Gaza journalists shot while covering Friday protests

Two journalists have been wounded in Gaza as they covered weekly Friday protests taking place as part of the Great March of Return  

Journalists Ahmad Ghanem and Mohammad Abu Qadous injured in Gaza on 18 January 2019 [Twitter]
Journalists Ahmad Ghanem and Mohammad Abu Qadous injured in Gaza on 18 January 2019 [Twitter]


Two journalists have been wounded in Gaza as they covered weekly Friday protests taking place as part of the Great March of Return.

Mohammed Abu Qadous was injured in the leg are a tear gas canister was fired at him by Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border. Al-Mayadeen correspondent Ahmad Ghanem was also injured in the east of the Strip while reporting on the protest. Both reporters, who were wearing clearly marked press vests, were quickly taken to nearby medical tents to receive treatment and are believed to be in a stable condition.

At least 14 other Palestinians have also been injured so far today by sniper fire and tear gas, as they protested for the 43rd Friday under the banner “Unity is the key to victory”.

IOF soldiers fire teargas at hundreds of Palestinian protesters taking part in the #GreatReturnMarch protests at Gaza border, today. pic.twitter.com/Ps5AILccmh

— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 18, 2019

READ: First Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2019 was struck in head with tear-gas canister

Tens of thousands of Gazan have continued to gather at the weekly protests, despite Israel’s violent suppression of the rallies that injure scores of people every Friday. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim said the ongoing demonstrations “confirm our people’s commitment to the path of struggle until our objectives are met”.

Israel has also consistently targeted journalists covering the Great March of Return. At least two reporters in Gaza, including MEMO contributor Yaser Murtaja, were killed by Israeli forces last year; at least 80 others were wounded by sniper fire. Journalists on the ground say they have been deliberately targeted by soldiers, as Israel does not want its brutal crackdown to be exposed.

More than 250 Palestinians have been killed, and over 25,000 have been injured by Israeli forces since last March. Gazans have been calling for lifting the 11-year-old Israeli siege and for their right to return to the homes from which their families were forced from during the 1948 Nakba, which led to the creation of the state of Israel.

READ: Palestinian MP calls to expel Israel from the International Federation of Journalists

(Source / 18.01.2019)

Poverty rate in Gaza exceeds 80%

A Palestinian child can be seen outside her home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City on 29 September 2014 [Ezz Zanoun/Apaimages]

A Palestinian child can be seen outside her home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City on 29 September 2014

The General Federation of Palestinian Trade Unions (PGFTU) warned yesterday that the poverty rate in the Gaza Strip has exceeded 80 per cent.

The federation warned that both poverty and unemployment rates have reached unprecedented levels in the Gaza Strip, with poverty exceeding 80 per cent. Meanwhile, unemployment rates have reached more than 54.9 per cent in the besieged enclave, both of which are serious indicators of the deteriorated economic situation in Gaza.

The number of unemployed persons has reached more than 295,000 during the year 2018, it explained.

The federation added that Palestinian workers in Gaza have been living in catastrophic conditions for more than 12 years since Israel began its siege on the Strip, causing massive destruction of the economic sector, infrastructure and the contributing to the government’s inability to assume its responsibilities towards the Gaza Strip.

PGFTU called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to lift the sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip and provide emergency relief and development projects to alleviate the Palestinian workers’ suffering.

The federation also appealed to the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the besieged enclave and on Egypt to reopen the Rafah border crossing to allow the entry of basic materials to the Strip.

READ: Hamas: Fatah trying to drag Gaza into war with Israel

(Source / 18.01.2019)

Israel minister calls to expel international observers from Hebron

Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan [Quds News Network/Facebook]

Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan

Israel’s Security Minister Gilad Erdan has called for international observers to be expelled from Hebron.

Erdan yesterday sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding that he end the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), in the south of the occupied West Bank.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Erdan claimed that the mission is “hostile to Israel rather than a neutral force, and is harmful to both the Israeli soldiers stationed in Hebron and the [illegal] Jewish settlers that live there”. Erdan reportedly gave Netanyahu a secret police report “with data to back up his assertion”.

The letter read:

It is no wonder that a force, composed of policemen from a hostile Islamic state such as Turkey and pro-Palestinian countries that sponsor boycotts [of Israel] such as Sweden and Norway, interferes with IDF soldiers and police, creates friction with the settlers, cooperates with radical organizations and promotes the delegitimization of Israel.

Erdan continued: “It is [therefore] right and proper for the Israeli government to prevent the continued activity of this ‘temporary’ force acting to harm Israel.”

The TIPH – a civilian observer mission which has been present in Hebron since 1997 – has a mandate which is renewed every six months by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. The mission’s current mandate ends in 14 days, which likely explains the timing of Erdan’s appeal. In doing so, he joins the right-wing campaign led by Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, to pressure Netanyahu to end the mission’s mandate.

In November, Netanyahu said he would review the mission’s status in December, but made no public statement on the issue.

The mission was formed in the aftermath of a massacre committed by Jewish extremist rabbi, Baruch Goldstein, who killed 30 Palestinian worshippers during their morning prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

READ: Israel settlers uproot 100 trees belong to Palestinian farmers in Hebron

(Source / 18.01.2019)

AT LEAST 14 PEOPLE WOUNDED DURING THE GREAT RETURN MARCH TODAY

At least 14 people have been wounded by Israel’s occupation forces in the besieged Gaza Strip during the Great Return March today, Friday January 19th. Among the wounded are three paramedics and two journalists; both journalists and at least one paramedic were hit by Israeli tear gas grenades as was at least one adult male civilian, in whose face above his nose the tear gas grenade become embedded, and a woman whose wounding was captured on video. An ambulance was also hit by a tear as grenade which entered the vehicle and forced the evacuation of the medics in the ambulance. One adult male has been wounded with a live bullet and Israeli occupation forces used live ammunition against youths who climbed a fence at the border with the ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948.  SOURCES: @felesteenonline @paldf,  @pallive_en, @plespost, @PalInfOar, @QudsN, @SafaPs & @ShehabAgency..#GazaReturnMarch #GreatReturnMarch

  (Source / 18.01.2019)

Cancer Patient Held in Israeli Jail at Critical Stage

18 Jan 6:43 AM

Palestinian detainee and cancer victim Sami Abu-Diak has lost a great amount of weight and is no longer able to eat or drink, the Detainees Affairs Commission said on Thursday.

Karim Ajwa, the Commission’s attorney, said Abu-Diak has also lost the ability to sleep and can no longer walk. He is also suffering severe stomach pain as a result of the advanced stage of cancer he is suffering.

Abu-Diak, who comes from the town of Silat al-Dahr in the West Bank, is serving a life sentence, and so far served 18 years in jail, according to WAFA.

He underwent surgery in September of 2015, at the Soroka Hospital in Israel, during which 80 cm of his intestine was removed. He suffered a medical error during the surgery, resulting in kidney and lung failure, along with other serious health complications.

(Source / 18.01.2019)

Palestinians Protest Israeli Police Activity at Al-Aqsa (VIDEO)

18 Jan 6:49 AM

A Palestinian woman protests Israeli police activity at al-Aqsa Mosque, January 14, 2019.  .

POSTED BY: AHMAD JARADAT JANUARY 18, 2019

Palestinians refuse an attempt by Israeli police to enter a mosque in al-Aqsa Compound. Israeli police besieged the mosque for six hours and arrested four Palestinians.


On Monday, January 14, 2019, Palestinians worshippers closed the doors to the Dome of the Rock Mosque and barricaded themselves inside of it in protest of Israeli police activity at al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem.

The Middle East Monitor reports that the protest erupted after an Israeli police officer attempted to enter the Dome of the Rock Mosque while wearing a kippah.

“The Dome of the Rock guards asked the policeman to remove his kippah before entering the mosque, but he refused and insisted on entering by force. The guards closed the mosque’s gates and sealed themselves inside as the police waited outside to arrest them,” said Firas al-Dibs, spokesperson for the Islamic Waqf.

#شاهداعتداء قوات الاحتلال الخاصة على شيوخ والمصلين خلال اعتصامهم أمام مسجد قبة الصخرة المشرفة#View The occupation forces attacked sheikhs and worshipers during a sit-in outside the Dome of the Rock mosque

Posted by ‎Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan مركز معلومات وادي حلوه -سلوان‎ on Monday, January 14, 2019

During the siege, Palestinians staged a sit-in in the yard of the Mosque. Israeli police pushed the protesting worshippers. Director of the Mosque Sheikh Omar Al Kiswani was lightly wounded. When the afternoon call to prayer was sounded, Israeli forces withdrew and Palestinian worshippers streamed into the Mosque. The siege lasted for a total of six hours, reports the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, and at least four Islamic Waqf guards were arrested.

Israeli authorities released the four guards from detention later that day with orders to stay away from al-Aqsa for one week and report back to the Israeli police on Sunday.

The next day, Tuesday, January 15, Israeli police summoned al-Dibs for interrogation. Israeli police arrested Al-Dibs earlier this month.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reports that on Wednesday and Thursday Israeli settlers toured al-Aqsa compound with the protection of Israeli police.

The Islamic Waqf is responsible for maintaining al-Aqsa’s “status quo,” an agreement reached between Israel and Jordan following the 1967 Israeli occupation of Jerusalem. The agreement stipulates that al-Aqsa is reserved for Muslims worship, though people of other religions may visit the holy site as a sightseeing activity. Palestinians and Waqf officials warn that Israeli settler and police incursions are a step toward unilaterally changing the political status quo of al-Aqsa and occupied Jerusalem.

Ahmad Jaradat is Senior Project Coordinator for the Alternative Information Center (AIC).

(Source / 18.01.2019)

ISESCO Condemns Israeli Plan to Destroy Jerusalem Heritage Site

18 Jan 6:55 AM

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) has condemned Israeli occupation authorities’ scheme to destroy a 1,200-year-old archaeological site in an Arab town to the north of occupied Jerusalem, as a means to build a logistic center for the “Modi’in” settlement.

ISESCO stated, according to Al Ray, that this criminal scheme is a destruction of the Palestinian cultural heritage, an assault on its historic memory, and a disrespect for the international conventions and declarations relevant to cultural heritage.

The organization called upon International organizations, particularly the UNESCO, to intervene in stopping this criminal act and to protect the Palestinian heritage from being destroyed by Israeli authorities.

It is worthy to mention that the site was unearthed by Israeli archaeologists, and turned out to be a prosperous town from the early Islamic period.

(Source / 18.01.2019)

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (10 – 16 January 2019)

18 Jan 7:24 AM

Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 10 – 16 January, 2019.

Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip. A woman and a child were killed during the 42nd week of the Return and Breaking the Siege March. 143 civilians, including 34 children, 3 women, 3 journalists, and 3 paramedics, were wounded; the injury of 3 of them were reported as serious.

Shooting:

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized along the Gaza Strip borders, which witnessed the peaceful protests for the 42nd week along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip.  In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian, including a child and woman, and wounded 143 civilians, including 34 children, 3 women, 3 journalists, and 3 paramedics.  The injury of 3 of those wounded was reported serious.  In the West Bank, the Israeli forces wounded 7 civilians, including 2 journalists and a paramedic in separate shooting incidents.

In the Gaza Strip, On 11 January 2019, the Israeli forces killed Amal al-Termasi (44) from al-Sheikh Redwan in Gaza City after she was hit with a bullet to the head at approximately 15:50.  At the time of being wounded, she was around 200 meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israeli in eastern Gaza City.

At approximately 05:00 on Monday, 14 January 2019, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, declared the death of ‘Abdel Ra’ouf Salhah (13) from Block 8 Street in Jabalia refugee camp, succumbing to wounds he sustained in the northern Gaza Strip in 11 November 2019.  The above-mentioned child was directly hit to the left side of his head with a teargas canister, causing acute bleeding and laceration in the brain in addition to a swelling.  As a result, he was taken for treatment in al-Shifa Hospital, where he stayed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) until his death was declared.

As part of using excessive force against the peaceful protesters along the Gaza Strip borders, during the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 143 civilians, including 34 children, 3 women, 3 journalists, and 3 paramedics.  The injury of 3 of those wounded was reported serious.

Injuries in the Gaza Strip between 10 and 16 January 2019 According to the Governorate

GovernorateInjuries
TotalChildrenWomenJournalistsParamedicsCritical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip2380011
Gaza City70160100
Central Gaza Strip1433100
Khan Younis2340111
Rafah1330011
Total143343333

As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating the on-going Israeli policy to target their livelihoods.  During the reporting period, PCHR documented 6 incidents that resulted in the arrest of 2 sibling fishermen and confiscation of their boats.

As part of targeting the border areas, on 10 January 2019, Israeli soldiers opened fire at the border area adjacent to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel in eastern al-Shija’iyah neighbourhood in eastern Gaza City.

On 11 January 2019, Israeli forces fired an artillery shell at a border control point belonging to al-Qassam Brigades in the vicinity of the Return Encampment in Malaka area in eastern Gaza City.

On 12 January 2019, Israeli soldiers opened fire at farmers and shepherds in eastern Deir al-Balah in central Gaza Strip and eastern Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.  Meanwhile, the Israeli forces fired artielly shells at a border control point belonging to al-Qassam Brigades in eastern Shija’iyah neighbourhood in estern Gaza City.

On 13 January 2019, Israeli forces sporadically opened fire at farmers and shepherds in the northern Gaza Strip.

On 16 January 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at the agricultural lands in eastern al-Maghazi and Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.

As part of the airstrikes, on 12 January 2019, Israeli warplanes carried out 4 airstrikes launching 7 missiles at vacant lands and a border control point belonging to the Palestinian armed groups in eastern al-Shija’iyah neighbourhood in eastern Gaza City in the vicinity of al-Rayes Mount in north-eastern al-Tofah neighbourhood.  However, no casualties were reported.

On 13 January 2019, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at a border control point in eastern Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Younis City.  No casualties were reported.

In the West Bank, during the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 7 Palestinian civilians, including 2 journalists and a paramedic, in separate shooting incidents.

Incursions:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 100 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 4 similar incursions into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 62 Palestinians, including 9 children, in the West Bank.  Moreover, 11 others, including a child, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs.

In the Gaza Strip, on 15 January 2019, Israeli forces moved 100 meters into Landfill area, north of the Agriculture School in northern Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.  On 16 January 2019, they also moved 100 meters into the western side of the border fence with Israel opposite to the Memorial Site in the south-eastern side of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.  They levelled and combed lands that were previously levelled amidst sporadic shooting.  However, no casualties or damage to property was reported.

Israeli Forces Continued to Create a Jewish Majority in East Jerusalem City:

As part of Seizure of Palestinian Civilians’ property in favour of settlement assocaitions, On Thursday morning, 10 January 2019, the Israeli Law Enforcement Department handed al-Sabagh family a notice to evacuate their building, which shelters 5 families, including 45 persons. The Israeli Execution and Procedure Department gave the family until 21 January 2019 to evacuate the building. Mohammad al-Sabbagh (65) said that this notice came to implement Magistrate’s Court decision against al-Sabbagh family and in favor of settlers. This order came after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the family’s lawyer request to open Sheikh Jarrah’s ownership file and request for a 5-judge panel instead of 3. Mohammad al-Sabbagh confirmed that 48 families are threatened to be expelled in Karm al-Ja’ouni area in Sheikh Jarrah, where al-Sabbagh family lives from 1956. Al-Sabbagh family is one of 19 others who have cases pending in the Israeli courts. The settlement associations seek to expel Palestinian civilians from the aforementioned neighborhood.

Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

As part of settlement crimes and demolitions, 16 January 2016, Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to ‘Abed al-Hadi ‘Ali ‘Abiat (40), in Fasayil village, north of Jericho, under the pretext of non-licensing. ‘Abed al-Hadi said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli forces accompanied with military bulldozers moved into the village and surrounded his house without a prior warning. They forcibly got him and his children out of the house and then completely demolished the house. He added that his house was comprised of a 30-sqaure-meter room built with concrete and roofed with tin plates.

Following that, the Israeli forces moved into al-Nwei’amah village, north of Jericho, where they surrounded a house belonging to Soliman Abu Kharbeish and completely demolished it.  The house was comprised of 3 rooms, a kitchen and bathroom.

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians civilians and their property, PCHR’s fieldworkers documented during the reporting period 6 attacks carried out by Israeli settlers.  As a result, 1200 forest tree seedlings were damaged, a civilian car sustained damage and a Fieldworker at “B’tselem’” sustained wounds to his left leg and right hand after he was attacked by one of the Israeli settlers’ dogs in Um al-‘Omar area, east of Yata in southern Hebron.

Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

Israeli forces continued its excessive use of lethal force against peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it was named as “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege.” The demonstration was in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. Embassy to it. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed large participation by Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstration were fully peaceful. The demonstration was as follows during the reporting period:

Gaza Strip:

In the 42nd  week of the March of Return and Breaking Siege activities, Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians, including a woman and a child. They also wounded 143 civilians, including 34 children, 3 women, 3 journalists and 3 paramedics.  The injury of 3 of them were reported as serious. The incidents were as follows:

  • Gaza City: Israeli forces killed Amal Mustafa al-Termassy (44) from al-Sheikh Redwan neighborhood in Gaza City after being hit with a live bullet to the head at approximately 15:50 while she was 200 meters away western the border fence with Israel. Moreover, the Israeli forces wounded 70 civilians, including 16 children and a journalist. Forty-nine civilians were hit with live bullets, 20 were directly hit with tear gas canisters and a civilian was hit with a rubber bullet. The wounded journalist namely Hussain ‘Abed al-Jawad Karssou’ (43) who works as a photojournalist at Global News, was hit with a tear gas canister to the head.
  • Northern Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrates resulted in the injury of 23 civilians, including 8 children and a paramedic. Six of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and 17 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The injury of one of them namely ‘Abed al-Ra’oof Isma’il Mohammed Salha (13) from Jabalia refugee camp, was classified as critical. The wounded child was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the left side of the head, which resulted in severe bleeding and brain swelling and laceration. He was taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, where he was admitted to intensive care unit (ICU) until his death was declared at approximately 05:00 on Monday, 14 January 2019. The wounded paramedic, Anas ‘Abed al-Latif Salha (26), who works at the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, was hit with a tear gas canister to the left hand.
  • Central Gaza Strip: Israeli forces firing live bullets and tear gas canisters, which continued until approximately 17:00, resulted in the injury of 14 civilians, including 3 children, 3 woman, and a journalist. One of them was hit with a live bullet, another one was hit with a rubber bullet and 12 others were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded journalist identified as Hossny Fouad Hossny Salah (26), from al-Buraij refugee camp, was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the face.  Hossny works as a cameraman at the Agence France-Presse (AFP)
  • Khan Younis: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrates resulted in the injury of 23 civilians, including 4 children and a paramedic identified as Mustafa ‘Emad al-Senwar (22). Mustafa is a volunteer at and was hit with a tear gas canister to the neck. He was then admitted to the ICU at the Gaza European Hospital due to his serious health condition. It should be noted that last week, he was also hit with a tear gas canister to the right thigh.
  • Rafah: 13 civilians, including 3 children, were wounded. 3 of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and 10 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Moreover, an ambulance belonging to the Ministry of Health was hit with a live bullet damaging its rear window. The injury of one of the wounded civilians was classified as serious.

West Bank:

  • At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 11 January 2019, started from the center of Kafur Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyia, and then headed towards the eastern entrance to the village, which was closed from 15 days in favor of “Kedumim” settlement. The demonstrators chanted national slogans calling for ending occupation and condemning the Israeli forces‘crimes committed against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand berms. The Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs, rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a photojournalist J’afar Zahed Ishtaya (46) was hit with a tear gas canister to the right leg.
  • Efforts to Create A Jewish majority

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

Arrests and Incursions:

  • At approximately 15:00, on Tuesday, 19 January 2019, Israeli Police raided and searched a house yard belonging to Kareem Dawoud Hussein (30), from Mukaber Mount village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, in search for surveillance cameras. When the aforementioned civilian refused to allow them to enter the house without a court order, the police officers hit him on the head. As a result, he sustained wounds and then fainted. He was then taken into the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion. Kareem said that Ali Marwan lkalouti (26), his brother-in-law, who came to the house when he heard shouting, was arrested at 16:00 and released on bail at 22:00. The Israeli forces imposed a house arrest on ‘Ali for 3 days. Kareem also confirmed that his father Daoud Mohammad Hussein (70), was beaten when he tried to protect his son and refused to let them arrest him. Later, additional police officers were called for backup and they beat everyone in the yard. In addition, Kareem said that his wife Iman Abdul Latif Younis (28), a 3-month pregnant woman, was pushed when she was trying to reach her husband lying on the ground, unconscious and bleeding from the head. She was then taken to the hospital as she suffered a lot of pain and almost lost the child and remained for monitoring for 5 hours.
  • At approximately 09:25, on Monday 14 January 2019, a police officer attempted to enter the Dome of the Rock wearing a kippah, which is a symbol of Judaism. When al-Aqsa guards attempted to prevent him, Israeli forces raided the Dome of the Rock, closed it for 5 hours, prevented the worshipers from performing prayers and locked several guards and worshipper inside after closing the gates. At approximately 12:30, while worshipers gathered to protest against what happened, Sheikh ‘Omar Kiswani, director of al-Aqsa mosque, was severely beaten and then taken to the hospital. At 15:30, Dome of the Rock’s gates were reopened and the worshipers were allowed to perform prayers. Following that, the Israeli forces arrested 4 guards belonging to the Islamic Endowment Department (Awqaf). The guards were identified as Loai Abu Sa’ed, Yahia Shehada, Ahmad Abu ‘Alia and Fadi ‘Elian; and the civilian ‘Awad al-Salaima.
  • On Monday evening, Israeli forces moved into Baten al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided 2 houses belonging to Adam Abu Ramouz (15) and Baha’ Rajabi (19) and then arrested both of them, taking them to an investigation center in the city.
  • At approximately 02:00, on Wednesday, 16 January 2019, Israeli forces moved into Qalandia Refugee Camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Omar Zaied (26) and Mohammad Hammad and then arrested both of them.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Qatanna village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Rami Ossama ‘Eissa (21) and then arrested him.

Seizing Palestinian Civilians’ Property in Favor of Settlement Associations

On Thursday morning, 10 January 2019, the Israeli Law Enforcement Department handed al-Sabagh family a notice to evacuate their building, which shelters 5 families, including 45 persons. The Israeli Execution and Procedure Department gave the family until 21 January 2019 to evacuate the building. Mohammad al-Sabbagh (65) said that this notice came to implement Magistrate’s Court decision against al-Sabbagh family and in favor of settlers. This order came after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the family’s lawyer request to open Sheikh Jarrah’s ownership file and request for a 5-judge panel instead of 3. Mohammad al-Sabbagh confirmed that 48 families are threatened to be expelled in Karm al-Ja’ouni area in Sheikh Jarrah, where al-Sabbagh family lives from 1956. Al-Sabbagh family is one of 19 others who have cases pending in the Israeli courts. The settlement associations seek to expel Palestinian civilians from the aforementioned neighborhood.

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

Israeli forces’ attacks:

  • At approximately 10:00, on Monday, 14 January, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Kherbit al-Jawaia, southeast of Yatta, south of Hebron. An Israeli Civil Administration officer handed Abdul Mutalib Hammad al-Nawaj’ a notice to stop construction works in an under-construction house built on an area of 100 square meters. Moreover, Moussa Hussein al-Shawaheen was handed a notice to stop construction works in a 60-sqaure-meter barrack and a water well, under the pretext of non-licensing. It should be noted that al-Jawaia area is located to the west of the bypass road (356) and adjacent to “Ma’oun” settlement established on civilians’ lands at the eastern side. Moreover, the Israeli authorities notify this area to stop construction works in addition to confiscating construction material as Khirbat al-Jawaia located within area classified as Area “C”.
  • At approximately 06:00, on Wednesday, 16 January 2016, Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to ‘Abed al-Hadi ‘Ali ‘Abiat (40), in Fasayil village, north of Jericho, under the pretext of non-licensing. ‘Abed al-Hadi said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli forces accompanied with military bulldozers moved into the village and surrounded his house without a prior warning. They forcibly got him and his children out of the house and then completely demolished the house. He added that his house was comprised of a 30-sqaure-meter room built with concrete and roofed with tin plates. ‘Abed al-Hadi pointed out that the Israeli forces handed him a demolition notice on 11 September 2018. He filed a case against the demolition decision, but he was surprised that the decision was carried out before the completion of legal procedures.

Israeli settlers’ attacks:

  • At approximately 12:30, on Thursday, 10 January 2019, dozens of Israeli settlers, under the Israeli forces’ protection, moved into ‘Ortah village, southeast of Nablus. The settlers performed their religious rituals in al-‘Auzairat in al-Sharda neighborhood in the center of Awarta. They damaged several tombstones of graves and later withdrew.
  • At approximately 16:00, on Friday, 11 January 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Homesh” settlement, northwest of Nablus, threw stones at a taxi belonging to al-Qassam Travel Company and damaged to its front and right side. The car is owned by Ahmad Jarra, from Jenin, and driven by Fareed M’arouf Fareed Jaber (48), from ‘Arraba, southwest of Nablus. Meanwhile, the car was coming back from Deir Sharaf village, west of Nablus, and heading to ‘Arraba village. Fareed’s wife, Sondos Mohammad Fareed Jaber (42), and their children Anas (11) and Hala (11) were with him in the taxi. They were then surprised with an ambush set up by 3 settlers, who were hiding behind a dumpster on the road at the entrance of the aforementioned settlement. They then threw big stones at them, causing fear among them.
  • At approximately 11:00, on Saturday, 12 January 2019, Naser Nawaj’a, a fieldworker at B’Tselem Center for Human Rights, was wounded to the left leg and right arm after he was attacked by a settler’s dogs in Um ‘Ammer area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. Naser was along with some activists of Coexistence Organization and members of Maraqa family, who were plowing the land near “Otniel” settlement. Later, Naser was then taken to Yatta Hospital to receive treatment. Naser Nawaj’a said to PCHR’s fieldworker:

I headed to Um ‘Ammer area, near “otniel” settlement east of Yatta, with a group of civilians of Maraqa family who has around 4,000 dunams in the vicinity of the settlement, a part of which is suitable for winter planting. The families brought a tractor in order to till the land. At approximately 08:00, we arrived and found a group of activists of “Coexistence Organization” and Police, IDF and Civil Administration patrols in the area. The tractor started to till the land when the patrols left the place. At approximately 11:00, when the farmers were about to finish, Jay, an activist at “Coexistence Organization”, told me that a settler came towards us from the aforementioned settlement. Shortly after that, the settler arrived with 3 dogs. One of the dogs had a muzzle on. Later, the settler removed it and started to scream at Jay in Arabic, “Do not film me.” Jay stepped back and left the bag on the ground, and then the settler threw it at him. Meanwhile, one of the dogs attacked me and beat my right arm then the other attacked me and beat my left leg. Screaming, I took the dogs off me, while the settlers, with his dogs, left to the settlement. Within moments, the police patrols arrived and I saw one of them stopping and talking to the settler. The police officer asked me to file a complaint about happened while a Civil Administration officer said, “You are not allowed to be here and I should be arresting you.” After about 15 minutes, I left the area and headed to Yatta Governmental Hospital where I received treatment. At the same night, Jay, the land owner and I headed to the Israeli Police Station in “Kiryat Arba” east of Hebron and filed a complaint against the settlers. I still feel the pain in my leg and hand where my wounds are clear.”

  • Around the same time, Israeli settlers, from “Homesh” settlement, damaged 1200 forest trees seedlings, which were handed in the Agriculture Ministry in Nablus, to the Council of Burqa village, northeast of Nablus, in order to plant them in al-Kubaibat area, northwest of Burqa village. The seedlings were damaged before planting them.
  • At approximately 16:00, on Saturday, 12 January 2019, around 50 Israeli settlers gathered near the intersection of Taqqou’a village, southeast of Bethlehem. They then threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles. As a result, the Palestinian civilians were forced to stop at the entrance to Bethlehem until the settlers left late at night.
  • At approximately 15:00, on Monday, 14 January 2019, 50 Israeli settlers, under the Israeli forces’ protection, moved into the western entrance to Taqqou’a village, southeast of Bethlehem, and closed it while chanting racist slogans and holding Israel’s flags. The Israeli forces closed the area and prevented Palestinian vehicles from access. An hour and a half later, the settlers left the area and no other incidents were reported.
  • Recommendations to the International Community

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC this year to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

Fully detailed document available at the official website of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

(Source / 18.01.2019)

Israeli Reports on US Amendments of ‘Deal of the Century’

Palestinian laborers work at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016

Israeli political sources circulated reports about “improvements” made by the US Administration to the initial text of the Middle East peace plan, including “amendments that allow the Arabs to agree to negotiate”. The reports noted that while the Americans considered these amendments “necessary to guarantee balance” between the two sides, Israelis believed they were in favor of the Palestinians.

Although the US presidential envoy for the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, said the reports were inaccurate, the Israeli sources replied that they relied on “a senior US official in the negotiating staff at the White House” and that there were “US bodies involved in the blackout on the plan on the eve of the Israeli elections.”

The Israeli sources gave the exclusivity of broadcasting the news to Israeli Reshet TV.

The channel revealed that the amended US plan was based on documents entitled, “The Century Deal to Consolidate Peace in the Middle East.” It talks about the establishment of a Palestinian state on 85-90 percent of the occupied West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its Arab neighborhood as the capital, excluding the city’s old town, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Resurrection and other holy places are located. The old town will be under Israeli control, but with a joint administration of Jordan and the Palestinian state.

The report refers to a solution to the settlements based on dividing them into three categories: the first, including large blocs such as Gush Etzion (located on occupied Palestinian land stretching from Bethlehem to Hebron) and Ma’aleh Adumim (south of occupied East Jerusalem), and Ariel (in the Nablus area), and will be annexed to Israel in full, according to the US deal.

The second includes a number of remote settlements, such as Itamar and Yitzhar, which accommodate a group of settlers of American origins known for their extremism and attacks on the Palestinians. They will remain in Israeli hands, even though they will be part of the Palestinian state.

The third category of settlements, which include illegal outposts, will be evacuated.

In exchange for the annexation of the settlements, Palestinians will be compensated by giving them land of the same size and value in the Triangle area – inhabited by Arab citizens (the Palestinians 1948) – adjacent to the West Bank.

The reports noted that the US official did not address items in the US plan relating to the Gaza Strip and the refugee issue, and did not elaborate on whether the plan itself ignored the two issues or did not tackle them.

In a Tweet, Greenblatt said the reports were inaccurate. He warned against issuing false or distorted information that would harm the peace process.

For his part, Palestinian Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said in response to Israeli leaks that any peace plan “that does not include the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders will be doomed to failure.”

(Source / 18.01.2019)