JOE BIDEN’S HEARTFELT ILLOGIC ABOUT ISRAEL

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Stale Foreign Policy

Almost everyone in the West who is not a fan of Donald Trump—and if they are a fan, their sanity is to be doubted— assumes that U.S. President Joe Biden is now helping to save both the United States and the world. In some categories such as climate change, environmental regulation, economic reform favoring the poor and middle class, equal rights and, of course, combating the Covid-19 virus, they might have a point.

Nonetheless, it really saddens me to say that, at least in this author’s opinion, President Biden is not “the sharpest tack in the box.” That is, he is not the smartest guy in Washington, D.C. On the other hand, Joe has a strong point. He has the good fortune to have drawn together some very strong and progressive advisers on the domestic side of the political equation. It would also seem that, unlike his predecessor, Biden has the capability to actually listen to these people. He also has accommodated himself to the pressure put forth by true progressives such as Bernie Sanders.

The one exception to this wealth of good advice is on the other half of the job, in the area of foreign policy, in particular foreign policy toward the Middle East, and specifically policy toward the country of Israel. Here is where Joe has difficulty thinking straight and is out of luck with his chosen advisers.

To wit Andrew Bacevich of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft:

“Beneath a veneer of gender and racial diversity, the Biden national security team consists of seasoned operatives who earned their spurs in Washington long before Donald Trump showed up to spoil the party. So, if you’re looking for fresh faces at the departments of state or defense, the National Security Council or the various intelligence agencies, you’ll have to search pretty hard. Ditto, if you’re looking for fresh insights. In Washington, members of the foreign policy establishment recite stale bromides, even as they divert attention from a dead past to which they remain devoted.”

Part II—Analytical Shortcomings Nos. 1 and 1A: Policy Formulation toward Israel and the Palestinians

In the field of U.S.-Israeli relations, there are two areas where President Biden’s analytical shortcomings show themselves.

(1) The inability to formulate foreign policy that takes into account the behavior of the object of that policy.

President Biden says “my commitment to Israel is completely unshakable. As president, I’m going to continue our security assistance … and maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. I’m not going to place conditions for the security assistance.” Essentially, this position abdicates U.S. national interests in favor of Israeli interests.

Here is a metaphor for such blind commitment. Think of how one adjusts attitudes toward friendships held over time. If you had a friend (we will refer to this friend as male) who, for whatever reason, evolved into a robber, would you give him a gun every year on his birthday? Would you do that because you remember he was a battered child and you think the arsenal you provide will make him feel secure and, hopefully, lead him to give up his criminal behavior? Or maybe you think he needs the gun because he lives in a bad neighborhood?

Biden believes that “Israelis wake up every morning facing an existential threat. That’s why we always have to be adamant that Israel must be able to defend itself.” But this is just a long-obsolete rationalization for spoiling your friend, who turns out to be head of the strongest gang on the block.

In the meantime, Biden points fingers at his predecessor for adopting exactly the same stance toward the Saudi Kingdom. Biden complained that “Donald Trump has given the government of Saudi Arabia a blank check to pursue a disastrous set of policies.”

(1A) The reverse side of this coin entails Joe Biden’s uninformed attitude toward the Palestinians. These are people who allegedly pose an “existential” threat to Israeli lives.

“The Palestinians need to end incitement in the West Bank and rocket attacks in Gaza. … No matter what legitimate disagreement they may have with Israel, it’s never a justification for terrorism.”

The truth is that it is the Palestinians who are under the “existential threat” and it is the Israelis who exercise massive violence against them, more often than not of a terroristic nature. When Palestinians resist Israeli oppression they are labeled terrorists, they are killed and their infrastructure is destroyed. When they do not resist, more and more of their land is taken. Volunteers must come from Europe to the West Bank so that farmers can harvest their olives without getting shot by Israeli settlers.  Gaza is under blockade, not able to obtain basic supplies or vaccines. It should come as no surprise that “the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which has compiled month-to-month fatality records, looking at the figures since 2005, 23 out of every 24 conflict deaths have been Palestinian.”

Biden also insists that the Palestinian Authority should “acknowledge, flat-out, Israel’s right to exist—period–-as an independent Jewish state and guarantee the borders.” Actually, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) did so in 1993. The Palestinian Authority suspended recognition in 2018 due to incessant theft of Palestinian land by Israel.

It appears that Joe Biden takes none of these facts into consideration. Is it because he does not know them? Such ignorance is certainly possible, though for a U.S. president it would be inexcusable. More likely, he has heard the Palestinian side, but cannot interpret it objectively because he is ideologically committed to the Israeli worldview.

President Biden has declared that “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Commitment to Zionism is commitment to an ideology. Seeing the world on the basis of an ideology—any ideology—must distort your understanding. Thus, Biden’s view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict becomes as lopsided as the conflict’s death toll.

Part III—Analytical Shortcoming No. 2: The BDS Movement

President Biden’s personal refusal to adjust U.S. policy to confront even those aspects of Israeli behavior he says he opposes—settlement activity and threats of annexation—carries over into his personal opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, active both in the U.S. and Europe. Just as his reasoning is often faulty when refusing to match policy to Israeli behavior, it is also faulty as to his opposition to BDS.

On the one hand, “Joe Biden will protect the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.” On the other, the president “has been unequivocal in condemning calls in the United States to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.” In other words, Americans can say it, but in this case, Joe ain’t listening.

According to the president, “the BDS movement singles out Israel—home to millions of Jews—in a way that is inconsistent with the treatment of other nations, and it too often veers into anti-Semitism.”

It is obvious that in the case of the BDS campaign, Israel is “singled out.” However, this is not unusual or “inconsistent with the treatment of other nations.” It is quite consistent. Cuban Americans single out Cuba. Other groups single out China, or Russia, or Myanmar and the like. Does the president dismiss these defenders of human rights because of their single-country focus? Of course not. Thus, he is being a hypocrite when singling out BDS.

In the case of Israel, those involved in BDS are mostly victims of Israeli oppression (Palestinians) or Jews who are utterly disgusted with what the Zionists are doing in their name. Israeli actions, particularly in the Occupied Territories, are in clear violation of international law and human rights declarations, and this gives the BDS a solid legal grounding. So what is Biden complaining about? Nothing that he has seriously thought through. And, when pushed on this, he falls back on the charge of anti-Semitism. Yet, the suggestion that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is just a red herring.

Here is another quite legitimate justification for Americans, and others in the West, to “single out” Israel for attention by supporting BDS. Israel is indeed unique in that through its agents—Zionist lobbies—it is powerful enough to divert the debate over the aims of foreign policy in relation to much of the Middle East. That is, these agents of a foreign power divert the debate away from what is in the best interests of the U.S. or this or that Western nation, toward the question what is in the best interest of Zionist Israel. As a result, billions of dollars, pounds, euros and other resources have been diverted into making Israel a supremely powerful apartheid state.

Can President Biden understand these arguments? No more than any other self-proclaimed Zionist. As a Zionist he must, if he is to stay ideologically consistent, let Israel off the hook for its crimes. Sometimes this blinkered way of thinking creates embarrassingly contorted positions.

Consider this emotional proclamation made by then Senator Joe Biden at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference, on March 20, 2016.

“Singling out Israel, [either at the UN or by BDS] is wrong! It’s wrong! I know it’s not popular to say, but it’s wrong, because as the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all. It’s incumbent upon us, all of us, that we stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, who seek to scare and divide us for political gain, because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.”

Let’s unpack this declaration. We start with the sentence “the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all.” It is correct that, given their history, many Jews should recognize Biden’s statement as true. But all those who are Zionists will make an exception for Israel. They must do so in order to avoid outright contradiction. Why so? Because Israel has posited both its identity and its security on the “marginalization of one ethnic and religious group,” namely, Palestinians. Maybe President Biden senses that there is some inconsistency here, but being a Zionist he dismisses it as justified. Addressing an AIPAC audience, of course, meant no one challenged him.

We move on to the next sentence. “It is incumbent that all of us to stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes.” When Israeli leaders and Zionists such as Joe Biden constantly refer to Palestinians who resist Israeli oppression as “terrorists,” they too are “trafficking in pernicious stereotypes.” It is a safe guess that Biden does not realize this.

Next sentence, “It is incumbent that all of us that stand up against those who … seek to scare and divide us for political gain.” I cannot think of a more apt description of what the Zionist/Israeli aim is here in the United States and the West in general—to scare us away from the defense of Palestinian rights and divide us when it comes to legitimate criticism of Israeli behavior, all done for political gain in the form of maintaining an extraordinary level of financial and military support of an apartheid state.

Finally, the last statement, “because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.” It is amazing that, given his immediate audience, Biden made this statement with a straight face. For he was addressing those infamous for building a wall that divides and isolates.

Essentially, this entire declaration by Joe Biden attributes to BDS all the negative characteristics that Israel in fact displays. As a self-declared, true-believer Zionist, he does this without any recognition of the deep irony his declaration contains.

Part III—Conclusion

How much history does Joe Biden, or his foreign policy advisers, know? For instance, do they know the history of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency? Lyndon Johnson could have gone down in U.S. history as a remarkably successful and progressive leader. He could have done this on the basis of his championing civil rights. But he was destroyed by the Vietnam War—a war fought by the U.S. because of ideological imperatives.

President Biden may well be faced with the same choices. He probably could go down in U.S. history as the 21st century’s first truly great president for all those reasons listed at the beginning of this essay. But these achievements may be diminished by adherence to obsolete and dangerous foreign policies in the Middle East. If he follows his current trajectory he will bury the 2015 Iran agreement—one of the most promising diplomatic achievements of the 21st century. He may linger on in that “forever war” in Afghanistan. He will let both the Israelis and the Saudis off the hook for their past and future abominations. And, he will sustain Israeli dominance in the region even as that country confirms itself as a rightist, racist threat to human rights and international law. Through all of this Joe Biden may lose his moment in history.

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Israeli Army Prevents Palestinian Farmers from Planting Olive Trees

Source

December 19, 2020

The destruction of Palestinian olive trees by Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers has become routine in recent years. (Photo: File)

The Israeli army today prevented Palestinians from planting olive trees in their lands in the village of Jaloud, near the West Bank city of Nablus, under the pretext it was “state land,” according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of the settlements file in the Palestinian Authority, said the soldiers refused to allow the landowners to reach their lands located on the outskirts of the village and some 200 meters from Jaloud secondary school, claiming the land was state-owned.

However, the landowners refuted the army’s claim and said the land was privately-owned and that they have the documents to prove it.

The Israeli occupation authorities often use false pretexts to expropriate land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (01– 07 October 2020)

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Source

01– 07 October 2020

  • Civilian shot dead by IOF near ‘Annab checkpoint in Tulkarm;
  • 18 Palestinian civilians, including 2 childern, wounded in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank;
  • 15 were wounded in IOF suppression of two peaceful protests in Kafr Qaddum in Qalqilya; 2 others in Nablus and Jenin; and a child sustained critical wounds in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • 4 shootings reported at agricultural lands and 4 others at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip;
  • In 112 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 102 civilians arrested, including 15 children;
  • IOF conducts two  incursions into the border areas central and southern Gaza Strip, where they sprayed agricultural  lands with pesticides;
  • A bulldozer confiscated in Nablus; and 62 olive trees cut and burned by settlers in Salfit;
  • IOF established 68 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints.

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians. This week, IOF killed a civilian in Tulkarm, under the pretext of throwing Molotov Cocktails. Furthermore, IOF attacks rendered 18 Palestinian civilians wounded in excessive use of force, including 2 children, in the West Bank. In addition, settlers’ attacks and confiscation of Palestinians’ properties continued, under the pretext of working without permits.

This week, PCHR documented 197 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity: on 05 October 2020, IOF killed Sameer Ahmed ‘Abed al-Jaleel Hamidy (24), from Beit Lid village in eastern Tulkarm, near ‘Annab military checkpoint in Tulkarm, and kept his corpse in custody. IOF claimed that they targeted a group of civilians who threw Molotov cocktails at them. Although there were no eyewitnesses present at the time of the incident to confirm or deny the Israeli account; IOF could have used less lethal force especially that the Israeli military sites are fortified, and there was no serious threat or danger even if the sites were targeted with Molotov cocktails.

Furthermore, 18 civilians, including 2 children, wounded in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank; 15 were wounded in IOF suppression of two peaceful protests in Kafr Qaddum in Qalqilya; 2 others in Nablus and Jenin; and a child sustained serious wounds in occupied East Jerusalem.

In the Gaza Strip, 4 IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands and 4 others at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 112 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, 102 Palestinians were arrested, including 15 children.

In Gaza Strip, IOF conducted 2 incursions into eastern Bureij refugee camp and eastern Khan Yunis; during which, Israeli drone sprayed agricultural lands in border area with pesticides, east of Khan Yunis, and arrested a child who sneaked into Israel and released him later.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented one violation in Nablus, where IOF stopped working in an agricultural land and confiscated a bulldozer.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers documented 2 attacks: 12 olive trees cut and 50 others burned in Salfit.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

IOF declared closing the West Bank and Gaza Strip crossings on Friday, 02 October 2020, and Saturday, 03 October 2020, due to Jewish holiday of “Sukkot.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said that West Bank crossings will be closed during the abovementioned days, except for the following crossings: Barta’a checkpoint, Nabi Ilyas checkpoint for residents in seam points, and Ni’lin checkpoint, which will be opened and operated as usual on Fridays. The Coordinator added that only humanitarian and life-saving cases will be allowed to travel through Beit Hanou “Erez” crossing, while Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum)  will be closed.

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

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

  I. IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

  • At approximately 11:00 on Thursday, 01 October 2020, IOF moved into Qatanna village, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Saleem Mahmoud Shamasna’s (50) house, arrested him and confiscated his vehicle. Meanwhile, dozens of young men gathered near Shamasna’s house and threw stones at Israeli soldiers who responded by firing rubber bullets and teargas canisters at the stone-throwers and chased them. Resulted in a number of civilians in the area suffered teargas inhalation. It should be noted that Shamasna served almost about 7 years in the Israeli prisons in separate periods; in the last of which he spent 18 months in administrative detention.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural lands east of Khuza’a village, adjacent to the abovementioned border fence. No injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF moved into Sabastia village, northwest of Nablus, north of the West Bank, and stationed in al-Athar area, west of the city. Dozens of young men gathered and threw stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with live bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters. As a result, Adham Anwar al-Sha’er (29), from Barqa village, was shot and injured with a live bullet in his left eye while sitting with 3 of his friends in a restaurant, 30 meters away from the soldiers. Adham was taken to Rafidia Governmental Hospital for treatment and then he was transferred to al-Najah Hospital, where he underwent a surgery to remove his eye. It should be noted that Adham was shot while he was playing cards with his friends and he was not participating in the events, so there was no justification or reason to shot him.

Adham Anwar al-Sha’er said to PCHR’s fieldworker that: “At approximately 22:00 on Thursday, 01 October 2020, while I was sitting in Sebastia Caffe in al-Athar area, west of Sebastia, northwest of Nablus, and playing cards with 3 of my friends. I saw about 30 Israeli soldiers stationed 30 meters away from the caffe’s garden, but we did not care because we are accustomed to such incursions. Meanwhile, dozens of young men gathered and threw stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with rubber bullets and teargas canisters. During the clashes, my friends and I entered the caffe and continued our game. As soon as we stood up, an Israeli soldier targeted me with a live bullet in my left eye. After 2 minutes I lost my consciousness and woke up in the ambulance. I was taken to Rafidia Governmental Hospital where they told me that I lost my left eye. Lately, my family informed me that I was transferred to al-Najah Hospital in Nablus, and at approximately 10:00, on the next day I underwent a 3-hours surgery at al-Najah Hospital, and my left eye was removed. Later, I will have cosmetic operations in the removed eye”.

  • At approximately 02:30 on Friday, 02 October 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed west of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area and opened fire at them, causing fear and panic among the Palestinian fishermen forcing them to flee. No injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF stationed near the annexation wall, adjacent to Faroun village, south of Tulkarm, banned the entry of the Palestinian workers into Israel through one of the holes in the annexation wall, even if they had permits. Meanwhile, verbal altercation erupted between the workers and the Israeli soldiers; during which, the soldiers attacked the workers. As a result, Ra’fat Ghaleb Mansour (32), from Kafr Qalil, east of Nablus, sustained 2 fractures in his leg after an Israeli soldier severely pushed. Mansour was taken to Dr. Thabit Thabit Governmental Hospital in Tulkarm.
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF stationed at the northern entrance established on Kafr Qaddum village lands, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a protest where dozens of Palestinian civilians participated. IOF chased the young men who gathered in the area. Meanwhile, IOF fired live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 13 civilians, including a child, were wounded. (PCHR keeps the names of the wounded civilians).
  • At approximately 17:10, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural lands east of Khuza’a, adjacent to the border fence with Israel. No injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 16:30 on Saturday, 03 October 2020, IOF stationed at the northern entrance established on Kafr Qaddum village lands, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a protest where dozens of Palestinian civilians participated. IOF chased the young men who gathered in the area. Meanwhile, they fired live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, two civilians were shot with live bullets; one in the lower limbs and the other in the waist.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural lands east of al-Fukhari village, adjacent to the border fence with Israel. No injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They were deployed in the village neighborhoods, where they established a temporary military checkpoint at the western entrance and searched the Palestinian vehicles. Meanwhile, dozens of young men gathered and threw stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli soldiers. IOF immediately moved into ‘ Obaid neighborhood from the western entrance and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at the demonstrators. The clashes continued for 2 hours. As a result, dozens of civilians suffered teargas inhalation. Also, Ahmed Haitham Mahmoud (19) and Lo’ay Ashraf Mahmoud (23) were arrested.
  • At approximately 21:00 on Sunday, 04 October 2020, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hizma village, north of occupied East Jerusalem, stationed at the city entrance and patrolled the streets. Dozens of young men gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who responded with live bullets and teargas canisters. As a result, Ameer Ghazi Salah al-Dein (16), was shot with a live bullet in his head and was taken with the PRC’s ambulance to one of the Ramallah’s hospitals. Medical sources described his health as critical due to a skull fracture. Lately, IOF withdrew from the village and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:30 on Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF moved into Jenin, north of the West Bank, and stationed in Jabal Abu Thuhair and Khillat al-Suha, southeast of the village. Dozens of young men gathered and throw stones at the Israeli soldiers who responded with live bullets and teargas canisters. As a result, an 18-years-old civilian, from Khillat al-Suha, was shot with a live bullet in his pelvis and he was taken to Dr. Khalil Suliman Hospital. Many civilians suffered teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot. Before their withdrawal, IOF raided and searched Ahmed Khairy Khalaf’s (30) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 11:45 on Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural lands east of al-Qarara village, adjacent to the border fence with Israel. No injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 19:20, IOF stationed in a temporary military checkpoint established at the entrance of ‘Inab settlement, east of Tulkarm, fired several live bullets near the checkpoint. Later, the Israeli authorities announced in a statement that they monitored 3 Palestinian civilians throwing Molotov Cocktails at a military site in the area, and that IOF opened fire at them, targeting one of them. Israeli media stated that the wounded civilian was killed after being shot with a live bullet in his chest, and IOF kept his body in custody while and the two other civilians flee. The killed civilian was identified as Sameer Ahmed Hamidi (24), from Beit Lid, east of Tulkarm. Hamidi was a member in the Student Union Council in al-Khadouri University, and he was a former prisoner in the Israeli prisons, and was released 2 years ago. PCHR’s fieldworker said that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officially informed Hamidi’s family about the death of their son. Although there were no eyewitnesses present at the time of the incident to confirm or deny the Israeli account; IOF could have used less lethal force especially that the Israeli military sites are fortified, and there was no serious threat or danger even if the sites were targeted with Molotov cocktails.
  • At approximately 20:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya offshore, west of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within (3-5 nautical miles) and opened fire at them causing fear and panic among the Palestinian fishermen forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 06:40 on Tuesday, 06 October 2020, IOF along the border fence, east of al-Maghazi refugee camp, opened fire at agricultural lands, adjacent to the abovementioned border fence. No injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 09:20 on Tuesday, 06 October 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya offshore, west of Jabalia, and al-Waha, northwest of Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and sporadically opened fire at them, causing fear and panic among the Palestinian fishermen forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 17:00 on Wednesday, 07 October 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya offshore, west of Jabalia, and al-Waha, northwest of Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire at them and fired sound bombs, causing fear and panic among the Palestinian fishermen forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.

    II. Incursions and Arrests

Thursday, 01 October 2020

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested 4 civilians, including 2 children. The arrestees were identified as: Isma’il Sameer al-Fayoumi (17), ‘Odai Hussni al-Najjar (9), Moatasem Wael ‘Awadallah Zaydat (19), and Yazan Mahmoud al-Najjar (18).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Dhahiriya village in southern Hebron, where they raided and searched Ashraf Hussain Hasan Jabareen’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:10, IOF moved into Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested 2 civilians, including a child. The arrestees were identified as Sa’d Ahmed Salem (19) and Mansour Ahmed Mostafa ‘Ata (17).
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Al-Tur neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested Ashraf Khaled al-Hadra (22) and Baker ‘Emad al-Moghrabi (27) and withdrew later.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched 2 houses, from which they arrested Hamad Niam Ikhlayil (17) and Suliman Mohammed Abu Dayyiah (16), taking them to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 02:10, IOF moved into Al-Mazra’a al-Sharqiya village in Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested Sameh Hussain Shikha (27), Ja’far Suliman Abu ‘Aliyia (25) and Mohammed Jad Hussain Hifa (22).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Hebron and stationed in al-Dahiyia area. They raided and searched Waheeb Hamdi Abu Hadeed’s (26) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Isawiya village, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched dozens of houses, from which they arrested 16 civilians, including 5 children, and withdrew later. (PCHR keeps the names of the arrestees).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested ‘Adnan Saier Abu Howila (19).
  • At approximately 04:25, IOF moved into Azzun village, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched two houses belonging to ‘Abed al-Shaheed Na’iem Zamari (21) and Sa’ied Ayoub Zamari (20) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into Tammun village, southeast of Tubas, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Ghazi Mostafa Basharat (28).
  • At approximately 05:50, IOF moved into Sanur village, southeast of Jenin, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested 2 siblings identified as Mohammed (22) and Saif (24) Yousef Farouq al-‘Eisiyia.
  • At approximately 06:30, IOF backed by military vehicles moved 100 meters to the east of Khuzaʽa village, east of Khan Yunis. They leveled and combed lands that were previously leveled amidst Israeli sporadic shooting.  However, no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed ‘Emad Dari’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF moved into Wadi Al-Joz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to a former prisoner, Hanadi Mohammed al-Helwani (42) and arrested her, taking her to a police station in the city. Few hours later, al-Helwani was released after threatening her to re-arrest her if she would not stop inciting against Israeli authorities and police on social media.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF stationed at Mavi Dotan checkpoint, southwest of Jenin, arrested Ahmed Salah Nazzal (24), from Qabatiya village, southeast of Jenin, north of the West Bank.

IOF carried out (5) incursions in ‘Ein Yabrud village, north of Ramallah; Beit Dajan village, northeast of Nablus; Idhna village and Al-Arroub refugee camp; and Qalqilya. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 02 October 2020

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to a former prisoner, Moatasem Abu al-Hawa (27) and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Yatta village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched three houses belonging to Khaldoun ‘Ayed Shreteh, Nazieh Mahmoud Shreteh and Mohammed Mahmoud Shreteh and withdrew later. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:10, IOF moved into Beitunia village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched Hasan Yousef Dawoud Darakhil’s (65) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Al-Bireh city, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched Nour Mohammed ‘Abed al-‘Aziz al-Qadi’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 06:20, IOF backed by 8 military vehicles moved 50-100 meters to the west of the border fence, east of Bureij refugee camp in the central of Gaza Strip. They leveled and combed lands and repaired the border barbed-wire fence. At approximately 09:30, IOF redeployed along the border fence.
  • At approximately 13:30, IOF arrested Nehad Bader Zaghir (43), a former prisoner, while he was in al-Qataneen area in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and took him to a police station in the city. Few hours later, Zaghir was released.
  • At approximately 21:40, IOF arrested Saif Nader Ibrahim (15) and Wadee’ Qasem Shaheen (15) while they were near al-Anfaq military checkpoint, west of Beit Jala city, under the pretext of throwing a Molotov Cocktail at the checkpoint.
  • IOF carried out (7) incursions in Birzeit city, northwest of Ramallah; Zububa and Rummanah villages, west of Jenin; and Dur, Beit al-Rush, Tarrama and ‘Oyoun Abu Saif villages in Hebron.No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 03 October 2020

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Um al-Dalia area, south of Hebron. They raided and searched Sameeh Saleem Qafisha’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF arrested al-Aqsa Mosque’s guards Mohammed al-Shalalda and Ahmed al-Dalal while they were in their workplace in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, taking them to a police station in the city. The Islamic Endowment Department (Awqaf) stated that the Israeli police released the guards after interrogating them for several hours. The Islamic Endowment Department clarified that the police released the guards without any conditions. It added that the guards were arrested without any reasons. Al-Awqaf stated that IOF recently deported many guards and al-Awqaf employees from al-Aqsa Mosque; among them was Zeenat Abu Sobeih, Head of the Guards at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • IOF carried out (8) incursions in al-Bireh city, Al-Mazra’a al-Sharqiya and Abu_Shukheidim villages, north of Ramallah; Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus; Beit Kahil, Beit Ummar and ad-Dhahr villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 04 October 2020

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into Silwad village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested Mohanad Sameer al-Tawil (20), Jum’a Hasan Hammad (19), Handala Sameer Hammad (22), Mohammed Moneer Hammad (21), Sarhan Akram Hammad (20), ‘ADEL Maher Hammad (21), and Mo’min Haroun Hammad (20).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to ‘Ali Yousef Taqatqah (20) and ‘Adel Abu Ya’qoub Derieh (27) and arrested them. It should be noted that both of them were previously arrested by IOF.
  • At approximately 11:20, IOF who were patrolling at Yitzhar bypass road, southwest of Tell village, southwest of Nablus, arrested Kareem ‘Abed al-Men’iem Ramadan (35) while picking olive trees, under the pretext of a lack of necessary permission and coordination.
  • At approximately 14:00, Israeli drone sprayed agricultural lands with pesticides along the border fence, starting from eastern al-Qarara village towards al-Faraheen area in Abasan_al-Kabira, east of Khan Yunis. IOF claimed that they sprayed the agricultural lands to get rid of the weeds, and for security reasons. As a result, the Palestinian farmers’ crops sustained damage.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF arrested Montaser ‘Ali al-‘Ajlouni (21), from Hebron’s Old City, while passing on the closed Shuhada Street. He was taken to an investigation center in “Kiryat Arba” settlement”, east of Hebron.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF stationed at container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Tamer ‘Azi al-Shawamrah (29), from Um al-Sharayet area, south of Ramallah, while passing through the checkpoint.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Far’un village and Kafa area, south of Tulkarm; Sa’ir and as-Samu villages in Hebron; and Deir al-Ghusun village, north of Tulkarm. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 05 October 2020

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Yatta, south of Hebron. They raided and searched ‘Esam Fayiz Hoshieh’s (55) house, locked his family members in one room, and arrested him along with his son Amjad (24) before their withdrawal.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Nablus, north of the West Bank, and stationed in al-Hafiryat area, east of the city. They raided and searched ‘Izz al-Deen Jamal Dowikat’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Fawzi ‘Obaid (23) and Mohammed Marwan ‘Obaid (20) and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Hebron and stationed in Jabal Jouhar area. They raided and searched Ayman Riyad al-Ja’bari’s (40) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Ezion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Jenin, north of the West Bank, and stationed in Jabal Abu Dahir area. They raided and searched Ahmed Khairy Suliman Khalaf’s (30) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:50, IOF moved into Beitunia village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mohammed Qart’s (21) house and arrested him. IOF also confiscated his motorcycle.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Jab’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Ahmed Fayiz Hamdan Salatna (19) and ‘Eid Mohammed ‘Eid Hamamrah (20) and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed ‘Emad Thawabta (22) and ‘Abed al-Raheem Subhi al-Kar (24) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested 4 civilians, including 2 siblings and their uncle. The arrestees were identified as ‘Abdullah Bader Abu ‘Asab (19), Eyad Mostafa al-Asmar (37) and Mousa (19) and Mohammed (17) Hitham al-Asmar.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF stationed at al-Jalma military checkpoint, north of Jenin, arrested Fadi Samer Zakarna (19), from Qabatiya village, southeast of Jenin.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Ghadeb ‘Obaid (31) and Moatasem Hamza ‘Obaid (18) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF arrested Waheeb Abu al-Humus (26) while he was in front of his house in Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 22:30, IOF moved into Bab Hatta neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Hasheem’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Dura city, Fawwar refugee camp, Beit Ummar village in Hebron; and Far’un and Beit Lid villages, south of Tulkarm. No arrests were reported. Also, IOF fired flare bombs during their incursions.

Tuesday, 06 October 2020

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Hebron, where they raided and searched ‘Othman Mostafa al-Ja’bari’s (39) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Ezion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Dura City, southwest of Hebron, and stationed in Qarwash area. They raided and searched Mohammed ‘Amer Gazzaz’s (23) house and withdrew later. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested 6 civilians, including a child, and took them to a police station in the city. The arrestees were identified as Mohammed Ibrahim ‘Obaid (19), Tareq Mousa ‘Obaid (20), Reda Mohammed ‘Obaid (16), Majd Basheer Ahmed (22), Mohammed Thaier Mahmoud (20), and Mohammed Mahmoud Mahmoud (19).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Ahmed ‘Emad al-Badawi’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Hejjra village, east of Dura city, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched Ghassan Ibrahim Masharqah’s (33) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Ramallah, where they raided and searched Sufian Bassam Meqdad’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into ad-Dhahiriya village, south of Hebron, and stationed Wadi al-Ghamari neighborhood. They raided and searched ‘Ahed ‘Ali al-‘Aqabi’s (39) house and withdrew later. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF moved into occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched ‘Abed al-Rahman Ayman al-Bashiti’s (16) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 20:30, IOF arrested Deputy of Fatah Movement Secretary, Yaser Hasan Darwish (39), while he was in Beit Hanina village, north of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Aqabat Jaber refugee camp; Tulkarm City; and Ash-Shuyukh and Sa’ir villages. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 07 October 2020

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beita village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched Qassam ‘Enad al-Jaghoub’s (31) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Aida Camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched People’s Committee Office after blowing up its doors. Head of People’s Committee for Services, Sa’eed al-‘Izzah, said that IOF deliberately damaged the office in addition to nearby houses within terror campaigns. He clarified that IOF damaged and blew up the People’s Committee office doors before storming it. They also damaged a number of nearby houses. Al-‘Izzah pointed out that the the People’s Committee office belongs to the Refugee Affairs Department and works to serve the camp residents and provides humanitarian services for them.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Yatta city, south of Hebron. They raided and searched Husam Tayseer Rab’i’s (31) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Eizariya village, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched ‘Ali Baheej Bassa’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Hashimia village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched Hassan Nayif Mohammed Jarar’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:45. IOF moved into Qusra village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested Waleed Tawfiq Salama (22) and Ibrahim Yousef Darwih (24).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Qabatiya village, southeast of Jenin, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched Mo’min Ahmed Mostafa Saba’nah’s (28) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Hebron, where they raided and searched Bashar ‘Abed al-‘Aleem Da’na’s (37) house and withdrew later. No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF raided al-Jamla school for boys, which is located in Wa’ret al-Erfan area in northern Jenin. IOF detained the teachers and the school guard’s IDs. They then raided the headmaster room, opened the digital video recorder (DVR), copied all material from it.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF arrested ‘Emad Ahmed Jadallah (35), from Tarrama village, south of Dura City, southwest of Hebron, after he headed for investigation in the Israeli Intelligence Services (Shabak) in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem. The Israeli Intelligence Services summoned Jadallah via a phone call, and he was taken to a detention center in the settlement.
  • At approximately 15:15, IOF stationed adjacent to Zikim military base along the coastal border fence of the northern Gaza Strip, arrested ‘Izz al-Deen Sa’ieed Slman Abu Qeleeq (16), from the Bedouin village. Abu Qeleeq sneaked into the Israel via the border fence. Two hours later, IOF released him.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Kafr Qaddum village, east of Qalqilya; and Yatta, as-Samu and al-Sima villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

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

  • Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property
  • At approximately 12:00 on Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF moved into Furush Beit Dajan village, northeast of Nablus in Jordan’s northern valleys, north of the West Bank. They headed towards a bulldozer that was excavating a water tank for irrigating crops in a plot of land belonging to Thabet Mohammed Redwan Thabet, from Beit Dajan village. IOF ordered the bulldozer’s owner to halt working, checked the ID cards of him, the land’s owner and his friend and questioned them for 2 hours. After that, IOF confiscated the bulldozer, which is owned by Harbi Abu Dahilah, from Jiftlik village in Jordan’s northern valleys and took it to an unknown destination under the pretext of illegal construction in Area (C).

Israeli Settlers’ Attacks

  • On Sunday, 04 October 2020, Othmaniya Mohammed Othman, from Kafr ad-Dik village, west of Salfit, learnt that Israeli settlers attacked her land and cut olive trees with electric saw in Khaneq al-Kuhul area.

Her son, Mansour Nasser Mansour (39) said to PCHR’s fieldworker:

” on Sunday morning, my father went to his land like other farmers who did the same to harvest their olive trees. My mother inherited this land from my grandfather. My father noticed that the olive trees were cut recently as they went to the land on 29 September 2020, and there was no attack on the land. It should be noted that Israeli settlers attacked a land of our neighbor, Abed Suleiman Ali Ahmed.”

  • At approximately 15:00 on Wednesday, 07 October 2020, Israeli settlers from “ Leshem” settlement established on Palestinians’ lands in Deir Ballut, west of Salfit, set fir on a land called “Ereq al-Tout”, east of the village. As a result, 50 olive trees in a plot of land owned by Yusuf, Mustfa, and Eftaih Abdullah, from Deir Balمut village, were burnt.
  1. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods

IOF declared closing the West Bank and Gaza Strip crossings on Friday, 02 October 2020, and Saturday, 03 October 2020, due to Jewish holiday of “Sukkot.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said that West Bank crossings will be closed during the abovementioned days, except for the following crossings: Barta’a checkpoint, Nabi Ilyas checkpoint for residents in seam points, and Ni’lin checkpoint, which will be opened and operated as usual on Fridays.

The coordinator added that Beit Hanmoun “Erez” crossing will be partially opened for humanitarian and “lifesaving” cases during certain work hours, while the goods’ crossing “Kerem Shalom” will be closed.

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

West Bank:

In addition to permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals movement between villages and cities and deny civilians’ access to their work. IOF established 68 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 3 of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Jerusalem:

  • On Thursday, 01 October 2020, tightened the closure imposed on al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and intensified the military checkpoints at al-Aqsa Mosque gates and in its vicinity and in its alleys due to the Jewish holiday of “Sukkot”, which        starts in the evening hours of the same day and ends after a week.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 01 October 2020, IOF established5 checkpoints at the western and northern entrances to Tuqu village, the entrance to Beit Fajjar and Husan villages, Aqabet Hasnah area leading to villages west of Bethlehem.
  • On Friday, 02 October 2020, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Tuqu, Beit Fajjar, and Jannata villages, and Aqabat Hasnah area leading to villages west of Bethlehem and near al-Nashash area, south of the city.
  • On Saturday, 03 October 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Tuqu, Beit Fajjar, Marah Rabah and Husan villages.
  • On Sunday, 04 October 2020, IOF established 6 checkpoints at the western entrance to Beit Jala. Western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, the entrances to Tuqu and al-Khader villages, the entrance to Al Jab’a village, and near al-Nashash area, south of the city.
  • On Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrance to Beit Jala, Tuqu, Marah Rabah villages, Aqabat Hasnah area, leading to villages west of Bethlehem, near al-Nashash area, south of the city.

Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 01 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint between Ein Yabrud, and Dura al-Qar’ villages, north of Ramallah.
  • On Friday, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jalazone refugee camp, northwest of Ramallah.
  • On Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Abu Masha’al village, northwest of Ramallah.
  • On Tuesday, 06 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village, west of Ramallah.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 01 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to: Ash-Shuyukh, Karma, and Bani Na’im villages.
  • On Friday, 02 October 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Hebron’s western entrance, and al-Fahes Road, south of Hebron.
  • on Sunday, 04 October 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Einun, Idhna, Beit Ummar, and as-Samu.
  • On Monday 05 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Bani Na’im, and Beit Ummar villages, and Wadi Risha road, west of Idhna village.
  • On Wednesday, -7 October 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the western entrance to Hebron, Beit Awwa, Kharsa villages and al- Arroub  refugee camp.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 01 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of ” Shavei Shomron” settlement (on Nablus – Tulkarm main road), west of Nablus.
  • On Saturday, 03 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Sharaf village ( linking between Tulkarm and Nablus), west of Nablus. IOF also closed the road linking between Qusra and Jalud villages, southeast of Nablus, with sand barriers  using a bulldozer.

Jenin:

  • On Friday, 02 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin.
  • On Sunday, 04 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection to Arraba village, southwest of Jenin.
  • On Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Ti’inik village, southwest of Jenin.
  • On Tuesday, 06 October 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Ti’inik village, southwest of Jenin, and the entrance to Arraba village, northeast if Jenin.

Salfit:

  • On Friday, 02 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the western entrance to Kafr ad-Dik village, west of Salfit.
  • On Saturday, 03 October 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Istiya and Hares villages, north of Salfit.
  • On Tuesday, 06 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Salfit, the western entrance to Kafr ad-Dik village, eastern entrance to Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit.

Qalqilya:

  • On Friday, 02 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya.
  • On Saturday, 03 October 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya and the entrance to Azzun village, east of Qalqilya.
  • On Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya, Azzun, and Izbat al-Tabib villages, east of Qalqilya.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 01 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Friday, 02 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 03 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Al-Auja village, west of Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 03 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Monday, 05 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Al-Auja village, west of Jericho.

Israeli Settlers Uproot Olive Trees near Nablus

ٍSource

August 16, 2020 1:29 PM  Ali Salam

According to local sources, a group of right-wing Israeli colonial settlers, accompanied by an Israeli military escort, invaded Palestinian land in the northern West Bank and uprooted dozens of olive trees.

This attack came a day after the colonial settlers had tried to set up tents to begin establishing a new colony on the Palestinian farmland, but were driven out by local Palestinians.

The land in question belongs to Palestinian villagers in the village of Asira ash-Shamaliya, to the north of Nablus city in the occupied West Bank.

Naser Jawabreh, the head of the Palestinian Ministry of Information office in Nablus, told the Palestinian Wafa News Agency that the settlers, protected by an army escort, invaded an agricultural area in the vicinity of the village. They then embarked on uprooting the olive saplings that had been planted by Palestinian activists in the area, which is facing an Israeli threat of confiscation.

Less than a month earlier, in the same area, illegal Israeli settlers burned hundreds of Palestinian-owned olive trees, in the villages of Burin to the southwest of Nablus, and Madama to the south.

These attacks by illegal settlers, on Palestinian farmlands cause hardship for the farmers, in apparent attempts to force the existing population off their land, to allow for nearby illegal settlement expansion.

According to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Occupying Power [Israel] is forbidden from transferring parts of its own civilian population [settlers] onto the territory which it occupies [Palestine].

أيقونة فلسطين… نموذجاً!

مريانا أمين

هي ملاذ للتأمُّل في هذه المحنة الصعبة والحجر المنزلي…

هي فتاة جميلة مضيئة ومدرج الغزل وعين الأمل وحلوة الطلّة، متدلّية الظفائر، واثقة البقاء والعطاء…

هي أساس التقويم لطبيعة الخلق الأولى وحكاية النصر الطالع من ثغر حمامة السلام القدسيّة والغصن الناقل لرسائل النسيم والشوق، الشاهدة على غزل صبيّ وعشق فتاة…

هي قوت الأرض وروح الجسد ووقود للمصابيح التي أنارت طرقات المقاومين بل هي مقاومة بحدّ ذاتها والمقاومه الثابتة لأنها القوية الجبارة الصامدة التي لا تهرم أبداً فتظلّ تعطي وكأنها في أوْج شبابها؛ وكم من مرة عاندتها العواصف لكنها ما اهتزّت وكلما حاولوا اقتلاعها تكسرّت فؤوسهم…

كيف لا تكون أيقونة فلسطين وهي التي تحمّلت هجوم الصهاينة عليها لمرات ومرات وتحمّلت المجازر بحقها من أجل تقطيع شرايينها وبقيت تناضل ورفضت الموت الا واقفة!

إنها شجرة الزيتون لنهرع إليها في حقولنا وأمام منازلنا، لترفع من معنوياتنا ونلتمس منها الأمان ونقاوم مثلما قاومت…

شاهد: أكبر شجرة زيتون معمرة في العالم‎ - YouTube

 فهي التي عانت من أخطر الحروب الإبادية وما زالت تعاني الاقتلاع من قِبَل دولة احتلالية جيشاً ومستعمرين؛ لكنها! ما زالت تقاوم… وكلّ ما مرّ مناضل بجانبها يردّد المثل الشعبي «والزيت نور على نور».

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Palestinian Tree Resisting Occupation

 

A Palestinian Tree Resisting Occupation

Occupied Palestine

Its roots sink deep into the ground. It has a diameter of about 25 meters and a height of 12 meters. Its shadow covers a quarter of a dunum. This is the oldest and largest olive tree in Palestine. It clings to the mountains of the al-Walaja village located west of Bethlehem in the West Bank.

This 5500-year-old tree resists settlements and the Zionist separation wall that surrounds the entire village. The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture has appointed Salah Abu Ali to tend to the tree. He waters it, grazes the grass under it and protects it from attacks by settlers and occupation forces. The tree belongs to his cousin Dawoud (Abu Ali), who inherited it from his father Muhammad Hussein Abu Ali.

Abu Ali, 45, said that he had been guarding the tree for many years from the hands of the settlers and the occupation forces, who repeatedly tried to uproot it but to no avail. He stressed that he would not leave it despite attacks from settlers and other “Israelis”.

“The tree is located in the original village of al-Walaja whose residents were displaced by the occupation in 1948. In 1956, its buildings were destroyed and a series of settlements were built instead,” Abu Salah said.

This tree has a special place in history as stories are told about it. One of these was born when al-Quds was liberated during the days of the “Islamic Conquest”. It was said that Muslim leaders sat under the shade of this tree. The inhabitants call the tree the “Badawi [Bedouin] tree” in attribution to a Sufi sheikh who had followers in Palestine. His name was Sheikh Ahmad al-Badawi. He was born in Morocco and died in Egypt in 267 AH. They also tell tales about the gifts attribute to him.

“The olive tree, visited by thousands of Palestinian, Arab and foreign delegations over the years, represents the image of the conflict between us and the enemy because it is older than the occupation of Palestine, which is trying to kill it,” Abu Ali added.

He pointed out that “the village has historical and archaeological features. It is part of the occupation’s ambitions. Olive trees are the most important component of their key ambitions. ”

Abu Ali calls the fruits of his ancient tree the “green gold”, noting that the taste is similar to the “urban ghee”.

He adds that there are those who resort to the use of its oil and leaves as a kind of treatment for some diseases. It is rich in benefits that restore human health after the illness.

In the early days, the tree used to produce about 600 kilos of olives, but its production declined to 250 – 300 kilos of olives due to natural factors and attacks from settlers.

Approximately 2,000 Palestinians live in al-Walaja village on an area of 4500 out of 17793 dunums – the majority of which the Zionist occupation has taken over and turned into settlements and security reserves.

Al-Walaja is one of the Palestinian villages that rely heavily on olive cultivation. It produces high quality olive oil due to its high altitude and it is one of the most beautiful villages in southern Palestine overlooking the occupied city of al-Quds.

It is noteworthy that years ago, an “Israeli” group working under the guard of the occupation army took a sample of the tree to examine and compare it with another tree, located elsewhere in Palestine, which was occupied in 1948. It found out that it was older than that tree.

Source: Al-Ahed News, Occupied Palestine

Related

Greenwashing the Nakba: The Real Story Behind israel’s “Blooming Desert”

Whitney Webb | MintNews
Though the official narrative of the state of Israel claims that it has turned the land it occupies from an empty desert into a lush, agricultural wonder, the actual fate of the land following Israel’s establishment in 1948 tells a very different story.

In this Monday, Sept. 7, 2009 file photo, an Israeli flag is seen in front of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

Were it not for Israel, the desert would have remained unproductive and fallow – or so the story goes.It has often been said that Israel, since its establishment in 1948, has presided over the “miracle” of making the country’s “desert bloom.” That heavily promoted narrative — which asserts that the Palestinians have long lacked the capacity, knowledge or desire to properly develop agriculture in the region — has often been used as a legitimizing factor in Israel’s establishment. As former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres once said, “The country [Palestine] was mostly an empty desert, with only a few islands of Arab settlement; and Israel’s [cultivated] land today was indeed redeemed from swamp and wilderness.”

There is, however, another side to this story, one that shows that the “blooming desert” of Israel is a convenient disguise for the degradation and destruction of Palestine’s natural resources, a means of obfuscating the worst of occupation by wrapping it in the cloak of Zionist mythology. While a central theme of Zionist mythology has long been the need for the Jewish Diaspora community to re-establish itself by returning to agricultural labor, the truth of Israel’s agricultural “success” involves the unsustainable use of occupied resources and the deliberate destruction of the land and water still used by Palestinians today.

Erasing a rich history
Though the official narrative of the state of Israel claims that it has turned the land it occupies from an empty desert into a lush, agricultural wonder, the actual fate of the land following Israel’s establishment in 1948 tells a very different story. Indeed, prior to 1948, the historical record demonstrates that Palestinian farms were very productive and that both Palestinian Arabs and Jewish settlers were successful farmers. For example, a UN report on agriculture in Palestine between 1945 and 1946 recorded that Palestinian-grown crops accounted for nearly 80 percent of Palestine’s total agricultural yield that season, with Palestinian farms producing over 244,000 tons of vegetables, 73,000 tons of fruit, 78,000 tons of olives, and 5 million liters of wine.

“Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from communal well. (source: Palestine Remembered)

Two years later, when the majority of Palestinians were forced from their land during the “Nakba” that founded the state of Israel, the farms and orchards that had previously been tended by Palestinians were left abandoned, as their owners fled under the threat of death at the hands of Zionist militias.

As Israeli historian and journalist Meron Benvenisti detailed in his book Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948:

By April 1948 Jewish farmers had already begun harvesting the crops that had ripened in the abandoned fields and picking the citrus fruit in Arab groves. […] by mid-1949 two-thirds of all land sown with grain in Israel was abandoned Arab land.”

Thus, it was land theft that was largely responsible for Israel’s initial agricultural production, not the labor or agricultural expertise of Zionist settlers.

In addition, the claim that Israel turned an undeveloped desert into an agricultural wonder seems to be – in part – projection on the part of the Israeli state. Indeed, as Benvenisti noted, following the removal of Palestinians, the vast majority of centuries-old fruit orchards that had long been maintained by the native inhabitants of the land were untended, neglected and, in some cases, bulldozed to make room for ever-expanding settlements.

According to Benvenisti’s research, that neglect led to a situation in which “entire tracts of productive citrus trees, especially in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area, were earmarked for the construction of housing developments,” as was the case for Palestine olive groves and pomegranate orchards that the land’s new occupants considered “an annoyance.” Part of the reason for the destruction of the land was that it would weaken Palestinian claims to return to the land, as keeping agricultural infrastructure intact “might have made possible the absorption of the returning refugees.”

Current Israeli government policy, particularly its support for the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, is the continuation of this effort to erase Palestine’s history by targeting its agricultural heritage as well as its natural wonders. Indeed, Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted back in 2011 that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s steady push for Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory had been coupled with “his insistence on seeing nature and landscape as no more than an obstacle to the realization of his settlement vision.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres, right, and French President Francois Hollande, plant a Cedar tree in Jerusalem. The National Lawyers Guild called for the investigation of the Jewish National Fund, an organization famous for planting tress on land forcibly seized from Palestinians. (AP/Abir Sultan)

Covering a crime with water-sucking pines
Another project central to the “desert bloom” mythology is Israel’s “afforestation” of the desert, which has helped “turn the desert green” through the planting of non-native pine trees. These forests, largely planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), have been touted as a “miracle.” Yet, the pine stands, much like Israel’s treatment of Palestine’s agricultural legacy, have been motivated by a need to cover up the events that led to the creation of the Israeli state.

Indeed, more than two-thirds of all JNF forests and sites lie on top of the ruins of Palestinian villages demolished during and after the founding of Israel, and the group’s continuing afforestation efforts are aimed at acquiring land in the occupied West Bank to prevent “trespassing” and “conceal” Palestinian villages in order to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees.

Moreover, the effort to maintain a forest of non-native trees – regardless of whether its chief aim is to cover up the true history of Palestine or “green” a desert — has come at a great cost to the natural environment. As journalist Max Blumenthal has noted:
Most of the saplings the JNF plants at a site near Jerusalem simply do not survive, and require frequent replanting. Elsewhere, needles from the pine trees have killed native plant species and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.”
They also become fodder for forest fires that have caused major damage and mass evacuations throughout Israel over the years.

Another ecological consequence of JNF forests is their likely effect on Israel’s horrendous drought, considered to be the worst the region has faced in over 900 years. As studies have shown in other countries where non-native pine plantations have been introduced in vast numbers, pines consume a significant amount of water – leading to droughts and even the disappearance of entire rivers – as well as fundamentally alter and degrade the soil. While these forests have been presented as an ecological miracle, they are instead destroying the environment and degrading the land’s resources, suggesting that the main driver behind the long-standing project is aimed at covering up the ruins of Palestine.

Continuing the attack on Palestinian agriculture
Today, the stark difference in agricultural development in the land tended by Israelis and Palestinians derives from policies that often receive little coverage in the media and are largely absent from the “desert bloom” narrative. Indeed, much of the coverage the issue has received paints Palestinian agricultural successes as either the work of foreigners offering aid or resulting from the “theft” of Israeli-settlement agricultural infrastructure.

Such reports fail to acknowledge the realities of the issue, such as the illegal blockade of Gaza that has crippled its economy and agricultural sector, as well as Israel’s destruction of agricultural infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank. Gazan agricultural infrastructure was ravaged by Israel in times of war and, in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers regularly demolish rain cisterns, pipelines and irrigation systems installed by Palestinians, citing as a reason that such structures lacked the “proper authorization” from Israel. Farmers themselves, mainly in Gaza, are often targeted directly by Israeli soldiers if they come too close to the border fence.

A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

The Israeli government has also targeted Palestinian agriculture through chemical warfare. The use of white phosphorus as a weapon against Gaza, for example, has had major consequences for the area’s farmers. In addition to the chemical weapon’s often deadly effects on the human body, it has destructive effects on the environment and plants, as its incendiary nature often leads to the spontaneous ignition and burning of trees, forests and farmland. It also lingers in the environment for several years.

Beyond the use of chemical weapons, Israel has also directly targeted Gazan farmland with herbicide. In 2015, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) admitted to using herbicides and germination inhibitors to kill off vegetation along the Palestinian side of the border, damaging over 420 acres of land. A year later, tactic was repeated, this time destroying around 400 acres of farmland. The IDF has stated that it sprays the chemicals over the vaguely defined “no-go zone” it has established along the border “in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations.” However, the area accounts for a third of Gaza’s arable land and 17 percent of the entire territory.

Furthermore, the herbicides, like white phosphorus, have consequences for the environment long after they are sprayed. As Anwar Abu Assi, manager of the chemical laboratory at Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture, told Al Jazeera in 2016:
Herbicides are sprayed in high concentrations. Thus, they remain embedded in the soil, and then find their way to the water basin. This constitutes a real hazard for the population.”
The targeting of Palestinian agriculture in the present and its treatment by the Israeli and American press suggest another and nefarious way in which Israel’s “desert bloom” mythology has manifested. In order for Israel’s agricultural “superiority” to remain unchallenged, Palestinian agriculture must also be suppressed. Were Palestinian agriculture able to develop unimpeded and flourish, it would call into question the idea that the land was barren before the Zionists, threatening the latter’s legitimacy.

The cover-story for all conquerors and colonizers 
The myth of Israel “making the desert bloom” has its basis in neo-colonial narratives that have long been used in other settler states such as Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Australia. In the cases of the latter countries, the native inhabitants and their culture have also inaccurately been depicted as “primitive” and incompetent, a narrative that suggests that the land would have remained “wild” and undeveloped were it not for the “fortunate” appearance of European settlers. Such narratives cast the settlers as both superior and normal while the natives become inferior and abnormal, thus obfuscating the settler’s status as foreigner and conqueror.

Zionist mythology reinforces similar themes. For example, as in the United States Native Americans were considered as uncivilized and wild as the natural environment, Zionist mythology reinforces the idea that all Arabs are “sons of the desert” while the desert similarly represents a barbaric obstacle to “progress” and development.

Another historical analogue is the 19th century concept of “manifest destiny” — the idea that the expansion of the United States had been preordained by God himself, which led the U.S. to break many of its numerous treaties with indigenous tribes and even go to war with Mexico in order to acquire the land it coveted. The Israeli government similarly sees its expansion and control of all of Palestine as a matter of fulfilling prophecy and “redeeming” the Holy Land. This effort of redemption continues to feed Israel’s expansion. As Netanyahu has said, Israel is “obligated to develop all parts of the country – the Galilee and the Negev [the West Bank].”

Living the myth and the lie
Yet, no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary, Israel will never tell the real story behind the “miracle” of making “the desert bloom.” It will never tell the real story precisely because it can’t – to do so would mean demolishing the neo-colonial narrative at the center of the settler state, a narrative that is the pillar of its legitimacy.

Indeed, if Israel has not actually improved the land by making “the desert bloom” but instead degraded the land, the legitimacy of the state of Israel itself becomes questionable, as it suggests that its native inhabitants – the Palestinians – were better caretakers of the land than the current occupiers. For this reason, Israel must continue to propagate the myth regardless of the facts, and continue to deny Palestine’s rich cultural history and agricultural legacy.

With Israel now facing the consequences of its mistreatment of the land and its resources, the historical revisionism once used to sell the disparity between Israeli and Palestinian agricultural prowess has become ineffective. For that reason, Israel must now use other tactics — chemical warfare through toxic agrochemicals, the physical destruction of Palestinian agricultural infrastructure, and illegal blockades – in order to keep the artificial narrative alive, creating the illusion of primitivism and scarcity where none exists.


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Israelis Stop Planting, Destroy Olive Tree Seedlings

Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

By Joyce Kilmer

When Olives Need Harvesting

The challenges faced by Palestinian olive farmers during harvest season each year are considerable. This year has been no different.

Report: Israeli Settlers Steal Harvest of 400 Olive Trees

5 Pillars

Occupying Israeli settlers have stolen the harvest of 400 olive trees planted on private Palestinian land, farmers in Nablus told Ma’an News earlier this week.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that more than 30 Palestinian families from the Nablus district village of Deir Sharaf entered their agricultural lands yesterday after being banned since Friday by Israeli authorities.

According to Daghlas, the families “were shocked to find out that Israeli settlers had picked the olives of 400 olive trees planted in their lands,” near the illegal Israeli settlement of Shavi Shamron.

“Israeli settlers stealing olive harvests is a crime against Palestinian farmers and their properties,” Daghlas said, denouncing “the Israeli government’s knowledge [of settlers’ actions] and the complete silence of international society and human rights organisations.”

Daghlas also demanded compensation for the Palestinian families who lost their olive harvest.

The olive harvest is an important economic and cultural event for Palestinians, with nearly half of all cultivated land in the occupied Palestinian territory planted with olive trees, according to the United Nations.

However, due to illegal settlement expansion, land confiscation, mobility restrictions due to Israel’s Separation Wall, and various permit laws, Palestinian farmers are often unable to access their land and the number of olive trees is dwindling.

This year’s olive harvest season, which began in October, has already witnessed attacks by illegal Israeli settlers and Israeli regime’s restrictions on Palestinian farmers and their lands.

The Palestinian government has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and violent acts carried out by illegal occupying Israeli settlers go unpunished.

Israeli human rights groups Yesh Din and B’Tselem have previously condemned the Israeli regime for failing to protect Palestinians from settler violence or to investigate attacks, particularly during olive harvest season when incidents of attacks occur on an almost daily basis.

***

Gaza Farmers Succeed in Tending to Olive Harvest–With International Support

By Joe Catron

During the recent olive harvest, which lasted from the end of September through October, dozens of Palestinian volunteers joined farmers in their groves near the tense barriers of the Gaza Strip.

The volunteers worked during a week at the height of the harvest season, from 20 to 27 October, in two of the farming districts most often targeted by Israeli forces: Beit Hanoun, around the Erez checkpoint in northern Gaza, and al-Qarara, a town in the Khan Younis area of the southern Gaza Strip.

Along with others near the “buffer zone” separating Gaza from present-day Israel, these areas face regular incursions by Israeli forces, which often send tanks and bulldozers to level farmland. Even more frequent are the bursts of gunfire aimed at farmers or others near the barrier erected by Israel.

These attacks have claimed vast tracts of productive farmland stretching hundreds of meters into the Gaza Strip, converting them to wasteland or fields of low-maintenance crops, most of which are wheat.

Abeer Abu Shawish, project coordinator for the Protection for Better Production campaign — a project of the Arab Center for Agricultural Development — said that more than fifty volunteers joined the effort.

The mobilization involved farmers’ organizations, like the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and other groups across Gaza.

“Our partner organizations mobilized volunteers to help farmers in the restricted area harvest their olives,” Abu Shawish said. “They’re other farmers, civil society activists, women: all these people joined us this year.”

Destruction

“We can just plant wheat and wait,” said Abu Jamal Abu Taima, a farmer in the village of Khuzaa outside Khan Younis. “Other crops need to be tended every day.”

Abu Jamal’s 50 dunams (a dunam is equivalent to 1,000 square meters), which he plans to sow with wheat after the November rains begin, once contained olive groves as well as greenhouses for an array of vegetables.

“We used to grow enough olives for seventy large bottles of olive oil,” he said. “Now? Six.”

In 2002, Israeli forces began razing Palestinian agricultural areas near the barrier, as well as along the Philadelphi Route by the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.

This included the demolition of Abu Jamal’s olive groves and greenhouses, as well as his home. “The Israelis destroyed them with four bulldozers, five huge tanks and three Hummers,” he said.

Since its occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 1967, Israel has uprooted 800,000 olive trees in those territories, Oxfam reported in 2011. As the graphic design activism initiative Visualizing Palestine recently illustrated, those trees would cover an area 33 times the size of New York City’s Central Park.

By 2013, according to the Palestinian ministry of agriculture in Gaza, Israeli forces had leveled “some 20,000 dunams of land areas planted with half a million trees” in the Gaza Strip, contributing to a local deficit in olive oil production of 60 percent (“Israeli crimes against farmers cause 60 percent deficit in olive production,” Palestine News Network, 24 September 2013).

In the West Bank, the destruction of olive trees by both Israeli settlers and occupation forces continues. Stop the Wall and the Palestinian Farmers’ Union have organized an accompaniment project there, the You Are Not Alone campaign. By 8 November, its volunteers had documented the burning and uprooting of 1,905 olive trees by settlers during this harvest season alone.

Toxic sewage

A report by Stop the Wall states that its list of attacks does not “pretend to be complete.” Among the problems encountered by farmers trying to reach their olive trees are “settlers pump[ing] toxic sewage water on agricultural land” (“Settlers burn and uproot 1,905 olive trees during the harvest season,” 8 November 2013).

On 28 October, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published excerpts of a list of settler attacks on Palestinian olive groves and farmers maintained by the Israeli army (“Israeli attacks on Palestinian olive groves kept secret by state.”

The Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din has reported that Israeli occupation police “overwhelmingly failed to investigate the incidents and prosecute offenders,” noting that of 211 investigations actually opened between 2005 and June 2013, only four produced indictments (“97.4 percent of investigative files relating to damage of Palestinian olive trees are closed due to police failings,” 21 October 2013).

On 11 September, the Israeli army’s West Bank commander said his troops would destroy olive groves in the town of Yabad for unspecified “security purposes” (“Israeli authorities to destroy olive groves for ‘security purposes,” Ma’an News Agency, 9 November 2013).

“We are still here”

But the destruction of olive trees in the Gaza Strip is largely complete. For years Israel has used armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozers, accompanied by tanks, to clear away olive trees in the “buffer zone.” Farmers in the area, who face the constant threats of both gunfire and leveling of land, have little reason to plant any crop needing regular attention or significant resources, much less crops that require years of careful cultivation and maintenance.

“I want to plant more olive trees, and other things, but cannot,” Abu Taima said. “For now, I plant wheat.”

With exceptions — most notably a 28 October airstrike on an olive grove near Soudanya in the north of Gaza — the Strip’s olive harvest passed more quietly than most agricultural activities in the territory.

“We try to bring international attention to the farmers and discourage Israeli attacks on them,” the Protection for Better Production campaign’s Abu Shawish said. “By supporting them, we encourage them to access their lands and keep using them. It shows the Israelis we are still here, and we can access our lands without any fears. Farmers in the restricted area can resist the occupation by existing on their own lands.”

The Arab Center for Agricultural Development’s programs for farmers do not end with accompaniment, Abu Shawish explained. The organization has conducted intensive leadership training for 100 farmers from the Gaza Strip’s five governorates, in farmers’ rights as well as skills like public advocacy. It has also held awareness-raising workshops for 500 more farmers.

“We are interested in building a social movement for farmers in Gaza,” she said.

The workshops also aim to build popular support for boycotts of Israeli products and the purchase of Palestinian goods among farmers.

“These workshops are about how to encourage farmers themselves to be involved in the boycott campaign, and how they can help the national economy by boycotting Israeli agriculture,” Abu Shawish said.

“We try to encourage farmers to boycott Israeli agricultural goods and buy Palestinian products to support the local economy. It’s raising awareness. At the same time, it’s about getting farmers involved in the campaign itself.”

Abu Taima, too, has a path of resistance.

“For us, the land is something very important,” he said. “We cannot just leave it. We will not have another 1948. We will not leave our lands again.”

Joe Catron is a US activist in Gaza, Palestine. He co-edited The Prisoners’ Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag, an anthology of accounts by detainees freed in the 2011 prisoner exchange. He blogs at joecatron.wordpress.com and tweets @jncatron.

***

Poverty-Stricken Gaza Farmers Cheerful with Good Olive Harvest

Xinhuanet.com

GAZA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — For thousands of farmers in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, olive harvest season is a chance to gain some money amid the dire economic and living conditions caused by Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods.

The family of Kamal Obaid, from Gaza City, work shoulder to shoulder in harvesting their eight donum (1 donum is about 1 acre or a little more than 900 square meters) olive garden with much joy amid a cheerful atmosphere.

In the Gaza Strip, a tiny coastal enclave ruled by Islamic Hamas movement, olive industry has been a major business for thousands of farmers.

The harvest season is largely celebrated by farmers who spend a whole year taking care of the trees to ensure a bountiful crop of olive and an excellent produce of olive oil.

Every single member of Obaid’s family, from grandparents to grandchildren, put their efforts together to harvest their olive trees.

While men harvest the olives using tall ladders, women help by taking different tasks. While some prepare tea for the family, others sit on the ground and very thoroughly pick up the crop and pile it up to be sold.

The 56-year-old man believes this season is the best in decades.

“This season is really great. It is way better than last year. Last season’s whole produce of this garden did not exceed 200 kg, but one tree can produce so much this season which is really great,” Obaid said he collected fresh olive fruits.

The olive harvest season in Palestine starts in the beginning of October till the end of November. Most of farmers sell their crops as raw fruit in local markets, while others take the produce to mills for making oil.

Tens of thousands of olive trees, which are considered symbol of Palestinian culture, have been uprooted by Israeli troops during military conflict with Palestinian armed groups in the past decades in Gaza.

The territory has also been under a tight Israeli blockade since Hamas movement violently took over power there after routing government troops in 2007.

The blockade has pushed Gaza’s two million population deeper into poverty as unemployment rates hit 43 percent.

In the recent years, Israel and Hamas have been engaged in three major wars that claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians.

According to official figures, Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014 destroyed 10,000 donums of land planted with fruits and other crops, 5000 of them were planted with olive trees.

Obaid was one of those farmers who lost some of their olive trees in the war.

“I have another three donum and a half farm of olive trees and it was totally destroyed during the war in 2014,” the man said bitterly as he watched his grandchildren taking part in the harvest.

Obaid added that the uprooted trees were over 60 years of age, saying it was a grave loss since the farm was a respected source of income for his large family.

“It also provided job opportunities for family members who wait for the seasons impatiently,” he explained.

Thanks to this generous season, the Hamas-run agriculture ministry expected that Gaza will not import any olive or olive oil this year.

According to the ministry, Gaza olive farms are expected to produce some 3500 tons of olive oil and 30,000 tons of olive fruits.

The ministry attributed the abundant crops to last winter’s plentiful rain in addition to planting thousands of new blossoming olive trees after the recent wars.

The olive business is considered to be the backbone of Gaza’s agricultural sector as 38,000 donums in the 360 square km seaside territory are planted with olive trees.

Palestinian Documentary Producers Need Your Support!

April 12, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

A DISTURBED EARTH is a documentary that follows a Palestinian man and his daughter as they embark on a journey back to his home village that was destroyed decades earlier. Travelling through refugee camps, family gatherings and militarised borders, they uncover a story long buried beneath a dangerous landscape.

The Story

A Disturbed Earth is a documentary about a small Galilean village invaded by Jewish Zionist militias during the olive harvest of 1948. Outnumbered and outgunned, the people were unable to protect their village from invasion. Over seventy men were lined up in front of an ancient limestone wall blindfolded and gunned down, their families as witness. The survivors were forced to seek refuge over the border in Lebanon where many still live today in refugee camps.

A Disturbed Earth reverses the journey back to the village. Fouad now lives in Australia. He is a father, grandfather, poet and survivor of the massacre. Accompanied by his filmmaker daughter and a small crew Fouad travels across three continents through refugee camps and militarised borders. The group attempt to return to the destroyed village to reveal and document its destruction.

A Disturbed Earth brings to life stories of the attack on the village through memories of its survivors. Israeli military archives are explored and surviving traces of indigenous life in the village prior to the invasion are found. With a small investigative team that includes a well-known Israeli historian, the film seeks to reconstruct pieces of a fragmented picture. What follows is a story about dispossession, memory and longing – a story buried under the breathing rubble of a village for almost seventy years.

The Approach

The refugee existence of Palestinians is the most long-term in the modern world, and a long-term refugee camp contains the despair and hardship of dispossession, but also the brilliance of survival.

Each location of the documentary will become one of its characters. While Fouad returns to the camp he grew up in, the camp itself with its surreal contradictions, architecture, colours, and special sound-scape determine the visual and sonic form of the film. The cracks of tired and weary windows become the fatigued exhale of the camp. The dirt ground transforms a voice speaking in dialect, evoking the image of trembling dust that swirls around the foot of a person lined up against a wall, waiting to be murdered.

The viewer not only learns about life in a refugee camp, but understands the way forced exile creates lives capable of living across multiple times, forced to remember and to dream while awake, both for those who physically left Palestine and the generations of the camps who came after.

A Disturbed Earth will explore this dreamscape using a style informed and inspired by the creative expressions of the people whose story it tells. Exile and struggle often create visual and auditory/sonic brilliance. Poetry, music and other art forms will be woven throughout the film.

Story sharing is an organic continuum of oral history traditions and in this spirit the interviews will not be filmed in traditional talking head set up. The interviews themselves will be a form of poetry, taking us back into the village over steel fortified and locked borders. They will tell of life in the village before the invasion, the wheat harvest celebration and help us get to know certain people murdered in the attack such as Mahmoud Zaghmout, Galilee’s best known singer of the time.

A Disturbed Earth will also seek to make historical archive out of the everyday. Here a village folk song, remains of an oil jar or a wedding scarf hastily packed in the bosom of a woman during the flight from home serve as historical document alongside more official and recognised sources. Archival materials help to gather fragments of the story and give it cinematic form.

The Team

Michel Khleifi – Co-Director (Khleifi is an award winning Director – awards include International Critics’ Prize at the Cannes Film Festival)

Rihab Charida – Co-Director, Writer, Producer

Tom Zubrycki – Producer

Theo Fatseas – Production Manager

Fabio Cavadini – Cinematographer

Project Status:

As well as the key creatives mentioned above, we have also secured a very dedicated production crew, including musical composer and musicians for original film score. Most of the research has been completed and locations scouted. We also have access to all of the places and people that we will be filming.

How will your donation be used:

We are seeking $25,000 funding to complete the development phase.

We anticipate that the full budget for the film will be $750,000. We are happy to discuss our production pathway with contributors.

All contributions to the ACF over $2 are tax-deductible.

Ten Facts Why Netanyahu is a Criminal and that Israel is a “Rogue State”

Global Research, February 07, 2016
israel-drapeau

1. Netanyahu heads the only undeclared nuclear weapons entity on the planet yet still ludicrously alleges that non­ nuclear Iran is trying to exterminate the state of Israel with its 100s of warheads in its Dimona secret arsenal, (all of which are outside the inspection of the IAEA), in an abortive effort to damage the agreed Iran peace deal, painstakingly negotiated by the UN Security Council members and the EU. His convoluted political machinations, in Washington and Europe, have resulted in ignominious failure as Iran rejoins the international community.

2. His government also refuses to be a party to both the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions (CWC / BWC) to which all EU members and most other UN states are signatories

3. His right­wing, extremist government supports the continued illegal occupation and settlement of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in violation of international law, in addition to continuing a blockade of essential materials to 1.8 million in Gaza that has received global condemnation.

4. He exerts a wholly undemocratic influence over the Republican­ AIPAC dominated US congress in Washington thereby disproportionately skewing American foreign policy in favour of Israel

5. His family background includes a documented association with terrorist organisations notably the Irgun Zvai Leumi paramilitaries

6. His government is in continued breach of the human rights provisions of the EU Association Agreement that affords Israel free trade access to the European single market

7. He allows the so­called ‘pricetag’ terrorists to continue to persecute Arab residents in the Occupied Territories by the burning and destruction of olive groves and businesses in a program of uncontrolled intimidation and violence

8. He continually threatens to restrict access to Jerusalem’s Al­ Aqsa mosque as did his failed predecessor, Ariel Sharon, apparently in a bid to provoke violence and dissent

9. He is the leader of a party whose published charter requires the ethnic cleansing of all indigenous Palestinians in order to establish a Greater Israel in all of former Palestine

10. Likud’s official agenda to establish the so­called ‘facts on the ground’ is a blatant attempt to abort the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. This illegal program has recently been condemned by China as well as by the EU, Russia and the US and is now expected to lead to economic, political and sporting sanctions.

Note: all the above facts are verifiable in the public domain

Palestine: A Case of Eternal Love

After 60 years in exile Alia (Middle) an Uprooted Palestinian Mother Visiting her Destroyed Village (Rass Alahmar  -Now Kerem Ben Zimra)  

Posted on 

It is a clear-cut case…. it doesn’t need political or social or military “analysts”, it doesn’t need “middle east experts” or experts on the “Palestinian Israeli conflict”…. it is a clear-cut case, a case of eternal love; a pure love that defies time, a love that is inherited, that is transferred from one generation to the next, a love that moves in our veins, feeds the mind and enriches the soul, a love that keeps the heart pumping, a love that keeps us alive, a love that is life itself… it is the love of Palestine.

When you travel along Palestinian villages, you hear the houses whispering; beautiful houses, with their white stone darkened with the years, old houses with their green yards, arched balconies and domed roofs, with the jasmine flowers climbing the staircase and the poppies and the daisies decorating the threshold…. Beautiful houses, old houses, new houses, mixing the traditional with the modern, with their black water tanks, solar panels and satellite dishes, gathered in clusters, hugging one another, protecting one another, extending over hilltops and across valleys…. when you pass by these beautiful houses, you hear them whispering words of love to the olive field in the distance, and to the cactus walls defining the road to Safad and Bisan.

When you pass the men and women; young and strong, old and wise, working in the land, caring for the trees, digging water canals, planting seedlings, harvesting the fields…. some playing the flute over the hilltop while the sheep graze the pastures, some singing of love, of parting and yearning…. others telling tales of monsters roaming the land and heroes protecting the land; when you pass the men and women, you hear songs of love to the apple tree in the front yard that awaits the day of return, you hear love songs to the olive tree uprooted from its home and waiting to rise again, you hear tales of an ancient people watering the land with their blood, defeating the monsters and keeping the land alive.

When you pass the women and men harvesting the olive trees, a woman stands up; the colours of Palestine decorating her thob, the tales of the land imprinted in her eyes, tired but bright, smiles and waves at you, invites you to share their breakfast of olives, olive oil, taboun bread and hot mint tea… When you pass the green hilltops, an elderly man lying beneath an ancient olive tree, the kuffiyeh embracing him, taking in the scent of the land with every breath, watching his grandson running behind the goats…. he waves at you and invites you to join him, to watch the sunset over Al-Jalil in the horizon, and to hear the tale of a courageous warrior buried beneath the olive tree…

When you walk along the narrow streets of a refugee camp, you hear the joyous voices of children rising loud with revolutionary songs, familiar to the mind and close to the soul… you watch elderly women sitting on the threshold in front of their houses, lamenting the old days, discussing the celebration of return… stop near a window, any window in the refugee camp, lean on the rough wall and listen to a woman singing about her lover who sold her golden bracelet and bought a gun to fight the occupiers, join them in a verse or two…. pass a grandfather clutching the hands of his grandchildren as they walk along the narrow alleys of the refugee camp, listen carefully to his words of love and wisdom, listen carefully to his promise of return, listen to him say the land is dignity and dignity is life….

When you take a walk in Palestine; be it in a village in Bisan, along the beach in Gaza, up the hill in Hebron, or in the forest in Jerusalem; the stone speaks to you, the tree speaks to you, the wind speaks to you, the wave speaks to you, the bird speaks to you… they speak to you about the hands that plant the trees, about the souls that sing to the sea, about the hearts that build the houses, about the blood that waters the land and keeps her alive… they narrate to you the words of a lover, they sing you a love song; about a land that is alive, a land that never dies, a land where every stone has a tale and every tree has a tale, a land where life is precious, where life is sacred, where land is as sacred as life itself, and where the land is protected with lives and blood….

It is a clear-cut case….

It is a love the Zionists will never comprehend… a love they will never know….

It is the beautiful villages, with their houses, yards and cactus barriers, reminiscent of Jrash, Lubia and Saforia… it is the green hills overlooking the olive fields and the vineyards…. it is the 3ala dal3ona, Mejana and 3ataba…. it is Mish3al, Jafra and Zarif Il-Toul … it is Lina, Dalal and Ghassan… it is every Palestinian elderly safekeeping the culture of the land… it is every Palestinian man and woman walking the path of resistance towards the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine … it is every Palestinian child carrying Palestine in their hearts and the key of Return in their hands.

The Zionists might think, they and their loyal slaves in the region, that they have killed us, broken our spirit, killed our will to resist. They might think, they and the heads of the “village leagues” appointed by them under invented names and titles, that they have shackled and enslaved us with the monthly salaries and with bank credits.

They might think, they and their new “Lahd forces”, that they have extinguished the flame of resistance within us. They might think, together with their loyal slaves and servants, that they have created a “new Palestinian”, a new “species” that believes Palestine is Al-Muqata’a, that believes treason is a matter of opinion, that believes negotiations are a way of life, that believes that resistance is lighting a candle and handing a flower to an occupation soldier. They might think they have erased Palestine, buried its villages and towns under Zionist colonies, subdued the Palestinian people and wiped out their collective memory and national identity…

But Zionists and co don’t comprehend that it is a hopeless case of eternal love. They don’t comprehend that with every Palestinian they murder, a million Palestinians are born. They don’t comprehend that with every resistance fighter they bury alive in their death dungeons, a million fighters carry the gun to continue on the path of liberation. They don’t comprehend that with every house they demolish, a million Shaja’iya, Deir Yasin, and Lifta arise.

They don’t comprehend that with every tree they uproot, a million olive, almond, carob and apple trees blossom. They don’t comprehend that with every tunnel they bomb, a million tunnels connect Rafah with Al-Naqurah, and connect Al-Nuseirat with Jerusalem. They don’t comprehend that with every inch of Palestinian land they steal, our roots clutch harder and deeper into the land and we become one with Palestine.

They don’t comprehend what Palestine is, who Palestine is; she is not a “piece of land” or a “lump of stones” or a “mere place”. Palestine is our mother, our father, our beginning, our end, our protector, our sanctuary, our all and everything.

Palestine is our dignity, our soul, our existence. How could they understand?

They who live on stolen land, erect colonies with stolen names, claim for themselves a stolen culture and existence, they who live a stolen time. How could they understand? They who kill the olive tree and the poppies, poison the land, strangle the sky and besiege the sea. How could they understand? They who kill the very same land they claim as their “promised land”.

No, they don’t comprehend …. They will never comprehend….

It is a clear-cut case, a hopeless case: it is a case of eternal love, of an unbreakable bond…. It is a case of a people, a land, an identity… it is a case of Palestine, her culture and her people…. It is a case of being Palestinian.

It is a case of being Palestinian… a case of being born Palestinian, growing up witnessing daily zionist crimes committed against Palestine and her children, growing up yearning for justice and return, growing up fighting for a free Palestine; free from zionist colonization, free from the river to the sea.

Palestinian children grow up seeing their houses bombed, their parents killed, their siblings maimed…. they lie on makeshift beds in over-crowded hospitals, wrapped in home-made bandages that have become red with blood, they search in vain for a familiar face to tell them that it is all nothing but a nightmare and that everything is going to be fine…. they stand outside the hospital mortuary, one carrying his baby sister while tears running down his cheeks, another sitting on the ground, clothes torn, speechless and staring at a world only he can see, a third clutching the hands of her younger sister and brother, holding back the tears and watching her father standing in the corner, trying to hide his tears….

They stand outside the door to the mortuary, and know that behind that cold iron door lies a mother whose body was ripped apart by an Israeli shell, behind that door lies a baby sister hugging her mother, behind that door lie parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts, comrades, friends and classmates….. and when they find refuge at a school or at a hospital before the next round of shelling begins, they play in the over-crowded rooms, they play mothers singing for their children before they sleep, they play fathers taking their children to the zoo, they play a grandfather gathering the children around him to tell them a story, they play the neighbour running after them with a stick for climbing his almond tree…. they imitate family members that have long gone, they recall days empty of bombs and F16s’ and navy bombardment, they play an endless spring with birds, flowers and sunshine… they play their mothers coming back to hug them, to tell them that it was all but a nightmare…

Their villages are raided, their homes demolished, they are kidnapped in the middle of the night, they are beaten by armed soldiers, left alone in dark interrogation cells, they are threatened with death… but in the darkened cells, they dream of running after the goats on the hilltops of Palestine…. and during interrogation, they close their eyes and smell the almond blossoms in the spring… and when they are beaten, the taste of blood in their mouths changes to the taste of zaatar and zeit… and when they are left standing for hours in the cold, shivering, they think of their mother making bread, their father sipping mint tea after a hard day’s work, their siblings playing in front of the houses, running and shouting in the alleys… and when they are free, they run to their siblings and friends, and they play their heroes; they cover their faces with their blouses and pretend they are freedom fighters, they carry tree twigs and pretend they are guns, and they run and jump and pretend they are carrying out a resistance operation against the occupation soldiers.

Their schools are bombed, they feel the classroom walls shaking around them, they feel the stings of the shattered glass as it cuts throw their young flesh, they try to breath amidst the suffocating clouds of smoke and burning books and desks, they see their classmates scattered across the classrooms, some bleeding, some crying faintly, others sleeping the eternal sleep… and when they return to school, they place poppies and daisies where martyred comrades once sat, they sing to them songs about Palestine, love and longing, they write them short letters of pride, and honour, they tell them about the sun shining over Jerusalem, about the rain drops over Nazareth, about the olive harvest in Nablus, about fishing in Gaza… and when they play, they fight amongst themselves who will be the “martyr”, they re-enact the funeral of their friends and classmates, they who win play the heroes, and they who lose play the terrorist soldiers… they carry the “martyr” on their shoulders, they promise him never to forget him, never to forget his killers, never to forget and never to forgive, and to fight till Palestine is liberated, to fight till no more Palestinian children are killed, till all Palestinian children can play in safety, till all Palestinian children are free, till all Palestinian mothers can laugh again, till all Palestine is free.

From Shaja’iya to Shu’fat, from Al-Khalil to Yafa, from Dheisheh refugee camp to Jrash, from Silwad to Al-‘Araqeeb, from Wadi Fuqin to Lifta, from Al-Quds to Safad, from Ras il Naqura to Im Il-Rishrash…. they run in the streets, in the narrow alleys, in the fields, along the beach, masked with their torn blouses, red, black, green and white… they wave their plastic toy guns and their home-made twig guns… they remember their martyred friends… they imitate their heroes; the heroes of resistance, the heroes of Palestine. It is not the love of death, as Zionists portray it to justify killing them… it is not the lack of parental care, as Zionists often describe it to give themselves a higher moral standard… zionists and co will never comprehend that it is the love of life that drives these children, drives every Palestinian… it is the yearn for freedom that makes them rise more determined after every Israeli aggression, it is the love of the land that makes them water the olive tree with their blood so future generation can sit under these trees, and enjoy a free Palestine

Zionists and co will never comprehend….

They will never comprehend that it’s a clear-cut case, a hopeless case: it is a case of eternal love, of an unbreakable bond…. It is a case of a people, a land, an identity… it is a case of Palestine, her culture and people…. It is a case of being Palestinian. zionists and co will never comprehend that it is a hopeless case of eternal love because Palestine is us and we are Palestine.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Christmas in Palestine

No joy to the world in Palestine. No peace and good will. No most wonderful time of the year.
Not this year. Or previous ones for decades. Or future ones without top-to-bottom fundamental change. What’s nowhere in sight.
Militarized occupation harshness continues. Gaza remains besieged. Collective punishment is official Israeli policy. So is state terror.
Israel denies millions of Palestinians fundamental rights everyone deserves. Ruthlessness defines its agenda.
Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in its gulag. Guilty of wanting to live free. Separated from loved ones.
On December 23, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) decorated a Manger Square Christmas tree with leftover Israeli terror remnants.
Including tear gas canisters. Stun grenades. Missile fragments. Photos of martyred or injured children along with them. Delivering a clear message.
Saying Palestinians suffer year-round. Including during what Christians call the most joyous time of year. PSCC member Mazen Al-Azzeh said tree decorations are dedicated to dozens of Palestinian martyrs.
Killed by Israeli forces. Including PA Minister Ziad Abu Ein. Its committee against Israel’s Separation Wall and settlements head. Murdered by Israeli soldiers.
 
Beaten to death. With rifle butts and helmets. From tear gas inhalation. While leading a peaceful demonstration.
Planting olive trees on Palestinian land. Threatened by Israeli confiscation. In Turmus’ayya village. Near Ramallah.
Popular struggle activist Abdullah Abu Rahma said Abu Ein wanted a symbolic Christmas tree display. In Bethlehem’s Hall of Nativity.
Decorated with remnants of weapons Israel uses to kill Palestinians. Manger Square’s exhibit complied with his wish.
Honoring him. Other non-violently resisters. Around 2,200 Palestinians Israel killed last summer.
In Gaza. Mostly noncombatant men, women, children, the elderly and infirm. Willfully targeted. Killed in cold blood. Unaccountably.
Al-Azzeh called the tree symbolic of popular struggle. On the occasion of Jesus Christ’s birth. Challenging occupation harshness. Israeli apartheid.
Sending a message. Saying others may celebrate. Palestine remains occupied. Brutalized by Israeli harshness. Debunking propaganda portraying Israel as a peace-loving democratic state.
PSCC coordinator Jamal Jum’a said the season’s message  reminds people everywhere about Palestinian suffering.
Deprived of what they rightfully deserve. Isolated on their own. Sitting ducks for Israeli ruthlessness.
Bil’in village resistance coordinator, Salah Khawaja, called Manger Square’s decorative display symbolic of daily Israeli violence.
 
Telling Holy Land visitors there’s no peace. No joy. No freedom under occupation. Not this year. Or any since 1967. Or until Palestinian liberation.
Human rights activist Farid al-Atrash said “(t)he world has to move to save the Palestinian people and hold the occupation accountable for its crimes against unarmed people in Palestine.”
Separately, Israeli soldiers attacked Santa. Palestinians dressed as Santa Claus. Marching toward a checkpoint.
Connecting Jerusalem’s Old City with East Jerusalem. Carrying signs saying: “Jesus came with a message of Peace,
Freedom and Justice.” “We want Christmas without occupation.”
On December 23, USA Today headlined “Violence dampens Holy Land tourism during Christmas.”
Saying Bethlehem “is praying for another Christmas miracle.Months of violence near this cradle of Christianity has dampened visits by holiday pilgrims, and there are few signs tourism will rebound anytime soon.”
Shopkeeper Louis Michel said “people have been scared away. We’ve never experienced such a sustained drought of pilgrims.”
“I haven’t been able to sell what I already have. It’s difficult for me, but also for the many families here who rely on the income from the local factories.”
“Business is way down, 90% down, since the Gaza war,” said Eli Kouz. A shopkeeper in the Old City’s Christian Quarter. “The only people walking down this street are locals, not pilgrims,” he said.
Israel commemorated holiday season like every day of the year. On Christmas eve, attacking Gaza border areas. In Khuzaa and al-Qarara. East of Khan Younis.
Killing Taysir al-Smeiri. Injuring two others. Hamas said its southern Gaza reconnaissance unit head was killed.
Israel claimed Palestinian sniper fire. Whether true or false doesn’t matter. Israel responds with artillery an aerial attacks.
Grave breaches of international law. On December 17, the HIgh Contracting Parties convened in Bern, Switzerland.
Discussing conditions in Occupied Palestine. Despite US/Israeli pressure to dissuade world nations from attending.
A 10-point declaration followed. By consensus. Highlighting applicable international humanitarian law.
Related to Occupied Palestine. Reaffirming the obligation of all parties to uphold fundamental rule of law principles.
Including Israel’s responsibility as an occupying power. Expressing deep concern over Gaza’s continuing blockade.
Israel’s occupation was supposed to be temporary. It’s ongoing nearly half a century. With no end in sight.
In blatant disregard for Fourth Geneva principles. Other relevant international law. Prohibiting what continues daily in Occupied Palestine.
Virtually every civil and human rights violation imaginable. Including state terror. Collective punishment. Land expropriation. Bulldozed homes.
Resource theft. Ethnic cleansing. Settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land. Cold-blooded murder. Mass arrests. Political imprisonments. Torture. Wars at Israel’s discretion.
Bern’s declaration has no legal authority. Israel ignores rule of law principles anyway. Operating extrajudicially. Throughout its sordid history.
The whole world knows about Israeli viciousness. Lawlessness. Contempt for Palestinian rights. Bern’s declaration highlighted it.
The horror of occupied life. Including blatant Israeli civil and human rights violations. Virtually every high crime imaginable.
Ongoing without end. Affirming its pariah state status. Even on Holy Land Christmas eve.
Invading Hebron and al-Arroub refugee camp. Terrorizing residents. Attacking them. Including children.
Kidnapping three Nablus Palestinians. Two others in Jenin. Injuring many others in the process.
IDF dogs mauled a child. Before soldiers kidnapped him. Homes were ransacked. Causing extensive damage.
On Tuesday, nine other West Bank Palestinians were kidnapped. Israel attacks their communities multiple times daily.
Even on Christmas eve. Christmas day makes no difference. Rogue states operate this way.
Rule of law principles don’t matter. Or human lives and welfare. Or moral decency.
By a country brazenly calling itself a democracy. A sham by any standard. Affording rights solely to Jews.
Treating Palestinians the way Hitler treated Jews. Its own Arab citizens like fifth column threats.
Wanting Palestinians ghettoized on worthless scrub land. Or ethnically cleansed so they’ll be gone. Or mass-murdered to assure it.
Even during Holy Land Christmas commemorations. Palestinians are fair game year-round. Against Israel’s nuclear-armed killing machine, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

EU: Court decision to remove Hamas from terror list “legal” not “political”

Palestinian militants of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, take part in a parade marking the 27th anniversary of the resistance movement's creation on December 14, 2014 in Gaza City. AFP / Mahmoud Hams

Published Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Updated at 3:24 pm (GMT +2): Palestinian resistance group Hamas must be removed from the EU’s terrorism blacklist, but its assets will stay frozen, a European court ruled on Wednesday, hours before the European Parliament overwhelmingly backed the recognition of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders “in principle.”

The original listing of Hamas in 2001 was based not on sound legal judgements but on conclusions derived from the media and the Internet, the General Court of the European Union said in a statement.

But it stressed that Wednesday’s decision to remove Hamas was based on technical grounds and does “not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group.”

The freeze on Hamas’s funds will also temporarily remain in place for three months pending any appeal by the EU, the Luxembourg-based court said.

Hamas, which has been in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007, had appealed against its inclusion on the blacklist on several grounds.

Hamas’s military wing was added to the European Union’s first-ever terrorism blacklist drawn up in December 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The EU blacklisted the political wing of Hamas in 2003 after the group claimed responsibility for a spate of attacks on Israeli targets during the Second Intifada, a popular uprising that erupted in 2000 against Israel’s decades-long occupation.

Hamas was founded in 1987 shortly after the start of the first Palestinian Intifada.

Reactions

The European Union said Hamas is still on its terror list despite Wednesday’s ruling.

“The EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organization,” European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic confirmed, saying the EU General Court’s decision “is a legal ruling, and not a political decision taken by EU governments.”

Hamas, meanwhile, hailed the decision, describing the move as a “victory for justice.”

“We thank the European Court for its decision. This is a victory for all advocates of liberation from all forms of occupation,” senior Hamas member Moussa Abu Marzouq said.

A lawyer for Hamas, Liliane Glock, told AFP she was “satisfied with the decision.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded the EU immediately restore Hamas to its terrorism blacklist.

“We are not satisfied with the European explanation by which Hamas has been withdrawn from this list. We expect the Europeans to puts Hamas back on the list immediately,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

Palestinian state “in principle”

Meanwhile, the European Parliament overwhelmingly backed the recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders “in principle” on Wednesday, following a series of votes on the issue in EU nations which have enraged Israel.

Lawmakers approved the non-binding motion by 498 votes to 88 with 111 abstentions, although it was a watered down version of an original motion which had urged EU member states to recognize a Palestinian state unconditionally.

The motion said the parliament “supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced.”

The socialist, greens and radical left groups in the European Parliament had wanted an outright call for the recognition of Palestinian statehood.

But the center-right European People’s Party of European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, the leading group in parliament, forced them into a compromise motion linking it to peace talks.

“There is no immediate unconditional recognition (of statehood),” EPP chief Manfred Weber said.

But his socialist counterpart Gianni Pittella insisted it was a “historic decision” and a “victory for the whole parliament.”

European politicians have become more active in pushing for a sovereign Palestine since the collapse of US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in April, and ensuing conflict in Gaza, where more than 2,000 Palestinians, at least 70 percent of them civilians, and on the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians were killed this summer.

EU’s vote follows Sweden’s decision in October to recognize Palestine and non-binding votes since then by parliaments in Britain, France, Ireland, and Spain in favor of recognition demonstrated growing European impatience with the stalled peace process.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous “Balfour Declaration,” called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1988, Palestinian leaders led by Yasser Arafat declared the existence of a state of Palestine inside the 1967 borders and the state’s belief “in the settlement of international and regional disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the charter and resolutions of the United Nations.”

Heralded as a “historic compromise,” the move implied that Palestinians would agree to accept only 22 percent of historic Palestine in exchange for peace with Israel. It is now believed that only 17 percent of historic Palestine is under Palestinian control following the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) this year set November 2016 as the deadline for ending the Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967 and establishing a two-state solution.

It is worth noting that numerous Palestinian factions, including Hamas, as well as pro-Palestine advocates support a one-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians would be treated equally, arguing that the creation of a Palestinian state beside Israel would not be sustainable and that it would mean recognizing a state of Israel on territories seized forcefully by Zionists before 1967.

They also believe that the two-state solution, which is the only option considered by international actors, won’t solve existing discrimination, nor erase economic and military tensions.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar, Anadolu)

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

10 Palestinians killed, 147 injured, 390 imprisoned and 327 detained during October alone

http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/human-rights/8500-10-palestinians-killed-147-injured-390-imprisoned-and-327-detained-during-october-alone

Palestine Violence_pic_1

PNN/ Ramallah

PLO Foreign affairs department released its monthly report “People under occupation”, that exposes Israeli occupation violations against Palestinians.

Final report for October 2014, showed the following:

10 Palestinians killed, 147 injured, 390 arrested, 327 detained and 633 trees sabotaged.

First: Violation of the Right to live:

10 Palestinians were killed in October, 4 of which are children.

In Gaza, a number of martyrs died out of their injuries of the last 51-day Israeli offensive on Gaza: Jamal Abu Libdeh, Arafat Tafesh, Mohammad Abu Jarad (4 years), Ibrahim Assaliyya, and Zuhdi Abul Roos whose decayed corpse was pulled out of the rubble.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces killed Baha Bader (13 years) in Beit Liqya, Abdul Rahman Shaludi in Jerusalem, Orwa Hammad (14 years) in Silwad, Mutaz Hijazi Jerusalem, and Enas Shawkat (5 years) after run over by Israeli settler in Sinjil.

147 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces attacks, including 6 who were deliberately hit by Israeli settler vehicles, 4 of which are children under 17.

Other than the hit and run incidents, 12 children under the age of 16 were injured.

Most of the injuries resulted of the clashes caused by Israeli forces attacks on Palestinian villagers and repressing Palestinian demonstrations against Israeli continuous violations.

Second: Imprisonment

In October alone, 390 Palestinians were imprisoned, 24 of which are children and women.

327 others were detained on Israeli military checkpoints and occupied areas, with different durations.

detainees included 41 women and children.

The total of 550 Palestinians serve as administrative prisoners in the Israeli prisons. Many of them suffer from the ill treatment and especially medical care. Prisoners on hunger strike face pressures to cut their strike.

Third: Settlements, settler violence, Jerusalem Judaization and land theft

Israeli occupation approved the building of 2610 settlemetn units in Jerusalem, 1000 in Shu’fat and Jabal Ghuneim, and 1060 units in Jerusalem. ]

97 donums of Palestinian lands were seized in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Salfit and Nabulus districts.

Israeli settler tried to kidnap Palestinian child, Majd Hzayneh (4 years) from his home backyard in Jerusalem, other Israeli settlers bumped waste water on Palestinian fields in Bethlehem, killing plants and greenery.

Abu-Bakr Al-Siddiq mosque near Nablus was burned by Israeli settlers, and Palestinians were thrown out of their farms and prevented from picking their olives by settlers.

Al-Aqsa mosque witnessed the attacks of 1355 extremist Zionists, who broke into the mosque with no permission, including Israeli extremist MK’s.

Al-Aqsa mosque later was closed down by Israeli forces, and the call of Azan was prevented.

Forth: House Demolitions and eviction threats 

Israeli forces forced the demolition, and demolished at least 32 structures, including houses, barracks, shops and stores of Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

They also gave demolition notices to 5 water wells, a barrack near Hebron, and eviction notices to 27 houses under the pretext of being locating in military zone.

Fifth: Property threats and plantation destruction

The report showed Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians during the olive picking season, where they physically attacked, stole the fruits, ruined the fields and cut the trees.

The report showed that 633 trees were sabotaged, burned, uprooted.

9 farming vehicles were confiscated, about 10,000 shekels (about $2600) were confiscated from house in Ithna, and about a million and a half shekels (about $400,000) near Hebron.

Sixth: Journalism right violations and blocking the truth

3 Palestinians were injured, one arrested and another detained during covering news in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron.

Remembering Abu Arab: The Palestinian Oak The singer of the revolution and resistance

  أبو عرب يروي قصة النكبة ويوصي بالوحدة على برنامج المقاومة
On Nakba, reconciliation and resistance
Al-Manar: Taking about Intifada, Sabra and Shatila, Oslo, Syria, and Iran

meanwhile

———

أبو عرب .. رحيل شاعر فلسطين والمقاومة 


ودع الفلسطينيون اليوم في مدينة حمص السورية شاعر الثورة الفلسطينية إبراهيم محمد صالح الملقب “أبو عرب” وذلك بعد أن غيبه الموت مساء أمس عن عمر ناهز 83 عاما، بعد صراع طويل مع المرض

Israel’s continious war on Palestinian farmers

Settlers prevent farmers from reaching land near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers prevented Palestinian farmers from planting their lands east of Bethlehem on Friday morning.

Farmer Hassan Asakra told Ma’an that a group of farmers headed to their lands, which are located near the Israeli settlement of Teqoa, accompanied by solidarity activists to plant olive trees, but settlers prevented them with the help of Israeli forces.

The group was prevented despite having permits to access the land from the liaisons office, Asakra said

Settlers destroy 700 olive tree saplings near Ramallah

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=674735

NABLUS (Ma’an) – Extremist settlers destroyed over 700 newly planted olive tree saplings north of Ramallah on Wednesday, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that a group of settlers from the illegal outpost of Ade Ad carried out the attack.

Over 700 saplings belonging to Mahmoud and Rabah Hizma were either uprooted or broken in the al-Sadir area in Turmusayya.

An identity card belonging to one of the perpetrators was found at the scene.

Settlers routinely attack Palestinians and their property to intimidate local communities to leave their land.

Settlers assault farmers in Beit Ummar

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=675693

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked a farmer and his sons in the southern West Bank near Beit Ummar, a popular committee spokesman said.

Muhammad Ayad Awad, spokesman for the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, said that around 15 Israeli settlers attacked Muhammad Abd al-Hamid Jaber al-Salibi and his sons in the Wad Abu Rish area near the Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin while they were working on their land.

The settlers hurled rocks, but no were casualties reported, Awad said.

He added that Israeli forces came to the scene and forced the farmer and his sons to leave the area at gunpoint.

Israeli settler violence mirrors the large-scale aggression implicit in land grabbing

Palestinian olive grove at Burin village in Nablus, set on fire by settlers from the Yitzhar settlementSource

Settler aggression against palestinian villages, farms and property is on the rise. Pictured above is a Palestinian olive grove at Burin village in Nablus, set on fire by settlers from the Yitzhar settlement

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the entrance of a mosque in the village of Deir Istiya, in the occupied West Bank, was set on fire. The walls were spray-painted with hate messages in Hebrew, including “Arabs out” and “revenge for blood spilled in Qusra”.

The latter message is a reference to an incident last week, where Palestinians and Israeli forces clashed near Qusra, a village near Nablus that has lost half its land to settlements. Following the incident, settlers have carried out dozens of attacks in the village, killing 18 sheep and setting cars alight. The attack on the mosque was the latest in this “price tag” campaign – a term used to describe acts of vandalism or violence by radical Israeli settlers who want to exact a “price” from Palestinians or Israel security forces.

Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors the activities of settlements and settlers in the West Bank, pointed out that this incident is nothing new: “The settlers almost on a daily basis do this to isolated Palestinians and damage their properties.” Violence against Palestinian residents of the West Bank by Israeli settlers is a long recognised problem. But new figures from the United Nations published this week confirm that it is getting worse.

The figures, compiled by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, show that attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers have increased every year for the last eight years (when the UN started counting assaults). Since 2006, about 2,100 attacks have been launched by Israelis. Annual totals have leapt from 115 in 2006 to 399 in 2013. The figures also show the toll of this violence: more than 17,000 Palestinians have been injured, as have 342 settlers and 37 soldiers. Ten Palestinians and 29 settlers have been killed.

This week, IDF spokesman Peter Lerner condemned the attack on the mosque: “The incident is deplorable on every level. It’s against basic moral standards and jeopardizes safety and security and the stability the IDF is working hard to maintain.” Last week, the Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon said that these price tag attacks were “outright terrorism”. While most Israeli leaders are pro-settlement, they often denounce violence between settlers and Palestinians.

But do these condemnations mean anything? Palestinians living in the West Bank say that they do not, and that soldiers do very little to stop attacks. While soldiers technically have orders to stop any violence between civilians in the West Bank, the Haaretz newspaper’s military correspondent, Amos Harel, has said that soldiers actually see their primary goal as protecting the settlers. Indeed, the basic fact that attacks have risen so consistently over the last eight years shows that if any efforts have been made to stop the violence, they have not been successful.

Some Palestinians go so far as to say that the intimidation by settlers is part and parcel of Israel’s policy of seizing the West Bank. Certainly, these vigilante attacks by settlers do not really go against the wider aims of the state. Settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law but there are thought to be around 500,000 Israelis living there. The government has announced the building of more settlements; they are widely seen as a way of changing “the facts on the ground” so that a Palestinian state becomes increasingly unviable. Politicians may condemn the aggression of individual settlers, but it is simply a mirror of the larger-scale aggression that is implicit in land grabbing.

1,905 Palestinian Olive Trees Destroyed This Season, According to Report

burningtrees

This year’s olive harvest in Occupied Palestine is for all intents and purposes over. Jewish settlers and the Israeli military, often working hand in hand, waged what in essence has amounted to a War on the Olive Trees, as I phrased it in a post last month. Interestingly a new report finds that 1,905 olive trees were either burned or uprooted during this year’s harvest season. The report was compiled by the “You Are Not Aone” campaign, which was launched by Stop The Wall in conjunction with the Palestinian Farmers Union and reportedly is in its ninth year.

 
The daily attacks of the settlers during the olive harvest are an integral part of the Israeli overall policy of occupation, ethnic cleansing and land theft. The kind of attacks, the locations where they are carried out and the coordination between the settlers and the Israeli military are demonstrating the existence of a systematic policy. The attacks are aimed to drive Palestinian farmers from geo-strategic locations in Area C, in order to ensure that the occupied West Bank is effectively fragmented into unviable Bantustans and Israel can ensure full control not only of the natural resources but as well the movement – and with this social, cultural and economic development – of the Palestinians living in the West Bank.

 
Additional findings include:

  • The farmers owning lands adjacent to the settlements have been subjected to theft of the crops as well as to confiscation of equipment used during the olive harvest.
  • At least 1905 olive trees have been uprooted and burned during this olive harvest. With 1356 trees cut, the Nablus governorate has suffered the worst. 45 olive trees were cut in in Hebron, 12 trees in the Ramallah governorate, 180 olive trees in Bethlehem and 312 olive trees in Qalqilya governorates.
  • Land has been confiscated. In Artas (Bethlehem district), for example, some 124 dunum of land have been confiscated.
  • Cases of willful land destruction occurred. In the land of Asira in Nablus, the settlers pumped toxic sewage water on agricultural land, preventing citizens from access to their land.
  • A number of different physical attacks occurred. An elderly farmer was run over by a settler car en route to the olive harvest, various Palestinian cars transporting farmers to their land were pelted with stones, settlers burned tires in the streets to block access to the lands and a number of Palestinian homes were attacked.
  • Farmers have been abducted by settlers and the military. The settlers of Elon Moreh abducted a farmer, Adnan Samara from the village of Azmut, while the Israeli military detained Jalal Yamin on the pretext that he picked his olives without coordination with the occupation forces.
  • The apartheid Wall and the closure of the gates, that stop people from reaching their lands, have added difficulties to the farmers. This had a particular sever impact in Deir Ghosoon and Atil in Tulkarm district and in Edtna village in Hebron.
  • Widespread threats are part of the entire Israeli occupation and apartheid policy. Many Palestinian farming families were threatened not to return to the territory.

You can access the full report here.

A week ago I published an article entitled Arab ‘Thugs’ Steal Olives from Poor, Downtrodden Israeli Settlers , detailing a report in the Jewish media regarding the theft of some olives from a Jewish-Israeli-owned olive grove that was apparently carried out by some Palestinians. While there were some broken branches in that incident, none of the trees was destroyed—yet the Jewish owners were quite put out over the affair, and the Jewish reporter who covered the story referred to the Palestinian olive thieves as “thugs.” The contrast between the two posts—the one you’re reading now and the one I posted last week—is striking. You might want to check out the earlier one if you missed it.

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