Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured, on Sunday morning, a young Palestinian man in Tulkarem, in northern West Bank, after the army prevented many families from entering their orchards to harvest their olive trees.
Media sources said the soldiers attacked many Palestinians, and prevented them from entering their olive orchards, and added that the soldiers also fired many live rounds at them.
They stated that one Palestinian was shot with a live Israeli army round and suffered a life-threatening injury.
The attack comes amidst seriously escalating Israeli violations against the Palestinians in their orchards, and include frequent assaults by colonialist settlers, illegally squatting on Palestinian lands.
These violations escalate during the olive harvest season, especially in lands that are isolated by the illegal Annexation Wall, or close to illegal colonies and outposts, which were built on stolen Palestinian lands.
They also include cutting, burning and uprooting trees, picking olive trees and stealing the produce, in addition to assaulting the Palestinians and forcing them out of their orchards.
Israel’s colonies in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and various United Nations and Security Council Resolutions.
Relatives of Mohammad Sharab, a Palestinian man killed by Israeli airstrikes over Gaza, mourn during his funeral ceremony in Khan Yunis, Gaza on November 14, 2019
By Ramzy Baroud
An Israeli attack on Gaza was imminent, and not because of any provocations by Palestinian groups in the besieged, impoverished Gaza Strip. The Israeli military escalation was foreseeable because it factors neatly in Israel’s contentious political scene. The war was not a question of “if”, but “when”.
The answer came on November 12, when the Israeli military launched a major strike against Gaza, killing an Islamic Jihad Commander, Bahaa Abu al-Ata, along with his wife Asma.
More strikes followed, targeting what the Israeli military described as Islamic Jihad installations. However, the identities of the victims, along with damning social media footage, pictures, and eyewitness accounts indicate that civilians and civilian infrastructure were bombed and destroyed as well.
As of November 14, when a truce was announced, 32 Palestinians have been killed and over 80 wounded in the Israeli aggression.
What truly frustrates any meaningful discussion on the horrific situation in Gaza is the feeble response, whether by international organisations that exist with the sole purpose of ensuring world peace or by Western mainstream media, that ceaselessly celebrates its own accuracy and impartiality.
A most disappointing response to the Israeli violence was offered by Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
Mladenov, whose job should have long been deemed pointless considering that no “peace process” actually exists, expressed his “concern” about the “ongoing and serious escalation between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel”.
Not only Mladenov’s statement creates a moral equivalence between an occupying power, which instigated the war in the first place, and a small group of a few hundred armed men, it is also dishonest.
“The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars against population centres is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately,” Mladenov elaborated, putting great emphasis on the fact that, “there can be no justification for any attacks against civilians”.
Shockingly, Mladenov was referring to Israeli, not Palestinian civilians. At the time that his statement was released to the media, there were already dozens of Palestinian civilians that had been killed and wounded, while Israeli media reports spoke of few Israelis who had been treated for “anxiety”.
The European Union did not fare any better. The EU parroted the same American knee-jerk response by condemning “the barrage of rocket attacks reaching deep into Israel”.
“The firing of rockets on civilian populations is totally unacceptable and must immediately stop,” a statement by the European bloc read.
Is it not possible that Mladenov and top EU foreign policymakers do not truly comprehend the political context of the latest Israeli onslaught – that embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using military escalation as a way of fortifying his weakening grip on power.
Considering this, what is one to make of the poor media coverage, the inept analyses and the absence of balanced reports in major Western news media?
In a report published by the BBC on November 13, the British broadcaster referred to “cross-border violence between Israel and militants in Gaza”.
But Gaza is not an independent country and, per international law, it is still under Israeli occupation. Israel declared Gaza a “hostile territory” in September 2007, arbitrarily establishing a “border” between it and the besieged Palestinian territory. For some reason, the BBC finds this designation acceptable.
CNN, on the other hand, reported on November 13 that “Israel’s military campaign against Islamic Jihad” is entering its second day, while emphasizing the UN condemnation of the rocket attacks.
CNN, like most of its American mainstream counterparts, reports on Israeli military campaigns as a part and parcel of some imagined “war on terror”. Therefore, analyzing the language of US mainstream media with the purpose of underlining and emphasizing its failures and biases, is a useless exercise.
Sadly, US bias regarding Palestine has extended to mainstream media in European countries that were, to some degree, fairer, if not somewhat sympathetic, with the Palestinian peoples’ situation.
El Mundo of Spain, for example, spoke of a number of Palestinians – making sure to emphasize that they were “mostly militants”, – who “died” as opposed to “were killed” by the Israeli military.
“The escalation followed the death of Gaza’s armed branch leader,” El Mundo reported, failing once more to pinpoint the culprits in these seemingly mysterious deaths.
La Repubblica, which is perceived in Italy as a “leftist” outlet, sounded more like a rightwing Israeli newspaper, in its description of the events that led to the death and wounding of many Palestinians. The Italian newspaper used a fabricated timeline that only exists in the mind of Israeli military and decision-makers.
“Violence continued. Several rockets were thrown towards Israel by Gaza’s Islamic Jihad (militants), breaking the brief truce, according to (rightwing Israeli newspaper) The Jerusalem Post and to the Israeli army”.
It remains unclear what “truce” La Repubblica was referring to.
France’s Le Monde followed suit, reporting the same deceptive and cliched Israeli lines and emphasizing statements by the Israeli military and government. Interestingly, the death and wounding of many Palestinians in Gaza did not deserve a place on the French newspaper’s homepage. Instead, it chose to highlight a comparatively irrelevant news item where Israel denounced the labeling of illegal settlement products as “discriminatory”.
Maybe, one could have excused these across-the-board journalistic and moral failings if it were not for the fact that the Gaza story has been one of the most covered news topics anywhere in the world for over a decade.
It is obvious that the West’s “newspapers of record” have maintained their blindspot on fairly reporting on Gaza and intentionally kept the truth from their readers for many years so as not to offend the sensibilities of the Israeli government and its powerful allies and lobbies.
While one cannot help but bemoan the death of good journalism in the West, it is also important to acknowledge with much appreciation the courage and sacrifices of Gaza’s young journalists and bloggers who, at times, are targeted and killed by the Israeli army for conveying the truth on the plight of the besieged but tenacious Strip.
During a demonstration, organized by Palestinian journalists in solidarity with reporter Moath Amarneh, multiple journalists were injured and transported to the hospital, PNN reported.
Several Palestinian journalists and reporters gathered, on Sunday, in Bethlehem near the 300 Checkpoint, to show their support for Moath Amarneh, the reporter who lost his eye to an Israeli rubber-coated steel bullet while covering clashes in Hebron, on November 15.
Israeli soldiers bombarded the protesters with tear-gas canisters and sound grenades, while the reporters were taking pictures, doing interviews and holding speeches.
Among the injured reporters at the demonstration, was the editor-in-chief of Palestine News Network (PNN), Monjed Jado, who was hit directly in the head with a gas canister, shot by Israeli forces, and moved to hospital.
Some of the journalists were beaten and arrested by Israeli forces, and many of the protesters had to be transported to the local Beit Jala Governmental Hospital for treatment for gas inhalation, and the impact of the sound grenades.
Dozens of journalists, Sunday, suffered from suffocation after inhaling tear gas fired at them by Israeli forces during a solidarity sit-in, held in support of injured photojournalist Moath Amarneh, to the north of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Local witnesses told WAFA that Israeli soldiers fired a barrage of tear gas bombs towards journalists who had organized a sit-in at the northern entrance of Bethlehem city, in solidarity with Amarneh, who lost his left eye after being seriously injured by a metallic bullet fired by an Israeli soldier, in the Surif region of the Hebron governorate, where he was covering a protest against land confiscation.
West Bank (QNN)- Several journalists and activists were wounded and arrested when Israeli forces repressed a vigil, which was organized in Bethlehem on Sunday in solidarity with journalist Muath Amarneh.
QNN reporter stated that dozens of journalists and activists went in a march to show solidarity with Amarneh, who lost his eye on Friday when Israeli soldiers deliberately targeted him while covering confrontations in Hebron.
The protesters covered their eyes to deplore the Israeli crime, in which Amarneh lost eyesight in one eye.
Israeli soldiers, stationed in military towers, threw tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters, causing several suffocation cases, according to our reporter.
Several protesters were burnt with grenades fragments.
The Israeli forces also arrested two journalists during the protest, who were identified as Muhammad Tannouh and Ahmad Taqatqa.
Another protest in solidarity with Amarneh was organized in Tulkarem. The protesters called on journalists to keep exposing the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Human rights activists and journalists launched a solidarity campaign for Muath Amarneh, a Palestinian journalist who lost his left eye when Israeli soldiers deliberately sniped it while he was covering confrontations in Hebron on last Friday.
Amarneh (32 years old), who works for a Palestinian media outlet, was the first to document the crime of executing Omar Badawi in Arroub refugee camp last week, which was probably the reason why the Israelis decided to punish him, shooting at his eye.
The hashtag #MuathEye trended in several countries, while many journalists and human rights activists in the Arab world and everywhere else tweeted and posted on the hashtag, showing solidarity with Amarneh and journalism and protesting against the Israeli crime.
Deputy Foreign Editor of The National, Jack Moore, wrote: “”The eyes of truth will never be blinded.”
Today, dozens of Palestinian journalists protested the shooting of Muath Amarneh, who lost his eye after an Israeli soldier fired at him last Friday.
He was wearing press markings. 60 have been hit this year. #MuathEye #عين_معاذ”
Jack Moore ✔@JFXM
“The eyes of truth will never be blinded.”
Today, dozens of Palestinian journalists protested the shooting of Muath Amarneh, who lost his eye after an Israeli soldier fired at him last Friday.
Marathon runner, Muhammad Al Qadi, wrote: “When a photojournalist loses his eye, it almost means losing his job. The Palestinian photojournalist Mu’ath Amarneh has lost his left eye by an Israeli bullet that targeted him while he was covering the Israeli vioulations.”
Palestine Alqadi ✔@ALQadiPAL
When a photojournalist loses his eye, it almost means losing his job. The Palestinian photojournalist Mu’ath Amarneh has lost his left eye by an Israeli bullet that targeted him while he was covering the Israeli vioulations.#MuathEye#عين_معاذ
Al Arab Newaspaper journalist, Hassan Khodari, wrote: “In solidarity with #MuathAmarneh, a Palestinian journalist who was shot by an Israeli sniper resulting the loss of his left eye”
الحقيقة كالشمس.. هل تستطيعوا أن تطفئوا الشمس.. رصاصة فقأت عينا لكنها لم تصب الحقيقة في مقتل In solidarity with #MuathAmarneh, a Palestinian journalist who was shot by an Israeli sniper resulting the loss of his left eye#muatheye
Dr. Abdalhadi Alijla wrote: “The eye of truth shall not go blind. Today, I stand with the Palestinian journalist Moath Amarnieh. Imagine that you leave the house seeing your kids with your two eyes, kiss them, and say goodbye, going to work.”
Dr. Abdalhadi Alijla@Abdalhadihadi
The eye of truth shall not go blind. Today, I stand with the Palestinian journalist Moath Amarnieh. Imagine that you leave the house seeing your kids with your two eyes, kiss them, and say goodbye, going to work.#MuathEye#Muath_Eye#معاذ_عمارنه#عين_معاذ
UNRWA currently supports 5.5 million Palestine refugees in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria
The Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly has voted to extend mandate of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) until 2023.
In a statement, a copy of which sent to Palestine Post 24, the UN said that the UN General Assembly will vote in plenary session next month on the resolution adopted by the Fourth Committee.
UNRWA was established 70 years ago and provides essential services to Palestine refugees based on a mandate given to it by the General Assembly which is renewed every three years.
The statement added: “UNRWA is experiencing the worst financial deficit in its 70 year history and is seeking to overcome a financial gap of nearly US$ 89 million before the end of the year.”
Commenting on the vote, the Acting Commissioner- General of the UNRWA, Christian Saunders, said: “The fact that 170 UN Member-States reaffirmed their trust in UNRWA and expressed support for it to continue providing its essential assistance for the next three years is a confirmation of the vital role that the Agency plays in supporting the needs of Palestine refugees.”
UNRWA currently supports 5.5 million Palestine refugees in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The agency provides services in the fields of health, education, microfinance, protection and relief and social services, with over half a million girls and boys attending its 709 schools and some 8.5 million patient visits provided in 2018 alone in 22 health centres across the five fields of operations.
The resolution approved on Friday affirms that Palestine refugees continue to have essential needs – that in the absence of a just and lasting solution to their plight – UNRWA continues to meet through its programmes and service delivery.
The vote is also seen as a confirmation of the strong support Member States have for the robust measures being undertaken by the Agency to address the issues identified by the recent investigation, as well as for the broader reforms underway to enhance the Agency’s ability to respond to the needs of Palestine refugees.
“We are extremely grateful to UN Member States, donors and partners for this overwhelming vote of confidence in the Agency” said Saunders. “We will ensure that their trust and continued support are well placed.”
Israeli occupation has made contradictory claims in an effort to try to excuse the massacre of the Sawarka family at Deir al-Balah in besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday November 14th.
Missiles fired from US-made F-16 jet fighters left only craters on the places of the houses and killed 8 members of the families and wounded 13. Among the dead are 5 children and two women, while 11 children are among the wounded.
The brothers Rasmi and Muhammed Sawarka Abu Malhous lived from sheep-herding and their houses built from metal sheets had no electricity or running water, and they had not been able to send all their older children to schools.
Different representatives of Israeli occupation forces have claimed both that they bombed the houses made from tin sheets believing that they ‘were empty” and that they targeted “infrastructure”, not people, while claiming also that claimed that the target of the bombing was an Islamic Jihad commander Rasmi Abu Malhous, who is a namesake of one of the brothers who lived in the houses with their families.
Neighbours of the family said that the photograph of the Islamic Jihad commander spread on Twitter by Israeli occupation showed a different man and said that it was absurd to think that the leader of a rocket unit of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing would live in a shanty made of tin sheets while earning his living from herding sheep.
70-year-old Silmiyyah Sawarkah, matriarch of the family, is now looking after some of his surviving grand-children and is desperate how to survibe with them:
“The children will live with me, my sons, both martyred and the wounded one, suffered from financial difficulties, they lived in plastic houses, and could not send all their children to school. I don’t know how to provide food and the basic needs for them. This is too much for me!”
Meanwhile both the United Nations and the European Union have asked Israel’s regime to investigate itself for the massacre.