IOF violently quells West Bank weekly protests, injuries reported

Violently WB

Dozens of Palestinians suffered different injuries after Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) violently supressed West Bank weekly protests.

In al-Khalil, a number of Palestinians suffered from tear-gas suffocation as Israeli forces suppressed a peaceful protest in Qalqas village demanding the opening of its entrance.

In Ramallah, Israeli forces injured five Palestinians by rubber-coated steel rounds after attacking Palestinian protesters who were demonstrating in Ras Karkar village against the imminent confiscation of lands by the occupation authorities.

The protesters were calling for the revocation of Israeli plans to confiscate large tracts of land belonging to Palestinians from the village and from nearby villages for settlement expansion purposes.

Also in Ramallah, several Palestinians suffocated after Israeli forces quelled two marches in the villages of Bal’in and Ni’lin.

Forces fired teargas to disperse hundreds of Palestinians who took place in the two marches against Israeli settlement activities and the Israeli Apartheid Wall, causing many cases of suffocation from teargas inhalation.

In the meantime, the firing of teargas canisters by the Israeli forces in Bal’in caused fire to erupt in a tree-planted area, and dozens of olive trees were reportedly burnt as a result.

(Source / 08.09.2018)

IOF demolishes Palestinian factory in Nablus

Factory Nablus

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Friday afternoon demolished a Palestinian waste recycling plant in Awarta town, south of Nablus city in the West Bank.

Local sources told the PIC reporter that an Israeli bulldozer entered the town and started the demolition under the protection of IOF soldiers.

The sources said that the IOF later closed the entrance leading to the demolished waste recycling plant and imposed tightened security measures preventing Palestinian citizens from approaching the farmlands adjacent to the site.

(Source / 08.09.2018)

Israeli army closes Palestinian dumpsite southeast of Nablus

Garbage dump Beita

The Israeli occupation forces on Friday afternoon closed a garbage dump in a Palestinian municipal area near Beita town, southeast of Nablus in the West Bank.

According to local sources, a crew from the Israeli army’s civil administration escorted by troops and a military bulldozer stormed the town’s eastern area and blocked the entrance to the dumpsite, which belongs to the local municipality.

Beita mayor Fouad Maali told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the bulldozer closed the entrance to the site with mounds of dirt and dug trenches to prevent the garbage truck from dumping its load.

This Israeli arbitrary measure prompted local young men to clash with Israeli soldiers, who intensively fired tear gas grenades to disperse them.

The Israeli army had already closed the dumpsite for more than a month after they received complaints from the settlers of the illegal settlement of Itamar, which is located several kilometers from the site.

The Palestinian municipality had to reopen the site three days ago because there was no alternative.

(Source / 08.09.2018)

The countdown begins for the death of UNRWA

Motasem Dalloul1

By Motasem Dalloul

After months of speculation about the contradictory remarks delivered by American officials and spokespersons about the White House’s intention to end the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA)’s mandate, America has announced that it is withholding all future payments to the organisation.

“The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA,” the US State Department announced.

Justifying its decision, the US said UNRWA is plagued with corruption and its fiscal policies are “irredeemably flawed”. Spokeswoman of the US State Department Heather Nauert added that the Trump administration had “carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA.”

Anyone with any knowledge of the current US administration would recognise that this is not the real reason that pushed the American administration to make this disastrous decision.

America has for decades been doing its best to protect and appease Israel at the expense of Palestinian human rights and international law, however, the current administration has gone a step further. Under Trump the US is carrying out Israel’s policies on behalf of Tel Aviv, starting with recognising Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.

The US has also imposed sanctions on Iran at the behest of Israel, a policy which it is to tighten in the coming months, and now it has ended its annual payments to Palestinian refugees.

“The US did something very important by stopping the funding for the refugee perpetuation agency known as UNRWA,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “It is finally starting to solve the problem… This is a very welcome and important change and we support it,” he added.

It is evident that America’s decision is a big step towards eradicating the Palestinian issue, and changing the facts on the ground in future negotiations regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict; in particular the Palestinian right of return.

Spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Emmanuel Nahshon, stressed this when he said: “UNRWA perpetuates the myth of the eternal ‘refugee’ status of the Palestinians… UNRWA is part of the problem, not of the solution.”

The steps taken by Israel on the ground and the US in diplomatic circles are attempts to break the Palestinian will, increase divisions and force submission. They echo Netanyahu’s tweet: “In the Middle East, and in many parts of the world, there is a simple truth: There is no place for the weak. The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end, peace is made with the strong.”

As UNRWA’s funding crisis becomes more intense, the services it offers to Palestinians will be curtailed, children, expectant mothers and a future generation of Palestinian refugees will pay the price. Education may be halted as limited funds may be insufficient to run schools in the occupied territories and refugee camps in surrounding countries. The Palestinian economy and future state will be weak as a result.

In a leaked email Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner encouraged Israel to review agreements regarding UN operations so Arab states cannot step in to fill the financial void left by the US. Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat has already answered the calls and said: “I intend to expel it [UNRWA] from Jerusalem”.

With that, we see the beginning of the end of UNRWA.

(Source / 08.09.2018)

Trump cuts aid to Palestinian hospitals in occupied Jerusalem

US President Donal J. Trump

The Trump administration has decided to cut financial aid to Palestinian hospitals which treat cancer patients in occupied Jerusalem, Haaretz reported on Friday. The Israeli newspaper said that the hospitals would normally receive more than $20 million as part of the foreign aid budget approved by the US Congress. After President Donald Trump’s decision, though, they will not get anything at all.

According to a US State Department official on Thursday, this decision is part of the administration’s broader approach of cutting Palestinian aid and investing it in other priorities.

The budget cut could harm at least five hospitals in East Jerusalem, including Augusta Victoria Hospital and St. John Eye Hospital, which is the main provider of treatment for Palestinians in the occupied territories with eye problems.

Dave Harden, a former US official who was in charge of USAID in the West Bank, has warned that the aid cut could lead to the “collapse” of Augusta Victoria Hospital. He noted that hospitals in East Jerusalem serve not only the city’s Palestinians, but also those from Gaza and the West Bank, including cancer patients and children.

(Source / 08.09.2018)

Israeli president pledges ‘harsher’ offensive against Gaza

Tanks of the Israel Defence Forces move towards the Gaza border town of Beit Lahia during Israel's onslaught on Gaza 'Operation Protective Edge' [file photo]

Tanks of the Israel Defence Forces move towards the Gaza border town of Beit Lahia during Israel’s onslaught on Gaza ‘Operation Protective Edge’ [File photo]

Israel’s President has pledged that the so-called Israel Defence Forces will pound the Gaza Strip with a military offensive that will be “harsher” than previous attacks, RT reported on Thursday. Reuven Rivlin made his offensive remarks during a tour near the Israeli boundary fence on the eastern edge of the besieged enclave.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin [Twitter]

“Tel Aviv is insistent that it is preparing for it [the offensive] and it will be surprising,” Rivlin explained. “We will pound the enemy with a strong and harsh attack.”

The Palestinians in Gaza have been protesting along the eastern side of the Gaza Strip since 30 March. They are calling for their legitimate right to return to be facilitated and the 12-year-old Israeli siege imposed on the territory to be lifted.

Last week, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that ousting Hamas in Gaza would have “difficult consequences, including the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip.”

(Source / 08.09.2018)

The families of Khan Al-Ahmar insist on their right to remain and defend their village

Israeli policemen scuffle with Palestinian demonstrators in the Bedouin village of al-Khan al-Ahmar east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank

One night towards the end of 1986, with the harsh December cold hovering over the hills of Jerusalem, my mother decided, after nine long months of suffering, to bring me into the world. I was a rascal, she later told me, the moment I plopped into the nurses’ waiting hands I began my battle with life. If I had known that earlier, I would have chosen to remain calm in my mother’s womb.

The village of Khan Al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, was the first land my feet touched. I spent my childhood chasing after my mother as she walked two kilometers to the nearby spring to collect water, or staying at my grandmother’s house watching her weave cloths and tent coverings from lamb’s wool and goatskin. Sometimes, I would stay at our neighbor’s house when there was no one home to watch me.

My father was busy tending the herd with my grandfather. We only had a few heads of sheep and goats to provide our daily sustenance; my grandfather lost his crops and half his riches in the war of 1948 when he was displaced from Beersheba in the south of Palestine. He wasn’t the only one who had to leave everything behind; all of my family shared the same fate. Some of them settled in Khan Al-Ahmar and others fled to Jordan and resided there. My grandmother’s eyes would silently convey the struggles they faced and their yearning for Beersheba. Injustice and tyranny became our inheritance, like a 2000-year-old Roman statue that must be preserved and held onto.

After my grandfather suffered through displacement and the pain of occupation he died, leaving us to continue the struggle. Many of the Jahalin tribe lived in Khan Al-Ahmar for many years and continue to live there today without the most basic needs; no electricity, no water, without education or healthcare or services, without anything. The best way to describe it, is that Khan Al-Ahmar passed through the twenty-first century as if it were the last century BC. Yet, it remained steadfast and strong in the face of the occupation and the flocks of settlers, and it will remain, refusing to give up or to succumb to another nakba.

When I turned six, I joined the rest of my young family members in line at the side of the main street connecting Jerusalem to Jericho. There, we waited for transportation in order to attend a school in Jericho, 30 kilometers from Khan Al-Ahmar. I clearly remember the trucks, laden with oranges, rumbling by at six in the morning on their way from Gaza to Jordan, always stopping to take a passenger or two. I also remember the daily newspaper car, heading towards Jericho each day. Those were difficult times; winter was a heavy burden on students, and the summer heat was also a lure to leave school and think about taking a job that would contribute to the household expenses. Most students didn’t even complete elementary school because of these difficulties.

In 2009, the citizens of Khan Al-Ahmar decided to build a school aided by Italian and local organizations. Modestly built, with classrooms formed by car tires and planks of wood, it was hoped that the school would provide a safe, accessible, educational environment.

But when the school opened its doors, no sooner had the 200 students settled at their desks than the desert foxes and highwaymen issued orders to have the school demolished. As if that wasn’t enough, they also issued orders to demolish residential buildings, herd shelters, and young couples’ homes. They even issued orders to demolish the mosque that had been simply built with wooden planks covered with goatskin to block the sun.

In the nine years from the day the school was built in Khan Al-Ahmar until today, the village lived through a many forms of economic, social, and psychological harassment. The army blocked any type of building materials from entering into Khan Al-Ahmar. They forbade entry to energy sources such as solar panels and electric generators, as well as medical equipment. In summary, anything that would improve Khan Al-Ahmar’s chance of survival was forbidden. But that wasn’t all. Large sections of Khan Al-Ahmar’s desert were closed off to prevent grazing, water wells were destroyed and the desert was declared a military zone. They barricaded animals, people and land and I did not realize that it was all due to building a small school. I imagine if anyone asked me the reason for this blockade and I answered that it was due to building a school, they would shake their heads at me and move onto another subject telling themselves that I was surely lying, because what power in the world would destroy a school? They would think that we must be a threat to Israel’s national security or plotting to build a nuclear reactor. When in reality, our dreams have fallen by the wayside, our hopes have been lost in the orange trucks and our talents have been smashed on the rocks of siege and the gates of oppression.

The thieving hunters’ eyes never stray from the prey, and yet we dream of finding justice one day.

However, despite nine years of legal battles to defend the right of our school’s existence, to protect our ancestors’ homes, our clansmen’s homes, the shelters of our herds and our goatskin-covered mosque. Despite our efforts to protect our children’s future, our Bedouin heritage and identity, the fabric of our society and our familial connections. In spite of our attempts to remain in the place where we were raised, among our childhood memories with ancestors and families. Despite all the resistance, all the patience and all the hard work, it was no use. In 2018, the judge’s gavel in the Israeli Supreme Court slammed down on the dreams of the rightful owners, shattering any trace of humanity, ruling in everything but justice. The Court issued a decision to demolish and vacate Khan Al-Ahmar, and I wondered to myself, “How can there be hope, for how can a grain of wheat complain about a chicken?” After the demolition order was issued, the occupation’s wolves hurried to carve roads between the houses and close all the pathways into the village. They announced that Khan Al-Ahmar was now a closed military area.

The very next day, bulldozers came into Khan Al-Ahmar to demolish the village and all that the citizens could do was to stand bare in the face of the criminal monsters and their heavy machinery. Youths, children and women were all attacked that day. Thirty people were injured and six arrested, including a 19-year-old girl who was assaulted by press cameras, her hijab ripped off, her dignity violated. After the battle, the criminal authorities ordered a curfew within the village and blocked anyone from entering or exiting, including the press corps and medical personnel. A suffocating siege ensued. After that cursed day and after another petition by the people of Khan Al-Ahmar to the ‘Chicken Supreme Court’, a temporary stay of demolition orders was granted – until the occupation could find another excuse to displace the residents. It is expected, that after many court sessions, after the people of Khan Al-Ahmar refuse all offers from the occupying forces, and insist on their right to remain and defend their village, the bulldozers will come to crush the lingering dream of survival, of preserving the heritage and the very fabric of their identity.

Translated by Lama Khouri

Editor’s Note: After a long and courageous struggle, the people of Khan Al-Ahmar lost their battle when the high court in Israel declared that the demolition can go ahead.

(Source / 08.09.2018)

Decades of displacement continue in al-Walaja as Israel demolishes more homes

Khaled Abu Kheyara

Khaled Abu Kheyara stands in front of the rubble of his home that was destroyed by Israeli forces

It’s been three days since Khaled Abu Kheyara, 32, was faced with the moment he had been dreading for the past year.

In the middle of the night, as bulldozers and armed Israeli soldiers surrounded his home, he woke up his three young children and told them their home was being destroyed.

“It was around 3:30am when the soldiers arrived to our home,” Abu Kheyara told Mondoweiss as he sat among all his family’s belongings in his new home — a small tent made of metal rods and tarp.

“We barely had any time to take out all of our belongings before they started demolishing the house,” he said.

Abu Kheyara’s home, which he shared with his brother and his family, was the first of four buildings that Israeli forces destroyed on Monday morning in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja, in the southern occupied West Bank.

As forces moved from one home to the next, Abu Kheyara told Mondoweiss that villagers and activists from Bethlehem came to the scene to try to barricade the homes.

“We were just trying to protect our homes and they just started firing at us and violently pulling people, even the women, out of the buildings,” he recounted.

Video of the violent evacuations show Israeli forces pushing, shoving, kicking, and punching men and women in attempts to get them out of the houses. Forces also fired sound bombs, tear gas, and rubber bullets, injuring at least 10 people.

“Despite all our efforts, by 11:30am, they had finished what they wanted to do and left al-Walaja,” Abu Kheyara said. “They went back to their lives, and left us to deal with the destruction.”

Abu Kheyara and his family members and neighbors, who come in and out of the tent with coffee and some snacks for the children, told Mondoweiss that around 40 people were left homeless, 30 of them, he says, are children.

A family history of displacement

Abu Kheyara and his family, like many residents of al-Walaja, come from what locals call the “old al-Walaja.” It is the historic land of al-Walaja, visible just over the mountain from Abu Kheyara’s home, that was annexed and made part of Israel in 1948.

As a result, most of al-Walaja’s residents — including Abu Kheyara’s family — became refugees, fleeing to the present day area of the village, which is only around 30% of the village’s original land, and sits on the Palestinian side of the Green Line.

“My grandfather’s home in the old al-Walaja was destroyed when Israel took over the village in 1948,” he said, as he pointed to the lush green mountains in the distance, dotted with Israeli homes.

“And after he was displaced from there, and he came here and built a home here, they also destroyed that home,” Abu Kheyara said of his grandfather.

Following its 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel unilaterally expanded the boundaries of Israeli‐controlled Jerusalem and illegally annexed more Palestinian territory, including another 50% of the “new al-Walaja.”

When part of the new al-Walaja was illegally annexed by Israel, Palestinians living in the area came under the jurisdiction of the expanded Israeli Jerusalem municipality, though to this day, they have not been offered Jerusalem residency, nor do they receive any services from the municipality.

“The only service that the municipality gives us, is demolition service,” Abu Kheyara said, as he pointed to the rubble of his home behind him. “They say we are under the rule of the municipality, but we don’t enjoy any of the services that Jews living in Jerusalem do. No Palestinians do.”

“My grandfather’s homes were destroyed, they [Israel] destroyed my father’s home, they destroyed my brothers’ homes, multiple times, and now the destroyed my home,” he said, as he counted off the demolitions on his fingers.

He estimated that throughout his family’s history, Israel has destroyed their homes at least 10 times.

“But of course, we are not the only ones,” he said, as he gestured to his neighbors, who nodded their heads in agreement.

“No one, absolutely no on in al-Walaja gets permits from Israel. It is impossible. In the Jerusalem-area of the village, and the Area C part of the village,” he said.

“To build a house of my own, it has been a dream of mine forever,” Abu Kheyara, who had been living with his wife and kids in a rental apartment until recently, told Mondoweiss.

“And in just a few minutes, they took that away from me.”

The future under occupation

As Abu Kheyara spoke to Mondoweiss, his children and nieces and nephews played inside the tent, the rubble of their home in the background.

“I don’t know how to describe my feelings,” he said, as he looked over at his young daughter sitting on the dusty earth.

“Every day, the kids ask ‘Dad, where is our kitchen, where is our bathroom, where is my bed?’, and I have to tell them that they don’t have a bed anymore. I can’t explain what this feels like.”

When asked about his fears, hopes, and dreams for the future, Abu Kheyara expressed that he just wants his children to grow up with peace and security.

“They are already surrounded by the occupation from all sides here in al-Walaja,” he said, as he listed off all the Israeli settlements surrounding the village, and the separation wall and military checkpoint a few hundreds of meters away.

“It is devastating when you have to tell your kids that ‘we don’t have a home right now,’ but I tell them we will rebuild soon, and surely, we will rebuild,” he said.

Despite the tens of thousands of shekels lost to the home that he worked so hard to built, and tried so hard to protect, Abu Kheyara insists that he will build another home — even if there is a sure chance it will be demolished again.

“We have to build, not just for our children to have a home but to maintain our rights to this land,” he said defiantly. “They can keep destroying our homes, and trying to kick us off this land, but we will never leave.”

(Source / 08.09.2018)

Israeli Army Fires A Shell Into Gaza

07 SEP
8:44 PM

Israeli soldiers fired, on Friday evening, an artillery shell at an observation post run by the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, east of Gaza city.

Media sources in Gaza said the shells caused damage but did not lead to injuries.

Furthermore, the Israeli army said it targeted Palestinians launching flaming balloons and kites into lands across the perimeter fence.

In related news, an Israeli military communication tower near the border fence caught fire after a flaming kite was launched at it from Gaza.

The tower is located across the fence in Karem Abu Salem (Karem Shalom) military base, east of Rafah, in southern Gaza.

Also on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Israeli soldiers killed a teenage boy, identified as killed Bilal Mustafa Khaffaja, 17, and injured at least 210 others, during the Great Return March processions, in several parts of the besieged Gaza Strip.

(Source / 08.09.2018)

Occupation armies shelled Qassam observation post in Gaza

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli soldiers fired, on Friday evening, an artillery shell at an observation post run by the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, east of Gaza city.

Media sources in Gaza said the shells caused damage but did not lead to injuries.

Furthermore, the Israeli army said it targeted Palestinians launching flaming balloons and kites into lands across the perimeter fence.

In related news, an Israeli military communication tower near the border fence caught fire after a flaming kite was launched at it from Gaza.

The tower is located across the fence in Karem Abu Salem (Karem Shalom) military base, east of Rafah, in southern Gaza.

(Source / 08.09.2018)