Israel committed 628 violations in Gaza during first half of 2019

Israeli forces shower Palestinians with tear gas during a demonstration within the "Great March of Return" at Israel-Gaza barrier fence near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on July 12, 2019 [Hassan Jedi / Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces shower Palestinians with tear gas during a demonstration within the “Great March of Return” at Israel-Gaza barrier fence near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on July 12, 2019 

Israel committed 628 violations against Palestinians in the buffer zone east of the Gaza Strip during the first half of 2019, Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights announced on Thursday.

In a report – a copy of which sent to MEMO – Al-Mezan said that these Israeli violations included 261 attacks against workers and 183 against protesters.

The report also stated that the violations included the detention of 56 Palestinians, including 15 children, and 27 incursions into the besieged coastal enclave.

According to the report, the buffer zone includes 35 per cent of the Strip’s farmland.

Read: Gazans flock to fence for 67th week of protests

The violations also included the killing of 32 Palestinians, among them ten children and one woman.

Meanwhile, the rights group stated that the violations included wounding 3,610 Palestinian citizens, including 1,205 children and 168 women – most of them injured during the Great March of Return protests, which have been ongoing since March 2018.

The rights group said that Israel regularly opens tank and artillery fire at Palestinian farmers and people working in the construction and industrial sectors, as well as shepherds along the eastern edge of Gaza.

Those detained, the report said, are being attacked, as well as physically and verbally tortured, before being taken to detention centres for investigation. Some are released and some are kept in prison.

Read: Data refutes claims Israel easing Gaza blockade

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

Israel arrested 900 Palestinians in Jerusalem during first half of 2019

Israeli forces stand off against Palestinians as they enter the Al Aqsa Mosque following the removal of Israeli security measures near the entrances to Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem, on July 27, 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces stand off against Palestinians as they enter the Al Aqsa Mosque following the removal of Israeli security measures near the entrances to Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem, on July 27, 2017

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies (PCHR) confirmed that there has been a remarkable increase in the number of arrests Israel has carried out against Palestinians in Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, monitoring more than 900 cases of arrests around the Holy City.

Media spokesman for the centre, researcher Riyad Al-Ashqar, said that the arrests taking place only in Jerusalem constitute one-third of the total arrests throughout the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) during the first half of the year. The total amounted to 2,600 detention cases, indicating a clear targeting of Jerusalemites in order to deter them from protecting the holy sites and defending Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Al-Ashqar declared that the largest arrest campaign targeting Jerusalemites occurred in February, when the Golden Gate (Bab Al-Rahma) was opened to worshippers. Dozens of people were arrested including national leaders and clerics, namely Sheikh Abdul Azim Salhab, Head of the Jerusalem Awqaf Council and his deputy, Najeh Bkerat. Sheikh Raed Dana was removed from Al-Aqsa for six months and Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) director in Jerusalem, Nasser Qaws, was arrested.

Al-Ashqar also highlighted that the arrests targeted different groups of Jerusalemites in all the villages, towns and neighbourhoods of the city. Al-Issawiya was the most affected by these arrests – amounting to 295 – followed by 130 in Shu’afat, 120 in Silwan, 105 in the Old City and 65 in the Al-Aqsa compound.

Read: Israel injures, arrests Palestinians after demolishing martyr memorial

Child Arrests

Al-Ashqar also pointed out that arrests targeting children in Jerusalem amounted to 300 cases – one third of the arrests since early 2019 – among whom there were more than 17 children under the age of 12.

Among those arrested was Ali Taha, a 16-year-old who was shot by Israeli forces at a roadblock outside Shu’afat refugee camp. He was arrested, dragged to the ground and denied medical treatment. Fifteen-year-old Mohammed Issam Al-Qawasmi was shot in the back by Mista’arvim(undercover Israeli forces) in the same camp. He was seriously injured and is currently undergoing treatment while being handcuffed to the hospital bed.

Israel did not only order Jerusalemite children to be arrested but also subjected them to house arrest, which stipulates the child must stay inside the house for certain periods of time. Thus, the child is prohibited from leaving the house even for treatment or study. Other children had to be expelled from their homes and pay heavy fines after being brought before Israeli courts. They were sentenced to actual prison terms accompanied by a fine, or a fine in exchange for their release.

Read: Israel held Palestinian for 11 days while failing to determine if gun was real

Arresting Female Jerusalemites

Al-Ashqar added that Israel’s campaigns also targeted women, especially those staying at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The number of arrests among women and girls in Jerusalem amounted to 43, including minors. Most were released on condition of house arrest or expulsion from Al-Aqsa.

Among the women arrested was Ghadeer Al-Amouri, an employee of the Commission of Detainees Affairs. She was released in exchange for five days of house arrest and a heavy fine. Nineteen-year-old Fatma Suleiman was also arrested after Israeli forces stormed her family home; she was released hours later on condition of house arrest. Meanwhile 17-year-old Magda Ahmed Askar was arrested after Israeli forces also broke into her family’s home.

Females staying at Al-Aqsa Mosque were also subject to arrest and summoning, most notably Aya Abu Nab, Hanadi Halawani, Khadija Khois and Nazmiya Bkerat, an employee at the Manuscripts Section at Al-Aqsa. Hala Al-Sherif, from Damascus Gate, was arrested for raising the Palestinian flag during a march by Israeli settlers carrying Israeli flags.

Three of the prisoners’ mothers were arrested “immediately after they left Al-Aqsa Mosque and were subjected to investigation at Qishla police station in the Old City of Jerusalem”. These were Khouloud Al-A’war, mother of detainee Suhaib Al-A’war, Iman Al-A’war, mother of detainee Mohammed Al-A’war, and Najah Awda.

Read: Palestinian dies in solitary confinement in Israel prison

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

Hamas: Greenblatt’s comments prove US is hostile to Palestinians

US President Donald Trump's Assistant and Special Envoy for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt (2nd L) visits Nahal Oz military base near the Gaza and Israel border on 30 August 2017 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

US President Donald Trump’s Assistant and Special Envoy for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt (2nd L) visits Nahal Oz military base near the Gaza and Israel border on 30 August 2017

Senior Hamas leader Sami Abu-Zuhri has described comments made by Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, as “shameful” and “hostile.”

Abu-Zuhri wrote on Twitter: “Greenblatt’s remarks that the West Bank is not occupied and the settlements are Israeli neighbourhoods are shameful and proves that Trump’s administration is hostile to the Palestinians and the Umma [Muslim nation].”

This comes after Greenblatt earlier this week told PBS network that “Israel is a victim and does not bear the responsibility” for its 71-year-old conflict with the Palestinians.

Greenblatt also rejected labelling Israel’s some 500 illegal West Bank communities “settlements”, instead calling them “neighbourhoods” and claiming that the occupied West Bank is “disputed”.

This is not the first time Greenblatt has drawn sharp criticism from the Palestinian factions. He has previously came under fire for criticising the Palestinian Authority (PA) for failing to pay for a Palestinian child’s medical treatment while ignoring Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip, and for backing US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s comments that Israel has the “right” to annex the occupied West Bank.

Greenblatt: Peace plan ‘meaningless’ without political agreement

Abu-Zuhri also criticised the normalisation of relations between Israel and Bahrain, after Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifah and his Israeli counterpart, Yisrael Katz, held their first public meeting in the US on Wednesday.

The meeting took place on the side lines of the Advance Religious Freedom conference in Washington DC and, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, was coordinated behind the scenes by the US State Department.

“These meetings and pictures are treason for Jerusalem and Palestine,” Abu-Zuhri stressed, adding that they “will not push the Umma to forget or give up Palestine and turn to normalisation with the [Israeli] occupation”.

Read: Israel FM flies over Saudi to reach UAE

(Source /20.07.2019) 

The solution to Israel’s siege on Gaza is decolonisation

Hundreds of protesters gather in front of the Israeli Embassy in central London in solidarity with Palestinian people who are holding large "Great March of Return" and "Palestinian Land Day" rallies across Gaza border, in London, United Kingdom on March 30, 2019 [Hasan Esen / Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of protesters gather in front of the Israeli Embassy in central London in solidarity with Palestinian people who are holding large “Great March of Return” and “Palestinian Land Day” rallies across Gaza border, in London, United Kingdom on March 30, 2019

By Asa Winstanley 

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip now stands at more than 50 per cent. Enforced joblessness is “as high as 69 per cent in the under-26 age bracket,” according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

These shocking statistics tell you a lot about the truly desperate state of affairs in the coastal enclave. Israel, in alliance with the Egyptian military dictatorship, has kept Gaza under full military siege for 12 years.

Almost 2 million people, mostly refugees, are kept caged there. They are not allowed to return to the homes from which they were expelled by the Zionist militias and later by Israel between 1947 and 1949 – purely and simply because they are not Jewish.

Any attempt by Palestinians to escape these prison walls and return to their ancestral homes is met by Israeli snipers, who gun down even children.

Non-violent resistance or violent resistance, it does not matter – the summary death penalty enacted by the Israeli army is the same. What Israel wants is for Palestinians to disappear from the face of the earth.

READ: Data refutes claims Israel easing Gaza blockade

Reporting on the issue of Palestine, and advocating for the human rights of Palestinians, often feels like you are drowning in statistics, numbers and factoids. The rate of poverty in Gaza. The vast disparity between Palestinian casualties compared to the number of Israeli casualties during each “round of fighting”.

While it’s important to inform people of about such facts, this data often misses the point; numbers are frequently divorced from the simple reality of the injustices done to the Palestinians.

The cause of Palestine is not a humanitarian issue alone. It is not a “conflict” between two “sides” which needs to be “resolved” by a “settlement”. It’s a massive historical injustice, in which the UK government played a primary role, and which has never ended.

Gaza Siege is a Crime

The Zionist project which led to the foundation of Israel, is, and always has been, a settler-colonial project in the classically imperialist mode. It has many similarities with South Africa, Australia and the United States.

It is not some unique, eternal, intractable conflict between “two tribes”. Such mythologies are often based on particular religious interpretations of Biblical texts – but there is no historical substance to them.

The causes of the systemic injustices against the Palestinians are political, historic and ideological, and have their origins in the rooting of the Zionist movement within Palestine by the British Empire.

READ: British MPs condemn killing of Palestinian medics by Israel forces in Gaza

This is the legacy which makes the continuation of violence in all of historic Palestine inevitable until decolonisation is achieved. The violence of Israeli colonisation means Palestinians will continue to resist it, by any means necessary.

This explains the continued resistance of the Palestinians within the Gaza Strip to Israeli occupation and why they continue to use all methods to fight. Since March last year, the population has heroically engaged in unarmed resistance, week after week, protesting against their dispossession by Israel since 1948 – even though it often means their deaths.

The sheer violence and oppression of the Israeli siege on Gaza means that Palestinian fighters continue to respond with armed resistance measures, including rockets.

The poverty, desperation and unemployment in Gaza is not some inevitable situation somehow endemic to Palestinians, as racists would have it. The conditions there are deliberately manufactured by Israel, with the help of the Egyptian dictatorship.

Palestinians protest outside the UNSCO building in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on 23 April 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

In a very calculated fashion, Gaza is purposely being kept forever on the brink of devastation and disaster. Medicines are in short supply. Cancer patients often cannot receive the treatments they so desperately need. Power cuts and electricity shortages are endemic. Emergency fuel supplies for hospitals are constantly threatened.

READ: Gaza health ministry warns of ‘unprecedented’ shortage of medicines, medical supplies

Israel keeps the Gaza Strip as its largest open air prison. It strictly controls the entrances and exits. Airspace and the coasts and seas are often limited, restricted or closed.

Collective punishment is forced upon the civilian population in revenge for armed resistance. Most recently, in June, Israel imposed a period of full maritime closure on Gaza, prohibiting fishermen from making a living entirely.

Even the unjust Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) 25 years ago permitted fishing access up to 20 nautical miles out from Gaza – but Israel has always violated this provision, having never allowed Palestinians beyond 15 nautical miles.

This is a violent, racist regime. If there is to be any hope of peace in historic Palestine, this regime must end. Decolonisation, equality and democracy are the logical solutions to Zionism.

READ: Israel’s Shin Bet refuses work permits for 5,000 Gazans

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

Israeli court rejects request to let detained Palestinian kids to call parents

The Israeli Supreme Court refuses to hear arguments in a case about whether Palestinian minors imprisoned by Israel should be allowed to speak to their families on the phone

Israeli High Court of Justice refused to hear a petition by an Israeli human rights organisation demanding that Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons be allowed to call their parents.

Palestinian minors classified by Israel as “security prisoners” are subject to restrictions identical to those imposed on adult prisoners, including the denial of telephone contact with their parents.

The prison service allegedly refuses to treat minors classified as “security prisoners” according to Israeli laws and rules regulating the treatment of children.

According to HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, which petitioned the court, the Israel Prison Service imposes these restrictions on all minors, without considering the severity of the allegations or the length of the prison term.

According to the justices, the case should have first been brought to lower court on behalf of one or more specific prisoners. In its petition, HaMoked decided to redact the names of the Palestinian minors whose testimonies it included, choosing not to bring the case in the name of a specific Palestinian minor.

Further, in justifying its dismissal of the petition, the justices pointed to a thus-far unimplemented pilot program by the Israel Prison Service to allow Palestinian minors in one out of four facilities in which they are held, to call their parents on the phone.

The petition argues that it is crucial for Palestinian minors to be allowed to have regular phone contact with their parents, detailing the psychological damage that they may face in absence of those phone calls.

Two months in prison without calling parents

One 15-year-old Palestinian boy, whose full name did not appear on the petition, told HaMoked about how he had yet to contact his parents two months after he was arrested in the middle of the night.

Monday’s hearing lasted all but five minutes, during which HaMoked attorney Nadia Dakah barely got through her opening remarks before Justice Noam Solberg cut her off, demanding to know why the High Court should rule on a petition that does not include the names of any of the Palestinian minors in question.

State Attorney Udi Eitan claimed that even if the state wanted to deal with the specific cases of those whose testimonies are presented in the petition, it would not be able to do so since the testimonies are all anonymous and do not include the names of the minors.

Dakah explained that HaMoked’s petition was submitted to the right court, describing the near-impossibility of convincing a terrified minor to sign on to such a petition.

“They have a difficult time knowing their rights during their detention, which generally lasts until the end of legal proceedings. All they are interested in is the proceedings against them, they find themselves in a very weak position. Prison conditions are not exactly their top priority,” she explained.

Solberg further argued that “work is being done” on the issue, most likely in response to the state’s claim that it would begin instituting a pilot program to allow phone access to prisoners, subject to certain, unspecified security restrictions.

Phone calls ‘is not right to prisoners’

While the state mentioned the program in its response to HaMoked’s petition, it did not go into detail about when the program would go into effect or which Palestinian minors it would include.

Furthermore, the state did not expand on the nature of the security restrictions that would prevent certain minors from participating.

Dakah reminded the judges that the state announced the pilot’s existence only after HaMoked’s petition had been filed, and after three-and-a-half years during which the State Attorney ignored HaMoked’s attempts to bring the issue to its attention.

In its petition, HaMoked said it had repeatedly demanded that the Israel Prison Service allow Palestinian minors to make phone calls to their families, but turned to the High Court after the IPS sent a letter in June 2016 in which it claimed there is “no distinction between the nature and type of offense of which an adult inmate is suspected, accused or convicted and the nature and type of offense of which a minor is suspected, accused or convicted.”

When it came to using the telephone, the IPS stated that the “use of telephone contact is not deemed a right of the prisoner population.”

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

Gaza Factions: We Will Not Accept Any Change In Rules Of Engagement

The Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip have warned that Israel’s use of live ammunition against participants in the peaceful March of Return rallies cannot go unnoticed.

“We will not accept any change in the rules of engagement which the resistance has imposed during previous rounds of confrontation,” the factions stated in a press release, commenting on the Israeli occupation forces’ use of armed force against journalists and the participants in the 66th Friday of the March of Return rallies.

The factions also urged the mediators, especially the Egyptians, to pressure the Israeli occupation to respect the latest understandings over Gaza.

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

ISRAEL ARRESTS ONE PALESTINIAN IN HEBRON AND INJURES 22 OTHERS IN KAFR QADDUM

Hebron (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces have broke into Palestinians houses in Hebron before arresting a Palestinian young man in Dora on early hours of Saturday.

Local sources said that Israeli soldiers arrested Taha Jaafar Abu Arqoub (20 years old) after breaking into his family’s house and vandalizing it.

Israeli soldiers also raided other houses in Abu Hilal neighborhood.

In the West Bank also, Israeli solders on Friday opened fire at protesters during Kafr Qaddum weekly anti occupation protests, injuring 22 by rubber-coated metal bullets including journalists.

The protesters slammed the Israeli targeting of children, the last victim of whom is Abdurrahman Ishtewi, who was shot with internationally-banned explosive bullets in his head last Friday while he was in front of his house.

(Source / 20.07.2019)