‘Israel trying to destroy Arab unity through unknown journalists’

Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud during his tour to Israel [Screenshot]

Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud during his tour to Israel

Israel is using unknown Arab journalists to create a rift in the region and back up its claim that it is normalising relations with Gulf states, among others, social media users have said.

This came as six Arab journalists took part in a tour of Israel following an invitation from Tel Aviv. In footage circulating on social media, one of the journalists, Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud, was spat at and called a “traitor” by Palestinians as he toured Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli occupation forces.

Arab journalists syndicates issued numerous statements condemning such visits and warned their members not to take part in such tours.

Chief Editor of Arabi21 news site Firas Abu-Hilal said that the people who visited Israel were unknown journalists or just bloggers, stressing that their visit represents the “ugly” face of normalisation, which has been escalating faster than ever.

READ: Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate to sack members visiting Israel 

“This kind of normalisation is the most dangerous because Israel, through it, is trying to penetrate the Arab nation and reflect an image that it is popular,” Abu-Hilal said, noting that Israel is seeking to achieve this kind of normalisation more than achieving normalisation with Arab regimes.

Abu-Hilal said that this visit is a result of promoting the idea that the Arab-Israeli conflict is less important that the Arab-Iranian conflict. Adding that this is based on the idea that distancing oneself from Iran means getting closer to Israel.

The Palestinian journalists, who is based in London, revealed that all of the claimed journalists were not members of any of the official journalist bodies in their countries.

(Source / 25.07.2019) 

Contrary to denials, Israel military was aware of deadly flaws in Gaza open fire regulations

Hundreds of Palestinians converged near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone on Friday for ongoing protests since March of last year on 5 July 2019 

The Israeli army knew its snipers were killing Palestinian protesters in the occupied Gaza Strip as a result of open fire regulations that were subsequently altered, +972 Magazine reported.

Earlier this week, Israeli journalist Carmela Menashe, military reporter for Israel’s public radio station, revealed that the military made the change when it understood that “firing at the lower half of the body above the knee led to death in many cases, despite this not being the objective”.

According to Menashe, soldiers were told to “shoot below the knee, and later, at their ankles”.

Meanwhile, a senior officer told Israeli news site Ynet that the snipers’ objective was “not to kill but to wound, so one of the lessons [learned] was what they were shooting at…At first we told them to shoot at the leg, we saw that this could kill, so we told them to shoot under the knee. Later we made the order more precise to shoot at the ankle”.

Report: Israel killed 16 Palestinian children since start of 2019 

In response to these developments yesterday, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated that officials have now admitted “that they were well aware that people were being killed when even the State did not claim that this is justified”.

“The military continued with its trial-and-error approach, ignoring the fact that human lives were at stake: people whose lives have been taken, and families who have been permanently devastated,” B’Tselem added.

The revelations over the change in regulations, the rights group stated, show that “the military consciously chose not to regard those standing on the other side of the fence as humans”, a practice approved by the Israeli Supreme Court.

“Both the military and the Court bear the responsibility for this criminal policy,” B’Tselem concluded.

(Source / 25.07.2019) 

Israel arrests Palestinian woman after PA releases her

23-year-old Palestinian Alaa Bashir, was arrested by Israeli forces on 24 July 2019 [Twitter]

23-year-old Palestinian Alaa Bashir, was arrested by Israeli forces on 24 July 2019

Israeli occupation forces yesterday arrested a Palestinian Alaa Bashir after she was released by the Palestinian Authority (PA), Arab48 reported.

The 23-year-old spent 73 days in PA prisons while being investigated and was released yesterday only to be summoned by Israel’s Shin Bet for questioning.

The PA arrested Bashir from Othman Mosque in May without any judicial order or permission and without telling her or her family the reason for her detention.

READ: Lawyers visit Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in solitary confinement 

She launched a hunger strike in protest of her detention, her family said, adding that this negatively affected her health.

On Sunday, a PA court ruled that she pay a fine of 3,000 Jordanian dinars ($4,231) for each of the charges against her, which remained secret, before she would be released. However she was not released after paying the fines.

In a statement Hamas condemned the “revolving door” policy, which is the effect of the PA and Israel’s security coordination, and which sees prisoners released from incarceration by one body only to be rearrested by the other.

(Source / 25.07.2019) 

Israeli High Court to Determine Fate of Human Rights Watch Director Omar Shakir

24 JUL10:00 PM

The Israeli High Court of Justice, on Wednesday, is set to defend its decision to deport Human Rights Watch Director for Israel and Palestine, Omar Shakir, for supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Haaretz reported.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), this is a “dangerous interpretation” of the amendment to the 2017 Law on Entry, which authorizes the interior minister to refuse entry to activists or representatives of organizations who publicly call for a boycott of Israel or have made a commitment to participate in such a boycott.

On May 7, 2018, the Israeli interior minister revoked Shakir’s work visa and ordered him to leave the country, citing a dossier compiled by Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry, on the activities of the Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine Director.

The interior minister based his decision on the government-compiled dossier on Shakir’s activism dating more than a decade before he began covering Israel and Palestine for Human Rights Watch, stating in a May 7, 2018 letter that the decision “does not constitute a principled or sweeping refusal for the organization to employ a foreign expert,” and that “no information has surfaced” regarding Shakir promoting boycotts during his time at Human Rights Watch.

HRW and Shakir, filed a lawsuit in May 2018, challenging the government’s decision to revoke Shakir’s work permit and the constitutionality of a 2017 law barring entry to Israel for people who advocate so-called boycotts of Israel or Israeli settlements. 

Human Rights Watch recommended in a report that businesses cease their activities in the settlements, recognizing that commercial entities also have a responsibility with regard to human rights breaches.

“Israel portrays itself as the region’s only democracy, but is set to deport a rights defender over his peaceful advocacy,” said Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch.

The deportation ruling comes amid sustained efforts to muzzle criticism of Israel’s human rights record. The Interior Ministry has denied entry to a number of other international rights advocates, accused Israeli advocacy groups of “slander” and of discrediting the state or army, imposed extensive financial reporting requirements on Israeli rights groups that burden their advocacy, and subjected Palestinian rights defenders to travel restrictions and even arrest and criminal charges.

According to Haaretz, “the state doesn’t want to expel Shakir and Human Rights Watch from Israel, but rather from the territories, to stop the organization from scrutinizing the human rights situation there. Thus, this expulsion is no different at all from the assaults on Breaking the Silence or on B’Tselem.”

The author states that neither Human Rights Watch nor Shakir as its representative promotes boycotts of Israel. The advocacy in question focuses exclusively on the Israeli occupied West Bank. Human Rights Watch has found that businesses operating in West Bank settlements inherently benefit from and contribute to serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

Haaretz states that the boycotting of businesses is a non-violent, legitimate means of protest, and if the High Court approves the expulsion, its justices will have signed off on the expulsion of a Nobel Prize-winning organization from Israel. The heart of the petition is not Shakir but rather the ability to work for human rights in Israel. Amnesty has already announced that if Shakir is expelled it will have to reconsider its work there. 

(Source / 25.07.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Shoot One Palestinian, Abduct Six, In Jenin

25 JUL1:04 PM

Israeli soldiers invaded, Thursday, the northern West Bank city of Jenin, Jenin refugee camp, in addition to the towns of al-Yamoun, Wad Burqin, Anza and Sielet al-Harithiyya, shot one Palestinian and abducted six others.

Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers invaded Jenin refugee camp, and shot a young man, identified as Ehab Sharif Abu Bakr, with a gas bomb in his face, causing moderate wounds, before he was rushed to a hospital in Jenin city.

They added that dozens of Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and received the needed treatment by local medics.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded and ransacked many homes in Jenin city, and abducted three former political prisoners, identified as Abdul-Rahman Abu Khader, Ghassan Al-Atrash Miqdad and Ghassan Adnan al-Atrash.

The soldiers also abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Yahia Turkman, from his home in Wad Burqin town, in addition to Mohammad Awni Obeid, from Anza town, and Mohammad Mahmoud Azzam, from Sielet al-Harithiya, after invading their homes and ransacking them.

(Source / 25.07.2019) 

PCHR Calls for Investigation into Death Circumstances of Prisoner in Gaza

25 JUL8:03 PM

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the Attorney General to open an investigation into death circumstances of Mohammed Mahmoud Sa’ed Baker (43), from Gaza City.

Baker died in al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, at dawn today, 25 July 2019, after being transferred to the hospital from Taiba Rehabilitation Center, south of Gaza City, due to deterioration of his health condition the day before.

PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to publish the results to the public, as primary investigations indicate that the deceased suffered from a heart attack and high blood pressure.

According to Baker family’s statement to PCHR, at approximately 11:00 on Wednesday, 24 July 2019, Baker, who was sentenced to 3 years in prison in a criminal case, was transferred from Taiba Rehabilitation Center to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah after his health condition deteriorated due to a heart attack. At approximately 03:30 on Thursday, 25 July 2019, doctors declared him dead.

On its official website, the Ministry of Interior declared the death of prisoner (M. B.) today in al-Aqsa Hospital after suffering from a heart attack. The Ministry added that the prisoner’s body will be referred to the Forensic Medicine Department to fulfill the legal proceedings.

According to the statement of the Forensic Medicine Department at al-Shifa’ Hospital to PCHR’s fieldworker, Baker suffered from a heart attack and pneumonia that caused his death.

PCHR emphasized that the Attorney General and the Palestinian Prison Service are both responsible for the life and integrity of the prisoners.

Thus, PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to open a serious investigation into the incident and publish the results to the public. PCHR also stresses the importance of holding the Public Prosecution Office accountable for their negligence, as this is not the first incident concerning a prisoner’s death while in their custody; yet, no precautionary measures whatsoever were taken.

PCHR calls upon the Attorney General and decision makers in the Gaza Strip to take serious action towards ending the deteriorating status of the detention and investigation facilities, ending use of torture and treating prisoners with dignity, including provision of adequate healthcare, as codified in the 1988 Reform and Rehabilitation Centers Law.

(Source / 25.07.2019) 

Afraid of arrest over war crimes, ex-Israel PM Ehud Olmert cancels Switzerland trip

More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in 2008/9 Israeli offensive on Gaza when Olmert was prime minister, including more than 300 children

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert cancelled planned trip to Switzerland after being told he could be arrested over war crimes charges, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

As first reported by Israel’s Channel 12, Olmert was due to visit the country on a business trip, ahead of which, Israeli authorities liaised with their Swiss counterparts to coordinate security arrangements.

However, during discussions Switzerland informed the Israeli Ministry of Justice that if Olmert landed in Zurich, he would be summoned for questioning and faced the potential of arrest for war crimes committed during the “Operation Cast Lead” assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009.

Thus, “following a series of consultations with the Israeli Foreign and Justice Ministries, Olmert was reportedly forbidden from flying abroad”, i24News reported.

Olmert was prime minister in the period 2006-2009, after which he subsequently spent 16 months in prison for accepting bribes and obstruction of justice during his tenure as mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister.

During “Operation Cast Lead”, a three-week long offensive by the Israeli military on the occupied and blockaded Gaza Strip, more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, including more than 300 children.

International human rights experts and organisations documented numerous examples of grave violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes.

(Source / 25.07.2019) 

ISRAEL DESTROYS LAND, WATER WELLS IN WEST BANK

Ramallah (QNN) – The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) yesterday bulldozed land and destroyed water wells the south of the occupied West Bank, a local activist has said.

Coordinator of the national and popular committees, Rateb Jabour, said IOF bulldozed four water wells and destroyed trees that were planted in land which was razed in Masafer Yatta region, south of Hebron in the West Bank.

Two weeks ago, Israeli forces destroyed a children’s park, nine water wells and uprooted forest trees in Umm al-Khair’s nature reserve area, claiming the reserve sat under a military training zone, he added.

Residents of Masafer Yatta and surrounding villages depend on the water for irrigating their land and for their cattle, Jabour said.

He added that Israel is trying to displace these residents, many of whom are herders to take over the land in the wider scheme to annex the occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces and settlers routinely attack Palestinians in the occupied territories, demolishing their homes, poisoning their livestock and vandalising properties.

(Source / 25.07.2019)