Palestinians in Gaza protest against the closures imposed by Israeli occupation
Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip held a protest today against the closures imposed by Israeli occupation.
Organised by the Supreme National Authority of the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, the demonstration saw trucks line up in northern Gaza all the way to the Great March of Returncamp in East Gaza.
Entitled “Returnees … We will Break the Siege”, the protest waved banners and chanted slogans rejecting the blockade and its effects on the national economy, transport and trade.
“Gaza stands today with all our people to thwart the deal of the century. Desperate attempts to implement this deal will not succeed,” the National Authority said during a press conference at Al-Awda refugee camp in eastern Gaza.
After Israel’s 2014 onslaught against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip — where more than 2,150 Palestinians were killed–, Israel began allowing Palestinian fishermen to ply their trade up to six nautical miles off Gaza’s coast.
In May, the Israeli army said the fishing zone was cut to 10 nautical miles, down from 15 miles, after arson balloons were launched from Gaza into Israel.
Palestinian officials say Israeli naval forces frequently open fire on Gazan fishermen on the pretext that they were fishing outside the allowed zone.
‘This is a continuation and part of the policy of the White House to legitimise the occupation of Jerusalem and empty it of its owners’
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is continuing its efforts with the International Criminal Court to push forward a formal investigation into Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes, especially in the town of Sur Baher, southeast of occupied Jerusalem.
In a statement, the ministry said that the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the Palestinian families’ request to cancel the planned demolition of 16 residential buildings in the Wadi Al-Homs neighbourhood in Sur Baher, which includes more than 100 apartments.
“The judicial system in Israel has proved to be an integral part of the Israeli colonial regime and has nothing to do with the law and the judiciary. It rather forms a cover and protection for the violations and crimes of the occupation,” the ministry said in the statement.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry considered that “the silence of the international community toward such practices encourages Israel to commit more crimes and blatant breaches of the Geneva Conventions, International Law, and the International Humanitarian Law.”
With the refusal of the petition submitted by the residents, the court gave the Israeli army permission to demolish 16 buildings containing about 100 apartments in the area, on the pretext that they are close to the Separation Wall.
Palestinian-Israeli Member of the Knesset Ahmad Tibi said: “This is a war crime; the eviction of people from their houses and their demolition despite having permits from the Palestinian Authority because it is in Area A and B … This is a continuation and part of the policy of the White House to legitimise the occupation of Jerusalem and empty it of its owners.”
A Palestinian man has been jailed for life by an Israeli military court after being convicted of killing an Israeli soldier during a Ramallah-area raid by occupation forces last year.
Islam Yousef Abu Hamid, who was convicted in April, was also ordered to pay the soldier’s family 258,000 shekels ($73,133).
Acquittals for Palestinians in Israeli military courts are extremely rare, and the military court system has been denounced by many international human rights organisations.
The incident in question took place on 24 May, when a number of Israeli occupation forces raided Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, in the central West Bank.
During the attack on the camp, a block of granite was dropped from a rooftop, hitting Israeli soldier Ronen Lubarsky, who served in the Duvdevan unit. He later died of his injuries.
Abu Hamid was subsequently detained and charged with throwing the rock that killed Lubarsky. Even before his conviction, Israeli occupation forces demolished Abu Hamid’s family home, as part of a policy of collective punishment condemned by human rights campaigners.
According to the Times of Israel, the soldier’s family – supported by some politicians – slammed the life sentence and demanded Abu Hamid be executed. The father called the sentence “a shame and an embarrassment for the Israeli justice system”.
The family had also sought compensation of five million shekels ($1.4 million), based on an estimation of what Abu Hamid would receive in prisoner support payments from the Palestinian Authority for the duration of his sentence.
Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman responded to the sentencing by declaring that execution would be “the right and just punishment for the murder which was meticulously planned by the contemptible terrorist”.
“It is a pity that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu for four years has been torpedoing our demand to legislate the death penalty for terrorists law,” he added.
Israeli forces invaded, Monday morning, the village of Wadi al-Homs, southeast of Jerusalem, and demolished five single-family homes and an apartment building nine stories high that was under construction.
The village is located in the township of Sur Bahir, located southeast of Jerusalem in an area that Israel has slated for colonization in its E1 Jerusalem expansion plan.
Israeli officials have issued demolition orders for sixteen Palestinian homes and apartment buildings in the neighborhood, claiming that they are too close to the Israeli-constructed Wall, and must be destroyed “for security reasons”.
According to local sources, more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers participated in the invasion of the neighborhood, mainly to push out the hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis and international solidarity activists who had arrived in the area to try to protect the homes from demolition.
Reporters from the Ma’an News Agency report that Ali al-Obeidi of the neighborhood committee told them that the soldiers attacked women, children, the elderly and the foreign solidarity activists.
al-Obeidi added that the soldiers destroyed Palestinian furniture that was in the homes, in addition to the homes themselves.
He added that the Palestinian families who live in the homes, and those who had been planning to live in the apartment building under construction, have been working through legal and diplomatic channels to try to protect their homes.
But the Israeli authorities, in an attempt to establish “facts on the ground”, went ahead with the demolitions despite the legal case that is in progress.
al-Obeidi told reporters that what is happening today is a mass displacement of the people of the neighborhood of Wadi al-Homs, despite their legal and diplomatic attempt to protect their property.
Hamada Hamada, head of the committee of the residents of Wadi Al-Homs, noted that the 16 buildings threatened by demolition in the neighborhood make up more than 100 family homes, some of which are inhabited and others under construction.
The buildings are located in the area classified as “A” under the Palestinian Authority, which means that under the 1993 Oslo Accords, they are supposed to be under full Palestinian control.
But the Israeli occupying authorities say that these buildings must be demolished due to their proximity to the Israeli Wall constructed in the past several years by Israeli forces in the Palestinian neighborhood.
According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli occupation forces demolished the homes of the Al-Kiswani and Abu Haddwan families, and homes under construction belonging to Ja’far Abu Hamed, ‘Ala’ Amira, Ali Hamid, ‘Shuqair’ and Tariq Mahamid.
As to the nine-story apartment building, belonging to Mohammed Abu Tair, hundreds of soldiers accompanied by military explosives experts, surrounded the building and planted explosives in preparation for detonation.
The demolitions come after the recent Israeli Supreme Court rejection of the appeal by the residents of the Wadi al-Homs neighborhood to preserve their homes. But residents cited legal gaps in the decision, and hoped to appeal to diplomatic channels and international bodies to stop the mass demolition.
In recent weeks, Israeli forces stormed the neighborhood a number of times in preparation for the mass demolition that began this morning.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Israeli occupation army on early hours of Monday has arrested 19 Palestinians during night raid and search campaign in different areas throughout the occupied West Bank. Meanwhile, dozens of Issawiyyeh residents were suffocated by Israeli tear gas and Israeli police surrounded the Mercy prayer room in Al Aqsa mosque and prevented worshipers from praying inside it.
A statement by the Israeli occupation army said that its soldiers arrested 19 Palestinians from different areas throughout the occupied West Bank for participating in popular resistance activities.
In occupied Jerusalem, Israeli police imposed vigorous action around the Mercy prayer room at the Al Aqsa mosque. Director-General of the Islamic Waqf department, Sheikh Azzam Khatib, told Arab 48 that worshipers performed Isha prayer inside the Mercy prayer room despite the Israeli restrictions.
Israeli soldier have earlier on Sunday broke into the Mercy prayer room and confiscated furniture. It also arrested a female worshiper recognized as Aida Sidawi before releasing her a few hours later.
In Issawiyyeh, dozens of Palestinian residents in addition to on paramedic were suffocated after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers, who beat them and showered them with tear gas and pepper gas,
The Palestinian Red Crescent said that Israeli forces assaulted its teams and prevented them from reaching wounded residents, causing one paramedic to be shot by a rubber-coated metal bullet.
Ramallah (QNN) – Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said today that the Palestinians will rebuild what Israel demolished, in reference to the Israeli demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes in Wadi al-Hummus area in occupied East Jerusalem’s neighborhood of Sur Baher.
Erekat told the official Palestinian agency, Wafa, that President Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO, Fatah Central Committee and the Palestinian people have always asserted that they will rebuild what Israel demolishes, which should be any eye opener to Israel’s crimes.
He called on the international community and the International Criminal Court and its Prosecutor to investigate these crimes, adding that the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council must hold Israel accountable for its crimes.
“Is there a comment on this crime from those who claim that they want a better future for the children of Palestine, who say that Israel does not make mistakes?” Erekat wondered in a press statement.
“The Israeli justice system has repeatedly shown its involvement in the illegal colonial settlement project. It is therefore the responsibility of the international community to intervene immediately to stop the demolitions in Sur Baher and to hold Israel accountable for its repeated violations of international law.”
‘The demolition results in forced evictions, and contributes to the risk of forcible transfer facing many Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,’ UN said
UN officials condemned the ongoing Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem, describing it as “violation of Palestinian rights.”
In a joint statement issued by Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator, Gwyn Lewis, Director of West Bank Operations for UNRWA, and James Heenan, Head of the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory, they expressed their “sadness” over the demolition.
Here is the statement:
We are following with sadness today the Israeli authorities’ destruction of homes in the Palestinian community of Sur Bahir. Initial information emerging from the community indicates that hundreds of Israeli forces entered the community this morning and have demolished a number of residential buildings, including inhabited homes, located in Areas A, B and C of the West Bank on the East Jerusalem side of the Barrier. The large-scale operation began in the early hours of this morning while it was still dark, forcing families out of their homes, and causing great distress among residents. Among those forcibly displaced or otherwise impacted are Palestine refugees, some of whom today are facing the reality of a second displacement in living memory.
Humanitarian partners are poised to provide emergency response to those displaced or otherwise affected by the destruction of their private property. But no amount of humanitarian assistance can replace a home or cover the massive financial losses sustained today by the owners.
Several of the affected people report having invested their life savings into the properties, after securing the required building permits from the Palestinian Authority.
What happened today in Sur Bahir is of even greater significance, as many other homes and structures now risk the same fate.
Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law. Among other things, the destruction of private property in occupied territory is only permissible where rendered absolutely necessary for military operations, which is not applicable. Furthermore, it results in forced evictions, and contributes to the risk of forcible transfer facing many Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruled against the legality of the construction of the Barrier and found that the parts of the Barrier that run inside the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as we see in Sur Bahir, cannot be justified by military exigencies and thus violates Israel’s obligations under international law. Just over 15 years ago, to the day, the UN General Assembly, in Resolution ES-10/15, of 20 July 2004, demanded that Israel comply with its legal obligations as stated in the ICJ’s advisory opinion.
Had there been concrete action to ensure respect for these principles, and for international humanitarian and human rights law, generally, the people of Sur Bahir would not be experiencing the trauma they are today, and violations of their rights.
102 Palestinians workers, who allegedly were not holding permits to work in the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories, were arrested by the Israeli occupation forces on Sunday morning.
Israeli media sources said that the Israeli forces arrested 102 Palestinian workers at al-Dahiriya checkpoint, south of Hebron, while they were attempting to enter the 1948 occupied territories for work without having the necessary licenses.
The West Bank Palestinian citizens who work in the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories always face the risk of being shot or arrested by the Israeli forces under the pretext of lacking the necessary work permits which Israel rarely issues.
About 500 Palestinian workers are currently held in Israeli jails for entering the 1948 occupied Palestine without having Israeli permits.
Seven Palestinian prisoners are continuing their open hunger strikes against Israeli administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, despite intensified repression and worsening health situations. In particular, Jafar Ezzedine and Huzaifa Halabiya are suffering from serious health problems after 37 and 22 days of hunger strike, respectively.
The seven prisoners currently on hunger strike are:
Jafar Ezzedine, on hunger strike for 37 days
Ahmad Zahran, on hunger strike for 30 days
Mohammed Abu Aker, on hunger strike for 22 days
Mustafa Hasanat, on hunger strike for 22 days
Huzaifa Halabiya, on hunger strike for 22 days
Hassan al-Zaghari, on hunger strike for 14 days
Sultan Khalaf, on hunger strike for 5 days
Halabiya, 28, from Abu Dis near Jerusalem, is on strike to protest his imprisonment without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention. He suffered burns over 60% of his body in childhood and is a leukemia survivor with heart and liver problems. He is being held in the Ela detention center in isolation, where he was transferred in retaliation for his hunger strike.
Ezzedine, 48, has been on hunger strike for 37 days after he was arbitrarily transferred to administrative detention after completing a five-month prison sentence on 16 June 2019. He is being held at the Ramleh prison clinic after losing over 22 kg (45 pounds) of weight and suffering from dizziness, weakness and severe headaches. He has carried out several long-term hunger strikes in the past while held in administrative detention. He suffers from severe and persistent insomnia and vomiting of stomach acids.
All of the strikers have been subjected to serious repression and retaliation for their hunger strikes, including denial of family visits, transfer from one prison to another, a particularly harsh situation for prisoners not receiving nutrients, and solitary confinement and isolation. The strikers face round-the-clock harassment, room invasions and loud noises from prison guards as a form of sleep deprivation. Abu Aker was tranferred to isolation in Ashkelon prison while Mustafa Hasanat was transferred to isolation in Ohli Kedar prison. Halabiya, Abu Aker and Hasanat were all transferred one day before their lawyers’ scheduled visits, preventing them from meeting with their lawyers.
Jafar Ezzedine has been detained since 30 January 2019. Sentenced to a five-month prison sentence by an Israeli military court, he was instead transferred to imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention on the day of his announced release. He has carried out three previous long-term hunger strikes. He is married and the father of eight children.
Ahmad Zahran, 42, from Deir Abu Mashal village near Ramallah, has spent a total of 15 years in Israeli prison; he has been jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention since March 2019 and is held in the Ramla prison clinic. He is married and the father of four children.
Mohammed Abu Aker, 24, from Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, is a former prisoner, student activist and organizer in the camp. He has been jailed without charge or trial since 1 November 2018; he is the son of Nidal Abu Aker, who has himself frequently been jailed under administrative detention.
Mustafa Hassanat, 21, from Dheisheh refugee camp, has been jailed without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation since 5 June 2018. He is also a youth activist and organizer in Dheisheh camp.
Huzaifa Halabiya has been jailed without charge or trial since 10 June 2018 despite a need for serious health treatment and follow-ups following his cancer treatment.
Hasan al-Zaghari, from Dheisheh camp, was also scheduled to be released after completing a seven-month prison sentence. Instead, he was ordered jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention on the day of his release. He is being held in isolation in Ofer prison.
Sultan Khalaf, 38, from Burqin near Jenin, was ordered to administrative detention on 18 July 2019. He immediately launched an open-ended hunger strike to reject his imprisonment with no charge or trial on the basis of so-called “secret evidence.” He was arrested by occupation forces on 8 July and is a former prisoner who spent four years in Israeli prisons. He is married.
Several other administrative detainees, including Ihsan Othman, Fidaa Damas and Jamal Tawil, suspended their hunger strikes after reaching agreements to end their imprisonment without charge or trial.
Lawyers from Addameer visited Ezzedine and Zahran at the Ramle prison clinic on 17 July. Both noted that immediately after announcing their hunger strikes, they were transferred to filthy, humid cells in the summer heat and subjected to ongoing invasions by prison guards, especially at night. Addameer lawyers were scheduled to meet with Abu Aker, Halabiya and Hasanat but were prevented from doing so due to the sudden transfers to isolation imposed on the three hunger strikers.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can help them win their struggles, so all of our participation, protests, petitions and phone calls can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom.