Palestinian shot dead by PA forces in Nablus

PA forces killed man Nablus

A Palestinian young man was fatally shot by the Palestinian Authority (PA) forces at daybreak Thursday following clashes rocking the Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus province.

According to local sources, clashes burst out in Balata camp between al-Dalhi family and heavily-armed PA officers who stormed the area in the hunt for Ahmed al-Dalahi al-Tirawi.

The clashes started at around 1.30 a.m. and lasted for one hour before they culminated in the murder of al-Dalahi. His brother was left injured in the clashes.

PA sources said that two officers were injured in the clashes and that a weapon and drugs were spotted at the victim’s home.

None of al-Tirawi’s family members were available for an immediate comment on the incident.

(Source / 01.02.2018)

Krähenbühl: UNRWA Cuts Are “Most Severe Crisis in Agency’s History”

01 FEB
8:11 PM

Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl said, on Thursday, that the recent US aid cuts represent the most severe crisis in the agency’s history.

Krähenbühl’s comments came during his speech at the meeting of Arab Foreign ministers, in Cairo, to discuss the Arab action in response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The UN official said the agency is facing an unprecedented financial crisis because of the US decision to reduce its contribution to UNRWA, adding that he has been travelling around the world to call for mobilization to help UNRWA overcome this crisis.

He stressed, according to WAFA, that the UNRWA will work with all states in search of a solution to the crisis.

Krähenbühl said that the Arab countries have pledged to cover 7.8 percent of UNRWA’s annual program budget, but he suggested increasing their donations to 10 percent to help UNRWA meet its commitments towards the Palestinian refugees.

He said that the UNRWA has launched a global campaign to raise funds under the theme of “dignity for Palestinian refugees.”

Despite the current crisis, he said, the agency still opens its schools and clinics.

The United States, the largest contributor to the UNRWA, announced on January 16 that it will withhold $65 million out of $125 million it had planned to send to UNRWA this month.

(Source / 01.02.2018)

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (25 – 31 January 2018)

01 FEB
8:49 PM

Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 25 – 31 January, 2018.

A Palestinian child was killed in al-Mughayer village, northeast of Ramallah, while 12 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 11 of them with live bullets, and one with rubber-coated steel.

(photo: Israeli forces Kill Palestinian Child Laith Haitham Fathi Abu Na’im, 17, in al-Mughayer Village, northeast of Ramallah.)

Shooting:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child in al-Mughayer village, bnortheast of Ramallah in the West Bank and wounded 12 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  In the Gaza Strip as well, the Israeli forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea and target border areas.

 

In the West Bank, in new crime of excessive use of lethal force, on Tuesday, 30 January 2018, Israeli forces killed a 17-year-old Palestinian child when they moved into al-Mughayer village, northeast of Ramallah.  According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses’ accounts on the last crime, at approximately 16:30 on the above-mentioned day, Israeli forces moved into the village and stationed in the center of it.  A number of Palestinian children and youngsters gathered to throw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli vehicles.  A soldier from one of the vehicles immediately fired one bullet that hit Laith Haitham Fathi Abu Na’im (17), entering his right eye and exiting his head.  The wounded child was taken by an ambulance to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive medical treatment and admitted to the Emergency Department; however, he drew his last breath only minutes after.  Eyewitnesses said that the bullet was shot at Abu Na’im at very close range, and he did not pose any threat to the life of the Israeli soldiers.

 

On 31 January 2018, 2 Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli forces moved into Jenin and its refugee camp to carry out an arrest campaign.  A number of Palestinian children and youngsters then gathered to throw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli vehicles.  The Israeli forces immediately fired live and rubber bullets at them, wounding the 2 civilians.  In similar circumstances, a child was wounded with a rubber bullet to the eyelid when Israeli forces moved into the eastern area in Nablus.

 

During the reporting period, the West Bank witnessed protests against the U.S. President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. During the protests, the Israeli forces used force against the protesters, and the shooting to disperse the protests resulted in the injury of one child in Sa’ir village, northeast of Hebron.  The child was hit with a bullet to the foot and then arrested to be taken to an unknown destination.

 

In the Gaza Strip, the border areas with Israel witnessed protests against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it.  During the protests, the Israeli forces used force against the protestors.  Due to opening fire to disperse the protests, 8 Palestinian civilians were wounded, including a child, with live bullets. Four of them, including the child, were wounded in Northern Gaza Strip; 3 in central Gaza Strip; and one in Khan Younis.

 

As part of targeting fishermen in the sea, on 27 January 2018, Israeli gunboats heavily opened fire at the coast line. On the same day, the gunboats opened fire at the fishing boats off al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.  The shooting recurred on 30 and 31 January 2018.

 

As part of targeting the border areas, on 28 January 2018, Israeli soldiers opened fire at the shepherds, east of Gaza Valley village near the eastern borders of the village.  However, no casualties were reported.

 

On 31 January 2018, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Beit Hanoun, opened fire at the border area.  However, neither casualties nor damage was reported.  On the same day, the Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of al-Maghazi refugee camp, opened fire at the agricultural lands in the eastern areas.  The shooting recurred in the same area many times, but no casualties were reported.

Efforts to Create a Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem:

 

As part of demolitions in favour of the settlement projects, on 30 January 2018, Israeli municipality staffs in Jerusalem demolished 6 barracks and 9 commercial and agricultural facilities in al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of the city.  Mohammed Abu al-Humus, Member of the Follow-up Committee in the village, said that the Israeli forces accompanied with staffs from the municipality and Nature Authority moved into the aforementioned village and demolished the facilities in favour of the national parks in the village.

 

Settlement Activities, Demolitions, and Settlers’ Attacks against Palestinian civilians and their Property:

 

As part of house demolitions, on 29 January 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with 5 bulldozers moved into Beir ‘Ounah area, west of Beit Jala, and demolished two under-construction residential buildings in the area under the pretext of non-licensing.  The first building belonged to Walid Rezeq Zarinah and was comprised of 4 floors with 8 residential apartments while the second belonged to Mohammed ‘Abdel Hadi al-Hroub and was comprised of 6 floors with 12 residential apartments.  The demolition of those buildings revealed the Israeli forces’ intention to carry out further demolitions in the area, which is full of residential apartments mostly resided by civilians holding Jerusalemite IDs.  It should be mentioned that Beit ‘Ounah area and al-Weljah village adjacent to the southern borders of occupied Jerusalem are systematically exposed to demolition campaigns to force the residents to leave the area and annex it to the settlements established on Palestinian lands there as part of the “Great Jerusalem” project.  The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem also exerts effective influence over these areas, demolishes houses built without obtaining licenses which are never issued to the residents, and imposes property taxes on the other residents of the area.

 

On the same day, Israeli forces accompanied with vehicles belonging to the Israeli construction and organization Department in the Civil Administration moved into al-Hemarah area in area (C), east of Bet Dajen villages, east of Nablus.  They handed owners of 3 houses demolition notices though the cases of those houses are pending before the Israeli courts.

 

On 31 January 2018, Israeli forces moved into Irfa’iyah area to the east of Yata, south of Hebron.  They dismantled a house built of tin plates on an area of 80 square meters on the house roof of Kamel Rab’ie al-Qadeem.

Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

 

Upon calls for demonstrations protesting against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s Presidential Decree to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it, Palestinian civilians organized protests against the decision throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As a result, 9 civilians, including 2 children, were hit with live bullets. One of the children was arrested. (This number does not include the number of those wounded during the incursions into the West Bank.) It should be mentioned that PCHR keeps the names of wounded persons for fear of arresting them. The demonstrations were as follows:

 

West Bank:

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, 25 January 2018, a number of Palestinian youngsters gathered at the entrance to Beit ‘Oyoun village, east of Hebron, which connects Sa’ir and al-Shuyoukh villages with the Bypass Road (60). The protestors threw stones at Israeli vehicles stationed at the abovementioned entrance. The Israeli soldiers opened fire at the protestors and chased them between houses. As a result, Ahmed ‘Essa Shalaldah (16) was hit with a live bullet to the foot and was transferred to an unknown destination.

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • At approximately 13:00 on Friday, 26 January 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered near the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Khuza’ah and ‘Abasan al-Kabirah and al-Jadidah villages and al-Sarij area, east of al-Qararah, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, in protest against the U.S President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The clashes continued in the area for hours during which the Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence sporadically fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. As a result, an 18-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet wound to the right leg.

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian youngsters made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the northern Gaza Strip. The youngsters approached the security fence, set fire to tires, and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence. The soldiers stationed in military watchtowers in the landfill area, north of the Agriculture School, north of Buret Abu Samrah, north of Beit Lahia, fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 4 civilians, including a child, sustained live bullet wounds. The wounded civilians were transferred by ambulances belonging to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to the Indonesian and Beit Hanoun Hospitals. Doctors there classified 2 civilians’ injuries as serious.

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on the same day, dozens of Palestinian youngsters made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers along the border fence. The clashes continued until the evening hours of the same day. As a result, 3 civilians sustained live bullet wounds to their lower limbs.
  • House Demolitions and Notices:

 

  • On Tuesday, 30 January 2018, the Israeli Municipality staff in occupied Jerusalem demolished 6 barracks and 9 commercial and agricultural facilities in al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of the city. Mohamed Abu al-Humus, Member of the Follow-up Committee in al-Issawiyia village, said that the Israeli forces accompanied with the staffs from the Israeli Municipality and Nature Authority moved into al-‘Issawiyia village and demolished 6 barracks used as stores, restaurants for drinks and fast food. Abu al-Humus also said that the Israeli bulldozers demolished 9 other facilities identified as a farm, fence, office, 2 barracks, 2 chicken coops, a car, and an agricultural room in the area threatened to be confiscated in favor of the National Parks in the village. He added that the Israeli authorities raided other commercial facilities in the village and checked their papers. Moreover, the Israeli forces raided al-‘Issawiyia Medical Center under the pretext of examining a device. Abu al-Humus said that the Israeli forces confiscated vehicles parked on both sides of the road and removed other 20 vehicles under the pretext of mechanical faults. They also stopped vehicles and checked the passengers ‘IDs. The Israeli forces also raided a butcher shop, confiscated cartons of eggs and then threw them into the trash.

 

  • Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

 Israeli forces’ attacks

 

  • On Monday, 29 January 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with 5 bulldozers moved into Beir ‘Ounah area, west of Beit Jala city. They demolished 2 under-construction buildings under the pretext of non-licensing. According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses’ statements, at approximately 08:00, Israeli forces moved into Beir ‘Ounah area, imposed a military cordon on the area, surrounded 2 under-construction buildings, and then demolished them. The first 4-strorey building belonged to Waleed Reziq Zarinah and included 8 apartments, while the second 6-storey building belonged to Mohamed Abed al-Hadi al-Hroub and included 12 apartments. The demolition of the abovementioned buildings showed the Israeli forces’ intention to conduct more demolitions in the area, which is full of residential apartments mostly resided by those holding Jerusalemite IDs. Furthermore, Mayor of Beit Jala, Nicolas Khamis, along with the municipality staff and the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) staff arrived at the area to reveal the circumstances. Meanwhile, a number of civilians assaulted the mayor, his companions, and the procession in protest at the demolition carried out by the Israeli bulldozers. The civilians hold the Mayor fully responsible for the demolition. It should be noted that Beir ‘Onah area and al-Waljah village adjacent to occupied Jerusalem’s southern borders are exposed to systematic demolition campaigns, which aim at deporting their residents and annex them to settlements established on Palestinian lands, under the so-called Great Jerusalem Project. The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem imposed its control on these areas, demolished houses built without licenses which are the municipality refuses to give the residents, and imposed a property tax on them.

 

  • At approximately 12:00 on Monday, 29 January 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with vehicles of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into al- Hemarah area, which is classified as Area C, east of Beit Dajan, east of Nablus. They handed owners of 3 houses demolition notices while the cases of those houses are still pending before the Israeli Courts. The abovementioned houses belong to:
  1. Ra’fat ‘Enad ‘Ali Abu Jaish, whose 2- story uninhabited house built on an area of 200 square meters,
  2. ‘Ameed Ahmed Abdullah Abu Thabet, whose one-story inhabited house built on an area of 150 square meters, and
  3. Saeid Ahmed Abu Jaish, whose one-story inhabited house built on an area of 150 square meters.

 

 Israeli forces’ attacks

 

  • At approximately 15:00 on Monday, 29 January 2018, a group of Israeli settlers gathered on “Yitzhar Settlement Street and Hawarh village’s Main Street, south of Nablus. The Israeli settlers closed the abovementioned streets and then threw stones for over 2 hours at Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and a house belonging to Bassam al-Najar near Yitzhar Street, south of Bureen village but no casualties were reported. It should be noted that the stone-throwing happened after the Israeli forces re-opened Yitzhar Street for Palestinian civilians’ vehicles. Yitzhar Street was closed following the killing of an Israeli settler by Palestinian armed persons on 09 January 2018.

 

Recommendations to the International Community

 

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC this year to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

Fully detailed document available at the official website of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

(Source / 01.02.2018)

US adds freely-elected Palestinian leader on its blacklist

‘I think Donald Trump is mentally ill… as he has been trying to impose misguided policies on Middle East,’ Palestinian analyst from Gaza said

US State Department blacklisted on Wednesday the freely-elected Palestinian leader Ismail Haniyeh, the current top political leader of the Islamic Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas.

In a press release, the US State Department stated that Haniyeh “has close links with Hamas’ military wing” and “has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians.”

Haniyeh’s placement on the US “terror list” means that there will be a travel ban on him, and that any US-based financial assets he may have will be frozen. Any US citizen or company is banned from doing business with him.

The US State Department accused Hamas of being involved in attacks that resulted in the killing of 17 Americans since the group’s founding in 1987.

Originally, these were dual Israel-US citizens and they were killed either during their military service, which is attacking, killing or abducting Palestinians, displacing them or demolishing their homes and stealing their properties.

Meanwhile, Hamas, the mainstream Palestinian factions which won overwhelming free elections in 2006, along with all the Palestinians, has the right to resist the occupation. This is guaranteed by all international and religious laws.

‘Will not deter us’

Hamas rejected the US decision to place its political chief on its global “terror list,” and called the move a “dangerous development.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, immediately after the US announcement, Hamas said the US State Department’s decision “is a violation of international law, which has given the Palestinian people a right to defend themselves against [Israeli] occupation, and to choose their leaders.

“This decision demonstrates the full American bias in favour of the Israeli occupation, and provides an official cover for Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Hamas, the Palestinian political movement that governs the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, said it calls on the US administration to “reverse” this decision and to stop its “hostile policies.”

It also said: “This will not deter us from carrying out our duties towards our people and defending them, and liberating our lands and holy sites.”

‘Icon of resistance’

Haniya, 55, was elected to be the group’s political chief in May 2017, replacing Khaled Mesh’al. Born in a refugee camp in Gaza, the leader has long been seen as pragmatic and flexible in his attitudes towards solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from the Gaza Strip, Ghazi Hamad, close friend to Hamas leadership, said the US’ decision is part of a wider campaign against Palestinians since President Donald Trump came into office in January 2017- one year ago.

“It is obvious that this animosity from the US administration towards the Palestinians is unprecedented – with its unconditional support of Israel and its decision surrounding Jerusalem, and cutting its funding to the UN refugee agency [UNRWA],” said Hamad.

“I think Donald Trump is mentally ill. Since he became president … the US administration has been trying to impose its misguided policies on the Middle East.”

Hamad added that Haniya is an “icon of resistance” and that is “something he and we are all proud of.”

Trump has made a series of decisions in recent months that have increased tensions in the region, including an official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the start of the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On January 17, the US government decided to cut more than half of its planned funding to the UN aid agency for Palestine refugees – an institution that has been the lifeline to more than five million registered Palestinian refugees for over 70 years.

(Source / 01.02.2018)

Seven more healthcare centres in Gaza shut down

Huge amounts of fuel needed to operate electricity generators to compensate lack of electricity caused by Israeli siege

Gaza is heading to real disaster as seven more healthcare centres in Gaza Strip closed their doors on Thursday due to tightening 11-year-old Israeli siege.

According to the Palestinian ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, fuel ran out in seven more healthcare centres in different areas across Gaza.

“This problem, which is a result of the Israeli sieged, happened due to the lack of fuel needed to operate electricity generators,” a statement by the ministry said.

Earlier this week, the ministry announced that Beit Hanoun Children’s Hospital in the north of Gaza Strip had closed its doors due to the lack of fuel.

Spokesman of the Ministry in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra said: “There is no horizon for solving this crisis with the Israeli occupation authorities or the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.”

(Source / 01.02.2018)

NGO: Israel’s so-called humanitarian plan for Gaza is ‘feigned and simplistic’

Due to the shortage of fuel, generators at seven health centres in the besieged Gaza Strip have stopped working

A leading NGO has slammed the Israeli government’s so-called “humanitarian rehabilitation” plan for the occupied Gaza Strip as “feigned and simplistic”, and urged Israel to “recognise its own responsibility” for the “catastrophic impact of its own restrictive access regime”.

Gisha, which focuses on access restrictions for goods and people, was responding to an Israeli proposal that would see the international community foot the bill for a $1 billion plan, ostensibly intended to alleviate Gaza’s economic, social and health emergency.

According to the NGO, however, “true change in Gaza can only begin with recognition of Israel’s own responsibility toward the Strip and sincere intention for immediate action”.

The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli occupation since 1967, and subject to a severe and punitive blockade since the mid-2000s.

Read: A $1 billion proposal will exploit Gaza for the benefit of Israel’s security narrative

Gisha notes that Israel’s strategy includes “several initiatives that should sound familiar, as they have appeared numerous times before as pledges of support made by Israel”, such as “a water desalination plant and sewage treatment facility”. An increase in the supply of electricity sold to the Gaza Strip by Israel, has also “been discussed for several years”.

Gisha highlighted “the arbitrariness of blanket restrictions imposed by Israel”, noting how Israel’s blockade has seen Tel Aviv thwart the implementation of “many plans for Gaza’s reconstruction”, instead “obstructing them with delays, indiscriminate prohibitions, and impossible stipulations”.

(Source / 01.02.2018)

Israel to probe Shin Bet officer for brutality for first time

An Israeli border police arrests a Palestinian man [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]

An Israeli border police arrests a Palestinian man

Israel’s justice ministry has opened an investigation into a Shin Bet interrogator for brutality for the first time, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Despite having established a unit known as Mivtan 18 years ago, allegedly dedicated to rooting out torture, this marks the first time that an investigation has been opened. Whilst the details of the case have not been revealed, it is reportedly over an incident involving an interrogation officer dating back to 2015.

According to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), more than 1,100 complaints have been filed alleging misconduct and brutality by Shin Bet interrogators over the last 17 years.

“We hope that this precedent will usher change in the Shin Bet’s interrogations procedures, in line with their legal and moral obligations,” the committee said in a statement. “Personal accountability will encourage interrogators to adhere to legal practices, keeping in mind that even detainees, be them Jews or Palestinians, maintain their rights and dignity.”

While allegations of torture by Shin Bet agents are commonplace, impunity is the norm. Over 6,500 Palestinians, including 300 children, are currently languishing in Israeli prisons, according to official Palestinian figures.

Read: Israel forces shoot, kill Palestinian boy in Ramallah

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs said that the Israeli army has an ever growing record of beating and severely abusing Palestinian children during their arrest and interrogation.

This followed a report by Military Court Watch in December which found that almost two thirds of Palestinian minors who were arrested in 2017 experienced abuse at the hands of Israeli forces, an increase of four per cent on a UNICEF report of four years ago. Of the 70 children who were interviewed, a sample of the hundreds who were arrested this year, 64 per cent reported enduring slaps, kicks, pinches, blows with various objects, pushes and being forced to sit in painful positions.

The Israeli Supreme Court has also been accused of giving a “green light” to torture. In December, the High Court denied a petition brought by PCATI on behalf of Palestinian prisoner Asad Abu Ghosh, despite the high level and independent legal-medical opinions confirming the physical and mental abuse he experienced at the hands of his interrogators.

The High Court’s decision was described by some as the most important legal development for interrogations and torture in some two decades, leaving many doubtful that subsequent cases would not also be biased in favour of the state.

Read: Israeli forces arrest 56 Palestinians in Jerusalem and West Bank

(Source / 01.02.2018)

Israel expels Palestinian girl from West Bank to Gaza without notifying her parents

Israeli occupation forces

Israeli authorities expelled a 14-year-old Palestinian girl from the occupied West Bank to the occupied Gaza Strip without even notifying her parents, it has emerged.

According to Israeli NGO HaMoked, the child, identified only as Ghada, was arrested by Israeli forces on 13 January for being in Jerusalem without a military-issued permit. At the time she was arrested, Ghada was returning home after visiting her aunt in Issawiya, part of occupied East Jerusalem.

Born in Ramallah, Ghada now lives with her family in Al-Ram, in the West Bank. Her father was born in the Gaza Strip, and, when Ghada was born, Israeli authorities listed her address as Gaza (Israel maintains control over a Population Registry for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory).

After being detained, Ghada was taken for interrogation and then a remand hearing. Her parents were not present through any of this process. She was then woken at 5am on 15 January and told she would be released at Qalandiya checkpoint, a few minutes from her hometown.

Read: Israeli forces shoot 14-year-old inside his home with rubber bullet

Instead, Israel Prison Service officers dropped her off, after dark, at Gaza’s Erez Crossing.

According to HaMoked, there are approximately 21,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank but whose addresses are listed as Gaza. Israel “refuses to update their address and considers them ‘illegal aliens’ unless they have a special military permit to live in the West Bank”.

Last year, 27 Palestinians in the West Bank were forcibly expelled to the Gaza Strip, according to official Israeli military data provided to HaMoked.

(Source / 01.02.2018)