Banning of Palestinian NGOs: How Israel Tries to Silence Human Rights Defenders

November 22, 2021

By Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo

On October 21, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the issuance of a military order designating six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as ‘terrorist organizations’. Gantz claimed that they are secretly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a socialist political group that Israel considers, along with most Palestinian political parties, ‘a terrorist organization.’

The Palestinian organizations included in the Israeli order are Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights, Al-Haq, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children Palestine, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

Considering the significance of these organizations in Palestine and their global networks among like-minded civil society organizations, the Israeli decision provoked a public outcry. One of the many statements of condemnation was a joint statement by rights groups, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), in which they called Gantz’s move an “appalling and unjust decision”, which represents “an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement.”

Strong Words, but No Actions

AI and HRW, which have documented Israeli human rights violations of Palestinians for many years, fully understand that the ‘terrorist’ designation is consistent with a long trajectory of such unlawful moves:

“For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations.”

Equally important in the world’s leading rights groups’ statement is that it did not fail to highlight that the “decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.”

True to form, the international community did react to Gantz’s decision, albeit it was the kind of ineffectual reaction, which persisted in the realm of rhetoric that is rarely followed by substantive action.

A joint statement by UN experts called the Israeli decision “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere”.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticized the “arbitrary” decision by Israel and warned of the “far-reaching consequences as a result,” in terms of work, funding and support for the targeted organizations.

Many governments around the world also condemned the Israeli move and echoed the sentiment conveyed by UN experts. Even the US expressed its ‘concern’, though, using the same typically cautious and non-committal language.

US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, told reporters on October 23, in Washington, that his country “believe(s) respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are critically important to responsible and responsive governance.” Instead of an outright condemnation, however, Price said that the US will “be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations.”

However, like other governments, and certainly unlike AI and HRW, Price made no link between the Israeli decision of October 21 and numerous other past practices targeting human rights and civil society groups in Palestine and, more recently, in Israel as well. Also worth noting is that the supposed link between such organizations and the socialist PFLP is not new.

The following are a few examples of how Israel has attempted to silence some of these organizations, which, eventually were declared to be ‘terrorist.’

Raids, Arrests and Death Threats

Addameer – In December 2012, the Israeli army raided the headquarters of Addamer in Ramallah, confiscating laptops and a video camera. The offices of the Union of Palestinian Women Committees were also raided by Israeli occupation forces on the same day. The organization is one of the six now designated by Israel as ‘terrorist.’

In September 2019, Addameer’s offices were raided, once again. The Israeli military raid at the time, however, did not generate as much attention or outrage, despite the accompanying violence, let alone the blatant violation of human rights. Then, Al-Haq – also one of the other six effectively banned Palestinian groups – issued a statement warning that “the private property of human rights organizations in occupied territory is especially protected under Article 46 of the Hague Regulations (1907).”

Expectedly, such legal constraints mattered little to Israel.

Al-Haq – Al-Haq’s staff have faced many restrictions throughout the years. Shawan Jabarin, the General Director of Al-Haq, has been banned from travel on various occasions, starting in 2006.

In March 2009, Jabarin was prevented by Israel from traveling to the Netherlands to receive an award on behalf of his organization. Again, in November 2011, this time, Jabarin was now allowed to travel to Denmark.

The Israeli obstacles began taking even more sinister turns when, in March 2016, Jabarin began receiving death threats over the phone. These anonymous calls began arriving “in the context of increasing harassment of Al-Haq and its members, amid their recent work at the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking justice for human rights violations being committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the Front Line Defenders website reported.

Defense for Children International-Palestine – In July, and again August 2021, Israeli forces raided Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) offices in Al-Bireh, in the occupied West Bank. They seized computers, hard drives and other material, alleging a link between the organization and the PFLP.

This allegation had already been advanced in 2018, when UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) persuaded Citibank and the Arab Bank PLC to stop providing banking services to DCIP, providing what they defined as “evidence of the close ties” to the PFLP.

While it is true that the recent Israeli measures against Palestinian NGOs are a continuation of an old policy, there are fundamental differences between the growing perception of Israel, now, as an apartheid state and the misconstrued perception of the past, namely Israel as an oasis of democracy.

Even international entities and groups that are yet to brand Israel an apartheid state are becoming familiar with the Israeli government’s undemocratic nature.

A ‘Tectonic Shift’

In December 2019, and after years of haggling, the ICC resolved that “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to Article 53(1) of the (Rome) Statute.” Despite intense Israeli and western pressure, the last hurdle in the way of the investigation was removed last February, as the ICC has finally approved the Prosecutor’s request to open legal proceedings regarding war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza.

This legal milestone was cemented by major declarations, one made by Israel’s own rights group, B’tselem, in January, and another by HRW in April, both slamming Israeli policies in Palestine – not just the occupied territories – as ‘apartheid’.

This critical change in the international legal position regarding Israel’s new, unflattering status, was boosted by Israel’s own violent actions in East Jerusalem, Gaza and throughout Palestine in May. Unlike previous wars, the May events have shifted sympathy mostly towards Palestinians, who are fighting for their freedom, homes and other basic human rights.

The change was also notable within the US government itself, which is unprecedented by any account. An increasing number of US lawmakers are now openly critical of the State of Israel, due to a radical change in the US public opinion and, again, unprecedently, they are not paying a heavy price for it as was often the case in the past due to the great influence of the Zionist lobby in Washington.

“The shift is dramatic; it’s tectonic,” the BBC, on May 21, quoted US pollster, John Zogby, as saying. “In particular, younger generations are considerably more sympathetic to the Palestinians – and that age gap has been on full display with the Democratic Party,” the BBC noted.

Israel’s losses are not just sentimental or political, but economic as well. Last July, the international ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s decided to stop selling its products in illegal Jewish settlements while pinpointedly condemning Israeli occupation, a move that was described by Amnesty as “legitimate and necessary”. A few months later, the sports clothing manufacturer, Nike, followed suit, announcing that it will end the sale of its products in Israeli stores starting May 2022, although it did not justify its decision based on political reasoning.

While Israel continues to lash out at its critics, it no longer seems to behave according to a centralized strategy.

Lacking a strong leadership after the dethroning of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the formation of a diverse ‘unity government’, the new Israeli government does not seem capable of holding back international criticism of its conduct in occupied Palestine. The notion that everything that Israel does is justifiable as a form of ‘self-defense’ is simply no longer a strong selling point. The May war is the perfect example of this assertion.

In the case of the banned NGOs, for example, aside from sending a representative from the Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet, and another from the Israeli Foreign Ministry to Washington on October 25 with “relevant intelligence” to justify its decision, Tel Aviv continued to carry out the same policies that further exposes its apartheid in the eyes of the international community.

Indeed, on October 27, Israel announced the construction of thousands of new housing units in illegal Jewish settlements, in its first such move during the presidency of Joe Biden.

A perfect illustration of the frantic nature of the Israeli response came on October 29, when the Israeli envoy to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, during his speech at the General Assembly, tore into pieces a report issued by the UN Human Rights Council illustrating Israeli ongoing violations of international law.

“The Human Rights Council attacked and condemned Israel in 95 resolutions compared to 142 resolutions against the rest of the world,” Erdan said. “This distorted and one-sided report’s place is in the dustbin of anti-Semitism,” he ranted.

Branding Israeli Apartheid

We may be at the cusp of a fundamental change in terms of Israel’s relationship with the international community. While Tel Aviv continues to heavily invest in its apartheid infrastructure, the international community is slowly, but clearly, becoming aware that Israel’s apartheid status is a permanent one. The successive statements by B’Tselem, HRW, the joint HRW-Amnesty statement condemning the de facto outlawing of the Palestinian NGOs and, again, the ICC investigation are all indicative of this growing awareness.

The question remains – will Israel be able to use its power, influence and leverage in Western societies to force the world to accept and co-exist with a full-fledged apartheid regime in Palestine? And if yes, then, for how long?

The South African apartheid example showed that, despite decades of apartheid and initial acceptance, if not support, by western societies of legalized racial separation in South Africa, the pendulum eventually turned. Even before the formal end of apartheid in that country in 1994, it was becoming clear that the days of the racist regime of Pretoria were numbered. That realization was possible because of the growing international awareness, especially at grassroot, civil society level, of the evil of apartheid.

A similar scenario seems to be evolving in the case of Israeli apartheid in Palestine as well. A critical mass of support for Palestinian rights is being constructed around the world, thanks to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and hundreds of pro-Palestine civil society groups all around the globe.

For years, Israel seemed keen on countering the influence of Palestine’s solidarity around the world using a centralized strategy. Large sums of money were dedicated, or pledged, towards that end, and a partly government-controlled company was even established, in 2017, to guide the Israeli global campaign. Much of this has amounted to very little, however, as BDS continues to grow, and the conversation on Palestine and Israel is gradually changing from that of a political ‘conflict’ into recognition of Israeli racism, apartheid and utter disregard of international law.

Of course, it will take more time, more decided effort and, certainly, more sacrifices on the part of Palestinians and their supporters to expose Israeli apartheid to the rest of the world. Now that Israel seems to have accepted that there is little it can do to reverse this brand, it is accelerating its colonial efforts, while hunkering down for a long fight ahead.

The onus is now on the international community to force Israel into dismantling its apartheid regime. Though it is ultimately the people who liberate themselves, international solidarity is essential to the process of national liberation. This was the case in South Africa, and will surely be the case in Palestine, as well.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

– Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

Israel’s Designation of Palestinian Human Rights Groups as Terrorist Orgs Baffles Europe

November 16th, 2021

Palestanian human rights groups Feature photo

By Miko Peled

Source

Once it became clear to the Israeli government that their European friends were not buying the claim that these human rights organizations are connected to terrorism, and would refuse to stop funding them, Israel pulled out the “big gun” and designated them as “terrorist organizations.” 

JERUSALEM — The recent designation by the Israeli government of six Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist” organizations is yet another draconian step on the path to the total elimination of Palestinian civil society. Some parallels can be drawn between the Israeli action taken against these organizations and the 2001 U.S. government designation and closure of the Holy Land Foundation, or HLF, after 9/11 — a story I wrote about in my book, “Injustice, The Story of the Holy Land Foundation.”

From the use of corrupt witnesses — who, motivated by things other than the truth, are willing to lie — to the more broad strategy of weaponizing the designation of who is a “terrorist,” Israel is using the same playbook as the United States.

The Israeli Justice and Defense ministries shocked the world and puzzled even Israel’s most staunch allies when they designated several leading Palestinian NGOs as arms of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or PFLP.

The PFLP has been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S., EU, Canada, and several other countries. The Israeli ministries issued documents classifying Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) as branches of the PFLP.

A 74-page document that the Israeli government sent to its international allies is at the heart of this case. This document supposedly demonstrates what Israel called “solid evidence,” but is based on the testimony of two bookkeepers who worked for a Palestinian organization not related to the six that were designated.

The two bookkeepers had never worked for any of the six organizations that were designated and were fired from their jobs altogether due to mismanagement of funds. According to their lawyers, their testimony — such as it was — is inadmissible because during their interrogation by the Shabak, the Israeli secret police, they were tortured.

Weaponizing the designation of “terrorism”

The government report includes a list of European countries to which Israel appealed to stop funding these organizations. The countries listed included Switzerland, Holland, Germany, the U.K., Spain, and Belgium, among others that, all told, were funding the human rights organizations to the tune of several million dollars per year. However, it seems that the attempt to prevail upon the Europeans failed, mainly because they were not convinced by the evidence Israel presented.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said during a visit to occupied Jerusalem that, “Israel hasn’t shown Ireland or the European Union credible evidence to prove that there is substance behind its decision last week to designate six Palestinian nongovernmental groups as terror entities.” He went on to say: “We have asked for, as has the EU, the evidence basis for designating those NGOs, but we have not gotten any credible evidence to link the NGOs to terrorism.”

Directors of five Palestinian human rights groups declared ‘terrorist organizations’ by Israel, October 27, 2021. Keren Manor | Active Stills

A report in the Hebrew publication MEKOMIT — which has a copy of the document Israel had sent and had been communicating with European officials — claims that the Dutch Foreign Minister and the Belgian Minister for Regional Development both said that the document did not contain a single item that proved a connection between the six organizations and the PFLP. Also according to MEKOMIT, the Swedish and Belgian governments conducted their own independent investigations into the matter and found no incriminating evidence.

Once it became clear to the Israeli government that their European friends were not buying the claim that these organizations are connected to terrorism, and would refuse to stop funding them, Israel pulled out the “big gun” and designated them as terrorist organizations.

The HLF

One of the key witnesses in the HLF trial was a man who embezzled over half a million dollars from his employer. In exchange for lying about HLF, he was never charged with embezzlement but instead admitted to one count of material support for terrorism and served a reduced sentence. When I was working on my book, I tried to reach him but was not able to find him.

Throughout the 1990s, Zionist organizations and politicians in the U.S. tried to discredit the HLF by claiming that it was funding terrorism. Because there was no proof, they didn’t succeed, although they did cause some harm: the FBI began tapping the phones of some of the people involved with HLF.

In the trial, Shukri Abu Baker, the HLF’s CEO, discovered that his phone was being tapped for almost a decade. Since many of the conversations he had were in Arabic, they needed to be translated. Those translations were done by someone more interested in pleasing the FBI than translating what was said and thus the translator gravely misrepresented the content of the conversations, incriminating Shukri and the others.

After the attacks of September 11, the U.S. government cynically took advantage of the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab propaganda used to defame the HLF and on December 4, 2001, President George Bush closed the organization down, declared the HLF a terrorist organization, and ordered the Treasury Department to freeze its assets.

Lawyers for the HLF challenged the government to provide proof but none was forthcoming and the government resorted to “national security” to excuse the blatant violation of rights it had perpetrated against the HLF as an organization and the officers who ran it. The government also produced a list of “unindicted co-conspirators,” which included thousands of people and organizations who were connected or had contributed to HLF over the years.

Designation

During the cross-examination of one of the government’s witnesses, HLF lawyers were able to reveal just how low the bar was set when the government decided to designate an organization or an individual as “terrorist.”

In one exchange that I quote in my book, “Injustice,” a U.S. Treasury official by the name of McBrien was asked by HLF lawyer Jon Cline how the designation was made. McBrien explained that either the President or the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control, known as OFAC has the authority to designate a “Specially Designated Terrorist,” based on, “a reasonable belief that the person or organization is owned, or controlled by or acting on behalf of a designated party.”

Clines pressed on, stating, “What is required for a designation under that provision is a reasonable belief. It is not proof by a preponderance of evidence, like you have in court.”

“That is correct,” McBrien replied.

In other words, the government does not have to abide by any particular rules of evidence in order to designate a person or an organization as a terrorist.

The value of Israeli intelligence

Another important connection that can be made between the HLF case and the recent case of human rights organizations being designated as terrorist organizations, is the quality and value of Israeli intelligence.

One of the key witnesses for the defense in the HLF trial was former U.S. Consul General Ed Abington. Prior to serving in this post, Abington worked as a CIA analyst. Here is one exchange that took place during his testimony:

Q: How often would you and in what form did you see information that the CIA collected from Israeli intelligence?

A: On an almost daily basis.

Q: As a United States representative, did you consider Israeli intelligence to be reliable?

A: No.

Q: Why is that?

A: I feel that the Israelis have an agenda in terms of trying to influence the thinking of U.S. policy makers and that they apply intelligence in a selective fashion to try to influence U.S. thinking.

Abington was also asked about documents that were provided by the government of Israel, and he said, “the State Department considered the documents to be essentially a propaganda exercise by the Israelis.” Abington ended by saying, “You can’t really rely on these documents as showing a true picture.”

It seems that the European governments that were shown Israeli documents regarding the six human rights organizations feel the same way.

Urgent Appeal to Protect the Lives of Palestinian Administrative Detainees on Hunger-Strike in Israeli Prisons

November 16, 2021

By KhamakarPress News –

Human rights NGOs, Qadiri attacked, Sheep farm dismantling, Settlement terror, Palestinian kidnapped, Palestinians injured, Olive trees set on fire

Israel’s Terrorism Against Human Rights NGOs

Since its founding in 1948, the “State of Israel” has promoted an intense campaign to erase Palestinian history, culture and resistance on all its fronts. Human rights organizations such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) and activists around the world are the constant targets of this attack.
Recently, “Israel” attacked the Palestinian human rights movement head-on, designating six non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as “terrorist groups” with the aim of silencing, restricting and interrupting the work they are doing. If human rights NGOs are “terrorists”, how should we identify the “State of Israel” guilty of violations of humanitarian law, war crimes, crimes against humanity and apartheid?

Watchdog: Nachshon repression unit attacked Qadiri

The Committee of Detainees’ and Former Detainees’ Affairs said members of Nachshon’s repression unit attacked Ya’qoub Qadiri, one of six Gilboa escapees, after his latest court hearing. His lawyer said more than 20 guards attacked him, threw him to the ground and stepped on his handcuffs, causing injuries to his right hand.
The commission added that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) refused to send Qadiri to the prison clinic.

It added that the IPS also continues to hold Qadiri in solitary confinement in Rimonim Prison with Israeli dangerous criminal prisoners. His cell is not fit to live and is guarded around the clock.

‘Israel’ dismantles, confiscates Palestinian barn under construction in Hebron

Israeli occupation forces dismantled and seized an under-construction sheep barn in Palestine at Masafer Yatta in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank earlier on Monday.
Local sources said earlier today that Israeli forces have escorted bulldozers into the area and have begun dismantling an under-construction barn owned by Palestinians before it is seized.

Soldiers dismantle a barn, kidnap a Palestinian, near Hebron

Israeli soldiers on Monday raided two communities near the town of Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, dismantled and confiscated a barn and kidnapped a Palestinian.
Fuad al-Amour, the coordinator of the Protection And Steadfastness Committee in Masafer Yatta and the southern hills of Hebron, said several Israeli military vehicles invaded the village of Erfa’eyya, dismantled a barn and seized it.

B’Tselem: ‘Israel’ uses settler terror as a tool to steal Palestinian land

Israeli authorities are using settler terrorist attacks as “an important informal tool” to take over Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, Israel’s B’Tselem said.
In a report released Sunday, the major Israeli human rights group said the occupying state uses two main methods to steal Palestinian land in the West Bank: official annexation through its legal system and unofficial acts of intimidation and violence by the settlers. to drive native Palestinians from their homes.
“The state fully supports and assists these acts of violence, and its agents sometimes participate directly in them,” the report said.

B’Tselem: Israel is embezzling West Bank land due to settler violence

The Israeli occupation government has used settler violence as “an important informal tool” to take over Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, B’Tselem, a leading Israeli human rights group, has found.
In a report released on Sunday, B’Tselem said Israel is using two complementary ways to confiscate Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank: official annexation through its judicial system and unofficial acts of intimidation and violence by the settler population.

Israeli settlers injure three Palestinians near Nablus

Israeli settlers on Monday attacked many Palestinian farmers near the village of Burqa, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, injuring three.
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who oversees Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in the north of the West Bank, said settlers attacked Palestinian farmers on their land near the Jenin-Nablus main road, throwing rocks at them.
Daghlas added that a Palestinian identified as Nasser Hijja suffered a facial injury after a settler threw a stone at him.

Sources: Extremist settlers attack and injure Palestinians in Nablus

Israeli settlers on Monday attacked Palestinian farmers near the village of Burqa north of Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank, injuring at least three people, according to local sources.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said in a press statement that Israeli settlers stoned Palestinian farmers while on their land in the village of Burqa, injuring at least three people.
One of the farmers was attacked in the face with a stone, another was injured after being hit on the head, while the third farmer was bruised.

At least 50 olive trees burned by Israeli settlers in Hebron

Israeli settlers on Monday set fire to more than 50 Palestinian olive trees in the town of Ash-Shuyukh northeast of Hebron, in the occupied southern West Bank, according to local sources activist Ahmad al-Halayqa.
The activist reported in a press statement that settlers set fire to at least 50 mature olive trees and set up two mobile homes on Palestinian-owned land next to the illegal Israeli settlement of Asfar, in an apparent prelude to taking the land for the benefit of settlement expansion.

(Sources: Days of Palestine, Quds News Network, IMEMC, The Gaza Post)

Henny A.J. Kreeft
Independent Citizen Journalism

© Khamakar News Agency / 15.11.2021

Bill Gates Should Know Better: How the Israeli Occupation Ravages the Environment in Palestine 

NOVEMBER 12, 2021

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Photograph Source: Billionaires Success, OnInnovation – CC BY 2.0

Those who are not familiar with how Israel, particularly the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, is actively and irreversibly damaging the environment might reach the erroneous conclusion that Tel Aviv is at the forefront of the global fight against climate change. The reality is the exact opposite.

In his speech at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Israel’s rightwing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pushed the Israeli brand of “innovation and ingenuity” to “promote clean energy and reduce greenhouse gases”.

Israel uses this particular brand to sell everything, whether to promote itself as the savior of Africa, to help governments intercept fleeing refugees, to push deadly weapons in the global market or, as Bennett has done in Scotland, supposedly save the environment.

Just before we hastily dismiss Bennett’s rhetoric as empty words, we must remember that some are actually buying into this Israeli propaganda, one of whom is the American billionaire, Bill Gates.

The day following Bennett’s speech, Gates met with the Israeli Prime Minister on the sidelines of COP26 to discuss the establishment of a “working group” to study potential cooperation “between the State of Israel and the Gates Foundation in the area of climate change innovation,” the Times of Israel newspaper reported.

According to the newspaper, Gates, who had asserted in his meeting with Bennett that only innovation can solve the problem of climate change, said, “That’s really what Israel is known for”.

Gates’ obsession with ‘innovation’, however, might have blinded him from addressing other issues that Israel is also ‘known for’ – namely, being the world’s leading human rights violator, whose horrific track record of racial apartheid and violence is known to every member of the United Nations.

However, there is something else that Gates might also not be aware of – the systematic and purposeful destruction of the Palestinian environment, resulting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Tel Aviv’s insatiable appetite for military superiority, thus constant ‘innovation’.

Every act that is carried out to entrench the military occupation consolidates Israel’s colonial control and expanding illegal Jewish settlements directly impacts the Palestinian environment.

Not a single day passes without a Palestinian tree or an orchard being set ablaze or cut down. ‘Clearing’ the Palestinian environment is, and has always been, the prerequisite of constructing or expanding Jewish settlements. For these colonies to be built, countless trees have to be ‘removed’, along with the Palestinians who have planted them.

Over the years, millions of Palestinian olive and fruit-bearing trees were uprooted in Israel’s constant hunger for more land. The soil erosion in many parts of occupied Palestine speaks volumes of this horrendous ecocide.

But it does not end here, of course. For hundreds of illegal Jewish settlements – hosting a population of more than 600,000 settlers – to survive, a heavy price is being exacted from the Palestinian environment on a daily basis. According to the thorough research of Ahmed Abofou, an independent Legal Researcher with Al-Haq rights group, illegal Israeli settlements “generate around 145,000 tons of domestic waste daily.” Abofou reported that “in 2016 alone, around 83 million cubic meters of wastewater were pumped throughout the West Bank.”

Moreover, Israel has near-total control of Palestinian water resources. It relies on the occupied West Bank’s aquifers to supplant its need for water, while denying Palestinians access to their own water.

According to Amnesty International, the average Israeli receives 300 liters of water per day, while a Palestinian receives a much smaller share of 73 liters. The problem is accentuated when the water usage of illegal Jewish settlers is taken into account. The average settler consumes as much as 800 liters per day, while entire Palestinian communities could be denied a drop of water for days and weeks, often as a form of collective punishment.

The issue with the water is not just that of outright theft, denial of access or unequal distribution of water resources. It is also that of the lack of clean and safe drinkable water, an issue that has been highlighted by international human rights groups for many years.

The result of these unfair policies has forced many Palestinians “to purchase water brought in by trucks” at prices “ranging from 4 to 10 USD per cubic meter,” Amnesty International found, highlighting that, for the poorest Palestinian communities, “water expenses can, at times, make up half of a family’s monthly income.”

As bad as the situation may sound, the plight of besieged Gaza is much worse than that of the occupied West Bank. The tiny and overcrowded Strip is the perfect example of Israeli cruelty. Two million Palestinians live there, while being denied the most basic human rights, let alone freedom of movement.

Since the Israeli military blockade on Gaza in 2007, the environment of the coastal region has been in constant deterioration. With little electricity and with bombed-out sewage plants, Palestinians have been forced to dump their unprocessed sewage into the sea. Gaza’s underground water is now polluted to the extent that 97 percent of the available water is now undrinkable, according to United Nations reports.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. From the destruction of Palestinian wells to the poisoning of trees, to the demolishing of entire ecosystems to make space for Israel’s apartheid wall, to the use of depleted uranium in its various wars against Gaza, Israel has been on an unrelenting mission to ruin Palestine’s environment in all of its manifestations.

In truth, Mr. Gates, this is what Israel is ‘known for’ to anyone who cares to pay attention. Allowing Bennett to present his country as a potential savior of humanity, while validating Israel with massive investments in ‘innovation’, mischaracterizes – in fact, invalidates – the entire global campaign to truly understand the nature of the problem at hand.

Those who are hurting the planet have no right to claim the role of being its saviors. Israel, in its current violent state, is the enemy of the environment, and this is what it truly should be ‘known for’.

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (04 – 10 November 2021)

November 11, 2021

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (04 – 10 November 2021)

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine

4 – 10 November 2021

  • Israeli occupation issues military order classifying 6 Palestinian civil society organizations as “disallowed associations”
  • Spyware Surveillance targets Palestinian Human Rights Defenders
  • IOF kill child in Nablus
  • IOF shoot and wound 5 Palestinians, including 2 children, in excessive use of force in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem
  • 4 IOF shootings reported against fishing boats in western Gaza Strip
  • In 98 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 56 civilians arrested, including 4 children
  • 7 dnumns of land razed during IOF limited incursion into southern Gaza Strip
  • 5 houses, sheep barn, and other properties demolished in the West Bank
  • IOF established 37 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 4 Palestinians on said checkpoints

Summary                                                                                        

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse, and attacks on civilians, turning the West Bank into isolated blocks of land.

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

Persecution of Palestinian civil society organizations and human rights defenders

Israeli military commander in the oPt issued a military order classifying 6 Palestinian NGOs as “disallowed associations” as per the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 that was issued under the British Mandate. The new order allows the Israeli occupation to attack the organizations, adopt punitive measures against them, including closure of offices, confiscation and hampering funding resources, and assaulting/prosecuting staff members.

It was also discovered that the Israeli occupation conducted a systemic and confidential surveillance campaign targeting the cellphones of Palestinian human rights defenders and lawyers, gravely breaching their privacy and that of the victims they work with.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

A child was killed, and 5 other Palestinians were wounded in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank. On 5 November, IOF killed Mohammed Dadas (13) after shooting him in the abdomen near Deir Hatab village, eastern Nablus. Another civilian was wounded during clashes in Sobeih Mount in Nablus; 3 others, including 2 children, were wounded in 2 separate incidents in Ramallah; a fifth was wounded in Bethlehem

In the Gaza Strip, PCHR documented 4 IOF shootings at fishing boats in the Gaza Sea.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 98 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 56 Palestinians were arrested, including 4 children.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 9 incidents:

  • Occupied East Jerusalem: 10 families received evacuation notices targeting their apartment building in al-Tur neighborhood; a Palestinian was forced to self-demolish his apartment building in Beit Hanina, and another had to do the same to his house in Jabel al-Mukaber. IOF also demolished a balcony in Beit Safafa, and internal walls inside a house in Wadi al-Joz.
  • Nablus: stone chains and country house demolished; more than 60 olive trees uprooted; water well buried, and a razing notice given against a street in Duma village.
  • Hebron: sheep barn and mobile home demolished in eastern Ethna.
  • Bethlehem: pesticides used on dozens of olive tree seedlings in Battir; 2 houses demolished in al-Walaja.

Settler-attacks: 

  • Hebron: farmers assaulted in Surif; children’s playground assaulted in Susiya; and civilians assaulted in Khrbet Sadet-a-Thala.
  • Bethlehem: farmers assaulted in eastern Tuqu.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Israeli occupation authorities continued to ban the entry of dozens of goods, including construction materials, in collective punishment measures against the Gaza Strip as the Israeli closure imposed on the territory entered its 15th year, causing an increasing humanitarian crisis implicating all aspects of life in the territory.

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

Persecution of Palestinian civil society organizations and human rights defenders

On Sunday, 7 November 2021, Israeli military commander in the oPt issued a military order classifying 6 Palestinian NGOs as “disallowed associations” as per the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 that was issued under the British Mandate. The new order, which followed the Israeli Army Minister’s decision on 19 October 2021, to classify 6 Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations as per the Israeli counter-terrorism law of 2016.

The new order allows the Israeli occupation to attack the organizations, adopt punitive measures against them, including closure of offices, confiscation and hampering funding resources, and assaulting/prosecuting staff members. The organizations include: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

On Monday, 8 November 2021, Front Line Defenders revealed a systematic and confidential campaign to hack and surveille Palestinian human rights defenders and lawyers with spyware. Al-Haq issued a press statement where it clarified that they reached out to FLD on 16 October 2021 for suspicions that one of its staff’s iPhone is hacked. FLD’s technical investigations discovered that the suspected iPhone is bugged with the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware since July 2021.

Al-Haq disclosed that both Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab each confirmed FLD’s analysis, and that out of at least 75 iPhones owned by human rights defenders and CSO staff, there are 5 other phones hacked, including those belonging to Ghassan Halaika: Field researcher and human rights defender working for Al- Haq; Ubai Al-Aboudi: Executive Director at Bisan Center for Research and Development; and Salah Hammouri: Lawyer and field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association based in Jerusalem.

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

  • At approximately 12:20 on Friday, IOF stationed in Subeih Mount in Bita, southeastern Nablus, assaulted a Palestinian protest against Israeli settlements and confiscation of Palestinian lands. IOF chased the protestors amidst clashes, where soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters. A 20-year-old Palestinian male sustained a rubber-bullet injury in the left eye; his condition was deemed critical by medical sources at al-Najah Hospital, Nablus. Dozens suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and were treated in the field. PCHR fieldworker noted that IOF acted before the protest by shutting and razing the roads, banning ambulances access to the area.
  • Also on Friday, a Palestinian child died after being shot by IOF in Deir al-Hatab village, east of Nablus, northern West Bank. According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), there was no imminent threat or danger to the soldiers’ lives at the time the child was targeted. This crime again proves IOF unjustifiable lenient shooting standards in disregard for Palestinian civilians’ lives, thus increasing the number of deaths in this year.  Since the beginning of the year, the number of deaths amounted to 32, including 8 children, in protests and clashes with IOF across the West Bank.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 16:50 on Friday, 05 November 2021, IOF fired several bullets at a group of children who tried to throw stones at the Bypass Road, where there is the entrance to “Elon Moreh” settlement and IOF’s camp at the entrance to Deir al-Hatab village, east of Nablus.  As a result, Mohammed Amjad Da’adas (13) was hit with a bullet in the abdomen and fell on the ground.  The children carried him around 400 meters away into the olive trees, and he was then taken by a civilian vehicle to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.  An ambulance met them in the way and took the wounded child to the hospital, where his death was officially declared.  The child killed was a school student at Mohammed Amin al-Sa’di High School and lives in ‘Askar al-Jadeed refugee camp, northeast of Nablus.

An eyewitness said to PCHR’s fieldworker that since the olive harvest season started weeks ago, civilians who harvest olives face daily harassment by IOF while children and youngsters gather to throw stones at the Bypass Road that is used by IOF and settlers. An IOF patrol usually comes and fires teargas canisters at the children to disperse them from a distance of tens of meters.

However, on that day, IOF fired severe bullets at 4 children, who approached the road to throw stones, killing one of them after wounding him in the abdomen.

PCHR’s investigations emphasize that the children did not pose any imminent threat or danger to the soldiers’ lives, and the latter unjustifiably opened fire at them in excessive use of force.

  • At approximately 19:00, a peaceful protest took place in Hebron in solidarity with Palestinians held under administrative detention in Israeli prisons, who have gone on hunger strike for months now. As the protestors marched, IOF were positioned on the northern entrance to Hebron; protestors thew rocks at the armored Israeli military vehicles. Israeli soldiers deployed in the area and fired tear gas and stun grenades at the protestors and stone throwers. As a result, several participants suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and were treated in the field. The clashes continued until 21:00; no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 19:20, IOF stationed on Burqa lands, eastern Nablus, arrested two children during clashes in the area that included IOF’s use of rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades. Dozens suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
  • At approximately 20:00 on Friday, IOF, backed by several military SUVs, moved into al-Bireh, northern Ramallah. They stationed in Jabel al-Tawil area and deployed between civilian houses as they patrolled the streets, enticing fear and terror among the local community. The soldiers mounted the roofs of three apartment buildings and raided several shops, confiscating their surveillance systems’ recordings as well. Meanwhile, a group pf Palestinians protested and threw rocks and empty bottles at IOF and their SUVs. IOF fired rubber coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians, wounding 1 22-year-old male in the left arm; he was taken to hospital for treatment.
  • At approximately 17:45 on Saturday, 6 November, IOF gunboats in the northern Gaza sea chased Palestinian fishing boat sailing at 2 nautical miles, pumped water at them and opened heavy fire at them, stirring fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. IOF also fired light bombs in the sky. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 21:00 on Saturday, dozens of Palestinians gathered by the entrance of al-Fawwar refugee camp, southern Hebron, where IOF maintain a military watchtower. The protestors threw rocks at the watchtower and set tires of fire by the camp’s entrance which connects to Bypass Road (60). The soldiers deployed on the bypass road and fire tear gas canisters arbitrarily, causing several stone throwers to suffocate. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:30 on Sunday, 7 November 2021, IOF, backed by several military SUVs, moved into al-Bireh, northern Ramallah. They stationed in the industrial area, central al-Bireh, and raided civilian houses, searching, and ransacking through them. During the raid, dozens of Palestinians protested and threw rocks and empty bottles at IOF and their SUVs. IOF opened fire at them, wounding two children: two 16-year-olds with rubber bullets in the head. They were taken to Palestine Medical Complex for treatment.
  • At approximately 02:00 on Monday, 8 November, IOF moved into Beit ‘Anan, occupied East Jerusalem, and raided Mohammed Hussein Rabie’s (24) house and arrested him. IOF also handed Ahmed Baker Rabie (21) a summons to its intelligence service at Ofer prison, western Ramallah. Dozens of Palestinians gathered in the area during the raid, threw rocks and empty bottles at soldiers and their military vehicles. IOF immediately fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at houses, in a residential area.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF gunboats in the northern Gaza sea chased Palestinian fishing boat sailing at 2 nautical miles, pumped water at them and opened heavy fire at them, stirring fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF gunboats in the southern Gaza sea chased Palestinian fishing boat sailing at 6 nautical miles, pumped water at them and opened heavy fire at them, stirring fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 14:00 on a group of Palestinians gathered in Bab al-Zawiya area in Hebron where IOF maintain a military checkpoint on the entrance of the closed Shuhadaa St. The protestors set tires on fire and threw stones on the military checkpoint. IOF soldiers deployed on rooftops in the area and fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protestors. Several protestors suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. The clashes continued until 20:00, and civilians were forced to close their shops.
  • At approximately 11:30 on Tuesday, 9 November,, IOF gunboats in the northern Gaza sea chased Palestinian fishing boat sailing at 3 nautical miles, pumped water at them and opened heavy fire at them, stirring fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF stationed by the eastern entrance to Husan village, western Bethlehem, shot at a group of Palestinians during clashes in the area, wounding 1 with a live bullet in the thigh, and arresting another one – he was taken to an unknown destination.

According to Mohammed Sbaitan, Chairman of Husan Village Council, the clashes erupted by the village’s eastern entrance where IOF fired live and rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at protesters. As a result, 18-year-old Moataz Mohammed Hamamra was shot with a bullet in the thigh and he was taken to hospital for treatment. Sbaitan added that IOF arrested 16-year-old Mohammed Jamal Hamamra after ambushing a group of youngsters from the village who were heading towards the clashes area. The clashes happened as IOF assaulted a protest against settlement expansion in the area. Sbaitan also said that IOF attempted to arrest Hamamra, but he was rescued by other Palestinians who pulled him from the Israeli soldiers and managed to transport him to hospital.

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 04 November 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Huthaifa Mohammed Ghuneimat (33) and Mohammed Ali Ehzayin (39), after raiding and searching their houses in Idhna village, west of Hebron.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF arrested Mohammed As’ad Obaidat (42), after raiding and searching his house in Abu Dis village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested Jawdat Mohammed al-Fakhouri (44), after raiding and searching his house in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 06:30, IOF arrested Mohammed Owda Humeid (23), after raiding and searching his house in Beit ‘Anan village, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 13:30, IOF arrested Mohammed Wajeeh Thawabtah (20), from Bayt Fajar village, south of Bethlehem, while passing through al-Container military checkpoint, northeast of the city.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF arrested Fadi Hani Abu Hammoud (34), after raiding and searching his house in al-Jib village, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF arrested Mohammed Fawwaz Mashayikh (24), after raiding and searching his house in al-Jadawil area in Bayt Jala village, west of Bethlehem governorate.
  • At approximately 22:25, IOF arrested Huthaifa Anwar Shehada (21), after raiding and searching his house in Urif village, east of Nablus.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Saffarin, southeast of Tulkarm; Sarra and Duma villages in Nablus; Kufeirat and Faqqua villages in Jenin. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 05 November 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Methlon village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched Mohammed Jamal Rabay’a’s house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services, and then they physically attacked his brother, Mahmoud Jamal Rabay’a, who sustained severe bruises all of his body. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF arrested (4) civilians from Bayt Furik village in Nablus, while present in the occupied East Jerusalem. The arrestees are: Osaid Hamouda Hanani, Mo’taz Hamouda Hanani, Najeh Rahbi Mallitat and Dawoud Zuhair Mallitat.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF arrested Khaled Ali Redwan, from al-Nabi Elias village in Qalqilya, while present in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • IOF carried out (2) incursions in Dayr al-Ghusun, north of Tulkarm; and Beita, east of Nablus. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 06 November 2021:

  • At approximately 18:50, IOF stationed at a temporary military checkpoint, northeast of Jenin, arrested three civilians from Deir Abu Da’if village, east of Jenin, and took them to unknown destinations. The arrestees are Mohammed Mo’ayad Yasin (29), Helal Haydar Yasin (23), and Salem Eyad Yasin (24).
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF arrested Yousef Mohammed Shamasnah (28), from Qatanna village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, while passing through a temporary military checkpoint established at the entrance of Bidu village.

Sunday, 07 November 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested Emad Mohammed Shahine (30), one of the members of the Palestinian Police, after raiding and searching his house in Sa’ir village, north of Hebron.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF arrested (5) civilians after raiding and searching their houses in Hable village, south of Qalqilya. The arrestees are: Ahmed Omar Owda (48), Mujahed Hamdallah Merwadi (27), Hamza Mustafa Merwadi (36), Ali Ahmed al-Jada’ (42), and Anas Hussain Suliman (30).
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF arrested Yousef Bassam Abu Nab (16), after raiding and searching his house in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF handed Ahmed Mohammed al-Joulani (17) and Mousa Mohammed Owda (58), a member of Silwan Lands Defence Committee, summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in al-Maskobiya investigation center, after raiding and searching their houses in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Naseem Mohammed Hijazi (11), while present in front of his house in Ein al-Lawza neighborhood in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • IOF carried out an incursion in Bayt Kahil village in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 08 November 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Suliman Faisal al-’Arouj (26), after raiding and searching his house in Jannata village, east of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF arrested Qassam Basem Younis al-Masalmah (27), after raiding and searching his house in Bayt Awa, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Hussain Helmi Abu Shanab (27) after raiding and searching his house in Tulkarm.
  • At approximately 03:50, IOF arrested Abdul Rahman Othman Safi (26) and Eisa Ahmed Safi (34), after raiding and searching their houses in al-Jalazone refugee camp, north of al-Bireh.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested the former prisoner, Mo’taz Sameeh Wahdan (39), after raiding and searching his house in Rantis village, west of Ramallah.
  • At approximately 04:30, IOF arrested Jebril Saher al-Atrash (24), after raiding and searching his house in Hebron.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Shamekh Mohammed Hashash (28), after raiding and searching his house in Balata refugee camp in Nablus.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF arrested Yousef Samed Hammad (25), after raiding and searching his house in Silwad, northeast of Ramallah.
  • IOF caried out (6) incursions in Ni’lin, west of Ramallah; Ein Munjid neighborhood in Ramallah; Sa’ir, al-Karmel, Halhul and al-Hadab villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 09 November 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Abed Basem Hamamera (21) and Mahmoud Tayseer Hamamera (23), after raiding and searching their houses in Husan village, west of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 08:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved 100 meters to the east of Abasan al-Jadida village, east of Khan Yunis. They leveled and combed an area that contains a sewage pond, causing the wastewater to flew to the neighbour agricultural lands. They continued levelling and combing lands adjacent to the border fence heading to the north. Furthermore, IOF levelled 7 planted dunums belonging to Mohammed Khaled al-Astal and Shehada Ahmed al-Emawi, located in the east of al-Qarara, before they deployed again at approximately 14:00.
  • At approximately 08:15, IOF arrested Hamza Mohammed Abu Bakr (20), from Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin, while passing through a temporary military checkpoint established near Izz al-Din al-Qassam School in Jenin, heading to al-Khadoorie University in Tulkarm.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021:

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Abed al-Khadour (24), after raiding and searching his house in Bidu village, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Ghassan Jehad Amro (38) and Ayoub Hussain al-’Awaweda (40), after raiding and searching their houses in Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF arrested Jamal Jaber Hamamera (55), after raiding and searching his house in Husan village, west of Bethlehem. It should be noted that on Tuesday, IOF arrested his son, Mohammed (16), along with his friends, while present at the entrance of the village.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Mahmoud Hasan Abu Warda (44), after raiding and searching his house in al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF arrested Mahdi Nabil al-’As’as (23), after raiding and searching his house in al-Fawaghera neighborhood in Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 07:10, IOF arrested (4) civilians after raiding and searching their houses in al-Bireh, north of Ramallah governorate. The arrestees are: Salama Fathi Matariya (19), Kamal Sameer Matariya (23), Ibrahim Jamil Matariya (24), and Ra’ed Mohammed Matariya (20).
  • At approximately 07:50, IOF arrested Ahmed Mohammed Khamis (23) and Mohammed Khamis Suliman (24), after raiding and searching their houses in Beit Ur al-Tahta village, west of Ramallah.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF arrested Haitham Ragheb al-Jo’ba (39), from the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, while working in the city.

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

Land razing, Demolitions, and Notices:

At approximately 03:00, IOF backed by many military vehicles moved into eastern Doma village, particularly into al-Shakarah neighborhood, and started demolishing a praying hall for the residents of the neighborhood, which is a Bedouin community of 60 persons.  IOF also moved to the southern area and demolished an agricultural house of 2 rooms built of bricks and roofed with tinplate belonging to Tariq Sedawi. IOF then moved to the western area and demolished stone chains and uprooted more than 60 olive trees as well as backfilling the water well.  Moreover, IOF notified of backfilling a street that was recently established and named al-Nahdah.  Afterwards, IOF headed to an under-construction house of 3 floors to demolish it, but the residents there made a human shield to prevent its demolition.  IOF pepper-sprayed them and later withdrew.

Soliman Dawabashah, Head of Doma village Council, said:

“At approximately 03:00, I received a call from some telling me that a large IOF force moved into the village.  I rushed to the area and found a force of 5 construction vehicles, 2 Civil Administration cars and 15 military SUVs surrounding the village from the 3 sides.  They headed to al-Shakarah neighborhood’s praying hall and demolished it.  Then, they headed to an agricultural house belonging to a Jerusalemite investor and demolished it and to a plot of land belonging to another investor from Jerusalem and completely razed it.  They also handed a notice to demolish a street that was ready to be asphalted.  Afterwards, they headed to a 3-storey house belonging to ‘Abdel Majeed ‘Abdel Hafeez Dawabsheh, so I immediately gathered a group of young men and headed to the house to make a human shield and protect it from demolition.  The soldiers did not like that and pepper-sprayed us.  I stayed there unconscious for 15 minutes due to the pepper spray and they then notified us again for more 7 days and withdrew.  Now, we prepared all the necessary schemes to take the legal proceedings to prevent further demolition of property in the village, which is 18,000 dunums; 17,500 are located in Area C.”  

On Thursday afternoon, 04 November 2021, the Israeli municipality handed 10 families living in a residential building in al-Hardoub area in al-Tour neighborhood, east of East Jerusalem’s Old City, final notices to evacuate their houses, to demolish the house within days under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Senan al-Khalafawi, one of the houses’ owners in the building under threat of confiscation, said that each floor houses 2 residential apartments; each of it is 135 sqms and includes 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom.  Al-Khalafawi said that around 70 persons live in the building from 10 families: his family of 6, including 4 children, his brother’s family, Sa’id al-Khalafawi, of 10, including 6 children, Wael Bader family of 6, including 2 children, Ibrahim Joudah family of 5, including 3 children, Mousa Abu al-Halawah family of 5, including 3 children, al-Ghoj family of 11, including 2 children, and Mustafa ‘AShour family of 7, including 5 children, as well as the families of Ziyad Abu Sbeitan, Akram ‘Ashour and Mahmoud Abu Sbeitan.  Al-Kalafawi added that the owners of the apartments have suffered for 9 years from the fines and demolition orders as the Israeli municipality imposed a fine of 75,000 shekels on each owner for unlicensed construction in addition to 83,000 shekels as a property tax, which all the apartments’ owners still pay.

Moreover, they pay tens of thousands of shekels for engineers and lawyers’ fees in their attempt to license the construction and postpone the demolition decisions at the Israeli courts.  Al-Khalafawi said that the Israeli court issued on Thursday a final decision to evacuate the residents from their houses to demolish the building, giving them the choice to self-demolish it immediately or the municipality crews will do so and fine the apartments’ owners with 2 million shekels.  Al-Khalafi added that  self-demolition of the building is very hard and expensive and requires special demolition vehicles.  If it was done with the normal tools, it would take a lot of time and cost each owner more than 50,000 shekels.  Al-Ghazawi said that the lawyer of Hussein Ghanayem’s families appealed on Monday, 08 November, before the District Court against the demolition decision.  However, the Israeli authorities issued 2 decisions: one forces the residents to pay 200,000 shekels in the court box within 2 days in order to give the apartments’ owners until the end of the month to carry out the demolition while the second says if the families did not pay the money within 2 days, the municipality’s vehicles will carry out the demolition as soon as possible, forcing the families to pay the fine, which is around 2 million shekels.

At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 08 November 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles and accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration vehicle and a bulldozer moved into Fer’ah area, east of Ethna village, west of Hebron.  The soldiers deployed in the area and the bulldozer demolished a 120-sqm sheep barn and a tinplate caravan of 20 sqms as well as a 1.5-sqm bathroom belonging to Khalil Isma’il Tneinah.  The demolition was under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 09 November 2021, Hani Soliman self-demolished his building in Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed constriction.

‘Ahed al-Nashashibi, who rents from the building owner, said that the 3-storey building was established 10 years ago on an area of 250 sqms, sheltering 10 members.  Al-Nashashibi added that he rented the second floor 4 years ago to live with his family and then rented the first floor and paid 100,000 shekels to finish its construction and preparing it from inside so that his elder brother live in it.  Al-Nashashibi said that the building’s owner, Hani Soliman, tried to license the building many times but the Israeli municipality refused under the pretext that it is adjacent to another building, which met the necessary area.  He pointed out that the court rejected all the appeals Soliman filed against the demolition decision while the municipality imposed a construction fine and threatened him if he did not self-demolish the building, he will be fined with 150,000 shekels for the municipal crews’ demolition costs.

In the same morning, ‘Ali ‘Aziz ‘Aweisat self-demolished his house in Jabal al-Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

‘Aweisat said that he built a house in the third floor of his father’s 2-storey house.  ‘Aweisat said that his father’s house is legal and licensed and he tried to get a construction license but it is almost impossible to get one and requires a lot of time and money that exceeds 1,400,000 shekels.  ‘Aweisat added that he lives in the 85-sqm house with his wife and 2 daughters.  ‘Aweisat added that the Israeli municipality has haunted him for a year and imposed on him a fine of 32,000 shekels for unlicensed construction.  He said that the court issued a decision at the time to demolish the house and on 24 October, the court ascertained the decision and gave him 21 days to self-demolish it or the municipality crews will do so and fine him with 100,000 shekels for the demolition costs, forcing him to self-demolish.

At approximately 13:00, IOF sprayed chemicals at tens of olive seedlings in agricultural lands in Battir village, west of Bethlehem, and damaged it.

Batir Mayor, Taysir Qatoush, said that IOF sprayed chemicals at the crops in lands planted with olive seedlings on an area of 3 dunums in Marah Madour in the village.  As a result, 70 olive seedlings were damaged belonging to Ghassan ‘Aweinah, under the pretext of planting them in Israeli lands.

At approximately 18:00, IOF demolished 2 houses in ‘Ein al-Jweizah in al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Mohammed Hussein Abu al-Teen said that he was surprised in the morning with more than 7 military jeeps accompanied with demolition vehicles moving into the vicinity of family houses in ‘Ein Jweizah area.  They started demolishing his house and his nephew’s, Tariq Naser Abu al-Teen in addition to a big tent belonging to his nephew, Ahmed Abu al-Teen.  Mohammed Abu al-Teen said that IOF demolished his nephew’s house 2 months ago, and he rebuilt it with the help of the villagers.  However, IOF did not allow him to stay in it for a long time.  Abu al-Teen said that each house is 70 sqms and his nephew’s house shelters 8 individuals while he lives with his wife, 2 daughters, his son and wife.  Abu al-Teen said that the demolition was carried out suddenly as he appealed before the Israeli court against the demolition decision but did not receive any decision or notice in this regard.  Abu al-Teen said that his family suffered a lot from IOF’s oppression as they demolished more than 4 houses for the family in ‘Ein al-Jweizah more than 3 times in the last years.  Abu al-Teen said that the family only owns this land in the area, where IOF ban construction in it.

At approximately 18:00 on Wednesday, 10 November 2021, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a balcony in a house belonging to Mohammed Hussein Salman in Beit Safafa village, south of occupied East Jerusalem.

Mohammed Salman said that IOF moved into al-Safeh area in Beit Safafa and closed the roads leading to his house.  They demolished the house’s 40-sqm balcony.  He said that IOF demolished on 17 August the outside part of the kindergarten that he owns and is adjacent to his house under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

At approximately 08:00, Israeli municipality’s crews destroyed the inside walls of a house belonging to Mahmoud Jaber on Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

‘Aydah Jaber said that IOF raided the house in the morning without a prior warning and expelled the house’s tenant, As’ad Dweik and his family of 8 members.  They demolished the inside walls and destroyed the contents.  Jaber said that the house belongs to his son, Mahmoud Jaber, who is a prisoner in Beersheba Prison and sentenced for 32 months.  She added that the family built the house 20 years ago on an area of 90 sqms and her son intended to live in it after being released.  Jaber added that IOF did not hand her a demolition decision or notice to evacuate the house and she asked the municipality officers to give her time to self-demolish the house instead of paying the municipal demolition costs of 100,000 shekels.

As’ad Dweik, the tenant, said that IOF raided the house while he was having breakfast.  He was surprised with them knocking on the door and telling him of th demolition decision.  The municipality officers cut off the electricity and water from the house and took out the furniture within 10 minutes.  They demolished the inside walls and destroyed the kitchen and bathrooms with hand tools as the vehicles could not reach the house.  Dweik added that he lived in the house with his family of 8 for a year, and due to the sudden demolition decision, he lost a lot of furniture.  He said that IOF gave Jaber family until 17 November to self-demolish the house completely or they would send their crews again to carry out the demolition.

Setters’ Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and their Property:

At approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 04 November 2021, a group of settlers from “Beit ‘Ein” settlement established on the Palestinian lands confiscated from northern Sorif village, west of Hebron, threw stones at farmers, who were in their lands near the settlement to harvest olives, and insulted him, forcing them to leave their lands for fear of being injured.  The lands near “Beit ‘Ein” settlement witnesses almost daily settlers’ attacks in an attempt to seize the lands in order to annex them to the settlement.

At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 06 November 2021, a group of settlers from “Susya” settlement established on the Palestinian lands confiscated from Kherbet Susya, under IOF’s intensive protection, assaulted a park for children established by the Action against Hunger organization for children’s entertainment. The settlers damaged the main door of the park and tried to break children’s games while the villagers intervened and prevented the settlers from doing so. As a result, IOF forced the villagers to leave and declared the area as a closed military zone. It is noteworthy that settlers attacked the park for the second time in two weeks.

At approximately 13:00, a group of settlers under IOF’s protection moved into agricultural lands in eastern Teqoa village, east of Bethlehem, and assaulted the Palestinians, who were harvesting olives inside it, trying to expel them from the land. 

Director of Teqoa village, Taysir Abu Mefreh, said that settlers under IOF’s protection attacked Palestinians who were harvesting olives from their lands in eastern Teqoa and tried to expel them with force.  Abu Mefreh said that the area is located within Area “A” and away from the surrounding settlements.  He said that the civilians confronted IOF and settlers and managed to expel them.  Abu Mefreh mentioned that this attack was not the first of its kind for settlers and IOF against the farmers during the olive harvest season.  Three days ago with the presence of the Ambassador of South Africa to the PA, IOF attacked tens of volunteers and farmers while harvesting olives in the village lands near Tekwa’a settlement. IOF arrested Monther ‘Amirah, Head of the Coordination Committee to Confront Settlement and Occupation in the West Bank and coordinator of Faz’ah Campaign to Support farmers in Olive Harvest.  They also detained photojournalist Akram al-‘Amour and activist Mousa Abu Mefreh for some time.

At approximately 08:30 on Sunday, 07 November 2021, a group of settlers from “Havat Man” settlement post established on the Palestinian lands of western Sada al-Tha’lab area attacked with stones and sticks the reisdents of Kherbet Sada while defending their land and confronting settlers from taking their sheep to the water well used by the residents for daily needs.  As a result, Yousif Hammad Makhamrah (40) sustained a left hand fracture while his wife Na’imah (34) sustained a hairline fracture in the nose.

Yousif Makhamrah said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“Three settlers along with their sheep and led by settler Yitzhak Sahaz Man, who owns “Havat Man” Farm near the “Havat Ma’on”  settlement outpost, stormed the area near Khirbet Sada al-Tha’lab, where 11 Palestinian families live, to go to a water well used by the residents for their daily needs. As soon as I arrived with a group of residents and activists, we were attacked by settlers with stones and sticks.  They hit me on my hand, and my wife and other activist were wounded as well.  IOF arrived at area and declared the area as a closed military zone, and allowed the settlers to water their sheep from the well. My wife and I were taken to Yatta Governmental Hospital by a Palestinian ambulance that arrived at the area

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

The Gaza Strip:

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

The West Bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of 37 temporary checkpoints that restrict the movement of goods and individuals, where IOF searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs, and arrested 4 of them. IOF reinforced its restrictions on civilians’ freedom of movement at its permanent checkpoints in the West Bank and shut some checkpoints for several hours on multiple occasions.

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

Jerusalem:

  • On Thursday, 4 November, IOF reinforced restriction on Jaba military checkpoint.
  • On Sunday, 7 November 2021, IOF established a military checkpoint near the entrance to Bidu village, northwestern East Jerusalem.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 4 November 2021, IOF established two military checkpoints near the entrance to Tuqu and Marah Rabah.
  • On Friday, 5 November, IOF established 4 military checkpoint near the entrances to Wadi Fukin, Janata, Jorat al-Sham’a and Aqbat Hassna.
  • On Saturday, 6 November, IOF established a military checkpoint at Tuqu entrance.
  • On Sunday, 7 November, IOF established 3 military checkpoints at Tuqu, Wadi Fukin, and Fureidis entrances.
  • On Monday, 8 November, IOF reinforced restrictions on al-Container military checkpoint. Two other checkpoints were established by the entrances to Aqbat Hassna and Husan.
  • On Tuesday, 9 November, IOF established 2 military checkpoints at Husan and al-Khas entrances.
  • On Wednesday, 10 November, IOF established 3 military checkpoints by the entrances of Beit Jala, Aqbat Haasna, and Al-Khader village.

Nablus:

  • On Sunday, 7 November, IOF established 2 military checkpoints near Beita and al-Badhan.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 4 November, IOF established 4 checkpoints near the entances to Beit Ummar, Saair, Bayt Awa, and al-Mwareq.
  • On Friday, 5 November 2021, IOF established 3 military checkpoints by the entrances to al-Shyoukh, Hebron’s southern entrance, and Yatta.
  • On Tuesday, 9 November, IOF established 4 military checkpoints by Hebron’s northern entrance, Dura, al-Kharsa Mothalath, and Tarrama.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 4 November, IOF established 2 military checkpoints one between Azzoun and Jayous, and another between Qalqilya and Hable.

Salfit:

  • On Saturday, 6 November, IOF established two military checkpoints near the entrances to Kafel Haris and Deir Ballout.
  • On Sunday, 7 November, IOF established 2 checkpoints by the entrances of Rafat and Deir Ballout.
PCHR fieldworker takes Mohammed al-Astal’s testimony after IOF razed his land in eastern Khan Younis

467 Palestinians Detained by Israeli Occupation in October

Nov 10, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen

Several prisoners and human rights organizations published a report detailing the Israeli occupation’s measures and actions against Palestinian prisoners throughout October 2021.

The Saudi Reality - الواقع السعودي - هل تنفجر الأوضاع في الأراضي الفلسطينية  مجدداً.. نعم وهذا التقرير يكشف التفاصيل
A Palestinian demonstrator is arrested by occupation police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on May 10, 2021, in Jerusalem

A not-so-shocking figure that reflects Israeli brutality showed that the occupation arrested nearly 470 Palestinians throughout October of 2021 across the occupied Palestinian territories. Those detained include 135 children and 10 women.

The figures came up in a monthly joint report issued by several prisoners and human rights organizations, namely the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Al-Dameer Organization, and the Wadi Hilwe Information Center-Jerusalem.

The number of Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli prisons reached 4650 by the end of October 2021, including 160 minors, 34 women, and nearly 500 administrative detainees.

The report lists all policies and measures taken by the Israeli occupation against prisoners monthly. Administrative detentions made by the IOF in October amounted to 106, and since 2015, the Israeli supreme court issued an order related to the so-called suspension of the administrative detention against prisoners who decide to start a hunger strike on an individual basis. While Palestinian organizations considered the court order at the time as an Israeli tool to solidify administrative detentions, the supreme court has not stopped implementing the decision up till today.

The daily arrest rate in occupied Palestine amounted to 15 arrests

There are six Palestinian prisoners hunger-striking in protest of their administrative detention as of the date of the report’s publication.

The Israeli occupation authorities are arbitrarily arresting Palestinians daily to oppose their struggle, suppress their rights, and hijack their freedom.

The daily arrest rate in occupied Palestine amounted to 15 arrests with the IOF arresting Palestinians over their social media posts, completely suppressing their freedom of speech.

The Israeli occupation went as far as designating several Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organizations” in a bid to undermine the Palestinian civil society.

The arbitrary Israeli measure was followed by a military order that puts said NGOs at the risk of being closed and having their employees prosecuted.

The measure shocked human rights organizations all over the world, as the blacklisted NGOs played a pivotal role in delivering aid to those violated and oppressed by the IOF, defending their human rights in the face of Israeli abuses.

The arbitrary decision received denunciations from several international bodies

To add, just yesterday, the United Nations said the Israeli measure “deepens the concerns” of its agencies.

In a statement released Tuesday, the agencies said they “regretted the decision made on 7 November by the Military Commander in the West Bank,” saying it represents “a further erosion of civic and humanitarian space.”

Additionally, the arbitrary decision received denunciations from several international bodies, such as several UN Security Council countries and several European countries.

The organizations in question are the al-Haq human rights group, the al-Dameer rights group, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

The Bell Tolls for Israel

November 8, 2021  

About me

Posted by Lawrence Davidson

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

Part I—Six Human Rights Groups Shuttered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part II—Yet the Bell Still Tolls for Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part III—Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Nov 3, 2021, RT.com

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

-by Eva K Bartlett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED LINKS:

Observations from Occupied Palestine: Gaza

The Broken Sparrows of Palestine

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

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

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

Lost in the Buffer Zone

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

dignified beyond losses:Palestinian farmers’ livelihoods destroyed by Israel

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

The Flattening of Gaza

UN predictions fall short: Gaza uninhabitable today

Israel a criminal offender at large, UN listing or not

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

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

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

Israel never stopped pirating in Palestinian waters

Israeli army kills Palestinian medic with dart bomb

Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza

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