Israel approves budget for new illegal settlement for Amona evacuees

Illegal settlement Beit El

Palestinians walking near the Israeli settlement of Beit El, in the occupied West Bank, on April 7, 2015

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli government approved the budget of the illegal Amihai settlement on Sunday, to allow construction for Israel’s first new official settlement to be established in the occupied West Bank in 25 years — in order to house settlers from the Amona outpost, which was demolished by order of the Israeli Supreme Court in February.

The budget, amounting to some 60 million shekels (approximately $16 million), was confirmed by Israel’s cabinet during its weekly meeting, and will be transferred to the jurisdiction of Israel’s interior ministry to carry out the construction.
Israeli authorities broke ground on the settlement, located in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, in June. However, the construction was later frozen owing to a lack of funds.
Amihai’s future residents, who aggressively resisted their evacuation from Amona in February, resulting in the injury of dozens of Israeli soldiers who did little to suppress the violence — thanked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the interior minister for promoting the illegal settlement.
Israeli news site Arutz Sheva quoted Amona leader Avichai Boaron as saying that “after long weeks in which work to establish the new community did not move forward and after a rollercoaster week before the decision was taken, we cautiously welcome the decision which will lead to resumption of work.”
Boaron added that “we congratulate the prime minister and his bureau on promoting the decision. The prime minister proved that he is committed to Amona members, but this commitment will be fulfilled when we enter the new town.”
The 40 families have reportedly since been living in the Ofra field school in another illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, Palestinians from the village of Jalud who claim they own the land where Amihai is being built, have filed a case with Israel’s Higher Planning Council of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), while Israeli rights group Yesh Din has petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court against the decision to establish the new settlement.
According to Israeli watchdog Peace Now, Amihai’s construction is aimed at expanding the already-established Shilo settlement towards the Jordan Valley. The adjacent Shvut Rachel East settlement was also approved in February, but the Israeli government has considered it a “neighborhood of Shilo” instead of an official settlement.
The Amihai settlement, Peace Now reported, would be located near Shvut Rachel East on adjacent hilltops. “Under the disguise of ‘compensation’ to the Amona settlers, two new settlements, located one next to the other, are now in the making,” the group said back in May.
“The two new settlements are located in a region that serves as focal point of settler land takeover and settler violence, preventing Palestinians from reaching their lands,” the group added.
There are some 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory, all considered illegal under international law.
While settlement outposts such as Amona have been considered illegal even under Israeli domestic law, earlier this year, Israel passed the outpost Regularization law, which paves the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.
Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law. The international community has consistently said that their presence on occupied Palestinian territory was a major impediment to peace in the region.
Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi slammed the Israeli plan for the new settlement in March, saying that it “once again proves that Israel is more committed to appeasing its illegal settler population than to abiding by the requirements for stability and a just peace.”
(Source / 03.09.2017)

Palestinians are being arrested by Israel for posting on Facebook

(old article, but just for info / June 29, 2017)

Facebook logo [West McGowan/Flickr]

By Asa Winstanley

One of the more insidious aspects of Israel’s military dictatorship in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is its blanket monitoring of Palestinian social networks and other forms of communication via the internet. This often leads to arrests being made. A recent report by 7amleh, the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement, names 21 Palestinians who have been imprisoned or detained by Israel for their posts on Facebook.

An ongoing narrative popular among Israeli propagandists in the past few years blames the nebulous concept of “incitement” for the phenomenon of Palestinians fighting back against Israel’s brutal occupation forces. A Mossad proxy organisation misleadingly known as the “Israel Law Centre” (aka Shurat HaDin) has even launched lawsuits against Facebook for supposedly facilitating terrorism. A US federal court threw the billion-dollar case out in May.

Last year, Israel’s anti-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) minister Gilad Erdan claimedthat Israeli blood was “on the hands of Facebook” and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Shurat HaDin even organised a campaign to raise money for a billboard that would have been erected outside Zuckerberg’s home

Read: Israel arrests hundreds of Palestinians over Facebook posts

The real reason that, since October 2015, many (often young) Palestinians have taken it upon themselves to attack Israeli occupation forces and settlers is far simpler than “incitement”: occupation is violence; Palestinian violence is, therefore, almost by definition, a reaction to the violence of the occupation. It is a response to the far greater violence imposed by Israel and its racist military dictatorship in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

International law has long stated that people living under military occupation or colonial domination have the right to fight against it using all legitimate means, including armed struggle. UN General Assembly resolution 3246 of 29 November 1974, for example, “Reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.”

The same resolution explicitly includes the Palestinian people as being an example of people living under such “colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation.” Hence, as long as Israel’s violent colonial occupation of Palestine continues, resistance to it is inevitable, including armed resistance.

Read: 400 Palestinians arrested for Facebook posts

Nonetheless, the armed wings of the organised Palestinian political factions have been inactive since the last Israeli offensive against Gaza in 2014. During the hostilities, Palestine’s Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas — acted in a defensive capacity, striking exclusively at Israeli soldiers engaged in the attack on Gaza. The mostly-young Palestinians involved in attacks since October 2015 have acted spontaneously and of their own volition. Their acts have come as responses to the every-day violence that they endure at the hands of the Israeli occupation, and are almost certainly not the result of “incitement” online. Israel’s refusal to recognise the basic reality of the situation (even disputing the legitimacy of the word “occupation” in the West Bank) means that it also refuses to accept this fact.

As a result, one of Israel’s more recent scapegoats has been “incitement” on Facebook. The fact that Israel operates a military dictatorship in the occupied territories tells us all we need to know; it has no inclination to allow Palestinians any freedom of speech. The result is that Israel has arrested hundreds of Palestinians for the crime of “incitement” since October 2015.

The new 7amleh report, Hashtag Palestine 2016, details examples of the 21 Palestinians arrested by the Israeli army due to Facebook posts. They include Samah Dweik, a 25-year-old Palestinian journalist arrested in Jerusalem who spent six months in Israeli jails for the “crime” of expressing support for Palestinians who had been killed by Israel. At the time of her arrest, Dweik had been covering the arrest of a young girl who was accused of attempting to stab a soldier.

Also detailed is Mohammad Amarneh, a Palestinian teenager arrested and detained for three months without trial. A military “judge” decided to intern Amarneh on the basis of unspecified crimes against “state security” supposed to have been committed by him in a Facebook post. The teenager denied the allegations and said that he did not even have a Facebook account.

The report also lists some of the most popular and influential social media campaigns that Palestinians launched in 2016. The biggest, in terms of interactions and results on search engine listings, was #FBCensorsPalestine.

#OccupiedPalestine

This was a campaign which raised awareness of Facebook’s apparent censorship of Palestinian content. Israeli ministers had met with a delegation from Facebook and submitted 158 requests to remove “inciting content” and the company allegedly complied with 95 per cent of them. After the Palestinian campaign, Facebook denied signing this agreement.

There was, though, no doubt that the Facebook accounts of two influential Palestinian journalists had been suspended; they were later restored. Speaking to The Electronic Intifada, Facebook apologised and said that the suspensions had been a mistake. “The pages were removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate,” a spokesperson said. “Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake.”

The accounts belonged to the administrators of Quds and Shehab News Agency, which together then had more than 11 million Facebook “likes”, making them two of the most widely read Palestinian publications on the internet. Facebook should not be allowed to get away with acting as a proxy for Israeli military

(Source / 03.09.2017)

Palestinian injured detainee succumbs to his wounds

al-salhi 21 died

Palestinian detainee Raed al-Salhi, 21, died on Sunday due to injuries he sustained after being shot by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in August.

Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission confirmed the death of Salhi in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital where he has been detained since his injury on 9th August.

Head of the Commission, Isa Qaraqe, said in a statement that IOF soldiers shot Salhi many times near the entrance to Doheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem and that he was left bleeding for a long time before being transferred to the hospital while in a critical condition.

According to PIC reporter, Salhi was severely injured after the IOF raided his house and shot him from zero distance.

He reported that Salha, who was in a very serious health condition and who has been in a coma since the first moment of his detention, remained detained in the intensive care unit until he was pronounced dead today.

For his part, media spokesman of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies, Riyad al-Ashqar, held the Israeli forces responsible for the death of Salhi, pointing to the deliberate medical negligence policy practiced against him.

He added that two other Palestinians, namely, Mohammed al-Jallad, 24, and Fatima Taqatqa, 16, died in 2017 after being shot by the Israeli soldiers and arrested despite their injury.

Salhi’s death brought the number of the Palestinian prisoners who died while in detention to 212, four of whom were killed during the Jerusalem Intifada which erupted in October 2015.

(Source / 03.09.2017)

Israel Seeks ‘Jewish’ Non-Jews in Numbers Battle with Palestinians

Jonathan Cook
By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered a crushing rebuke to the perennial optimists roused to hopes of imminent peace by the visit to the Middle East last week of Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. At an event on Monday in the West Bank celebrating the half-centenary of Israeli occupation, Netanyahu effectively admitted that US efforts to revive the peace process would prove another charade.

There would be no dismantling of the settlements or eviction of their 600,000 inhabitants – the minimum requirement for a barely feasible Palestinian state. “We are here to stay forever,” Netanyahu reassured his settler audience. “We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle.”

So where is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict heading if the two-state solution is dead? The answer: back to its origins. That will entail another desperate numbers battle against the Palestinians – with Israel preparing to create new categories of “Jews” so they can be recruited to the fray.

Demography was always at the heart of Israeli policy. During the 1948 war that founded a Jewish state on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland, 750,000 Palestinians were expelled in a campaign that today would be termed ethnic cleansing. By the end, a large native Palestinian majority had been reduced to less than a fifth of the new state’s population. David Ben Gurion, the country’s founding father, was unperturbed. He expected to swamp this rump group with Jews from Europe and the Arab world.

But the project foundered on two miscalculations.

First, Ben Gurion had not factored in the Palestinian minority’s far higher birth rate. Despite waves of Jewish immigrants, Palestinians have held fast, at 20 per cent of Israel’s citizenry. Israel has fought a rearguard battle against them ever since. Studies suggest that the only Israeli affirmative action programme for Palestinian citizens is in family planning.

Israeli demographic scheming was on show again last week. An investigation by the Haaretz newspaper found that in recent years, Israel has stripped of citizenship potentially thousands of Bedouin, the country’s fastest-growing population. Israel claims bureaucratic “errors” were made in registering their parents or grandparents after the state’s founding.

Meanwhile, another Rubicon was crossed this month when an Israeli court approved revoking the citizenship of a Palestinian convicted of a lethal attack on soldiers. Human rights groups fear that, by rendering him stateless, the Israeli right has established a precedent for conditioning citizenship on “loyalty”.

Justice minister Ayelet Shaked underlined that very point this week when she warned the country’s judges that they must prioritize demography and the state’s Jewishness over human rights.

The second miscalculation arrived in 1967. In seizing the last fragments of historic Palestine but failing to expel most of the inhabitants, Israel made itself responsible for many hundreds of thousands of additional Palestinians, including refugees from the earlier war.

The “demographic demon”, as it is often referred to in Israel, was held at bay only by bogus claims for many decades that the occupation would soon end. In 2005, Israel bought a little more breathing space by “disengaging” from the tiny Gaza enclave and its 1.5 million inhabitants.

Now, in killing hopes of Palestinian statehood, Netanyahu has made public his intention to realise the one settler-state solution. Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s chief rival in the government, is itching to ignore international sentiment and begin annexing large parts of the West Bank.

There is a problem, however. At least half the population in Netanyahu’s Greater Israel are Palestinian. And with current birth rates, Jews will soon be an indisputable minority – one ruling over a Palestinian majority.

That is the context for understanding the report of a government panel – leaked last weekend – that proposes a revolutionary reimagining of who counts as a Jew and therefore qualifies to live in Israel (and the occupied territories).

Israel’s 1950 Law of Return already casts the net wide, revising the traditional rabbinical injunction that a Jew must be born to a Jewish mother. Instead, the law entitles anyone with one Jewish grandparent to instant citizenship. That worked fine as long as Jews were fleeing persecution or economic distress. But since the arrival of 1 million immigrants following the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the pool of new Jews has dried up.

The United States, even in the Trump era, has proved the bigger magnet. The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported last month that up to one million Israelis may be living there. Worse for Netanyahu, it seems that at least some are included in Israeli figures to bolster its demographic claims against the Palestinians.

Recent trends show that the exodus of Israelis to the US is twice as large as the arrival of American Jews to Israel. With 150 Israeli start-ups reported in Silicon Valley alone, that tendency is not about to end.

With a pressing shortage of Jews to defeat the Palestinians demographically, the Netanyahu government is considering a desperate solution. The leaked report suggests opening the doors to a new category of “Jewish” non-Jews. According to Haaretz, potentially millions of people worldwide could qualify. The new status would apply to “crypto-Jews”, whose ancestors converted from Judaism; “emerging Jewish” communities that have adopted Jewish practices; and those claiming to be descended from Jewish “lost tribes”.

Though they will initially be offered only extended stays in Israel, the implication is that this will serve as a prelude to widening their entitlement to eventually include citizenship. The advantage for Israel is that most of these “Jewish” non-Jews currently live in remote, poor or war-torn parts of the world, and stand to gain from a new life in Israel – or the occupied territories.

That is the great appeal to the die-hard one-staters like Netanyahu and Bennett. They need willing footsoldiers in the battle to steal Palestinian land, trampling on internationally recognized borders and hopes of peace-making.

Will they get away with it? They may think so, especially at a time when the US administration claims it would show “bias” to commit itself to advancing a two-state solution. Trump has said the parties should work out their own solution. Netanyahu soon may have the arithmetic to do so.

Israel releases Palestinian circus performer from administrative detention

Muhammad Abu Sakha

Muhammad Abu Sakha

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Wednesday night released Palestinian circus performer Muhammad Abu Sakha to his home in the Jenin district of the northern West Bank, after serving 20 months in administrative detention, according to Israeli and international media.Abu Sakha, 24, was working as a circus performer and teacher at the Palestinian Circus School in Birzeit — where he specialized in working with children with learning difficulties — when he was detained on Dec. 14, 2015.His case sparked international outcry against Israel’s use of administrative detention, which is almost exclusively used by the Israeli state against Palestinians, and allows for detention without charge or trial.While Israeli authorities are only permitted to sentence someone to administrative detention for a maximum of six months, the order can be renewed an indefinite amount of times without having to show evidence of wrongdoing.While Abu Sakha was never officially charged, Israeli media linked his detention to his alleged involvement with the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) movement, which Israel considers a terrorist organization.

Human rights group Amnesty International previously said that it feared that Israeli authorities “are using administrative detention as a method of punishing Muhammad Faisal Abu Sakha without prosecuting him, which would amount to arbitrary detention.”
Rights groups have long accused Israeli authorities of using administrative detention to imprison Palestinian activists, journalists, students, and politicians without any proof of wrongdoing in order to disrupt social and political life in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“Israel’s use of administrative detention itself may amount to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, given the detainee’s inability to know why they are being detained or when they will be released,” Amnesty International said.
According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there were 6,128 Palestinians in Israeli prisons as of July, including 450 held in administrative detention.
(Source / 03.09.2017)

Israel releases PLC member after 22 months in administrative detention

Hassan Yousif released

Hassan Yousif

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) released Hassan Yousif, a senior leader of the Hamas movement and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in the occupied West Bank, from prison on Thursday, after spending nearly two years in administrative detention — Israel’s widely condemned policy of detention without charge or trial.The Jerusalem Post reported that a spokesperson for the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, said of Yousif’s release that “it was no longer necessary” to hold Yousif in prison.Yousif, also known as Hassan Salamah, 60, was detained after Israeli forces raided his house in Beituniya on October 20, 2015 three months after being released from a previous year-long administrative detention amidst accusations of “incitement” against Israel.Israel uses administrative detention almost exclusively against Palestinians. The widely condemned Israeli policy allows for a detainee to be sentenced for up to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.
Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there were 6,128 Palestinians in Israeli prisons as of July, including 12 PLC members, and 450 held in administrative detention.
(Source / 03.09.2017)

Israeli forces open fire on vehicle south of Hebron

Opened fire at Yatta

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces opened fire at a vehicle near the town of Yatta south of Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank on Sunday, locals sources said.

No injuries were reported and the driver fled the scene, after which Israeli army reinforcements arrived to the area and launched a search for the driver, the sources added.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the case.
(Source / 03.09.2017)

Jewish Voice for Peace calls for boycott of free ‘Birthright’ trips to Israel

JVP

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — US-based organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has launched a campaign targeting Birthright Israel, a non-profit organization that sponsors and sends Jewish young adults on a free ten-day trip to Israel that “aims to strengthen Jewish identity, Jewish communities, and connection with Israel and its people,” according to the Birthright website.

JVP, which openly supports the the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other pro-Palestinian movements, launched the “#ReturnTheBirthright” campaign on its website condemning the million-dollar program, saying “Israel is not our birthright.”
“While all Jews worldwide are handed this free trip, and, furthermore, automatic citizenship if they choose to immigrate to Israel, Palestinians are barred from returning to the homes and villages where their ancestors lived for centuries,” JVP said.
The group called the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” in 1948 when the state of Israel was established and Zionist militias expelled over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages “an act of ethnic cleansing,” noting that “when young Jews are taken by Birthright guides on hikes through forests in Israel, they still sometimes stumble across the remnants of these destroyed Palestinian villages, covered over, often deliberately, by the Jewish National Fund’s tree-planting programs.”
“Meanwhile, millions of these Palestinians and their descendants continue to live in refugee camps and elsewhere in the global Palestinian diaspora, unable to return to their homeland, while those that remain in historic Palestine continue to face discriminatory, second-class citizenship within present-day Israel, and permanent military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza,” JVP said.The group implored young Jews between the ages of 18-26 — those eligible for the Birthright trip — to sign a pledge not to play “an active role in helping the state promote Jewish ‘return’ while rejecting the Palestinian right of return.”
“The modern state of Israel is predicated on the ongoing erasure of Palestinians,” JVP said, adding that the Birthright trip “is only ‘free’ because it has been paid for by the dispossession of Palestinians. And as we reject this, we commit to promoting the right to return of Palestinian refugees.”
“Don’t take a trip sponsored by conservative donors and the Israeli government, where the ongoing oppression and occupation of Palestinians will be hidden from you, just because it’s free. There are other ways for us to strengthen our Jewish identities, in community with those who share our values. Israel is not our Birthright,” JVP concluded.Today, 69 years after the Nakba, more than six million Palestinians, whether in the occupied Palestinian territory or in the diaspora, still call for the application of their internationally recognized right of return to their homes and villages in present-day Israel, a right which has been enshrined in international law following the adoption of United Nations Resolution 194.Palestinian legal rights NGO BADIL estimates that 66 percent of the 13 million Palestinians in the world today have been displaced “at least once in their lifetime, with significant numbers experiencing it more than once.”
Meanwhile, Visualizing Palestine detailed in a graphic on the occasion of Nakba Day that 77 percent of former Palestinian towns and villages in present-day Israel had never been built over, corroborating the belief that the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians was part of a plan to ethnically cleanse the area as opposed to a struggle for space between Israelis and Palestinians.
(Source / 03.09.2017)

Palestinian dies weeks after being shot by Israeli forces in al-Duhiesha

Raed al-Salhi flag PFLP

Raed al-Salhi, pictured holding a flag for the leftist PLO faction the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A 21-year-old Palestinian succumbed to critical injuries in an Israeli hospital on Sunday, weeks after he was shot by Israeli forces during a violent detention raid into al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem.

Raed al-Salhi was shot in the liver during a predawn military raid on Aug. 9. Another resident of the camp Aziz Arafeh was also shot in the leg.
The two injured young men were detained by Israeli forces and taken to Israel’s Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. Arafeh has reportedly remained in a stable condition.
Head of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe told Ma’an on Sunday afternoon that al-Salhi succumbed to his wounds.
Shortly after the announcement of al-Salhi’s death, mourners launched a march in al-Duheisha, chanting condolences to his mother and calling for revenge for the killing.
It was later reported that locals in al-Duhiesha refugee camp decided to ban all press from covering al-Salhi’s funeral, due to the apparent lack of coverage by major local media outlets during the weeks of al-Salhi’s hospitalization, according to al-Duheisha al-Hadath, a Facebook page reporting on local events in the camp and across the occupied West Bank.
It remained unclear when the funeral would be held or when al-Salhi’s body would be handed over by Israeli authorities, who routinely detain the bodies of slain Palestinians for extended periods and impose strict restrictions on their funerals.
Qaraqe said he held Israel responsible for the young man’s death, as al-Salhi was shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition at close range. He was believed to have been unarmed.
At the time of the shooting, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that during a raid to detain the two Palestinians, “the suspects attempted to flee the area,” at which point Israeli army soldiers began to chase the Palestinians on foot.
“During the pursuit, soldiers opened fire towards the suspects, injuring them. They were treated at the scene and then evacuated to a hospital for further medical treatment,” the spokesperson said.
Al-Salhi and Arafeh were both presumably unarmed when they were shot, particularly as Israeli army spokespersons will mention when Palestinians throw rocks or Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers during such raids into al-Duheisha.
Lawyer for the prisoners’ committee Karim Ajwa had stated in a report on Aug. 14 that there had been a slight improvement in al-Salhi’s health, who was in the intensive care unit under anesthesia and breathing using a respirator.
Meanwhile, al-Salhi’s brother Bassam al-Salhi was later detained during a raid into the camp on Aug. 16.
In July, 18-year-old Baraa Hamamda, a resident of al-Duheisha, succumbed to wounds sustained in his upper body after he was shot by Israeli forces during a raid into the camp.
Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Due to the typically aggressive nature of the raids, clashes often erupt between local Palestinian youth who throw stones and are met in response with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.
Rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians, particularly in refugee camps, during incidents that did not warrant a violent response.
According to Ma’an documentation, al-Salhi was the 55th Palestinian to be killed by an Israeli since the beginning of 2017. During the same time period, 13 Israelis — almost all of whom were uniformed Israeli officers or settlers residing in Palestinian territory in violation of international law — were killed by Palestinians.
(Source / 03.09.2017)

Hebron’s Governor says Expansion of Settlers’ Municipal Powers Most Dangerous since 1967

03 SEP
5:16 AM

Hebron governor Kamel Hameed, on Saturday, said that the Israeli army’s decision to expand municipal powers of illegal settlers in the city of Hebron is “the most dangerous since 1967”.

He told the official radio station ‘Voice of Palestine’ that the decision is paving the way for undermining Palestinian authority and imposing an Israeli one instead. “The order jeopardizes any political settlement in the area, which stands in contradiction with the peace process and the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Hebron was divided into two sections in the Hebron Protocol signed by the late leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January 1997; “H1 is under full Palestinian control and H2 is under Israeli control”.

While H2 is under Israeli military control, civil issues, such as infrastructure, construction, traffic arrangements, in the settlers section continue to be controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The Israeli army’s order transfers municipal powers from the Palestinian Authority to the Hebron municipal committee under the jurisdiction of Israel’s Ministry of Interior, which constitutes a violation of the Hebron Protocol.

According to WAFA, Hameed warned from the consequences of such decision in the future, saying it will lead to a state of confusion and chaos and will threaten order and stability in the area. He called for urgent political, diplomatic and legal action.

Peace Now, Israeli watchdog group, criticized the decision, “By granting an official status to the Hebron settlers, the Israeli government is formalizing the apartheid system in the city.”

The group said the step, which followed the evacuation of the settlers who took over a house in Hebron, is “another illustration of the policy of compensating the most extreme settlers for their illegal actions.”

The group warned that the order might bring about several implications, including formalizing an apartheid system in Hebron and less transparency regarding fund allocation if municipal issues are handled directly by Israeli settlers in Hebron.

(Source / 03.09.2017)