeli government, well supported by almost the entire population of approximately 9 million inhabitants. With the exception of twenty or so young activists plus a few journalists such as Gideon Levy or Amira Hass, who denounced the Israeli decision to destroy a dozen Palestinians apartment buildings, thus proceeding further on the path of destruction that has already affected tens of thousands of Palestinian buildings and homes.

It was an escalation beyond any possible justification, for the demolition affected even apartment buildings located in zone A – an area that, even according the Oslo agreements of 1993 (actually a trap to advance Jewish interests), should be under total Palestinian jurisdiction.

By so doing Israel, through Netanyahu, delivered a further kick to the law and to the already frayed Palestinian National Authority. Demonstrating once more, in the style of the “Iron Chancellor”, that agreements are but pieces of paper.

Israeli bulldozers and some 700 star-of-David-attired soldiers were ready to carry out the crime immediately after the Israeli Supreme Court, in total mockery of international legality, issued the predicted sentence of demolition. For in an act of foolish confidence the Palestinians had appealed to the (mock) Supreme Court.

In sum, like the Italian Jews, expelled from schools and jobs after November 1938, the Palestinians – in a tragic mockery that amuses the Israelis and is justified by sundry lackeys – saw their homes ‘legally’ demolished. This heinous abuse is repeated and recurrent. Between 1967 and 1973 Israel destroyed 9,000 homes, leaving thousands of Palestinian homeless, as documented by Jewish writer Felicia Langer in her book, “With My Eyes.” Then she left Israel because her action rarely had an effect on the rigged Israeli courts, though she unwillingly helped, by her legal attempts, to give a coat of legality to plain illegality, as the most recent case shows, with the Supreme Court deciding that it was legal to destroy the homes in East Jerusalem.

Did the (Italian) mass media adequately cover this umpteenth violation practiced on the Palestinians? – Did it note that by ridiculing international institutions, Israel removes from all citizens of the world the right to be protected by a Universal Law made mockery of? No the mass media was silent but for one ‘niche’ newspaper, “Il Manifesto,” that dedicated its first page to the event.

Therefore ‘mass-opinion,’ driven by the usual suspects concludes that the Palestinians built illegally, and that Israel, through its Supreme Court, has righted an illegality. We may wonder as to how many (Italians) may have thought that if we had an (Italian) Netaniahu there would not be so many building abuses (a plague in Italy).

While Israel will continue to do business with Italy and with other democratic Countries, the UN will issue a lamentation – it has already done so – and the European Union will issue their concern. In the end, the Palestinians will grow more desperate and understandably hateful of an entity that, for more than 70 years, humiliates them, stops them, injures them, kills them, expels them, and is even called democratic.

We saw the soldiers of the occupying army taking selfies and videos as they blew up the buildings, laughing and complimenting themselves. The Palestinians saw them too and we can imagine their feelings.

No one calls those soldiers terrorists, but according to Israel, terrorist is he who will rebel, perhaps with a stone or a kitchen knife, to this destruction of lives and rights.

Felicia Langer, the Israeli lawyer who left Israel shortly before she died, wrote, “The day will come when Israel will be forced to change its policy.” Perhaps it was an affirmation of faith, perhaps the desire to see justice triumph. But what we can see is only the multiplication of Israeli power and the contamination – as if it were a bacterium without an antibody– of every aspect of cultural, scientific, agricultural and industrial life everywhere in the world. With all this creating a kind of awe and discomfort that muzzles and prevents criticism. The fear refers to the anathema that condemns to isolation, anti-Semitism!

I wrote this before. Only independent newspapers can run the risk of an anathema without renouncing their function of making the truth known.

Here the truth is clear. Israel knows only abuse, and out of systematic abuse, only two results are possible, either resignation and flight, or resistance by all possible means, however right or wrong they may appear to our eyes as Western observers.

Meanwhile, while we write, the ten-story buildings with apartments adorned with velvet cushions, with curtains often bought in installments, with the tea glasses, the small cups for the ever-hot coffee, the dishes for the maqluba and the mussaqan, the rooms for the children , their games, their books, their clothes… all is now a pile of rubble. This is what the chosen people’s government wanted … except for twenty generous but impotent dissenters.

As for the rabbis of 13th century Paris, according to whom the Talmudic Jesus boiling in eternity in excrement is not the Christian Jesus, here are the thoughts of a Jewish scholar, Israel Shahak, a survivor of a WW2 concentration camp, who settled in Israel after WW2.

“Judaism is imbued with a very deep hatred towards Christianity, combined with ignorance about it. This attitude was clearly related to the Christian persecution of Jews, but is largely independent of them.

The deeply negative attitude is based on two main elements. First, on hatred and malicious slanders against Jesus. … The notion of collective and inherited guilt is both wicked and absurd. However, what is at issue here is not the actual fact about the Jesus, but the inaccurate and even slanderous reports in the Talmud and post Talmudic literature – which is what Jews believed until the 19th century and many, especially in Israel, still believe.

According to the Talmud, Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and contempt for rabbinical authority. All classical Jewish sources that mention his execution are quite happy to take responsibility for it; in the Talmudic account the Romans are not even mentioned.

… In addition to the above crimes they accuse him of witchcraft. The very name ‘Jesus’ was for Jews a symbol of all that is abominable, and this popular tradition still persists. The Gospels are equally detested, and they are not allowed to be quoted (let alone taught) even in modern Israeli Jewish schools.”

But even before Christ – we may add – some historians interpret the celebration of Hanukah, for example, as a reminder of the rejection by the Jews of any Greek influence (and therefore Greek thought and values) into their midst – that is the rejection of Reason. It is the same Greek influence that, along with Christianity, molded Western thought and civilization at large – now under attack.

Israel Shahak titled his book, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion – The Weight of Three Thousand Years.” I doubt whether any of the US politicians who voted down the non-binding BDS proposal knows that the book exists.

Though even if they did, gold trumps justice, especially among the rich. For many, a Congressional seat, with all its emoluments, benefits, guaranteed luxurious life and dream-like pension, is well worth the sale of their soul. As Romeo said to the struggling pharmacist who sold him the poison Romeo wanted,

“There is thy gold, worse poison to men’s souls,

Doing more murders in this loathsome world,

Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.”

 

Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep

Image result for Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep
Brian Cloughley
August 6, 2019
© Photo: Flickr / Official Photo by Caleb Smith

In the US House of Representatives on 23 July there was an overwhelming vote condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement which has the objective of encouraging the government of Israel to meet “its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully comply with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

There is nothing morally or legally questionable in any of these aims.  But the United States Congress does not concern itself with morality or legality if these are inconsistent with its policy concerning Israel, which, as enunciated by Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, is based on the conviction that “Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats.”  Fox News reported that the condemnatory resolution “has been pushed by AIPAC, the influential Israel lobby in Washington,” which explains a great deal, as AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a very powerful organisation, with deep pockets and wide-spreading hands.

In February 2019 The Intercept noted  that “AIPAC, on its own website, recruits members to join its ‘Congressional Club,’ and commit to give at least $5,000 per election cycle.” In a film called The Lobby “Eric Gallagher, a top official at AIPAC from 2010 to 2015, tells an Al Jazeera reporter that AIPAC gets results.”  A secret recording revealed that “Getting $38 billion in security aid to Israel matters, which is what AIPAC just did. Everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing Congress.”

And AIPAC influences Congress and other agencies extremely efficiently, even to the extent of managing to have Al Jazeera refrain from broadcasting the US-focused version of The Lobby.The Director of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, Clayton Swisher, said that pressure included “pro-Israel lobbyists in Washington threatening to convince Congress to register the network as ‘foreign agents,’ and false accusations of anti-Semitism against the producers of the documentary.”  That’s all you need:  the mere mention of anti-Semitism makes everyone suck their teeth, roll their eyes, and leap out of the way.

It so happened that the day before Congress condemned an initiative aimed at having Israel recognise the rights of Palestinians and abide by international law, the Israelis carried out an operation of destruction that was specifically aimed against the rights of Palestinians and was contrary to international law.  As the BBC reported, it involved 200 Israeli soldiers and 700 police, weapons at the ready, deploying to the Palestinian village of Wadi Hummus at 4 in the morning of July 22, along with bulldozers and excavators that proceeded to destroy Palestinian homes.

There wasn’t a word of objection from the US Administration whose Tweeter-in-Chief had made his views on Israel crystal-clear on 16 July when he announced that the four non-white female Members of Congress whom he loathes to the point of psychosis are “a bunch of Communists [who] hate Israel.”  Moreover, they “talk about Israel like they’re a bunch of   thugs, not victims of the entire region.”  On the other hand, the European Union stated that “Israel’s settlement policy, including actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, is illegal under international law. In line with the EU’s long-standing position, we expect the Israeli authorities to immediately halt the ongoing demolitions.”  Fat chance of that — just as there is no possibility that the United states or the United Kingdom will support pursuit of international law when it is violated by Israel.

Britain is on its way out of the European Union, so has no say in EU policy, but in any case it wouldn’t agree about criticism of Israel because the governing Conservative Party fosters an organisation called ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’ (CFI) whose members constitute some eighty per cent of Conservative Members of Parliament.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s Trump-loving new prime minister, is a fervid supporter of CFI which supported him in his bid to be head of the Conservative party. On 23 July, after his selection to be leader and thus prime minister, the CFI’s Chairmen, Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Pickles, and Honorary President Lord Polak declared that “From his refusal to boycott Israeli goods in his time as Mayor of London through to his instrumental role as Foreign Secretary…  Boris has a long history of standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and the Jewish community. Mr Johnson continued to display his resolute support… reiterating his deep support for Israel and pledging to be a champion for Jews in Britain and around the world.”

One of Johnson’s first ministerial appointments was of Ms Priti Patel to be Home Secretary. She had resigned from the Cabinet of PM Theresa May in November 2017 because it had been discovered that she had been telling lies, which wasn’t in itself unusual, but the circumstances were intriguing.  As the BBC headlined about the then head of International Development :  “Priti Patel quits cabinet over Israel meetings row” which involved her apologising to the prime minister “after unauthorised meetings in August with Israeli politicians — including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — came to light. But it later emerged she had two further meetings without government officials present in September.”  Not only that, but in a media interview “she gave the false impression that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the Foreign Office knew about her meetings in Israel.”

It’s one of these irregular verbs which were met with much laughter during the marvellous BBC series ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ — ‘I make a misstatement;  she gives a false impression;  he is in prison for telling lies.’

And it was decidedly strange that the egregious Lord Polak, he of the statement that Boris Johnson stands “shoulder to shoulder with Israel” accompanied Patel at 13 of her 14 meetings with Israeli officials during August and September. What on earth could have been going on?

Of course she had no reason to worry about having to resign for telling lies, because at the time of her disgrace Boris Johnson told the BBC that “Priti Patel has been a very good colleague and friend for a long time and a first class secretary of state for international development. It’s been a real pleasure working with her and I’m sure she has a great future ahead of her.”  The man has the gift of prophecy.

Then Johnson appointed Michael Gove to his Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which is a weird appointment that gives a lot of power and very little responsibility. Gove had been demonstrably disloyal to Johnson during the first leadership struggle, in what the Daily Telegraph called a “spectacular act of treachery” but all was forgiven because, as recorded approvingly by the Conservative Friends of Israel he believes that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are “two sides of the same coin”, which means that anybody who criticises Israel’s nationalistic persecution of Palestinians is an anti-Semite. He believes that “the test for any civilised society is whether it stands with the Jewish people, and whether it stands with Israel. It is a pleasure to stand with the Jewish people. It is a duty to stand with Israel.”

The Palestinians are not going to get one tiny bit of support from either the United States or Britain when their houses are bulldozed to rubble.  They can expect no criticism from Washington or London when their children are killed in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

The West Bank of the Jordan River, between Israel and Jordan, was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Then it annexed East Jerusalem. Both areas are defined in international law as occupied territory.  Although this is ignored by the US and Britain it was intriguing that in a minor but telling legal finding in Canada on 30 July, a judge ruled that wines made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank should not carry labels that say “Product of Israel” because of course the settlements are built on Palestinian land.

But there’s no point in telling that to the Israeli-supporting wine connoisseur Donald Trump or the US Congress or any member of Britain’s governing Conservative party, because international law means nothing when there are other priorities.

The creepy French “intellectual” Bernard-Henri Levy gets it wrong

The creepy French “intellectual” Bernard-Henri Levy gets it wrong

Eight days ago eleven Palestinian buildings containing seventy family apartments located in the illegally Israeli occupied East Jerusalem village of Wadi al-Hummus were demolished in a military-led operation by more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers, policemen and municipal workers using bulldozers, backhoes and explosives. Residents who resisted were beaten by the soldiers, kicked down flights of stairs and even shot at close range with rubber bullets. The soldiers were recorded laughing and celebrating as they did their dirty work. Occupants who did not resist and who held their hands up in surrender were also not spared the rod, as were also foreign observers who were present to add their voices to those who were protesting the outrage. The injuries sustained by some of the victims have been photographed and are available online.

Twelve Palestinians and four British observers were injured badly enough to be hospitalized. The British reported that they were “stamped on, dragged by the hair, strangled with a scarf and pepper sprayed by Israeli border police.” One who was hospitalized described how Israeli soldiers dragged him by his feet, lifting him up, and kicking him in the stomach, while one soldier stamped on his head four times “at full force” before standing on his head and pulling his hair. Another suffered a fractured rib after “[the policeman] then stamped on my throat and others started punching my torso. It was a sadistic display of violence…”

Yet another foreign observer was dragged out of the house, “…her hands were crushed so badly that she suffered a fractured knuckle on her left hand, and her right hand suffered severe tissue damage ‘which will be permanently misshapen unless she gets cosmetic surgery.’”

Edmond Sichrovsky, an Austrian activist of Jewish origin, who was in one of the houses, described how Israeli forces broke the door down, first dragging out the Palestinians,

“knocking the grandfather to the floor in front of his crying and screaming grandchildren.” Cell phones were forcibly removed to eliminate any picture taking or filming before soldiers began attacking him and four other activists. “I was repeatedly kicked and kneed, which left a bloody nose and multiple cuts, as well breaking my glasses from a knee in the face. Once outside, they slammed me against a car while shouting verbal insults at me and women activists, calling them whores.”

The buildings were destroyed due to claims that they were too close to Israel’s illegal separation wall, with the Benjamin Netanyahu government citing “security concerns.” The families living in the buildings that did not have either the time or ability to remove their furniture and other personal items will now have to comb through the rubble to see what they can recover, if the Israeli soldiers will even allow them that grace. They will also have to find new places to live as the Israelis have made no provision for housing them.

The homes were legally constructed on land that is nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), a fine point that the Israeli authorities chose to consider irrelevant. When the Palestinians object to such arbitrary behavior, they are sent to Israeli military courts that always endorse the government decisions. And the Netanyahu regime of kleptocrats has made clear that it does not recognize international law about treatment of people who are under occupation.

The buildings were destroyed a few days after rampaging Israeli settlers on the West Bank continued their campaign to destroy the livelihoods of their Palestinian neighbors. Hundreds of olive trees were burned on the West Bank on July 10th, a deliberate attempt to drive the Arabs from their land by making it impossible to farm, strangling the local economy. Olive trees are particularly targeted as they are a cash crop and the trees take many years to mature and produce. The Israeli settlers have also been known to kill livestock, poison water, destroy crops, burn down buildings, and beat and even kill the Palestinian farmers and their families. And in Hebron the settlers have surrounded the old town, dumping excrement and other refuse on the Palestinians shops below that are still trying to do business. It should surprise no one that the Jewish settlers who engage in the violence are rarely caught, even less often tried, and almost never punished. The ghastly Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has declared that what was once Palestine is now a country called Israel and it is only for Jews. Killing a Palestinian by a Jewish Israeli is considered de facto to be a misdemeanor.

And meanwhile the carnage continues in Gaza, with the death toll of unarmed demonstrating Palestinians now at more than 200 plus several thousand wounded, many of them children and medical workers. Recently, orders to the Israeli army snipers direct them to shoot demonstrators in the ankles so they will be crippled for life. This is what it takes to be the “most moral army” in the world as defined by French fop pseudo intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy, demonstrating only yet again that the tribe knows how to stick together. But the war crimes carried out by Israel also require unlimited support from the United States, both in money and political cover to allow it all to happen. Israel would not be killing Palestinians with such impunity if it were not for the green light from Donald Trump and his settler-loving mock Ambassador David Friedman backed up by a congress that seems to cherish Israelis more than Americans.

How is it that the horrific treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis as aided and abetted by the worldwide Jewish diaspora is not featured in headlines all over the world? Why isn’t my government with its highly suspect but nevertheless declared agenda of bringing democracy and freedom to all saying anything about the Palestinians? Or condemning Israeli behavior as it once did regarding South Africa?

Can one even imagine what The New York Times and Washington Post would be headlining if American soldiers and police were evicting and beating the residents of a housing project in a U.S. city? But somehow Israel always gets a pass, no matter what it does and politicians from both parties delight in describing how the “special relationship” with the Jewish state is cast in stone.

In the wake of the home demolitions, Washington yet again shielded Israel from a United Nations censure for its behavior by casting a Security Council veto. The Jewish state is consequently never held accountable for its bad behavior, and let us be completely honest, Israel is the ultimate rogue regime, dedicated to turning its neighbors into smoking ruins with U.S. assistance. It is evil manifest and it is not in America’s own interest to continue to be dragged down that road.

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 councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

Amnesty: «Israel’s» Mass Demolition of Palestinian Homes A «War Crime»

By Staff, Agencies

Amnesty International yesterday slammed Israeli authorities for the mass demolition of Palestinian homes in Sur Baher – occupied al-Quds [Jerusalem], and urged the international community to take action.

“Israeli” forces carried out a longstanding demolition order Monday morning, targeting a number of buildings in the community that lies in both the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds. Dozens of residential apartments were destroyed.

In its statement, the global human rights organization pulled no punches in condemning the home demolitions.

“These demolitions are a flagrant violation of international law and part of a systematic pattern by the ‘Israeli’ authorities’ to forcibly displace Palestinians in the occupied territories,” said Saleh Higazi, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Amnesty International.

“Such actions amount to war crimes,” the Amnesty official added.

According to Amnesty, while “‘Israel’ has attempted to justify these demolitions under the guise of security by claiming the homes are too close to the wall/fence,” the claim “does not stand up to scrutiny”.

“The truth is that for decades ‘Israel’s’ authorities have taken arbitrary and disproportionate measures in the name of security to expand their control over Palestinian land and push Palestinians out of areas they consider strategic, forcibly displacing entire communities and unlawfully destroying tens of thousands of homes,” the statement continued.

Amnesty International demanded that the “Israeli” entity “immediately end its cruel and discriminatory policy of home demolitions and forced displacement”, adding that “instead of destroying families’ homes” the entity should “dismantle” the parts of the wall built inside the occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law.

The human rights group affirmed that “unlawful transfer of civilians in occupied territory violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

“Other states have a responsibility to pressure the ‘Israeli’ authorities to adhere to their duties under international humanitarian law and ensure protection for the occupied Palestinian population,” Amnesty said.

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