Palestinians gather at the separation fence in Gaza for the Great March of Return on 1 November 2019
The Higher National Commission of the Great March of Return and Breaking of the Gaza Siege decided to postpone the Friday protests, amid the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.
Despite the fact that the resistance reached an Egypt-mediated truce with the Israeli occupation, Israeli aircrafts continued the raids on the Gaza Strip, targeting on Friday morning resistance forces’ positions in Rafah and Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza Strip.
The spokesman for the occupation army claimed on Thursday evening that he spotted the launch of two missiles from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, however, the Iron Dome defence system had intercepted them.
He pointed out that “the erosion of the truce is caused by the occupation army’s ongoing targeting of participants in the peaceful and popular protests of the March of Return, and the occupation’s attempt to procrastinate the implementation of measures to ease the siege on the Gaza Strip.”
The Higher National Commission of the Great March of Return and Breaking of the Gaza Siege named the new Friday of the March of Return protests and the break of the siege with the slogan “Friday for the renewal of the mandate of UNRWA.”
He also asserted that Israel uses Area C as a geographic reserve for the settlement expansion, noting that this is a violation of all of the deals signed by the PA and Israel.
Such policies, he claimed during the meetings which were attended by researchers and NGOs, inflicted massive losses on the Palestinian economy.
“However, the government adopted a plan of gradual disengagement in relation to the dependency on the Israeli occupation,” he explained, stating that this would be reinforced through encouraging the national produce and commercial exchange with Arab and world countries.
Meanwhile, he briefed the attendees about the efforts of the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, regarding the elections, noting that there were positive responses from the Palestinian factions. He stressed that the election is the only way to end the Palestinian division.
He also called on the EU and the UN to put pressure on Israel, in order to allow the Palestinians to vote in occupied Jerusalem, noting that efforts towards this have already started.
WhatsApp yesterday blocked access to hundreds of Palestinian journalists and activists who were providing live updates during the Israeli offensive on Gaza, Safa news agency reported.
This came less than 24 hours after the end of the two-day Israeli offensive which resulted in the death of 34 Palestinians and wounded 111 others.
Palestinian journalists and activists, who were active during the Israeli offensive, reported that their accounts were blocked and they were unable to use them.
The Gathering of the Palestinian Journalists condemned this step and accused WhatsApp of being complicit in Israel crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Israel hacking WhatsApp – Cartoon
It also said that this came as a result of their efforts to disclose the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian civilians and civil targets.
“This is to cover up the Israeli crimes and this is a continuation of the mother company, Facebook, as well as Twitter which had banned and blocked pages and accounts of hundreds of Palestinian journalists and media companies with thousands and millions of followers,” the group said.
Israeli authorities have several times disclosed efforts being exerted with the social media companies, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in order to block Palestinian content.
Egypt and the UN brokered a ceasefire between Palestinian faction in Gaza and Israel which came in to affect yesterday morning. Israel has, however, struck Gaza a number of times since the truce came in to affect bringing into question how long it will hold.
A Palestinian child throws stones at an Israeli Defence Force’s tank, much like the iconic image of Faris Odeh from October 2000, during the second Intifada
Director of the office of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that the security coordination with the Palestinian Authority (PA) significantly contributed to ending the Second Intifada.
According to Dov Weisglass, who served as the director of Sharon’s office during the Second Intifada, 500 Israelis were killed during the Palestinian Uprising before the initiation of “Operation Defensive Shield” by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank in 2002. Following the operation, another 500 Israelis were killed by 2005.
Weisglass said in an interview with Maariv, translated by Safa News Agency, that “the Second Intifada was eradicated thanks to the effective security coordination with the PA, and not because of the military invasion.”
He added: “In the West Bank, the Palestinian operations were halted as a result of the effective security coordination with the PA rather than Operation Defensive Shield; and because God removed [former Palestinian President Yasser] Arafat from our way and brought us [Mahmoud] Abbas, who believed in the vitality of vanquishing terrorism.”
Weisglass called on Israel to launch a military offensive similar to “Operation Defensive Shield” in Gaza due to the existence of a multitude of challenges in that area; however, he noted that: “No one has the courage to initiate such an operation.”
Regarding the period that followed the Israeli “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Weissglas indicated that “after the withdrawal, the armed attacks continued; however, we were confident of Abbas’ balanced efforts to control Gaza properly.”
He insisted: “Unfortunately, we found that the extent of discipline among the PA’s military forces to their leadership in Ramallah is very low.”
Palestinian women sit on debris after Israeli air strikes hit their homes in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 13 November 2019
Losses from Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip this year amount to $3 million, the Media Office in the enclave reported.
Some 500 housing units were either partial, severely or totally damaged, the office said, including eight houses and 12 housing units, with an estimated total value of $2 million, in addition to agricultural losses as a result of damage to land, farms, irrigation systems and fishing boats, worth more than one million shekels ($0.29 million).
The total losses in infrastructure, including water, sewage, electricity and roads, amounted to more than one million shekels.
The office pointed out that 12 commercial establishments were damaged at a cost of 300,000 shekels ($26,311) while losses in the transport and communications sectors amounted to more than 200,000 ($57,540) as a result of damage to cars and transport vehicles.
The aggression resulted in partial damage to government buildings and institutions, including 15 schools, two education directorates and a security headquarters, at a total value of 100,000 ($34,750).
The media office held the occupation responsible for all crimes committed against the Palestinian people during this aggression. Adding that those who did not act to stop the operation share the blame.
Palestinians can be seen among the rubble of their destroyed house after Israeli air strikes hit Gaza on 14 November 2019
Al-Azhar yesterday evening called on the international community to “take a humanitarian stand” against the “terrorist” practices of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people.
In a statement, the religious institution which is based in Egypt strongly condemned “the raids launched by the Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip, which led to the death of more than 20 Palestinians and wounding dozens.”
“These terrorist crimes against the Palestinian people day after day, reveal the bloody face of this brutal occupation, which targets people and destroys everything in its path.”
“These terrorist acts call for a humanitarian stand on the part of the international community and the countries and bodies concerned to stop these crimes,” it added.
Palestinians sort though the damage done to their belongings following air strikes carried out by Israel in Gaza on 13 November 2019
Palestinian MP from Hamas’ Change and Reform bloc Fathi Al-Qaraawi yesterday condemned the Israeli aggression on Gaza and stressed that the Israeli occupation will regret its attacks.
Al-Qaraawi said that the Israeli politicians are exporting their internal crises onto the Palestinian field and trying to solve their problems at the expense of Palestinian blood.
He stressed that these attempts will fail and the resistance, which is backed by all the Palestinian people, “will never lose”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appointment of his political opponent Naftali Bennett as defence minister on the day of the Israeli attack on Gaza proved Netanyahu’s “dirty” plans to use Gaza as a means to cover up allegations of corruption being hurled at him and his failure to form a government.
He called for Palestinians in Gaza to be resilient as they always win the battles with the Israeli occupation, stressing they are the pride of the Arab and Muslim nations.
Relatives of Palestinian Mohammad Sharab, who was killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza, mourn during his funeral ceremony on 14 November 2019
By Professor Kamel Hawwash
Those interested in human rights should remember the name of Omar Haitham Al-Badawi, from Al-Arroub refugee camp near Hebron. He was hit by Israeli gunfire outside his house. An eyewitness said that a gas canister had set fire to an area near his house. He pulled a towel from his house and indicated to an Israeli soldier that he was going to try and put the fire out. That same soldier shot him in the chest. Minutes later he succumbed to his wounds in a Hebron hospital.
Omar Haitham Al-Badawi, 22, was shot dead in front of his house by Israeli forces
The incident did not take place in Israel but in the illegally occupied West Bank. The innocent man posed no threat. He is just a Palestinian, a number, an inconvenience. If he had left his homeland of his own accord, he would not have died. It is his fault for clinging proudly to his land. Even if he had posed a threat, the soldier could have aimed at a part of his body that could have incapacitated him, but why bother? He is just a Palestinian.
“Shocking to see the video [of] today’s killing of Omar Badawi by Israeli security forces,” Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for Middle East peace, tweeted, adding that the Palestinian appeared to have “posed no threat to anyone”. However, nobody expects action to bring the murderer to account.
I do not know if the soldier enjoyed doing this as much as the incident recently reported, dating back to May 2018, involving Karam Qawasmi. Karam tried to enter Jerusalem but an Israeli soldier stopped him and turned him back. As he was walking away, arms above his head, the soldier shot him in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet. Unlike Omar, Karam survived.
After falling from the shot, Karam recalled that he “felt numbness in my body that lasted around five minutes”. “I do not know who exactly shot me, but after I got up, all of the soldiers started to shoot around me, just for laughs,” Qawasmi said. He had already been subjected to hours of humiliation and beatings by the soldiers before he was allowed to leave. “They rammed me [with a jeep], then took me under a bridge and started beating me,” Qawasmi said.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said: “The video is a clear indication of the Israeli occupation forces’ deliberate shooting against Palestinians, sometimes for entertainment and sometimes to show their arrogance and in most cases the shooting is justified under the pretext of security.”
This incident shows the attitude of Israeli soldiers to Palestinians. They are either a “play thing” or their blood is cheap. Other incidents confirm the lack of value placed on Palestinian lives by Israel.
Sara Daoud Ata Tarayra, 27, from Bani Neim town near Hebron, was a pregnant married woman, living in Hebron, and was killed at the entrance of the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Area H2, in the city. Eyewitnesses disputed the Israeli army’s claim that she had attempted to stab the soldier.
Viewers around the world saw Israeli soldier Elor Azaria walk up to 21-year-old Palestinian Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif, who lay injured on the ground after being shot by another soldier, point his gun at the motionless man and shoot him in the head. While he served a token prison sentence for his crime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for him to be pardoned. He became a folk hero.
That same status was unofficially bestowed on settler terrorist, Baruch Goldstein who in 1994 murdered 29 Palestinians performing morning prayers at the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron. His act of terror was rewarded with the division of the mosque into a Jewish and Muslim area.
Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem has documented Palestinian deaths in 2019. The question I pose is, how many of these Palestinians would have been killed in the same manner in a Western style democracy? In countries where there is accountability and where all lives are valued, soldiers and policemen and women know that they must act within the law or face consequences for their actions.
Killings by Israeli snipers of Palestinians marching to the Gaza fence for return to the homes they and their families were expelled from in 1948, have largely gone unpunished. Israel claims that there is no need for external investigations into its crimes because it carries out its own investigations. However, as part of its investigation into the killings of over 200 Palestinians in the now nearly 83-week-old Great March of Return, a soldier who killed a Palestinian minor was sentenced to a one-month community service.
The soldier killed Othman Ramis Helles during a protest near the Karni crossing east of Gaza City on 13 July 2018. The ruling, as quoted by Israeli media, states that the soldier fired his weapon towards the unarmed teenager “disobeying an order leading to a threat to life or health”.
If Israel placed real value on Palestinian lives, such a sentence would never be commensurate with the loss of this young man. Othman’s father, Rami Helles, told the New York Times he was deeply disappointed by the sentence. “I was hoping for financial compensation and jailing him for a longer period,” he said. “This is unjust.”
The recent attack by Israel on Gaza, which started at 4am on 12 November with the extrajudicial killing of Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu Al-Ata in an air raid, deeming him an imminent threat, has left more than 30 dead, amongst them innocent women and children.
The latest were eight members of the Abu Malhous family in Deir El-Balah, killed by Israel and leaving an infant orphaned.
The so called “international community” will not stand up to Israeli crimes or even insist that human rights organisations – which simply document its crimes – must be allowed to do this important work without hindrance. The case of Human Rights Watch Director Omar Shakir who is likely to be deported soon is a case in point.
It is clear from Israel’s murderous history since its creation in Palestine, against the will of the indigenous Palestinians, that Palestinian lives do not matter. Even the notorious Balfour Declaration implied Jews were a people, while the Palestinians were just “communities”. That attitude continues to this day. Britain and Israel’s other allies believe Israel can use violence at will under the pretence of “self-defence” but deny that right to Palestinians.
Palestinian lives matter to Palestinians but it appears not to Israel, the pro-Israel lobby or Israel’s allies. If they are interested in genuine peace then they will find it when to them Palestinian lives matter as much as Jewish lives. Until then, sadly many more Palestinian lives will be extinguished by a brutal and murderous Apartheid regime.
Palestinian Authority police forces can be seen violently arresting a Palestinian man on 12 March 2017
Palestinian Authority (PA) committed 619 violations against Palestinians in West Bank cities during 2018 and 2019, a report issued by the Committee of the Families of Political Detainees in the West Bank revealed yesterday.
The report said that the violations included 257 detentions, 96 summons and 69 raids of homes and workplaces.
It also stated that the PA security services did not obey the 25 rulings of PA courts to release prisoners.
In 14 cases prisoners went on hunger strike in protest against their detention and in 23 cases prisoners suffered medical problems as a result of the treatment they were subjected to during their detention.