Settlers move into homes of brand new Israeli settlement, deep in West Bank

Constructions of the Israeli settlement Ramot continues on Palestinian lands in Jerusalem, on 22 November 2017 [Mahmoud Ibrahim/Anadolu Agency]

Constructions of the Israeli settlement continues on Palestinian lands on 22 November 2017

Israeli settlers “unveiled” the new settlement of Amichai yesterday, moving into their new homes deep in the occupied West Bank.

Amichai is the first brand new settlement in the West Bank in some two decades. However, this does not include “unauthorised” settlement outposts retroactively “legalised” by the Israeli government.

All Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are viewed as a grave violation of international law by the United Nations Security Council, International Court of Justice and others.

An official ceremony was held yesterday “marking the move-in day of the first 25 families”, with another 17 families slated to join them after Passover. The ceremony came a month after Israeli occupation authorities started building homes at the new settlement.

Read: 17% increase in Israel’s settlement construction under Trump

The settlement is being built to house about 300 hardline settlers from the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona, which was forcibly emptied a year ago after an Israeli court ruled their houses were on privately owned Palestinian land.

In June last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that work on a new settlement would begin.

Avichai Boron, chair of the Amona residents’ committee, declared: “We are looking forward to entering our new homes, which we were able to establish with the blood of our hearts, with determination and faith, love for the land and for Zionism.”

(Source / 27.03.2018)

Israel readies extra troops, snipers and drones, for Palestinian ‘March of Return’

Palestinian winner Yousuf Ubeyd (C) receives his present at the end of a mass march that held for the "Great Return March" in Gaza City, Gaza on 24 March, 2018 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian winner Yousuf Ubeyd (C) receives his present at the end of a mass march that held for the “Great Return March” in Gaza City, Gaza on 24 March, 2018

Israeli authorities are preparing extra troops, snipers and drones ahead of the Palestinians’ planned “March of Return”, a six-week long series of actions beginning this Friday with Land Day protests.

According to the Times of Israel, Israeli occupation forces are “gearing up” for protests expected to take place along the Gaza Strip’s perimeter fence, “putting additional units on alert out of concerns that large numbers of Palestinians might try to break through the barrier and rush into Israel”.

The majority of Palestinians in the occupied and blockaded Gaza Strip are from nearby communities ethnically cleansed by Israel in the 1948 Nakba.

Land Day, which takes place annually on 30 March, marks the Israeli government’s appropriation of land from Palestinian citizens in 1976, and the bloody repression of protests against the seizure. The March of Return initiative is intended to continue until 15 May, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba.

Citing a “military source”, the Times of Israel reported that in preparation for the expected protests, “additional army battalions, Border Police units, and dozens of snipers will be deployed along the Gaza border on Friday, in order to keep demonstrators from crossing”.

Read: PLC holds session near Gaza-Israel border in preparation for Land Day

In addition, “police officers will be stationed a bit farther back, in order to keep back any Palestinians who breach the first line of defence”, while “additional teams of IDF soldiers will also patrol the Israeli communities closest to the border”.

Israeli forces are also likely to “deploy drones that can drop tear gas on protesters on the Gaza side of the border, a technique that the Border Police tested earlier this month.”

In regular protests since December, Israeli occupation forces have used lethal violence against Palestinian demonstrators, killing a number of unarmed protesters and injuring hundreds more.

(Source / 27.03.2018)

Multimedia Israel arrests hundreds of Palestinian workers in Passover ‘deep-clean’ operation

NGO denounces operation against undocumented workers as ‘racist’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’

Palestinian workers wait for the gate to open between the illegal settlement of Modiin Illit and Harbeta after a day of work in Israel. Tens of thousands of Palestinians work inside Israel

Israeli police announced on Tuesday the arrest of at least 468 Palestinians working illegally inside Israel since the launch on Saturday of a “deep-clean” operation before the Jewish Passover holiday.

According to a statement, 2,300 officers and “volunteers”, assisted by the air force, had raided dozens of locations in Israel. In addition to undocumented workers, 32 individuals were held for employing Palestinians without permits or transporting them illegally into Israel.

Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, told Middle East Eye that the operation against illegal workers was the biggest for “several months”.

“These operations will continue as long as necessary in different areas, as part of security in order to prevent incidents from taking place,” he said.

Rosenfeld later told MEE that 14 people accused of “terrorist activities” had been detained as part of the operation, including five in Umm al-Fahm – a Palestinian-majority town in Israel – and nine others suspected of transporting them within Israel. Rosenfeld declined to give further details on the accusations levied against these 14 people.

The police operation, called Removing Chametz, refers to the religious custom of removing all traces of leavening products such as yeast from one’s home before Passover, either by cleaning all surfaces, burning leavened products, or giving them to non-Jews.

Adalah, an NGO dedicated to Palestinian legal rights inside Israel, denounced the operation and the troubling connotations of its name.

“Israeli police’s terminology towards people, like food that must be cleaned and removed, attests to the racist character of the police activity,” the organisation said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. “Indeed, this is an ethnic cleansing.”

Israeli forces typically increase security measures before and during Jewish holidays, such as increased security in annexed East Jerusalem and closures in the occupied Palestinian territories, forbidding Palestinians with permits from entering Israel except in cases of emergency – a measure that affects tens of thousands of Palestinians working in Israel.

According to official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Israeli forces will enforce an eight-day closure on the West Bank and Gaza starting Thursday, a day before the beginning of Passover.

Adalah on Tuesday criticised the crackdown on undocumented workers being carried out under the guise of security, arguing that those who were detained did not constitute a threat to Israelis.

“These Palestinians do not have any intention to harm anyone yet the police treat them like criminals who must be arrested, for no fault of their own,” the NGO stated.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli army agency responsible in the occupied Palestinian territory, reported in 2017 that 70,000 Palestinianswith permits cross daily into Israel to work.

The Israeli army chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, estimated in 2016 that 50,000 Palestinians also work in Israel illegally.

High unemployment rates and low wages in the occupied West Bank push many Palestinians to seek employment in Israel and illegal settlements, mainly in construction or other blue-collar jobs.

Israeli police regularly carry out raids targeting undocumented workers, as well as the Israelis or Palestinian citizens of Israel suspected of employing them and housing them. In July 2017, Palestinian outlet Ma’an news agency reported that 98 Palestinians were detained during a similar operation targeting undocumented workers.

(Source / 27.03.2018)