Palestinian Dies From Wounds He Suffered Last Friday In Gaza

29 Jan 9:19 PM

The Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has confirmed that a Palestinian man died, Tuesday, from serious wounds he suffered, last Friday, after Israeli soldiers shot him during the Great Return March Procession.

The Health Ministry stated that the man, Samir Ghazi Nabahin, 47, was shot with a high-velocity gas bomb in the face, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza.

It added that Nabahin was rushed to the Shifa Medical Center in Gaza, and received the urgently needed medical treatment, but remained in a critical condition until he succumbed to his wounds.

Also on Tuesday, the soldiers shot at least fourteen Palestinians with live fire, and caused eleven others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, during the nonviolent naval procession near the shore of Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza.

The Health Ministry stated that one of the wounded Palestinians suffered a serious injury prior to the procession, while driving a bulldozer at the shore area in Beit Lahia.

The army and the navy fired many live rounds, in addition to gas bombs and concussion grenades at the boats, and the shore.

Furthermore, the soldiers shot a farmer while working on his land, in Beit Lahia, causing a moderate injury, before he was rushed to the Indonesia Hospital.

(Source / 29.01.2019)

Abbas and the Farce of Palestinian Democracy

By Yara Hawari 

Since Mahmoud Abbas’s accession to the Palestinian Authority (PA) presidency in 2005, he has dominated the Palestinian political scene by consolidating his grip over various institutions while constraining opposition parties and figures. In addition to the split between Hamas and Fatah, which has been a formidable stumbling block for internal Palestinian politics, this has left little room for democracy and popular political participation. Indeed, Abbas is now entering a decade past his elected mandated term as PA president.

In December 2018, in a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive meeting, Abbas announced a new Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruling that called for the dissolution of the PA’s Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and for elections to be held within six months. The following day, Hamas rejected this, stating that the decision was not constitutional and that neither Abbas nor the SCC were permitted to dissolve the PLC. Hamas instead called for general elections for the presidency as well as for the PLC and the Palestinian National Council – the legislative body of the PLO.

This month, Abbas stated that the legislative elections would only take place if they include East Jerusalem. Yet the current Israeli regime has been clear that it would never allow for such Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem, as this would challenge Israeli claims of sovereignty over the entire city. Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the PLO Executive Committee and chief negotiator, said that the dissolution of the PLC is part of the transition phase for the PA into statehood; he even went so far as to call for general elections for a constituent assembly for the state of Palestine. Yet this too is unlikely in the context of political fragmentation.

Knowing this and likely knowing that Hamas would challenge the ruling, why did Abbas and his allies dissolve the PLC? It is important to note that Hamas has dominated the PLC since the 2006 elections; it holds 76 seats out of 132, while Fatah only holds 43 seats. However, since the split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the PLC has been a dormant body, leaving the PA legislative process stagnant. Abbas has increasingly ruled by presidential decree in the face of this lack of an effective legislature. The dissolution of the PLC would allow Abbas to consolidate his power further by moving much of the decision-making process to the PLO Central Council, in which Hamas does not exist. In this way, Abbas can increase political pressure on Hamas.Through the dissolution of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Abbas can place the blame for a lack of democracy on Hamas and Israel Click To Tweet

The Basic Law (essentially the constitution) also contains a clause stating that if the president is unable to fulfil their role (that is, if they die), the chair of the PLC takes up the position for 60 days before a general election. The current chair of the PLC is Aziz Duwaik, a Hamas member.

It is also likely that Abbas wanted to decrease pressure from the international community to democratize the PA’s institutions and political processes. Through this move Abbas can place the blame for a lack of democracy (and unity) on Hamas, which is refuting the legitimacy of the dissolution of the PLC, and Israel, who will not allow elections in East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Palestinian confidence in the political system continues to dwindle, particularly among youth. The PA is increasingly criticized for its corruption, repression of opposition, and inability to stand up to Israel, which continues to tighten its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and apply collective punitive measures on all Palestinians. This has created a situation in which a Palestinian political system cannot flourish. Israel frequently imprisons Palestinian political figures, some of whom, such as Marwan Barghouti and Khalida Jarrar, have suffered lengthy incarcerations. In addition, Israel’s policies are designed to weaken and divide the Palestinian liberation movement. Overall, Israel has created a situation in the West Bank and Gaza in which, for most Palestinians, basic survival now supersedes political organizing and participation.

Increasing Democratic Space

  • It is clear that the PA will not achieve Palestinian liberation, nor will it be able to establish any kind of Palestinian sovereignty. Reform and revival of PLO institutions must be prioritized by those within the leadership who seek to democratize Palestinian politics. Focus must be on the decentralization of power and governance within the PLO; this would reduce the PA’s grip on the PLO’s overall liberation project. Within this process credible mechanisms of vertical and horizontal accountability must be established.
  • Political elites in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are influential within the security apparatus; this conflation must be rectified as it has resulted in increasing authoritarian, securitized measures against political activity that challenges the status quo.
  • Palestinian civil society and activists across historic Palestine and the diaspora need to call for a democratically elected, accountable, and representative leadership. This must be a collective call with measures to protect those who are vulnerable to repression and harassment from the security forces.
  • The international community needs to step up its efforts to pressure the Israeli regime to respect Palestinian rights. This includes allowing Palestinian democratic processes to take place in East Jerusalem in accordance with international law.
  • Furthermore, the international community must cease to encourage the domination of one political party or faction through its no contact policy with Hamas and others and through its designation of the majority of Palestinian political parties as “terrorist organizations.” It needs to show readiness to embrace a unified Palestinian leadership with all parties and factions represented.

(Source / 29.01.2019)

Palestinian media company says Benny Gantz ‘stole’ Gaza destruction footage

A man rides a bycicle past a political campaign poster of former Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz, in Jerusalem, on 28 January 2019. [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

A man rides a bycicle past a political campaign poster of former Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz, in Jerusalem, on 28 January 2019

A Gaza-based Palestinian media company has accused Israeli electoral candidate Benny Gantz of stealing footage for a campaign video, reported +972 Magazine.

“Media Town” said that Gantz – who was Israeli military chief during “Operation Protective Edge” in the summer of 2014 – used video shot by the company without permission to boast of the destruction wreaked on the occupied Gaza Strip during the unprecedented offensive.

According to the report, “the company published a post on Facebook accusing Gantz of stealing their footage and publishing it on his social media accounts. Media Town further claimed they were the only company to have flown a drone over Gaza during the war.”

READ: Gantz’ election videos shouldn’t come as a surprise 

“It is difficult to see a video in which Gantz takes pride in destruction and killing,” said Ashraf Mashrawi. “It has nothing to do with where I am from, it has to do with basic humanity. A moral person must want to build and create life, not the opposite.”

He added: “It’s not nice when your work is stolen, it’s copyright infringement. Anyone who respects other people’s labour must first ask us for permission.”

Asked to comment, spokespeople for Gantz’s newly-founded Israel Resilience Party “initially said they were not aware of Media Town’s claims. They later chose not to respond, yet never said they purchased the video footage.”

Mashrawi said he also demanded YouTube remove the video but has yet to receive a response from the company. “Usually they take down the video within a few hours, but it has been two days and they have still not answered us.”

(Source / 28.01.2019)

Israel confiscates $27,000 from PA to compensate settler family

Israeli Shekels [File photo]

Israeli Shekels

An Israeli court has ruled that the country’s Ministry of Finance can deduct 100,000 shekels ($27,000) from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to compensate the family of an illegal settler.

The court’s ruling comes after the family of Dalia Lemkus – a settler living in the illegal settlement of Tekoa, part of the Gush Etzion bloc south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank – demanded that her alleged attacker, Maher Hashlamoun, pay compensation for Lemkus’ death.

When Lemkus’ family received no response, they filed a lawsuit against the PA for the stipend it paid to Hashlamoun’s family following his imprisonment by Israeli forces, Ma’an reported.

Hashlamoun was sentenced to two life terms in 2015 and ordered to pay Lemkus’ family four million shekels ($1.09 million) in compensation. Hashlamoun’s home in the southern West Bank city of Hebron was also demolished following his conviction.

The court’s ruling is likely to set a precedent for similar confiscations of PA money in the future.

READ: Israel court extends detention of settler accused of attacking Palestinians with axe

The move will likely be seen as ironic given that the families of Palestinians killed by illegal Israeli settlers are never compensated for their loss. On Saturday, Israeli settlers killed 38-year-old Palestinian Hamdi Taleb Na’asan from the village of Al-Mughayer, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Na’asan – a father of four – was killed by live fire from Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Adei Ad, who claimed they were conducting a manhunt for the alleged attacker of another Israeli settler who was lightly injured and had run to the outpost for help.

However, Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din contradicted this account, saying in a statement yesterday that the Adei Ad settlers had initially attacked Palestinian farmers working on land north of Al-Mughayer, puncturing tractor tires and breaking windows, the Jerusalem Post reported. Yesh Din added that Na’asan was shot in the back just ten metres from his house.

Adei Ad was previously home to Amiram Ben-Uriel, the extremist Israeli settler currently under investigation for the arson attack against the Dawabsheh family in the West Bank village of Duma in 2015, which killed 18-month-old baby Ali and left his brother Ahmed orphaned. Although Israel differentiates between settlements and outposts, which do not have official government recognition, both are deemed illegal under international law which prohibits the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory.

READ: Palestinians protest ‘apartheid road’ in occupied West Bank

Settler attacks against Palestinians have been on the rise in recent months. In December the occupied West Bank saw a spate of settler attacks against Palestinians near Route 60, the main road which runs between Nablus and Ramallah where Adei Ad, Al-Mughayer and Duma are all located. On 13 December scores of Israeli settler youth went to Route 60 to throw stones at passing Palestinian vehicles, forcing them to leave the road in order to avoid further damage or injury. It is thought they did so at the behest of extreme-right-wing Israeli Knesset Member (MK) Bezalel Smotrich who Yesh Din has demanded be investigated for incitement.

That night Palestinian bus driver Nidal Fakih was attacked by two Israelis from the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modi’in Illit, north of Jerusalem near Budrus. Photos and videos of the incident showed Fakih slumped in his driver’s seat following the attack, bleeding badly and clearly in shock. A few days later, Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ruled the brutal attack to be “road rage”.

In October, Israeli settlers attacked and killed Palestinian mother Aisha Al-Rabi as she was driving with her husband near Tapuah Junction (Za’atara), south of Nablus on Route 60. The attackers, later revealed to be students at a Jewish seminary located on a nearby illegal settlement, were arrested by Israel’s security agency Shin Bet. Barely a week later, Shin Bet released all but one of the settlers “after it was decided that the investigation could continue while they were under house arrest”. Last week a 16-year-old settler was charged with manslaughter for his role in Al-Rabi’s killing, avoiding the charge of murder which would have seen him face life imprisonment.

READ: Israel army website lists ‘State of Judea and Samaria’, erasing West Bank

(Source / 28.01.2019)

Egypt keeps Rafah crossing closed, trapping Palestinians in Gaza

Palestinian security forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority stand at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 17 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 17 July, 2018

Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip are still unable to leave the enclave as Egyptian authorities continue to close the area’s sole crossing.

Egypt opened the Rafah crossing yesterday only to Palestinians stranded on its soil, allowing them to re-enter the Gaza Strip.

Authorities had closed the crossing on Thursday ahead of the anniversary of the January 25 Revolution which led to the ousting of long time dictator and president Hosni Mubarak.

Though Egypt had reopened the crossing in summer last year, it later closed it on 6 January after the Palestinian Authority withdrew its officials from the border.

It has since only opened it to Palestinians wishing to return to Gaza from Egypt.

READ: Egypt closes Rafah crossing ahead of revolution anniversary 

(Source / 28.01.2019)

Soldiers Attack Workers at Checkpoint

28 Jan 3:54 AM

A number of Palestinian workers suffered injuries, suffocation and fainting on Sunday morning, as a result of the Israeli occupation forces’ assault, as they were passing through the military checkpoint north of Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank.

According to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers attacked the lines of the workers who were waiting at the 300 checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem while they were going to work in Jerusalem.

The space was overcrowded with workers as the soldiers attacked the workers, resulting in many cases of suffocation and bruising.

PNN further notes that the workers face daily suffering at the occupation barrier to the north of Bethlehem, and workers often struggle as a result of the crisis caused by the Israeli occupation forces to inspect workers and check the permits of workers inside.

Head of the Palestinian Trade Union Federation, Shaher Saad, condemned the assault on the Palestinian workers who have used the checkpoint to reach their places of work since 1948.

Saad held the occupation government responsible for the lives and safety of the workers, because these actions endanger their very lives as they make their way to workplaces fraught with such risks.

Saad issued an urgent protest letter to the International Labor Organization, demanding an urgent investigation into the violations committed by Israel against Palestinian workers and obliging them to apply international labor standards to Palestinian workers, as an occupying power. and to provide stable and durable work, in a safe and risk-free work environment, to the inhabitants of the territories it occupies.

(Source / 28.01.2019)

UN Shocked at Terror Waged by Israeli Settlers

28 Jan 4:15 AM

The United Nations has voiced “shock” at the “terror” carried out by Israeli settlers that killed a Palestinian father of four, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

“Today’s violence in al-Mughayer is shocking and unacceptable!” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted on Sunday, referring to a Palestinian village that was violently stormed by Israeli settlers and where they killed one Palestinian.

“Israel must put an end to settler violence and bring those responsible to justice,” he said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the Palestinian man killed and those injured. All must condemn violence, stand up to terror,” the envoy added.

Thirty eight-year-old Hamdi Taleb Na’san was killed and 30 others were wounded after Israeli “settler volunteer security teams” and regime troops stormed al-Mughayer, located 27 kilometers northeast of the city of Ramallah, in the occupied territories, on Sunday.

Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post claimed that the settlers were trying to find the “suspects” behind an alleged non-fatal stabbing of an Israeli hiker, and were joined by the military after attacking the village.

Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee member, has called the settler groups “militias” and said they “raided” al-Mughayer Village under protection from the Israeli army, “terrorizing the defenseless residents and wreaking havoc.”

Na’san is the fourth Palestinian killed by Israeli violence across the Palestinian territories over three days.

On Saturday, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian in the city of Jerusalem al-Quds, after he reportedly failed to heed their call to stop his car.

And, on Friday, Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian while targeting stone-throwing “suspects” along a central highway in the West Bank. The military killed another Palestinian when they fired at people protesting in favor of their right to return to their occupied homeland in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

Apart from Israeli soldiers, settlers engage in provocative, violent, and sometimes deadly actions against Palestinians on a regular basis.

In October 2018, an extremist teenage settler killed a Palestinian mother in the northern West Bank by throwing a rock at her.

The most violent incident of the recent years involving Israeli settlers was an arson attack against a Palestinian home in the town of Douma, located 25 kilometers southeast of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, on July 31, 2015. The fire killed an 18-month-old baby boy, Ali Dawabsha, on the spot. Ali’s mother, Riham and her husband, Saad, were severely injured in the attack, and both died later, while in the hospital.

(Source / 28.01.2019)

PCHR: “Israeli Forces and Settlers Kill Two Palestinian Civilians, Including Child, in Ramallah and Al-Biereh”

27 Jan 4:49 PM

In two separate crimes of excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child in Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah, and only after less than 24 hours, Israeli settlers killed a Palestinian civilian in al-Moghayer village.

Moreover, the Israeli forces wounded 22 other civilians after moving into al- Moghayer village. Committing these two crimes comes in light of the Israeli government’s escalation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and encouraging settlers to commit such crimes against the Palestinian civilians.

The two crimes along with other crimes lately committed by the Israeli forces and settlers proves the latter’s intention to inflict more and more victims among the Palestinian civilians.

According to PCHR’s investigations into the first crime, at approximately 16:30 on Friday, 25 January 2019, 15 Palestinian young men and children gathered adjacent to Bypass Road “60” near Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah.

The Palestinian young men threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed near the military watchtower in the area.

In addition, at approximately 17:40, a number of the Palestinian young men stepped 30-50 meters towards the Israeli vehicles stationed along the street.

In response, an Israeli soldier immediately fired a live bullet causing the injury of Ayman Ahmad ‘Othman Hamed (16) to the left side of the chest.

The wounded child was taken by an ambulance to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive treatment and admitted to the Emergency Department (ED), but he took his last breath after moments of entering the hospital. It is worth to mention that the child was a student at Silwad Secondary School for Boys.

According to PCHR’s investigations into the second crime, at approximately 15:30 on Saturday, 26 January 2019, a group of Israeli settlers moved into al-Moghayer village, northeast of Ramallah, and rioted on the streets while opening fire at several houses; 2 of them belonged to Jamal ‘Ali al-Na’asan and ‘Abdullah al-Na’asan, breaking all the houses’ windows.  Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian youngsters and young men gathered to throw stones and empty bottles at them.

In response, the settlers immediately and randomly fired a barrage of bullets, wounding Hamdi Taleb al-Na’asan (38) with a bullet that entered his lower back, hit the lungs and then exited from the chest.

As a result, Hamdi fell on the ground and was taken immediately via an ambulance belonging to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where his death was declared in the ED due to arriving in a very critical condition.

Following that, the Israeli forces moved into the village to provide protection for settlers and opened fire at the Palestinian protestors.  As a result, 22 civilians were wounded with bullets; 8 of them were taken to the Palestine Medical Complex, 6 were taken to the Istishari Arab Hospital in al-Rihan Suburb, north of Ramallah, and 8 were taken to the medical center in nearby Termes’aya village.

It should be mentioned that Hamdi al-Na’asan was a former prisoner in the Israeli jails, where he served an 8-year sentence.  He was also married with four children; the youngest is only 1 year old.

While condemning these two new crimes, PCHR is strongly concerned over the Israeli forces’ use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful demonstrations in violation of International humanitarian law standards.

PCHR is also seriously concerned over the protection provided by the Israeli forces to the settlers who attack the Palestinian civilians safe at their houses.

In light of the above, PCHR calls upon the international community and UN bodies to take immediate and effective action to stop the Israeli escalating crimes and violations and provide international protection for the Palestinians in the oPt. Further, PCHR reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions.

(Source / 28.01.2019)

Israeli Colonialist Settlers Occupy Palestinian Lands Near Bethlehem

28 Jan 9:45 AM

A group of illegal Israeli colonialist settlers invaded, on Monday morning, privately-owned Palestinian lands in Beit Iskariya village, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and started planting them with trees.

The head of Beit Iskariya Village Council, Mohammad Ibrahim, said the colonists invaded and occupied the Palestinian lands in the al-‘Awareed area, near the illegal Netivot colony, which was built on the villagers’ lands.

He added that the villagers chased the colonists out of their lands, before they ran away to their illegal colony.

Ibrahim stated that the lands are owned by members of Odah local family and added that the settlers invaded nearly 10 Dunams out of 40 Dunams they have been trying to illegally occupy.

He also said that the Palestinians have the official deeds for their lands and hired a lawyer to maintain the case.

(Source / 28.01.2019)

Soldiers Injure Teacher, Open Fire On Farmers And Shepherds In Gaza

28 Jan8:32 PM

On Monday, Israeli soldiers, stationed across the perimeter fence in the eastern parts of the besieged Gaza Strip, shot and injured one teacher, and opened fire on several Palestinian farmers and shepherds.

Media sources in Gaza said a schoolteacher was injured after the soldiers, in their military bases close to the fence, fired many rounds of live ammunition at a high school, east of Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

They added that the soldiers also fired many live rounds at farmers and shepherds in Malka area, east of Gaza city, and farmlands east of Deir al-Balah, in the central part of the coastal region.

In the occupied West Bank, the soldiers confiscated a tractor, owned by a local farmer identified as Ahmad Thiab Abu Kheizaran, in the ar-Ras al-Ahmar Bedouin community, southeast of Tubas, allegedly for “working in a military zone.”

(Source / 28.01.2019)