Israel opens natural spring to visitors – except Palestinians

Ein Hanya, a natural spring in southern Jerusalem [Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate of Jerusalem/Facebook]

Ein Hanya, a natural spring in southern Jerusalem

Israeli authorities have opened a natural spring in southern Jerusalem to visitors, “but on the explicit condition that Palestinians not be allowed to enter the site”, reported Haaretz.

The decision by police yesterday meant that the Ein Hanya spring “was kept under heavy guard by the police and Border Police, which even closed the road leading to Palestinian towns”.

Meanwhile, “hundreds of Israelis visited the site”, said Haaretz.

As described by the paper, Ein Hanya “is one of the largest and most important natural springs in the Jerusalem area”.

While it is located within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, Palestinian residents of neighbouring village Al-Walaja “regularly visit it”.

Much of Al-Walaja’s land has been confiscated by Israeli authorities over the decades, with village land straddling the 1967 ‘Green Line’

READ: ‘He re-occupied his land from the occupation’

The official opening of the spring as a tourism site was subject to repeated delays, thanks to “a dispute over whether entry fees should be charged”, as well as the “police’s demand that Palestinians not be allowed to enter”.

Police have also insisted that a checkpoint be relocated further south, “so that it would separate Palestinian towns from the spring”, at an estimated cost of 12 million shekels ($3.4 million).

The spring has now opened for just three days, before closing again “until the checkpoint is moved”.

According to Haaretz, “over the past few days, police have stepped up enforcement against Palestinian farmers seeking to work land near the spring”, and have “even forced a farmer to leave”.

Shaul Goldstein, the nature authority’s director, “said his agency has no objection to Palestinians visiting the spring, nor does it have any interest in moving the checkpoint.”

However, he noted that “since Ein Hanya is located in Jerusalem, from the defence establishment’s perspective, any Palestinian who goes there is in the capital illegally.”

READ: 14 Palestinians homeless as Israel razes homes in Jerusalem

(Source / 16.10.2019) 

Salman Ouda’s relative detained after tweeting support for Palestine

Saudi cleric Salman Al-Ouda

Saudi cleric Salman Al-Ouda

Saudi Arabia has arrested young activist Abdel-Aziz Al-Ouda over a tweet in support of Palestine, Abdullah Al-Ouda, son of detained prominent preacher Salman Al-Ouda, revealed on Monday.

“The family was shocked by the detention of Abdel-Aziz Al-Odah over a tweet in support of the Palestinian cause,” Abdullah tweeted.

“This detention discloses the wicked intentions regarding the detention and crackdown campaigns [in Saudi Arabia]. Even tweeting in support of Palestine and defending it [became illegal].”

Twitter users in Saudi Arabia showed their support for Abdul-Aziz and led to his name trending in the kingdom.

#Saudi activist Abdul Aziz al-Odah was recently arrested by the Saudi authorities for tweeting in support of #Palestine,” Shujaat Ali Quadri tweeted.

READ: Saudi Arabia’s normalisation with Israel

He added: “Saudi blogger, Mohammed Saud, who visited Israeli officials recently, continues to tweet in support of Israel and calling for normalisation,” in reference to a little known social media user who visited Israel following an invitation from Tel Aviv.

Opposition activist Omar Al-Zahrani called for activists in the kingdom not to tweet about public issues, support the Palestinian cause or criticise the royal court, Turki Al-Sheikh and Saud Al-Qahtani for fear of being sent to prison.

Arab states, excepting Jordan and Egypt, do not officially recognise the State of Israel and have openly condemned the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories since the state’s creation in 1948. Over the past few years, however, there have been numerous secret visits to Israel by leaders such as Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman and each year the concept of normalising relations with Israel becomes bolder and more resolute.

In July, the foreign ministers of both Israel and Bahrain held a public meeting in the US, marking the first such incident to openly take place between a Gulf country and Israel.

READ: Israeli waves Saudi flag in occupied Jerusalem

(Source / 16.10.2019) 

PA to probe impact of Israel mobile phone towers in West Bank

Image of an phone [File photo]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced yesterday that it has formed a committee to investigate the impact of Israeli mobile phone towers built in the occupied West Bank, reported Xinhua.

A PA statement said the committee will work on “documenting the violations” of the towers in the West Bank, and assessing their “impact”, in order to “enact resolutions of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) relevant to Palestine’s control over its resources”, said the report.

Xinhua noted that “Palestinians have repeatedly accused Israel of restricting the Palestinian telecommunications sector under security and economic pretexts.”

According to Palestinian officials, Israeli telecommunications companies deliberately flood the Palestinian market with Israeli SIM cards “to provide Palestinian customers with competitive offers of internet data and phone calls that Palestinian companies cannot provide”.

READ: Israel to push mobile companies to improve settlement coverage

Official data shows Israeli telecommunications companies have made more than $150 million of profit from Palestinian users, “who make up around 20 percent of their clients”, reported Xinhua.

Under the Oslo Accords, “the frequencies were to remain under Israel’s control till the end of the interim period, which was supposed to be in 1999.”

Since no final deal has been reached since, “frequencies and telecommunications-related matters have remained unresolved”.

In September 2012, the ITU resolved to send a fact-finding mission to the occupied West Bank “over Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinians to advance utilisation of frequencies”, but the decision has gone unimplemented.

(Source / 16.10.2019) 

PA freezes accounts of NGOs, charities in Gaza

Palestinian children stand next to bags of food aid provided by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees at their family home in the Gaza Strip on 24 January 2018 [Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images]

The Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO Network) expressed “deep concerns” following the Palestinian Authority’s decision to freeze the accounts of scores of NGOs and charities in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, the PNGO Network warned of the negative consequences of this measure on the workflow of these NGOs and charities in the besieged enclave.

The PNGO Network said that it had received a number of complaints from NGOs and charities in Gaza regarding their inability to access funds as a result of the PA’s actions, stating this would undermine their ability to provide services to those in need and fulfil their mandate.

Banks, it explained, only open accounts for NGOs following approval from the PA.

READ: Israel using fake charities to get security information about Gaza

(Source / 15.10.2019) 

Hamas warns of new Israel project to displace Palestinians

Israeli policemen detain a Bedouin man during clashes that followed a protest against home demolitions on January 18, 2017 in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, which is not recognized by the Israeli government, near the southern city of Beersheba, in the Negev desert. (Photo AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli policemen forcefully detain a Bedouin man during a protest against home demolitions on 18 January 2018

Hamas yesterday warned of a new Israeli plan to displace tens of thousands of Palestinians from the Negev.

In the statement, a copy of which sent to MEMO, the movement said that the Israeli occupation is planning to “displace about 90,000 Palestinians from 36 villages in Al-Naqab [Negev], south of historic Palestine.”

The statement stated that Israel is planning to “transfer them to makeshift camps in a bid to confiscate their homes and lands.”

Hamas warned of the “repercussions of this Israeli plan on Palestinian villages in Al-Naqab,” noting that the Palestinians, who are referred to as Israeli Arabs, have been living in their villages for hundreds of years, well before the creation of the occupation state of Israel.

The Palestinian movement hailed residents of the Negev, civil society organisations and heads of local Arab councils for rejecting the Israeli plan aimed at creating new refugee camps for Palestinians.

READ: Israel demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem ‘ethnic cleansing’

Hamas’ Refugee Affairs Office called on the Palestinian residents in the Negev to take a firm stance and foil the Israeli plan intended to liquidate their villages, which are not recognised by the Israeli occupation authorities.

There are 51 Arab villages in the Negev which are not recognised by the Israeli occupation authorities and which have been targeted for demolition ahead of building homes for new Jewish communities.

The areas have not been connected to the electricity or water supplies.

In 1969, Israel called on Arab landowners to register their land with the authorities, but since then they have not accepted any of the applications made by Arab residents of the Negev.

#Israel, the great bulldozer!

MEMO #Infographic by The White Canvas

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(Source / 14.10.2019) 

PA seeks to replace Israel goods with Arab items

Household goods are seen at Palestinian exhibition 

Palestinian Authority (PA) government is planning to replace Israeli goods with Arab goods in the Palestinian markets, government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said yesterday.

His remarks came as Israel warned that agricultural commodities could be stopped from entering the Palestinian markets because of the PA’s plans to diversify the sources of its imports.

The PA said such action would be an extension of Israel’s settlement and annexation policy in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the PA government stressed that it is sticking to its right to diversify its economic resources based on the Paris Economic Protocol.

OPINION: Interpal is David to Israel’s Goliath in the struggle to help Palestinians in need

90% of rotten goods in WestBank made in Israel - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

(Source / 14.10.2019) 

Kuwait launches services for disabled Palestinians in Gaza

Palestinians, in particular the elderly, sick and disabled, come together to call for international efforts to save Gaza from the humanitarian crisis

Palestinians yesterday inaugurated Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in Gaza’s new improved building which was funded by Kuwait.

The Gulf state pumped $200 million to help reconstruct numerous projects in the besieged enclave including the Atfaluna Society project which supports 450 people with special needs.

The Kuwait Fund for the Reconstruction Program of the Southern Provinces in the State of Palestine has allocated $3 million to support the education sector through higher education institutions and NGOs. Funding has been provided to 13 institutions and associations which deal with higher education and people with special needs.

READ: Kuwait rebuilds industrial facilities in Gaza

(Source / 14.10.2019) 

Rights group: Israel Supreme Court ‘facilitates’ interrogation of Palestinian under torture

Supreme Court of Israel [Wikipedia]

Supreme Court of Israel 

The Israeli Supreme Court has facilitated the interrogation of a Palestinian under torture, according to human rights group B’Tselem.

On 7 October, three judges – sitting as the High Court of Justice – ruled to uphold an injunction denying Samir Arbeed, a Palestinian from the West Bank detained by Israeli occupation forces, the right to meet with legal counsel.

Arbeed was violently arrested on 25 September and transferred to the custody of the Shin Bet, whose agents interrogated him using “special means” – a euphemism for torture. Arbeed was subsequently admitted to hospital unconscious and suffering serious injuries.

After Israeli authorities used an injunction to prevent Arbeed from meeting with his lawyers, prisoners’ rights group Addameer petitioned the Supreme Court to cancel it. On 7 October, however, the justices rejected the petition in a brief ruling only a few paragraphs long.

READ: Hunger striker reveals details of her horrific torture in Israeli prisons

In the ruling, according to B’Tselem, the judges first state that “the situation at hand is unusual” given the petitioner’s medical status.

However, and citing “a certain improvement in his medical status”, the justices ruled that “preventing the meeting [with legal counsel] is indeed vital to regional security”.

As stated by B’Tselem, “the right to consult a lawyer is a basic right of detainees”, adding that “for detainees in interrogation, who are cut off from the world and physically and mentally weak, legal counsel is crucial.”

What are #Israel‘s preferred methods of torture?


MEMO #Infographic The White Canvas

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The rights group noted that the Supreme Court justices “imposed no restrictions on the conduct of [Shin Bet agents]…in further interrogation, including the means permitted for use against [Arbeed].”

The justices noted “claims regarding violence” used against Arbeed during interrogation, “but refrain from addressing them”, making do with a declaration by officials that there will be an investigation.

However, the investigation of complaints regarding violence and torture in Shin Bet interrogations is “most likely – as the facts indicate – a sham”.

The Supreme Court ruling is thus “horrifying in its significance”, said B’Tselem.

READ: On their day of release, Israel places Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention

“Without restrictions on the conduct and methods of interrogators, external oversight or a real system of investigating complaints, the Court’s decision to prevent [Arbeed]…from consulting with his lawyers”, allows the Shin Bet “to continue interrogating him under torture unchecked.”

According to B’Tselem, Arbeed’s case “is exceptional only because he was interrogated with ‘special means’ and submitted to hospital unconscious.”

“The reality is that every year, as a matter of routine, hundreds of Palestinians are interrogated by…[Shin Bet agents] with methods that constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and even torture”.

In the case of Samir Arbeed, “all the involved parties” – including the Supreme Court justices – decided to treat Arbeed “as if he were not a human being”.

(Source / 14.10.2019) 

Israel to build new settlement homes in West Bank

Jewish settlements near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on 10 February 2015 [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]

Jewish settlements near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on 10 February 2015

The Israeli government has advanced plans to build 251 settlement units in the occupied West Bank, according to a Palestinian official on Sunday, Anadolu Agency reports.

The plans were approved by the High Planning Committee of the Israeli Civil Administration, a body responsible for authorising settlement building.

“The committee approved the construction of 146 housing units in Gush Etzion settlement, south of Bethlehem city, while 105 settlement homes will be built in Kfar Al-dad east of the city,” Hassan Bureijia, head of the Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bethlehem, said in a statement.

READ:Israel has never had any intention of honouring either the 1947 Partition Plan or 1967 borders

Roughly 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live on more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians want these territories — along with the Gaza Strip — for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.

(Source / 13.10.2019) 

Israel closes Gaza, West Bank crossings

Trucks are seen at the commercial border crossing Karam Abu Salem after Israel re-opened Karam Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossings, in Gaza City, Gaza on 12 May 2019

The Israeli occupation authorities on Sunday morning shut down Karam Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun crossings, southeast and north of the Gaza Strip, for Jewish holidays, Palestine Information Center reported.

The administration of Beit Hanoun crossing announced that it would be closed on Sunday for Palestinians, except for emergencies and VIPs, until 2:00 pm.

A complete closure has been imposed on the West Bank since the early morning hours on Sunday and it is set to last until 21 October.

As for al-Karama crossing with Jordan, the crossing will be opened on Sunday at 7:30 am and closed at 10:30 am. On Monday, 14 October, it will be opened at 7:30 am and closed at 5:00 pm.

READ: Israel bars Marwan Barghouti’s wife from visiting him in prison

(Source / 13.10.2019)