Palestinians hold up pictures of relatives who were arrested and imprisoned by Palestinian Authority security forces, during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron, on 9 June 2011
Palestinian Authority (PA) security services detained a Palestinian who was recently released from Israeli jails after summoning him for a meeting in its offices in the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarm yesterday, Quds Press reported.
In a statement, Hamas identified the prisoner as Mohammad Al-Hamshari who was being tracked by the PA security services for about 20 days.
Hamas said that the PA continues the detention of student Ibrahim Shalhoub, the representative of the Islamic Bloc at Al-Najah University despite the PA courts in Tulkarm issuing a release order for him.
The statement said that the PA protective security services detained Palestinian Imad Jadallah on 7 April without charges, noting that he was arrested several times by the Israeli occupation.
Meanwhile, the PA intelligence services released Luay Al-Hashlamoun after deterioration of his health condition. He had previously been held in the occupation’s prisons.
Family sources told Quds Press that he is to attend a court hearing today despite the deterioration of his health.
Al-Hashlamoun was arrested several times by the Israeli occupation and the PA over claims he supported the Palestinian resistance.
Palestinians pledge to continue the dream of passing land to their children and grandchildren amid accelerating seizures
By Shatha Hammad
Palestinians are doomed to fight for the last breath to protect their land from being stolen by the Israeli occupation; otherwise, they would be easily turned to illegal Israeli Jewish settlements.
Tayseer Ataya stands leaning on his cane and gazing at his plot of land on Risan hill, west of Ramallah. The 65-year-old man has been forbidden from accessing his property for close to a year.
In August 2018, Israeli settlers built homes for themselves on parts of Ataya’s 104 dunum (10.4 hectares) of land in the village of Ras Karkar.
He says that from that moment onwards he knew his dreams of passing on the land to his children and grandchildren were crushed.
His plot is just one parcel of close to 100 hectares of land that Israel first laid its hands on in 1983. A military court then froze a land confiscation order, and that remained the case for the past 35 years.
Over the past year, however, settlement construction intensified.
On 16 August, a new agricultural settler outpost was built in just two days. Livestock and water tanks were brought in, a new road was paved to serve the Jewish-only community, and Israeli army reinforcements arrived to provide protection.
Speaking to Middle East Eye, Ataya says that the confiscation order is not limited to the 100 hectares, but will extend further than that under the pretext of security.
“I’ve tried to access my land several times, but every time I approach it, soldiers surrounded me and prevent me from walking over to it,” he says.
Ataya inherited his land through his paternal grandfather. “I will not give up on my land. Even though I have difficulty walking, I try to access my land every week, and I will not stop trying to retrieve it,” he says.
“It is this struggle that I’ll be passing on to my children, who will never give up.”
Next to Ataya stands 52-year-old lawyer Wadi’ Nofal. He holds a stack of papers that proves the ownership of 75 heirs within his family of about 4 hectares of land on Risan hill.
“Many Israeli judges live in the settlements built on our private land, so we do not expect them to rule in favour of our cases, in spite of all the papers and proof we carry,” says Wadi’.
He explained that the land was seized based on the 1858 Ottoman law which Israel has been using since 1980 to expropriate private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
In 1968, a year after Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, it stopped the land registration process in the newly occupied territories.
Until 1980, Israel had been using military orders to confiscate private Palestinian land and build settlements on them, while claiming security needs.
In 1979, however, Palestinians whose land had been confiscated petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ), arguing a violation of international law, and won.
But the case was rare; the court could not rule that the establishment of the settlement would serve military needs because settlers testified they intended to live there for religious and political reasons.
Facts on the ground
Following the court’s ruling, Israel began rewriting provisions within the Ottoman Land Code and applying its own interpretation, to declare private Palestinian property as state land.
Between 1979 and 2002, Israel declared increasing amounts of land as state land to the extent that the latter now makes up 22 percent of the entire West Bank.
“They are creating facts on the ground, by taking over land and expanding into the surrounding territories,” says Wadi’.
He explained that the 100 hectares of land of immediate concern are owned by Palestinians from surrounding villages of Ras Karkar, Khirbetha Bani Hareth, and Kufr Ni’ma.
Wadi’ arranges the stack of paper in his hands and grips it tightly lest the papers are blown away in the wind.
“It’s extremely painful that I am standing here, just a few metres away from my land, and not able to reach it. It is painful for me to be a lawyer and not have the ability to defend my rights.”
‘Consequences for the entire region’
Abdullah Abu Rahma, from the Palestinian Authority’s National Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlements, tells MEE that the outpost is merely a prelude to the establishment of a large settlement on Risan hill under Area C of the occupied West Bank.
Abu Rahma explains that the goal, aside from taking over land, is to link the nearby settlements west of Ramallah with one of the major settlements in the area – Modi’in Ilit – where some 70,000 Israelis live.
The latter has been built on lands belonging to the Palestinian villages Nilin, Safa, Deir Qaddis and Khirbetha Bani Hareth.
Linking settlements together, says Abu Rahma, translates into more loss of land for Palestinians, as infrastructure is built to serve the Jewish communities.
“This plan won’t only affect landowners. It will have consequences for the entire region of the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he continues, explaining that it will obstruct the territorial contiguity of Palestinian villages and their natural expansion.
‘Land means life’
Naser Nofal, 63, owns one hectare of land on Risan hill, which he inherited from his great grandfather.
“Anyone who comes to this area, and sees it, will know very well that Israel’s claims are false,” says Naser. “Our lands are cultivated and rich with 400-year-old trees. We have always tended to our lands.”
He knows that it is a strategic area for Israeli settlers. The hill has a view of the country’s coastline, as well as the Jordanian hills, and the holy city, Jerusalem.
“By using false claims and forced laws they are taking over the hilltops, and stealing Palestinian lands, which are a source of daily sustenance,” continues Naser.
“Land means life. I will continue to defend my land until I die, and I will not let Israelis take it over.”
Radi Abu Fakhida, head of Karkar village council, tells MEE that another petition was filed against the confiscation decision, but that Israeli courts had rejected the appeal.
A court ruling, however, was issued in favour of land owned by one of the residents, Ibrahim Abu Fakhida, upon which a 700-metre long road was built to serve the Israeli settlement.
“If we succeed in retrieving [Ibrahim’s] land, we would be able to block the road to the new settlement and halt the movement of settlers into this area,” says Radi.
“The Israeli army has prevented us from doing this so far, and claims there is no alternative road to the settlement.”
Ras Karkar village lies about 15km west of Ramallah city, and has a total area of about 700 hectares.
It is surrounded by six Israeli settlements built on parts of the village’s land.
Radi, the head of the council, says that some 200 hectares of property have been confiscated so far for the building of settlements and settlement infrastructure.
Settler attacks against the village, he continues, have escalated intensively since August 2018.
At least 130 ancient Roman olive trees have been cut down, anti-Palestinian, racist slogans have been scrawled on vehicles, and farmers are continuously prevented from reaching their lands.
“The families of Ras Karkar have not surrendered in the face of settler assaults. They go to their lands and farms on a daily basis and harvest their crops,” says Radi.
Defending the land
Israeli confiscation orders have also hit the nearby village of Kufr Ni’ma, which extends onto Risan hill.
Khaldoun al-Dik, head of Kufr Ni’ma village council, explains that Israeli authorities confiscated more than 65 hectares of property belonging to families of the village.
A road serving the settlement took up some an additional 25 hectares of village land.
Families who had their land stolen tried all available, non-violent methods, to retrieve their lands, says al-Dik. They petitioned Israeli courts and held sit-ins on their properties.
“This is Palestinian land and we have the documents to prove it,” says al-Dik.
“Confiscating these lands and building settlements on them means that the security of the area will be greatly affected, and the colonial policies will extend onto more village land.”
Since August 2018, Risan hill has been a hotspot for confrontations between Palestinians, hailing from the various surrounding villages and attempting to reach their lands, and Israeli occupation soldiers, in rejection of colonial policies.
The families tend to hold Friday prayers on the hill as an act of protest. Israeli soldiers respond with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.
Back in Ras Karkar, Ataya says that more Palestinians need to protest against discriminatory Israeli policies.
“We need thousands of Palestinians to come here and defend this land with us,” he says.
“What was taken by force can only be retrieved by force,” says Ataya, quoting the late pan-Arab Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Israeli occupation does not give building licenses to Palestinians, while pay generously to build homes for Jews
B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, revealed on Sunday that Israeli occupation authorities have forced around 3,000 Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem between 2004 and 2019.
“The Jerusalem Municipality demolished 830 residential units, and 120 more were demolished by their owners on the municipality’s orders,” explained B’Tselem in a reportpublished on its website. “The municipality deliberately left 2,927 people homeless, 1,574 of them minors.”
The report points out that the Israeli-run municipality adopts policies which have deliberately created an acute construction crisis for the city’s Palestinian population, while Jewish neighbourhoods enjoy massive development and substantial funding.
“Israel has expropriated more than a third of the land it annexed from the West Bank and has built 11 neighbourhoods exclusively for Jews,” said B’Tselem.
It noted that these neighbourhoods are as illegal under international law as Israel’s settlements are in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli authorities use a number of strategies to block Palestinian use of the land. According to the human rights report, they either declare Palestinian-owned land as “open scenic areas”, where development is forbidden, or as national parks, where construction and urban development are almost entirely forbidden.
In other parts of the occupied Palestinian territories, large areas, including towns and villages, are declared to be “military zones” almost as a matter of routine, and residents have to leave their homes for set periods when the army moves in.
The Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem “have no choice” but to build without permits because the Israeli municipality rarely grants the right to build or extend homes.
Israeli occupation estimates that between 15,000 and 20,000 Arab homes have been built or extended without planning permission in the past five years.
“Thousands of Palestinians in the city are living under constant threat to their homes and businesses; in many cases, the authorities follow through on this threat or force residents to demolish the structures themselves,” said B’Tselem.
It added: “Israel does not see the residents of East Jerusalem [the Palestinians] as human beings with equal rights, but as people it strives to remove from their homes, as they are an obstacle to Judaising the city.”
The measures adopted by Israel to achieve that end, added the respected human rights group, are all illegal.
According to the Israeli NGO, the Israeli occupation “deliberately denying Palestinians construction permits for residential and other purposes, issuing demolition orders for structures built without a permit for lack of choice, and demolishing dozens of such structures a year.”
Israel, concluded B’Tselem, has implemented this policy, designed to clear parts of the city of Palestinians, since occupying the West Bank and annexing East Jerusalem and the surrounding villages [in 1967].
Mai Alkaila, the newly appointed Palestinian Minister of Health said Sunday that the government is seeking a replacement option to the specialized care offered in Israel, reported Wafa News.
Last month the Palestinian Ministry of Health stopped transferring patients to Israeli hospitals, this was in response to the Israeli refusal millions of dollars in tax revenues collected on behalf of Palestinians.
Alkaila said that the decision not to send patients to Israel will not affect the care for patients with diseases beyond the expertise of Palestinian health care system, as these patients will potentially be transferred to local private hospitals, or to adjacent countries such as Egypt and Jordan.
She added that the main goal of the Ministry is to localize health services, attract medical practitioners, and provide high quality, safe health care.
A young Palestinian was shot in the back, today, near an Israeli military checkpoint in the north of the West Bank, according to Palestinian security sources.
Sources told WAFA that Israeli soldiers, who were manning the checkpoint, opened fire at the Palestinian who was not immediately identified. His health situation remains unknown at the time of this report.
Samer Abu Bakr, mayor of the town of Yabad, located near where the shooting took place, said that the army closed the checkpoint after the shooting and declared part of his town a closed military zone, pointing out that the army brought reinforcement to the area, and that Israeli ambulances were seen at the site.
The reason for the shooting was not immediately known.
Israeli occupation navy opened its fire Monday morning towards Palestinian fishermen off Gaza northern coast.
The committee in charge of documenting Israeli violations against Palestinian fishermen reported that the Israeli navy opened fire toward fishermen along the northern Gaza coast; no causalities were reported.
It was also reported that the navy was firing on Palestinian boats for all of last night.
The Israeli occupation navy engages in daily attacks against fishermen off Gaza Strip coast, under the pretext that they have exceeded the allowed fishing zone.
BRUSSEL, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli occupation forces have arrested 50,000 Palestinian children since 1967, including 16,655 arrested after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000.
This was voiced by Abdul-Naser Farwana, the head of the research and documentation unit at the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission, on Sunday during a presentation for a conference in Brussels on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Farwana said that Israel is pursuing a systematic arrest policy against Palestinian children with the aim of destroying their life and future.
He pointed out that the annual child arrest rate from 2000 to 2012 was about 700, while from 2011 to 2018 it increased to 1250.
Farwana called on all those concerned to exert more efforts to support the Palestinian prisoners and expose the violations and crimes committed against child detainees.
The Israeli municipality in Safed has turned Al-Ahmar Mosque into a bar and events hall, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported in April 11.
As one of the most historical mosques in the Arab city, which was occupied by the Jewish gangs in 1948, the building was first turned into a Jewish school, then into a centre for Likud’s elections campaigns and then into a clothes warehouse before finally being converted into a nightclub.
The London-based newspaper reported that the mosque was turned to a bar and wedding hall by an firm affiliated to the Israeli municipality. Its name was changed from Al-Ahmar Mosque to Khan Al-Ahmar.
Khair Tabari, secretary of Safed and Tiberias Islamic endowment, said that he had been waiting for the Nazareth court to take a decision regarding a complaint he filed requesting the evacuation of the mosque and returning it to the endowment.
He said he attached documents to prove Islamic ownership of the mosque. He called for the different political and popular bodies to increase their cooperation with him in order to save the mosque from violations.
Safed was once home to 12,000 Palestinians who were forced out of their homes in 1948.
Tabari said that the mosque is now open for use for everything except prayers by Muslims.