UN warns of eminent collapse of Palestine economy

Public officials withdraw money after the Palestinian government applied a 30 per cent wage deduction from Public officials salaries in Gaza on June 1, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Public officials withdraw money after the Palestinian government deducted their wage on 1 June 2017

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) yesterday warned of the eminent collapse of the Palestinian economy due to the destructive measures of the Israeli occupation.

In a report, UNCTAD said that the performance of the Palestinian economy and humanitarian conditions reached an all-time low in 2018 and early 2019.

It added: “The depression-level unemployment rate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to climb in 2018, reaching 31 per cent; 52 per cent in Gaza and 18 per cent in the West Bank.”

It also said: “The real wage and labour productivity have been declining. In 2017, the real wage and productivity per worker were 7 and 9 per cent below their levels in 1995, respectively.”

Per capita income fell, mass unemployment increased, poverty deepened and the environmental toll of occupation has been rising in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Due to the Israeli occupation’s measures, “the economy of Gaza contracted by 7 per cent and poverty deepened, investment practically vanished, falling to 3 per cent of GDP, 88 per cent of which was channelled to the rebuilding of structures destroyed during several major military operations in the last 10 years.”

Slowdown of economy in the West Bank, UNCTAD said, “is explained by the decrease in donor support, contraction of the public sector and deterioration of the security environment, which discouraged private sector activities.”

READ: Security coordination with PA helps Israel economy prosper

“The overall share of manufacturing in total value added shrank from 20 to 11 per cent of GDP between 1994 and 2018, while the share of agriculture and fishing declined from over 12 per cent to less than 3 per cent.”

“The Palestinian people are denied the right to exploit oil and natural gas resources and thereby deprived of billions of dollars in revenue,” it added.

The UNCTAD added: “The international community should help the Palestinian people to secure their right to oil and gas in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and ascertain their legitimate share in the natural resources collectively owned by several neighbouring States in the region.”

At the same time, the organisation said: “In March 2019, the Government of Israel started to deduct $11.5 million monthly from Palestinian clearance revenues… This fiscal shock is compounded by declining donor support.”

READ: PA to form legal team to follow up Israel’s ‘piracy’ of tax money

(Source / 11.09.2019) 

High rate of drug addiction among Israel residents near Gaza

Drugs and captagon pills seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration [AFP/LOUAI BESHARA/Getty Images]

Drugs and pills

Israeli newspaper Maariv reported yesterday that the consumption of sedatives has increased among Israelis living in the areas around the Gaza Strip.

The region also has a high rate of alcohol abuse, the paper reported, as a result of the “unstable” security situation.

Drug and alcohol abuse is mainly reported among younger Israelis who have lived to see Israel attack the Gaza Strip in three different wars since 2008.

Though there are care centres offering services to those with addiction, the paper explained, the financial crises they are facing mean patients are forced to go to Jerusalem for help. However most relapse upon their return because of the lack of stability in their homes.

READ: War and poverty drive Gazans to seek better life in Europe despite dangers

(Source / 11.09.2019) 

West Bank: 3 doctors resign after ‘anomalies’ in Israa Gharib’s autopsy

Palestinian Israa Al-Gharib (24) was murdered by her family in August 2019 [Facebook]

Palestinian Israa Al-Gharib (21) was murdered by her family in August 2019 

Three Palestinian doctors have retired in protest against the improper handling of the murder and autopsy of Israa Gharib.

Israaa was purportedly murdered at the end of August at the hands of her brothers after she reportedly posted a picture with her fiancé, in what has been labelled an “honour killing”.

Palestinian newspaper Al-Hadath revealed that official bodies cooperated in the murder. The Undersecretary of State of the Palestine Ministry of Justice, Mohammad Abu Al-Sondos, had allegedly misled the attorney general by claiming that samples of Israa’s body was sent for examination, when only samples of body fluids were issued, causing serious violations in the forensic department.

As a result, three doctors in the Department of Forensic Medicine retired and accused Abu Al-Sondos of failing to announce the autopsy and laboratory results.

Al-Hadath said the officials were meant to participate in writing the medical report, but didn’t. They also said that the violations that occurred in the forensic department affected their work and caused major delays in carrying out the procedure.

READ: Palestinians demand legal protection after ‘honour’ killing of Israa Gharib

Abu Al-Sondos denied any involvement in the investigation. With US-backed Alhurra news station reporting that Abu Al-Sondos expressed that the doctors’ resignations were because “some of them were on charges of corruption, including some who were about to be dismissed, and they used public opinion to escape the measures that were taken against them and trying to arouse public opinion”.

The Ministry of Justice later issued a press release confirming the resignation of the three doctors had no relation with Israa’s case and that it was due to “the irregularities and disciplinary sanctions against some of them”.

The Public Prosecution announced yesterday that a press conference will be held to present its findings in the case tomorrow at the Ministry of Information in Ramallah.

The official medical report carried out in Bethlehem by the Ministry confirmed that Israa’s death was due to “severe respiratory failure” which were a result of multiple injuries.

According to Egyptian newspaper El Dostor, Israa also suffered from “old and recent bruises on the upper limbs” and fractures on her wrist.

READ: Honour killings in the spotlight after Palestinian woman is brutally killed

(Source / 11.09.2019) 

PCHR Report: Suspicions of Medical Neglect in Death of Palestinian Prisoner in Israeli Prison

11 SEP 12:38 AM

Following the death of ailing Palestinian prisoner, Bassam al-Sayeh (47) from Nablus, under circumstances that invite suspicions of intentional medical neglect by the Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has released a report holding Israeli authorities responsible for his death and expressing its grave concern that the Israeli authorities stalled in providing al-Sayeh with appropriate and timely medical care.

The deceased suffered from bone cancer before his arrest and his condition deteriorated while in custody as he developed leukemia. His condition further deteriorated in the last while, before he was pronounced dead at Assaf Harofeh medical center in Israel.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli persistence on ignoring calls for his release, as is standard for humanitarian cases such as al’Sayeh’s, despite their knowledge of his deteriorating health; leaving him to die alone in prison.

Israeli forces arrested Al-Sayeh on 8 October 2015 while he was present at his wife’s court hearing. He had suffered from bone cancer since 2011, and his condition worsened due to his arrest conditions and denial of appropriate medical treatment in prison. As a result, he was diagnosed with leukemia and his health continued to deteriorate over the past 4 years. Recently, his health was noticeably worse as human rights organizations reported he suffered from chronic and severe pneumonia and an 80% heart failure.

Despite persistent calls for his release, Israeli forces refused it and transferred him to al-Ramla clinic on 29 July 2019. This clinic is nicknamed “the slaughterhouse” by prisoners, indicative of the maltreatment they receive at it. On 12 August 2019, al-Sayeh was transferred to Assaf Harofeh medical center due to his rapidly deteriorating health, where he was pronounced dead yesterday.

Al-Sayeh’s death highlights the overall deterioration of the conditions of at least 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and reflects the extent of punitive measures it employs against them, especially in terms of medical neglect and inadequate treatment provided to at least 150 prisoners with chronic and serious illnesses.

It should be noted that his is the third death within Israeli prisons in 2019. On 06 February, Fares Mohammed Baroud (51), who spent 28 years in the Israeli jails, Fares Mohammed Baroud (51), from al-Shati’ refugee camp in western Gaza City, died only hours after being transferred from “Ramon” Prison to “Soroka” Hospital in circumstances raising suspicions of deliberate medical negligence by the Israeli authorities, especially that he suffered problems in the stomach, heart and liver. Also on 16 July, Nassar Majed Taqatqah (31), from Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem, died while in solitary confinement in “Nitzan” Prison (al-Ramlah) in Israel. The late Nassar was arrested from his house on 09 June 2019 and put into investigation.

PCHR holds the Israeli government fully responsible for the death of detainee al-Sayeh, and for the lives of dozens of sick detainees who would face the same fate if the policy of deliberate medical negligence continues, especially under the inhumane and humiliating imprisonment conditions where prisoners are subject to physical and psychological torture and denied adequate healthcare.

Additionally, PCHR:

Calls upon the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) to increase its follow-up on the conditions of Palestinian detainees and prisoners in Israeli prisons and to investigate the imprisonment conditions; and
Calls upon the international community to compel Israel to respect international law and international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

(Source / 11.09.2019) 


By Ali Abunimah

Benny Gantz, chief of the Israeli army during Israel’s 2014 massacre in Gaza, is borrowing apartheid South Africa’s talking points to boost his election campaign.

Gantz heads the allegedly center-left opposition coalition hoping to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s elections later this month.

In a campaign attack on Israel’s prime minister, Monday, Gantz declared that, unlike Netanyahu, he would have allowed US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to visit Israel and the occupied territories.

Had they visited, Gantz claimed, they would have seen “with their own eyes” that “the best place to be an Arab in the Middle East is in Israel … and the second best place to be an Arab in the Middle East is the West Bank.”

Gantz’s contention that Israeli military occupation and colonization is a blessing to Palestinians is a direct echo of South Africa’s apartheid rulers who insisted that their brutal white supremacist regime was good for Black people.

Writer Ben White pointed to a 1977 New York Times interview with John Vorster, who was then prime minister of South Africa’s racist regime.

“The standard of living of the South African Black is two to five times higher than that of any Black country in Africa,” Vorster claimed.

This assertion was a staple of South African propaganda as the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement gained strength during the 1980s.

It is not surprising, as colonialists always claim that their violent rule is a gift to the people they exploit and oppress.

The echoes of apartheid South Africa’s propaganda in Israel’s current efforts are strong:

Michael Bueckert@mbueckert  

Apartheid advertising, Israel 2019 vs South Africa 1987

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

4356:45 PM – Aug 24, 2019 · Ottawa, Ontario

And similar to the South African racists who tried to fight the isolation of their regime, Gantz declared that “everybody who cooperates with BDS is operating against the state of Israel.”

The former army chief also claimed that BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights – is a “form of anti-Semitism.”

It is in fact an anti-racist movement rooted in international law and universal rights.

Gantz’s statements show that despite efforts to whitewash him as an alternative, he represents nothing different from Netanyahu.

Gantz faces war crimes lawsuit

Israel’s re-do election falls on 17 September.

That same day there will be a court hearing in the Netherlands in Ismail Ziada’s lawsuit against Benny Gantz.

Ziada, a Palestinian-Dutch citizen, is suing Gantz and another Israeli commander for the 20 July 2014 attack on his family’s home in Gaza’s al-Bureij refugee camp.

The Israeli bombing killed seven people – Ismail Ziada’s 70-year-old mother Muftia Ziada, three brothers, a sister-in-law, a 12-year-old nephew and a friend who was visiting.

The 2014 assault on Gaza commanded by Gantz killed 2,200 Palestinians, including 550 children.

Far from being ashamed of his crimes, Gantz actually ran ads in Israel’s April election – which failed to produce a clear winner, thus precipitating this September’s poll – boasting about how many Palestinians he slaughtered in 2014.

EU “dialogue” with a war criminal

Gantz’s blood-soaked record and advocacy of colonialism also provide a yardstick by which to measure the European Union’s alleged support for human rights.

Instead of standing with Gantz’s victims and their campaign for justice, the EU is boosting the perpetrator.

Just last month, Emanuele Giaufret, the EU ambassador in Tel Aviv, and his European colleagues met for a cozy chat with Gantz.

“We look forward to continuing the dialogue,” Giaufret tweeted.

It goes to show that there is no level of racism and crime that an Israeli leader can commit against Palestinians that will disqualify them from the EU’s warm embrace.

Let’s hope Dutch judges have the sense of justice, decency and courage that most of Europe’s diplomats and politicians so abjectly lack.

(Source / 11.09.2019) 


Gaza (QNN)- Israeli warplanes carried out a series of air strikes on central and northern Gaza strip late last night.

Israeli war and reconnaissance aircraft struck three locations for the resistance in Gaza; one in the North, two in central Gaza, and a destroyed building.

The locations were struck several times. No casualties reported.

In the same context, local sources said that Israeli reconnaissance drones were met with land-based anti-aircraft fire from the resistance, which caused sirens to sound in Israeli surrounding settlements.

The Israeli army claimed they struck 15 targets for the resistance in Gaza as a response for two missiles fired from Gaza at occupied Asdood and Asqalan last night.

Both missiles were fired from Gaza at the same time when Netanyahu was giving a live campaign speech. Netanyahu was spotted live on air fleeing stage to shelter.

(Source / 11.09.2019) 


Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli forces carried out arrest campaign throughout occupied West Bank and Jerusalem last night, demolishing two houses, arresting 7 Palestinians, and injuring others.

In Nablus, Israeli forces broke into the house of Ahmad and Mahmoud Abu Zaitoun and arrested them after opening fire at surrounding houses and showering it with tear gas and stun grenades, which caused several suffocation cases.

Israeli forces also arrested two university students in Ramallah and wounded journalist Muhammad Turkuman with rubber-coated metal bullets while he was covering confrontations erupted after the Israeli raid.

Other arrests took place in Ramallah and Bethlehem.

In the same vein, Israeli bulldozers demolished two under construction houses at Al Eizariya in occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli forces imposed a security cordon in the area and prevented locals from reaching the sites of the demolition.

The owner f the houses, Samer Abu Ziad, said that both houses were demolished out of the blue. The inspector in charge of the demolition refused to show the alleged demolition order, telling Abu Ziad that he “will demolish the houses and you can go to court if you want anything”.

Abu Ziad stressed that an Israeli court informed him last May that his houses will be demolished, but he appealed to the court and could strike the demolition notice.

(Source / 11.09.2019) 

Israel carries out 15 airstrikes in Gaza

Gaza has been under Israeli strike for the second consecutive night

Israeli occupation warplanes carried out at dawn several destructive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, causing much damage but no human casualties.

The Israeli warplanes attacked a building in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, destroying it in total and causing fire while also causing damage to nearby buildings.

In addition, the Israeli warplanes attacked agricultural fields in Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip and in Beit Lahya in the north.

Spokesman of the Israeli occupation army said that the Israeli warplanes had carried out a total of 15 airstrikes throughout the Gaza Strip.

Israel claims the attacks came in response to the firing of two projectiles from Gaza into Asqalan and Asdod in the south of Israel forcing the Israeli prime minister, who was attending an election campaign event, to run to a nearby shelter after.


(Source / 11.09.2019) 

Saudi Arabia arrested one of Hamas officials

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Nearly five months ago, the Saudi authorities arrested Dr. Mohamed al-Khudari, a senior Hamas official who has been living in Jeddah City for about 30 years, a statement released by the Hamas Movement said.

Hamas strongly denounced the detention of Khudari (Abu Hani) and appealed to the Saudi authorities to release him and other Palestinian detainees who are in jails with no guilt.

Hamas described the detention of Khudari as a strange and reprehensible move and affirmed that he had been in charge of managing the Movement’s relations with Saudi Arabia for two decades and held other important positions.

The Movement expressed regret and dismay that Khudari’s age, which reached 81, his poor health, and his stature as a noted ear, nose and throat consultant did not contribute to interceding with the Saudi authorities for him, describing him as a national figure who provided great services at home and abroad for the Palestinian people and their national cause.

It noted that the Saudi authorities also arrested Khudari’s eldest son, Dr. Hani, with no reason, as part of an arrest campaign that targeted many Palestinians living in the country.

Hamas said it had remained silent for five months to give a chance for diplomatic and mediatory efforts to have him released, but they were to no avail.

(Source / 11.09.2019) 

Israel Kidnaps 16 Palestinians, Including Girl

Israeli occupation forces detained between last night and this morning 16 Palestinians, seven of them from occupied East Jerusalem, including a girl, said the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).

The occupation army detained early this morning two brothers from Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Confrontations broke out in the camp when the army came to detain the brothers leading to suffocation cases as a result of teargas canisters fired by Israeli soldiers.

A third Palestinian was also detained from the Nablus area.

In addition, the army detained two Palestinians from the Jenin district in the north of the West Bank, one of them a high school student, two were also detained in the southern district of Bethlehem, one of them 16 years of age, said the PPS.

Soldiers also detained two Birzeit University students in addition to the seven from occupied Jerusalem.

(Source / 11.09.2019)