Prosecution of Israel occupation is a major test for ICC, Palestinians Abroad says

Building of the International Criminal Court [file photo]
Building of the International Criminal Court 

Popular Conference of Palestinians Abroad said yesterday that International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing a “real and historic” test to prosecute leaders of the Israeli occupation and achieve justice for Palestinians, Quds Press reported.

“The ICC is currently facing a real and historic test to make sure Israeli war criminals will not evade punishment and to put an end to the dangerous crimes committed against the Palestinians,” Mu’taz Al-Masloukhi, head of the body’s legal committee, said in a press release.

He added: “There is more hope for the Palestinians and all other persecuted people in the world that justice is coming soon.”

Israel political and military leaders are afraid of being held accountable for their crimes against Palestinians, Al-Masloukhi explained.

The ICC has postponed a ruling on whether to approve a request by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate Israeli war crimes in the occupied territories, starting in 2014.

READ: UN expert criticises Israel’s continued collective punishment of Palestinians

In May, Bensouda announced she is to launch an investigation into war crimes carried out in occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

If the court approves the investigation, scores of Israeli officials may face detention including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

If Israel decides not to deal with the proceedings, the ICC can issue secret detention orders against Israeli officials leaving them subject to detention whenever they travel.

Last week it was revealed that Israel is preparing a secret list of hundreds of its officials who are liable to be tried in The Hague on war crimes charges. The government is warning them not to travel in case they are arrested.

(Source / 20.07.2020)

Israel arrests PA’s Jerusalem governor for 17th time

Governor of Jerusalem for the Palestinian Authority Adnan Ghaith on 4 November 2018 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]
Governor of Jerusalem for the Palestinian Authority Adnan Ghaith on 4 November 2018 

The Palestinian governor of occupied Jerusalem was arrested yesterday for the 17th time since he was appointed to this post more than a year ago.

Police raided Adnan Ghaith’s home in the Silwan neighbourhood of Jerusalem and took him into custody for seven days, the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre said in a statement.

According to Wafa news agency, he was arrested for working on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Israeli-occupied section of the city.

He was taken to the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem where he was kept overnight before being brought to court today for his remand.

Following his remand, Ghaith was taken to a detention centre in Asqalan, in the south of Israel.

READ: Israel ‘relieved’ as ICC adjourns war crimes probe

Ghaith has been detained and his residence raided several times in recent months as part of Israel’s ongoing violations against Palestinian officials, activists and institutions in occupied Jerusalem.

Earlier this year,  Ghaith was barred from entering the occupied West Bank for six consecutive months by the Israeli army, under the pretext that he participated in “illegal and violent activities”.

Another order was issued by the General Commander of the Central District of the illegal Israeli occupation, which prevents Adnan Ghaith from communicating with the PA.

Israel claims that his activities in the city undermine its authority, however, in none of the cases did the occupation present sufficient evidence to justify Ghaith’s continued detention.

(Source / 20.07.2020)

Israel soldiers destroy Palestinian coronavirus testing centre

COVID-19 tests are being carried out at the Central Laboratory of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the city of Ramallah, West Bank on March 16, 2020. The total number of coronavirus cases in West Bank climbed to 39. [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]
COVID-19 tests are being carried out at the Central Laboratory of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the city of Ramallah, West Bank on March 16, 2020. The total number of coronavirus cases in West Bank climbed to 39

Israeli soldiers demolished a Palestinian security checkpoint used to test for coronavirus in the occupied West Bank, according to Wafa news agency.

The checkpoint was set up by Palestinian security forces at the entrance to the occupied West Bank city of Jenin to prevent the spread of the virus.

A total of 468 new coronavirus cases and three deaths from the disease were recorded in the occupied Palestinian territories over the past 24 hours, confirmed the Ministry of Health today, leaving the active cases at 8,360 and total deaths at 65.

It added that 40 patients are currently in intensive care units, including three placed on respirators, with no reports of recoveries.

Israeli forces also injured a Palestinian man at the Jenin refugee camp, reported Wafa.

READ: Pro-Israel news outlets ran ‘deepfake’ op-eds in ‘new disinformation frontier’

Local sources said soldiers stormed Jenin and its refugee camp early this morning to arrest activists. Occupation forces shot at Palestinians in the area, according to the reports, injuring one person in the leg.

Two people were arrested before the soldiers left the city and the checkpoint was destroyed.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak, Israeli authorities continue to abuse the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, as part of decades-long attempts to drive them out of the area, and to similarly mistreat Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

According to B’Tselem, last month saw a spike in Israeli demolitions, which left 151 Palestinians, including 84 minors, homeless – despite the danger of remaining without shelter during a pandemic.

(Source / 20.07.2020)

Soldiers Abduct A Teen, Injure Young Man In Ramallah

Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah before abducting a Palestinian teen, in addition to shooting a young man and searching many homes.

Local sources in the refugee camp said the soldiers stormed and ransacked dozens of homes and interrogated many Palestinians.

They added that the soldiers also occupied several rooftops to use them as firing posts at Palestinian youngsters who protested the invasion.

Medical sources said the soldiers shot a young man with a live round in the leg, before he was rushed to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.

The soldiers also abducted a teen, identified as Hussein Yasser al-Ishawi, 17, and took him to an unknown destination.

In occupied Jerusalem, dozens of soldiers assaulted a young Palestinian man, causing various cuts and bruises, the Palestinian Quds News Network has reported.

A dozen, heavily armed Israeli soldiers VS one, unarmed Palestinian young man

(Source / 20.07.2020)

Israeli Soldiers Demolish A Home In Bethlehem

Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is dem1-e1595241299513.jpg

Israeli soldiers demolished, Monday, a Palestinian home in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.

Hasan Breijiyya, the head of the Bethlehem office of the Wall and Colonization Resistance Commission, stated that several army jeeps and bulldozers invaded the Shoshahla area, south of the town, and surrounded the home of Mohammad Mustafa Abu Ammouss.

Breijiyya added that the soldiers then stormed the home, forced the Palestinian and his family out of their property, and demolished it.

The Israeli army claims the home was built without a permit from the so-called “Civil Administration Office,” the administrative branch of Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestine.

It is worth mentioning that the property was rebuilt after the soldiers demolished it for the first time in the year 2002.

Shoshahla area is subject to frequent Israeli violations, including the demolition of many homes and structures, in addition to current orders targeting many other buildings, due to constant Israeli attempts to build and expand its illegal colonies in that area.

(Source / 20.07.2020)

Israeli Colonists Install Mobile Homes On Palestinian Lands In Bethlehem

As Israeli soldiers continued the uprooting and destruction of Palestinian trees owned by the villagers of Kisan, east of Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank, Israeli colonists starting installing mobile homes in the area to prepare for a new illegal outpost.

Hasan Breijiyya, the head of the Bethlehem office of the Wall and Colonization Resistance Commission, stated that the colonists installed several mobile homes, and started preparing infrastructure for their new illegal outpost.

Breijiyya added that Israel is preparing for expanding the Ibei HaNahal colony, which was built on illegally confiscated privately-owned Palestinian lands.

Ibei HaNahal is part of the Gush Etzion colonialism block, south of Bethlehem and northern of Hebron.

It is worth mentioning that Kisan village is inhabited by around 800 Palestinians, and already lost half of its lands (2 kilometers) to Israel’s illegal colonies.

(Source / 20.07.2020)

13 Years of Illegal Closure with Impunity

Press release: Civil Society Organize Webinar on Collective Punishment in Gaza:  Mezan Center For Human Rights:

On Wednesday, 15 July 2020, Palestinian, regional, and international civil society organisations, including Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Adalah, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights organized a webinar titled “Collective Punishment in Gaza: 13 Years of Illegal Closure with Impunity,” in parallel to the 44th Regular Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council and following the release of the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, Professor Michael Lynk, on collective punishment under agenda Item 7 of the Council. The webinar follows the launch of the Gaza 2020: Lift the Closure campaign in June 2020 by civil society organisations and highlights the urgent need to lift Israel’s illegal closure.

The webinar, organized by Al-Haq, was moderated by Elizabeth Rghebi, the Levant Researcher at CIHRS. In her opening remarks, Ms. Rghebi recalled that June 2020 marked 13 years of closure of the Gaza Strip, which amounts to unlawful collective punishment over two million Palestinians, a situation which the UN said would become unliveable by 2020.

Over the last 13 years, Palestinians in Gaza have endured severe restrictions on their freedom of movement, devastating destruction of property and infrastructure, an overburdened and collapsing healthcare sector, and a man-made humanitarian crisis.

Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new and unprecedented challenges for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, which is one of the most populated areas on Earth and where more than 96 percent of water is unfit for human consumption.

During the webinar, Professor Shane Darcy, Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights in the School of Law at the National University of Ireland Galway, presented on the legal history and framework of the prohibition on collective punishment under international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international criminal law.

He highlighted Israel’s decades-long use of illegal collective punishment, in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and reaffirmed Professor Lynk’s finding that: “Collective punishment is an inflamed scar that runs across the entire 53-year-old Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

In his presentation, Professor Darcy focused on house demolitions as a form of illegal collective punishment against Palestinians. He stressed that the underlying punitive measures imposed by the Israeli occupying authorities, including extensive destruction of property, may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Nuriya Oswald, the International Legal and Advocacy Director at Al Mezan, explained how 13 years of illegal Israeli closure have severely denied Palestinians in Gaza the exercise of their individual and collective rights, including their right to self-determination.

She highlighted the impact of the Gaza closure and Israeli de-development policies, which have resulted in profound levels of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, and aid dependency, which compound the susceptibility of Palestinians to COVID-19.

Mrs Oswald highlighted the recent increase in suicide cases in Gaza, with 16 documented cases since the start of the year, as a testament to the desperation and severe mental health impacts of the closure.

She added that the fishing and agriculture sectors, once thriving industries in Gaza, are now two of the most vulnerable due to Israeli military assaults on Palestinians and their livelihoods and that the Israeli occupying forces killed 217 Palestinians and wounded over 14,500 during the Great Return March demonstrations in Gaza.

The demonstrations called for the illegal closure of Gaza to be lifted and for the realization of Palestinians’ rights, including their right of return.

Neil Sammonds, MAP’s Advocacy and Campaigns Director, discussed Israel’s repeated attacks on health workers and healthcare in the occupied Gaza Strip. He highlighted the killing and injury of medical workers by the Israeli occupying forces during the Great Return March demonstrations and recalled that Gaza’s healthcare system has been brought to a collapse due to Israel’s 13-year closure.

Mr Sammonds recalled that health workers are largely prevented from leaving Gaza to receive training and development opportunities elsewhere, adding that resources and medical equipment are lacking in the Gaza Strip and that Palestinian patients must increasingly seek treatment outside Gaza. Through Israel’s arbitrary permit regime, the occupying authorities frequently deny or delay permit applications by patients and their companions, thereby undermining the right of Palestinians in Gaza to access the healthcare they need.

Advocate Soheir Asaad, Adalah’s International Advocacy Coordinator, highlighted Israeli impunity in all aspects of Israeli civil and criminal law with respect to crimes committed against Palestinians, presenting Adalah’s extensive experience in seeking justice for Palestinian victims at Israeli courts.

She highlighted the complicity of Israel’s legislature and court system, including the Supreme Court, and their role in shielding Israeli perpetrators from accountability and enabling policies of collective punishment against Palestinians.

She stressed that the Gaza closure is a result of Israeli impunity and concluded that the Israeli domestic system, in all its aspects, is unwilling to genuinely take action against its soldiers, commanders, and officials for suspected crimes committed against Palestinians. Accordingly, she called for international accountability to be pursued at the International Criminal Court.

In her presentation, Rania Muhareb, Al-Haq’s Legal Researcher and Advocacy Officer, recalled that the Palestinian people have suffered a long history of collective punishment since 1948, which must be understood within Israel’s broader regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people.

She recalled that the Gaza closure policy, which is unprecedented in its duration and severity, has completely separated, isolated, and fragmented Palestinians in Gaza from the rest of the Palestinian people and the outside world.

This entrenches Israel’s strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people, denying them the exercise of their inalienable rights to self-determination and return.

In December 2019, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) found that the Gaza closure and blockade constitute policies of racial segregation and apartheid. She concluded that it is time for States to adopt effective measures to address the root causes of Palestinian oppression, to recognise Israeli apartheid, and to lift the Gaza closure as a step toward overcoming Israel’s apartheid regime. This must start with international justice and accountability and an end to Israeli impunity.

In his report, Professor Lynk examined the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory with an emphasis on different forms of collective punishment, including the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip.

Professor Lynk stressed that “Like torture, there are no permissible exceptions to the use of collective punishment in law. And, like torture, the use of collective punishment flouts law and morality, dignity and justice, and stains all those who practice it.” In his report, the Special Rapporteur called on Israel, the Occupying Power, to end all measures amounting to collective punishment, including an end to the closure of Gaza, and urged all States to adopt sanctions and countermeasures to bring the Israeli occupation to an end.

The UN has repeatedly warned that Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020 should Israel fail to lift its illegal closure. In February 2019, the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the occupied Palestinian territory recommended that Israel, the Occupying Power, “lift the blockade on Gaza with immediate effect.” Over a year since, Israeli impunity has continued to prevail. It is time to lift the closure.

Support our Gaza 2020 campaign:

Watch our joint webinars on collective punishment at the margins of the 44th Regular Human Rights Council Session:

(Source / 20.07.2020)

QNN Exclusive: Shawan Jabarin from Al Haq speaks about the Israeli exploitation of the West Bank’s natural resources

Israel’s pillage of Palestinian resources represents approximately 8 billion dollars every year, which means that if Palestine had access to its resources, it wouldn’t need foreign help.

Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Al-Haq Palestinian human rights organization

QNN exclusive- After the Israeli government missed its self-imposed deadline of July 1, to begin the annexation of parts of the West Bank, the prospect of the annexation has become unclear. However, the Israelí official imposition of its law on Palestinian lands in the West Bank is only one side of the coin. The other is the de-facto Israelí colonization of the West Bank which continues to expand, regardless of the changes Israeli politics.

An essential part of this colonization is the Israeli exploitation of Palestinian natural resources. Most of these resources are located in the areas classified as (c) under the Oslo accords, controlled in all aspects by the occupation state. These areas include Israelí settlements, some of which have agricultural or industrial functions, but they also include tens of stone quarries. One of Palestine’s historical economic resources. In the Jordan valley, all of the arable lands, except for the city of Jericho and its immediate surroundings are under Israeli direct control. Most of these lands are exploited by Israeli private capital or locally-based Israeli settlers. But most importantly, the area (c) lands contain the largest and most important natural water reserves, vital for the survival of Palestinian cities, towns, villages, and Bedwin communities.

To discuss the effects of Israeli colonization on Palestinian resources, Quds News Network met Shawan Jabarin, the General Director Al-Haq, the largest Palestinian human rights organization, which has been documenting Israeli exploitation of natural resources for years. We spoke about the involvement of international companies in this exploitation, and about the UN database, released last February exposing these companies. Shawan Jabarin gave us his evaluation of this database, and what is needed to make it effective in the future, as a deterrent for international businesses, engaged in illegal activities, benefiting from the Israeli colonization. In addition, we spoke of legal responsibilities, and of the role of the international community and third-party states.

The world expected the annexation of the Jordan valley and other parts of the West Bank by the occupation state, to take place on July the 1st, but it didn’t. Will it eventually happen? And what will it really change?

It is important to remember that the issue of annexation is not about a specific date. It doesn’t really matter if it happens in July or in December, this year or the coming one. What really matters and is that there is a political decision in Israel to annex parts of the West Bank.

At the same time, we have to remember that although the annexation is already happening in the practical meaning in many ways, it’s legal extension would have dramatic consequences on the Palestinian population.

The Israelí annexation wall in the Palestinian town of Hizma, separating it from the city of Jerusalem while including Israelí settlements which houses can be seen behind the wall

The most important effect would be that the Israelí law would be implemented in these parts of the West Bank instead of Israelí martial law. This means that the law for the properties of absentees will be implemented, which means that Palestinians who haven’t been able to use their lands because of military restrictions for years, will legally lose them. Until now, Palestinians are still right holders to their lands, even if they are taken by settlers or by the army and Palestinian owners can still argue for their property rights in Israelí courts. If the Israeli law is implemented, that will no longer be the case, because Palestinian owners are not Israelis, they haven’t been using their lands for years, and as a consequence, they will lose their property rights.

Politically, the Israeli legal, official annexation, is the last step to officially end the two-states solution. Concretely, the annexation would deprive any potential Palestinian state from any borders, geographical continuity, or natural resources.

A partial view of Maale Adumim, the second-largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank, between Jerusalem and the Jordan valley

Your organization’s documentation shows that the occupation state has been exploiting Palestinian natural resources in the West Bank for decades. When did this start? And what is the size of this exploitation?

It started from day One. Since it occupied the West Bank, Israel began to exploit the natural resources of the West Bank in violation of the international humanitarian law, which strictly forbids the exploitation of natural resources in the benefit of the occupying power’s economy. Israelí exploitation of Palestinian natural resources in the West Bank started through military orders. This continued when private businesses started to move in, especially Israelí businesses, followed then by foreign companies.

The first resource to be exploited was water, then agricultural land, and then the aerial space that was used for telecommunications. But it extended to stone and lime queries, the Dead Sea minerals, touristic sites, and in the recent years, oil reserves that were discovered in the North-West of Ramallah, in addition to the natural gas fields discovered in the waters of Gaza. According to our estimates, Israel’s pillage of these resources represents approximately 8 billion dollars every year. If Palestine had access to these resources, it’s resources, it wouldn’t need foreign help. Instead, these resources are generating benefits for the Israelí economy. We call this ‘pillage’.

Israelí water extraction and transportation pipes, on the Israelí high-way between the settlement of Maale Adumim and the Dead Sea, in the occupied Palestinian West Bank
An Israelí-exploited stone quarry near the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, next to the houses of a Palestinian Bedwin community

You mentioned international companies involved in illegal activities on Palestinian resources. Do you think that the UN database of these companies which was published last February, exposed the real dimensions of foreign capital participation in the Israelí exploitation of Palestinian resources?

The UN database was an important step forward, especially after three years of work and big pressure from many countries to not see it published. At the same time, it is not enough. The database has to be updated yearly and there is a clear mechanism to do that.

To understand the importance of this yearly update, we should consider that the database only included 18 international companies, while we know there are many more companies that are active in the Palestinian territory benefiting the occupation state’s economy, in violation of international law.

In fact, all companies were contacted by the UN and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on their involvement in illegal settlements, before the publishing of the database. Some of these companies said that they were already preparing to exit the occupied territory and end their activities there, and therefore were not included in the database. This is why it’s so important to ensure the yearly update, so that those companies would know that if they continue to do business on stolen Palestinian resources, they will be exposed in the future.

What is the responsibility of the states to which these companies belong?

Third-party states, or member states of the international community have the responsibility of not assisting the business violation of human rights by any means. These states have the obligation to make sure that their private companies do no profit from human rights violations.

However, most of the states have only issued warnings to their national private businesses, of the legal consequences of their activities in the occupied territory, like the Netherlands. But without taking action to prevent the continuation of this business involvement in the pillage. This is a serious contradiction because by warning their companies, states are recognizing the violation, while at the same time they allow it to continue. Other states haven’t even issued warnings, like the US and the UK. In fact, the US continues to give facilitations to American companies to help them continue doing business in Palestine, benefiting from Israelí occupation and pillage.

How do you evaluate the role of European states in particular so far?

Most states recognize the illegal aspect of Israel’s pillage of Palestinian resources and of their countries’ companies participation in it, but they continue to allow it. The clearest example is the European decision to label all Israeli products coming from settlements in the West Bank, while continuing to allow these products to sell in European markets. The European Union also continues to hold a discourse that is in line with international law, especially of not recognizing the effects of Israelí settlement and possible official annexation. But at the same time, it continues to give the occupation state a privileged trade status, through the European-Israelí association agreement. If the occupation state continues to benefit from privileged treatment and sees no practical consequences to its violations, then political stands and declarations will have no effect, and the violations will continue.

A bill-board in Hebrew, Arabic and English, indicating that the Kalia beach follows the Israelí Magilot settlement council
A closed gate of Israelí dates plantation near the Dead Sea in the Palestinian occupied West Bank

The international community and especially Europe have the capacity and the responsibility to make real pressure on the occupation state, by at least imposing sanctions on it. But also by regulating their countries’ companies’ activities in Palestine, preventing them from participating in the occupation’s violations.

(Source / 20.07.2020)

Video| Palestinian mother celebrates her son’s birthday in front of Israeli jail right before he starts jail time

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The family of Abed Barbar gathered to celebrate his birthday in the most bizarre place ever: in front of Magiddo jail.

Mona, Abed’s mother, appeared in a video hugging her son and singing him the happy birthday song while he carries a cake. Tears of sadness did not stop as Abed was supposed to be jailed right after his mother ends her song.

Watch | This #Palestinian mother decided to celebrate her son’s birthday right before he begins a one-month sentence in Israeli jails, today

Abed Barbar is a former prisoner from Ras Al Amoud in Silwan, Jerusalem. He had been jailed by the occupation state several times in recent years. This time he will have to spend a month in Magiddo jail over beating an Israeli soldier back in 2016.

And as it is not usual for a Palestinian citizen not to spend time in Israeli jails, Mona Barbar is also a former prisoner, her husband had spent nine years in Israeli jails as well, and Abed himself had been arrested over 20 times since he had turned 12 years old.

(Source / 20.07.2020)

Video| Israeli police represses demonstration protesting leveling of Islamic cemetery in Jaffa

Jaffa (QNN)- The Israeli police have arrested four Palestinians this evening after repressing a peaceful protest against the leveling of an Islamic cemetery in the occupied city.

Local sources said the Israeli police attacked the peaceful protesters in a motorbike protest in Jaffa.

The sources added that Israeli undercover policemen carried out the protests.

#Watch | The Israeli occupation police violently dispersed a demonstration by Palestinians against the demolition of the 200-year-old al-Isaaf Cemetery, and building a housing project over its land, in Yafa city tonight

Occupied Jaffa has seen several activities against the Israeli confiscation and leveling of Al Is’af Islamic cemetery.

The Israeli municipality in the occupied city of Jaffa leveled the Palestinian-Muslim cemetery in order to build residential structures on the cemetery’s land.

An appeal by the elected Islamic committee in Jaffa and Al Mizan center for human rights had been filed to stop the construction work in the graveyard but the Israeli court rejected it and ordered to resume the leveling.

(Source / 20.07.2020)