Al-Araqeeb village head: Israel trying to impose military rule in Negev

Israeli occupation forces demolish the village of Al Araqeeb for the 149th time

Israeli occupation forces demolish the village of Al-Araqeeb for the 149th time

Head of the unrecognised Bedouin village Al-Araqeeb Sayah Al-Turi has said that Israel is trying to impose military rule in the Negev in a bid to eliminate the issues surrounding his village.

Since 69-year-old Al-Turi was released from Ramla prison two weeks ago, the Israeli authorities have been continuously carrying out house demolitions, political prosecutions, arrests and summons for interrogation by the so-called “Negev Development Authority,” the Yoav Police Unit and the Israel Land Administration.

Al-Araqeeb was demolished by the Israeli authorities for the 149th time last Monday. Al-Turi has for days been protesting in front of the police station in the Bedouin city of Rahat, setting up a tent outside the office to highlight Israel Police practices in Al-Araqeeb, the daily pursuit of his sons and the decision to expel him from his land for 15 days.

“Everybody knows that the decision to imprison me and then the decision to alienate me from our village Al-Araqeeb is illegal,” Al-Turi told Arab 48. “The decision was imposed by an Israeli judge whose role in the hearing session revolved around directing the Israeli prosecution and helping it to alienate me from my village.”

He continued: “This judge provided everything she could in response to the requests of the racist Yoav Police Unit and even directed police representatives to items in Israeli law to use them as justification for the demand to alienate me from Al-Araqeeb.”

“The law serves fascism and what has happened is a crime,” the village leader stressed.

READ: Israel summons 5 residents of Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb

Officers of Israel’s secretive Yoav Police Unit have been continuously pursuing the people of Al-Araqeeb. In its recent campaigns, the unit specialised in demolishing houses without the use of bulldozers and dispersing demonstrations against demolitions. The officers of the Yoav Police Unit have destroyed the tents of Al-Araqeeb’s inhabitants with 4×4 cars, tearing them up with knives and pulling them out of the village.

Al-Turi told Arab 48 that recently “the Yoav Police Unit officers surprised us with new methods. They drag our tents and tear them up with their hands without using bulldozers”.

“They have been breaking into Al-Araqeeb village on a daily basis. During these incursions, they stole my family’s belongings, assaulted and threatened children, and even destroyed the memorial to the martyrs of Al-Araqeeb massacre in 1948.”

READ: 550 Palestinians to be homeless after Israel demolishes entire Jerusalem neighbourhood

Al-Araqeeb has also been targeted by Israel’s courts. This week the Beersheba central court imposed a fine of 1.6 million shekels ($0.46 million) on the villagers to cover the cost of the village’s 149 demolitions.

Commenting on this decision, Al-Turi told Arab 48: “It seems that the Israeli government is suffering from a shortage in its budget as it prepares for the upcoming parliamentary elections and tries to save money by penalising us, making us pay fines, and carrying out armed robbery against us.”

“All fines and crimes against the residents of Al-Araqeeb are part of a political, and not legal, prosecution, and this racist practice is one of the methods being used against all the Arab people of Negev to uproot them from their land. Al-Araqeeb is not the only targeted village,” Al-Turi added.

Al-Turi concluded by saying: “I appeal to Arab leaders and all those who believe in justice in the country to step up the battle against the authorities’ plans and stand against Israel in its crimes against the village of Al-Araqeeb and the villages”.

“We have our right and we will not give it up, but we need the support and presence of all conscious people. The demolition institutions and Israel are trying to restore military rule and end the issue of Al-Araqeeb, which we will not accept.”

READ: Israeli assaults Bedouin lifeguard, screaming ‘I hate Arabs’

(Source / 10.08.2019) 

UNRWA schools to open on time despite funding cuts

Palestinian students sit inside a classroom at their school belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, on 29 August, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Palestinian students sit inside a classroom at their school belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, on 29 August 2018 

Over 700 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) will open in time for the new academic year across the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

More than half a million Palestinian boys and girls will start the new school year at UNRWA facilities, despite the cuts to funding imposed by the US and now a number of European countries.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said of the openings: “Any child in the world should be preparing for a new school year these days, and so should Palestine refugee children.”

“We are extremely grateful to our donors whose dedication to preserving the right to education has allowed us to announce today that all UNRWA schools in our five fields of operations will open,” Krahenbuhl added.

“Many families will find deep reassurance knowing that their children will be in classrooms come September. The courage displayed every single day by our students in the pursuit of their education despite the challenges of having to cross check-points, live in areas of conflict or under occupation is an inspiration to us all.”

UNRWA operates 709 primary schools across the Middle East, as well as eight secondary schools in Lebanon, providing free education for over 530,000 Palestine refugee children.

READ: UAE donates $50m to UNRWA

(Source / 10.08.2019) 

Gaza suffers $70m direct economic losses every month

Palestinians, in Gaza City, wait in a queue to withdraw money from cash points after the decision of cutting the salaries by 30-percent was taken by the government officials on 10 May, 2017 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians in Gaza City queue to withdraw money from cash points after the decision of cutting salaries by 30 per cent was taken by government officials on 10 May 2017 

Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khodari said that direct losses to Gaza’s economy are estimated at $70 million every month due to the strict Israeli siege and aggravating crisis of public servants’ salaries.

In a press release sent to journalists, the MP – who is head of Popular Committee Against the Siege on Gaza – said that 3,500 factories, workshops and businesses had been shut down during the 12-year-old Israeli siege imposed on the Strip.

He stated that businesses shut down every day in Gaza, noting that the poverty rate has reached 85 per cent and unemployment rate exceeded 60 per cent.

Daily individual income in Gaza is less than $2 per day, while there are tens of thousands of unemployed university graduates.

READ: Israel’s siege killing demand for Qurbani meat in Gaza

Al-Khodari, who is originally an academic and businessman, said that Palestinian economic markets in Gaza and the occupied West Bank witness high rates of depression. “Sales rates retreated by 80 per cent in Gaza and 50 per cent in the occupied West Bank,” he explained.

He also noted that the situation in Gaza is deteriorating due to the retreat of Arab and international aid programmes and support for relief organisations.

The MP added that the Israeli siege must be lifted in order to facilitate a better life for people in Gaza, while internal division between the Palestinian factions must end to enable better connections between Gaza and the West Bank.

He called for an urgent interference by the Arab states and international community to push Israel to end the siege, as well as to resume the flow of their support for the occupied territories.

WATCH: Israel confiscates Gaza-bound shoes, says they are part of ‘terror’ plot

(Source / 10.08.2019) 

PLO : International Sanctions Required to Confront Escalating Settlement Construction

10 AUG2:55 AM

The Palestinian leadership strongly condemns the approval of nearly three thousand illegal settlement units in the past 48 hours by the Israeli government.

Israel’s Prime Minister is expanding illegal settlements in the heart of the occupied West Bank, like “Beit El”, for cynical election calculations that leverage traditional financial and political support from senior US administration officials, including Jared Kushner and David Friedman.

Constructing settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, is a grave violation of international humanitarian law that the Rome Statute specifically considers a war crime. This is a criminal act of hostility and aggression that requires immediate and unequivocal international steps to ensure accountability, including imposing sanctions.

The actions of the Israeli government reflect the willful commitment of the Israeli political establishment to the agenda of colonial control, land grab, and permanent denial of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights to self-determination and freedom.

They are also part of an escalating and relentless campaign of oppression and systematic violence aimed at breaking the will of the Palestinian people and dictating facts that are irreconcilable with a future of peace and stability in the region. These are the actions of a group committed to permanent conflict, whose abject disregard to legality and morality are practically and brutally evident.

In this regard, the Palestinian leadership welcomes the principled statements of condemnation by responsible international actors, including the European Union, France, and others, which reflect their commitment to international law and the requirements of peace.

Further, we call on all states that have reaffirmed their positions to take a more proactive and effective role in protecting the rules-based international order by holding Israel accountable for its wanton violations of international law and Palestinian rights.

Without exacting a political and financial price to these egregious actions, and in light of the ideological partnership between Israeli right-wing elements and the Trump administration, Israel will continue to accelerate its destructive policies and escalate its unabashed aggression.

(Source / 10.08.2019) 

Updated: “Four Palestinians Killed by Israeli Forces at Gaza Border”

10 AUG6:02 PM

Four Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces for allegedly coming too close to the border fence between Gaza and Israel, east of Dir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media sources.

Israeli forces stationed along Gaza borders to the east of Khan Younis reportedly opened fire on a group of Palestinians after they allegedly approached the Israeli-installed barbed-wire fence along Gaza’s border with Israel, shooting and killing four.

The identities of the Palestinians remain unknown, especially since the army took their corpses away.

However, a Facebook page managed by the family of one of the slain Palestinians said the four have been identified as Ahmad Ayman Tarabin, Abdullah Ismael Hamayda, Abdullah Ashraf al-Ghamri and Rashad al-Bodeini.

Israeli sources claimed that the group of Palestinians had fired toward the military base at the border, and there was an exchange of fire.

It also said the Palestinians carried AK-47 rifles, hand grenades, and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, in addition to food.

Israeli daily Haaretz said the army is trying to determine whether the Palestinians “were planning to attack soldiers or civilians.”

The Israeli Ynetnews said that the Golani Brigades that opened fire on the Palestinians are the same Brigade that came under fire two days ago, when two soldiers were injured.

Following the shooting of the two Palestinians, the Israeli airforce dropped bombs on what they claimed were two observation posts for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas party.

Military vehicles also invaded the area east of Dir al-Balah and began combing the area.

Israel has imposed a buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip along the border between Gaza and Israel, preventing Palestinians from reaching their lands near the border fence. It regularly opens fire at anyone who enters that buffer zone.

In a fact sheet about Israeli attacks on border areas and their consequences, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said, “preventing Palestinians from accessing their lands and fishing areas violates numerous provisions of international human rights law, including the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.”

(Source / 10.08.2019) 


Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Scandalous comments leaked again from a prestigious religious institute for Israeli army officer candidates in which a rabbi calls for the enslavement of Palestinians.

The text was discovered by blogger/lawyer Yair Nehorai, who’s been documenting the scandalous teaching of the Bnei David religious college rabbis for over a year.

Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, the head of Bnei David, a military religious college in the illegal settlement of Eli in the occupied West Bank, was lecturing about “slavery and the position of workers according to Judaism”, and offered a justification of Jewish supremacy and the enslavement of Palestinians under occupation:

“Yes, we are racists, of course we are. There are races in the world and nations that have genetic attributes, and that demands that we [the Jewish people] will think of how to help them. The fact that someone is your inferior is not a reason to deride him or eliminate him, but help him. Yes, there are differences between races and that’s precisely the reason who should offer aid. Just as we know there are genetic defects within society, for instance when a child is, alas, born with a defect. Is that a reason to deride him? To taunt him, insult him? No. It calls for helping him.

“When I see that I reach much more impressive heights than he does, in the moral, intellectual, personal fields, I reach much greater achievements – then it is my duty to aid him. Not leave him poor and helpless, but to lend him my hand and say ‘come’, come be my slave, be a partner in my success. […] Do you know how it is today? A prosperous country sees a backwards country, and it turns it into its garbage heap. This is how it is today. There are countries in Africa, backward countries, and what do the superpowers do? They make it worse for them.

“[…] If occupation means to humiliate you, to deride you, to taunt you, to eliminate you – than it is bad. But if occupation means ‘I am successful, come to me’, I am calling you to join a partnership, why are you alone, why are you apart from me, I want to occupy you, to merge you – then you’d be a part of a great success. You will benefit from being my slave. You live such miserable life. Come be my slave, see what life you’ll have, to what spiritual and ethical stage [you’ll climb…].

“[…] There’s an objective genetic defect here, what can you do? The bible is full of that, the Talmud is full of that…”

Part of the rabbi’s comments were first published last April. The full comments were lately published by Nehorai.

In the last few years, many embarrassing quotes by Bnei David rabbis were exposed.

In 2016, the co-founder of the Bnei David academy, Yigal Levinstein, was recorded saying that that drafting women to the IOF was making them “crazy” and stripped them of their Jewishness.

Bnei David’s other co-founder, Rabbi Eli Sadan, preaches against educating women, claiming that independent thinking “neuters their most important capability… to build the home.”

Last year, footage surfaced of another Bnei David teacher, Rabbi Yosef Kelner, lecturing students on women being “weak-minded” and possessing a reduced capacity for spirituality.

(Source / 10.08.2019) 


Occupied Hebron (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces arrested Saturday four Palestinians, including a lady, during raids into Beit Kahil in occupied Hebron in southern West Bank.

Local sources said that large numbers of Israeli forces and military armored vehicles surrounded a house in the village and fired stun grenades at near houses before breaking into the house, vandalizing it, and arresting four Palestinians from the same family.

Those, who were arrested, are identified as Ikrima Asafrah, Naseer Asafrah, Qasem Asafrah, and Qasem’s wife Inas.

(Source / 10.08.2019) 

US Seeks To Eliminate Palestinian Refugee Body, UNRWA

Palestinian vendors set up in front of the remains of the 13th century Barquq Castle, Southern Gaza Strip, July 17, 2019.

Palestinian vendors set up in front of the remains of the 13th century Barquq Castle, Southern Gaza Strip, July 17, 2019

By: Ali Abo Rezeg

Since coming to power in late 2016, U.S. President Donald Trump has spared no effort in attacking the Palestinian people and their legitimate and inalienable rights. Starting with the recognition of Jerusalem as “eternal” capital of Israel, relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the pro-Israel president then embarked on an endless campaign against the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Established in 1949, the UNRWA has been aiding millions of Palestinian refugees scattered in dozens of refugee camps in the blockaded Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank, along with many refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and war-torn Syria. UNRWA’s noble role has been embodied in helping the Palestinian refugees cover their educational, medical and humanitarian needs. Trump’s war on UNRWA was intensified last year when his administration decided to cut U.S. funding to the agency which amounted to $125 million. The move forced the agency’s management to downsize measures in areas it was operating in, firing hundreds of employees in the Gaza Strip, where people are living under a cruel siege.

However, a new-style attack has now been directed against the crisis-hit agency after an ethical report was issued from inside the establishment, accusing the UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl of corruption. This report was followed by statements from Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium to suspend funds to the agency citing the corruption charges.

These reports, if correct, come only weeks before scheduled voting in September by the U.N. General Assembly on renewing the mandate of UNRWA, which made Palestinians doubt the timing of the report and the backlash from the three donating countries. They also say the Trump administration may have its fingers behind the report so as to smear UNRWA’s image and justify his unjust moves against the aid agency.

If the upcoming days prove that there was any U.S. intervention in the report, the Trump administration would manage to kill many birds with one stone. The report has already pushed three significant countries to cut donations to UNRWA. It would make the UNRWA subject to more criticism about its integrity and transparency in the occupied territories.

Most importantly, it would embolden the leaders of the Israeli occupation to go ahead with their plans to delegitimize the institution. Backed by Trump administration officials, Israeli policymakers are working hard to liquidate the UNRWA and its functions as it has been, for decades, a living witness of the suffering of the Palestinian refugees, who were expelled from their lands in historical Palestine in 1948. Since a powerful UNRWA means the issue of the Palestinian refugees stays alive.

Terminating the UNRWA also comes at the same time as the “Deal of the Century,” which Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been promoting for months. According to the deal, the Palestinian refugees’ right of return will be totally terminated and the U.S. will seek to negotiate with the hosting countries (Lebanon and Jordan) to resettle and give citizenship to Palestinian refugees in exchange for billions of dollars to be paid by the Gulf countries.

After last year’s Jerusalem move, the Trump administration is now launching a fierce war on the Palestinian refugees, who have been for decades hopeful of returning to their villages and towns from where they were driven out. Such an attack would only make the Palestinian people restless, as terminating the refugee issue will eventually kill the essence of their just cause.

(Source / 10.08.2019) 


Israel’s occupation forces killed four people described as ‘young men’ in the besieged Gaza Strip early on Saturday August 10th and took their bodies.

The four unidentified persons were killed before 04:45 local time east of Deir al-Balah; early reports spoke of them being killed in a drone strike, later ones that they had been shot dead.

Their bodies were taken from the Gaza side by Israeli occupation troops using an armoured bulldozer, although Israeli occupation claims that one of them would have been killed on the side of ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948.

Israeli occupation claims that the four persons would have been armed with Kalashnikov rifles and hand-grenades and speculates that they would have tried to kidnap an Israeli occupation soldier – there is no confirmation of these claims.

(Source / 10.08.2019)