Al-Khudari: The message of the Norwegian institutions is an important plan to press towards lifting the siege on Gaza

Jamal Al-Khudari, head of the People’s Committee to confront the blockade in the Gaza Strip, today, Saturday, considered the message that 58 Norwegian institutions sent to their country’s government to demand the end of the siege on the Gaza Strip, as an important step towards pressuring the occupation to lift the siege.

Al-Khudari welcomed, in a press statement, this important step that came at a sensitive and difficult time in which Gaza’s suffering increased due to the Corona pandemic, which increased the crises that the sector has experienced due to the Israeli siege 14 years ago.

He stressed that more work is currently required internationally in this direction, and the institutions and the competent authorities are moving to pressure their governments to have an important word towards lifting the blockade.

He said, “The United Nations and the European Parliament are required to have clear and declared positions on lifting the blockade, and work to end it quickly and urgently, as the health, economic, educational and environmental situation and the various areas of life are in serious deterioration.”

Al-Khudari reaffirmed that the blockade is contrary to international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international laws and norms, and it must be ended, because its continuation means a real catastrophe that affects two million citizens, and warns of worse. like he said.

He stressed the need to support and relieve the Gaza Strip in various fields, as it lives under siege and measures to counter the pandemic of Corona, which caused a significant increase in the poverty rate to reach about 85%, while the number of unemployed workers reached about 350 thousand workers.

He pointed out that unemployment rates reached nearly 60%, and among the youth category 70%, indicating that the average daily per capita income is $ 2, and 70% of families are threatened by food insecurity.

Al-Khudari pointed out that 50% of medicines and medical consumables are not available, in addition to the ongoing electricity and water crisis.

(Source / 10.05.2020) 

A human rights center: the occupation forces injured 4 fishermen in Gaza in April

 The Israeli occupation forces injured 4 fishermen from the Gaza Strip during the month of April, according to a human rights report published today, Saturday.

According to a monthly statistic of the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, on the attacks and violations of the occupation army against the Palestinians in Gaza, the occupation forces deliberately targeted fishermen off the coast of the Strip, where 38 operations were targeted against them, including 3 times to sabotage their boats and their fishing tools.

(Source / 10.05.2020) 

Gaza. No new infections with CORONA virus after 33 samples examined

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip announced today, Saturday, that it examined 33 new laboratory samples during the past 24 hours, and the results of the tests were negative.

The ministry said in its daily report, that the number of injuries is still stopped at 20 injuries, 14 of them recovered, and 6 cases present in the isolation hospital at the Rafah crossing, and they are in a reassuring state.

She pointed out that 11 of the recovered persons went out of the isolation to their homes and are followed at home, while there are 3 cases that are followed up at the Quarantine Center at the Rafah crossing.

It stated that 6,895 laboratory test samples had been carried out since mid-March.

She noted that there are 445 citizens in quarantine and did not show any symptoms.

(Source / 10.05.2020) 

The Missing Motherhood in Gaza

Palestinians demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, stage a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Eastern Jerusalem on March 26, 2019. ( Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians protest demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails on 26 March 2019

By Eman Abusidu

While families around the world have celebrated Mother’s Day, Palestinian mothers in the Gaza strip continue to remember their missing motherhood, which is all too often cut short by Israel’s military occupation. Mother’s Day itself is no different to any other under occupation and siege: more shortages due to the blockade, more electricity blackouts, more Israeli missiles and certainly more disappointments.

A mother in Gaza grieves for the loss of her children, born and unborn because the Israeli occupation is a mother’s worst fear. If her children aren’t killed by Israel, they still face detention and torture by Israel.

READ: Rise in number of female Palestinian prisoners in Israel jails

On Mother’s Day, then, try to picture the Palestinian mother in Gaza going about her usual business, standing in long queues in the early morning to try to get a bag of humanitarian aid before holding back her tears on entering the hospital ward where her child lies disabled by Israeli bullets or bombs and she wishes that it could be her in that bed instead. According to the Palestinian Statistics Centre, almost 50,000 Palestinians are now disabled because of the occupation, many of whom have been targeted by Israeli snipers deliberately. What’s more, almost 11,000 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces between 2000 and 2019. At the moment, there are 5,700 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, including 250 children and 47 women.

Palestinian mothers protest demanding the release of their sons from Israeli prisons [Hasan Eslayeh]

Is there any greater pain in this world for a mother to see her child grow up to be a fine young woman or man, only to lose them in a moment thanks to an Israel bullet? Or to see them dragged off by Israeli soldiers and not know when or if they will see them again? This happens almost daily in the Gaza Strip, sometimes in horrific circumstances.

On the morning of 23 February, for example, 27-year-old Muhammad Al-Na’im’s mother woke to her worst nightmare: the Israelis shot and killed her son, and then mutilated his body with an armoured bulldozer in front of the world’s cameras, with no care for international laws and conventions. “I saw him the night before,” explained Muhammad’s mother. “He asked me to have lunch together on the following day. I was preparing to meet him but instead found myself watching a video of my son being killed and his body abused.”

Palestinian Muhammad Al-Na'im’s killed by Israeli forces [Hasan Eslayeh]
Palestinian Muhammad Al-Na'im’s mother [Hasan Eslayeh]

It is hard to know what must be more painful for mothers in Gaza: losing their children or waiting for years for them to be released from an Israeli prison. Literally hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel since 1967; thousands have been held in prison with neither charge nor trial. Palestinian mothers wait for their children — usually their sons — without knowing how long the wait will be, or if they will be released at all. Most are denied the right to visit their imprisoned children regularly.

Iyad Al-Jarjawir has been held in Israel’s Gilboa Prison, having been arrested in 2011 and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment. After years of waiting to embrace her son, his mother heard that he has a cancerous tumour in his head. “Contact with Iyad was very difficult due to the procedures of the Israeli Prison Service,” she said. “Moreover, I was not allowed to visit him last month for unknown reasons.” She added that she heard about his cancer through social media. “I can’t even talk to him now or know about his condition except through his lawyer.”

Iyad Al-Jarjawir's mother [ Hasan Eslayeh]

The Palestinian mothers in Gaza have long forgotten what it feels like to be safe and sound and to sleep easily at night. Thousands of thoughts crowd their heads as they try to explain to their children why it is so hard to find food in Gaza or why it’s virtually impossible to go and visit their favourite relatives outside the enclave. They have to use simple words to satisfy curious minds without portraying the world as a gloomy place that they have yet to explore. It’s a daunting task, but the children know; they know that the Palestinians in Gaza are alone; they know that Israel can do what it wants to them, and they know that the world will not stop it.

The children also know that every time their mothers kiss them, it could be for the final time. On Mother’s Day, try to put yourself and your children into their shoes. Can there be anything more painful for any mother, anywhere?

READ: Israel arrests mother, 12-year-old son in Jerusalem

(Source / 10.05.2020) 

Israeli Forces Shoot, Injure 2 Palestinians in Kufur Qaddoum

Israeli forces, on Saturday, fired towards Palestinian citizens in the village of Kufur Qaddoum, wounding two young men, Quds News Network reported.

Morad Eshteiwi, Coordinator of the Popular Resistance in Kufur Qaddoum, east of Qalqilia, said that Israeli troops shot and wounded two Palestinian youths, during confrontations after Israeli forces repressed the weekly protest.

Eshteiwi said that dozens of other people suffered the toxic effects of tear-gas that troops shot towards the peaceful demonstrators.

On Friday, Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition and tear-gas canisters at many protesters in the village, injuring 4 and causing many suffocation cases.

(Source / 10.05.2020) 

European Committee: “Concrete Measures” Needed to Counter Israel’s Annexation Plans

The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), expressed concerns, last week, over Israel’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, in a letter sent to the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported.

The committee criticized the inaction of the EU, and urged Borrell to back up his statement, in which he stated that “Steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged”.

To counter Israel’s unilateral annexation of the West Bank, “Immediate actions need to be taken, including sanctions”, said the ECCP, appealing to the EU to take “concrete measures,” stating that the EU has the power to discourage Israel’s many violations.

Read the letter below;

Dear Mr. Borrell,

Dear Ministers of Foreign Affairs of European Member States,

As you are well aware, Israel’s new “unity government” signed an agreement that includes a clause to advance plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, including illegal Israeli settlements, starting on July 1.

This is not the first time that Israel has tried to illegally annex parts of territories it occupies. Israel already annexed occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and Syria’s Golan Heights in 1981, in gross violation of international law.

The process of ongoing ethnic cleansingapartheid and colonization is taking place on a daily basis.

While Gaza has been strangled by a 13-year blockade and repeated military invasions, in the West Bank Palestinians struggle with a brutal occupation, expulsion, dispossession, arbitrary arrests and house demolitions among other things.

Many Palestinians are denied access to basic health services by Israeli land confiscations and checkpoints. Even at the time of global pandemic Palestinians are confronted by Israel’s institutionalized segregation.

Over the last month alone, major Israeli settlement blocs such as Gush Etzion south of Jerusalem are being expanded, further destroying the territorial contiguity of the West Bank; apartheid road infrastructure for illegal settlers only is being extended in major settlement blocks like Ma’ale Adumim; Palestinian residents of Silwan in East Jerusalem have repeatedly been the, target of evictions and expulsions as have Palestinians throughout Area C.

These ongoing processes have not been met with any firm response from the EU, except occasional words of concern. This is not enough.

In his statement issued in February, the EU High Representative Joseph Borrell noted that “Steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged”.

Immediate actions need to be taken, including sanctions, in order to confront Israel’s unilateralism, annexation, and land grabs. It is time for preemptive and concrete measures to be implemented by the EU and European governments, including the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and exclusion from participation in EU Framework Programmes funded by European taxpayers’ money.

The EU has tools at its disposal that can change the dangerous dynamics on the ground and enhance the effectiveness of accountability and international responsibility, as detailed in international and European laws.

Furthermore, under international law the EU as a whole and each of its Member States have the mandatory obligation to ban trade with Israel’s illegal settlements, as allowing such entities to trade freely and profit from the occupation violates duties of non-recognition of and non-assistance to serious breaches of international law.

The current situation cannot be allowed to continue if the EU is serious about its commitments to human rights and the rule of law.

In this context we, a coalition of 40 civil society organizations and NGOs from 20 European countries, ask you to specify what kind of actions the EU and European governments are going to implement in order to prevent Israel’s illegal annexation of yet more Palestinian land.

How will the EU guarantee that in its “cooperation” with Israel, principles of international (humanitarian and human rights) law, including the responsibility of the occupier towards the occupied population, are finally going to be applied given the current situation on the ground?

European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) – consists of a network of 42 European committees, organizations, NGOs, unions and international solidarity movements from 19 European countries, dedicated to the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice and equality.

(Source / 10.05.2020) 

40 Palestinian-owned Olive Trees Cut by Israeli Settlers

Illegal Israeli settlers, on Saturday, cut 40 olive trees belonging to Palestinians in the village of al-Mughayyir, near the city of Ramallah, local sources said.

Sources told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that the cut trees were the property of two Palestinian villagers from al-Mughayyir, in the central occupied West Bank.

Israeli soldiers reportedly prevented the two villagers from entering their farm land to inspect the damage to their crops.

In related news, on Thursday, illegal settlers in the city of Bethlehem, reportedly uprooted hundreds of newly-planted grapevines, south of the city.

(Source / 10.05.2020) 

‘The moment a worker is sick, they throw him to the checkpoint like a dog’

Palestinian laborers suspected of having coronavirus are being dropped off at a West Bank checkpoint with no regard for their health or safety

Palestinian labourers enter the 1948 land to work through a checkpoint between the West Bank city of Hebron and Beersheva while carrying blankets and mattresses on March 18, 2020 as for the first time they have to stay between one to two months inside the 1948 land amidst the coronavirus (Covid 19) pandemic

By Suha Arraf

What happens to Palestinian laborers in Israel who are suspected of contracting the novel coronavirus? Based on two recent stories, it appears the Israeli authorities are simply dropping off sick Palestinian workers at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank without any concern for their health and safety.

Palestinian social media was alight last month after a video surfaced of a Palestinian worker, Malek Jayousi, laying on the side of a road next to the Beit Sira/Macabbim checkpoint. The 27-year-old Jayousi, from the nearby village of Sura, had been left there by Israeli police after accusing him of having the coronavirus.

Ibrahim Abu Safiyyeh, a local journalist who volunteers with his village’s emergency committee — which was established to help Palestinians at the Beit Sira checkpoint — was on the scene when police arrived with Jayousi at around noon. “Two officers sat in the front seat. The car stopped and the man [Jayousi] stepped out and could hardly walk toward the checkpoint. The officers got out of the vehicle, disinfected themselves and the backseat, got back in the car, and drove off,” recounted Abu Saffiyeh.

Jayousi explained to Abu Saffiyyeh that Israeli police officers had come to the construction site where he works in Tel Aviv, told him he had coronavirus, and took him away.

“He looked very frightened,” said Abu Saffiyeh. “We placed a piece of cardboard on the floor. We couldn’t get close to him because we don’t have protective suits, we use very simple masks. We gave him water and food and he told us he couldn’t eat or drink. He sat scared and shivering. We immediately called the Red Crescent in Ramallah. It took them about three hours to arrive.”

Hospitalized at Al-Watani Hospital in Nablus, it turned out that Jayousi did not have coronavirus. His cousin, Samih Jayousi, said members of his family had recently come down with the flu, though Malek is still at the hospital for additional tests.

At a press conference later, Palestinian Authority Spokesperson Ibrahim Malham confirmed that Jayousi’s coronavirus test came back negative, and condemned the “racist behavior of the Israeli government, army, and employers who are throwing their workers into the street.” Malham told Palestinian workers to refrain from going to workplaces in Israel where they are subjected to racism.

The Israeli police issued the following response to the incident: “Last night, Israeli police received a report from Ichilov Hospital of a suspect who was illegally residing in Israel and arrived at the hospital for an examination. After being examined and released by the medical staff, police arrived on the scene and, after taking necessary precautions, drove him to Maccabim checkpoint since he had been in Israel illegally. The suspect is not a coronavirus patient and was released at the checkpoint in a dignified manner after a stop was put to the violation of the law, as required. Even in this national emergency, Israel Police will continue to enforce the law, including by preventing illegal residency in Israel.”

Jayousi is not the first Palestinian laborer to be dropped at Beit Sira checkpoint on suspicion of being infected with coronavirus, says Abu Saffiyeh.

Earlier, Abu Saffiyeh saw a man step out of a taxi at the checkpoint, who “told us that he needed help and that he might have coronavirus.” The committee members laid a piece of cardboard on the ground and gave the man water, but did not get close to him.

The young man told them he was 32, lives in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah, and works at a construction site in Israel. He had a fever during work and asked his employer to call an ambulance. The worker said his employer refused, so he called an ambulance himself, but the medics refused to take him to an Israeli hospital. “His employer told him to take a cab home, and that’s what he did,” said Abu Saffiyeh.

The volunteers from Beit Sira called the Red Crescent, which — like with Jayousi — took three hours to arrive at the checkpoint. “I have no idea what became of him,” Abu Saffiyeh added. “The moment you become sick, they throw you to the checkpoint like a dog.”

According to estimates by Kav LaOved, an Israeli NGO that works to protect the rights of disadvantaged workers, there are approximately 60,000 Palestinian workers in Israel. They are mostly employed in construction, fruit and vegetable picking, and chicken/egg farming.

So far, Israeli employers have not provided them with housing or protective measures against the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many workers sleeping at construction sites and in greenhouses.

At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced that he was conditioning the continued employment of Palestinian workers by forcing them to stay in Israel for at least two months, without the option of visiting their families in the West Bank.

Kav LaOved, along with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights–Israel, contacted Bennett and other ministers demanding they provide Palestinian laborers adequate accommodation, prohibit employers from housing them on work sites, and grant them medical insurance.

(Source / 10.05.2020)  

Rights group urge EU to impose sanctions on Israel for its annexation plan

Ramallah – In a letter sent to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) has expressed concerns over Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank, saying it was part of the ongoing ethnic cleansing, apartheid and colonization.

The letter read, “This is not the first time that Israel has tried to illegally annex parts of territories it occupies,” said the ECCP, “Israel already annexed occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and Syria’s Golan Heights in 1981, in gross violation of international law.”

“While Gaza has been strangled by a 13-year blockade and repeated military invasions, in the West Bank Palestinians struggle with a brutal occupation, expulsion, dispossession, arbitrary arrests and house demolitions among other things,” the ECCP continued.

After criticizing the EU over its lack of action, the ECCP urged Borrell to stand by his February statement in which he warned Israel that “Steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged”.

To confront Israel’s unilateral land grab and annexation, “Immediate actions need to be taken, including sanctions”, said the ECCP, urging the EU to take “concrete measures.” They argued that the EU had tolls at its disposal to punish Israel’s many violations.

Suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement and excluding Israel from participation in EU Framework Programs funded by European taxpayers’ money, were cited as options.

“Under international law the EU as a whole and each of its Member States have the mandatory obligation to ban trade with Israel’s illegal settlements, as allowing such entities to trade freely and profit from the occupation violates duties of non-recognition of and non-assistance to serious breaches of international law. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue if the EU is serious about its commitments to human rights and the rule of law.”

The letter concluded, “In this context we, a coalition of 40 civil society organisations and NGOs from 20 European countries, ask you to specify what kind of actions the EU and European governments are going to implement in order to prevent Israel’s illegal annexation of yet more Palestinian land. How will the EU guarantee that in its “cooperation” with Israel, principles of international (humanitarian and human rights) law, including the responsibility of the occupier towards the occupied population, are finally going to be applied given the current situation on the ground?”

(Source / 10.05.2020) 

Two citizens wounded in Israeli shooting

Qalqilya (QNN)- Israeli forces opened fire at citizens in the village of Kafr Qaddoum in Qalqilya today, wounding two young men.

The coordinator of the popular resistance in Kafr Qaddoum, Murad Ishtewi, said that Israeli soldiers wounded two Palestinian young men during confrontations erupted after the Israeli repression of the weekly anti-settlement protest in the village.

He added that dozens of others suffocated as well after the Israeli soldiers intensively threw poisonous tear gas canisters at the peaceful protesters.

(Source / 10.05.2020)