Israel turns West Bank into toxic waste dump

‘There are 98 Israeli landfills across the occupied West Bank,’ Palestinian official says

The Israeli occupation has turned the occupied Palestinian West Bank into a massive landfill for dangerous and toxic wastes since 1967, the Anadolu Agency revealed on Friday.

Palestinian experts and officials said that 60 per cent of Israel’s waste ends up in the occupied West Bank.

They stressed that this puts the life of Palestinians at stake, as well as damaging the soil and poisoning the groundwater.

According to Palestinian experts, Israeli disposal of its wastes is a clear violation of international laws related to environmental protection.

Speaking to Anadolu, head of the Palestinian Environment Authority Adala Al-Atira said: “There are 98 Israeli landfills across the occupied West Bank.”

This is in addition to the scores of landfill sites which are used by the illegal settlements but have not been officially recognised or allocated.

(Source / 18.08.2018)

Killing 120 innocent Palestinians on Black Friday is OK, Israeli probe finds

Joint report by Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture found evidence proving that Israeli occupation forces carried out war crimes on Black Friday
Chief Military Advocate General finds no criminal wrongdoing in killing 120 Palestinians, wounding more than 1,000 and demolishing more than 200 homes on Black Friday, Israeli Ynet News reported on Wednesday.

Black Friday was one of the bloodiest days during the 51-day Israeli offensive on the blockaded Gaza Strip in 2014.

Chief Israeli Military Advocate General Major General Sharon Afek has decided to close the case on the killing of Palestinians in revenge of losing an Israeli soldier during the attacks on Palestinian civilians.

“Prosecutors have decided not to file any criminal charges against the Israeli commander involved in the incident,” a statement read.

The aggressive attack began on August 1, 2014, after Israeli Army Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was captured — and two other Israeli soldiers killed — by Palestinian resistance fighters.

Israeli troops deployed in the area initiated the so-called “Hannibal Protocol,” a controversial directive giving field commanders the right to “do anything” to prevent the capture of Israeli soldiers.

Israeli 2014 military onslaught left more than 2,300 Palestinians dead and much of the Gaza Strip’s vital infrastructure in ruins.

More than 11,000 Palestinians were wounded and most of the hospitals, many schools and mosques and tens of thousands of Palestinian homes were destroyed.

It is worth mentioning that a joint report by Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture found evidence proving that Israeli occupation forces carried out war crimes on Black Friday.

(Source / 16.08.2018)

Gaza: Meet the Palestinian doctor who watched his son die

Doctor Dahoud al-Shobaki had spent his career saving lives, but nothing prepared him for the heartbreak of failing to save his own son

By Ghazal Othman

In the 22 years of Sari al-Shobaki’s life, his father rescued him from death seven times, but the eighth time, when he was shot by the Israeli occupied snipers, he failed.

The first time, Dr Dahoud al-Shobaki recalls, was when his son was born three months premature and turned blue from lack of oxygen in an incubator. Then there was also the time when he had a dangerously high fever at age four.

But the last five occurred in the span of two months this year.

“I wish that I had been able to save my son’s life like I am used to … but the eighth time, it was God’s decree,” Dahoud tells Middle East Eye.

As a retired doctor now turned public health consultant in the Gaza Strip, Dahoud, 56, knows the difficulties faced by wounded and sick patients in the besieged Palestinian enclave’s hospitals.

But despite the health scares he has faced over the years, nothing prepared Dahoud to witness first-hand the slow death of his son Sari, shot in the neck by Israeli soldiers in May, only to succumb to his wounds two months later.

Left to die

At only 22, Sari al-Shobaki dreamt of getting married and becoming a father. An enterprising young man, he worked hard to make his dream come true, working a series of odd jobs such as selling cold drinks and stockings or working at a photography studio.

The second-eldest of eight children, Sari used his earnings to help out his family in the Daraj neighbourhood of Gaza City and to try to build a future for himself.

At 10am on 14 May, the young man walked out of the house without telling his family where he was going. What exactly transpired then remains a mystery to his family until now.

Dahoud’s phone rang an hour after Sari left home.

On the other end of the line, someone told him that his beloved son had been killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza’s buffer zone near Israel.

That fateful Monday ended up being the single bloodiest day of the Great March of Return. Since 30 March, thousands of Palestinians have protested against living conditions in Gaza and called for the right of return for those Palestinian refugees whose families were displaced during the establishment of Israel.

At least 58 died on 14 May after Israeli forces opened fire, with a further seven Palestinians later dying from injuries sustained that day. Many had come out to denounce the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, which happened on the same day.

Dahoud rushed to the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which was overwhelmed that day with casualties from the protest. The medical authorities did not have anyone registered under Sari’s name, so Dahoud combed every department of the medical centre for hours.

Amid the chaos, he finally found his son lying in a corner of the reception area. On his chest lay a piece of paper marked “Unidentified”. He was in dire straits, but still breathing.

Father and doctor

Dahoud could barely control his emotions when he saw that no one was providing his son with medical care.

“Oh Sari, how many hours you have been bleeding alone? Is this what you deserve?” he remembers asking.

Dahoud immediately took matters into his own hands and saved his son’s life for a third time, transfusing 12 units of blood and infusing more than 100 saline solution units.

Sari stabilised, but the bullet that penetrated his neck had hit his spinal cord, rendering him quadriplegic and leaving him with respiratory and intestinal paralysis.

After 10 days at the al-Shifa hospital, all the doctors who examined Sari agreed that his condition was irreversible, especially given the limited medical care available in Gaza, where extensive power cuts and a shortage of medical supplies due to the 11-year Israeli siege have devastated its health sector.

Dahoud, like many desperate relatives in Gaza, tried hard to find care for his son outside the enclave, a difficult process given the small number of medical exit permits granted by Israel to Palestinian patients.

Finally, on 25 May, Dahoud and Sari were allowed to travel to East Jerusalem for treatment at the Saint Joseph hospital.

Hopeful recovery

Despite the diagnosis and the lack of proper medical care in Gaza, Dahoud did not lose hope.

Father and son began communicating through eye contact: Sari would blink to say “yes” and raise his eyebrows to signify “no”.

“I will be happy even with only your eyes with me, even without your body,” Dahoud recalls saying. “I do not ask for more.”

Soon, the two devised a more elaborate system of communication. Dahoud would recite the alphabet, and Sari would blink when he reached the desired letter, slowly spelling out his sentences.

Dahoud would warmly encourage his son through rehabilitation exercises. Some sessions were filmed and posted online, prompting waves of support on social media.

“One more time, love of my life, do you want to get out of here?” he would say, kissing Sari’s forehead as the young man would blink once for “yes”.

Between 5 June and 5 July, Sari made a slow but promising recovery in the East Jerusalem hospital, Dahoud says, as he kept up his involvement in his son’s treatment.

“I was checking on everything, even on his breath. I would massage him for three hours or more every day until I noticed that he was trying to move his neck,” Dahoud says.

“He regained his sense of smell, and was able to defecate and speak again,” Dahoud says. “He also moved the muscles of his stomach and thigh, and moved his knee when I pulled it.”

Dahoud could not believe the great improvements made by his son.

He remembers kissing Sari and telling him: “We will not go back to Gaza until you can stand on your feet.”

Sari had replied: “I want to stand up. I want to walk, dad.”

Sari’s last days

But just as his condition looked hopeful, Sari’s health took a drastic turn for the worse.

A tracheostomy operation to insert a tube into Sari’s neck to help him breathe did not go as planned, causing a tracheoesophagal fistula – an abnormal connection between his oesophagus and windpipe – and a drug-resistant bacterial infection.

The fistula made it impossible for Sari to eat. Dahoud watched helplessly as his son withered away, knowing that he was hungry and thirsty yet unable to satisfy these basic needs.

On 17 July, slightly more than two months after he was shot, Sari al-Shobaki died.

“When Sari passed away, he hadn’t seen a single tear from my eye,” Dahoud says. “When I was with him, I held myself together completely. And I was strong, very strong. And I’m really happy about this, that Sari never saw me cry.

“Sari’s spirits were as high as the sky, while my spirits were as low as the ground. I would leave him in the intensive care unit and go the waiting room to break down in tears,” Dahoud adds, his voice cracking.

According to the Gaza health ministry, Sari was the 142nd Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since the beginning of the Great March of Return.

At least 25 more Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since, according to ministry figures.

“It makes me and the world proud that he didn’t get injured and die because of a brawl or a fight,” Dahoud says. “No, he got injured by the enemy.”

Despite the heartbreak and the grief, Dahoud vowed to move forward.

“I’m really happy that I was the one taking care of him and not anyone else,” he says. “I will return to my job as a doctor stronger than before.”

(Source / 15.08.2018)

Lieberman: War on Gaza a matter of time

Last week, Israeli forces attacked Gaza, killed pregnant mother, her toddler and destroyed 5-story cultural centre

It is only a matter of time before Israel launches a new offensive against the Gaza Strip, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on monday.

The Jerusalem Post reported Lieberman saying: “The question of the next round of fighting is not ‘whether’ but ‘when.’ I am sure we will do what is needed.”

The senior Israeli official met with the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Occupation Army Gadi Eisenkot, the head of the Southern Command Herzi Halevi, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Kamil Abu Rokon and representatives from Shin Bet.

“Since the start of the ‘March of Return,’ Hamas has claimed 168 dead, another 4,348 wounded and dozens of terror infrastructures destroyed,” Lieberman said.

“We are conducting a responsible and powerful security policy.”

He explained: “Responsible security policy is not an answer-not to online commenters, not newspaper headlines or public opinion. We are prepared and know what to do and how to do it.”

Last week Israeli jets pounded Gaza with more than 150 air strikes that killed a pregnant mother and her 18-month-old daughter and destroyed a cultural centre.

(Source / 14.08.2018)

MoH: 8,260 patients at risk after cancer treatment runs out in Gaza

There are 460 children who are cancer patients in the Gaza Strip

Some 8,260 in the besieged Gaza Strip are unable to access chemotherapy treatment after zdrugs needed ran out as a result of the siege, Palestinian health ministry revealed yesterday.

In a statement, ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said 80 per cent of cancer medicines are not available in the enclave which makes treatment impossible and puts patients’ lives at risk.

The ministry said that there are 6,100 cancer patients, including 460 children, who receive treatment at Al-Rantisi Hospital in Gaza City.

In addition, the ministry said, there are 1,700 cancer patients in the European Hospital in southern city of Khan Yunis.

Human rights groups have called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the punitive measures he has imposed on the Strip in particular those which have paralysed its health sector.

Gaza has endured an 11-year Israeli siege which has seen all its land and sea ports closed. The PA has exacerbated the situation by cutting salaries of civil servantsrefusing to pay Gaza’s electricity costs and providing insufficient medication for hospitals.

This comes a time when UNRWA is experiencing major cuts and has been reducing its workforce causing Palestinians in Gaza to become unemployed.

(Source / 13.08.2018)

Israeli media complicit with occupation army against Palestinians

It is not hard to imagine what would have happened, both in Israel and abroad, if Palestinians had killed a pregnant Israeli woman and her baby daughter, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy wondered

Killing pregnant mother Inas Khammash and her 18-monthold daughter in Israeli airstrike on Gaza was mentioned by Israeli media which was concerned with cancelling wedding in illegal settlement of Sderot.

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy scanned the accounts of Israeli officials on social media and found their posts reflecting how much they are thirst for blood.

Levy said that Israeli commentator Shimon Riklin tweeted: “We want you to kill terrorists, and as many as possible, until the cries of their families overcome their sick murderousness.”

He also said that the Israeli Minister Yoav Galant, a man whose hands are stained with a great deal of Gazan blood, declared with Biblical lyricism: “I will pursue my enemies and catch them, I will not come back until they are finished.”

Yair Lapid, a prominent Israeli minister, according to Levy, wrote: “The IDF must hit them with all its force, without hesitating, without thinking.”

While all this was happening, Levy wrote to Haaretz, Inas, a Palestinian mother in her ninth month of pregnancy and her 18-month-old Bayan Khammash’s house was hit by an Israeli jet that tore then into pieces. The father of the family, Mohammed, was seriously wounded.

Their killing did not satisfy the thirst for blood on social media in the slightest. It barely earned a mention in the mainstream Israeli media, which were far more concerned by the cancellation of a wedding in Sderot. That is always Israel’s order of priorities.

Speaking about the Israeli media, Levy said that the complete disregard for the victims, even the killing of a pregnant mother and her daughter, is an act of collaboration with wartime propaganda. The complete public indifference to every killing, coupled with the thirst for blood that has become politically correct, is also evidence of an unparalleled nadir.

It is not hard to imagine what would have happened, both in Israel and abroad, if Palestinians had killed a pregnant Israeli woman and her baby daughter. But Inas and Bayan were Palestinians from Dir al-Balah.

Levy wondered: “Are there still any Israelis who glanced for a moment at their own loved ones and imagined the atrocity of killing a pregnant mother with her baby in her arms? Does the thought still pass through anyone’s mind here that Inas and Bayan were a pregnant mother and her baby daughter, like the neighbors across the way? Like your daughter and granddaughter. Like your wife and daughter.

“Can thoughts like these still arise even for a moment, given the onslaught of dehumanisation, propaganda and brainwashing, which justifies any killing and blames the entire world, with the sole exception of those who committed it? Given the media, most of which just wants to see more and more blood being spilled in Gaza, and even does everything in its power so that blood will actually be spilled? Given the usual excuses that the Israeli occupation forces never intend to hit a pregnant woman and her daughter, they merely happen to do so, again and again and again and again?

“Given all this, is there still any chance that the killing of a mother and daughter will shock anyone here? That it will touch anyone?”

He continued: “For almost 12 years, Gaza has been closed to Israeli journalists on Israel’s orders, and Israel’s fighting media accepts this submissively, even gladly. How badly I wish I could go to Inas and Bayan’s house right now, to tell their story and, above all, to remind the reader that they were human beings, people – a very difficult thing to do in the atmosphere of today’s Israel.”

Levy recalled his last trip to Gaza: “On one of our last trips to Gaza, in September 2006, photographer Miki Kratsman and I went to the Hammad family’s house in the Brazil refugee camp in Rafah. A huge crater had opened up a few hundred meters from the miserable tin shack we entered. In the dim room, we saw nothing but a crushed wheelchair and a crippled woman lying on the sofa.

“A few nights earlier, the family heard airplanes overhead. Basma, then 42 and completely paralysed, was lying in her iron bed. She quickly told her only daughter, 14-year-old Dam al-Iz, to rush to her so she could protect the girl with her own body. A concrete roof crashed down on them and killed Dam, her only daughter, who was lying curled up in her mother’s arms.”

He concluded: “Ever since Inas and Bayan were killed, I have been thinking about Dam al-Iz and her mother again.”

(Source / 12.08.2018)

Israel’s siege of Gaza is anything but legal

By Motasem A. Dalloul

Israeli occupation army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tell lies about their 12-year-old siege imposed on Gaza. They claim the siege keeps up with international law to justify their attack on freedom boats.

On Sunday 29 July, Israeli commandos boarded a boat taking part in a Freedom Flotilla which was taking humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. The boat — Al-Awda (The Return) — was captured by Israel while sailing in international waters. If anyone else had conducted the raid, it would have been condemned as an act of piracy on the high seas. Instead, Israel stopped the much-needed aid going to the 2 million Palestinians in what has been described as an open-air prison.

Twenty humanitarian activists from around the world were on board Al-Awda. They have since reported that they were humiliated and beaten by the Israelis who captured them. Yonatan Shapira, a former Israeli Air Force officer who was on board the boat, said that the commandos beat them up, tasered several people and stole most of the passengers’ and crew’s property.

Commenting on the attack, the Israeli military tweeted: “The boat was tracked and stopped in accordance with international law.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the commandos for “their determined and efficient action in detaining the passengers on the [Al-Awda] ship that tried to reach the Gaza coast in contravention of the law.”

Last Saturday, 4 August, at dawn, Israeli commandos raided and seized another boat in the Freedom Flotilla, which was also on its way to deliver medical aid to the coastal enclave, which has been under a tight Israeli-led blockade for 12 years. The siege has resulted in severe shortages of medicines, medical equipment and medical disposals that all hospitals and patients, including those in besieged Gaza, depend on.

Yet again, the Israelis claimed that the ship “was monitored and intercepted in accordance with international law.” They added that the ship’s passengers were told that they “violated the legal naval blockade” imposed on Gaza.

The Israeli occupation authorities and officials, including Netanyahu, keep describing the siege as legal and claim that it is imposed within international law. Such claims are based on the lie that the Israeli Navy is stopping weapons from getting to the Palestinian resistance groups. Their resistance to Israel’s military occupation, by the way, is entirely legitimate according to international laws and conventions.

The reality on the ground is that Israel is blockading 2 million Palestinians in Gaza and tightening restrictions in order that they might take to the streets and overthrow Hamas. This is what the Western-backed Palestinian Authority did in the occupied West Bank, with the help of the Israeli occupation forces, in 2007, shortly after the Islamic Resistance Movement won the “free and fair” democratic elections across the occupied Palestinian territories.

International organisations were prompted to investigate the legality of the Israeli siege by a 2010 attack by commandos on another Freedom Flotilla. Nine Turkish nationals were killed by the Israeli troops as they sailed to Gaza in an attempt to break the siege and deliver vital humanitarian aid; a tenth died later of his injuries. Yet again, the Israeli attack took place in international waters; yet again, it had all the hallmarks of an act of piracy on the high seas.

Throughout the 12 years of the Israeli siege on Gaza, many UN officials and human rights groups have described what the Israeli occupation is doing in and to Gaza as illegal and a flagrant violation of international law. In 2010, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that the blockade of Gaza violates the Geneva Conventions and called for it to be ended. “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility,” said the ICRC in a five-page statement. “The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.”

The Head of ICRC Operations for the Middle East, Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, commented, “We are urging Israel to put an end to this closure and call upon all those who have an influence on the situation, including Hamas, to do their utmost to help Gaza’s civilian population.”

Following the ICRC statement, a panel of five independent UN rights experts reported to the UN Human Rights Council, stressing that the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave had subjected Gazans to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” The UN Mission, which investigated the Israeli blockade on Gaza and found it was imposed as a result of the Palestinians participating in free elections, said: “The Mission considers that one of the principal motives behind the imposition of the blockade was a desire to punish the people of the Gaza Strip for having elected Hamas. The combination of this motive and the effect of the restrictions on the Gaza Strip leave no doubt that Israel’s actions and policies amount to collective punishment as defined by international law.”

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have also said that the siege is illegal. UNOCHA called it “collective punishment, a violation of international humanitarian law,” while the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, stated that it “is illegal and should be lifted.”

All of this makes it very clear that Netanyahu and his cronies are lying when they claim that the siege of Gaza is legal. So too are members of the pro-Israel Lobby in world capitals as they seek to influence politicians, aided and abetted by a compliant mainstream media.

Anna Dressler, a Swedish activist who was on board Al-Awda, described Gaza accurately when she said that it is a place where human rights laws seem to have been forgotten. “I believe that every person can change the world, in their own way, wherever they are and in whatever way they can,” she added. “Let’s start here, with a blockade that should never have existed and yet continues, along with all other man-made catastrophes.”

According to Yonatan Shapira, those of his former colleagues in the Israeli armed forces who are blocking the efforts to break the siege should really think about what they will tell their grandchildren in years to come. “Don’t think about what your friends will say about you today, think about your grandchildren. Refuse to take part in this ongoing war crime. Refuse to continue murdering people who are locked in the biggest prison in the world. I was once one of you and I know that among you there are some who can still think. Refuse to be the guards of the Gaza ghetto.”

(Source / 11.08.2018)

Gaza under attack: Israeli airstrikes wound 20, destroys cultural centre

At least 20 Palestinian civilians were wounded in two Israeli airstrikes targeted the largest cultural centre in the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, Palestinian medical sources said.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli fighter jets launched two large missiles that destroyed Al-Mis-hal Cultural Centre, a five-story building at Al-Shati Refugee Camp in western Gaza City.

The massive Israeli attack caused explosions that shook buildings in Gaza City as dust and gray smoke filled the air.

Spokesman of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra said that least 18 people were wounded in the air strike.

Earlier to the Israeli attacks, the Palestinian factions in Gaza declared that they consider the latest exchange of fire between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian resistance in Gaza over.

They said that maintaining peace now depends on the intention of the Israeli occupation officials, but it seems that the Israeli occupation is intending to carry more crimes against the 2 million people who have been under a strict Israeli siege for 12 years.

It is wort noting that four Palestinians were killed, including a mother, her 18-month-todler, and 40 others were wounded, including eight in moderate and serious conditions.

(Source / 09.08.2018)

Israel interrogates US Jewish activists over ‘connections with Palestinians’

“Why the hell would I want to help the Palestinians,” the activist said Israeli intelligence asked her

Israeli security services held and interrogated Simone Zimmerman, a US Jewish activist, at the border with Egypt for several hours on Sunday over “connections with Palestinians.”

Zimmerman, who resides and works in Israel, tweeted that her and a friend were held at the Taba Crossing for four hours, where they were questioned by security agents from Shin Bet over their political views and previous work with Palestinians.

“I am at the border after a weekend in Sinai and Israeli authorities have detained me and my friend Abby for the last three hours. We are being questioned solely about our political opinions and activities vis a vis Palestinians esp in the occupied territories,” the activist tweeted on Sunday.

The activist said that security agents quizzed her and fellow activist Abby Kirschbaum over places she had visited in the West Bank, what she thought of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and “why she wanted to help [people] in Gaza.”

“All of the questions they asked me were about if I go to Palestinian areas, what do I do/who do I meet there, why I go there… and why the hell would I want to do that,” she said in another tweet.

She, who describes herself on Twitter as part of the Jewish Resistance to the occupation, works for an Israeli human rights organisation in Tel Aviv for which she has a valid work permit.

She is a founding member of IfNotNow, an American Jewish anti-occupation organisation.

Zimmerman worked previously for Bernie Sanders as the Jewish outreach coordinator for the 2016 primary campaign, however, she was allegedly fired after comments surfaced from 2015 where she called Netanyahu a “manipulative asshole” and “murderer”.

Zimmerman, who says she is not herself a supporter of the BDS movement, recently made a video condemning Israel’s travel ban on anyone associated with the boycott movement that came into action last year.

(Source / 07.08.2018)

Israeli tanks bomb Gaza, kill 2 youths

Killing these two youths brings number of Palestinians killed since March 30 to 159

Israeli occupation tanks bombed on Tuesday morning the east of the Gaza Strip and killed two Palestinian youths, Palestinian security sources said.

Palestinian paramedics rushed to the bombed area and found a number of Palestinians wounded and two dead.

All the casualties were evacuated to the hospital, including the dead, who were torn into pieces as they were directly targeted.

The two Palestinian youths were members of the Palestinian national security services, which guard the eastern line of Gaza.

Killing these two youths brings the number of the Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupation since March 30, when the protests of the Great March of Return started, to 159.

(Source / 07.08.2018)