Israel’s electricity company cuts power to parts of the occupied West Bank

Image of an electricity line in Gaza [file photo]

Image of an electricity line in Palestine

The Israel Electric Corporation (ICE) declared yesterday that it would be cutting power to parts of the occupied West Bank, citing “outstanding payments amounting to nearly $483 million”, reported AFP.

Claiming it was owed “1.7 billion shekels in debts from the main Palestinian power distributor for the West Bank, which is based in East Jerusalem”, the ICE said that from today, the company “will reduce the current in some areas of the West Bank”.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) denounced the move as “blackmail” by Israeli occupation authorities.

“The [Israeli] occupation government is seeking, through these sanctions and the exploitation of electricity debts, to put pressure on the Palestinian government to accept an agreement that does not respect the rights of the Palestinians,” said Palestinian energy authority head Zafer Melhem.

READ: Israeli forces injure 6 Palestinians in West Bank

As reported by AFP, the PA said “in the past two months it has repaid nearly $100 million in debts accumulated by the east Jerusalem-based distributor of Palestinian municipalities”.

The PA also warned that the power cuts could affect hospitals and medical facilities.

According to Israeli public broadcaster Kan, “the IEC, fearing an escalation of violence, will cut power gradually and only in certain areas, stepping up the penalties gradually if the debts remain unpaid.”

Last week, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported, Palestinian-owned Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO) said IEC had informed it of cuts to electricity in the districts of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.

The PA plans to establish “a first-of-its-kind power plant” that “is expected to be completed in 2023” and will cover 40 per cent of the West Bank’s electricity needs.

(Source / 23.09.2019) 

Gaza: 25,000 inhabited homes need urgent reconstruction

A Palestinian boy walks among the rubble of his home after it was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on 14 November 2018 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

A Palestinian boy walks among the rubble of his home after it was destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza on 14 November 2018 

Some 25,000 inhabited flats in the Gaza Strip are in need of urgent reconstruction while a further 60,000 need renovation works to meet the minimum standards for residential buildings, the Ministry of Housing said yesterday.

The Shehab News Agency reported Deputy Housing Minister Naji Sarhan saying 120,000 homes were needed in the besieged Gaza Strip, with 14,000 being build every year to meet the demands of a growing population.

The ministry, he added, will contact Sarhan also said that the ministry had launched the largest scanning project related to the needs of the poor families, noting that the ministry has already received 41,000 applications for residential apartments.

He noted that his ministry is to contact the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to obtain $10 million for the renovation projects.

READ: Palestinians rally for 75th consecutive Friday in Gaza 

In summer 2014 Israel launched a devastating war against the Strip. The war had killed over 2,200 Palestinians, the vast majority amongst them civilians, and 71 Israelis, the majority of them soldiers.

The war left Gaza in ruins, as over 17,000 homes were completely destroyed, and thousands of other structures, including hospitals, schools, and factories destroyed or severely damaged.

The war fully shattered whatever semblance of economy the Strip had had. Today, 80 percent of all Palestinians in Gaza live below the poverty line, the majority of whom are dependent on humanitarian aid.

(Source / 23.09.2019) 

Six New Settlement Units Documented in Hebron

23 SEP 11:46 AM

Israel constructed six new settlement units, on Palestinian lands, in Hebron, southern West Bank during the period 2017-2019, the Land Research Center reported.

The center stated that Israeli settlers established the units just a few hundred meters away from the main settlements.

It noted that the units were constructed at the border of the western, southern and eastern provinces, citing the towns of Dura, Bane Na’eem, Yatta, Assamou’, Athaherya and Sa’eer.

The settlers began establishing these units by bringing in closed trucks hiding resident settler families inside, Al Ray further reports.

“As soon as the local authority in the settlement provides the truck with services, the settlers’ family will bring prefabricated buildings (caravans) or build shelters of insulated tin sheets, which will gradually become a reality on the ground,” the center added.

It explained that, despite its small size, the settlement’s existence aims to seize wider areas of land.

The center noted that those who reside in these units tend herds of livestock, grazing them on Palestinian lands and preventing shepherds from accessing large areas of land located around the outpost.

It also also noted that  settlers cultivate area around the outpost, and that Israeli occupation forces provide protection for such outposts.

According to the center, these outposts are intended to create geographic continuity between former major settlements, to convert them into new major settlements, in the future, or to annex them to existing ones, as new settlements.

The Israeli government aims to legitimize many of these outposts through the preparation of detailed plans and the establishment of infrastructure, as well as providing services and granting building permits.

In December of 2018, Hebrew press revealed that the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs discussed a draft settlement law which aims to legalize 66 outposts built on private Palestinian lands located in the occupied West Bank.

In May of 2017, Israel’s Cabinet Minister for Political and Security Affairs decided to set up a special team to take care of the legalization of outposts, and allocated a budget of NIS 10 million (US $ 3 million) annually, for three years.

It is noteworthy that these outposts are established without previous notice to the owners of the land, and, in the case that residents object,  Israeli occupation forces expel them and prevent them from accessing their land, issuing military orders to expel them from the site and prohibit their presence.

(Source / 23.09.2019) 

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP REVEALS NAMES OF PALESTINIANS ARRESTED IN SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi policemen arrest man

Riyadh (QNN)- A Palestinian human rights group revealed names of Palestinians arrested in Saudi Arabia and called on Saudi authorities to release them.

In a detailed report, the Palestinian association for human rights (Witness) revealed that dozens of Palestinians arrested in Saudi Arabia are in very inhumane conditions and they are subjected to all kinds of physical and psychological torture.

The report stated that wide-range arrest campaign carried out by the Saudi security, led by general Abdil Aziz Hweirini, targeted dozens of Palestinians, who have been residing in Saudi Arabia for decades.

The arrests came after some of them sent financial aid for their families and people in need in Gaza, occupied West Bank, and Jerusalem, according to families of the prisoners.

Despite of the fact that the arrests campaign started intensively last February, ‘Witness’ did not issue its report immediately due to the lack of information and fears by prisoners’ families of punitive response by the Saudi authorities against them if they provide their statements.

The group revealed an initial list of prisoners and conditions of detention.

‘Witness’ demanded Saudi authorities to immediately release and compensate all prisoners, who have been detained with no clear charges.

The group also urged international groups to take an action and pressure on Saudi authorities, which practice physical and psychological torture against detainees.

It also urged president of the Palestinian authorities and king of Jordan to interfere and end the suffering of the detainees and their families.

(Source / 23.09.2019) 

I WAS STOPPED FROM SPEAKING OUT AGAINST ISRAEL’S CRIMES – BRITAIN’S COMPLICITY IN PALESTINIAN REPRESSION MUST END

Omar Barghouti (Image: Carlos Latuff)

Omar Barghouti

By Omar Barghouthi

I was set to take part in a Labour Party conference fringe event this weekend talking about my work advocating for Palestinian rights – but was unable to travel to Brighton because of a peculiar delay in the processing of my UK visa application. I suspect that Israel’s far-right government has once again outsourced its desperate war of repression against those supporting Palestinian rights to another western government.

I was invited to two different events, organised by the National Education Union, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Momentum-aligned fringe event The World Transformed, to speak about the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and our nonviolent resistance to Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

I was planning to expose the deepening complicity of the British government, corporations and institutions, in enabling Israel’s brutal system of oppression, while highlighting how Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – a non-violent tactic against the occupation – has become a significant partner in a growing international progressive wave fighting the global far-right led by Trump.

Yet the space in which advocates of Palestinian rights can – without persecution – expose decades of Palestinian dispossession, forcible displacement and daily humiliation by a settler-colonial regime is shrinking rapidly.

After a charity event in Tower Hamlets advocating for Palestinian rights was blocked by the council, keenly aware of this shrinking space and expanding repression by public institutions in the UK, Palestinian figures wrote, “The rights of all British citizens to accurately describe, inform and convey the reality of ongoing Palestinian dispossession, and to call for action to resist these illegalities, belongs in the public space. All public bodies have an obligation to protect and defend these rights, to maintain democracy.”

The clearest case of this rising suppression of freedom of expression is the collusion of western establishments in Israel’s desperate war to delegitimise the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.

In May, the German Bundestag passed a resolution smearing BDS as “antisemitic”. More than 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars, including authorities on antisemitism and history of the Holocaust, condemned the “deceitful” resolution, saying it did nothing to “advance the urgent fight against antisemitism” and ignored the BDS movement’s explicit condemnation of “all forms of racism, including antisemitism”.

Daniel Blatman, a prominent Israeli Holocaust era historian and chief historian of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, was even more blunt. He wrote, “That is how a country where antisemitism was a political tool that contributed to the rise of the Nazis’ murderous enterprise became a country that promotes distortion of anti-Semitism as a tool to facilitate the political persecution of a nonviolent [BDS] movement that fights the occupation, the oppression of the Palestinians and the war crimes Israel perpetrates in the territories”.

In the UK, communities secretary Robert Jenrick promised days ago to go after local authorities that adopt BDS-related measures that aim to end complicity with corporations implicated in violating Palestinian human rights, again citing antisemitism.

At the root of these and similarly weaponised claims of antisemitism is a desperate attempt to promote a new, anti-Palestinian definition of antisemitism that “serves to shield Israel from being held accountable to universal standards of human rights and international law”, as stated last year by more than 40 international Jewish groups.

Dozens of UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups have also denounced this new definition as a thinly veiled attempt “to silence a public discussion of what happened in Palestine and to the Palestinians in 1948, when the majority of its people were forcibly expelled”.

In spite of this political persecution, our inclusive BDS movement is growing substantially – its impact is multiplying rapidly through building principled and intersectional alliances with global movements fighting for racial, indigenous, social, economic, gender and climate justice. As Angela Davis always reminds us: justice is indivisible.

Just last week, the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC), representing millions of working people, voted for ending military trade with Israel and to pressure corporations to end complicity in its violations of Palestinian rights. In its conference last year, the Labour Party adopted a freeze of arms sales to Israel. Unite the Union, voted in June to boycott HP-branded companies over their involvement in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.

break our spirits and bodies, but wherever we live, at home or in exile, Palestinians remain steadfast in our commitment to fight not only McCarthyism and repression but apartheid and settler-colonialism. We will persist in the pursuit of our UN-stipulated rights, including self-determination, and the return of our people made refugees through ethnic cleansing.

They prevented me from being in the UK to speak yesterday, but they have failed to silence me. I spoke via video about my people’s tireless struggle for our rights and about the legal and ethical necessity to end UK complicity in maintaining Israel’s denial of those rights.

They fear our shining a light of truth that reveals their lies. They dread our tireless quest for justice. They loathe our love for freedom and our insistence on nothing less than an existence with dignity and “the full menu of rights”, to borrow from South African leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

(Source / 23.09.2019)

West Bank: 6 Palestinians wounded in Israeli raids

Palestinians were targeted with live, rubber bullets in the city of Qalqilya

Israeli occupation forces shot and wounded on Sunday evening at least six Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

The Palestinians were injured during Israeli raids to the West Bank cities of Qalqilya and Azzun.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli occupation forces targeted Palestinians with live and rubber bullets and they also used tear gas to disperse the locals.

(Source / 23.09.2019) 

IOF kidnap five Palestinians in West Bank

WEST BANK, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) last night and at dawn Sunday kidnaped five Palestinian citizens in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The Israeli army claimed in a statement that its forces arrested four wanted Palestinians during raids homes in the West Bank.

According to the Hebrew website 0404, Israeli soldiers arrested last night a Palestinian from Nablus city at the Beit Furik checkpoint after allegedly finding a knife and a tear gas canister in his possession.

However, Quds Press quoted local sources as saying that the IOF at the Beit Furik checkpoint kidnaped a young man identified as Emad al-Qayyem, from Nablus city, on allegations that he was carrying a knife.

In al-Khalil, the IOF also kidnaped later at dawn two young men identified as Yousef al-Asafera and Zahran al-Zuhour from their homes in Beit Kahil town and another citizen from Beit Ula town.

A citizen was also brutally beaten by Israeli soldiers in Yatta town, local sources said without providing further details.

In Jerusalem, the IOF kidnaped at dawn a young man called Ali al-Khatib from his home in Hizma town.

(Source / 23.09.2019)

Health Ministry: Qalandiya Checkpoint Slain Woman Identified

The Palestinian health ministry said it received information about the identity of the woman who had been cold-bloodedly shot dead last Wednesday by Israeli soldiers at Qalandiya checkpoint, north of Occupied Jerusalem.

In a statement on Sunday, the ministry affirmed it was told by the Palestinian Authority liaison office that the victim is 50-year-old Nayfa Ka’abna from Rammun town in the Ramallah and Bireh province.

Last Wednesday, soldiers at Qalandiya checkpoint opened fire at a woman and left her to bleed to death on allegations that she was carrying a knife.

Recent video footage of the incident shows that the woman was standing some meters away from the Israeli armed guards when they shot her dead without even trying to subdue her instead of using lethal force.

She did not appear to be carrying a firearm and did not pose any immediate threat to the guards or to the lives of people in the vicinity when they opened fire.

(Source / 23.09.2019) 

Two Paramedics Injured In IOF Attack In Eizariya Town

Two Palestinian paramedics on Sunday evening suffered injuries after soldiers targeted them as they were doing their job during skirmishes between local youths and  with the Israeli occupation forces in Eizariya town in Occupied Jerusalem.

The Red Crescent said that two of its paramedics were rushed to the Makassed emergency unit to receive medical assistance, adding that one of them was hit by a tear gas canister in his face and the other had a foot injury from a rubber bullet.

According to local sources, the IOF violent stormed Eizariya town and embarked on firing tear gas grenades and rubber bullets at Palestinians citizens, which provoked clashes with local young men.

(Source / 23.09.2019)

Israeli Forces Attack Palestinian Fishermen, Farmers In Gaza

Israeli occupation forces on Monday morning attacked Palestinian farmers and fishermen in the Gaza Strip with no reported casualties.

Local sources told Quds Press that the Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers working in their lands east of Khan Younis City in the southern Gaza Strip, but no injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, off the shore of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli gunboats heavily fired live ammunition at a group of Palestinian fishermen who survived the attack.

(Source / 23.09.2019)