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

 February 18, 2021

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

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine

11 – 17 February 2021

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

Summary           

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

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

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

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

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

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

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

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

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 12 incidents:

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

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

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

 Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

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

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

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

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

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 11 February 2021:

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

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

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

Friday, 12 February 2021:

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

Saturday, 13 February 2021

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

Sunday, 14 February 2021:

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

Monday, 15 February 2021:

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

Tuesday, 16 February 2021:

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

Wednesday, 17 February 2021:

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

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

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

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

Those affected were as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

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

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

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

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

The West Bank:

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

Ramallah:

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

Jericho:

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

Bethlehem:

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

Nablus:

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

Hebron:

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

Qalqilya:

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

Salfit:

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

WARNING Zionist brutality: the everyday nightmare in Palestine

Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Israel’s separation wall is pictured on 11 February 2020 (AFP)
Jonathan Cook
Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

14 January 2021 11:31 UTC

New report by rights group B’Tselem will make it harder to smear Israel’s critics as antisemites for arguing that Israel is a racist state


For more than a decade, a handful of former Israeli politicians and US diplomats identified with what might be termed the “peace process industry” have intermittently warned that, without a two-state solution, Israel is in danger of becoming an “apartheid state”. 

The most notable among them include Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, two former Israeli prime ministers, and John Kerry, who served as former US President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Time is rapidly running out, they have all declared in the past. 

Their chief concern, it seems, was that without the alibi of some kind of Palestinian state – however circumscribed and feeble – the legitimacy of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” will increasingly come under scrutiny. Apartheid will arrive, the argument goes, when a minority of Israeli Jews rule over a majority of Palestinians in the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan controlled by Israel. 

Demographic threshold

The apartheid threat has been wielded by the so-called “peace camp” in hopes of mobilising international pressure on the Israeli right, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The goal has been to force it into making sufficient concessions that the Palestinian leadership agrees to a demilitarised statelet, or statelets, on fragments on the original Palestinian homeland. 

Meanwhile, demographic trends have continued apace, and the Israeli right has ignored all warnings, preferring to pursue their Greater Israel ambitions instead. But strangely, the apartheid moment never arrived for the Israeli peace camp. Instead, its expressions of concern about apartheid fizzled into silence, as did its once-vocal worries about a Palestinian demographic majority.

How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas?

This entirely cynical approach to Palestinian statehood was very belatedly blown apart this week with the publication of a report by B’Tselem, Israel’s most prominent and respected human rights group. It broke ranks to declare what has been obvious for many, many years. Israel has created a permanent reality in which there are two peoples, Jews and Palestinians, sharing the same territorial space, but “a regime of Jewish supremacy” has been imposed by the stronger side. This unequivocally qualifies as apartheid, B’Tselem said. 

It dismisses the sophistry that apartheid relates to some self-serving demographic deadline – one that never materialises – rather than the explicitly segregationist practices and policies Israel has enforced throughout the territories it rules. It also dismisses arguments made by Israel’s partisans abroad that Israel cannot be an apartheid state because there are no South African-style “whites only” signs on park benches. 

Hagai El-Ad, B’Tselem’s executive director, notes that Israel’s version – “apartheid 2.0, if you will – avoids certain kinds of ugliness … That Israel’s definitions do not depend on skin colour make no material difference: it is the supremacist reality which is the heart of the matter.” The report concludes that the bar for apartheid was met after considering “the accumulation of policies and laws that Israel devised to entrench its control over Palestinians”.

Daring analysis

What is perhaps most daring about B’Tselem’s analysis is its admission that apartheid exists not just in the occupied territories, as has been observed before, including by former US President Jimmy Carter. It describes the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River – which encompasses both Israel and the Palestinian territories – as an apartheid regime. It thereby denies Israel’s claims to be a democratic state even inside its internationally recognised borders.

B’Tselem has abandoned the pretence that apartheid can be limited to the occupied territories, as though Israel – the state that rules Palestinians – is somehow exempt from being classified as integral to the apartheid enterprise it institutes and oversees.

That was always obvious. How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas? None at all. And yet, Israel has been getting away with precisely this clearcut casuistry for decades – largely aided by the peace camp, including B’Tselem.

Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)
Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)

Now, B’Tselem observes: “Jews go about their lives in a single, contiguous space where they enjoy full rights and self-determination. In contrast, Palestinians live in a space that is fragmented into several units, each with a different set of rights – given or denied by Israel, but always inferior to the rights accorded to Jews.”

Israel’s “Jewish supremacist ideology” is revealed in its obsession with “Judaising” land, in its bifurcated citizenship laws and policies that privilege Jews alone, in its regulations that restrict movement for Palestinians only, and in its denial of political participation to Palestinians. These discriminatory policies, B’Tselem notes, apply also to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian and have nominal Israeli citizenship. 

El-Ad concludes: “There is not a single square inch in the territory Israel controls where a Palestinian and a Jew are equal. The only first-class people here are Jewish citizens such as myself.”

Permanent occupation

What B’Tselem has done is echo the arguments long made by academics and Palestinian civil society, including the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, that Israel is a settler-colonial society. 

In an emailed response to the report, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said it helped to put an end to “the vicious and deeply racist lies about the not-so-perfect Israeli democracy that has a problem called ‘the occupation’”. Why acknowledging Israeli apartheid is not enough

The B’Tselem report observes that, while “occupation” must be a temporary situation, Israel has no intention of ending its military rule over Palestinians, even after more than five decades. A Palestinian state is not conceivably on the agenda of any Israeli party in sight of power, and no one in the international community with any influence is demanding one. The two-state solution has been smothered into oblivion.

For that reason, it argues, all of Israel and the Palestinian territories under occupation are organised “under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians”.

There are good reasons why B’Tselem is biting the bullet now, after decades of equivocation from it and the rest of the Israeli peace camp. Firstly, no one really believes that Israel will be pressured from outside into conceding a Palestinian state. Trump’s so-called “peace plan”, unveiled a year ago, gave Netanyahu everything he wanted, including support for annexing swaths of the West Bank on which illegal settlements have been built. 

Four years of Trump, and the recruitment of much of the Gulf to Netanyahu’s side, has shifted the conversation a long way from efforts to secure Palestinian statehood. Now, the focus is on how best to delay Israel’s move towards formal annexation. US president-elect Joe Biden will at best try to push things back to the dismal state they were in before Donald Trump took office. At worst, he will quietly assent to all or most of the damage Trump has inflicted on the Palestinian national cause.

Deeply isolated

Secondly, B’Tselem and other human rights groups are more deeply isolated at home than ever before. There is simply no political constituency in Israel for their research into the systematic abuses of Palestinians by the Israeli army and settlers. That means B’Tselem no longer needs to worry about messaging that could antagonise the sensibilities of Israel’s so-called “Zionist left” – because there is no meaningful peace camp left to alienate. 

The disappearance of this peace camp, unreliable as it was, has only been underscored by the Israeli general election due in late March. The battle for power this time is being waged between three or four far-right parties that all support annexation to varying degrees. 

Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work

The Israeli left has ceased to exist at the political level. It comprises a handful of human and legal rights groups, mostly seen by the public as traitors supposedly meddling in Israel’s affairs on behalf of “European” interests. At this stage, B’Tselem has little to lose. It is almost entirely irrelevant inside Israel.

Thirdly, and as a result, the only audience for B’Tselem’s careful research exposing Israeli abuses is overseas. This new report seeks to liberate a conversation about Israel, partly among Palestinian solidarity activists abroad. Their campaigns have been stymied by the failure of the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas to signal where they should direct their efforts, now that prospects for Palestinian statehood have vanished.

Activists have also been browbeaten into silence by smears from Israel’s partisans in the US and Europe, decrying any trenchant criticism of Israel as antisemitic. These slurs were relentlessly deployed against the UK’s Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn because of his support for the Palestinian cause.

Breaking a taboo

By calling Israel an apartheid state and a “regime of Jewish supremacy”, B’Tselem has given the lie to the Israel lobby’s claim – bolstered by a new definition promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – that it is antisemitic to suggest Israel is a “racist endeavour”. 

B’Tselem, a veteran Israeli Jewish organisation with deep expertise in human rights and international law, has now explicitly declared that Israel is a racist state. Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work.

Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)
Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)

The report is also intended to reach out to young American Jews, who are more willing than their parents to foreground the mistreatment of Palestinians and to forgo the Zionist idea that Israel is their bolthole in times of trouble. 

Significantly, the B’Tselem report has been published in the wake of two groundbreaking essays this past summer by influential American Jewish journalist Peter Beinart. In them, he broke a taboo in the US Jewish mainstream by declaring the two-state solution dead and calling for a single democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians.

It doubtless served as a wakeup call to Israeli groups such as B’Tselem that the conversation about Israel is moving on in the US and becoming much more polarised. Israeli human rights groups need to engage with this debate, not shy away from it.

Battle for equality

There is one possible lacuna in B’Tselem’s position. The report suggests a reticence to focus on outcomes. Nowhere is the two-state solution ruled out. Rather, the report notes: “There are various political paths to a just future.” Statements by El-Ad to Middle East Eye indicate that his organisation may still support a framework of international pressure for incremental, piecemeal change in Israeli policies that violate Palestinian human rights.Israeli settlers’ racism is not an aberration. It’s part of an apartheid systemRead More »

That is very much what western states, particularly Europe, have been paying lipservice to for decades, while Israeli apartheid has entrenched.

Does B’Tselem hope its apartheid criticisms will prove more effective than Barak and Olmert’s apartheid warnings, finally galvanising the international community into action to push for a Palestinian state? If so, Biden’s performance in office should soon dispel any such illusions. El-Ad observes that the goal now is “a rejection of supremacy, built on a commitment to justice and our shared humanity.” 

That cannot happen within the two-state framework, even on the untenable assumption that the international community ever seriously rallies behind Palestinian statehood, against Israel’s wishes. So why not say so explicitly? The best-case two-state scenarios on the table are for a tiny, divided, demilitarised, pseudo-Palestinian state with no control over its borders, airspace or electromagnetic frequencies.

That would not offer “justice” to Palestinians or recognise their “shared humanity” with Israeli Jews.

As welcome as the new report is, it is time for B’Tselem – as well as Palestinian solidarity activists who look to the organisation – to explicitly reject any reversion to a “peace process” premised on ending the occupation. The logic of an apartheid analysis needs to be followed to the very end. That requires unequivocally embracing a democratic single state guaranteeing equality and dignity for all.

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

Read more

Israeli minister orders jails not to vaccinate Palestinian security prisoners

Order defies health ministry guidelines that prisoners should be part of second group of Israelis to be vaccinated

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana’s statement did not single out Palestinian inmates, but there are no non-Palestinian security prisoners in Israel (AFP)

By MEE and agencies

Published date: 27 December 2020 15:47 UTC 

Israel’s Public Security Minister Amir Ohana told the country’s prison service late last week not to inoculate Palestinian security prisoners, an Israeli newspaper has revealed.

The order came despite health ministry guidelines that prisoners should be part of the second group of Israelis to be vaccinated against the Covid-19 coronavirus, together with security personnel, Haaretz wrote on Sunday.

The report came as Israel began its third coronavirus lockdown at 5pm (15:00 GMT) on Sunday, with most people forced to stay within 1,000 metres of their home. Covid-19: Gaza resumes screening after receiving nearly 20,000 kits from WHO

Read More »

The office of the minister said that only prison staff should be vaccinated because “there should be no inoculating security prisoners without approval and in line with vaccination progress among the general population,” the newspaper said.

Although the statement referred only to “security prisoners,” a letter on the matter sent by Moshe Edri, the Public Security Ministry’s director general, did not make such a distinction, instead referring to the general prisoner population, Haaretz said.

Although Ohana’s statement did not single out Palestinian inmates, there are no non-Palestinian security prisoners in Israel.

The ministry’s directive contradicts the health ministry’s guidelines regarding the prioritisation of vaccination. 

Haaretz said it was unclear on what authority Ohana can order the prisons service to vaccinate certain inmates and not others.

‘Politically motivated directive’

In response to the Public Security Ministry’s directive, Shas lawmaker Moshe Arbel posed a parliamentary question to Ohana asking him to explain why there is no need to inoculate all inmates in light of the crowding and harsh conditions in Israel’s prisons and the positive pace of vaccination among the general population.

“The state should weigh in on the difficult situation of the prisoners, among the most crowded and vulnerable groups in the country, and act to vaccinate them as soon as possible,” Arbel wrote.

“The minister’s directive contradicts the vaccination guidelines that the Health Ministry issued. 

“We should be making sure that prisoners are given high priority for vaccinations in line with recommendations by health experts involved in the matter, especially in light of worldwide data showing that the risk of infection among inmates is higher than that of the outside population.”

Palestinians left waiting 

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a Covid-19 vaccine jab, starting a national rollout.

However, the massive vaccination campaign, said to be the biggest in Israel’s history and titled “Give a Shoulder,” will not include millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control despite a recent spike in cases and deaths stemming from the virus.

Israel’s vaccination campaign will include Jewish settlers who are Israeli citizens living deep inside the occupied West Bank, but not the territory’s 2.5 million Palestinians.Palestinians left waiting as Israel rolls out Covid-19 vaccine jabRead More »

They will have to wait for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the occupied West Bank in accordance with interim peace agreements reached in the 1990s, to provide them.

The PA hopes to get vaccines through a World Health Organisation-led partnership with humanitarian organisations known as Covax, which has so far fallen short of the 2 billion doses it hopes to buy over the next years for those in poor countries.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Palestinians have only one refrigeration unit capable of storing the Pfizer vaccine. 

The Palestinian Authority has reported more than 85,000 cases in the West Bank, including more than 800 deaths, and the outbreak has intensified in recent weeks.

The situation is even more dire in Gaza, home to two million Palestinians and which has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power in 2007. Authorities there have reported over 30,000 cases, including more than 200 deaths.

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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)

When the People Rose up: How the Intifada Changed the Political Discourse on Palestine

December 16, 2020

December 8 marks the 33rd anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada. (Photo: File)

By Ramzy Baroud

December 8 came and went as if it was an ordinary day. For Palestinian political groups, it was another anniversary to be commemorated, however hastily. It was on this day, thirty-three years ago, that the First Palestinian Intifada (uprising) broke out, and there was nothing ordinary about this historic event.

Today, the uprising is merely viewed from a historic point of view, another opportunity to reflect and, perhaps, learn from a seemingly distant past. Whatever political context to the Intifada, it has evaporated over time.

The simple explanation of the Intifada goes as follows: Ordinary Palestinians at the time were fed up with the status quo and they wished to ‘shake off’ Israel’s military occupation and make their voices heard.

Expectedly, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) quickly moved in to harvest the fruit of the people’s sacrifices and translate them into tangible political gains, as if the traditional Palestinian leadership truly and democratically represented the will of the Palestinian people. The outcome was a sheer disaster, as the Intifada was used to resurrect the careers of some Palestinian ‘leaders’, who claimed to be mandated by the Palestinians to speak on their behalf, resulting in the Madrid Talks in 1991, the Oslo Accords in 1993 and all other ‘compromises’ ever since.

But there is more to the story.

Thousands of Palestinians, mostly youth, were killed by the Israeli army during the seven years of Intifada, where Israel treated non-violent protesters and rock-throwing children, who were demanding their freedom, as if enemy combatants. It was during these horrific years that such terms as ‘shoot to kill’ and ‘broken-bones policies’ and many more military stratagems were introduced to an already violent discourse.

In truth, however, the Intifada was not a mandate for Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian official or faction to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people, and was certainly not a people’s call on their leadership to offer unreciprocated political compromises.

To understand the meaning of the Intifada and its current relevance, it has to be viewed as an active political event, constantly generating new meanings, as opposed to a historical event of little relevance to today’s realities.

Historically, the Palestinian people have struggled with the issue of political representation. As early as the mid-20th century, various Arab regimes have claimed to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, thus, inevitably using Palestine as an item in their own domestic and foreign policy agendas.

The use and misuse of Palestine as an item in some imagined collective Arab agenda came to a relative end after the humiliating defeat of several Arab armies in the 1967 war, known in Arabic as the ‘Naksa’, or the ‘Letdown’. The crisis of legitimacy was meant to be quickly resolved when the largest Palestinian political party, Fatah, took over the leadership of the PLO. The latter was then recognized in 1974 during the Arab Summit in Rabat, as the ‘sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people’.

The above statement alone was meant to be the formula that resolved the crisis of representation, therefore drowning out all other claims made by Arab governments. That strategy worked, but not for long. Despite Arafat’s and Fatah’s hegemony over the PLO, the latter did, in fact, enjoy a degree of legitimacy among Palestinians. At that time, Palestine was part and parcel of a global national liberation movement, and Arab governments, despite the deep wounds of war, were forced to accommodate the aspirations of the Arab people, keeping Palestine the focal issue among the Arab masses as well.

However, in the 1980s, things began changing rapidly. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 resulted in the forced exile of tens of thousands of Palestinian fighters, along with the leaderships of all Palestinian groups, leading to successive and bloody massacres targeting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The years that followed accentuated two grave realities. First, the Palestinian leadership shifted its focus from armed struggle to merely remaining relevant as a political actor. Now based in Tunis, Arafat, Abbas and others were issuing statements, sending all kinds of signals that they were ready to ‘compromise’ – as per the American definitions of this term. Second, Arab governments also moved on, as the growing marginalization of the Palestinian leadership was lessening the pressure of the Arab masses to act as a united front against Israeli military occupation and colonialism in Palestine.

It was at this precise moment in history that Palestinians rose and, indeed, it was a spontaneous movement that, at its beginning, involved none of the traditional Palestinian leadership, Arab regimes, or any of the familiar slogans. I was a teenager in a Gaza refugee camp when all of this took place, a true popular revolution being fashioned in a most organic and pure form. The use of a slingshot to counter Israeli military helicopters; the use of blankets to disable the chains of Israeli army tanks; the use of raw onions to assuage the pain of inhaling teargas; and, more importantly, the creation of language to respond to every violent strategy employed by the Israeli army, and to articulate the resistance of Palestinians on the ground in simple, yet profound slogans, written on the decaying walls of every Palestinian refugee camp, town or city.

While the Intifada did not attack the traditional leadership openly, it was clear that Palestinians were seeking alternative leadership. Grassroots local leadership swiftly sprang out from every neighborhood, every university and even in prison, and no amount of Israeli violence was able to thwart the natural formation of this leadership.

It was unmistakably clear that the Palestinian people had chosen a different path, one that did not go through any Arab capital – and certainly not through Tunis. Not that Palestinians at the time quit seeking solidarity from their Arab brethren, or the world at large. Instead, they sought solidarity that does not subtract the Palestinian people from their own quest for freedom and justice.

Years of relentless Israeli violence, coupled with the lack of a political strategy by the Palestinian leadership, sheer exhaustion, growing factionalism and extreme poverty brought the Intifada to an end.

Since then, even the achievements of the Intifada were tarnished, where the Palestinian leadership has used it to revive itself politically and financially, reaching the point of arguing that the dismal Oslo Accords and the futile peace process were, themselves, direct ‘achievements’ of the Intifada.

The true accomplishment of the Intifada is the fact that it almost entirely changed the nature of the political equation pertaining to Palestine, imposing the ‘Palestinian people’, not as a cliche used by the Palestinian leadership and Arab governments to secure for themselves a degree of political legitimacy, but as an actual political actor.

Thanks to the Intifada, the Palestinian people have demonstrated their own capacity at challenging Israel without having their own military, challenging the Palestinian leadership by organically generating their own leaders, confronting the Arabs and, in fact, the whole world, regarding their own moral and legal responsibilities towards Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Very few popular movements around the world, and throughout modern history, can be compared to the First Intifada, which remains as relevant today as it was when it began thirty-three years ago.

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

Israel’s Honeymoon with the United Arab Emirates Is Grotesque

By Belén Fernández

Global Research,

December 10, 2020Jacobin 7 December 2020

Since normalizing relations in September, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have teamed up to do what both do best: trample on democratic freedoms, commit atrocities, and whitewash occupation.

***

Back in 2010, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman issued the following complaint: “Destructive critics dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too.”

Never mind that Israel never “left” Gaza — or that even if Hamas had managed to transform the diminutive Palestinian coastal enclave into the capital of Iran, international law would not have authorized the Israelis to then convert it into the “world’s largest open-air prison.” It’s also unclear how any territory could be turned into Dubai while under siege and frequent bombardment, or how Gazans would go about building malls with ski slopes — or building anything, for that matter — when Israel intermittently blocks construction materials from coming into the narrow strip of land.

Now, courtesy of the September normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates — the culmination of a long-standing clandestine love affair — it seems the Palestinians will finally get to experience a taste of Dubai. (And Emirati alcohol consumers will get a taste of Israeli-made wine from the illegally occupied Golan Heights.)

In a recent CNN dispatch titled “The UAE and Israel’s whirlwind honeymoon has gone beyond normalization,” correspondent Ben Wedeman writes of the “mutual enthusiasm” infecting the Israeli government and the federation of Arab sheikhdoms, so much so that the UAE “appears to have dropped, in practical terms, any objections to Israel’s occupation of Arab lands.” That’s no accident. Disappearing the occupation is a primary function of normalization, fitting right in with the Friedmanite approach to Middle East peace, which posits that, if the Palestinians would just stop bitching about being occupied and massacred and get on with their lives, they, too, could be Dubai — the equivalent of telling a person in a burning house to simply ignore the flames.A Special Relationship Born in Hell: The US Should Cut all Ties with War Criminal Israel

Wedeman catalogues the perks of the overzealous Emirati-Israeli honeymoon: mutual visa exemption, the aforementioned wine, an excursion to the UAE by Israeli settler leaders from the West Bank, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi scheduled to start early next year, and an arrangement where the UAE will “finance with the US and Israel a project to ‘modernize’ Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank used to control and monitor the movement of Palestinians.”

Presumably, “modernization” does not mean that Israeli soldiers will stop beatingkilling, detaining, and otherwise abusing Palestinians at checkpoints. But perhaps the Emiratis can help install state-of-the-art mobile maternity wards to deal with the Palestinian women forced to give birth there.

To be sure, it’s not like the checkpoints aren’t “modern” enough already. As NBC News reported last year, Microsoft has “invested in a startup that uses facial recognition to surveil Palestinians throughout the West Bank, in spite of the tech giant’s public pledge to avoid using the technology if it encroaches on democratic freedoms.”

That’s no turnoff for the UAE, where democratic freedoms are entirely absent and the slightest criticism of the government is grounds for detentiontorture, or disappearance. And what do you know: Emirati-Israeli collaboration regarding surveillance far predated the official unveiling of amorous bilateral relations. In 2015, a Middle East Eye article quoted a description of Abu Dhabi’s Israeli-installed mass civil spying system: “Every person is monitored from the moment they leave their doorstep to the moment they return to it. Their work, social and behavioral patterns are recorded, analyzed and archived.”

Call it modern barbarism — a right-wing neoliberal dream where basic rights are supplanted by skyscrapers, artificial islands, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, and other distracting obscenities built on the backs of a migrant work force toiling in “virtual slavery.”

For their normalization efforts, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Perverse, unless you recall that former US president Barack Obama, the man who ordered the dropping of at least 26,171 bombs on seven Muslim-majority countries in 2016 alone, also received the prize. “Peace,” meanwhile, is not currently an option for Palestinians, Yemenis, and other regional inhabitants whose lives are sacrificed in the interest of arms industry profits and similar fixtures of “modernity” — all with US backing, and an imperial narrative that insists Iran is the one causing all the trouble.

So the honeymooners are getting off scot-free, whether for killing 2,251 people in Gaza in a matter of fifty days or for helping oversee the sexual torture of Yemeni detainees and mass starvation of Yemeni children as part of the Saudi-led coalition. And as normalization forges ahead, it’s nothing short of terrifying that anyone finds this normal.

*

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

Belén Fernández is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at WorkMarytrs Never Die: Travels through South Lebanon, and, most recently, Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin.

Featured image is from DesertpeaceThe original source of this article is JacobinCopyright © Belén FernándezJacobin, 2020

Killed on his birthday: Family grieves Palestinian boy shot by Israeli forces

A few minutes before he was shot, Ali said he did not expect Israeli soldiers to target him ‘because I am a little child’

Ali Abu Alia was killed by Israeli forces on 4 December in his hometown of al-Mughayir (Supplied)

By Shatha Hammad in Ramallah, Occupied West Bank

Published date: 8 December 2020 12:47 UTC | Last update: 4 hours 2 mins ago

When she prepared the traditional Palestinian dish of maqlouba at the weekend for her son Ali Abu Alia, his mother had little idea then that he would not return home to eat it. 

Ali, 15, was shot and killed by Israeli forces after receiving a live bullet in the abdomen. His mother Nihad, 40, still opens his school bag and checks his books and pencils every day.

‘He was planning to buy a cake and celebrate his birthday with his friends on Friday evening’

– Nihad, mother of Ali Abu Alia

On Saturday 4 December, Ali took part in a weekly demonstration against Israeli settlements in his village al-Mughayer, in the north east of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

He was standing among the crowds when an Israeli soldier shot him in the abdomen, killing him on his 15th birthday.

“I made him maqlouba, his favourite dish that he used to ask for every Friday. We waited for him to come back [in order to eat it together], but he did not return home and we never ate it,” his mother, Nihad, told Middle East Eye.

Birthday plans

On the same day he was killed, Ali was planning to throw a small party after the demonstrations to celebrate his birthday with his friends.

“On the night before [his killing], he told me ‘get prepared for my birthday tomorrow’. He was planning to buy a cake and celebrate his birthday with his friends on Friday evening,” she said.

“He was martyred on his birthday, deprived of growing up or realising his dreams.”

Ali, who was a member of his school’s football team, was “obsessed with football” since he was a toddler.

“Last Friday, he participated in a game with his team in Ramallah, but he came back disappointed because the teams drew,” his mother said. “He was dreaming of becoming a famous football player.”

Ali family
Ali’s mother Nihad  (R) and grandmother Khaireya (L) pictured at home (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Nihad, who suffers pain in her feet, says that Ali used to help her put on ointment and massage her feet to relieve the pain.

“He was my right-hand child, he always obeyed me and helped me out. No one is like Ali; he was playful and joyful all the time, which made everyone love him,” she continued.

According to his family, Ali was always subject to Israeli settlers’ attacks, because he used to wander in the village a lot, to graze his family’s animals as a source of living.

Around 3,500 Palestinians live in the al-Mughayer village, many of them clash with Israeli settlers almost on a daily basis, since the village is surrounded by Israeli settlements and military camps.

For the past three years, the confrontations escalated, especially after Israeli settlers tried to establish new settlement outposts in the village. 

His last day

On his birthday, Ali woke up at five in the morning to help his grandfather graze their animals, but he left him a few hours later to join his neighbours and take part in the anti-settlement demonstrations in the Ras al-Teen area, between the villages of al-Mughayer and Kafr Malik.

Ali’s brother, Bassam, 17, says that he saw him approaching the confrontations, so he warned him and asked him twice to stand away from the soldiers.

“I was afraid [he would get hurt], and forced him to stay away. I made sure he was standing at least 160 metres away from the confrontations,” Bassam told MEE. 

“I saw him watching the event with his hands in his pockets. About half an hour later, his friend told me that he got injured.”

A few minutes before he was shot, Ali told his friends that he did not expect that Israeli soldiers would target him “because I am a little child”.

It did not take long before Ali’s father, Ayman, 42, knew that his son was injured.

Ali father
‘They broke my heart by killing my child, I cannot get his face out of my head’: Ali’s father Ayman (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

“The villagers first told me that Ali was shot with a rubber bullet to comfort me, but when I learned that he was transferred to the hospital, I knew that his injury was serious,” Ayman said.

Ali underwent three hours of surgery, where the doctors attempted to stop the internal bleeding caused by the bullet.

“They broke my heart by killing my child, I cannot get his face out of my head,” his father continued. “His voice always resonates in my mind, I see him wherever I look.”

Losing another child

A week before Ali was killed, his brother, Bassam, was injured during the same weekly demonstrations with a rubber-coated metal bullet to his hand.

A few weeks earlier, he was also injured by shrapnel of live bullets in the same foot where a two-two bullet, fired with a 10/22 Ruger rifle, is still lodged since last year.

According to the Israeli B’tselem group, the use of this weapon has elicited controversy even within the Israeli military, as they can be lethal and inflict serious injuries.US Congresswoman Betty McCollum denounces Israel’s ‘state-sponsored killing’ of Palestinian childRead More »

“It is true that I have got injured multiple times, but I am just like the other villagers, I go to defend the lands of our village,” Bassam told MEE. “We cannot stand there and watch settlers continuing to steal what is left of our lands.”

In December 2010, Ali’s parents lost their first child, Wessam, 10, after he was diagnosed with cancer. But they “did not expect to lose another child”.

“When Bassam got injured last week, I cried a lot and was terrified [I would lose him], I did not expect to lose one of them forever, and that it would be Ali.”

Ali’s grandmother, Khaireya, 75, told MEE that her grandson accompanied her most of the day to help her graze the animals.

“He used to help me feed the sheep and milk them. He left our home as a flower, and came back as a martyr,” she said.

“Ali and his grandfather were routinely attacked by [Israeli] settlers who prevented them from reaching their land,” she recalled.

“We always live in a state of fear of the settlers who point their weapons at us and threaten us. They even tried to throw our children in wells we use to graze the sheep.”

The Israeli authorities confiscated a large part of the lands of the Abu Alia family, while the rest of their land remains hard to reach because of the settlers’ attacks.

“We grow barley to feed our sheep, but the settlers always harvest and steal it. They seized four wells that belonged to our family and prevented us from using them,” she continued.

“They do all that under the protection of the [Israeli] army, while there is no one to protect us.”

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Detainee Maher Al-Akhras Released

Source

 NOV 26, 2020

Maher al-Akhras, a Palestinian political prisoner who held a hunger strike for 103 days, rejecting his arbitrary Administrative Detention without charges or trial, was released on Thursday morning.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Al-Akhras, 49, was released, and was moved to a Palestinian hospital.

Al-Akhras, from Sielet ath-Thaher town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, went on hunger strike on the day of his abduction, on July 27th 2020, after Israel slapped him with a four-month Administrative Detention order.

During his hunger strike, Israeli intelligence officers tried to get him to quit his strike, by promising without guarantees that the Administrative Detention order will be renewed just one time.

Despite his seriously deteriorating condition during his strike, the detainee refused to end the strike, and insisted on being released.

He suspended the strike after the final commitment by the Israeli authorities to release him on November 26, 2020, and a firm commitment not to renew his administrative detention, as he will spend the remaining period until his release receiving hospital treatment.

Freed Prisoner Al-Akhras Hails Al-Manar TV for Supporting Palestinian Cause: Hezbollah Taught US to Not Negotiate Rights with Zionist Enemy

Capture

The Palestinian ex-prisoner, Maher Al-Akhras, who embraced martyrdom on Thursday thanked Al-Manar TV Channel for its continuous support to the Palestinian cause and resistance.

“Hezbollah taught us not to negotiate rights with the Israeli enemy, and we applied this lesson,”Al-Akhras stressed in an interview with Al-Manar TV.

Sayyed Nasrallah once told the Israelis that as they invaded Lebanon without negotiations, they would be expelled without negotiations, according to Al-Akhras who added that they he memorized this statement.

Al-Akhras was released two weeks after he ended his 103-day hunger strike in protest against the Israeli administrative detention policy.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Maher Al-Akhras Embraces Freedom After Hunger Battle’s Win

Maher Al-Akhras Embraces Freedom After Hunger Battle’s Win

By Staff

‘Israeli’ occupation authorities released Palestinian detainee Maher al-Akhras Thursday morning.

In early November, the Palestinian Prisoner Club announced that the hunger-striking detainee, Maher al-Akhras, has put his hunger strike on hold, after 103 days without eating, following a deal that provides his release on November 26. He was set to spend the remaining period in hospital where he was receiving medical treatment.

In a statement, al-Akhras said that he went for the hunger strike “on behalf of our people and detainees,” adding that “the poor people are killed and detained while nobody is asking about them.”

The liberated detainee stressed that the occupation has been “exposed” through this strike, and thanked all those who stood by him and supported his cause.

Hence, al-Akhras, whose health hardly deteriorated in the last days of his strike, has emerged victorious against the occupation’s supreme court’s decision, which previously rejected all petitions presented by his lawyer to release him immediately, the last of which was in October.

Maher al-Akhras was detained on July 27. He was transferred to the ‘Hawara’ Prison where he started his open hunger strike. He was then transferred to ‘Ofer’ Prison before moving him to administrative detention for 4 months, and the court adopted his detention order later.

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Canada, U.S. have ‘selective’ approach toward human rights: lawyer

By Mohammad Mazhari

November 23, 2020 – 10:56

Sari Bashi, a consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN)

TEHRAN – A human rights lawyer says the U.S. and Canada follow double standards toward human rights, noting that they “support human rights selectively”.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Sari Bashi, a consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN), says that U.S. policy in terms of human rights is not consistent. 

“Unfortunately, the United States and Canada support human rights selectively, and the United States, in particular, has not done nearly enough to call out its allies for human rights abuses,” Bashi points out.

Canada and the U.S. accuse other countries of human rights violations while they themselves sell weapons to tyrannical regimes in West Asia, which are used against defenseless people, especially in Yemen. 

Canada claims a global reputation as a human rights defender, while the Ottawa government has a bad record when it comes to the rights of the indigenous peoples. According to reports revealed by the Human Rights Watch, the Natives are deprived of the right to safe drinking water, and police mistreat and abuse indigenous women and girls.

Bashi also says the U.S. is misusing its influence to allow its allies, such as Israel, to commit crimes.

 The following is the text of the interview:

Q: Certain Western states have a bad record in view of human rights, so are these countries entitled to condemn other countries?

  A: I think the fact that all authorities abuse human rights do not disqualify any particular government from raising human rights issues with others. Certainly, the best way to encourage respect for human rights is to lead by example, and every government in the world that has invested more energy in improving in own human rights record could be more credible to criticize other government who may not be; but at the same time I think it is always legitimate to raise the issue of human rights abuses and we should make sure that we are holding our governments accountable to universal standards of human rights as articulated by international instruments.

“We should make sure that we are holding our governments accountable to universal standards of human rights as articulated by international instruments,” the consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN) says. Q: When it comes to Israeli crimes against Palestinians, why do countries like Canada and the U.S. give full support to Tel-Aviv? How is it possible that Israel wins such support?

A: I think lack of accountability for Israeli violations of human rights and international law against Palestinians reflects a weakness in accountability of the international system.

Unfortunately, the UN Security Council cannot act in the Israel-Palestine case because of the veto power of powerful members, especially the United States, while other mechanisms of accountability such as the International Criminal Court are struggling to have jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Palestine. So we have a lot of work to do in obtaining a stronger mechanism of accountability, and the fact that Israel enjoys such a strong military and financial support from the United States reflects a distorted political system in which the U.S. as a superpower is using its significant influence to allow its allies to commit abuses.

Q: Why is Canada not really concerned about human rights violations when it clinches arms deals with a value of 15 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia? Is it justifiable to say that Canada is not aware that these weapons are used against children and women in Yemen?

A: Canada, like all countries, has a responsibility to ensure that it does not violate human rights or international humanitarian law including in its military deals; so selling weapons to actors who are committing war crimes in Yemen will be a violation of Canada’s obligations and certainly, the Canadian government and the Canadian people have a responsibility to ensure that their foreign policy respects human rights and does not contribute to war crimes. 

Q: Washington has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran that are hampering Iran’s access to medicine. At such a hard time, countries like Canada have been cooperating with Washington in pushing ahead with its unilateral sanctions by refusing to sell humanitarian goods to Iran.  What is your comment?

 A: Unfortunately, the United States and Canada support human rights selectively, and the United States, in particular, has not done nearly enough to call out its allies for human rights abuses. At DAWN, we believe that U.S. policy should be consistent. So the same standard in terms of respecting human rights that are applied towards Iran should also be applied towards Israel and every other country because these are universal standards of how government should treat the people under their control.

Q: Why have Western countries, especially Canada and the U.S., preferred to turn a blind eye to Khashoggi’s murder while they knew that Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for that crime? How could Saudis distract attention away from their crimes and influence human rights bodies in the UN?

A: I think the lack of accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi reflects a weakness in the system of international politics and especially the United States, which is selling Saudi Arabia billions of dollars in the arms trade and providing diplomatic cover that allows the Saudi government to act with impunity. The lack of accountability for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder regarding the role of Mohammad Bin Salman indicates that real change is needed. What is encouraging is that in the United States, there is pressure not just from the American people but also in the American Congress seeking accountability, and I remind that the U.S. Congress has required the federal government to provide information about those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in the form of a DNI (Director of National Intelligence) report that was to be published last year. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has ignored that mandate and refused to release the report.  The refusal is the subject of litigation in U.S. courts, and we hope that the incoming administration will follow the law and do what Congress has required, which is to reveal what American intelligence services know about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. 

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Hezbollah Rocketry Power Has imposed on ‘Israel’ Balance of Deterrence Since 1996 Aggression: Eye for Eye

201922819593219407

 April 17, 2020

Mohammad Salami

Lebanon marks Saturday, April 8, the 24th anniversary of the Israeli massacre against the Lebanese innocent civilians and the UNIFIL troops in the southern town of Qana as over 106 martyrs were claimed by the Zionist artillery shells.

Qana massacre was one of the atrocities committed by the Israeli enemy forces against the Lebanese civilians during the 16-day aggression it launched on April 11, 1996, in order to strike the Resistance power.

In response, Hezbollah decided to confront the Israeli war in a way that deters the enemy’s arrogance and prevent it from reaching its targets.

Hezbollah Secretary General on that day threatened to fire missiles at the Zionist settlements in northern occupied Palestine in response to any Israeli military escalation, refuting the Israeli PM Shimon Perez’s pledges to restore security and stability in the north of the occupation entity.

Hezbollah fired hundreds of Katyusha missiles at the Zionist settlements in northern occupied Palestine, inflicting considerable losses upon them and forcing hundreds of thousands of settlers to resort to the basements.

The 16-day fierce confrontation came to an end when the Zionist enemy failed to defeat the Lebanese Resistance’s rocketry power which imposed new rules of engagement on the Israelis.

The ceasefire pact recognized Hezbollah right to strike the Israeli settlements in response to any Zionist attack on the Lebanese civilians, giving the Resistance an international legitimacy.

This diplomatic achievement relied also on heavy sacrifices made by the Lebanese Resistance, Army and people, knowing that the Israeli aggression left a large number of martyrs and injuries.

Hezbollah rocketry power consecrated a new balance of deterrence, forcing the Israeli enemy to stop its aggression, granting Lebanon a major victory over the Zionist “Grapes of Wrath” despite the heavy losses it inflicted upon the Lebanese.

Since 1996, the missile power of Hezbollah has forces the Zionist enemy to subdue to new rules of engagement based on paying heavy prices for its crimes, following the principle “eye for eye”.

It was 2 p.m. on April 18, 1996, when the Israeli occupation struck a position for the UNIFIL troops (Fijian brigade), killing 106 innocent civilians and injuring dozens.

The Lebanese civilians escaped from the Israeli shells during the 1996 war and resorted to the UNIFIL position, supposing that the UN umbrella could protect them from the Zionist barbarism.

The UN Security Council held an urgent session to condemn the Israeli massacre; however, US vetoed the resolution.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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