Palestinian teenager Ahed al-Tamimi (C), who was awarded the “Hanzala Award for Courage” in Turkey, is released with her mother Nariman Tamimi (not seen) after 7 months in prison at Israeli check point in Nabi Saleh district of Ramallah, West Bank on 29 July, 2018
A teenage Palestinian resistance icon and Malaysian prime minister have been named the Muslim persons of the year in the 2019 edition of the Muslim 500, a list of world’s most influential Muslims.
Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian, was released in August after an eight-month stint in Israeli custody.
Tamimi has some very bad memories of the Israeli forces who killed, arrested and injured several of her family members in recent years.
This years’ edition of The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims pronounced Tamimi “a hero on the field”, praising her efforts to defend Palestinian cause.
The population growth rate of Palestinians in the State of Palestine reached about 2.5 per cent in 2018. In addition, the growth rate of the Palestinian population in Israel reached about 2.3 per cent in 2017, while the rate for Jews in historical Palestine was about 1.7 per cent in 2017
The projected number of Palestinians in the world is 13.05 million, of whom 4.91 million are in the State of Palestine, 1.57 million in Israel, 5.85 million in Arab countries and around 717,000 in foreign countries, Ola Awad, President of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said on Monday in a brief on the status of the Palestinian people at the end of 2018.
The projected number of Palestinians living in the State of Palestine at the end of 2018 is 4.915 million: around 2.954 million reside in the West Bank and 1.961 million in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian refugees make up 42 per cent of the Palestinian population in the State of Palestine: 26% of them in the West Bank and 66% in Gaza Strip.
The total fertility rate declined during (2011-2013) to 4.1 births (compared to 5.9 births in 1999). In Gaza Strip, the rate was 4.5 births compared to 3.7 births in the West Bank during 2011-2013.
The average household size in the State of Palestine was 5.1 persons in 2017 (compared to 6.1 in 2000): 4.8 persons in the West Bank and 5.6 persons in the Gaza Strip.
The 2018 crude birth rate is 30.5 births for every 1,000 of the population in the State of Palestine: 28.0 in the West Bank compared to 34.4 in the Gaza Strip. The crude death rate is 3.8 deaths for every 1,000 of the population in the State of Palestine 2018: 4.0 in the West Bank compared to 3.5 in Gaza Strip.
The total fertility rate for the Palestinian women living in Jordan was 3.3 births in 2010 compared to 2.5 in Syria in 2010 and 2.8 in Lebanon in 2011.
The number of Palestinians living in Israel is 1.568 million by the end of 2018 of whom the percentage of individuals under 18 years was about 40 per cent for males and 39 per cent for females, while the percentage of individuals 65 years and above was 4 per cent for males and 5 per cent for females at the end of 2017.
The population growth rate of Palestinians in the State of Palestine reached about 2.5 per cent in 2018. In addition, the growth rate of the Palestinian population in Israel reached about 2.3 per cent in 2017, while the rate for Jews in historical Palestine was about 1.7 per cent in 2017.
GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Palestinian human rights center on Monday said that five Palestinian detainees died while in Israeli custody in 2018.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies and Documentation, Yasin al-Saradih, 33, died four hours after he was arrested from his house in Jericho on 22 February.
Al-Saradih was severely beaten by Israeli soldiers who shot him at a point-blank range although he posed no threat to them.
Mohammed Anbar, 46, was detained while injured on 2 April after the Israeli occupation forces opened fire at him at Jbara checkpoint in Tulkarem. He died six days later.
Mohammed Marshoud, 30, died on 9 April, a day after he was shot by an Israeli settler near Khan al-Ahmar village in Jerusalem for allegedly attempting a stabbing attack.
Aziz Oweisat, 53, suffered lung damage and internal bleeding in early May as a result of being brutally assaulted by the Israel prison guards at Eshel jail. The Israeli authorities refused to release him though his health seriously deteriorated. He died a few days later.
Mohammed al-Rimawi, 24, was kidnapped from his home in Ramallah on 18 September by Israeli special forces and transferred to Halamish settlement where he was beaten to death.
The Palestinian Prisoners Center said that Israel arrested 5,700 Palestinians in 2018, including 980 children and 175 girls and women, in an escalated arbitrary arrest campaign that falls in line with the collective punishment policy pursued against the Palestinians.
President Mahmoud Abbas says Palestine will never allow the United States to sell Jerusalem al-Quds to Israel, reiterating that the occupied city will remain the eternal capital of the state of Palestine.
Jerusalem al-Quds “is not for sale,” Abbas said in a speech marking the 54th anniversary of the Fatah party’s founding in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday.
“We will not allow anyone to advance a plot against Jerusalem (al-Quds),” he noted, stressing that the city “will remain the eternal capital of the Palestinian state, as the late President Yasser Arafat said that a Palestinian child will raise the flag of Palestine on the walls, minarets and churches of Jerusalem (al-Quds).”
The National Gathering of Martyrs’ Families has stated in its annual report for the year 2018 that Israeli soldiers have killed 312 Palestinians, including women and children, and added that this number is four times higher than the year 2017.
Mohammad Sbeihat, the Secretary-General of the Gathering, has reported that Israel and its occupation forces are encouraged by the silence of the international community, and expressed its support of the calls of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to prosecute Israel in international courts for its escalating crimes and violations.
Sbeihat added that the Gathering has thoroughly documented the Israeli violations in all governorates during the year, including reports from various human rights organizations.
The documentations reveal the following:
The number of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli army fire in 2018 is 312, including 310 who were shot with live ammunition, and two who died from the severe effects of teargas inhalation.
271 Palestinians were killed in several parts of the Gaza Strip.
42 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank.
Six of the slain Palestinians are females.
306 of the slain Palestinians are males.
The youngster slain Palestinians is Laila al-Ghandour, only eight months of age, and the oldest is Ibrahim Ahmad al-‘Arrouqi, 74.
Fifty-seven of the slain Palestinians in 2018 are children (below the age of 18).
Approximately one Palestinian was killed every 28 hours, which means that, comparing to the year 2017, the average is four times higher, as Israel killed 74 Palestinians.
The month that witnessed the highest numbers of deaths by Israeli fire was May, as the soldiers have killed 89 Palestinians.
The Average age of the slain Palestinians was 24.
The number of married Palestinians killed by the army is 107, 104 of them were males and 3 females.
Israel is still holding the corpses of twenty Palestinians who were killed in 2018. This is added to 38 corpses of Palestinians killed by the army in 2015 and remain held by Israel.
The total number of corpses of slain Palestinians held by Israel since the year 1965 is 284.
Israeli forces have killed 145 Palestinians in 2015.
Israeli forces have killed 127 Palestinians in 2016.
Israeli forces have killed 74 Palestinians in 2017.
Israeli forces have killed 312 Palestinians in 2018.
In what appears as a premeditated terror attack, an Israeli settler rammed his vehicle into a herd of sheep in the village of al-Mughayyer, to the east of Ramallah, on Monday, killing 12 and injuring 18 others.
Local sources told WAFA correspondence that the settler rammed into the herd on purpose and with full force, to cause as much damage as possible. They said he ran over 30 sheep, killing 12 and injuring the others, of which six were in critical condition.
The attack happened on what is known as Alon settlement road.
Raising sheep is the only source of income for Khaled Abu Illia, victim of the premeditated terror attack.
Shepherds are often seen in the open pastures during this season, when the fields are covered with green grass.
In the latest set of abductions through invasion of Palestinian areas, a nightly occurrence in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israeli forces took 32 Palestinians from their beds in pre-dawn raids New Year’s morning.
According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), the invasions occurred in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shoefat, at-Tur and Jabal al-Mukabber, where nine Palestinians were detained; the Ramallah area, where 19 were detained, the Jenin area in the northern West Bank, where 2 were detained, and the Salfit area, where 2 were detained.
PPS identified the Palestinians abducted in Jerusalem neighborhoods as Alaa Haddad, Ashraf Eweisat, Ayman Daajneh, Marwan Najib, Subhi Najib, Mohammad Gharabli, Youssef Abu al-Hawa, Hashem Abu al-Hawa and Amin Abu al-Hawa.In the Ramallah area, the majority of those abducted were from Kobar village, where 14 Palestinians were taken. The other 5 were taken from Ramallah and al-Bireh. PPS identified these 5 as Hamed Riyad Hamed and Saed Hamed from Silwad, Ashraf Saaf from al-Mazraa al-Sharqiya, former prisoner Abdullah Abu Shalbak and Jaber Mamdouh Jaber from Kafr Nimeh. The14 Palestinians detained from Kobar village were identified as Jawdat Sarhan al-Barghouthi, Mohammad Sarhan al-Barghouthi, Mohammad Munir al-Barghouthi, Muhannad Rayyan al-Barghouthi, Miqdad Zahi al-Barghouthi, Ismail Zahi al-Barghouthi, Zahi Ismail al-Barghouthi, Yasser al-Fahl, Nael Omar Yassin, Mohammad Ibrahim al-Barghouthi, Abed Judeh Abu Maher, Mohammad Lutfi al-Barghouthi, Saher al-Barghouthi and Imad al-Barghouthi. The two Palestinians taken from Jenin were identified as Mohammad Jihad Abu Bakr and Usama Amarneh. Another two unidentified Palestinians were taken from Salfit in the northern West Bank. These invasions and abductions are a nightly occurrence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, where the Israeli military retains full control of Palestinian land and forces the Palestinian population there to live under military occupation. Many of those abducted in these night raids are then held in Israeli prisons for months on end with no charges under so-called ‘administrative detention’.
This is the first of two articles quoting and briefly putting in context mentions of Palestine in two modern translations of “The Histories” of Herodotus of Halicarnassus(c. 484 – c. 425 BCE), ‘The father of history’.
The five mentions are mostly geographical, but include mythical and historical material. As is typical with Herodotus, the closer he is to his own time, the more firm is his grasp. Yet unlike with the Greek historians who followed him and were mostly concerned with the history of their own lifetimes, Herodotus’ historical reach at best extends to about 650 BCE. Before that time history gives way to mythology in his writing.
In this article we are using a revised edition of Aubrey de Sélincourt’s(1896-1962) translation from 1954, published by Penguin in 2003. The revision was done by John Marincola(b. 1954).
The first mention of Palestine in this translation comes up in the context of the invasion of Asia Minor by the nomadic Scythians from the Pontic Steppe in pursuit of their foes the Cimmerians, during the reign of Psamtik I (655-610 BCE) of the 26th dynasty of Egypt, who were met by him in Palestine:
The Scythians next turned their attention to Egypt, but were met in Palestine by Psammetichus the Egyptian king, who by earnest entreaties supported by bribery managed to prevent their further advance. They withdrew by way of Ascalon in Syria. The bulk of the army passed the town of without doin any damage, but a small number of men got left behind and robbe the templer of Aphrodite Urania – the most ancient, I am told, of all the temples of this goddess. The one in Cyprus the Cyprians themselves admit was derived from it, and the one in Cythera was built by the Phoenicians, who belong to this part of Syria. The Scythians who robbed the temple of Ascalon were punished by the goddess with the infliction of what is called ‘the female disease’, and their descendants still suffer from it. This is the reason the Scythians give for this mysterious complaint, and travellers to the countrycan see what it is like. The Scythians call those who suffer from it ‘Enarees’. (49)
Palestine comes up next in the description of the conquests of the mythical, composite figure of king Sesostris of Egypt who is likely based on two historical kings separated from each other by a gulf of six centuries – Senusret III(1878-1839 BCE) of the 12th dynasty and Ramses II(1279-1213 BCE) of the 19th dynasty:
Whenever he encountered a courageous enemy who fought valiantly for freedon, he erected pillars on the spot inscribed with his own name and country, and a sentence to indicate that by the might of his armed forced he had won a victory; of however, a town fell easily into his hands without a struggle, he made an addition to the inscription on the pillar – for not only did he record upon it the same facts as before, but added a picture ofa woman’s genitals, meaning to show that the people of that town were no braver than women…
Most of the memorial pillars which King Sesostris erected in the conquered territories have disappeared, but I have seen some myself in Palestine, with the inscription I mentioned, and the drawing of a woman’s genitals. (134-135)
Palestine comes up again in the list of new satrapies and their taxation during the re-organization of the Persian Empire by Darius I(521-486 BCE):
Fifth: from the town of Posideiium, which was founded by Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraus, on the border between Cilicia and Syria, a far as Egypt – omitting Arabian territory, which was free of tax – came 350 talents. This province contains the whole of Phoenicia and the part of Syria which is called Palestine, and Cyprus. (212)
In Herodotus’ geographical description of Asia and Europe Palestine comes up very briefly:
Between Persia and Phoenicia lies a very large area of country; and from Phoenicia the branch I am speaking of runs along the Mediterranean coast through Palestine-Syria to Egypt, where it ends. It contains three nations only. Such is Asia from Persia westward…
The final time Palestine comes up in de Sélincourt’s translation is in the list of troops Xerxes I of Persia(486-465 BCE) gathered for his invasion of Greece in 480 BCE, which would end with failure after the battles of Salamis(480 BCE) and Plataea(479 BCE):
The Phoenicians, with the Syrians of Palestine, contributed 300. The crews wore helmets very like the Greek ones, and linen corslets; they were armed with rimless shields and javelins. These people have a tradition that in ancient times they lied on the Persian Gulf, but migrated to the Syrian coast, where they are found today. This part of Syria, together with the country which extends southward to Egypt, is all known as Palestine. (445)
From a series of border protests in the Gaza Strip to thousands of new settlement units in the West Bank, 2018 has indeed been an eventful year in Palestine. As the year draws to a close, we have taken a moment to look back and compiled a list of ten most important news stories in the past twelve months, and many of them are certainly set to reverberate in 2019.
1) Great March of Return- 30 March 2018
Started on the annual Palestinian Land Day, thousands of demonstrators joined a series of weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border. The campaign aimed to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees, an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, as well as the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. It is the biggest movement in the recent history of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and has resulted in deadliest days since 2014 war on Gaza.
The planned six-week campaign has extended into November. Every Friday, Palestinians set tires ablaze, flew Palestinian flags, sometimes threw rocks and flew incendiary balloons and kites. The Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets on the ones who got too close to the fence. According to the report from the Ministry of Health, at least 210 Palestinians were killed and more than 18,000 were injured.
2) US Embassy Opens in Jerusalem- 14 May 2018
On December 6, 2017, the US President Donald Trump announced his decision to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is interpreted as an official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem was led by Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner on May 14, coinciding with Israel’s 70th Independence Day.
In the meantime, the protests in the Gaza Strip escalated in response to the US Embassy move. At least 52 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,200 were injured along the Gaza-Israeli border. The Secretary General of the PLO Erekat criticized the Trump administration for violating its obligations under international law, including UNSCR 478, and the U.S. own commitments towards the peace process.
3) 70 Years of the Nakba- 15 May 2018
May 15 marks 70 years of the Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic. The Nakba Day is commemorated to honor the more than 700, 000 Palestinians who were uprooted from their homes in the 1948 war. The eviction has created a refugee crisis and led to the core Palestinian demand in the later peace process – the “right of return”.
Marches and demonstrations have taken place across Palestine and around the world. In the West Bank, clashes broke out between the protesters and the Israeli occupation forces in the areas of central Hebron, Qalqilya, Bethlehem and Ramallah. The Palestinian diaspora and activists also gathered in major cities in the United States, South Africa, and Lebanon, demanding Israel to bring justice for its human rights violations.
4) Jewish Nation-State Law- 19 July 2018
The Israeli Knesset passed a new basic law by a vote of 48 – 41 on July 19. The law defines the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and reiterates that the unified and complete city of Jerusalem is its capital. The controversial bill also downgrades the status of Arabic from an official language of the state to a special status, arousing fear of further marginalizing 1.8 million Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and other minority groups.
Despite the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the Nation-State Law “respects the rights of all of its citizens,” discontent rises among both Jewish and Arab communities. In August, an estimated 50,000 Israelis gathered at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, calling for cancellation of the law and protesting against polarizing the Israeli-Palestinian issues.
In response, the Palestinian cabinet also condemned the Israeli government for rejecting any international efforts to achieve the two-state solution and denying the historic, cultural, and national existence of the Palestinian people on their own land through passing this law.
5) Ahed Tamimi Released- 29 July 2018
Ahed Tamimi is a Palestinian teen activist. On December 15, 2017, Tamimi participated in a demonstration in her hometown, Nabi Salih, and was filmed slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers. She was soon arrested during an overnight raid after the video went virus on the Internet. Her trial gained wide attention from the international society to the situation of Palestinian activists.
In March, the 17-year-old Palestinian girl reached a plea deal with the military prosecution. The deal includes serving eight months in jail and a fine of 5,000 shekels. On July 29, Ahed Tamimi and her mother were released by Israeli occupation authorities from the Hasharon Prison in Ramallah.
6) US Aids Cuts- 24 August 2018
In late August, the United States announced to halt its funding to the United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA). The organization provides healthcare, food and education to more than 5 million Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The United States has been the biggest patron to the UNRWA, contributing $350 million every year. This decision means that the UNRWA will lose 30% of its annual budget and have to cancel its programs by a large scale.
On September 9, the US President Donald Trump redirected approximately $25 million originally planned for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which is the last US aid program for Palestinians. The withdrawal of the financial support will affect thousands of Palestinians, including cancer patients and children.
7) Closure of Washington PLO Office- 10 September 2018
On September 10, the United States announced the closure of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, DC. According to a statement from the US State Department, the PLO office was permitted to operate to “support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians. However, the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”
The Palestinian Authority described the US decision as “a declaration of war on efforts to bring peace to our country and the region”. The Palestinian Council made a statement that “the closure is yet another American step toward attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause and not only affects the political situation, but rather affects serious humanitarian aspects related to the consular services provided by the organization.”
The closure of Washington PLO office will impact 600,000 American-Palestinian Citizens.
8) The Application for Full United Nations Membership- 28 December 2018
On December 28, the Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Riyad al-Malki announced that Palestine would initiate an application to gain full state membership at the United Nations. Al -Malki is scheduled to submit the formal request to the Security Council during his upcoming visit to the UN Headquarters in New York in January 2019.
It will be the first time since 2011 that the Palestinian Authority applied for full UN membership. Acquiring the committee’s approval requires at least nine out of fifteen Security Council members to vote in favor of the motion and none of the five permanent members to use its veto power.
Given that the United States will most likely to block the application as a permanent member state, any attempt from Palestine to upgrade its current status as an observer state to a full-member state faces huge obstacles. Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, made a statement, “We are preparing to stop the initiative.”
9) Jewish Settlements
In 2017, the Israeli government approved 6,742 settlement units for construction, which was the highest since 2013. In early January, the total number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has already reached 600,000. In 2018, the Israeli government continued to advance its plans.
In January, the Peace Now NGO reported that Israel has approved more than 1,000 settlement units in the West Bank. in July, the Israeli Defense Minister Lieberman announced to build 400 settler homes after a violent conflict resulting the death of one Jewish settler and injuries of two. In August and December, more than one thousand new settlement units were approved respectively.
The Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land, demolition of Palestinian homes, and settlement building have been the biggest obstacles to the two-state solution. But in the past two years, the number has skyrocketed. According to Peace Now, 96% of those approved “are in isolated settlements that Israel will likely need to evacuate within the framework of a two-state agreement”.
10) Netanyahu Investigation
The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has been surrounded by corruption scandals in 2018. He is accused of accepting gifts in exchange for preferential treatments as well as allegations he attempted to bribe Israeli telecommunication companies for favourable coverage.
Throughout the year, Israeli police has questioned Netanyahu and his family for several times. The police also recommended Netanyahu be charged with bribery and fraud based on the sufficient evidence. While Netanyahu admitted the acceptance of these gifts, he denied there was any favour in return.
On December 24, the right-wing leader called for early elections in April 2019. Although the latest poll suggests another victory for the incumbent Israeli Prime Minister, the ongoing legal investigations will surely shape the outcome of the election.
The Palestinian Information Ministry has reported that there are nineteen Palestinian journalists who are still imprisoned by Israel, in direct violation of various treaties and International Law.
In a press statement Monday, the Ministry said that the Israeli occupation and its military courts are ongoing with their serious violations against the journalists and various media outlets in occupied Palestine.
It said that many journalists have also been forced under house arrest, others were forced out of their towns, in addition to facing high fines by the Israeli military courts for performing their duties.
The Ministry also said that some of the abducted journalists were shot and injured, while others are sick, in need of specialized medical treatment but are denied that right.
The soldiers also invaded and violently searched many media outlets across the West Bank, and confiscated equipment.
The Information Ministry stated that Israel’s violations are ongoing attempts to silence the Palestinian media outlets and the journalists, and urged the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and various related organizations around the world to intervene and stop the escalating abuses against the media and the Freedom of the Press in occupied Palestine.
It is worth mentioning that the soldiers have also killed Palestinian Photojournalist Yasser Mortaja, and journalist Ahmad Abu Hussein, in the Gaza Strip, in addition to wounding dozens of journalists, during the Great Return March processions.