Gazans Too Poor to Afford Sheep for Eid Sacrifice

A Palestinian herding sheep against the backdrop of a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem

Ali usually marks the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha with his family in the Gaza Strip by sacrificing a sheep, a customary annual ritual for those who can spare the cost.

But this year the 49-year-old police officer says he cannot afford to buy an animal for the “feast of the sacrifice” holiday, which begins next week, after the Palestinian Authority halved his salary five months ago.

“I have slaughtered a sheep every year … but this year there is no way I can. I am ashamed,” the father of five, who declined to give his last name, told Reuters.

Gaza has suffered under years of Israeli blockade. Nearly 80 percent of the enclave’s 2 million residents rely on some form of aid and over half are unemployed.

Ali said that in March, the PA cut his monthly salary in half, leaving him with 1,500 shekels ($431). A sheep costs around $500.

The PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, still has some 25,000 Gazan civil servants on payroll despite a decade-long feud with rival Hamas which has left the group in control of the coastal territory.

Many PA employees across Gaza and the West Bank had their salaries slashed in March amid a dispute with Israel over payments it makes to the families of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Israel says the payments fan Palestinian violence, and in February it removed the portion the PA designates for prisoners’ families from taxes it transfers monthly to the body under interim peace accords.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to accept partial transfers, saying the PA is entitled to the entire sum of around 700 million ($197 million) shekels, over half its budget. The mounting fiscal pressures have squeezed the Palestinians’ $13 billion economy.

The cuts have put a particular strain on Gaza, where civil servants had already been hit by earlier salary cuts Abbas imposed in 2017 to isolate Hamas.

“I used to offer a sacrifice every year but this year there is no money,” said Hassan An-Najjar, an unemployed father of six. He says the cost of a sheep would run out the $500 in welfare he receives quarterly from the PA.

“I am looking for someone who can sell me a sheep and divide the cost into three or four payments,” An-Najjar, 58, told Reuters.

The median monthly wage in the Strip is around $330, according to the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute.

The territory’s livestock breeders and farmers say they are desperate for customers ahead of the eid.

“This year I brought only 40 cows and so far I haven’t even sold half of them,” said Gaza farmer Mohammad Al-Balawi. He says he normally sells 500 each year to people who may also split the animal’s 9,000 ($2,600) shekel price.

“I have not seen a year as bad as this in my life,” he said.

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

Israel: Benny Gantz vows to build in southern West Bank settlements

Construction workers build illegal settlements in the West Bank

Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance head Benny Gantz yesterday vowed to build housing units in Israeli settlements in the south of the occupied West Bank, reported Arutz Sheva.

Gantz made the comments during a visit to the region in the wake of the killing of an Israeli soldier-settler, whose body was found early yesterday morning near Migdal Oz settlement.

“The terrorists want once again to harm the residents of Gush Etzion [settlements] and all the citizens of Israel. They will not succeed in breaking our spirit,” Gantz declared, adding that Israeli occupation forces “will chase them and capture them – alive or dead”.

Gantz then promised to expand the settlements, all of which are illegal under international law.

READ: Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Netanyahu’s visit to Beit El undermines any chance for peace

“We will continue to build in the [settlement] blocs. We do this from a strategic point of view and not as a political strategy. We will do so here in Gush Etzion and in every strategic area that seems appropriate.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also stated yesterday his intention of continuing construction in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements.

“We promised to build hundreds of housing units. Today we are doing it, both because we promised and because our mission is to establish the nation of Israel in our country,” he said in Beit El.

“Our hands will reach out and we will deepen our roots in our homeland – in all parts of it,” he added.

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

Shtayyeh discusses with Russian ambassador possibility of establishing industrial zone in Nablus

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks during the opening of the annual meeting of Council of the Socialist International on "The Two State Solution, Israel and Palestine, for Peace and a Future of Opportunities for the People of the Middle-East" in Ramallah, West Bank on 30 July 2019. [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks during the opening of the annual meeting of Council of the Socialist International on “The Two State Solution, Israel and Palestine, for Peace and a Future of Opportunities for the People of the Middle-East” in Ramallah, West Bank on 30 July 2019

On Thursday, Palestinian Prime Minister Dr Mohammad Shtayyeh discussed at his office in Ramallah with Russian Ambassador to Palestine Gocha Buachidze the boosting of cooperation between the two countries, especially in the economic and trade exchange fields.

The Prime Minister also discussed the possibility of establishing an industrial zone with the support of Russia in Nablus, to contribute, as industrial zones in Jenin, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho, in supporting the Palestinian economy and creating job opportunities, in line with the government’s plan of development clusters.

Read:Palestinian fire spitting artists in Gaza

Shtayyeh stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between Palestinian businesspersons and their Russian counterparts.

“The Palestinian and Russian leaderships are in constant contact, and there is a historical relationship between the two countries. We want this relationship to be crowned by holding a joint committee at the level of prime ministers, to open more prospects for cooperation between Palestine and Russia,” the Prime Minister clarified.

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

Israel settlers’ month of violence against Palestinians documented

Palestinians sit near graffiti sprayed on the wall of mosque of Kafr Malik village near the West Bank City of Ramallah on 17 June 2019. [Bahaa Nasr/WAFA]

Palestinians sit near graffiti sprayed by Israeli settlers on the wall of mosque of Kafr Malik village near the West Bank City of Ramallah on 17 June 2019

The month of June saw Israeli settler attacks against at least ten Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank, with significant damage done to property and crops.

According to Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, June was yet “another month of routine settler violence fully backed by the military”.

Settlers vandalised property in ten communities across the West Bank, as well as burning some 1,800 trees and dozens of dunams of grain fields, “uprooting more than 700 vegetable seedlings and damaging at least 55 cars and spray painting hate graffiti on buildings”, stated B’Tselem.

In the Nablus area, “settlers threw stones at a family home in the village of Yasuf, shattering the windows, and punctured the family car’s tires”, while “in the village of Jalud, settlers burned more than a thousand trees in lands belonging to 21 farmers and threw stones at the school”.

Meanwhile, “in the village of Madama, settlers torched farmland and the fire spread to land belonging to the village of Burin, consuming about 180 fruit trees”, and “in the village of ‘Einabus, settlers punctured the tires of three cars and graffitied slogans on the mosque”.

READ: Israel settler charged with sexually abusing 105 girls 

In the central West Bank, settlers punctured the tyres of 22 cars in Beitin, Sinjil and Kafr Malik. In Burqah, “settlers set fire to fields and burned about 200 olive and other fruit trees”, while in Al-Mughayir, “settlers burned some fifty dunams of wheat and hay fields and some 370 olive trees”.

Other examples cited by B’Tselem include attacks by settlers in the Bethlehem region, where they “vandalised farming equipment in the village of Wadi Fukin and uprooted more than 700 saplings and four olive trees”.

According to B’Tselem, “these acts of violence, which are backed by the military, have been occurring every month for years.”

It is part of Israel’s policy in the West Bank, and it serves the state’s agenda. The policy itself is designed to reduce Palestinian farming and gradually transfer areas that have been abandoned due to fear of violence over to settlers

the NGO added.

“As part of this policy, and to enable these acts of violence, the authorities rarely investigate the crimes and the odds that any of the criminals would be punished for their actions are minuscule. Settlers are well aware of this fact, as are Palestinians who remain defenceless.”

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

Soldiers Abduct The Coordinator Of the Popular Committee In Kufur Qaddoum

09 AUG6:14 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Friday at dawn, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, while crossing al-Karama Border Crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.

The Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum said the soldiers abducted Morad Eshteiwi while he was crossing back into the West Bank, after visiting family in Jordan.

Kufur Qaddoum holds weekly processions against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, and in protest to the ongoing closure of the town’s main road for the past sixteen years, and is subject to constant invasions and violations.

In addition, groups of illegal Israeli colonialist settlers attacked, on Friday at dawn, many Palestinian homes and cars in several areas in Bethlehem governorate, south of occupied East Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

On Friday afternoon, the soldiers invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, searched and ransacked several homes before abducting a young Palestinian man and confiscating his car.

It is worth mentioning that the army has been conducting massive invasions and violent searches of homes and property after the body of an Israeli soldier was found near Efrat colony, illegally built on Palestinian lands, south of Bethlehem.

After the soldier’s body was found, the army installed many roadblocks in the area, and imposed a strict siege on Beit Fajjar, before initiating extensive and very violent searches of homes and property and interrogated dozens of residents.

The soldiers also confiscated surveillance tapes and equipment from many homes and stores, after searching them.

The searches also targeted many Palestinian villages and communities in areas north of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

Israeli Colonists Burn Hay Bales, Write Racist Graffiti, Near Hebron

09 AUG6:44 PM

A group of illegal extremist Israeli colonialist settlers invaded, Friday, Erfa’eyya area east of Yatta town, east of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, burnt hay bales, and wrote racist graffiti, in addition to hurling stones at Palestinian cars in the area and surrounding communities.

Rateb Jabour, the media coordinator of the Popular and National Committees in southern West Bank, said the colonists infiltrated into the area and burnt many hay bales, owned by the residents.

He added that the Israeli assailants also hurled stones, and empty bottles, at many Palestinian cars east of Hebron city, and a nearby road.

The colonists also wrote racist anti-Palestinian graffiti on many walls in Yatta, before fleeing the area and heading to their nearby illegal colonies and outposts.

In related news, the soldiers abducted Morad Eshteiwi, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, while crossing al-Karama Border Crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.

In addition, groups of illegal Israeli colonialist settlers attacked, on Friday at dawn, many Palestinian homes and cars in several areas in Bethlehem governorate, south of occupied East Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

On Friday afternoon, the soldiers invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, searched and ransacked several homes before abducting a young Palestinian man and confiscating his car.

It is worth mentioning that the army has been conducting massive invasions and violent searches of homes and property after the body of an Israeli soldier was found near Efrat colony, illegally built on Palestinian lands, south of Bethlehem.

After the soldier’s body was found, the army installed many roadblocks in the area, and imposed a strict siege on Beit Fajjar,Move to Trash

before initiating extensive and very violent searches of homes and property and interrogated dozens of residents.

The soldiers also confiscated surveillance tapes and equipment from many homes and stores, after searching them.

The searches also targeted many Palestinian villages and communities in areas north of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

ISRAELI SOLDIERS ASSAULT PRISONER AT SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Israeli soldiers on Thursday broke into the cell of Anas Awwad and confiscated all power tools after they assaulted him.

Father of Anas, Saad Awwad, posted on Facebook that the Israeli prison services broke into his son’s cell, in which he has been isolated for over 4 months.

Saad has previously told QNN that his son suffers from very tough conditions. His skin looks pale and his hands are swollen as the IPS refuses to allow him be exposed to sunlight. He also said that IPS confiscate Qur’an copies from his cell.

Israeli forces have arrested Anas Awwad from awarta, Nablus in March 8, 2019. Anas was beaten and assaulted by Israeli jailers in Negev jail, causing him wounds in the head, claiming that he tried to stab one of them.

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

IN VIDEO| ISRAELI SETTLERS ATTACK PALESTINIANS AND BLOCK THEIR ROADS

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Israeli Jewish settlers Thursday closed roads to Palestinian villages and hurled stones at Palestinians vehicles near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Eye witnesses said that dozens of Israeli illegal settlers closed roads in northern and southern West Bank and attacked Palestinians’ vehicles with stones.

In Hebron, dozens of Israeli illegal settlers closed a road near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba and threw stones at vehicles owned by Palestinians, damaging many of them and injuring Director of Health in Hebron, Dr. Nazih Abed.

In Nablus, settlers closed Huwwarah main street and prevented Palestinians’ vehicles from using it. They also threw stones at them, no injuries reported.

Other settlers tried to break into Beitin in eastern Ramallah and closed a main square in southern Nablus, while Israeli soldiers closed a road leading to eastern Ramallah.

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

High Islamic Bodies Call For Intensifying Palestinian Presence At Aqsa Mosque On Eid Al-Adha

The Higher Islamic Commission (HIC) in Occupied Jerusalem, the Council for Waqf and Islamic Affairs, and the Supreme Council of Fatwa, an Islamic body based in eastern Jerusalem, called on all mosques around the city to close on Eid al-Adha, and for Muslims to head toward al-Aqsa mosque compound to perform the Eid prayer.

The three Islamic bodies in a statement issued today stressed the need for Muslims to head toward al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, on Sunday, first day of Eid, in response to calls made by Jewish groups, known as ‘Temple Mount’ organizations, to prevent Muslims from entering the mosque and allow the intrusion of settlers to mark the so-called Tisha B’Av, which coincides with Eid al-Adha, to mourn the destruction of the biblical temples.

Eid begins on Sunday, August 11, and ends on the evening of Thursday, August 15

(Source / 09.08.2019) 

Palestinians Perform Friday Prayer In Wadi Al-Hummus In Jerusalem

Dozens of Palestinians performed the weekly Friday prayer outdoors today in Wadi al-Hummus area, in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher, in protest of Israel’s demolition last month of several homes for their proximity to the Israeli segregation barrier in the area.

On July 22, Israel demolished 10 Palestinian-owned buildings in Sur Baher’s Wadi al-Hummus area and displaced dozens of Palestinians in the process, many of them children. The demolition received wide scale condemnation.

The claim was that the buildings presented a security risk to Israel’s so-called “security barrier”, also known as the apartheid wall, 85 percent of which runs through the Palestinian occupied territories cutting and dividing Palestinian land and communities.

The pretext of this demolition places other Palestinian villages and towns – such as Al-Ram, Tulkarm and Qalqilliya that are in the vicinity of the apartheid wall – at risk.

(Source / 09.08.2019)