MP urges int’l community to take urgent action over situation in Gaza

Jamal Khudari alarm Gaza

Head of the popular anti-siege committee Jamal Khudari sounded the alarm over the calamitous situation in the blockaded Gaza Strip, urging the international community to immediately step in.

Speaking in a Sunday press release, Khudari said the humanitarian situation and socio-economic condition in Gaza have taken a turn for the worse.

Khudari called for urgent steps to keep tabs on the situation in the besieged enclave, where over 2 million Palestinians have been grappling with dire conditions.

Khudari said the per capita income in Gaza barely exceeds $2, which is the lowest in the world.

He added that thousands of Gazans have been jobless and that 85% live below the poverty line. 50% of life-saving medicines have also reached a zero-stock.

Khudari further warned that 90% of Gaza’s factories have gone out of operation as a result of the Israeli blockade; more than 200 types of raw materials for vital industries have been banned. 350,000 workers have been laid off as a result.

He pointed out that Gaza banks and markets suffer a deficit of over $50 million per month.

Al-Khudari called on the donor countries to launch relief projects and put into effect employment programs for graduates and unemployed civilians to enhance the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip.

(Source / 21.10.2018)

IOF closes Beit Furik crossing in Nablus

Beit Furik crossing

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Sunday closed Beit Furik crossing in eastern Nablus after it was targeted with two explosive devices.

Eyewitnesses reported that Palestinian young men hurled two homemade bombs at the crossing, adding that the IOF closed the crossing and combed the area.

Meanwhile, the IOF also set up a makeshift checkpoint in al-Quds Street in Nablus, searching passing cars, and checked the IDs of Palestinian citizens.

(Source / 21.10.2018)

Israel orders halt to construction of 3 Palestinian houses

Houses al-Walaja

The Israeli occupation authorities on Sunday issued stop-work orders against three Palestinian houses under construction in al-Walaja village, north of Bethlehem.

Activist Ibrahim Awadallah said that the Israeli forces during the early morning hours stormed al-Walaja and handed three Palestinian families notices ordering them to stop the construction work in their houses for allegedly being unlicensed.

Awadallah told Quds Press that al-Walaja is targeted by an Israeli systematic plan aimed at pushing the village’s residents to leave the area by depriving them of their right to expand their buildings and obtain building permits.

In another context, the Israeli occupation forces on Sunday erected barbed wire along a bypass road in Tuqu’ town under the pretext of protecting Israeli settlers against stone-throwing attacks.

Furthermore, Israeli settlers, under the protection of the Israeli forces, bulldozed Palestinian lands in Khillat al-Nahla area in Bethlehem in preparation for the construction of a bypass road and new agricultural facilities for the settlers.

(Source / 21.10.2018)

AGPS: 3,894 Palestinian refugees killed in Syria Warfare

AGPS Syria

The London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) has documented the death of 3,894 Palestinian refugees from Syria, including 478 women and girls, since 2011, as a result of war related incidents.

Yarmouk Camp topped the list of victims with 1,408 casualties, followed by 263 in Daraa Camp, 202 in Khan Eshieh Camp, in Rif Dimashq, 167 in Aleppo’s al-Neirab Camp, and 123 in al-Husainiya Camp.

188 Palestinians also died in unknown locations while 1,543 others were pronounced dead in refugee camps and communities across war-torn Syria.

AGPS found out that 1,198 refugees were killed under shelling; 1,063 were fatally gunned down, while 558 others were tortured to death in Syrian dungeons.

Scores of Palestinian refugees have also been left wounded in Syria’s seven-year deadly warfare.

(Source / 21.10.2018)

Administrative Detention: A Legal & Lethal Tool of Israeli Repression

Article of November 22, 2017

By Sawsan Ramah

A largely neglected instrument of legal Israeli repression used against the Palestinian people is that of administrative detention. Thousands of men, as well as women and children, are held indefinitely and under horrendous conditions in detention centres dotted across the Occupied Territories without charge, access to a fair trial or even having been accused of committing a crime. This renders administrative detainees exceptions to the rules that would govern convicts, placing them outside the normal legal system and procedures and beyond the remit of the Red Cross. This not only means that the order cannot be challenged, but it also means that detainees are not provided with adequate living conditions, medical care, food, clothing or access to their families.

The immense amount of power wielded by the military commanders able to issue administrative detention orders arbitrarily, means it has become a lethal tool of political retribution against the resistance. Moreover, it is used as a means of subjugating the people as a whole and of damaging the very fabric of Palestinian society. Israel’s application of its administrative detention laws clearly contravenes both international and humanitarian law and, according to certain interpretations, constitutes a war crime.

Click here for the full report 

(Source / 21.10.2018)

Israel delays eviction of West Bank Bedouin village Khan Al-Ahmar

Palestinians stage a demonstration in support of Palestinian bedouins who live in Khan Al-Ahmar after Israeli authorities decided to destroy their homes [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians stage a demonstration in support of Palestinian bedouins who live in Khan Al-Ahmar after Israeli authorities decided to destroy their homes

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday postponed the forced eviction of a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, a government official said.

The fate of Khan al-Ahmar has drawn international concern after Israel said it planned to raze the village, a ramshackle camp housing 180 residents.

Its residents, backed by foreign activists who have gathered at the site, have been waiting for bulldozers to move in at any time after an October 1 deadline from Israel for the villagers to demolish their own homes expired.

“We will stay alert and be ready to face the raid until news (of the delay) is confirmed,” said Walid Assaf, a Palestinian Authority minister who is in charge of the settlements file.

Khan Al-Ahmar resident: ‘We are imprisoned here’

The expulsion plan had included relocation to an area about 12 km (seven miles) away next to a landfill.

But an official in Netanyahu’s office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said an alternative relocation plan was being looked at, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

“The goal is to fully exhaust negotiations and (examine) proposed plans submitted by various agents, including (those received) in the past few days,” the official said.

On October 17 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, said in a statement that eviction and demolition of the Khan al-Ahmar could constitute a war crime and the United Nations, European Union and rights groups have urged Israel not to raze the village, citing the impact on its community and prospects for peace.

Israel, which has long sought to clear the Arab nomads from tracts of land between the settlements of Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, said Khan al-Ahmar was built without the required permits. Palestinians say such documents are impossible to obtain.

The Palestinians say razing the village’s tents and tin shacks is part of an Israeli plan to create an arc of Jewish settlements that would effectively cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank, areas captured by Israel in a 1967 war.

Most countries consider settlements built by Israel on land it captured in 1967 as illegal and say they reduce and fragment the territory Palestinians seek for a viable state. Israel disputes this.

Opinion: With no meaningful international plan, Khan Al-Ahmar needs a popular uprising to save it

(Source / 21.10.2018)

Netanyahu says West Bank Bedouin village eviction delay not indefinite

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Abdülhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday his decision to delay the demolition of a Bedouin village in the West Bank was a brief reprieve while efforts are under way to reach a relocation deal for its residents.

Israel’s decision to raze the village of Khan al-Ahmar in Israeli-occupied territory has drawn international concern, including from the United Nations and the European Union. The International Criminal Court prosecutor has said the eviction and demolition of Khan al-Ahmar could constitute a war crime.

But an official in Netanyahu’s office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday the eviction had been postponed and an alternative relocation plan was being considered, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority. In remarks to reporters on Sunday, Netanyahu said the eviction would eventually go ahead.

“I have no intention of postponing this indefinitely, despite reports to the contrary, but for a short time,” he said, adding:

The amount of time we allocate for evacuating it under an agreement will be set by the security cabinet. I will convene it today. We will set (the timetable). It will be short and I believe it will be done with consent.

Originally residents were to be relocated to an area about 12 km (seven miles) away next to a landfill in the Israel-occupied territory. The authorities were expected to send in bulldozers in at any time after an October 1 deadline for the villagers to demolish their own homes expired.

Israel, which has long sought to clear the Arab nomads from tracts of land between the Jewish settlements of Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, said Khan al-Ahmar was built without the required permits.

Palestinians, who lost an Israeli Supreme Court appeal against the evacuation, say such documents are impossible to obtain.

Opinion: With no meaningful international plan, Khan Al-Ahmar needs a popular uprising to save it

The Palestinians say razing the village’s tents and tin shacks is part of an Israeli plan to create an arc of Jewish settlements that could effectively cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank, areas occupied by Israel since a 1967 war.

Most countries consider settlements built by Israel on land it captured in 1967 as illegal and say they reduce and fragment the territory Palestinians seek for a viable state. Israel disputes this.

The United Nations, the EU and rights groups have urged Israel not to raze the village, citing the impact on its community and prospects for peace.

(Source / 21.10.2018)

Israeli Special Police Detain Governor of Jerusalem

20 OCT
8:49 PM

Special units of the Israeli police detained governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, in the town of Beit Hanina to the north of occupied Jerusalem.

Informed sources told WAFA at least three police cars intercepted the car carrying the governor before nabbing him and leading him to an unknown destination. No reason was given for the action.

Earlier Saturday, the Israeli army detained Colonel Jihad Faqeeh, 50, who heads the Jerusalem office in the Palestinian Intelligence force, at a military checkpoint near the town of Qatannah, northwest of Jerusalem, as he was heading to work in Ramallah.

10/20/18 Palestinian Detained in Jerusalem for Wearing Palestinian Flag Shirt

(Source / 21.10.2018)

Hundreds Of Soldiers Invade Shweika Area In Tulkarem

21 OCT
1:10 AM

Hundreds of soldiers invaded, Saturday, Shweika area in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and surrounded a local school just hours after dozens of soldiers invaded and searched it.

Media sources in Tulkarem, said the soldiers surrounded the under-construction school, once again, and closed the entire area, while dozens of soldiers have been deployed to prevent the Palestinians from entering or leaving it.

They added that the army also invaded many areas in Tulkarem, and used loud speakers demanding Ashraf Na’alwa, to surrender and turn himself in to the army.

The soldiers also brought two armored military bulldozers to the school area, and continued to surround and isolate Shweika, in Tulkarem.

The army has been trying to arrest Ashraf Na’alwa, since he carried out the fatal shooting in Barkan illegal colony, in the West Bank, leading to the death of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, from Rosh HaAyin, and Ziv Hagbi, 35, from Rishon LeZion.

The soldiers have been carrying out ongoing violent invasions and searches of his home, and homes of his relatives, and abducted many members of his family, including his father, mother, sisters and brothers, and issued a demolition ordertargeting his parent’s home.

(Source / 21.10.2018)

PA to UN: “Gaza is Not a Humanitarian Problem, it is a Political Problem.”

21 OCT
5:57 AM

The following is a summary of the opening comments of the United Nations Security Council Meeting #8375 on October 18, 2018,  Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, the representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, made the following points (summarized below).

According to Mladenov,

Demolitions
OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Efforts) reports 39 Palestinian structures demolished since the last meeting, and in addition to that, there are 13,000 demolition orders pending in area C of the West Bank, Occupied Palestine.

Khan al-Ahmar
The Arab League, the UK, the UAE, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator all urge Israel not to demolish the village of Khan al-Ahmar, (side note : the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar has been postponed until further notice, as of Oct. 20, 2018.

New Settlements
With regards to Israel’s allocation of funds for the construction of 31 new settlement units in Hebron, Mr. Mladenov reiterated ;
“the long-standing United Nations position that all settlement activities are illegal under international law, and an obstacle to peace”

Violence and Settler Vandalism
23 attacks by settlers, where one Palestinian was killed, and 12 injured by settlers since last meeting.
Two Israelis killed, and one injured by a Palestinian.
OCHA reports 1600 trees vandalized,

Reduction in Fishing Zone 
The fishing restrictions were increased two times in the last month, from nine nautical miles, then to six, then to three after the last rocket attack. Also after the rocket, all crossings between Israel and Gaza were closed.

Gaza
The Great Return March protests have been expanded to include night protests. Hamas and other resistance groups are allegedly sending incendiary kites causing fires in Israel.

On Oct 12 in Gaza, seven Palestinians were killed and one hundred and fifty injured at the weekly peaceful protest. 2 rockets were fired from Gaza, Israel responded with a series of airstrikes.

The Gazan economy was described by the World Bank as being “in free fall”, with the unemployment rate at 53%, and 70% for the youth. In addition to this, 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Mladenov warned of the dire situation in Gaza, and urged the council to act :

“The situation in Gaza is imploding. This is not hyperbole, it is not alarmism, it is reality.”

“All key indicators ; humanitarian, economic, security, and political continue to deteriorate.”

“Since the beginning of this process, the UN has firmly held that we need to make every effort to return Gaza to the control of the legitimate Palestinian government, but, let me assure this council, that barring substantial steps to reverse the current course, this precarious sense of calm is doomed to give way to the mounting pressure, It is already beginning to fray.”

“I’m afraid, that there is no more time for words, now is the time for action, and we must see very clear actions on all sides to de-escalate the situation, otherwise the consequences will be terrible for everyone.”

UNRWA ( United Nations Relief and Works Agency)
Some member states contributed a total of $122 million, in a “very impressive collective international effort, that has prevented an immediate shut down of key UNRWA services.”

Mladenov described some hopeful developments :

“a liaison committee agreed on an urgent set of humanitarian project in Gaza – aimed at addressing the immediate needs of the population of Gaza : these include energy, water, sanitation, healthcare and economic conditions.” “The goals are concrete, they are realistic, and they are achievable.”

He thanks the government of Qatar for their provision of $60 million worth fuel to run Gaza’s electricity.

He implored members of both sides :

“Madame president I appeal to you, I appeal to all council members, and to all friends of Israel and friends of Palestine, to join the United Nations in calling on all sides to step back from the brink. All parties must maintain their continued commitment to the 2014 cease-fire arrangements.”

Mr. Mladenov advised both sides :

“Hamas and other militant groups must immediately and effectively stop all provocations and attacks, including rockets and mortars, IED‘s, attempts to breach the fence, incendiary balloons and kites, tunnel construction, and rein in all of the violence at the border. Israel must restore the delivery of critical supplies to Gaza, and improve the movement and access for goods and people. Israeli Security Forces must exercise maximum restraint in the use of live ammunition.”

“The Palestinian Authority (PA) must not disengage from Gaza and must continue it’s engagement with the international community to help alleviate the suffering of it’s people in Gaza.” “Any effort by any party to block the provision critical assistance, designed to relieve humanitarian suffering must not be tolerated.”

He continued :

“We must never forget, that at its heart, Gaza is not a humanitarian problem, it is a political problem.”

Mr. Mladenov also outlines potential next steps:

“Humanitarian efforts are taking place in coordination with, and in support of Egyptian efforts to bring Gaza back to the full control of the legitimate Palestinian government.”

“The government’s return to Gaza, and the lifting of the suffocating movement and access restrictions, are necessary for addressing the humanitarian, the economic needs of the population, in a sustainable manner, but also addressing the very important political challenges ahead. “

“In addition to the unification of all Palestinians under one single legitimate Palestinian National Authority, the bigger picture must also be addressed, an end to the occupation, and the realization of the two state solution, based on relevant United Nations resolutions.”

“Madame President, in closing let me reiterate that we must break out of the endless cycle of emergency responses and stopgap measures. The Palestinian people, whether they live in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, whether they live in Gaza, or as refugees in the region, deserve a sustainable and just solution, just as the people of Israel deserve peace and security.”

(Source / 21.10.2018)