UN Calls for International Support to the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Following a six-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller, called on the international community to ensure continued commitment and consistent and sustained funding to help alleviate the challenges faced by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

“My visit leaves me concerned,” Mueller declared, according to WAFA. “The challenges here are immense, but recent positive steps, along with the extraordinary people I met, give me hope that there are opportunities for improvement. We must seize them.”

The Assistant Secretary-General was a key note speaker at the sixth international conference on preparedness and response to emergencies and disasters, held in Tel Aviv. During her visit, she met with Israeli authorities, and commended Israel on its contribution to global emergency relief efforts.

She also met with Palestinian authorities and citizens to better understand the challenges of the crisis. She reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to address humanitarian needs across the oPt, and advocate for longer-term solutions, including lifting of the blockade in Gaza and a fair planning and zoning regime, and more conducive living conditions in the West Bank.

In the oPt, Mueller met Mohammed Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the State of Palestine, and Major General Yousef Nassar, Director General of Palestinian Civil Defense, to identify areas for strengthened cooperation. She visited the central West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where she met with vulnerable communities who are exposed to a coercive environment that reduces their access to shelter, basic services and natural resources, placing them at risk of forcible transfer.

In Gaza, she visited a major hospital, vulnerable women and men benefitting from the support of a women’s center and youth leaders, learning more about the deprivations of life under blockade and the negative impact of the Palestinian political divide.

“Until there is a viable political solution, it is critical that the international community continues to render support in a consistent and sustained manner to meet the needs of the most vulnerable Palestinians,” Mueller said. “Member States must continue to support humanitarian assistance in Gaza and the West Bank. At the same time, they must work to rekindle a robust political dialogue and promote long-term solutions, to address the root causes of this crisis.”

(Source / 21.01.2020) 

Report: Israel Steals Land, Erects Nature Reserves and National Parks to Expand Settlements

Madeeha Araj/PNN

The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements stated, in its latest weekly report , that the far-right Israeli Defense Minister, Naftali Bennett announced, last week, the approval of seven nature reserves in the West Bank, with an area of 130,000-State dunams — 20,000 of which ones belong to Palestinian citizens. Bennett’s announcement also included approval for expansion of 12 already existing and approved by the Civil Administration in 2008.

The announcement included Wadi Al-Malha Reserve, 14,236 dunams; Wadi Tireza Reserve, 200 dunams; and Wadi Ogh Reserve, 5,700 dunams — all private Palestinian lands.

Bennett claimed that his ministry continues to develop the Jewish settlement in Area C “with actions, but not with words,” adding that, in Judea and Samaria, there are picturesque natural sites to be expanded and new ones be established, soon. In his announcement, Bennett also called on Civil Administration to transfer the new nature reserves’ responsibility to the Nature and Gardens’ Authority, so that it can be opened before the public. Bennett’s announcement mentioned a large number of sites, including the Surek Cave, also known as the High Halimat Cave or the Candles Cave, near Beit Sorek; Wadi al-Muqlaq, on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem; Wadi-Malha, to the southern Jordan River; and Wadi Al-Far’a, the gateway to the northern Jordan Valley.

Moreover, Bennett also announced the expansion of 12 existing natural reserves, namely the mountain peaks located west of the Dead Sea; Fsayil & Um Zoka, in the Jordan Valley; Ein al-Fashkhah, adjacent to the Dead Sea; Kharouba village, east of Ramla and inside the West Bank; Wadi Silvadora, north of the Dead Sea; Ghadir Mountain, east of Tubas; Eioun Kana, north of the Dead Sea; Wadi Al-Malha, in the middle of the Jordan Valley; and Qumran, in the Jericho area — which means placing a hand on large areas of Palestinian land classified as Area C. According to B’Tselem’s data, Israel announced that about 20% of the Jordan Valley has become “natural reserves, and national parks.”

In general, there are 700 km2 in the West Bank that have been declared natural reserves, in addition to 78 km2 as forests, so that the percentage of those lands reaches 13.7% of the total area of the West Bank. This is to say 59 nature reserves, most of which are located in Area C, according to the Oslo Agreement, but under Israeli control, which is subject to use for the benefit of settlements in the northern Jordan Valley — areas that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promoting for his plan to impose Israeli sovereignty, there, if he wins the elections — the nature reserves in Wadi Qana, Salfit, and others in the Bethlehem and Hebron governorates. With this in mind, the matter is clearly not limited to nature reserves, but also includes military bases or state lands.

Within the context of settlement projects, Israeli occupation authorities issued military orders to seize 350 dunams of agricultural land from Al-Khader and Artas villages, to the south of Bethlehem and specifically in the Bakush, Dhahr Ein, Hammad, Al-Shagv, Zakandah, Ein Al-Qasis, Shushahla, and Rajm areas, with the aim of expanding the bypass settlement road n. 60. This means razing and rubbering more land, as well as adding 150-meter recoil, preventing farmers from accessing their lands.

Israeli authorities seized 127 dunams of land in Burqin and Kafr al-Dik, to the west of Salfit, under the pretext of it being state property. Israeli forces began implementing the second stage of establishing a new water line on the lands of the Qalqila Governorate, which extends from the 1948 line to Nablus, for the purpose of watering settlements. This seven-kilometer project was announced in 2018, and entails the destruction of more than 1,000 olive trees and the confiscation of one hundred dunams of lands.

In Nablus, groups of settlers gathered on a number of roads, especially the Hawara and Yitzhar roads, and in the Orif lands, disrupting study at Orif Secondary School. At the same time, settlers attacked residential houses with stones, in the Madama village, and tried to climb their roofs, but people from around the villages came to help.

In Salfit, occupation authorities announced, earlier, the expansion of the Bruakhin settlement by adding hundreds of new settlement units. This prompted the settlers, there, to bulldoze 127 dunams in the Thahr Subh area, on the northern side of Hajah town, classified as a state land located in Areas B & C, although its owners possess documents which prove their ownership.

(Source / 20.01.2020) 

Israeli Court Doubles Prison Sentence Of Detained Palestinian Teen

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported, last Thursday, that an Israeli appellate court has accepted an appeal filed by the prosecutor’s office demanding to raise the prison sentence of a detained Palestinian teen from the 18 years to life in prison.

The PPS stated that the ruling was part of a deliberate Israeli policy targeting dozens of detainees, including Ayham Sabah, 18, who was only 14 years of age when he was taken prisoner.

The teen was convicted of killing an off-duty Israeli soldier at a shopping center on February 18th, 2016 and was ordered to pay more than a million Israeli shekels in compensation for the family of the soldier, identified as Tuvia Yanai Weissman, 21.

The incident in question took place when two 14-year-old Palestinians were shot and critically injured after carrying out a stabbing attack that left one Israeli killed and one injured in the Rami Levi supermarket, located in the Shaare Benyamin industrial complex, northwest of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli police spokesperson said that two Palestinians entered the supermarket in the illegal Israeli settlement before stabbing the two Israelis, aged 17 and 35. Both Palestinians were shot and critically injured by an armed civilian present at the scene.

The spokesperson initially reported both Palestinians dead. The 35-year-old Israeli died from stab wounds in the upper body and torso shortly after.

(Source / 20.01.2020) 

Army Abducts Four Palestinians Near Qalqilia

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Saturday evening, four young Palestinian men, near Qalqilia, in northern West Bank.

Media sources said the soldiers abducted the four Palestinians at a military roadblock, which was installed between Qalqilia and Nablus.

They added that the abducted Palestinians have been identified as Amro Mohammad Abu Haniyya, Nidal Safwan Salim, Mansour ‘Assem Salim, and Ali Husan Sweidan.

Also on Saturday evening, the soldiers invaded Azzoun and fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at Palestinians, protesting the invasion.

Medical sources said the soldiers moderately injured one Palestinian, and caused several others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

(Source / 19.01.2020) 

PPS: “Army Abducts Eleven Palestinians In West Bank”

Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Sunday, at least eleven Palestinians, including a guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, from several parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported.

The PPS office in the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, said the soldiers stormed and searched homes, and abducted a guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, identified as Arafat Najeeb, in addition to Najib Siyam.

The soldiers also abducted another Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Sa’id ad-Daddo, from his home in Jerusalem, and took him to an interrogation facility.

Furthermore, the soldiers stormed the home of Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the head of the Higher Islamic Committee and the Khatib of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, from his home in Jerusalem’s Suwwana neighborhood, and ransacked the property, before summing him for interrogation.

The soldiers also handed an order to Sheikh Ahmad Abu Ghazala, barring him from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque until this coming Friday.
In related news, the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in the Old City, and several parts of East Jerusalem, including Beit Hanina, Silwan and Ras al-Amoud, stopped and searched many Palestinians, and interrogated them while inspecting their ID cards.

The soldiers also stormed and ransacked several shops in Silwan, and searched many cars, causing damage.

In addition, the soldiers invaded Tarqoumia town, west of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, before storming and ransacking the home of a lawyer, identified as Akram Abu Haltam, and abducted his wife, a teacher and a mother of four children, identified as Rawan Shaker Qabaja.

In the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, the soldiers abducted Mohannad Jaber Abu Sill, 33, from his home, in addition to ransacking the home of Issa Ribhi Abu Eid, in the Shiokh town, east of Hebron.

In Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, the soldiers invaded many homes in Beit Fajjar town, south of the city, and abducted five former political prisoners, identified as Anas Shaher Deeriyya, Awni Ahmad Taqatqa, Ahmad Salti Thawabta, Yousef Zaki Deeriyya, and Ragheb Hussein Deeriyya.

It is worth mentioning that, on Sunday morning, the soldiers invaded Deir Nitham Secondary School, in Deir Nitham village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and searched it, causing anxiety attacks among the students, in addition to threatening to abduct many of them.

On Saturday evening, the soldiers abducted four young Palestinian men, near Qalqilia, in northern West Bank.

(Source / 19.01.2020) 

Israeli Soldiers Invade Palestinian School West of Ramallah

Israeli forces raided, on Sunday, a Palestinian school and terrorized its students in the village of Deir Nizam, west of Ramallah in central occupied West Bank.

According to the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA), soldiers invaded the school and ransacked classrooms, causing panic and fear among students as soldiers threatened to detain them.

Soldiers claimed that rocks were allegedly thrown by some students at illegal settlers’ vehicles near the village.

In related news, recently Israeli forces, demolished the foundations of a new school that was in the process of being built, east of Yatta town, south of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states that everyone has the right to education, and that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

(Source / 19.01.2020) 

Video: Palestinian Woman Arrested at Al-Aqsa After Alleged Stabbing Attempt

Israeli police detained, on Saturday, a Palestinian woman at Damascus Gate, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in Jerusalem, after an alleged attempted stabbing attack, the Palestinian News and Info Agency reported.

Witnesses stated that several police officers at the heavily fortified gate jumped the female worshiper, whose identity was not immediately known, before taking her away in handcuffs.

Police closed Damascus Gate as well as nearby streets and prevented people from entering or leaving the Old City after the incident.

Two videos below show the brutal handling of the woman, however no evidence of an attempted stabbing is noted.

(Source / 19.01.2020) 

Israel Opens Dams, Floods Agricultural Land in Gaza

For the third time in one week, on Saturday, Israel opened dams collecting rain water towards lands east of Gaza City, flooding hundreds of dunams of agricultural land, said witnesses.

WAFA correspondent said that Israel opened the dams and drained the collected rainwater toward the Gaza Strip flooding and damaging hundreds of dunams of land planted with wheat, barley, peas, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Losses to farmers were estimated in the thousands of dollars, the Palestine News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.

(Source / 19.01.2020) 

Gaza Bombed for 2nd Time in 24 Hours

Occupation aircraft have carried out a fresh round of airstrikes, against targets in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, as Israel continues with its acts of aggression against the besieged Palestinian coastal sliver.

The Israeli military said, in a statement, that a combat helicopter attacked infrastructure used for by the Hamas movement, late on Thursday. No immediate reports of casualties in the aerial assaults were available.

The statement added that the attack was conducted after two balloons with explosives were flown from the Gaza Strip into Israeli-occupied territories, earlier in the day.

A video published by Israel’s Kan news network purported to show Hamas members leaving a post ahead of the strike.

Israeli police said that at least two clusters of balloons carrying explosive devices were launched from the Strip, into the southern sector of Israeli-occupied territories, earlier in the day.

One of the clusters apparently landed in an open field and the other became tangled in a tree. Sappers were called to the scenes in the Sdot Negev region east of Gaza, PNN further reports.

One of the devices purportedly went off as the sappers arrived at the scene. The explosion caused no injuries or damage.

Late on Wednesday, Israeli warplanes carried out several airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, targeting a number of areas in the north and the northwest of the coastal enclave.

Palestinian media reported that one of the airstrikes targeted a Hamas position. The attack caused an explosion and material damage to nearby buildings.

Another attack targeted areas in Jabalia and Beit Lahia, in Gaza’s north.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June of 2007.

Since 2008, Israel has waged three wars against Gaza, where about two million Palestinians live under a 12-year Israeli blockade. Thousands of Gazans have been killed in each of these deadly wars.

(Source / 18.01.2020) 

Three Palestinians Detained Near Bethlehem, Including a Former Prisoner

Israeli soldiers, on Friday, detained at least three Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.

Security sources confirmed that Israeli forces conducted an invasion into Bethlehem city, resulting in the detention of two Palestinians, including a former prisoner.

Soldiers also rounded up another Palestinian after ransacking his family’s home in an incursion in Njeim village, located east of Bethlehem.

In related news, eleven Palestinians, including a 70 year old man, were abducted from their homes in Jenin, Jerusalem and Hebron, on Thursday at dawn.

(Source / 18.01.2020)