The Occupation Authorities Start Implementing The First Stage Railway Project to Connect Ariel with the 1948 Borders


The Israeli government does not spare any opportunity to develop settlement in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and all C areas classified in the agreements signed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, benefiting from the American administration’s positions. In the Salfit governorate, the occupation authorities began implementing the railway project, which in the first stage connects “Ariel” settlement with the Green Line. It consists of 3 stages, the first phase will end in 2025 at a cost of NIS illion 3,000,000 on a 2,000 dunums of the lands of the Al-Zawia, Masha, Badia, Saratah, Kafr-Deek and Bruqin villages, which means destruction of agricultural lands, uprooting trees and water sources. The Israeli occupation authorities plan to build 11 West Bank railways with a length of 475 km, 30 rail-station at Rosh Pinam and Btah-Taqfa in the Ras-Ein area in 1948, and Ariel and Barkan, “Arail” and “Tufuh” settlement.

In fact, Israel launches a comprehensive war on the Palestinian presence in C areas, in order to grant them to settlers, despite the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of 4 resolutions condemning Israel’s policies in the 1967 war. They confirmed the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, the establishment of an independent and sovereign State and the end of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and the right of the Palestinian people to permanent sovereignty over its natural resources on the 1967 borders, and to prevent Israel from building of settlement units and roads in the “Nejehot” settlement in Hebron in order to link it with other settlements, so confiscating an area of 291 donums.

According to the plan, it occupied basin no 21 in Qfafis village and basin 4 in the Um-Hadora village, thus the Israeli occupation intends to build 102 new settlement units. The Israeli authorities reduces the construction along the road no. 345 from the distance of 30 – 100m, worth mentioning that the road links the Dura city and its western villages. In Jerusalem, settlement activity continues, as the “Euro Israel co.” announced the sale of 22 housing units of the “Euro Pisgat” project in the “Pisgat Ze’ev” settlement in occupied Jerusalem, which includes 122 housing units in 11 buildings, each consists of 11 housing units, a park, an artificial waterfall and a theater, swimming pool and sports rooms. It also prepares to build 4 projects in Jerusalem, 2 projects in Pisgat Ze’ev, the first, 24 housing units and the second 122 units, and a project in the Har Homa settlement in Jabel Abu-Ghneim in Jerusalem, where it is constructing 122 housing units and another in the “Nabi Ya’akov” settlement consisting of 78 units.

On the other hand, Tsarfti Shamoon co. laid last week the foundation stone for a new settlement project called “Tsarfati in Pisgat Zeev”, which includes the construction of 92 residential units. Avi Tsarfati, General Manager of the company, said at a ceremony held on this occasion, this is the first stage of a project that includes the construction of 300 units Housing units. “The Israeli occupation authorities began housing 450 settler families in a new neighborhood of the Giv’at Ze’ev settlement, and more than 30 settler families that arrived from the USA, which is being built on the lands of Jalud village, southeast of Nablus, to accommodate the settlers of “Amona” On the other hand, Tsarfti Shamoon co. laid last week the foundation stone for a new settlement project called “Tsarfati in Pisgat Zeev”, which includes the construction of 92 residential units. Avi Tsarfati, General Manager of the company, said at a ceremony held on this occasion, this is the first stage of a project that includes the construction of 300 units Housing units. “The Israeli occupation authorities began housing 450 settler families in a new neighborhood of the Giv’at Ze’ev settlement, and more than 30 settler families that arrived from the USA, which is being built on the lands of Jalud village, southeast of Nablus, to accommodate the settlers of “Amona”. In a serious development, the Israeli Occupation Prosecution acquitted settlers from the settlement of Yitzhar, located on the ‘Asira al-Qibliya land to the south of Nablus City from his crime of assassinating Mah’d Odeh, 48 in the village of Qusra near the city of Nablus, at the end of November.

During his tour in Etsion settlement south of Bethlehem, Avigdor Lieberman said, I reviewed the situation of 2000, I can say, there was no such momentum, and it must continue at a high pace in the West Bank, adding when we look back at the figures of 2017, we approved the building of some 11,500 settlement units. In 2018, we agreed to build 2,700 settlement units, and I hope this momentum will continue. ”
Within this context, the Israeli Peace Now Movement said in its annual report about building settlements in 2017 in the West Bank, excluding Jerusalem, that construction increased by 17% more than the annual rate during most of the last decade at “Ameihai settlement”, south of Nablus, and 3 new outposts north of Ramallah, and one south of Jericho. 977 donums were declared state land, south of Nablus as part of an attempt to legitimize the illegal settlement outposts in Givat Haroobalji Mayim. The movement has approved the construction of 31 housing units in the heart of Hebron to be a new settlement complex on a land includes the old central bus station.

(Source / 03.04.2018)

Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian fleeing after crash in West Bank

Local media identified the driver as a Palestinian citizen of Israel; no injuries were reported at the hitchhiking stop


Israeli policemen cordon off the site where a Palestinian man was shot dead by soldiers after crashing into a hitchhiking stop near Ariel settlement in the occupied West Bank, 3 April

A Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot dead on Tuesday by Israeli soldiers while fleeing a car crash at a hitchhiking stop in the illegally occupied West Bank.

Israel’s military said the shooting happened near Ariel, an illegal Israeli settlement south of the Palestinian city of Nablus.

No other injuries were reported and Israeli officials said the crash was still being investigated. It was not for now being labelled an attack.

The Israeli army claimed in a statement that the driver was being pursued in a stolen car when he crashed at the hitch-hiking spot, and then attempted to flee on foot and was shot by soldiers in the area.

It did not provide details on the driver’s identity, but official Palestinian news agency WAFA identified him as a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

It was not clear if anyone was present during the incident at the hitch-hiking stop, one of the designated locations for hailing a ride common near illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinian citizens of Israel live mainly inside the Green Line, a border that separates the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip from Israel. Their population is estimated at 1.7 million.

Palestinians have carried several car-ramming attacks against Israeli settlers and soldiers in the West Bank in recent months. Settlers have carried out violent attacks against Palestinians as well as damaging their land and property.

Israeli security forces are accused of using disproportionate violence in regular raids on Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

Palestinians and human rights groups have also accused Israeli forces of carrying out field executions during alleged car-ramming incidents instead of arresting and putting people on trial.

(Source / 03.04.2018)

Protecting Israel’s image: Analysis of the Guardian’s coverage of Gaza Land Day protests

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A screenshot of the Guardian coverage of Friday’s Great Return March, where Israel killed 15 Palestinians.“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of South Africa’s most prominent anti-apartheid activists, once said. The Guardian is not even pretending to be ‘neutral’. My analysis highlights the problems within theGuardian‘s coverage, exposes its bias towards Israel, and its serious implications.

“Hamas ploy”

The article above lays justifications for Israel and presents Palestinians’ casualties with suspicion. It reads as if written by an Israeli propagandist desperately trying to reduce legitimate resistance to colonial oppression as a ‘Hamas ploy’ in an attempt to whitewash Israeli crimes.

Dubbing Palestinian popular resistance as ‘Hamas ploy’, as described by Israeli officials and repeated widely amongst western media, strips Palestinians of their agency, and downplays the Israeli-imposed dehumanising situation we are subjected to. These demonstrations saw no equivalence in Gaza for a while, whether in terms of public engagement magnitude or generational and gender diversity. All united behind the flag of Palestine. 

Slamming Friday’s protests as a ‘Hamas ploy’ is not an exceptional practice. It serves the demonisation of Palestinian resistance, an ideological weapon designed to keep Israel immune of criticism. Israel’s ‘self-defence’ rhetoric, which is predicated on the strategy of blaming the victim and demonising their resistance, serves to deflect attention from the slaughter of Palestinians by Israel.

Land Day’s popular resistance is not coming out of the blue. History teaches us that whenever there was oppression, there was resistance. Palestinians exercised their right to resist, guaranteed by International Law.

Resistance as a natural to colonial power

Various Zionist leaders acknowledged resistance as a natural reaction to colonial power. In 1956, Israeli army Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan noted in his eulogy at the funeral of an Israeli security officer ambushed by Fedayeen (“freedom fighters”) from Gaza:

“Let us not today fling accusations at the murderers. What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred for us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza while before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived. We should demand his blood not from the Arabs but from ourselves.”

Even the godfather of the rightist Likud Party mostly in power since 1977, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, conceded in 1923: “Every indigenous people… will resist an alien settler.” Thus, he concluded, “a voluntary agreement (with Arabs) is just not possible”, and “the sole way to such an agreement is through the iron wall”, his metaphor for force or military might. Israeli politics of subjugation against Palestinians have largely followed the iron-wall instructions since, up to and including Israel’s lethal force against Land Day protestors.

Protecting Israel’s image and legitimacy

The Guardian article is problematic in several ways. Take this photo, for example. So many heartbreaking and inspiring pictures came from Gaza protests, reflecting a dynamic multigenerational mixed-gendered protestors. Their choice came in line with a longstanding colonialist representation of Palestinians as dangerous, irrational and violent, and Gaza being “a combat zone” or “enemy entity“. How about a picture from the viewpoint of Israeli snipers shooting live bullets at thousands of defenceless protestors facing one of the world’s mightiest armies with their bodies? That would endanger Israel’s public image however, and would probably put the UK government in an impasse to justify its support of Israel, including its arms trade with Israel which might have led to the killing of 15 Palestinians on Friday and the wounding of hundreds.

The title is another story. Let alone putting the Israeli official line as a sub-title, thus validating it. “Palestinians say”? Can it be more passive and suspicious? Why attribute the report, not the truth? “Palestinians say” presents those facts with suspicion. And why avoid mentioning the perpetrator of these killings? That happened before the eyes of the whole world, and the IDF admitted it. It’s all documented and people saw it happening online through live streaming! What if it was the other way around? Would the Guardian or the BBC dare to frame “Israeli officials say 15 Israelis were killed” as a title? And without mentioning the perpetrator and slamming them as terrorists?

The problematic aspects of this coverage doesn’t stop here. “The protests coincided with the start of the Jewish Passover, when Israel security forces are normally on high alert,” the Guardian reported. These religious connotations are just wrong. As I said in my article published earlier, Land Day is one of the most significant days in Palestinians’ political history. Adding religious connotations distorts the deeply political context behind these protests. Land Day is purely about our inalienable political rights. The right to freedom, justice, equality and return which have been denied since 1917, when Britain, as the colonial power in Palestine, sold its indigenous people’s right to self-determination to the Zionist settler-colonial project in a notorious letter known as the Balfour Declaration.

Complicit in Israeli crimes

Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations called Israeli use of ‘lethal force’ against Palestinian protests a crime. B’Tselem from Israel warned against framing demonstration areas as “combat zones” and against the use of “shoot-to-kill” policy at demonstrators. On Friday evening, B’Tselem stated,

“Armed soldiers and unarmed demonstrators are not “at war.” The illegal open fire regulations and the compliance with them are the reason for the number of dead and injured today in the Gaza Strip.”

29683777_424416114678880_2708299118177967291_nSuch coverage ignores all these troubling details, including the fact that it is a clear case of injustice defined by an occupier against occupied, NOT equal sides. The Guardian used the word ‘clashes’, which presumes a tit-for-tat between two equal sides, to describe armed soldiers against thousands protesting with bare chests, four times. This is called word laundering, a technique commonly used by Israeli political leaders, news editors, and most mainstream Western media to downplay Israeli crimes and avoid harming Israel’s image.

Serving as a platform to justify Israel’s ion-wall policies against Palestinians, instead of exposing them, makes the GuardianBBC and other Western media complicit in this slaughter and maintaining this cycle of violence against Palestinians.

15 unarmed young Palestinians were killed brutally and unjustifiably and hundreds were injured. Amongst them is A 15-year-old cousin who was shot in his leg, and a 25-year-old neighbor who got shot dead. Don’t kill our victims twice.

(Source / 03.04.2018)