A number of Palestinians and international peace activists were injured by Israeli forces during the weekly anti-settlement march, on Friday afternoon, in the village of Kafr Qaddoum, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqilia.
Coordinator of a local popular committee of Kafr Qaddoum, Murad Ishteiwi, said that dozens of Israeli forces raided the village and attacked protesters with live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs.
Although no protesters were shot, many protesters suffered from tear-gas inhalation and received immediate medical treatment on the scene.
Violent confrontations broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth, due to the raid.
Ishteiwi added, according to Ma’an, that Israeli forces also raided a home in the village, belonging to Zahi Ali, and held him with his family inside the home, while soldiers used the rooftop to shoot at protesters and take photos of them.
Hundreds of protesters took part in the march that set off following Friday prayers, repeating slogans calling for unity and escalating protests against Israel.
Residents of Kafr Qaddoum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against Israeli land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces. The road, which has been closed for 14 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.
The Israeli army blocked off the road after expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim in 2003, forcing village residents to take a bypass road in order to travel to Nablus, which has extended the travel time to Nablus from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
On Thursday November 1st Israeli occupation released wheelchair-bound political prisoner Adnan Yassin Hamarsha(50) after six months imprisonment without charge or trial under Israel’s administrative detention system.
Hamarsha, whose hip was damaged as a result of Perthes disease in childhood, had been arrested by the Israeli occupation forces on May 2nd. He has spent, according to different sources, between 12-16 years in occupation captivity, much of it in administrative detention. At one point he was jailed without charge or trial for over 51 months.
During his time in Israeli occupation prisons he has suffered from chronic hypertension and has once suffered a stroke. He has been arrested at least on seven different occasions, including in 2003, 2014, 2015 and the latest in May this year.
Adnan Hamarsha’s two sons are currently imprisoned by Israel: 17-year-old Anas has been captive since October 18th 2017 and 26-year-old Omar since April 4th this year.
Hamarsha, a member of Hamas, is a resident of the town of Ya’abad, near the city of Jenin on the occupied West Bank.
Four Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are currently engaged in hunger strikes to protect prisoners’ rights and demand their freedom. Saddam Ali Ayad Awad, 28, from Beit Ummar near al-Khalil, has been on strike since 13 October, after occupation authorities renewed his administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial.
Awad earlier went on hunger strike for 10 days in August, which he suspended when Israeli intelligence officials told him that his administrative detention would not be renewed. However, despite this promise, his imprisonment without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence was renewed for another six months, sparking his strike. After nearly three weeks on hunger strike, Awad’s health has begun to deteriorate; he has lost significant amounts of weight and suffers from extreme fatigue, difficulty moving and pain throughout his body.
Awad was arrested for the first time in 2009; he spent two and a half years in Israeli jails before being released as part of the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange. In 2013, he was once again arrested and his sentence of four years reimposed. After his release in November 2017, he was free for only four months before occupation forces seized him again on 12 March 2018, ordering him imprisoned without charge or trial.
Sheikh Rizk Rajoub, 60, from the village of Dura near al-Khalil, also launched a hunger strike on Sunday, 28 October. This is the third hunger strike he has launched while detained; like Awad, Rajoub is jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. He was seized by occupation forces on 27 November 2017 and ordered to administrative detention. He was also threatened with deportation from Palestine. He went on strike for 25 days and suspended it with a pledge that his case would instead be transferred to charges in the military court.
However, Israeli occupation forces ignored the promise and ordered him jailed for six months without charge or trial. He again refused food for 10 days, extracting a promise to not renew his detention. Nonetheless, his detention was renewed for a second time. His detention period will soon expire once more, and Rajoub launched the strike to demand that he be released at that time without the renewal of his detention order.
Administrative detention orders are issued for one to six months at a time; they are indefinitely renewable. Palestinians have been jailed for years at a time without charge or trial under repeatedly renewed detention orders.
Rajoub, a leader in the Hamas movement, himself has been imprisoned by the Israeli occupation on multiple occasions, serving nearly 23 years behind bars, 10 of those mostly under administrative detention. His most recent arrest came only one week after his release from a previous detention period, when he was jailed without charge or trial for 29 months. Riyad al-Ashqar of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that occupation forces pressured him to accept deportation to Sudan as a condition for his release.
They are not alone. Two more Palestinian prisoners, Kifah Hattab and Khalil Abu Aram, have launched a hunger strike against repressive conditions imposed by Israeli prison administration as part of an initiative by Israeli minister Gilad Erdan to impose even more difficult conditions on Palestinian prisoners. The commission is seeking to roll back the achievements that Palestinian prisoners have won through years of struggle. Thousands of books have been confiscated from prisoners, who have also seen decreased food rations and limited access to hot water.
Hattab and Abu Aram, both serving multiple life sentences, are held in Hadarim prison. They launched their hunger strike to support Palestinian women prisoners in HaSharon, who have refused to go out to the recreation yard for nearly two months due to the sudden imposition of surveillance cameras on 5 September. They are also protesting intensified repression inside Hadarim and other prisons.
Hattab and Abu Aram have been on hunger strike since 24 October to demand an end to these repressive mechanisms and the withdrawal of the surveillance cameras from HaSharon prison. In June, Abu Aram and other Palestinian prisoners were attacked in Nafha prison when photos from inside the prison were released revealing them baking ma’amoul cookies in their rooms for Eid al-Fitr. Abu Aram was thrown in isolation and later transferred, while nine prisoners were assaulted and isolated for defending Abu Aram against the guards’ attack.
Palestinian school children can be seen in sewage water
Israeli settlers dumped their sewage on a Palestinian school in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqilia yesterday.
The Azzun Beit Amin School playground was flooded with sewage for the second time in two months as a result of the settlers’ actions.
Principal Alaa Marabeh said it would take more than ten days for the sewage water to dry and this has caused a foul smell to spread across the school building and risks damaging the students’ health.
The settlers live in the nearby illegal settlement of Sha’arei Tikva which is home to some 4,000 Jewish settlers.
Since it occupied the West Bank in the Six Day War of 1967, Israel has pursued a continuous policy of illegal settlement. Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem estimates that as of the end of 2015 there were 127 Israeli government-sanctioned settlements in the West Bank and a further 100 outposts, which do not have government recognition. Although Israel differentiates between settlements and outposts, both are illegal under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva convention which prevents the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory.
Israeli military bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home in the West Bank
Israeli coalition partner Jewish Home will advance a bill to the ministerial committee for legislation on Sunday that would allow authorities to forcible displace Palestinian families of “terrorists” within the occupied West Bank, reported Arutz Sheva.
According to the report, the law currently only allows Israel to deport the families of Palestinian assailants or alleged assailants “if the defence establishment can prove that they constitute a clear and present danger to the public”.
The so-called “Terrorist Family Expulsion Law” would allow the government to advance the expulsion of individuals who acted as alleged “accomplices”, including family members “who were aware of their relative’s intentions or otherwise supported their attacks”.
Specifically, the bill would allow the military to forcibly displace Palestinian families to another area of the occupied West Bank.
Bill sponsor MK Moti Yogev said the draft legislation is designed to avoid censure by the Supreme Court, since the expulsions would be within the West Bank, as opposed to Lebanon or Gaza.
“Deterrent is a cornerstone of Israel’s security as a way to save lives and preserve law and order,” the statement explaining the bill said. “The requested step in this bill has been proven as a deterrent, reducing future attacks and thus saving lives.”
Israel frequently uses the method of collective punishment in an effort to deter Palestinian resistance fighters from resisting the occupation, demolishing their family homes and revoking work permits, a measure which rights groups have repeatedly condemned as unlawful.
In the Gaza Strip, the ‘Doctors on the Earth’ Society is providing urgent health services for people injured
Israeli authorities prevented 763 Palestinian patients from leaving the occupied Gaza Strip for medical treatment in September, reported the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Some 668 patient applications to travel through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing were delayed, “receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment”, said the WHO.
Of these, 161 applications were for children under the age of 18 and 71 applications were for patients aged 60 years or older.
Meanwhile, 95 patient applications were explicitly denied permission to cross Erez for health care in September, including seven children and 14 patients aged 60 years or older.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that he will work “to change the hypocritical and hostile attitude of the European Union” towards Israel.
“This is a process that will take time, but I believe in setting a goal and striving for it systematically, and I believe that this too will be achieved over time,” Netanyahu said before heading to attend a summit in Bulgaria.
Israeli media reported that Netanyahu’s visit to Bulgaria will last for several days where he is scheduled to meet with officials from several European countries, accompanied by his wife Sara and a number of Israeli officials.
Netanyahu will meet with the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Serbia.
47-year-old Aisha Muhammad Talal Al-Rabi was killed after illegal Israeli settlers attacked her and her husband with stones in the West Bank
A group of extreme right-wing Israeli settlers are believed to have coached the murderers of an unarmed Palestinian mother on how to withstand interrogation by Israeli security agency Shin Bet, pre-empting the agency’s investigation.
Shin Bet – the agency responsible for investigating the murder of Al-Rabi – suspects that just hours after she was killed last month “several far-right Israeli activists drove to a yeshiva [religious Jewish school] in the northern West Bank […] in order to coach students they suspected were involved in the incident on how to withstand Shin Bet interrogations,” the Times of Israel (ToI) reported.
The revelation was first disclosed by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan yesterday, but the Times of Israel has since received confirmation from Israeli defence officials that “the far-right activists who made the drive are figures known to the Shin Bet, and have undergone extensive interrogations at the hands of the agency’s operatives”. ToI continued:
The activists spoke to a number of students they believed were involved in the stone-throwing […] giving them tips on how to endure the interrogations, reviewing their rights upon detainment, and urging them to remain silent as much as possible.
Shin Bet also believes that the extremist settlers drove to the yeshiva on the Sabbath – which is forbidden to religious Jews – suggesting they understood the urgency and gravity of the murder and the importance of reaching the suspects before Shin Bet could begin its investigation. The Times of Israel adds that the decision to drive and meet the suspects has also aided the subsequent investigation, “strengthen[ing] the belief among security officials that this was not a case of Palestinian stone throwers mistaking a Palestinian vehicle for an Israeli one”.
Aisha Muhammad Talal Al-Rabi – a 47-year-old mother from Biddya, southwest of Nablus in the occupied West Bank – was killed in an attack in mid-October. The incident took place at Tapuah Junction (Za’atara) as Aisha and her husband Yaqoub were driving past a nearby illegal settlement. Their car was hit by stones believed to have been thrown by settlers, causing Yaqoub to lose control of the car – in the midst of the attack Aisha is believed to have been struck on the head with a large rock, causing her to lose consciousness. A video showing the aftermath of the incident revealed graphic images of the blood-soaked car seat and shattered windscreen. Although Aisha was rushed to hospital, she was pronounced dead on arrival.
Shin Bet quickly launched an investigation into the attack, which was interpreted as indication that the agency suspected the involvement of illegal Israeli settlers. The investigation was also immediately placed under gag order by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.
A week after Aisha’s death, Israel cancelled the work permits of her husband Yaqoub Al-Rabi and her brothers. The family said they were “surprised to find out that they were [being] punished for the settlers’ murder of Aisha by revoking their work permit, even though they were victims of the attack”.
Though Shin Bet claimed the cancellation of the Al-Rabis’ work permits was temporary, the move was interpreted as evidence of the double-standard with which such incidents are handled – Israel allows up to 20 years’ imprisonment for Palestinians accused of throwing rocks at a vehicle with the intent of causing bodily harm, or ten years if intent was not proven. However, according to human rights organisation Yesh Din only three per cent of investigations into ideologically-motivated crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians have resulted in a conviction.
Shin Bet has yet to issue in full the findings of its investigations.
Palestinians launched the “Great March of Return” protests on 30 March in an effort to bring an end to the 11-year siege of the Strip and calling for their right to return to homes from which their families were forced out to make way for the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
More than 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli snipers and tear gas fire since the marches were launched with over 20,000 injured, according to the UN.