Palestinian families and activists staged a protest on Saturday for the 137th day in Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, against an Israeli plan to demolish the village.
Israel’s Supreme Court in May ruled for demolishing the village and its only school at any time deemed appropriate by the Israeli government, then decided later to delay the demolition until further notice.
Palestinians from different areas in the West Bank have been protesting over the past weeks in the Bedouin village to support its residents who are threatened with forcible transfer to another area that lacks basic life services.
Dozens of Palestinians were injured on Friday when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) heavily opened fire at the peaceful protesters taking part in the Great March of Return for the 32nd week in a row.
The PIC reporter said, quoting Gaza Ministry of Health, that 32 Palestinians were injured by live ammunition and teargas canisters.
The PIC reporter said that the Egyptian security delegation visiting the Gaza Strip were present in the Great March of Return camps along with Palestinian faction leaders and members of the Higher National Committee for the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.
The Higher National Committee for the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege in a statement on Thursday called for the largest popular participation in Friday’s protests on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
The Committee affirmed that the Great March of Return will continue until it achieves its goals, and praised Egypt’s role in supporting the Palestinian people’s struggle against the siege and occupation.
The Egyptian delegation arrived on Thursday in the Gaza Strip to discuss the reconciliation and the ceasefire agreement with Israel.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since 30 March have been protesting on a daily basis along the eastern border to draw the world’s attention to the Palestinian refugees’ right of return and the worsening humanitarian situation in the enclave due to the decade-long blockade.
Since the start of the border protests, 228 Palestinians have been killed by the IOF and over 22,000 injured, 460 of whom are in critical condition.
Tension flared up in Qaryut village, east of Nablus city, on Saturday morning after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) prevented the construction of an agricultural road.
Anti-settlement activist Bashar al-Qaryuti said that the IOF stopped Palestinian citizens working in the construction of a new agricultural road, held them at gunpoint, and ordered them to leave the area.
Al-Qaryuti said that the workers refused to obey the ordered, while dozens of Palestinian families rushed to the area to support them.
He added that the IOF soldiers have repeatedly attacked Palestinian workers and prevented construction works in the village, which is located in Area B, which is, based on the Oslo Accords, exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian activist explained that Qaryut’s village council has recently started to build new agricultural roads in Bteisha area which includes large areas of land planted with olive trees.
He noted that the village is surrounded by three Israeli settlements and four outposts built illegally on Palestinian-owned lands.
A Palestinian report said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) had demolished 19 Palestinian structures and notified citizens of its intents to raze 15 others in last October.
The report, which was released by al-Quds Center for Palestinian and Israeli Studies, affirmed that Palestinian educational facilities were among those structures that received Israeli demolition threats last month.
The report pointed out that the Israeli government bulldozed vast tracts of Palestinian land and approved the construction of many housing units and roads for settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem during the same month.
The following article, by Charlotte Kates, the international coordinator of Samidoun, initially appeared in Arabic in Al-Adab magazine, published on November 2, 2018. The Arabic text can be read online at the Al-Adab website. The article appeared in an issue with a special focus on Palestinian prisoners, including testimonies from current and former political prisoners and their families.
Ghassan Kanafani’s quote that “Palestine today is not a cause for Palestinians only; it is the cause of every revolutionary, the cause of the oppressed and exploited masses in our era” has not dulled in its accuracy over time. Perhaps it resonates more clearly than ever before, when U.S. imperialism and its European partners appear as an ongoing threat to Palestinian existence and self-determination as well as to any form of Arab unity or even truly independent policy.
There are many campaigns that capture the attention of the international solidarity movement, all of them worthwhile and challenging some aspect of the Zionist project in occupied Palestine – from the campaign to break the siege on Gaza, to building boycott campaigns against Israeli corporations, state entities or academic and cultural institutions, to working with Palestinian communities in countries of exile to fight back against racism and repression. The struggle to defend Palestinian political prisoners and seek their freedom is central to building solidarity with the Palestinian people, their national liberation movement and their revolution.
The Zionist movement and state certainly recognize the centrality of this issue; it should be noted that Gilad Erdan, the minister who carries the file of “public security,” including the Israel Prison Service, is also responsible for the “anti-boycott” initiatives of the Israeli state in his role as the Minister of Strategic Affairs. The Zionist campaigns against the Palestinian prisoners – both the propaganda campaigns in international media and the campaigns of repression and misery that aim to break the spirit of the prisoners – recognize just how central these men and women, children and elders are in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.
Palestinian prisoners, both to the occupier and to the occupied, to those who would build solidarity and those who would criminalize, represent the implacable will of Palestinians to resist occupation and oppression, by all means necessary. The very act of posting on social media about Palestinian armed resistance has been labeled incitement; hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested and jailed for their statements on social media in support of Palestinian resistance. And any involvement at all with the organized liberation movement – from the most common charge of membership in a prohibited organization to those who directly take up armed struggle – can be met by years and decades behind Israeli bars.
Defending the Palestinian prisoners and campaigning for their freedom is an inseparable aspect of defending the Palestinian resistance and the right to armed struggle. Even in the cases of Palestinian child prisoners, the most common charge is “throwing stones” – direct resistance to the occupier. The imprisonment of Palestinians is an attempt to isolate the Palestinian resistance; thus, the defense of Palestinian prisoners is a means to break that isolation and turn it instead toward the isolation of Israel.
There are, of course, many organizations on the ground in Palestine doing excellent and important work to defend the prisoners legally and politically and seek their freedom. However, this work has not been exempted from the framework that Oslo has imposed on the Palestinian movement as a whole. Increasingly, the political aspect of Palestinian prisoners’ cases has been replaced with a purely humanitarian or human rights-based approach. The prisoners’ cause, like many other aspects of the Palestinian struggle, has been professionalized into an area of work and commentary for lawyers and other legal experts. Palestinian prisoners are addressed primarily and mainly as victims rather than protagonists in a revolutionary struggle for liberation.
In reality, every Palestinian prisoner’s case is far less of a legal battle than it is a political one; yet our strategies are increasingly directed toward legal defense, even while acknowledging politically that the entire system is invalid and illegitimate. It is not possible to win the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners by presenting the perfect legal argument, as – whether they face military courts or Israeli “civil” courts – they face a system that is based on the complete negation of their existence and, particularly, their organization and resistance.
This situation is also reflected in the violent response of the prison system to any and all attempts by the Palestinian prisoners’ movement to exert their intellectual and political leadership in the Palestinian national liberation struggle. It has been said that the Palestinian leadership that is not compromised or liquidated in the Oslo process can best be found behind bars. In response to their statements and interviews, conveyed through secret messages, smuggled cell phones and other technologies that defy Israeli isolation, Palestinian prisoners are subject to raids, violence, forced transfers and isolation. The recent interview of Palestinian political leader, PFLP General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, published in El-Masry al-Youm, sparked harsh raids and repression against Palestinian prisoners in Ramon prison. Veteran prisoner and struggler from ’48, Walid Daqqa, was thrown into solitary confinement when he published a new children’s book; this followed the defunding of a Haifa Palestinian theater that exhibited a play based on his work.
The international aspect of the Palestinian prisoners’ struggle is not one that can or should be relegated to the corridors of the United Nations and international legal bodies. It must be noted that this is something that the Zionist movement clearly recognizes as well. The imperialist countries like the United States, France and other states of the European Union are full partners in the imprisonment of Palestinians and the legitimation of the charges against them through their campaigns against the resistance.
Today’s “anti-terrorism” laws have various legal precedents – most commonly in the laws used to suppress anti-colonial and liberation movements in the Western powers – but they stem directly from laws that were passed in the United States in the mid-1990s. Those laws were then exported around the world with the 11 September 2001 attacks. The original U.S. laws were explicitly justified as a means of supporting the “Middle East peace process,” i.e. the Oslo process, and criminalizing all of those parties that rejected Oslo. Thus, we see the “terror lists” of the United States, Canada, the European Union, the UK, Australia, packed with the names of Palestinian organizations seeking national liberation, who rejected the trap of Oslo – the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Hamas; Islamic Jihad; and even those fighters of Fateh who resisted pacification.
These “anti-terror” laws are used to justify the persecution of Palestinians inside these countries – see, for example, the case of the Holy Land Five, five Palestinians serving sentences of up to 65 years in prison in U.S. jails for their fundraising and charitable work for Palestine. Reflecting the fact that these are only the newest gloss on an existing strategic alliance, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah has been jailed for 34 years in France for his involvement in actions to support the Palestinian and Lebanese liberation struggles. In Palestine itself, U.S. and British guards – including those previously stationed in the colonized north of Ireland – surrounded the Palestinian Authority’s Jericho prison where Sa’adat and his comrades were held from 2002 to 2006. Those guards moved aside in a coordinated fashion to allow for the violent assault of the Israeli military in March 2016.
Just as upholding the Palestinian prisoners, their names, lives and politics, is a contribution to the defense of the resistance in the battle of ideas, the European Union and the Zionist state have also recognized the importance of this battle from the opposing perspective. Thus, we have seen the defunding of Palestinian schools that bear the names of martyrs and strugglers who gave their lives for Palestinian liberation by participating actively in resistance. From Dalal Mughrabi (targeted by Norway and Belgium) to the campaigns against schools and squares honoring Shadia Abu Ghazaleh and Khaled Nazzal, there is not only a battle over the names of schools and institutions but a battle for Palestinian memory and history. It is our responsibility to fight back by upholding Palestinian resistance leaders as the international social justice leaders for which they should be recognized.
This very battle of ideas is the reason why Erdan, in his campaign against the growing boycott movement, included Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network among dozens of other international groups in his latest propaganda alert against international solidarity with Palestine. Erdan connected Samidoun and others with a “red line” on his graphic to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The illustration is not a random choice but reflects the Zionist project’s concern about a closer linkage between what the Reut Institute, a Zionist strategic center, referred to as the “delegitimization” network and the “resistance” network.
Through public exhortations and campaigns about dubious alleged linkages with resistance organizations, Erdan and the Israeli state aim to spread fear and intimidation among solidarity organizations. These attacks aim to push such organizations to alter their rhetoric, polices and campaigns in an attempt to avoid such allegations and their potentially criminalizing consequences. It is not simply propaganda against Palestine solidarity – this project aims to undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian resistance and its association with global struggle and, therefore, to isolate the issue of the prisoners from its political context.
In the struggle of the Palestinian prisoners for freedom – an indivisible aspect of the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation – we can find the seed of connection that holds the potential for building the type of deep alliances – those most feared by Erdan and the forces he represents – that can truly challenge Zionism, imperialism, capitalism and their reactionary-regime allies.
The Palestinian prisoners’ liberation cannot be disconnected from global struggles for liberation, nor from the struggle to liberate the political prisoners in the Philippines, Turkey, Egypt, the United States and elsewhere. Building the struggle for their freedom reflects the common interest of revolutionary movements fighting for justice and liberation, on the front lines of confrontation with repression, racism, exploitation and fascism.
Charlotte Kates is the International Coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
Al-Adab cover art by former Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Safadi:
Palestinian people hold flags and banners during a demonstration in support of Qatar, in Gaza on 9 June 2017
Israel’s public broadcaster Kan has said that there are ongoing efforts to reach a deal to pass Qatari money and oil to the besieged Gaza Strip in return for calm as part of the Egypt-brokered deal.
Citing Kan, Al-Wattan Voice reported on Friday that an unnamed senior Egyptian official had revealed that Israel would only pass the Qatari aid and oil to Gaza if it was able to monitor them to ensure they would not end up in the hands of “terrorists”.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 14 reported a senior Israeli political source as saying that an agreement to ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza must be reached soon. “We succeeded in reaching a temporary solution for the salaries and oil,” the political source said, noting that it was very difficult to reach this agreement.
The source added that “if the situation [in Gaza] exploded again, we are ready to use a massive deterrence power.”
Does #Egypt trust Israelis more than Palestinians?
7 Palestinians killed in Gaza protests and 112 injured
Israel killed 32 Palestinians – 26 in the besieged Gaza Strip and six in the occupied West Bank – in October, including six children. A further 2,166 others were wounded across the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).
The figures were issued in a report by the Abdullah Al-Horani Research Centre, affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Quds Press reported. It noted that 28-year-old Wisam Shalaldeh, who passed away inside an Israeli prison due to medical negligence, was one of those Palestinians killed last month.
The report also said that the Israeli occupation is still holding the bodies of two Palestinians from the neighbourhood of Sair, north of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Israel claims they were killed after carrying out stabbing attacks, thus raising the number of bodies withheld by Israel to 32.
The report added that 1,916 Palestinians were wounded in the besieged Gaza Strip, while 250 were wounded in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. It also said that the Israeli occupation arrested a further 525 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in October.
Other crimes committed by the Israeli occupation in October include the demolition of 56 Palestinian homes and facilities, including Al-Tahaddi School in the suburbs of Tubas, south of Jenin in the occupied West Bank.
In addition, the report added that the Israeli authorities approved the construction of thousands of new settlement units and confiscated hundreds of dunams of Palestinians land, as well as uprooting hundreds of trees.
The report also mentioned that attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers had increased last month, highlighting the killing of 45-year-old Palestinian mother Aisha Al-Rabi near the Israeli military checkpoint of Zaatara.
High-level Israeli political source reportedly says new deal to be clinched easing Gaza blockade
Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are close to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, a report said Saturday, citing a high-level Israeli source.
According to the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, an unnamed senior political figure leaked that a deal was in the making between Israel and the Gazan administration to allow Qatar to provide the enclave with funds to pay its civil servants as well as fuel.
The source added that the Israeli side would audit the funds to ensure they were not being used for “terror activities”.
Since Palestinians began holding regular rallies along the buffer zone on March 30, more than 200 protesters have been killed and thousands more injured.
Demonstrators demand the right to return to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
Egypt, Qatar and the UN have been working towards a ceasefire to ease the blockade in exchange for the termination of the protests.
Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly nonviolent procession against the Annexation Wall and colonies, in Ni’lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, causing many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
The soldiers attacked many locals, and international peace activists, marching against the illegal Annexation Wall and colonies, after gathering in the center of the village and heading towards the villager’s isolated orchards.
Medical sources said many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, and received the needed treatment.
Today’s procession also marks the 101st anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain promised the Zionist movement a Jewish homeland in Palestine.