Israel to decrease electricity supplies to Palestinians

Demonstrators gather to protest electricity crisis in Gaza, organized by People's Committees, as they hold placards in front of The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) headquarters in Gaza City, Gaza on July 19, 2017. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]

Demonstrators gather to protest electricity crisis in Gaza, organized by People’s Committees, as they hold placards in front of The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) headquarters in Gaza City, Gaza on July 19, 2017

Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO) has received the first warning ahead of the second phase of electricity cuts to Palestinians in the West Bank, Chairman Hisham Omari said yesterday.

As reported by Wafa news agency, Al-Omari warned that the cuts will adversely affect institutions, hospitals, education, water, telecommunications, drug stores and other vital services and will further deteriorate the electrical situation as it is happening in Gaza.

He said that the Israel Electric Corporation is to cut electricity by two hours a day, noting that this measure is being taken due to the Palestinian Authority (PA) debts.

Al-Omari stated that the PA owes about 450 million shekels ($127 million).

The Israeli Electricity Company announced the first step in September. It said it would cut off the electricity supplies to Palestinian villages in the West Bank to put pressure on the PA to pay its bill.

Despite the shortages of funds and huge debts, Al-Omari said, the JDECO has invested in solar electricity.

READ: Critics of conditions in Gaza Zoo expose the value placed on Palestinian lives 

(Source / 17.10.2019) 

Israel arrests Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher

Sheikh Ismail Nawahda, a preacher at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Sheikh Ismail Nawahda, a preacher at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli occupation forces yesterday arrested Sheikh Ismail Nawahda, a preacher at Al-Aqsa Mosque, at the Qalandia checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, Wafa news agency reported.

Another 22 Palestinians were also detained yesterday from across the occupied West Bank, the news agency added.

Sheikh Nawahda was taken in for investigation at one of the Israeli police stations in West Jerusalem.

Palestinian lawyer Khaldoun Nijm said he was accused by the Israeli occupation for inciting violence during the sermons he gives on Fridays.

“The Sheikh denied the Israeli allegations,” the lawyer said, stressing that freedom of expression “is a right guaranteed by all statutes and conventions.”

The lawyer expressed his concerns that the Israeli occupation might be planning to interfere in the Friday sermons at Al-Aqsa Mosque through the detention of Nawahda.

“The Israeli occupation authorities are escalating the situation in the city of Jerusalem and it is attempting to interfere in the Friday sermon. This is absolutely rejected.”

READ: Israel frees governor of Jerusalem, senior Fatah leader

(Source / 17.10.2019) 

Update 2: “Army Injures 51 Palestinians, Including Four Infants, In Nablus”

After dozens of Israeli soldiers accompanied many buses and cars, loaded with illegal colonialist settlers, into Joseph Tomb area, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, leading to protests, medical sources said the soldiers have injured 51 Palestinians, including four infants, and one journalist. The soldiers also abducted several Palestinians in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the soldiers shot three Palestinians with live fire, 14 with rubber-coated steel bullets, and 34 who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

The PRCS added that the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs at random, causing many Palestinians, including four infants, to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in their homes.

Joseph the patriarch is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans alike. The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organized pilgrimages, despite the site being in Area A where the PA has full control and prohibits Muslims from worshiping at the site.

Ultra-orthodox and nationalist Jews regularly try to visit the shrine without approval, as many Jews believe the tomb to be the final resting place of the biblical figure in the Old Testament.

Palestinians believe that Joseph’s Tomb is the funerary monument to Sheikh Yousif Dweikat, a local religious figure.

In related news, the soldiers abducted Yousef Hazem Fuqaha’, 23, from his home in Anabta town, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The soldiers also abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Ashraf Fathi Abu Hashem, from Doura city, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, while crossing Jaba’ military roadblock, near Jenin, in northern West Bank.

Also in Jenin, the soldiers abducted two former political prisoners, identified as Ibrahim As’ad Baddad, and Farid Salim ‘Alawna, from their homes in Jaba’ town, south of Jenin.

The soldiers also invaded and searched homes in Azzoun town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.

In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted several Palestinians in the al-Am’ari refugee camp, after searching their homes; one of them is a former political prisoner, identified as Bara’ Badra.

Another Palestinians, who remained unidentified at the time of this report, was shot by the soldiers in the refugee camp, before the soldiers abducted him and took him to an unknown destination.

Israeli Soldiers Injure Several Palestinians In Nablus
Published on: Oct 17, 2019 @ 02:22

Updated: Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday at night, four Palestinians with live fire, in addition to causing many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, after the army invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus to accompany buses and cars of colonialist settlers into Joseph’s Tomb area in the city.

Medical sources in Nablus said local medics rushed at least four Palestinians, who were shot with live Israeli army fire, to Rafidia Governmental Hospital in Nablus.

One of the wounded Palestinians was shot with a “Toto” expanding bullets.

Among the wounded Palestinians is a journalist, identified as Samer Habash, who was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet. ِA medic was also shot with the same ammunition.

The soldiers also shot a journalist, identified as Samer Habash, with a rubber-coated steel bullet.

They added that the medics provided treatment to at least twenty other Palestinians, who suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to cuts and bruises.

The Palestinians were injured during protests, which erupted after the soldiers and the colonialist settlers invaded Joseph’s Tombs, near Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus.

Joseph the patriarch is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans alike. The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organized pilgrimages, despite the site being in Area A where the PA has full control and prohibits Muslims from worshiping at the site.

Ultra-orthodox and nationalist Jews regularly try to visit the shrine without approval, as many Jews believe the tomb to be the final resting place of the biblical figure in the Old Testament.

Palestinians believe that Joseph’s Tomb is the funerary monument to Sheikh Yousif Dweikat, a local religious figure.

(Source / 17.10.2019) 

Navy Attacks Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza

Israeli naval forces, today, attacked Palestinian fishing boats offshore al-Sudaniya, northwest of Gaza City, according to WAFA correspondence.

He said that the Israeli navy opened gunfire and shot water hoses towards fishing boats sailing within three nautical miles offshore, causing material damages.

No injuries were reported among the fishermen, who were forced to swim to the coast.

Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas was elected and took power in 2007, denying the impoverished enclave’s population of two million their basic rights, and causing a sharp decline in their standard of living, coupled with unprecedented rates of unemployment and poverty.

Under the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993, Israel is obligated to permit fishing up to 20 nautical miles, but this has never been implemented.

Israel maintains a heavy naval presence, restricting any traffic in and out of the enclave, and limits the distance Gaza’s fishermen can travel to fish, severely affecting the livelihoods of some 4,000 fishermen and at least 1,500 more people involved in the fishing industry.

Israel has, over the past decade, launched three major onslaughts on Gaza that have heavily damaged much of the enclave’s infrastructure.

Every two in three Palestinians, in Gaza, is a refugee from lands inside what is now Israel. The Israeli government forbids them from exercising their right to return, as enshrined in international law.

(Source/ 17.10.2019) 

SAMAH JARADAT WRITES FROM JAIL: TO JOY WE BELONG AND FOR THE SAKE OF JOY WE DIE

Ramallah (QNN)- Palestinian prisoner, Samah Jaradat, sent a letter to her family from the Damon Israeli jail, in which she has been held for a month so far.

Jaradat ended her letter writing: “To joy we belong and for the sake of joy we die”.

The letter read: “I’m sending this letter from the Damon jail, which is located on the Mount Carmel. I’m fine and everything is OK. I miss you very very much”.

“During the interrogation, you were always with me in every moment. I was strong because of your strength. So, always be strong. I love you very much and I hope you are fine”, she wrote.

Addressing her parents and siblings, she wrote: “Dear father, take care of your health, Dear mother, I hope you are fine. Your hair was perfect when I saw you. Samar, Samer, Salwa, Sami, and Salma, I love you very much”.

“Mom and Samar, please don’t think of the details. Everything is good. All I want is that you be fine and in peace. send my greetings to everyone and take care of Loza and Simsim”, she wrote.

Finally she wrote, “I’m sorry for the costs and difficulties, which you faced. I promise I’ll make it up for you”.

“To joy we belong and for the sake of joy we die.. hoping to see you soon”, she finally wrote.

Israeli authorities arrested Samah Jaradat, a student in Birzeit University, on September 9. Her brother Sami was summoned and her lawyer was prevented from visiting her during interrogation.

(Source / 17.10.2019) 

DOES FACEBOOK IMPOSE CURFEWS ON PALESTINIANS IN THE ‘BLUE WORLD’?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California September 27, 2015

By Hossam Shaker

When the Arab youth revolted in 2011 to demand freedom and democracy in their countries, Facebook was the social media platform of choice for crowd mobilisation, a proven experience in other contexts around the world. When Palestinian youth tried to take a chance and speak out against the Israeli occupation to mobilise the masses against it via the same platform, they faced hindrances from Facebook, which is the leading platform in Palestine. During the Arab Spring, this social networking platform banned prominent Palestinian pages, some of which had called for mass civilian rallies against the Israeli occupation, calling it the “third intifada”.

What appeared at the time as sporadic, became a growing occurrence, until Palestinians complained about Facebook management’s continued targeting of their accounts. Every morning, customary messages are sent announcing increasing numbers of well-known Palestinian organisations and figures, as well as ordinary citizens, having been banned from the most widely-used platform. There have been similar complaints from Arabs expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

It is enough to use specific terms for Facebook to ban a post, or completely deactivate an account, and it often does not issue a clear justification to those affected. This makes them prone to making assumptions to explain the loose nature of the ban notice that appears. Many Palestinian accounts have suffered from this bitter experience over the years, as whenever a specific page succeeds in gaining followers, it receives a notice from Facebook deactivating the account and losing the followers it has gained with much effort. It is then forced to start from scratch with alternative accounts, only for this to occur again.

Palestinian content is suffering from an increased crackdown on Facebook, which developed algorithms that harasses this content, for example, by tracking vocabulary, images and videos shared about reality under the occupation. This is used as a pretext to deactivate Palestinian news pages, merely for mentioning the names of specific organisations or people. This targeting is escalated by the fact that the Palestinian accounts are facing monitoring from specialised Israeli circles that monitor their content, in order to incite against them and to report alleged abuses that result in their bans. The Israeli officials do not want Palestine to have a platform for influence on the social networking site. The banning measures have reached a climax, with the increased interaction on the social networking site marking special events and after the constant killings committed by the occupation forces. Accounts have been banned due to posting the names of Palestinian martyrs, for example, or under the justification of posting pictures and videos showing the bleak reality, which limits the presence of the Palestinian narrative and versions of events.

Given this suppressed situation, the Palestinians feel that the Facebook management count their every word and impose a ‘curfew’ on them, even in the virtual world. This is reminiscent of the extensive experience of the local Palestinian society with the Israeli occupation’s measures of banning them from leaving their homes, and restricting their movement to their neighbourhoods. This also includes Israel’s confrontation of protests with excessive oppression. Ultimately, the Palestinians are facing restrictions and persecution in their realities and in their virtual worlds, as they are suffering from demolition policies ordered by the occupation authorities. Palestinian social media activists witness the demolition of their virtual homes on the social networking site, that they have spent many years building, on the orders of the Facebook authorities that do not care about their objections.

As a result, it has become a popular tradition for Palestinians to express certain terms and vocabulary in convoluted ways, attempting to bypass the artificial intelligence algorithms that monitor them. This includes dividing some words, rewriting them by mixing Arabic and Latin letters, or by replacing some letters with symbols. This is a well-known method used on social media to censor profanities. The need to go to such exceptional lengths has created a deep sense amongst the Palestinians and those in solidarity with their cause, that Facebook is blatantly censoring them and forcing them to be vague, depriving them of their right of expression by imposing additional restrictions. The circle of those affected widens to include other social media sites, especially since the measures of a large platform clearly influence the behaviour and regulations of other social media sites.

The anger of Palestinian and Arab users was heightened after Facebook banned certain words, and began holding users accountable, retrospectively, for posts they made years ago. Many affected users expressed their disturbance of the ban, and many reports were issued condemning it. Meanwhile, many voices expressed feelings of frustration towards what they saw as authoritarian treatment towards them, by the companies controlling the social networking platforms, which made them feel helpless and at a loss for options to deal with them. On September 30 2019, Sada Social, a Palestinian youth initiative, wrote a strongly worded letter to Facebook, to complain about the harassment and crackdown that has increased towards Palestinian content. The letter was written after Facebook battled many words related to the Palestinian cause, and added them to the list of words banned on the blue website, thus subjecting hundreds of Palestinian accounts and pages to various sanctions by the platform’s administration. These sanctions reached the extent of deactivating accounts and pages over ten years-old. Sada Social also urged the Facebook policies department to adopt an objective view of the Palestinian cause, and to take into consideration the fact that the Palestinians have the right to use this platform to express their views and beliefs, like other users do around the world.

Palestinian disillusion with Facebook has increased to become a growing discontent with its tough measures, that worsens year after year, but the dilemma is that the affected masses are still at a loss as to how to deal with abuses attributed to social media administrations. Web platforms have no physical address in the real world, which stops them from expressing anger in the traditional manner and confronting its authoritarian behaviours that have not been discussed. As for abandoning the platform that they have increasingly complained is biased, does not seem a realistic option so far. Self-banning from the platform could be considered as giving in to the efforts to silence the Palestinian content. Despite this, the Palestinians are trying to raise the issue with successive campaigns in the blue world itself, against the targeting of their freedom of expressing their reality and cause. Meanwhile, several reports are being issued by human rights, civil society and specialised organisations, all warning against the censorship, ban, and restriction methods adopted by Facebook against the Palestinian content, which are growing year on year.

The growing impediments to this content are cause to assume that if this social platform existed in the last century, it would not have tolerated movements of liberation from colonialism, nor would it have eared the global anti-apartheid solidarity in South Africa. The platform may have imposed restrictions similar to those suffered by the Palestinian people under the pretext of “violating community standards.”

(Source / 17.10.2019) 

ISRAELI MEDIA: HAMAS WOULD BEAT FATAH IF ELECTIONS WERE HELD

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- A report by an Israeli News website revealed that according to polls, Hamas would win in any parliamentary or presidential elections if they were held now.

The report said that although of the diplomatic schism between the occupation state, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan, Israeli, Jordanian, and PA senior security officials confirmed that security coordination and intelligence cooperation are operating with “Swiss clock” precision in fear of Hamas and its chances of winning in democratic elections.

An Israeli research center, The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), emphasized that the public’s criticism of Abbas and his associates grew stronger after they rejected a proposal for reconciliation with Hamas that had been put together by eight different organizations in the West Bank and Gaza. In contrast, Haniyeh announced that he accepted the proposal “unconditionally and as written.”

In 2006, Hamas won legislative elections with 44.45% of the vote, whilst the ruling Fatah received 41.43% of the vote. Fatah along with all members of the PLO and even Islamic Jihad, which did not participate in the elections, refused to recognise Hamas’ victory.

Fatah, backed by Israel and Arab states, worked hard to destroy Hamas’ government. Fatah succeeded to ousting Hamas’ government from the occupied West Bank, but failed to do the same in the Gaza Strip. Since then, Fatah has been ruling the West Bank and Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 17.10.2019) 

Report: Israeli doctors help Shin Bet torturing Palestinian prisoners

Countless cases of prisoners tortured by Israeli doctors along with Shin Bet reflect the ethical, moral and practical failure of the medical establishment in Israel vis-à-vis torture

Israeli doctors are taking active role in torturing Palestinian prisoners along with Israeli interrogators, as they approve brutal interrogation techniques and wrote false medical reports.

TheIsraeli Shin Bet runs a school for its agents and interrogators, the curriculum most certainly includes a class on how to tell a lie. The texts taught, it seems, do not change with the years.

According to a report, first published by the Israeli Hebrew Local Calland republished by the English-language +972 Magazine,in 1993, responding to accusations that the Shin Bet brutally tortured Palestinian detainee Hassan Zubeidi, then Commander of the IDF Northern Command Yossi Peled told Israeli journalist Gabi Nitzan that “there is no torture in Israel. I served for 30 years in the IDF and I know what I am talking about.”

Twenty-six years later, the report said, Deputy Chief of the Shin Bet and former Shin Bet interrogator, Yitzhak Ilan repeated the same lie to news presenter Ya’akov Eilon on national television while speaking about Samer Arbeed, a 44-year-old Palestinian who was hospitalised in critical condition after he had been reportedly tortured by the Shin Bet.

The magazine reported that Arbeed is allegedly suspected of organising a deadly bombing that killed a teenage Israeli girl and wounded her father and brother at a spring in the West Bank in August. Ilan rejected the notion that the Shin Bet was somehow responsible for Arbeed’s condition.

Israel’s torture industry

Dr Ruchama Marton, an Israeli physician, says: Putting aside these absurd forms of denial, as a doctor and founder of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) – Israel, I have always been troubled by how Israeli doctors cooperate with and enable Israel’s torture industry.

He continued: In June 1993, I organised an international conference in Tel Aviv on behalf of PHR against torture in Israel. At the conference, I presented a Shin Bet medical document that had been discovered by chance by Israeli journalist Michal Sela.

In the document, the Shin Bet doctor was asked whether the prisoner in question had any medical restrictions when it came to keeping them in isolation, whether they could be tied, whether their face could be covered, or whether they could be made to stand for prolonged periods of time.

The Shin Bet denied such a document ever existed. “There is no document. It was simply an experimental paper that is not in use,” the agency claimed.

Four years later, a second document, suspiciously similar to the first, came to light. That document asked doctors to sign off on torture in accordance with several previously agreed-upon clauses.

The first document, along with other findings, were published in the book titled “Torture: Human Rights, Medical Ethics and the Case of Israel.” The book cannot be found in Israel; Steimatzky, Israel’s oldest and largest bookstore chain, has banned its sale. Perhaps this is further proof that there is no torture in Israel.

An ethical, moral and practical failure

But it is not only doctors in the Shin Bet and the Israel Prison Service that collaborate with torture. Doctors in emergency rooms across Israel write false medical opinions in accordance with the demands of the Shin Bet.

Take, for example, the case of Nader Qumsieh from the West Bank city of Beit Sahour. He was arrested in his home on May 4, 1993 and was brought to Soroka Medical Centre in Be’er Sheva five days later. There a urologist diagnosed him a hemorrhage and a torn scrotum.

Qumsieh testified that he was beaten during his interrogation and kicked in his testicles.

Ten days later, Qumsieh was brought before the same urologist for a medical examination, after the latter had received a phone call from the Israeli military.

The urologist wrote a retroactive letter (as if it had been written two days earlier), without actually conducting an additional examination of the patient, in which he said that “according to the patient, he fell down the stairs two days before he arrived in the emergency room.”

This time, the diagnosis was “superficial hematoma in the scrotal area, which corresponds to local bruises sustained between two and five days prior to the examination.” The urologist’s original letter, written after the first examination, disappeared from Qumsieh’s medical file.

Nazi methodology

History teaches us that doctors everywhere easily and effectively internalise the regime’s values, and many of them become loyal servants of the regime.

That was the case in Nazi Germany, in the United States and in various countries in Latin America. The same goes for Israel.

Qumsieh’s case, along with countless others, reflects the ethical, moral and practical failure of the medical establishment in Israel vis-à-vis torture.

Already back in the 18th century, jurists — rather than doctors — published legal opinions accompanied by proof that there is no connection between causing pain and getting to the truth.

Thus, both torture and confessions exacted through pain were legally disqualified. One can only assume that the heads of the Shin Bet, the army and the police know this bit of history.

And yet, torture — which includes both mental and physical cruelty — continues to take place on a large scale. Why? Because the real goal of torture and humiliation is to break the spirit and body of the prisoner. To eliminate his or her personality.

Doctors oversee torture

The legal understanding for forbidding torture is based on the utilitarian idea that one cannot arrive at the truth through inflicting pain. But doctors are committed — first and foremost — to the idea that anything that causes physical or mental harm to a patient is prohibited.

The Shin Bet medical eligibility document allows for sleep prevention, it allows interrogators to expose prisoners to extreme temperatures, to beat them, to tie them for long hours in painful positions, to force them to stand for hours until the vessels in their feet burst, to cover their heads for prolonged periods of time, to sexually humiliate them, to break their spirits by severing their ties to family and lawyers, to keep them in isolation until they lose their sanity.

The Shin Bet’s medical eligibility form is not the same as the one used to check eligibility to join the air force or even to drive a car. This kind of “eligibility” leads the prisoner directly into the torture chamber — and the doctor knows this.

The doctor knows to what kind of systematic process of pain and humiliation he or she is lending their consent and approval. It is doctors who oversee the torture, examine the tortured prisoner and write the medical opinion or the pathology report.

The white robe passes through the torture chamber like a lurking shadow during interrogations. A doctor who cooperates with Israel’s torture industry is complicit in that very industry.

If a prisoner dies during interrogation, the doctor is an accomplice to his or her murder. Doctors, nurses, medics and judges who know what is taking place and prefer to remain silent are all accomplices.

Not only do those who carry out this terrible kind of “work” lose the values of morality, human dignity and democracy, but also all those who remain silent, unwilling to know. In fact, all of us.

(Source / 17.10.2019) 

Israeli Police Kidnap Four Female Activists Outside Aqsa Mosque

The Israeli occupation police on Wednesday afternoon kidnaped four pro-Aqsa female activists from the Bab al-Silsila area of the Aqsa Mosque (one of the holy site’s gates) in Jerusalem.

According to local sources, police forces rounded up Hinadi al-Halawni, Khadija Khuwais, Madeline Issa, and Aida as-Saidawi during their presence in front of the Mosque’s Silsila Gate.

The police detained them after they chanted Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest) as scores of settlers were touring the Mosque’s courtyards.

A few days ago, those detainees and others were handed police orders banning their entry to the Aqsa Mosque for different periods.

Police forces also rounded up on the same day a Palestinian young man at the Aqsa Mosque and severely beat him on allegations that his presence in the Mosque’s Bab al-Rahma prayer area obstructed settlers’ tours.

Over 600 Jewish settlers swarmed and desecrated the Aqsa Mosque’s courtyards under police protection on Wednesday morning.

(Source / 17.10.2019) 

Palestinian Seriously Injured By Israeli Gunfire In Am’ari Camp

A Palestinian young man, from Occupied Jerusalem, was seriously wounded last night after Israeli soldiers opened fire at him on allegations that he carried out a car-ramming attack in Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah city.

A statement released by the Israeli border police claimed the young man deliberately rammed his car into a military vehicle and caused material damage to it during the presence of its forces in Am’ari camp.

Although no one of the soldiers was injured in the collision, they cold-bloodedly opened fire at him.

In order to justify their shooting of the young man, soldiers claimed the young man was carrying a knife and intended to kill soldiers with his vehicle

Later, the victim was transferred in critical condition to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. His identity is still unknown.

The incident happened after the Israeli occupation forces stormed the camp and arrested two Palestinian citizens at the pretext of their affiliation with a Palestinian faction and their involvement in activities against Israel.

The shooting incident also provoked local young men into hurling stones at the soldiers, who responded by opening fire at them upon their withdrawal from the camp.

However, local sources said later that two young men were injured, one critically, when soldiers opened fire at a car they were aboard in the camp.

(Source / 17.10.2019)