Statue of the late Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani was demolished by Israeli authorities on 17 December 2018
Israeli authorities demolished a statue of the late Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani yesterday in the northern city of Acre, Quds Press has reported. The statue was erected by relatives and Palestinian activists at the entrance of Nabi Saleh Cemetery in the city, Kanafani’s birthplace.
Israel’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Aryeh Deri, ordered the demolition after an intervention by Minister of Culture Miri Regev. “It is impossible for the statue of someone like this man to remain,” said the right-wing Regev. “He was a prominent member of a group which killed Israelis.” She pointed out that Kanafani is still a cultural and national hero for the Palestinians.
In fact, Kanafani was one of the most well-known Palestinian and Arab writers and journalists of the 20th century. Deri, though, claimed that the statue was demolished because it was of a “terrorist”, saying that Kanafani was affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is a “terrorist group”.
The Popular Committee in Akka expressed its deep anger at the demolition of the statue. “He is still scaring the state of Israel, its intelligence agencies and its army even while he is dead,” said the Committee.
Ghassan Kanafani was born in the city of Akka in the north of Palestine on 8 April, 1936, during the British Mandate occupation era. He rejected the Israeli occupation in 1948 and became active against it, writing novels and articles denouncing the state and joining the PFLP. On 8 July, 1972, the writer was assassinated in Beirut by a bomb planted in his car by the Israeli Mossad spy agency.
Nidal Fakih, a bus driver from the Shuafat neighbourhood of Jerusalem, was attacked by settlers 13 December 2018
The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ruled yesterday that a brutal attack on an unarmed Palestinian bus driver was “road rage”, denying that the incident constituted a hate crime.
Nidal Fakih, a bus driver from the Shuafat neighbourhood of Jerusalem, was attacked on Thursday night while driving to Modi’in Illit, an ultra-Orthodox settlement north of the city in the occupied West Bank. He told the authorities that he had been dropping off passengers at the illegal settlement when two Israelis boarded the bus and began speaking to him; when they realised that he was a Palestinian they began to beat him.
Footage which emerged on social media shortly after the attack showed Fakih bleeding severely from his left eye and unable to move from his seat, clearly in shock. He was later hospitalised with “lacerations to his face, a fractured eye socket and several cracked ribs,” the Times of Israel reported yesterday.
However, despite the severity of the attack and the fact that Israeli police had on Friday said they believed the incident was nationalistically motivated, the Magistrates’ Court in Israeli-controlled Jerusalem ruled on Monday that the attack did not constitute a hate crime. “There is no evidence that this was a racist incident, rather [than] an altercation between drivers,” Israeli judge Chavi Toker said at the hearing. Toker also refused to allow the suspect — a 20-year-old Israeli settler from Modi’in Illit – to be remanded in custody; instead, he ordered him to be kept under house arrest until Friday.
The attack on Fakih came during several days of intense violence across the occupied Palestinian territories, which saw repeated settler attacks on Palestinians and the killing of several Palestinians by Israeli forces. In the early hours of Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians, 29-year-old Saleh Omar Al-Barghouthi and 23-year-old Ashraf Naalwa. In Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, on Wednesday, they also killed 60-year-old Hamdan Al-Arda. The victim’s family members said that he suffered from hearing loss and most likely failed to hear Israeli soldiers’ warnings to stop, with their presence causing him to lose control of the car. The Israelis shot and killed him nonetheless.
On Friday, illegal Israeli settlers carried out dozens of so-called “price-tag” attacks when they attacked Palestinian vehicles and shot at Palestinian homes. Dozens of settler youths gathered near the illegal Israeli outpost of Giv’at Assaf – south of Ofra on Route 60 – to throw stones at passing Palestinian vehicles, while on Thursday night settlers stormed Ein Yabroud, north east of Ramallah, and opened fire on Palestinian homes.
Such assaults have continued into this week, with a Palestinian teen left injured on Monday evening after being run over by an Israeli settler south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Nineteen-year-old Muhammed Mahmoud Odeh Ghazal, from the nearby village of Kisan, was transferred to hospital with multiple injuries after a settler, believed to be from Ma’ale Amos, hit him with a car at a road junction.
Thus far Israel has not opened investigations into these settler attacks. Even in the event that investigations are opened, Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din estimates that only three per cent of investigations into Palestinians hurt by Israeli citizens since 2005 have resulted in conviction.
Palestinian medical sources have reported that a young man was injured, on Monday evening, by a speeding Israeli colonialist settler who rammed him with his car, east of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.
The sources said Mohammad Mahmoud Ghazal, 19, suffered lacerations and bruises to various parts of his body, and was moved to a clinic in Teqoua’ town, before he was transferred to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, in Bethlehem.
The Palestinian was injured near al-Minya village junction, close to the illegal Maali Amos colony, which was built on Palestinian lands.
All colonies in the occupied West Bank, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory and a constant violator.
The international observational organization, Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), has compiled the situation of Hebron city, over the last 20 years, into a single, significant and damning report.
According to an anonymous source who has read the report, speaking to Haaretz newspaper, the report revealed that Israel has been in severe and regular breach of a number of international and internal laws that they once vowed to uphold.
For a long time, Hebron has been a contentious place, having being divided in two under the 1997 Hebron Protocol. The Palestinian Authority controls 80% of Hebron city, with its 175,000 Palestinian inhabitants, known as H1. Israeli Forces control H2, which some 40,000 Palestinians live along with up to 800 Israeli settlers.
TIPH has been observing and monitoring the daily situation in Hebron with a goal of assisting and reporting on the maintenance of ‘normal life’. However, looking back on the last few years, the 100 page document shows that life in Hebron is anything but normal.
As an occupying nation, Israel is obligated by international rule to protect civilians that are being occupied, with a particular requirement of upholding the right to non-discrimination.
According to the PNN, explicit counts of favoritism to Israeli settlers and the oppression of Palestinians observed by TIPH’s 64 international mission members disprove any illusion of two peoples living side by side in equality.
Religion is a good example to illuminate the stark contrast between the treatment of the inhabitants of Hebron.
Jewish worshipers have had roads built for their convenience that cuts through Palestinian farmlands, with old Ottoman houses demolished to widen the road for their commute to pray.
For Muslims, on the other hand, their journey to the holy Ibrahimi Mosque is literally obstructed by Israeli security checkpoints at the only two access points to reach the mosque, where they get searched and sometimes even strip searched.
In addition to this, the Israeli military restricted the Muezzin from announcing the call to prayer, especially on Friday nights and Saturdays due to Jewish Shabbat. In fact, last month alone, Israeli forces silenced the Ibrahimi athan 47 times as to not annoy the Israeli settlers who also attend another section of the holy site.
Discrimination via freedom of movement
This continual prioritization of settlers and the suppression of Palestinians in H2 by Israel is also evident in people’s freedom of movement, the report states.
A notorious example that illustrates this is Shuhada Street. It used to be a bustling Palestinian market place, a commercial hub for merchants and a popular thoroughfare. Since Israeli forces prohibited Palestinians to drive on this road and restricted access to pedestrians, the once thriving shopping center now resembles an ghost-like town, deserted and empty, with all its buildings shuttered.
Israeli citizens, however, can enjoy exclusive freedom of movement with full access to all roads. This also extends to movement between suburbs and townships, where many Palestinians struggle through unpleasant checkpoints manned by Israeli forces.
Next steps The confidential report, exclusive to only the internal members of Israel, Palestinian authority and TIHP’s member countries (Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey) has overseen 40,000 incident reports against Israel’s actions in Hebron over the last 20 years. Haaretz said the report concluded with stating that the situation in Hebron is going in the opposite direction to what the Hebron Protocol was aiming to achieve.
TIPH’s detailed report does not provide any recommendations for action to be taken by any government – neither internal nor external. It is merely a reflection on the dire situation in the torn city of Hebron, over the last two decades.
The Israeli military on Tuesday invaded the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber in Jerusalem and demolished two Palestinian-owned apartment buildings under the pretext that they were “built without a permit”.
Israel has issued no permits for Palestinians to build on their land in Jerusalem since 1967, but the excuse is frequently provided for the demolition of Palestinian homes in areas that they are trying to annex that these homes are “constructed without a permit”.
According to local news sources, the Israeli military bulldozers, backed by troops from the special forces and Israeli police from Jerusalem, stormed the neighborhood of Farouk in the Jabal al-Mukaber area of southern Jerusalem. They then surrounded two apartment buildings and prepared the demolition process.
The buildings were owned by the Aql family, and were meant to house the grown children of Amin Fahma. One of the family members is about to get married, and was supposed to move into one of the units after the wedding. The building was recently completed, and was about 200 square meters in size.
The family had filed an appeal with the court of the Israeli government’s rejection of their construction, and had just last week had that appeal denied by the Israeli High Court.
Undercover Israeli officers kidnapped, Tuesday, a young Palestinian political prisoner, after ambushing near his home, following his release from prison after serving a year behind bars, while the soldiers abducted his father, and several members of his family.
The undercover soldiers and police officers infiltrated into the al-Isawiya town, in occupied East Jerusalem, and ambushed the young man near his home, before abducting him just hours after his release from prison.
Mohammad Abu al-Hummus, a member of the Follow-Up Committee in al-‘Isawiya, said the undercover soldiers ambushed and kidnapped Anas Ali Dirbas, and took him to an unknown destination, before he was able to enter his home.
He added that more than 100 soldiers and police officers invaded the town, and assaulted many members of Dirbas family, before abducting his father, and a few of his male cousins.
Abu al-Hummus stated that the soldiers assaulted the abducted Palestinians, and confiscated three cars.
He said that the army and police have recently stepped-up the policy of abducting Palestinian political prisoners shortly after their release, and some cases instantly, in addition to imposing severe restrictions on them.
IDF demolishes the home of Abu Hamid, a Palestinian accused of killing an Israeli soldier, Ramallah, December 15, 2018
Israeli ministers yesterday voted to advance draft legislation that would see the relatives of alleged Palestinian assailants expelled from their homes and forcibly relocated to other parts of the occupied West Bank, reported the Times of Israel.
The decision by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation means that the bill will now move to the Knesset plenum, though there is no date set yet for the first vote.
According to the law, proposed by Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev, “within a week” of an alleged attack – or even an attempted attack – Israeli occupation forces “will be permitted to expel the relatives of the Palestinian assailants from their hometowns to other parts of the West Bank”.
Opposition to the law has been expressed by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and the Shin Bet.
Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman reportedly told the security cabinet that the legislation “cannot be implemented”, explaining that “we are unable to go into Hebron and Nablus every day and see who lives where and whether the family has returned to their residence”.
The Shin Bet is also reportedly concerned that the law would “harm his organisation’s ability to use administrative detention as a tool used in investigations since courts will rule that administrative detention is unnecessary if expelling the family is an option”.
Meanwhile, Prof. Yuval Shany, chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, has told Israel’s Army Radio that the law could bring charges against officials at the International Criminal Court.
“International law cannot accept in any way the expulsion of families of terrorists, also not to Ramallah or Jenin,” Shany said. “You cannot punish a person for something someone else did. It will not pass the Supreme Court but will reach the Hague.”
A poster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, showing him as a target is seen at a checkpoint near the Jewish settlements, in Nablus, Ramallah on December 11, 2018
A member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, called on Sunday for the President of the Palestinian Authority to have his head “chopped off”. Oren Hazzan MK made the comment about Mahmoud Abbas, as well as his Deputy, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, during a march held by illegal settlers in Jerusalem, Maan News Agency has reported.
Dozens of settlers gathered in and around Jerusalem’s Old City chanting racist slogans against Abbas and calling for him to be killed. In the evening, they gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house and burnt pictures of Abbas. Banners held by the settlers called for the PA leader’s assassination.
“We call for the complete approval of the settlements in Ofra and Amona,” Hazzan declared. Addressing his remarks to government ministers, he added, “We want to go back to Givaat. Stop evading your responsibility. We want to have the head of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and his deputy chopped off. The life of one of our soldiers is equal to the life of 100 terrorists. We want all the terrorists to be executed.”
Many Israeli officials refer to the Palestinians as “terrorists” whether or not they are involved in legitimate resistance activities.
Last week, Israeli settlers carried out attacks and instigated clashes with Palestinians in different areas across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. On most occasions, the heavily armed settlers are protected by Israeli soldiers and police officers when they gather for demonstrations and terrorist attacks on Palestinians and their homes.