Israel’s right-wing sign pledge to annex 60% of West Bank

Israeli excavator demolishes a Palestinian home in the West Bank on 7 November 2017 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli excavator demolishes a Palestinian home in the West Bank on 7 November 2017

Candidates of several Israeli right wing parties yesterday signed a document agreeing to annex 60 per cent of the occupied West Bank – Area C, Quds Press reported.

Israel’s Public Broadcaster reported the document saying: “Israel is a national home for Jews, guarantees individual rights and equality among all citizens, opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and imposes sovereignty over Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].”

Area C covers 60 per cent of the occupied West Bank and was designated as such by the Oslo Accords. It is under full Israeli military and administrative control. There are a number of illegal Jewish only settlements located in the area and Israel has been working to increase the number of settlers in the West Bank.

Israeli authorities are set to advance more than 2,400 settlement housing units this week, in parallel to granting retroactive approval to four unauthorised settlement outposts, according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.

READ: Israel approves 6,000 new settlement units in West Bank

The United Nations has called on Israel to stop its demolitions of Palestinian homes.

176 Palestinians were driven out of their homes by occupation forces in 2018.

193 Palestinians have been displaced from East Jerusalem in the *first four months* of 2019

Meer weergeven

(Source / 06.08.2019) 

Gas bombs have become the Israeli weapon to kill ‘great march of return’ protestors

Palestinians use slingshot to throw back tear gas canister towards Israeli security forces during a protest within the "Great March of Return" near Israel-Gaza border, in eastern part of Rafah, Gaza on 31 May 2019 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians use slingshot to throw back tear gas canister towards Israeli security forces during a protest within the “Great March of Return” near Israel-Gaza border, in eastern part of Rafah, Gaza on 31 May 2019

An Israeli human rights organisation said on Tuesday that tear gas canisters used to disperse the demonstrators have become an Israeli weapon to kill the protestors of the return marches in the Gaza Strip, killing seven Palestinians from direct injuries since March last year, Anadolu Agency reports.

“At least seven of the more than 200 people killed in the return demonstrations have been killed by gas bombs that hit their bodies,” B’Tselem said in a statement.

According to the Israeli organisation, the data of the “OCHA” (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the United Nations) indicates that there are more than 1600 wounded from such an injury.

“The firing of gas bombs in this way is part of the policy of firing that Israel has been implementing for more than a year near the border strip in Gaza,”

READ: 69 weeks of the Gaza March of Return

She said: “This policy is contrary to law and ethics in that it allows the injury of isolated people do not pose a threat to anyone.”

The organisation noted that since the demonstrations began to return on the anniversary of the Earth Day on March 30, 2018, and until the end of June, Israeli forces killed 216 Palestinians, including 43 minors, and injured thousands of others.

They said: “Most of the dead and wounded were shot.”

The organisation stressed that “even the means to disperse the demonstrations have been turned into the hands of elements of the Israeli security forces to a lethal weapon, including tear gas, although it is not prepared to hurt human bodies.”

Palestinians are taking part in the return marches near the fence separating eastern Gaza and Israel, demanding the return of refugees to their towns and villages and lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 06.08.2019) 

Israel Still Holding the Bodies of 253 Slain Palestinians

06 AUG8:26 PM

Israeli occupation authorities are holding the bodies of 253 Palestinians  in the “numbers” cemetery and 45 bodies in refrigerators, the National Campaign reported, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency.

The coordinator of the campaign, Salwa Hammad, said in a statement, Monday, that the official and popular efforts are ongoing until the return of the bodies, noting  efforts to raise awareness of their cause, internationally.

They announced the 27th of August as the national day of commemoration, and have organized many popular activities to celebrate this day, calling for their return.

Occupation authorities are still holding some 253 bodies in private graves, in what is called the “Numbers Cemetery”. The occupation had buried 4 of the bodies in these graves, after keeping them in refrigerators.

Authorities have been holding Palestinian bodies for many years, using them as a means of returning their captures soldiers from Gaza.

The Knesset approved, in February of 2018, a law which attempts to justify this act, with the primary reading; 57 members in favor, 11 against,11 abstentions.

The law gave Israeli occupation police the right to hold the bodies and impose conditions on funeral ceremonies, as well as the location and manner of any burial.

Under the draft law, Israeli police are not required to return any bodies unless they are given some form of assurance that the funeral will not present a chance to support “terrorism and incitement”.

The numbers cemetery is a closed military site. The tombstones are marked with numbered plates instead of names. Access to them is prohibited, for relatives and human rights institutions.

(Source / 06.08.2019) 

Ongoing Demolitions in West Bank: Report

06 AUG7:15 PM

Israeli forces, today, demolished four structures and a house under construction in Bir Oneh village, Beit Jala city, west of Bethlehem.

Head of the Bethlehem Office of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Committee Hassan Breija said that Israeli forces stormed and cordoned off the village, before a bulldozer demolished four barns and the foundations of a house under construction purportedly for being without a license.

The owners of the barns and the house under construction were identified as Mohammad Zreineh and Daoud Ghneim, respectively.

Zreineh’s barns were demolished twice although he has a title deed which proves he is the owner of the plot of land on which the barns are built.

Using the pretext of illegal building, Israel demolishes houses on a regular basis to restrict Palestinian expansion in occupied Jerusalem.

At the same time, the municipality and government build tens of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem for Jews with a goal to offset the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish settlers in the occupied city.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.

Israeli bulldozers also demolished a Palestinian house and a retaining wall, in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Israeli police cordoned off an area in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, as a bulldozer proceeded to demolish a house belonging to Eyad Khalil Kiswani.

Kiswani told WAFA correspondence that the demolition took place even though he had not received any prior notice.

He added that he, himself, along with wife and three children, aged 13 to 16, were forced out of their 140-square-meter house by police at gun point before the demolition was carried out.

Meanwhile, Wadi Hilweh Information Center further reported that Israeli police raided the Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Eesawiyya, paving the way for a bulldozer to demolish a retaining wall and an outdoor ground.

The Silwan-based watchdog posted a video showing police blocking the entrance to a Palestinian house, whose owner is not identified, as the demolition was carried out.

Both structures were demolished again under the pretext that they were built without a permit.

At the same time, the municipality and government build tens of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem for Jews with a goal to offset the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish settlers in the occupied city.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.

In related news, Israeli forces, this morning, seized a number of vehicles in Ras al-Ahmar, in the northern Jordan Valley.

Aref Daraghma, a local human rights activist, said that an Israeli military force raided Ras al-Ahmar community, where they seized a tractor and a private vehicle belonging to the local Palestinian farmers in addition to an Israeli truck.

The truck, which belongs to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was unloading a shipment of fodder to a local family.

Almost a week ago, Israeli forces bulldozed several Palestinian tents and shacks in the community.

The Jordan Valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank.

Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley. Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.

The Israel military has also designated about 46 percent of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone since the beginning of the occupation in June 1967, and has been utilizing the pretext of military drills to forcefully displace Palestinian families living there as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing and stifling Palestinian development in the area.

Approximately 6,200 Palestinians live in 38 communities in places earmarked for military use and have had to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to enter and live in their communities.

In violation of international law, the Israeli military not only temporarily displaces the communities on a regular basis, but also confiscates their farmlands, demolishes their homes and infrastructure from time to time.

Besides undergoing temporary displacement, the Palestinian families living there face a myriad restrictions on access to resources and services. Meanwhile, Israel exploits the resources of the area and generates profit by allocating generous tracts of land and water resources for the benefit of settlers.

Israeli politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the highly strategic Jordan Valley would remain under their control in any eventuality.

(Source / 06.08.2019) 

Israeli Troops Abduct Man and His Two Sons for Building on Their Land

06 AUG8:56 AM

Palestinian local sources report that Israeli Forces on Monday evening abducted two children and two sons, one of them a child, from Nahalin, near Bethlehem. The man and his sons were pouring concrete at their family home for a planned expansion when the soldiers abducted them.

The deputy mayor of Nahalin, Hani Fannoun told the Palestinian news agency Wafa that the Israeli occupation forces stormed the town and stationed themselves in the Sabiha area before confronting the Palestinian homeowner and abducting him and his sons.

He added that Israeli soldiers seized a pump and two concrete mixers that were being used for construction at the Shakarneh’s family home, confiscated the drivers’ ID cards, and forced them to transfer their equipment to the Gush Etzion Israeli settlement complex and military base located on stolen Palestinian land south of Bethlehem.

The mayor expressed his fear that the Israeli authorities had abducted the family members and confiscated the equipment in preparation for carrying out an “administrative demolition” of the home, as happened the previous day to a family in the village of Wade Rahal.

Nahalin is located in an area that has been designated by Israeli authorities for the expansion of the Betar colonial settlement, which was constructed on stolen Palestinian land.

(Source / 06.08.2019) 


Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces have arrested Tuesday journalist Muhammad Ateeq from Burqeen village in the occupied West Bank.

A group of Israeli soldiers broke into the house of Ateeq’s father then arrested the journalist and took him to an unknown destination after searching and vandalizing the house.

Israeli forces have arrested 22 Palestinians in the early dawn hours in different areas of the occupied West Bank.

Last July witnissed increased numbers of Israeli assaults on journalism. The Journalist Support Committee has documented 64 assaults on freedom of the press in Palestine.

Journalist Muhammad Ateeq (26 years old) is from Burqeen, Jenin. He works as a freelancer for several local media outlets.

(Source / 06.08.2019) 


Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces have arrested Tuesday 22 Palestinians in wide raids throughout the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. Meanwhile, a group of Israeli extremist settlers broke into a wedding party in Urif in Southern Nablus and attacked the guests.

Spokesperson of the Israeli occupation army said that they arrested last night 18 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank for participating in popular resistance acts against Israeli illegal settlers and soldiers.

Confrontations between residents and Israeli forces erupted in different areas throughout the occupied West Bank following Israeli raids, while residents of Urif confronted Israeli settlers and evicted them after the settlers broke into a wedding party and assaulted guests.

In Jenin, Israeli forces broke into the house of journalist Muhammad Ateeq and vandalized it before arresting him.

(Source / 06.08.2019) 


Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Over the last 2 decades, the Israeli authorities took actions in the occupied Jerusalem targeting Palestinian shops, Such actions led to the closure of nearly 430 shops, according to the head of Quds Centre for Civil and Economic Rights, Ziyad Hammouri.

Hammouri said in an interview with Palestinian media that confronting the Israeli efforts to expel Palestinians and increase illegal settlers in the holy city requires providing support for the business sector.

He also added that Israel’s practices negatively affected the business sector, since it aimed at isolating the holy city through the apartheid wall.

The Israeli authorities also imposed heavy taxes on Palestinian shop owners only and made laws, which allowed settlers to seize Palestinians houses and shops, especially whose owners fail to pay all taxes.

(Source / 06.08.2019) 

Do not punish Palestinian refugees for UNRWA dysfunction

Recently revealed abuses by top UNRWA management should not be politicised and used as an excuse to defund the agency

By Yari Hawari

Millions of Palestinian refugees, who were displaced from their homes, must not be punished due to the corruption of the senior foreign officials of the UNRWA.

Earlier this week, an internal ethics report about the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees was leaked to both Al Jazeera and the AFP news agency. The report details serious abuses of authority within the agency’s senior management team, based on testimonials from former and current staff as well as a variety of other supporting documents.

Most importantly it accuses Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl and a couple of others from his inner circle of having “engaged in misconduct, nepotism, [and] retaliation”. The report also notes that the situation worsened in 2018, following a decision by the United States, UNRWA’s largest donor, to cut its funding of the agency. This allowed the senior management to justify “an extreme concentration of decision-making power in members of the ‘clique’ … increased disregard for agency rules and established procedures, with exceptionalism becoming the norm; and continued excessive travel of the commissioner-general”.

Many Palestinians were not particularly surprised by the content of the leaked report. Over the years, we have heard many anecdotes about the highly problematic culture of entitlement and abuse perpetuated by well-paid foreign staff at UNRWA and other UN agencies.

Apart from nepotism and abuse of power, there are major issues with the distribution of limited financial resources assigned to these bodies. In times of austerity, for example, support programmes are usually cut before the salaries of senior and foreign staff.

High-level employees have also been known to engage in a variety of hypocritical actions, including renting houses stolen from Palestinian refugees in 1948 in Jerusalem (particularly in its popular neighbourhood Musrara) and allowing the UN duty free shop to sell products from illegal Israeli settlements, such as Israeli wine produced in the occupied Golan Heights.

This type of misconduct, however, is not unique to UNRWA and has been exposed in other UN agencies and large humanitarian organisations. The revelations of the report are indeed reprehensible and those responsible should not go unpunished. But that does not mean that UNRWA should be defunded or shut down.

UNRWA as a separate agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees has a special status and function. It was established in 1949 in order to provide relief services for Palestinians expelled from their homeland following the creation of the Israeli state. It now operates in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and provides some 5 million Palestinians with primary and secondary education, health services as well as various camp infrastructure projects. It also employs about 30,000 people, mostly Palestinians.

UNRWA’s mandate to provide for the refugees is repeatedly renewed pending the implementation of UN Resolution 194 which affirms the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homelands and to receive just compensation.

For so many the agency is not only an important lifeline, but an official body which safeguards the Palestinian right of return from all the powers that want to do away with it.

Indeed, since Donald Trump took office, efforts to force the Palestinian refugees to give up their right of return have accelerated. The attacks on UNRWA have been incessant and this leaked report has added fuel to the fire.

Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was quick to comment on the report saying that this was “exactly why we [the US] stopped our funding“, while Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, tweeted the Al Jazeera article, claiming that “UNRWA’s model is broken/unsustainable & based on an endless expanding # of beneficiaries.”

Neither of these statements is true; the funding was cut to collectively punish the Palestinians and their leadership and the dysfunction of the UNRWA is no worse than any other UN agency.

The US is taking its lead from Israel, who since its establishment has sought to eliminate the Palestinian refugees’ right of return. At the beginning of this year, for example, the Israeli government announced that it would be closing down UNRWA-run schools in occupied East Jerusalem which serve over 3,000 Palestinian children in direct violation of the 1946 Refugee Convention. Nir Barkat, then Jerusalem’s Israeli mayor, claimed that they were putting “an end to the lie of the Palestinian refugee problem”.

Clearly a systematic culture of abuse is at work at the highest echelons of the UNRWA which needs to be confronted and addressed. However, this report cannot and should not lead to more funding cuts. Both the Netherlands and Switzerland have unfairly suspended aid to the agency in light of this report.

The millions of Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian employees, many of whom are struggling to provide for their families, should not be collectively punished for the offences and selfishness of UNRWA’s top management, many of whom are foreigners.

Holding accountable those responsible for the mismanagement of the agency is crucial, as many fear that the powerful people exposed in this report will simply be recycled within the UN system, only to continue their misconduct at another agency.

Meanwhile, the focus should be shifted back to the seven million Palestinians who live in perpetual exile from their homeland, many facing secondary displacement. It is their wellbeing and their right to return that should be the top consideration of donors.

(Source / 06.08.2019) 

Newspapers Review: Israeli Crackdown On Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike

Israeli forces’ crackdown on hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Ofer Prison dominated the front page headlines in Tuesday’s issue of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies.

The dailies reported that the Israeli Prison Service in Ofer moved 20 Palestinian prisoners to solitary confinement.

They added that the prisoners at Ofer closed the prison’s sections and proceeded with their hunger strike.

Additionally, al-Quds said that a number of Palestinians suffocated from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers in Urif village, south of Nablus.

It reported that Israeli navy opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off Gaza shore.

According to al-Quds and al-Ayyam, Israeli forces installed a massive metal gate separating Jabaa village from Surif town, located to the southwest and north of Bethlehem respectively.

It also reported that Israeli forces raided and closed the archeological site of Sebastia, northwest of Nablus, and ransacked Palestinian houses in the Bethlehem-district town of Tuqu, causing destruction.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam highlighted Israeli Jewish groups’ calls urging followers to en masse force their way to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the early morning hours of upcoming Sunday, which marks the Islamic feast of Eid Al-Adha.

The dailies reported that Israeli police shut down two events, including a memorial at Yabous Cultural Center, in Jerusalem.

They said that as of today Jordan allows Palestinians in Jerusalem to renew their Jordanian passports at the Jerusalem Sharia Court for the first time.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said that the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem filed a new lawsuit against Ateret Cohanim Jewish settler group in a bid to overturn an Israeli court ruling upholding the sale of three strategically located properties in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Finally, al-Hayat al-Jadida said that the Egyptian Public Campaign to Boycott Israel demands a cancellation for a Jennifer Lopez’s performance in Egypt after performing in Tel Aviv concert.

(Source / 06.08.2019)