Aziz Al-Turi, his mother Umm Aziz and his wife Umm Fahid
Five residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb were called in for investigation by Israeli occupation forces yesterday after their homes were destroyed for the 148th time last week.
Aziz Al-Turi, his mother Umm Aziz and his wife Umm Fahid were summoned on Monday, while Saeed and Salim Al-Turi were released after investigations were carried out at Yoav police station in Beersheva.
The People’s Committee in the village denounced the continued persecution of Al-Araqeeb’s residents, the last of which was Sheikh Sayyah Al-Turi who was ordered to remain in detention for 15 days last week.
The resident’s group in the village said that the investigation comes as part of attempts to intimidate and deport the villagers, considering that investigations are only a means to open criminal files and impose fines, prison terms or deport residents.
“What is happening is an attempt by the state institutions and the police to put pressure on the residents of Al-Araqeeb. What is motivating them at this stage is the fear that residents are making progress in the courts to establish their ownership of the land,” said Sayyah Al-Turi has previously told Arab48.
Palestinians can be seen carrying food aid given by UNRWA in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018
Switzerland and the Netherlands have frozen funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) after an internal report alleging sexual misconduct and corruption among the agency’s top officials was leaked to the press.
Switzerland yesterday announced that it would suspend its funding to UNRWA, with the Swiss Foreign Ministry writing in an email to Agence France Presse (AFP) that though it had already made its annual contribution of 22.3 million Swiss francs ($22.5 million) to the refugee agency, any additional donations would be suspended.
Meanwhile the Netherlands – which donates around $15 million annually to UNRWA – also announced yesterday that it would suspend its financial contributions to the agency. Netherlands’ Minister for International Aid, Sigrid Kaag, told Dutch broadcaster NOS that the suspension would remain in force “until we get satisfactory answers” about the allegations detailed in the file.
The damning report, leaked to the international press on Monday, alleged that senior officials “have engaged in sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority […] for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives, jeopardizing the credibility and interests of the agency”.
The report named UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl, as well as his “inner circle” comprised of Deputy Sandra Mitchell, Chief of Staff Hakam Shahwan and senior adviser Maria Mohammedi.
Krahenbuhl is alleged to have been involved in a relationship with Mohammedi, for whom he reportedly created the position of senior adviser within UNRWA, fast-tracking her appointment and enabling her to travel with him extensively on business.
A probe into the report’s findings has now been launched by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).
Following the emergence of the report, US Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, and former US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, were quick to criticise UNRWA and its officials. Greenblatt slammed the agency’s model as “broken, unsustainable and based on an endless[ly] expanding [number] of beneficiaries,” while Haley claimed that “this is exactly why [the administration of US President Donald Trump] stopped [UNRWA’s] funding”.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has since joined these critics, calling on the international community to defund UNRWA altogether. “The report reveals alarming, but not surprising, findings,” Danon claimed, adding that “in addition to propagating false information about its refugee population, UNRWA has in recent years worked to redirect world funds to continue this corruption industry that has served its leadership.”
He continued: “The international community, which generously finances UNRWA, must immediately suspend the budgets assigned to the agency. The aid money should be gradually transferred to the UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] instead of helping the UNRWA leadership continue engaging in a series of ethical offenses.”
Danon has long been a fierce critic of UNRWA. In May, the UN Security Council held a special session on UNRWA, during which Danon slammed the agency for “empowering the refugee problem for years, instead of trying to solve it while adopting a unilateral political position”.
“The organization’s schools have been transformed into terror and incitement infrastructures, with textbooks distributed on the ground denying Israel’s existence,” he continued, adding that “UNRWA failed to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip and succeeded only in inciting violence against the State of Israel.”
“UNRWA’s mandate must come to an end,” Danon concluded.
Danon was also a vocal supporter of the Trump administration’s 2018 decision to defund UNRWA. In January of that year, the US announced it would only give the agency half of the aid it had planned to donate, before declaring in August it would “end funding altogether”.
Speaking in January, Danon praised the funding cuts, saying that “UNRWA has proven time and again to be an agency that misuses the humanitarian aid of the international community and instead supports anti-Israel propaganda, perpetuates the plight of Palestinian refugees and encourages hate.”
The father of Qais Firas Obaid, a 6-year-old Palestinian child, was summoned by Israeli forces after his son was accused of throwing a juice carton at soldiers
Israeli occupation forces summoned the father of a six-year-old child from the city of Jerusalem for interrogation yesterday evening after accusing the child of throwing a juice carton at occupation forces.
The child, named Qais Firas Obaid from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya was stopped by Israeli occupation forces yesterday after he allegedly threw a carton at them, soldiers told him to provide them with his mum’s ID card. They then return to him home and issued a summons for his father, ordering him to come to the city’s interrogation centre at 8am today.
The case comes a day after another child, Muhammad Rabi’ Elayyan, aged just four years old, was summoned by Israeli forces for allegedly throwing stones at police vehicles.
Israel Police yesterday denied summoning Muhammad saying they had only called his father in for questioning, contrary to pictures and video images showing the child carrying the summons.
Last week, a report released by Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) revealed that Israel had killed 16 Palestinian children since the start of 2019.
East Jerusalem, like the rest of internationally-recognised Palestinian territory close by in the West Bank, has been undergoing a period of tension in recent months in particular, due to the demolition of entire Palestinian neighbourhoods and the occupation of homes belonging to Palestinian families by Jewish settlers.
The continued construction of settlements on Palestinian land and the destruction of Palestinian homes and villages is in direct violation of international law, and makes the peace process and the creation of a Palestinian state increasingly difficult. The occupation of East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians regard as their future state capital, is particularly detrimental to the two-state solution, as is the encirclement of Palestinian towns and cities by encroaching Jewish settlements in the West Bank which is causing many to speculate on the likelihood of a future state.
Israeli forces abducted 13 Palestinians in early-morning raids on Wednesday in Nablus, Tulkarem and Hebron, abducting 13. Raids also occurred near Jenin and Ramallah, but no abductions took place there.
According to the Wafa News Agency, Israeli occupation forces abducted four Palestinians from the southern Hebron governorate on Wednesday.
According to local security sources, Jawad Khader al-Jabari, Ibrahim Nimr al-Ja’bari from Hebron and Imad Abdel-Aziz al-Batran from the town of Ithna west of Hebron were taken by Israeli troops.
The Israeli occupation forces also abducted four young men, including three brothers from Tulkarem, on Wednesday.
According to the office of the Prisoner’s Society in Tulkarem, the Israeli forces arrested brothers Yusef Hilmi Abu Khalil, 20, Mujahid, 19, and Leith, 18, from the village of Shufa southeast of the province, following the raid on their homes.
Israeli occupation forces also abducted five Palestinians from the city of Nablus on Wednesday.
According to local and security sources, the Israeli occupation forces stormed several neighborhoods in the city. They arrested three Palestinian prisoners: Yasser Manna ‘, Marwan’ Ateini and Fadel al-Kurdi, while Jihad Awartani was abducted at a military checkpoint on the road between Ramallah and Nablus.
The sources added that the occupation forces stormed the village of Beit Dajan in the east, and arrested the young Maawiya Afif Hanini, after the raid on the house of his family and search of the home.
In addition, Israeli occupying forces raided and searched a number of houses of Palestinian prisoners in the towns of Silat al-Harthiya and Yamoun, west of Jenin, on Wednesday before dawn.
Local sources told Wafa that the Israeli occupation forces raided the homes of the freed prisoners in Silat al-Harthiya: Fares Husni Shawahneh, Hani Shafiq Jaradat, Khaled Hussein Jaradat, Salah Zib Ziyud, Sadiq Hassan Abu Al Khair, Anad Mohammed Abu Al Khair.
They also raided and searched the house of the prisoner, Adib Samoudi, from al-Yamoun village.
And finally, Israeli forces stormed the town of Beit Rima, northwest of Ramallah, and raided a number of houses.
A Wafa news correspondent said that a large contingent of soldiers from the Israeli army raided the houses of citizens, Yahya Fayez Rahima, Omar Sotouf and Sami Mustafa Rimawi, and ransacked the contents, and destroyed property in them.
He pointed out that clashes broke out between the young men and the occupation soldiers, who fired sound bombs and tear gas towards them, but no injuries were reported.
These nightly raids occur every morning in the West Bank, with Israeli forces pulling youth from their beds while sleeping, in an attempt to instill fear in the Palestinian population as a whole.
Israeli soldiers abducted, Wednesday, the secretary of Fateh Movement in the al-‘Isawiya town, in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers invaded the town, before storming and ransacking the home of Fateh movement’s secretary, Yasser Darwish.
It added that the soldiers interrogated the official, along with his family, while examining his ID card, before taking him prisoner.
In related news, the soldiers invaded the home of Jihad Nasser Qous, 25, in the Old City, and summoned him for interrogation in the al-Qashla detention facility, in Hebron Gate area. Jihad is the son of Nasser Qous, the head of the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli army has been frequently invading al-Isawiya, searching dozens of homes and property, in addition to abducting dozens of youngsters and demolishing homes, structures and other property.
The invasions led to ongoing protests in the town, and the soldiers killed earlier this month a young man, identified as Mohammad Samir Obeid, 20.
Gaza (QNN)- The Israeli army has killed 54 Palestinians, including 12 children and 4 women in Gaza during the first six months of this year only, human rights centre reported.
Al Mizan Centre for human rights revealed in a report on Tuesday that Israeli forces killed 54 Palestinians and injured 3723 others, including 1226 children and 179 women. The report said that ‘Israel’ used lethal force against Palestinians to kill as many civilians as possible of those participating in Gaza’s Great Return March peaceful protests.
The report also revealed that the Israeli navy committed 207 assaults against Palestinian fishermen in Gaza’s sea. 15 fishermen were wounded, 11 fishing boats were confiscated, and fishing equipment were destroyed in 9 incidents. Israeli forces arrested 88 Palestinians, including 22 children, during raids into the outskirts of Gaza.
Israeli forces executed 27 raids into parts of the Gaza strip, in which dozens of Donums were bulldozed, in violation to agreements with the Palestinian resistance.
The report demanded ‘Israel’ to end the illegal siege imposed on the enclave, and called on the international community to activate accountability mechanisms, which would guarantee the rights of the victims and end the Israeli violations against Palestinians.
Harsh treatment led to severe pain and suffering from severe damage in her kidneys
Israeli Prison Service sent on Tuesday female Palestinian youth Shoroq al-Badan, 23, to administrative detention for six months with neither charge nor trial.
Al-Badan, from the village of Taqu, near the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, was subject to harsh treatment by the Israeli occupation jailers.
The Prisoners’ Committee said that the occupation authorities arrested Al-Badan on 15 July during a night raid on her house.
She was taken to the Etzion Interrogation Centre and then to HaSharon Prison for five day; she is now in Al-Damoun Prison.
Whilst in HaSharon, Al-Badan was held in a very small room which was extremely hot due to the prevailing high temperature.
This led to her suffering from acute pain in her kidneys, presumably as a result of severe dehydration.
The Committee said that there are currently around 500 Palestinian prisoners being held under administrative detention orders inside Israeli jails, including nine who are on hunger strike in protest against their detention.
Administrative detention orders can be renewed indefinitely.
The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said on Tuesday that a new body has been formed to deal with the suspension of deals signed with Israel, Quds Press has reported.
Speaking at the annual conference of the International Meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said that the PA leadership took this decision due to Israel’s violation of all deals signed with the PLO.
On Thursday, Mahmoud Abbas, the PA, Fatah and PLO President, announced that he was suspending all deals signed with the Israeli occupation. This was in response to Israel’s demolition of more than 100 Palestinian-owned apartments in Wadi Al-Hummus in Jerusalem’s Sur Baher neighbourhood.
At the end of October last year, the Palestinian Central Council decided to stop all of the PLO’s obligations related to the deals signed with the Israelis. The Council also decided to suspend the PLO’s recognition of the state of Israel until it gave reciprocal recognition to a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinian Central Council is the highest legislative body of the PLO, which includes all the Palestinian factions except Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hamas won the most votes in the last Palestinian elections held in 2006.
I live in a very small territory of 365 square kilometers, also known as the largest open-air prison in the world, located in colonized Palestine. The prison guards are powerful oppressors, the enforcers of “apartheid,” also known as Zionists.
These jailers keep us locked, except for the few times when they open the door a crack and allow one of us to squeeze through. For more than 12 years, they have deprived us of reliable electricity, clean drinking water and—the worst of all—hope.
Increasingly, we prisoners feel as if we are buried alive in a cemetery for the living dead. We have two choices: stay put and die a slow death from disease, war or desperation, or risk everything in a prison break. Some prisoners, like my friend Mohammed Abu Shammala, actually succeed in escaping to freedom. But the jailers have powerful allies spread around the world, intent on making life hard for those on the run. They caught up with Mohammed in Turkey, sheltering in the building in which he tried to make a new home along with other Syrian and Palestinian refugees. The jailers’ henchmen hurled canisters of gas into his room, forcing him to flee to safer space via the balcony—where he slipped and fell from the fourth floor. He never emerged from his coma, dying a week later. His family, still in the cemetery/prison, wanted to bring his body home, but we all believe he is in a better place. His tragedy has gone largely unnoticed. Prisoners’ deaths barely register on the world stage.
It all began in 1948, when a people who once were inmates themselves staged a massive prison break of their own. Free at last, they traveled to a new land and built a prison of their own design. They got their revenge by doing unto others what had been done to them. The original residents of the “new” land were either murdered in their tracks or chased into the newly designated prison, with the jailers slamming the door shut with a satisfying clang. Today, 66 percent of the people crammed inside were chased there from ancestral homes.
With stories of their own imprisonment passed from generation to generation to keep the embers of anger and hatred alive, the jailers frequently lash out with a mighty roar, fielding their lethal weapons to kill prisoner leaders as well as random others who merely get in the way by continuing to live.
Recently, those inmates who had the audacity to refuse to die decided to no longer cooperate with their jailers in the hopes of mercy. They gathered at the gates every Friday, shouting that it was time to return to their homeland and struggling to break through the prison walls. The jailers, not used to such insubordination from the masses, ordered several of their number to shoot randomly, making it clear a massive break would not be tolerated. Now that they had tasted freedom, the jailers wanted it all for themselves.
Still, the prisoners keep at it, amassing every week at the walls that contain them, raising their voices and risking their bodies in the hope of being heard by those on the outside who still had hearts and morals.
Week after week, the prisoners came and shouted, then went back to their graves only to escape again. It has been over a year since the challenges began. Hundreds of the prisoners have been sent to early deaths or maimed to the point they can no longer protest. But others take their place, knowing they will die in the prison-cemetery if they do nothing. Is there really any difference?
The prisoners know that others have fought the same battle and lost. But many others have won. They have chosen to stand and fight. And now, some of these warrior prisoners refuse the tantalizing mirage of a permanent escape. They know the cemetery-prison could be a paradise on earth if its walls were torn down. The land is their home, history, identity and life.
I am one of those warrior prisoners. I will never leave my cemetery-prison until it is once again a paradise.