IOF arrests writer Israa Lafi from her W. Bank home

Israa Lafi arrested

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Wednesday arrested Palestinian writer Israa Lafi from her home in Surif town, northwest of al-Khalil province in the West Bank.

Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that Israeli troops encircled Lafi’s home in the central area of the town before ransacking it and confiscating her cellphone.

The sources added that an Israeli officer told her that she would be arrested and taken to Etzion detention center, north of the town.

Israa Lafi is a noted writer in the Palestinian arena and an advocate for the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and actively works in the media field.

(Source / 26.09.2018)

IOF arrests child during settler raid into al-Khalil

arrest child 14 y

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday arrested a Palestinian child while escorting dozens of Israeli settlers who stormed the Old City of al-Khalil.

Local sources said that the IOF arrested Mustafa al-Qawasmeh, 14, in the Old City and transferred him to an undeclared destination.

Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed and toured the Old City of al-Khalil under the protection of IOF soldiers.

In a related context, the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil is still closed for the second day in a row for Jewish holidays.

(Source / 26.09.2018)

THE KILLING OF MOHAMMED ABU AL-SADIQ(21)

On Monday September 24th Israel’s occupation forces attacked the ninth attempt to break the naval blockade of the besieged Gaza Strip from the inside, killing one protester in the northern border with ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948 and injuring 90 people, of whom 10 were shot with live ammunition.

21-year-old Mohammed Fayez Abu al-Sadiq was shot in head and ‘very critically injured’; his death was quickly but erroneously announced, as the youth cling to life as he was taken to the al-Shifa hospital. There the efforts to save his life failed and his death was announced by 21:00 pm local time.

Among the injured is photojournalist Muntaser al-Sawwaf who works for the Turkish Anadolu Agency. He was hit in leg with a tear gas canister and his camera was hit by a live bullet. One could be unintentional, both together imply that he was being targeted.

An ambulance crew and their vehicle was also attacked with tear gas canisters when they were trying to reach some of the wounded protesters.

Israel’s occupation forces’ tear gas drone was brought down with slingshots by youths, the third tear gas drone brought down during protests during the last month.

Israel has not allowed a single Palestinian boat sail from Gaza to a port in another country since it occupied the small coastal enclave in 1967. The attempts to break the naval blockade from the inside are in their latest version an off-shoot of the Great Return March.

(Source / 26.09.2018)

Israel closed Ibrahimi Mosque for Muslims

HEBRON, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli occupation authorities on Tuesday closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil city for Jewish holidays.

Hefzi Abu Sneineh, who is in charge of the Ibrahimi Mosque, said that the Israeli authorities decided to close the Mosque and ban Adhan (call of prayer) on Tuesday and Wednesday for Sukkot holiday.

Abu Sneineh told Quds Press that such closures, which are usually approved by Shamgar Committee which was formed following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994, are a blatant aggression on the sanctity of the Islamic site.

In a related context, the Israeli army deployed its forces in Bab al-Zawiya area in the center of al-Khalil city and forced Palestinian citizens to close their shops to secure a settler break-in into a nearby archaeological site.

(Source / 26.09.2018)

Gaza farmers have dates, but have nowhere to sell them

A Palestinian farmer climbs a tree to harvest date palms with the help of a rope in Deir al Balah, Gaza on 25 September, 2018

Farmers in the besieged Gaza Strip have harvested 12,000 tonnes of dates from their palm trees however they are struggling to find buyers for their produce.

High unemployment and rising poverty rates mean locals in the Strip are unable to buy the fruit, while the Israeli siege has limited the farmers’ abilities to export their crop.

Farmer Mohammed Barka, 28, told the Anadolu Agency that his yield is abundant and good this year, but the deteriorating economic condition in Gaza has caused people to buy less.

PHOTOS: Gaza farmers go for gold

“Despite the low prices of the product, the demand is still low,” he explained.

Baraka, who has been working in this profession for ten years, called on the Ministry of Agriculture to work to export the produce out of Gaza.

In a report published yesterday the World Bank warned that the enclave is “collapsing” due to the 11-year Israeli-led blockade and described the economy as being in “free fall”, with aid flows no longer enough to stimulate growth.

“The result is an alarming situation with every second person living in poverty and the unemployment rate for its overwhelmingly young population at over 70 per cent,” it added.

“The production of dates amounted this year to 12,000 tonnes,” said Tahsin Al-Sakka, director general of marketing and coordination at the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza.

“This quantity is enough for the Strip’s needs and exports also, but poor purchasing [power of the local population] leaves them stacked up in the marke.t.”

READ: Honey production in Gaza expected to hit record level

A week ago, farmers exported 12 tonnes of dates to the West Bank, Al-Sakka said.

“We hope that we will be able to export significant quantities of dates outside the Strip.”

The total amount of dates exported last year reached 400 tonnes, he added.

(Source / 26.09.2018)

Palestinian factions: Abbas’ speech at UNGA lacks national support

Palestinian President Abbas at the UNGA

Palestinian factions yesterday stressed that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is heading to the UN General Assembly without national support.

In a press conference held in Gaza, leaders from the different Palestinian factions stressed that Abbas cannot voice his opposition to the “deal of the century”, Judaisation of Jerusalem and internal Palestinian division “without taking actual steps on the ground”.

Leader of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine Badran Jaber said: “The absence of the internal support for the PA president makes him weak,” noting that Abbas “could have national support” before heading to the UN.

Spokesman of the Islamic Jihad Daoud Shehab said: “When Abbas insists on going to the UNGA alone and without responding to the national demands, it means that he is heading to a blocked road.”

He stressed his movement’s demand that Abbas “stop betting on the political process and the states which broker it… There is an opportunity for national unity that responds to the Palestinian demands represented in the people’s voices in the Great March of Return.”

READ: The blocking of Palestinian rights at an international level is endorsed by the PA 

Talal Abu-Zarifa, the senior leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said Abbas “should lift the punitive measures he has imposed on Gaza and do his best to facilitate the removal of the Israeli siege, as well as to end the internal division before heading to the UNGA.”

Meanwhile, Spokesman of Al-Ahrar Movement Yasser Khalaf said: “Abbas does not represent the Palestinians as he insists on his policy to monopolise the PLO and not to end the internal division.”

Fatah MP in the West Bank Najat Abu-Baker said: “Abbas’ speech will not have anything new. He will only petition and deliver appeals for the world which is busy in different areas, and if it becomes busy in the region, it will stand with Israel.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Parliament Speaker Ahmad Bahar said: “Abbas is heading to the UNGA to represent only himself.”

(Source / 26.09.2018)

Report: Israel has killed 2 journalists, wounded 254 this year

Funeral procession of Gazan video journalist and photographer Yaser Murtaja, killed by Israeli snipers despite wearing a vest marked ‘PRESS’, while covering the The Great March of Return on April 6, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Funeral procession of Gazan video journalist and photographer Yaser Murtaja, killed by Israeli snipers despite wearing a vest marked ‘PRESS’, while covering the The Great March of Return on April 6, 2018

Israeli occupation forces have killed two Palestinian journalists and wounded 254 in Gaza, and arrested 82 in the occupied West Bank since the start of the year, a report issued yesterday revealed.

According to Quds Press, the report, which was issued by the Journalist Support Committee (JSC), said that it had documented 638 Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists since the start of the year.

The JSC said that occupation forces killed journalists Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Husseinwhile covering the Great March of Return protests in the Gaza Strip.

Report: Israel attacked 34 Palestinian journalists, media sites 

May, the JSC said, witnessed a hike in Israeli violations against the Palestinian journalists as 129 were wounded, mostly in Gaza.

The report also documented 49 raids of Palestinian media offices, inspections and violations which saw equipment damaging or confiscated.

“The Israeli occupation insists on targeting Palestinian media freedoms through its continuous attacks on Palestinian journalists without any international pressure,” JSC Coordinator Saleh Al-Masri said.

He added: “The continuous Israeli aggression violates all international conventions and declarations on the freedom of expression.”

The JSC is a non-profit organisation that promotes and protects media freedoms, freedom of expression, and journalists rights. It issued the report on the occasion of international day of solidarity with the Palestinian journalists.

READ: 21 Palestinian journalists detained in Israel jails 

(Source / 26.09.2018)

UNRWA cuts 40% of employees’ salaries

Protest outside UNRWA after employees were to be forced in to retirement [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Protest outside UNRWA after employees were to be forced in to retirement

UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has cut 40 per cent of the salaries of its employees, the Safa news agency reported yesterday.

Reporting the head of the organisation’s Employees’ Union Amir Al-Mishal, Safa said that the Union reached an understanding with the UNRWA’s administration last month that it reverses plan to cut the salaries “but we were surprised with the cuts for the second month”.

Al-Mishal stressed that “there is a [covert] police team which spies on the activities organised in solidarity with the employees who are threatened with dismissal.”

The head of the Union said: “This is a dangerous escalation by UNRWA’s leadership.” He pledged there would be escalation in the protests against the organisation’s policies.

READ: UNRWA’s crisis ‘political, not financial’

In July Palestinians in Gaza protests against UNRWA’s plans to suspend the contracts of around 1,000 employees working in emergency programmes. The workers were to face dismissal by the end of the year, Amal Al-Batsh, deputy head of the UNRWA Staff Union, said.

UNRWA began 2018 with a shortfall of $150 million following a $126 million deficit in 2017, even before the US suspended its planned $125 grant. UNRWA has warned that US cuts will hurt over half a million children; the UN agency runs 700 schools. Some 20,000 teaching jobs are also said to be at risk, with the agency facing the worst financial crisis in its history.

(Source / 26.09.2018)

Israel illegal settlement construction more than doubled in 2018

More Israeli settlements in Palestine – Cartoon

Construction rates for Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank more than doubled in the second quarter of 2018.

According to data published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Israel began constructing 794 new dwellings in the occupied West Bank in the second quarter of 2018. This figure is more than double that of the first quarter, when 279 new dwellings began construction. This year’s figure is also higher than that of the same time in 2017, demonstrating an increase in the pace of Israel’s illegal settlement of Palestinian land.

This year-on-year increase in Israel’s illegal settlement is also significant in light of the decrease in construction in many areas of Green Line Israel. Construction rates fell in both Northern and Southern Israel, as well as in Haifa when compared with the same time in 2017. Jerusalem on the other hand witnessed an increase in construction, despite the fact that Jerusalemite Palestinians are regularly denied building permits to construct houses in Palestinian areas of the city.

ZERO building permits were issued by Israel in 2015 !

Israel tightens #Palestinian construction in Area C – #OccupiedPalestine

MEMO infographic by QUAD Business House

Although settlements were designated a “final status issue” under the Oslo Accords in 1992, Israel has pursued a consistent policy of settling the occupied West Bank in the 25 years since. In 1992 there were approximately 105,000 illegal Israeli settlers, according to data by NGO Peace Now. By 2017 Peace Now estimated there were over 413,000 illegal Israeli settlers, an almost four-fold increase.

READ: Israeli minister slains American settler was part of my anti-BDS team

In September, the United Nations slammed Israel for having done nothing to halt settlement building. Speaking at a Security Council meeting, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov explained that 2,800 housing units in the West Bank were recently approved by the Israeli government and emphasised that “all settlement activities are a violation of international law”.

In September it emerged that Israel approved plans to construct 220 illegal settlement units in the neighbourhood of Jabal Al-Mukabbir, occupied East Jerusalem. Construction of the units is expected to start in the next few months and will serve as part of the expansion plan for the settlement of Nof Tzion, located alongside Jabal Al-Mukabbir. Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem estimates that as of 2017 there were 208,000 Israeli settlers in the Jerusalem municipality, with this figure likely to have increased since then.

In August, Israel’s plans to expand the Amichai settlement, located north of Ramallah, were revealed. The expansion was intended to incorporate the neighbouring outpost of Adei Ad, previously home to Amiram Ben-Uriel – the extremist Israeli settler responsible for the arson attack against the Dawabsheh family in 2017. The attack killed three members of the family in their home in Duma, including 18-month-old baby Ali, and left his brother Ahmed orphaned. Palestinians living near Amichai argue that any further expansion of the illegal settlement will deny them access to their farmland. Their legal representative Shlomi Zecharia of NGO Yesh Din slammed Israel’s settlement policy, stating:

The inhabitants of the villages near the outpost have become hostages to the policy that abundantly rewards prizes and gifts to ideological criminals.

Although Israel differentiates between settlements and outposts, which do not have official government recognition, both are deemed illegal under international law which prohibits the transferring of civilian populations into occupied territory.

READ: Israel sets October deadline to evacuate Bedouin village in West Bank

(Source / 26.09.2018)

Israel Declares It Is Above the Law

The Israeli government has announced that it is allowed to “legislate anywhere in the world” and is “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries,” an official document revealed, last week.

The Israeli government also said, in the document, that it “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires.”

For decades, critics have declared that Israel has been acting against all terms and conventions of the international law, but, this is the first time that the Israeli government has officially declared it to be so.

The statements were made in legal materials recently submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court, during which the government representative said that the Knesset is allowed to ignore international law anywhere it desires.

The Israeli Supreme Court received this document in relation to the petition against the Settlement Regularization Law filed by legal groups Adalah, The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JLAC) and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, which represented 17 local Palestinian authorities in the West Bank.

The Palestinian plaintiffs challenged an Israeli law, passed last year, which aims to retroactively legalize thousands of settler homes and structures built on Palestinian private lands, to avert the possibility that the Israeli Supreme Court might one day sanction their removal.

Before the law was passed, even Israeli law considered such structures illegal, not to mention that all settlements are a flagrant violation of international law.

In a statement by Adalah, the legal centre said, according to Days of Palestine, that “fellow petitioners argued that the Knesset is not permitted to enact and impose laws on territory occupied by the State of Israel. Thus, the Knesset cannot enact laws that annex the West Bank or that violate the rights of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.”

In its defense, government lawyer Arnon Harel said, in a statement in which he referred to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria”, that “the Knesset has no limitation which prevents it from legislating extra-territorially anywhere in the world, including the area [of ‘Judea and Samaria’]”.

In the statement, which is likely to evoke outrage, Harel rebuffs the legal groups’ claim by insisting that the plaintiff argument is baseless, because Israel is entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries and the West Bank is no exception.

In their response, Adalah said: “The Israeli government’s extremist response has no parallel anywhere in the world. It stands in gross violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter which obligates member states to refrain from threatening or using force against the territorial integrity of other states, including occupied territories.

“The Israeli government’s extremist position is, in fact, a declaration of its intention to proceed with its annexation of the West Bank.”

(Source / 26.09.2018)