OIC to discuss Israeli violations in Jerusalem

Muslim volunteer women wearing yellow vest, from Organising Committee of Al-Aqsa Mosque, guard during the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on 26 May 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

Muslim volunteer women wearing yellow vest, from Organising Committee of Al-Aqsa Mosque, guard during the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on 26 May 2019

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold an extraordinary ministerial meeting next Wednesday to discuss Israeli violations in the occupied city of East Jerusalem.

Foreign ministers of the OIC member states will discuss Israeli violations in East Jerusalem, including the recent opening of a tunnel under the Silwan neighbourhood in the city, the pan-Muslim body said in a statement on Sunday.

The meeting, which will be held in the Saudi city of Jeddah, will also tackle the confiscation of dozens of Palestinian homes by Israeli authorities in the occupied city, the statement said.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Read: 80% of Palestinians believe Arab states abandoned them

In a move never recognised by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the self-proclaimed Jewish state’s “eternal and undivided” capital.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Middle East dispute, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Read: Abu Dis to be Palestine capital under ‘deal of the century’

(Source / 14.07.2019) 

Israeli court halts park entry ban deemed racist by Palestinian citizens

A photo of Afula park [Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi / Adalah]

A photo of Afula park

A court on Sunday ordered a predominantly Jewish town in northern Israel to lift a ban on non-resident visitors to its parks, a prohibition that a rights group said was aimed at keeping Arabs out.

The town of Afula denied the edict was racially motivated.

In instructing the town to lift the order, Judge Danny Sarfati stopped short of accusing it of racism and cited a legal opinion by Israel’s attorney general, who said municipal parks were public property open to all.

Afula imposed the prohibition a month ago, effectively cutting off access to the 10-hectare (25-acre) park by residents of nearby Arab villages who frequented the popular site.

“This was really to exclude Palestinian citizens from entering the park,” said Fady Khoury, a lawyer with Adalah, an Arab rights group that raised the challenge in Nazareth district court.

Lawyers for Afula, a city of 50,000 people, contended the restrictions stemmed solely from a desire to reduce overcrowding during the summer months and keep maintenance costs down.

Read: Rights group begins legal action after Israel park bans Palestinians

Embedded video

Adalah@AdalahEnglish  

A PARK FOR #JEWS ONLY: The mayor of the #Israeli city of #Afula wants to keep #Palestinian #Arab citizens out of the city park. @AdalahEnglish will be in court on Sunday to fight the Afula ban, and is legally challenging all forms of ethnic #segregation. https://bit.ly/2LJrQ37 32418:18 – 10 Jul 2019

“We don’t argue with the law,” Avi Goldhammer, a lawyer for the city, said after the court ruling. “If the law permits everyone to come inside this park, OK.”

Israel’s Arab citizens make up 21% of the population and often identify as Palestinian. They were angered last year by the passage of a “nation-state” law declaring that only Jews have the right to self-determination in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who supported the bill, said the legislation did not detract from the equal individual rights enjoyed by all of Israel’s citizens.

On Saturday, guards inspected identification cards at several entrances to Afula Municipal Park, where families strolled past playgrounds and petting zoos and joggers ran along trails lined with Israeli flags.

Read: Israel mayor attends protest against sale of home to Palestinian family

In the nearby Arab village of Sulem, Shua’a Zoabi said he often brought his children to the park in Afula.

“There is no space for our kids to play in our village. Public investment here is terribly low,” Zoabi said.

The ban, he said, was a “racist restriction” against Arabs, many of whom contend that their communities face discrimination in areas such as health, education and housing.

Israel’s Arab minority are mainly the descendents of the Palestinians who remained in their communities or were internally displaced during the 1948 war that surrounded Israel’s creation.

(Source / 14.07.2019) 

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (04 – 10 July 2019)

14 JUL4:35 AM

Israeli violations of human rights documented in the occupied Palestinian territory for the week of 4-10 July, 2019:

  • West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem:
    6 civilians injured;
    55 civilians arrested, including 6 children;
    75 incursions into Palestinian territory;
    113 temporary checkpoints established;
    100 demolition notices distributed in occupied East Jerusalem;
    Settler attacks: 1500 olive trees burnt; 10 cars vandalized and tires punctured; and
    4 water wells and a building foundation destroyed; a construction vehicle confiscated.
  • Gaza Strip
    88 civilians injured: 33 children; 7 women; 2 journalists and 2 paramedics at the Great March of Return; and
    4 shootings against fishermen at sea and farmers in eastern Gaza

Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity

  • At approximately 07:30 on Friday, 05 July 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, chased, opened fire and pumped water at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen fled fearing for their lives. No casualties or material damage was reported.
  • At approximately 08:30 on Saturday, 06 July 2019, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence east of al-Shawkah village, in the southern Gaza Strip, fired sound bombs at Palestinian farmers near Sofa military site, forcing them to leave the area.
  • At approximately 02:20 on Monday 08 July 2019, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Taleb Eghbarah (38) amidst firing rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, he was shot with a rubber bullet to the left leg and taken to Dr. Darwish Nazal Governmental Hospital in Qalqiliyah for treatment.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 09 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed at Salem military checkpoint, west of Jenin, opened fire at Jalal Mahmoud Husein Jalghoum (50), from Jalqamous village, wounding him at the lower limbs and then arrested him. The Israeli forces claimed that he tried to throw a Molotov Cocktail at soldiers stationed at the checkpoint. He was taken to a hospital in Israel. It turned out later that Jalal suffers from psychological and mental illness.
  • At approximately 08:00 on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed off shore, west of al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, in eastern Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural fields and Palestinian shepherds, east of al-Fukhari and Khuza’ah. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
  • Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem
    1. Demolitions and attacks on civilian property for settlement expansion
  • At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, 04 July 2019, the Israeli Municipality staff backed by Israeli police officers moved into several neighborhoods in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. According to Fakhri Abu Diyab, Spokesperson of the Committee for Defending Lands and Facilities in Silwan village, the municipality staff distributed dozens of demolition notices to the residents of Wadi Qaddoum and al-Bostan neighborhoods, claiming that their houses are built on lands that belong to the Israeli Municipality. He added that these multi-story houses were built many years ago and their owners pay fines to the municipality. He also said that the municipality is planning to demolish 100 housing units in al-Bostan neighborhood in order to establish a new park. It should be highlighted that residents have exhausted all legal channels to defer the Israeli municipality from demolishing their houses over the course of the past 14 years.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces accompanied by officers of the Israeli Civil Administration and backed by military construction vehicles moved into Kherbit al-Dakika in southern Hebron and raided a natural reserve, where they uprooted hundreds of trees, demolished 4 wells and confiscated barbed wires, under the pretext of being a military training area.
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Zaif area in southern Hebron. They raided a construction site belonging to ‘Issa ‘Ali Khalil Abu ‘Arram (40) and confiscated a truck as well as construction materials under the pretext of working near Bypass Road (60) without prior permission.
  • At approximately 05:00 on Monday, 08 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into al-Qatie’ area in northern Hebron. The military vehicles demolished the concrete foundations of a 140-sqaure-meters house belonging to Mohamed Khalil ‘Abed al-Fattah Sabarnah, under the pretext of non-licensing in area C. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities notified Mohamed to stop construction works on 07 April 2019, and handed him a 7-day demolition notice on 08 June 2019.
  •  At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Kherbit Bani Dar in southern Hebron. Israeli soldiers were deployed in the area and the Israeli Civil Administration officers dismantled a 400-sqaure-meter barrack belonging to Hussain Ahmed al-Jamal (38) and confiscated it, under the pretext of non-licensing.  The barrack was made of tin plates and used as a garage.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 09 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Kherbit al-Bierouq in southern Hebron, where a 20-sqaure-meter agricultural room belonging to Rashid Suliman Abu Hadeed (93) was demolished under the pretext of non-licensing. In a sudden move, the Israeli authorities gave residents 4-day demolition notices, denying them sufficient time to challenge the decision within legal routes.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into al-Ras area in western Hebron, where a 200-sqaure-meter barrack belonging to Daib Mostafa al-Batran (40) was demolished under the pretext of non-licensing in Area C.
  • After 25 years of legal battles between Siyam family and al-Elad Settlement Association over property rights of an estate in Wadi Helwa neighborhood in Silwan village, Israeli courts gave a verdict in favor of the settlement. On Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Israeli soldiers forcibly evicted the family, and emptied the estate, while settlers attacked the Palestinian villagers. On 07 July 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court refused a petition filed by Siyam family to freeze and delay the decision issued by the District Court in late June.  The eviction was carried out before the scheduled Supreme Court session to decide on the land’s ownership, noting that Siyam family provided documents proving their claim to the land.
  1. Israeli Settler Violence;
  • At approximately 02:00 on Sunday, 07 July 2019, Israeli settlers moved into the western neighborhood of ‘Ortah village, southeast of Nablus. They attacked and punctured 10 tires of Palestinian civilians’ vehicles, in addition to vandalizing houses and vehicles with racist slurs (A complete list of damage available).
  • At approximately 14:15 on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Yitzhar” settlement, set fire to civilians’ lands in Bureen and Hawarah villages, south of Nablus. As a result, at least 1500 fruitful olive trees were burned in Karm sleem, al-Romana and al-Kharnaq areas. The Chairman of Bureen village Council said that the Israeli forces used a firefighting helicopter to extinguish the fires.
  1. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods

The Gaza Strip

As the Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip enters its 14th consecutive year this July, severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods enhance the de facto separation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The implications of the continued closure policy have been catastrophic for the economic, cultural and social rights of the Gaza Strip population. As a result, unemployment rates have reached over 52%, 72% among the youth (15 – 24). According to the Household Expenditure and Consumption Survey, released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 2018, more than half of its population (2 million) are poor (53%) and approximately 68% are food insecure.

The most significant implications of the continued Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip are:

  • Movement of goods and persons to and from the Gaza Strip is restricted on all three functioning crossings: Rafah border crossing, under Egyptian control; Beit Hanoun “Erez” checkpoint and Karm Abu-Salem Commercial Crossing, under Israeli control.
  • The Rafah Border Crossing operates only 5 days a week with severe limitation on travel of persons (300 travelers/day).
  • Beit Hanoun checkpoint, designated for the movement of persons, is under severe restrictions for exit and entry of the Gaza Strip. Only limited categories are issued Israeli permits to cross the checkpoint after an exhausting and lengthy security process that may subject civilians to the threat of arrest and often blackmail by Israeli forces.[1]
  • Karm Abu-Salem crossing, designated for the movement of goods, bans the export of Gaza Strip products, except for agricultural goods. Also, Israeli forces continue the 12-year ban on the import of 118 goods considered as “dual-use items.” [2] While Israeli authorities announced on Friday, 05 July 2019, that 18 of the banned dual-use items would be allowed into the Gaza Strip; the operating officers at Karm Abu-Salem crossing denied receiving new instructions in this regard.
  • Electricity crisis: with power cuts of at least 12 hours a day, the electricity crisis continues to haunt the Gaza Strip and paralyze all sectors of life, including health, education, the economy and the environment. According to the Gaza Power Authority, the Strip needs at least 500 megawatts of electricity for normal use during this time of the year; however, only 195 megawatts are available (120 from Israel and 75 from the local power plant).
  • Naval blockade: Israel continues to restrict movement within the Gaza Sea, primarily on fishing. Despite imposing a 15-nautical-mile restricted fishing area, Israeli forces launch daily attacks on fishermen while at sea even within 1 – 6 nautical miles, including shootings, arrests and confiscation of fishing boats and equipment. It also restricts the import of necessary fishing equipment.

This week, Israeli forces denied the Rafah Services football team from going to the West Bank via Beit Hanoun Checkpoint for the Palestine Football Championship 2018-2019 final. The game was postponed indefinitely pending permits for the players.

The West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem

Israeli forces continue to strangle West Bankers with continued restrictions on their freedom of movement, especially with frequent checkpoints between governorates. Currently, 92 permanent military checkpoints exist along the connecting roads between West Bank governorates, some of which have permanent military presence and others are staffed irregularly. Some of these checkpoints act as a terminal into Israel, even though they are located within Palestinian territory.

It should be highlighted that Israel continues to corporatize and privatize its occupation of the Palestinian territory by contracting military security corporations who operate checkpoints with fully armed civilian guards; yet, they act under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense.

Israeli occupation’s presence in the West Bank is not limited to permanent checkpoints, as temporary checkpoints are haphazardly erected across the territory on a daily basis. These temporary checkpoints impede traffic between Palestinian cities, with illegal searches of civilian vehicles and long wait times. These temporary checkpoints are used to ambush civilians as hundreds of arrests are reported at these checkpoints annually.

This week, Israeli forces established 113 temporary checkpoint across the West Bank and arrested four Palestinian civilians.

Additionally, with the ongoing closure of 30 key roads in the West Bank, Palestinian’s’ freedom of movement is heavily restricted especially in areas adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlements.

Israel allows holders of West Bank IDs (men over 55 and women over 50) to access East Jerusalem without a pre-issued permit; nonetheless, they have to undergo security checks.

In terms of the movement of Palestinians to and from the occupied territory via King Hussein Bridge, Israeli forces continue to impose security measures that threaten the well being of civilians by forcing them to go through a body-search machine that subjects them to harmful radiations. It is also a common practice to arrest civilians at the crossing or deny them travel.

Visit the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights for full document.

(Source / 14.07.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Five Palestinians In West Bank

14 JUL4:32 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, Sunday, five Palestinians, from several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported.

The PPS said the soldiers invaded and searched homes in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, and abducted Tareq Hussein al-Mohtaseb and Abdul-Rahman Gheith.

It added that the soldiers also abducted Ata Ta’amra and Ahmad Shouka, from their homes in Bethlehem.

In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Qussai Omar Abu ar-Rob, 17, from Jalboun village, east of the city, while standing on a Palestinian land near a military fence.

The army claimed that the teen was trying to breach the fence, while locals said he was walking close to it, and did not attempt to cross it.

(Source / 14.07.2019) 

Egypt Committed to Two-State Solution as US Excludes It

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi during a visit to the military academy in Cairo on Saturday, July 13, 2019   Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi reiterated Saturday his country’s commitment to a “two-state solution” within the framework of settling the Palestinian issue.

His remarks were made following the announcement made by US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt that the awaited Deal of the Century does not include the two-state solution.

Sisi spoke during his visit to the Military Academy about various regional issues and he pointed to his country’s clear stance regarding the Palestinian cause.

“Egypt is committed to the Palestinian people’s rights in accordance with the international references and resolutions and the two-state solution,” he said.

When asked by Asharq Al-Awsat about the two-state solution, the US envoy said the peace plan did not mention this term.

“The use of this term leads to nothing,” he noted, adding that a conflict of such complexity could not be resolved with a two-word slogan.

Last month, Egypt participated in the US-led “Peace to Prosperity” workshop hosted by the Bahraini capital of Manama and was part of the US administration’s measures taken to implement its new peace plan between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

An Egyptian delegation led by Deputy Finance minister will take part in the “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop, which will be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 25-26), said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry back then.

Foreign Ministry’s Official Spokesman Ahmed Hafedh stressed his country’s unwavering keenness on dealing with economic challenges facing the Palestinian people.

He also reiterated Egypt’s steadfast commitment to the achievement of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations and the reinstatement of their inalienable rights, including the establishment of an independent state on the June 4, 1967 borders, with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital, conducive to the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution, the international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. 

(Source / 14.07.2019) 

74 Palestinians injured by Zionist forces in Gaza

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — A number of Palestinian citizens were injured on Friday when the Israeli occupation forces heavily opened fire at the peaceful protesters taking part in the Great March of Return on Gaza border.

At least 74 Palestinians were wounded in Israel’s crackdown on the 66th Friday of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has said.

According to the rights group, the wounded included 23 children, two women, two journalists and two paramedics.

Since the start of Gaza’s border protests on 30 March 2018, the Israeli occupation forces have killed 306 Palestinians and injured over 31,000.

(Source / 14.07.2019) 

9-year-old Palestinian boy critically injured by IOF with 70 bullet fragments

KUFR QADDOUM, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured, Friday, a Palestinian child, during the weekly nonviolent procession in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank.

The Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum said the soldiers attacked the protesters with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades, while many protesters responded by throwing stones at them.

He added that one child, identified as Yasser Eshteiwi, 9, was shot with a live round in the head, and was rushed to a local clinic before being moved to Rafidia Governmental Hospital, in Nablus, in northern West Bank.

The child remains in a critical condition due to his gunshot wound to the head.

The soldiers also invaded the town, and ambushed the protesters, in addition to trying to abduct some of them.

Kufur Qaddoum witnesses frequent Israeli invasions, assaults and abductions as it continues to hold is weekly nonviolent processions against the illegal Annexation Wall and colonies, and against the closure of the main road, which was blockaded by the military fifteen years ago, to enable easy access for colonialist settlers driving to and from the Kedumim colony, built on private Palestinian lands.

(Source / 14.07.2019)