Palestinians wave flags as Israeli security forces intervene protestors with tear gas during a demonstration near the rubble of buildings that were demolished by Israel, in the village of Sur Baher, on 26 July 26, 2019
Israeli occupation forces arrested over 500 Palestinians from Jerusalem in July, mainly from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya, Director of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club in Jerusalem Naser Abu-Qouse said yesterday.
Among those detained, Arab48 reported Abu-Qouse saying, were children who were under five years old.
He stated that at least 300 people were arrested from Issawiya alone.
Israeli soldiers have also killed Palestinian Photojournalist Yaser Murtaja in the Gaza Strip
Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ) announced on Monday that the Israeli violations against Palestinian photojournalists are increasing, the Anadolu Agency reported.
This came in a statement issued by the FAJ on the occasion of World Photography Day.
“Many of the photojournalists made many sacrifices for the sake of special journalistic coverage during the wars in the Middle East over the past five years,” the FAJ said.
The FAJ hailed the efforts of photojournalists and stressed that they are doing an important job by covering events in the region.
Meanwhile, the Freedoms Committee of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said that more than 144 Palestinian photojournalists have been subjected to violations of the Israeli occupation in the first half of 2019.
According to a press release issued by the syndicate, the frequency of photographers being targeted by the Israeli occupation is increasing with 232 violations against the Palestinian press in the first half of this year.
The statement called on Arab and international media and human rights organisations to support the Journalists Syndicate in its efforts to protect journalists from systematic attacks and to prosecute the Israeli occupation for its ongoing crimes.
Nasim Mokafeh Abu Romi and Hamoudah Khader Al Shaikh from Ezareyah town, occupied Jerusalem. Both aged 14 and 15
Palestinian NGOs and families yesterday called for international pressure to be placed on Israel to release the body of a Palestinian teen executed by occupation forces, Wattan reported.
In a statement, the NGOs and families replied to reports about Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s decision to withhold the body of 14-year-old Nasim Abu Romi from Jerusalem’s neighbourhood of Ezareyah to exchange it with the body of an Israeli soldier held in Gaza.
Israel’s plan to keep the body of the minor, the statement continued, added to its crime of executing him and his 15-year-old friend Hamoudah Khader Al Shaikh.
Abu Romi was shot more than seven times on 15 August from a distance of less than four metres, including bullets which were fired as he lay motionless on the floor.
Cycling4Gaza will travel across four countries to highlight the freedoms enjoyed by many in Europe but denied to Palestinians in the occupied territories
By Rebecca Stead
Cycling4Gaza will travel across four countries to highlight the freedoms enjoyed by many in Europe but denied to Palestinians in the occupied territories
In March 2018, Dr Zara Hannoun visited the Gaza Strip. “I can’t even begin to put the experience into words,” she tells MEMO. “From the start, you can see that there is strict restriction of movement on the people in Gaza. There are no real resources; the infrastructure in the cities is completely devastated.”
“You go to the hospitals and see that they’re doing what they can with what they have, but the situation is dire. Coming back I really struggled, it’s hard to just accept what we call reality and yet know what is out there,” she added.
Zara is just one of a team of volunteers who are working to change this reality. Founded in the wake of Israel’s 2008 assault on the already-besieged Gaza Strip, Cycling4Gaza has been raising money for and awareness of the grave humanitarian situation in the Strip for almost a decade.
“My first cycle was in 2011,” Zara explains, “we were meant to do it in Greece but because there were quite a few logistical problems, it was moved to Jordan. It turned out to be a wonderful route, because we were basically cycling from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea and you could see Palestine just across the border.”
“Every cycle is completely different,” she adds, “each one brings a completely different experience, whether the ride is taking place in Europe, the US or the Middle East.”
Cycling4Gaza raises money for humanitarian projects in Gaza, working closely with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) to provide for the medical needs of Palestinian children, such as travelling abroad for surgery or having access to adequate treatment within the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).
“We always look for projects that are underfunded or lack support in Gaza,” Zara explains. “Often this includes focusing on mental health care, because this is something that is quite overlooked and still holds a bit of a stigma in Palestinian society,” she adds.
Yet as the Great March of Return – which has seen thousands of Palestinians demonstrate along the Gaza fence to demand the right of return to the homes from which they were forcibly displaced in 1948 – enters its 18th consecutive month, providing emergency medical aid across the Strip has become increasingly important.
As Salwa Abu Wardeh, who is herself the daughter of a Palestinian refugee and now a member of the Cycling4Gaza committee, explains: “There are very limited resources in Gaza and access to these is difficult. The idea of being able to leave Gaza to access medical care is virtually non-existent because of the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.”
“The blockade basically eliminates freedom of movement for the population of Gaza, which has a devastating effect on so many areas of life,” she adds.
“Because of this, the theme of this year’s ride is freedom,” Salwa’s colleague Dina Dajani explains. Between 27 August and 1 September, some 50 participants will cycle across four countries, starting in Germany before heading through Luxembourg, France and Belgium, before finishing in front of the European Union (EU) Parliament in the Belgian capital Brussels.
“The idea was to demonstrate the lack of freedom of movement that people in Gaza face as opposed to the freedom of movement that is present in the EU,” Dina tells MEMO.
At a time when thousands of refugees and migrants are braving perilous journeys in search of a better life in Europe, the hope is this theme will resonate beyond the Palestinian context.
“A lot of people are at least able to escape difficult situations in order to pursue a better life, but this is something that’s completely impossible for people in Gaza,” Dina emphasises.
Asked what difference initiatives like Cycling4Gaza can make, the team tells MEMO it is about sparking a “butterfly effect”, introducing new supporters to the Palestinian cause and exposing already-well-informed followers to fresh information.
“Firstly it’s about the awareness we raise in local communities in the countries in which we’re cycling,” Dina tells me. “We have a big event at the finish line, hand out flyers, and talk to people along the way. It’s one of the reasons we chose cycling, because we can pass through a lot of places in one ride.”
Yet even those taking part in the cycle, many of whom are often well-informed on Palestine, have the opportunity to learn more. “We try to get children who have been treated by the PCRF, in one capacity or another, to join the cycle,” Salwa adds.
“So for example, in 2014, we had one young man called Ahmad Abu Namous who was a recent amputee; he had been shot at close range in the knee and lost the bottom half of his leg. He was fitted with a prosthetic and he cycled 360 kilometres with us in the US that year.”
“I think this really gives everyone, the people we encounter along the way, the cyclists themselves and us as team members an opportunity to get real life, first-hand accounts from people in Gaza.”
Finishing this year’s ride in Brussels, Cycling4Gaza hopes to highlight the role – large or small – that everyone in the international community can play.
“Landing in front of the EU parliament we’re hoping to say, look, Palestine is still on the map, and the humanitarian situation there is dire,” Salwa stresses.
The situation is getting worse and we need to understand that in order to address it. No one can pretend it’s not happening anymore.
“The international community as a whole has to push for lifting the blockade – that’s the most urgent and desperate situation right now. For us as an organisation, it’s just about being able to create a world where those people who can make a difference are aware that every action counts and to put as much onus as possible on the international community to help lift the siege on Gaza.”
The Cycling4Gaza team concludes: “Ultimately access to food and medicine is a freedom enshrined in international law; it’s a freedom stipulated in the Geneva Convention on Human Rights. So we’re not asking for anything that doesn’t apply to us [in Europe and elsewhere] and shouldn’t apply to everyone in the world.”
“It’s really easy to say ‘my actions aren’t going to make a difference.’ But we just need to take that first step”.
Israeli occupation forces, on Tuesday, stormed the village of Lqiya, in the Negev desert, and handed out demolition and evacuation notices to 30 buildings and facilities.
Most of the notices were given to the Abu Mutair family, while some belonged to the family of the former Arab member of Knesset, Juma al-Zabarqa.
PNN further reports that this step comes as part of occupation authorities’ efforts to force the residents to relinquish their land, taking advantage of the ongoing housing crisis due to ongoing confiscation and displacement attempts in order to expand settlements.
Israeli forces and staff of the so-called Israeli Municipality of West Jerusalem today ordered the demolition of over 20 Palestinian structures in al-Matar neighborhood, north of Jerusalem.
Security sources confirmed that Israeli forces and municipality staff stormed Al-Matar neighborhood, opposite to Qalandiya refugee camp, where they handed demolition orders for over 20 Palestinian structures purportedly for being built without licenses.
Meanwhile, Israeli police escorted a bulldozer to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, where they heavy machinery demolished a house.
The demolished structure belonged to the Rajabi family, Days of Palestine further reports.
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.
The Israeli soldiers, from the elite units, armed with the most modern weapons, were afraid to respond to gunfire by a single Palestinian with AK-47
Four Israel soldiers have been suspended for failing to open fire at Palestinians at the Gaza fence on 1 August, Ynet News reported on Monday.
According to the Israeli news website, an investigation carried by the Israeli army into the incident found that “armed” Palestinians had been observed by Israeli forces about 250 metres from the fence and a Golani Brigade, headed by a squad commander, was dispatched.
Quds Press reported other Israeli media saying that the investigation found that the Israeli soldiers committed a number of violations after leaving the scene having sustained light wounds, leaving a number of their comrades alone and under fire.
The commander of the Golani Brigade suspended the squad leader and two soldiers from duty because they did not act as expected during an operation.
The driver of the military vehicle, who, according to Quds Press drove the three soldiers away, was also suspended.
The Palestinian, who engaged in the gunfire, was killed after a two-hour manhunt carried out by another Golani unit.
‘The government’s policy is clear… There will be very aggressive action in the Gaza Strip,’ the minister said
An Israeli minister warned on Tuesday that the next assault on the occupied and blockaded Gaza Strip would be even more severe than the 2014 offensive.
In an interview with far-right news outlet Arutz Sheva, Science and Technology Minister Ophir Akunis discussed recent developments in Gaza and the potential for escalation.
Addressing warnings by Palestinian factions about the slow pace of the easing of the blockade, Minister Akunis said that Hamas “will understand the actions” of Israel.
Akunis claimed that Hamas has been “attempt[ing] to test us” over “the past two weeks”, referring to a number of incidents at the Gaza perimeter fence where Palestinian youth have carried out independent armed operations.
“The government’s policy is clear. If it seems necessary, there will be very aggressive action in the Gaza Strip,” the minister said.
“It is wrong to talk to the media about the nature of the operation. [We know] ways in which the enemy listens to us at all times and it is not good for him to know what he should prepare for, but it is clear that this campaign on our part will be far more aggressive than Operation Protective Edgeand Operation Pillar of Defence” Akunis said.
Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012 saw Israel kill more than 165 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, while Operation Protective Edge in 2014 was an unprecedentedly brutal assault that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including some 500 children.
The minister further added that “there is a very wide range of considerations before embarking on this campaign. There are military considerations and additional arms of other systems. The [September] elections will not limit the campaign against the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas has called on Palestinains to mobilise in rememberance of the 50th anniversary of the al-Aqsa fire attack.
In a press release on Tuesday, Hamas urged Palestinians, to take to the streets to protest against the arson attack of 1969.
“We call upon all Palestinians, along with all Hamas members and officials, to express their outrage and participate in the massive popular and peaceful activity next Friday in order to face off the Israeli and US schemes and back Palestinian defenders of al-Aqsa”, Hamas said in a press release on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Palestinians will be marking the 50th anniversary of the attack, carried out by radically pro-Israel Australian tourist Dennis Michael Rohan.
Rohan was said to be mentally unstable and considered himself “the Lord’s emissary”. He said he tried to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque after he heard voices from God all to enable the Jews of Israel to build a Jewish temple in place of the Mosque.
A week later, then Jordanian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed El-Farra revealed Rohan was brought to Israel by the Jewish Agency for Israel to study in a Kibbutz, despite not being Jewish.
The 50th anniversary comes just days ahead of a weekly Great Return March protests that have been taking place inside the besieged Gaza Strip every Friday for months.
This year, Palestinians want to mark the arson in the context of the wider Israeli annexation of Jerusalem.
“On the anniversary of burning the mosque in 1969, the Israeli occupation forces and settlers attempt to judaize Jerusalem and obliterate its Islamic identity through storming into and desecrating the holy place”, Hamas added.
More than 268 Palestinians have been killed and over 23,000 injured since the first Great Return March protest was held on 30 March 2018. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in that period.
The results of a UN investigation released at the end of February found that Israel committed crimes against humanity in responding to the border protests, as snipers “intentionally” shot civilians including children, journalists and the disabled.
Israel and Palestinian militants in the blockaded Gaza Strip have fought three wars since 2008 and fears of a fourth surged in the recent conflict.