Israeli court rejects request to let detained Palestinian kids to call parents

The Israeli Supreme Court refuses to hear arguments in a case about whether Palestinian minors imprisoned by Israel should be allowed to speak to their families on the phone

Israeli High Court of Justice refused to hear a petition by an Israeli human rights organisation demanding that Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons be allowed to call their parents.

Palestinian minors classified by Israel as “security prisoners” are subject to restrictions identical to those imposed on adult prisoners, including the denial of telephone contact with their parents.

The prison service allegedly refuses to treat minors classified as “security prisoners” according to Israeli laws and rules regulating the treatment of children.

According to HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, which petitioned the court, the Israel Prison Service imposes these restrictions on all minors, without considering the severity of the allegations or the length of the prison term.

According to the justices, the case should have first been brought to lower court on behalf of one or more specific prisoners. In its petition, HaMoked decided to redact the names of the Palestinian minors whose testimonies it included, choosing not to bring the case in the name of a specific Palestinian minor.

Further, in justifying its dismissal of the petition, the justices pointed to a thus-far unimplemented pilot program by the Israel Prison Service to allow Palestinian minors in one out of four facilities in which they are held, to call their parents on the phone.

The petition argues that it is crucial for Palestinian minors to be allowed to have regular phone contact with their parents, detailing the psychological damage that they may face in absence of those phone calls.

Two months in prison without calling parents

One 15-year-old Palestinian boy, whose full name did not appear on the petition, told HaMoked about how he had yet to contact his parents two months after he was arrested in the middle of the night.

Monday’s hearing lasted all but five minutes, during which HaMoked attorney Nadia Dakah barely got through her opening remarks before Justice Noam Solberg cut her off, demanding to know why the High Court should rule on a petition that does not include the names of any of the Palestinian minors in question.

State Attorney Udi Eitan claimed that even if the state wanted to deal with the specific cases of those whose testimonies are presented in the petition, it would not be able to do so since the testimonies are all anonymous and do not include the names of the minors.

Dakah explained that HaMoked’s petition was submitted to the right court, describing the near-impossibility of convincing a terrified minor to sign on to such a petition.

“They have a difficult time knowing their rights during their detention, which generally lasts until the end of legal proceedings. All they are interested in is the proceedings against them, they find themselves in a very weak position. Prison conditions are not exactly their top priority,” she explained.

Solberg further argued that “work is being done” on the issue, most likely in response to the state’s claim that it would begin instituting a pilot program to allow phone access to prisoners, subject to certain, unspecified security restrictions.

Phone calls ‘is not right to prisoners’

While the state mentioned the program in its response to HaMoked’s petition, it did not go into detail about when the program would go into effect or which Palestinian minors it would include.

Furthermore, the state did not expand on the nature of the security restrictions that would prevent certain minors from participating.

Dakah reminded the judges that the state announced the pilot’s existence only after HaMoked’s petition had been filed, and after three-and-a-half years during which the State Attorney ignored HaMoked’s attempts to bring the issue to its attention.

In its petition, HaMoked said it had repeatedly demanded that the Israel Prison Service allow Palestinian minors to make phone calls to their families, but turned to the High Court after the IPS sent a letter in June 2016 in which it claimed there is “no distinction between the nature and type of offense of which an adult inmate is suspected, accused or convicted and the nature and type of offense of which a minor is suspected, accused or convicted.”

When it came to using the telephone, the IPS stated that the “use of telephone contact is not deemed a right of the prisoner population.”

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

Gaza Factions: We Will Not Accept Any Change In Rules Of Engagement

The Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip have warned that Israel’s use of live ammunition against participants in the peaceful March of Return rallies cannot go unnoticed.

“We will not accept any change in the rules of engagement which the resistance has imposed during previous rounds of confrontation,” the factions stated in a press release, commenting on the Israeli occupation forces’ use of armed force against journalists and the participants in the 66th Friday of the March of Return rallies.

The factions also urged the mediators, especially the Egyptians, to pressure the Israeli occupation to respect the latest understandings over Gaza.

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

ISRAEL ARRESTS ONE PALESTINIAN IN HEBRON AND INJURES 22 OTHERS IN KAFR QADDUM

Hebron (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces have broke into Palestinians houses in Hebron before arresting a Palestinian young man in Dora on early hours of Saturday.

Local sources said that Israeli soldiers arrested Taha Jaafar Abu Arqoub (20 years old) after breaking into his family’s house and vandalizing it.

Israeli soldiers also raided other houses in Abu Hilal neighborhood.

In the West Bank also, Israeli solders on Friday opened fire at protesters during Kafr Qaddum weekly anti occupation protests, injuring 22 by rubber-coated metal bullets including journalists.

The protesters slammed the Israeli targeting of children, the last victim of whom is Abdurrahman Ishtewi, who was shot with internationally-banned explosive bullets in his head last Friday while he was in front of his house.

(Source / 20.07.2019) 

Israel to energy company: Palestinian homes to be demolished

The occupying forces are launching demolitions for 16 commercial shops in the Shuafat camp in occupied Jerusalem

Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday and were stationed at the entrance to Bab Al-Rahma while settlers renewed their incursions into the Muslim holy site.

Eyewitnesses told the Jordan-based newspaper Addustour that members of Israeli occupation’s intelligence were present at the stairs leading to Bab Al-Rahma.

Seven Jewish students and 36 settlers stormed the mosque’s courtyards through the Mughrabi Gate, they added.

Occupation forces also demolished two commercial facilities in occupied Beit Hanina and Sur Baher in Jerusalem, Addustour reported.

READ: Netanyahu vows never to dismantle illegal Israel settlements

Hamada Hamada, the head of Wadi Al-Homs district committee, said that the occupation army’s deadline for the residents of the Wadi Al-Homs neighbourhood to demolish their residential facilities ended yesterday, pointing out that the Israeli occupation authorities informed the electricity company of its intention to demolish the houses. No details were given as to when this would  take place.

There was a state of anxiety, tension and instability in the Wadi Al-Homs neighbourhood as the Israeli army’s deadline loomed. The neighbourhood’s residents expressed their refusal to demolish their homes under any circumstances despite the Israeli threat of imposing costly demolition fees on them.

The residents added that they built their houses after obtaining building permits from the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government, as their homes are located in “Area A” of the occupied West Bank, which is exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority according to the Oslo Accords.

(Source / 19.07.2019) 

Israeli army wounds 40 Palestinian protestors

An injured Palestinian demonstrator is received medical treatment at the site after the intervention of Israeli forces during a demonstration within the “Great March of Return” at Israel-Gaza border near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on July 12, 2019

Israeli army forces on Friday used rubber bullets and teargas shells to disperse Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank, injuring at least 40 protesters, a Palestinian official said, Anadolu Agency has reported.

“The Israeli army attacked the weekly march [in the Kafr Qaddum town], using rubber bullets and teargas shells,” Murad Shtewi, a protest organiser, told Anadolu Agency.

Shtewi said the injured persons are being treated in the field.

The Friday weekly protest has witnessed the participation of Palestinian leaders from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), he added.

US’ Greenblatt: ‘Israel is victim in conflict with Palestinians’

Every Friday, Palestinians across the Israeli-occupied West Bank stage demonstrations to protest Israel’s decades-long policy of building Jewish-only settlements on the confiscated Palestinian land.

According to estimates, 640,000 Jewish settlers currently live on 196 different settlements built with the Israeli government’s approval and more than 200 settler “outposts”, built without Israeli approval, throughout the West Bank.

International law regards the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, an “occupied territory” and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there to be illegal.

(Source / 19.07.2019) 

B’Tselem: “Contrary to military statement: ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, was shot in the head with live ammunition”

18 JUL9:10 PM

This Report is prepared and published by the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights In The Occupied Territories (B’Tselem): B’Tselem investigation published today proves a soldier fired live ammunition, hitting ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, in the head.

A-Shteiwi was injured last week while playing in the entrance to a home in Kafr Qadum during the weekly demonstration in the village. Now hospitalized in critical condition, he is the latest victim of the reckless open-fire policy that allows soldiers to use live fire even when neither they nor anyone else is in any danger.

At about 1:30 PM on Friday, 12 July 2019, the regular weekly demonstration against the closure of the main access road from Kafr Qadum to the regional capital Nablus took place. The military blocked the road in the early 2000s, following the expansion of the adjacent settlement of Kadum. Since then, residents have been forced to use a bypass road that lengthens the journey by about half an hour.

The street where ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi was shot. ‘Abd a-Rahman was sitting at the entrance to the home in the center of the photo. The man who helped evacuate ‘Abd a-Rahman to the ambulance was sitting with his children opposite the boy, under the shade of the olive tree  

During the demonstration, a few dozen youths threw stones at a number of soldiers deployed along the ridge on the outskirts of the village, several dozen meters from the demonstrators. The soldiers fired rubber coated metal bullets at the protestors, but, in a departure from previous practice in Kadum protests, this time, they also fired a large number of live rounds in the air.

At a distance of about 200 meters from the main protest, about ten protestors threw stones at four soldiers who were a few dozen meters away from them, on another hill on the same ridge. About 100 meters away from this group, further down the road, a resident of Kafr Qadum was sitting under an olive tree with his two 10-year-old children. Opposite them, about 10 meters away, ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, was sitting at the entrance of one of the homes on the edge of the village playing with a piece of wood.

At about 2:20 PM, as the main demonstration, some 200 meters away from ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, began to disperse, a soldier fired a live bullet. It hit boy’s head and he immediately fell to the ground. The resident who was sitting nearby and a young man who was in the area evacuated the boy to an ambulance waiting some 50 meters away down the road. ‘Abd a-Rahman was taken unconscious to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus and underwent head surgery. Two days later, on 14 July 2019, sedated and ventilated, he was transferred to the intensive care unit at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.

View from the point where ‘Abd a-Rahman was injured to the hill where the soldiers were standing. The man on the hill is standing where the soldiers were standing at the time of the firing 

In its statements to the media, the military denied that soldiers used live fire, and even rejected any responsibility for the incident. A response the military released claimed that the soldiers had used “various crowd-control methods” and that “a report was received of an injured boy aged around ten.” However, 9-year-old A-Shteiwi’s injury is a direct result of the open-fire policy implemented by the military in the Occupied Territories. This policy illegally and without any justification permits the use of live fire against Palestinians who are not endangering anyone. The policy remains in force despite the fact that it has resulted in hundreds of Palestinian deaths and thousands of injuries.

The military prides itself on regulations restricting the circumstances in which live fire may be used, while at the same time claiming that the law enforcement system will take action against soldiers who violate the regulations. However, these statements are hollow and meaningless. In many cases, the open-fire regulations are completely disregarded. Meanwhile, the law enforcement system is actually a whitewashing system intended to create the illusion of investigations. A-Shteiwi is the latest victim of this policy, but unless it is changed, it is only a matter of time before the next victim is added to the list.

(Source / 19.07.2019) 

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (11 – 17 July 2019)

19 JUL4:32 AM

Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory for the week of 11- 17 July, 2019.

74 Palestinian civilians injured; 24 of them were children, a woman, 2 journalists including a female, and a paramedic at the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip.

5 civilians, including a child, injured in the West Bank.

  1. Shootings, i.e. killings and injuries
  • At approximately 02:30 on Thursday, 11 July 2019, officers from the Israeli “Mista’arvim”undercover unit dressed like Palestinian civilians sneaked to al-Duheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, driving 2 civilian vehicles with Palestinian registration plate. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sami Ismail al-Ja’fari (33) and then arrested him. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian children and youngsters gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers while the soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 2 civilians were shot with live bullets to the lower extremities. They were taken to Al-Hussein Hospital in Beit Jala for treatment.
  • At approximately 22:00 on the same Thursday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence with Israel, northern Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, opened fire and arrested at Majed Mohammed Husein al-Shafei (44) after crossing the village. As a result, he sustained a live bullet to his lower extremities. According to field investigations, al-Shafei left his house in Jabalia approximately 21:30 on the same day and then disappeared. At approximately 11:00 on Friday, 12 July 2019, his brother Mazen received a phone call informing him that his brother is injured and detained by Israeli forces.
  • At approximately 10:30 on Friday 12 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip in the vicinity of a Palestinian border control point. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 06:30 on Saturday, 13 July 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed off Rafah Shore opened fire at Palestinian Fishing boats sailing within 6 nautical miles. The Israeli gunboats then surrounded one of the boats manned by Mohammed Isma’el Isma’el al-Bardawil (40) and his nephew, Ahmed Wael Isma’el al-Bardawil (16); both from al-Mawasi neighborhood, west of Rafah. The Israeli naval soldiers then ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. They were arrested and their boat was confiscated. At approximately 18:00, Ahmed was released through Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing while Mohammed al-Bardawil is still under arrest and their fishing boat is still confiscated.
  • At approximately 13:35 on Sunday, 14 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Youni in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands in eastern ‘Abasan village, west of the border fence. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 16:30 on Monday, 15 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Kahn Younis, in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at eastern Khuza’ah village. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
  • Also on Monday evening, Israeli forces opened fire at Fares Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Azem (34), when he was between Ramina and Bazaria villages, east of Tulkarm. As a result, he sustained a live bullet wound to the back, causing him internal bleeding in the lungs. ‘Azem was taken to Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarm. Due to the serious injury, ‘Azem was transferred to Beilinson Hospital in Israel. An eyewitness stated that:

“At approximately 22:00 on Monday, 15 July 2019, I received a call telling me that a person from my village was wounded and screaming of pain and that the caller is trying to rescure him. I immediately headed to the site and knew that the victim is from Thanabeh village, carries an Israeli ID card and drives a vehicle with an Israeli registration plate. He was taken via an ambulance to Dr. Thabet Thabet hospital in Tulkarm and then transferred to Beilinson Hospital in Israel due to his serious injury.”

‘Azem’s father said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“I received the news of my son’s injury and then headed to Israel to follow-up on his health condition. Doctors only informed me that his injury was serious and he suffers from bleeding in the lungs as the bullet penetrated his back to the lungs. We do not know how this happened to our son; he was probably visiting his in-laws in Ramin village. We are waiting until he wakes up to find out what happened with him.”

  • At approximately 17:35 on Tuesday, 16 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Kahn Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at ‘Abasan al-Kabirah. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:10 on Wednesday, 17 July 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Kahn Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Khuza’ah village. The shooting continued for few minutes, but no casualties were reported.
  • Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem
  1. Demolitions and attacks on civilian property for settlement expansion
  • At approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 11 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Beit Ummer village in northern Hebron. They then stationed in Wadi al-Shaiekh neighborhood, where the Israeli Civil Administration officers handed Mohamed ‘Ali al-‘Alami a 96-hour demolition notice, under the pretext of non-licensing.  Mohamed’s house was under-construction and built on an area of 150 square meters. On 17 April 2018, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the occupied Territory (COGAT), under the direct control of the Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, issued a military order that makes it possible for Israeli forces to demolish Palestinian homes in Area C within 96 hours after delivering demolition orders. Under the order, COGAT excuses itself from informing Palestinian homeowners directly that their homes are slated for demolition and only requires demolition orders be placed “next to” targeted structures 96 hours before Israeli forces arrive to execute demolitions.
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Kherbit Shabouqa in western Hebron, where they handed Amjad Nofal Sulimah a notice to demolish his 150-sqaure-meter barn under the pretext of non-licensing in Area C, and gave him until 24 July 2019 to challenge.
  • At approximately 12:30 on Thursday, 11 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles moved into ‘Izbit Salman in southern Qalqiliyia, and demolished an agricultural barrack belonging to Dawoud Mahmoud Yousef Ahmed under the pretext of non-licensing. Dawoud said to PCHR’s fieldworker: “I returned from France 3 months ago and my family told me that they found a notice in my land written on it “this is the second notice to demolish the agricultural barrack”. My family, who live in Qalqiliyia, told me that they did not see the first notice as they usually go there for picnic. On Thursday evening, 11 July 2019, our neighbors phoned and informed us that Israeli forces are demolishing the barrack in our land, so they went there and found the barrack was already demolished. We told both the Israeli and Palestinian Liaisons and they informed us that we could challenge the demolition.”
  • At approximately 14:00 on Thursday, Israeli forces dismantled a sit-in tent established by the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee in Wadi al-Humis neighborhood in Surbaher village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, protesting at the Israeli decision to demolish 12 residential buildings under the pretext of being near the annexation wall. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces attacked civilians staying in the tent and fired tear gas canisters at them. As a result, dozens of them suffocated due to tear gas inhalation, and agricultural crops were burned. It should be noted that the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision to demolish 16 residential buildings, comprising of 100 apartments, few weeks ago under the pretext of being close to the annexation wall and pose a security threat. This gives the green light to the Israeli forces to demolish all buildings near the annexation wall in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem. In 2003, the residents of Surbaher village submitted a petition against the annexation wall route, which passes in the center of their village, so the route was changed and the neighborhood was annexed within the wall.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 16 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Wadi al-Ghrouz area in eastern Hebron. Israeli soldiers were deployed in the area and the construction vehicles demolished a concrete pool used for irrigating plants under the pretext of non-licensing. The pool belongs to Zayid Nimer Mohamed al-Ja’bari (65), whose family attempted to stop the demolition, but Israeli border guard officers attacked and beat them. The Israeli border guard officers also attacked two photographers identified as ‘Abed al-Hafeez Daib ‘Abed al-Hafeez al-Hashlamoun (55), who sustained minor wounds in his hands and legs; and Mashhour Hasan Mahmoud al-Wahwah (34), who sustained minor bruises in his hand. Zayid al-Ja’bari said the Israeli authorities handed him a notice to stop construction works 3 months ago and handed him a demolition notice on 14 July 2019. Zayid was intending to file documents to the Israeli court for challenging the demolition.
  • At approximately 16:00 on Tuesday, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Khelet al-Foron area in eastern Hebron. The construction vehicles demolished a water well used for irrigating plants. The well belongs to Nayif No’man Shokri Da’nah, who was handed a demolition notice on 10 July 2019. It should be noted that the well was partially funded by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture.
  • At approximately 17:00 on Tuesday, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Ghoween al-Foqah area in southern Hebron. The construction vehicles demolished a 100-sqaure-meter barrack built of concrete and tin plates and used for breeding livestock, under the pretext of non-licensing. The barrack belongs to Ahmed Mohamed Mousa Hawamdah (44), who was handed a 96-hour demolition notice on 03 July 2019, so there was no enough time to challenge the demolition.
  • At approximately 04:00 on Wednesday, 17 July 2019, Israeli forces backed by military construction vehicles and Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into al-Khalilah neighborhood in al-Jeep village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. The construction vehicles demolished a 80-sqaure-meter garage and store belonging to Waddah Wasfi Abu Dayyiah, under the pretext of non-licensing. It should be noted that the garage and store were demolished for the 3rd time.
  • In the same context, Israeli construction vehicles demolished a 900-sqaure-meter commercial barrack and a concrete floor belonging to al-Natshah family in Beit Haninah village, north of occupied East Jerusalem. The construction vehicles also demolished a 400-sqaure-meter car wash belonging to ‘Atiyah and Bakirat families in Surbaher vilolage, south of occupied Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 13:00 on Wednesday, 17 July 2019, Israeli construction vehicles demolished 5 shops built 4 years ago on an area of 250 square meters in Abu Tayieh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Eyewitnesses said that a large force of Israeli police officers and Special Forces accompanied with bulldozers moved into Abu Tayieh neighborhood, where they surrounded 5 shops belonging to Mohamed Hamdan al-‘Abasi. The shops were demolished after the Israeli Supreme Court refused a petition submitted by Mohamed’s lawyer. The eyewitnesses also said that the Israeli forces forcibly disperse the neighborhood’s residents from the area and beat them up. Meanwhile, the Israeli forces arrested Mahdi Hamdan al-‘Abasi after beating him. It should be noted that al-‘Abasi family headed to the Israeli Supreme Court in order to freeze the demolition order and license the shops, but it refused.
  1. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods

Gaza Strip

As the Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip enters its 14th consecutive year this July, severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods enhance the de facto separation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The most significant implications of the continued Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip are:

  • Movement of goods and persons to and from the Gaza Strip is restricted on all three functioning crossings: Rafah border crossing, under Egyptian control; Beit Hanoun “Erez” checkpoint and Karm Abu-Salem Commercial Crossing, under Israeli control.
  • The Rafah Border Crossing operates only 5 days a week with severe limitation on travel of persons (300 travelers/day).
  • Beit Hanoun checkpoint, designated for the movement of persons, is under severe restrictions for exit and entry of the Gaza Strip. Only limited categories are issued Israeli permits to cross the checkpoint after an exhausting and lengthy security process that may subject civilians to the threat of arrest and often blackmail by Israeli forces.[1]
  • Karm Abu-Salem crossing, designated for the movement of goods, bans the export of Gaza Strip products, except for agricultural goods. Also, Israeli forces continue the 12-year ban on the import of 118 goods considered as “dual-use items.” [2] While Israeli authorities announced on Friday, 05 July 2019, that 18 of the banned dual-use items would be allowed into the Gaza Strip; the operating officers at Karm Abu-Salem crossing denied receiving new instructions in this regard.
  • Electricity crisis: with power cuts of at least 12 hours a day, the electricity crisis continues to haunt the Gaza Strip and paralyze all sectors of life, including health, education, the economy and the environment.
  • Naval blockade: Israel continues to restrict movement within the Gaza Sea, primarily on fishing. Despite imposing a 15-nautical-mile restricted fishing area, Israeli forces launch daily attacks on fishermen while at sea even within 1 – 6 nautical miles, including shootings, arrests and confiscation of fishing boats and equipment. It also restricts the import of necessary fishing equipment.

West Bank

Israeli forces continue to strangle West Bankers with continued restrictions on their freedom of movement, especially with frequent checkpoints between governorates. Currently, 92 permanent military checkpoints exist along the connecting roads between West Bank governorates, some of which have permanent military presence and others are staffed irregularly. Some of these checkpoints act as a terminal into Israel, even though they are located within Palestinian territory.

It should be highlighted that Israel continues to corporatize and privatize its occupation of the Palestinian territory by contracting military security corporations who operate checkpoints with fully armed civilian guards; yet, they act under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense.

Israeli occupation’s presence in the West Bank is not limited to permanent checkpoints, as temporary checkpoints are haphazardly erected across the territory on a daily basis. These temporary checkpoints impede traffic between Palestinian cities, with illegal searches of civilian vehicles and long wait times. These temporary checkpoints are used to ambush civilians as hundreds of arrests are reported at these checkpoints annually.

This week, Israeli forces established 110 temporary checkpoint across the West Bank and arrested four Palestinian civilians. A civilian was arrested while returning via King Hussein Bridge.

Additionally, with the ongoing closure of 30 key roads in the West Bank, Palestinian’s’ freedom of movement is heavily restricted especially in areas adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlements.

Israel allows holders of West Bank IDs (men over 55 and women over 50) to access East Jerusalem without a pre-issued permit; nonetheless, they have to undergo security checks.

In terms of the movement of Palestinians to and from the occupied territory via King Hussein Bridge, Israeli forces continue to impose security measures that threaten the well being of civilians by forcing them to go through a body-search machine that subjects them to harmful radiations. It is also a common practice to arrest civilians at the crossing or deny them travel.

A 6-month research conducted by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), stated that Palestinians lose about 60 million hours of work per year, due to the checkpoints and restrictions imposed by the Israeli forces on Palestinian movement between the towns and villages of the West Bank. ARIJ estimated the loss at about $ 270 million per year, according to the wage of workers per hour, in addition to extra fuel consumption at about 80 million liters per year, estimated at $ 135 million. The consumption of this amount of fuel leads to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, by about 196 thousand tons per year.

Full document available at the official website for the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

(Source / 19.07.2019) 

International Lawyers Support Khaled Barakat’s Struggle against Political Ban

July 18, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

International, European and German lawyers issued statements in support of Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat, subjected to a political ban in Germany since 22 June, when he was prevented by Berlin police from speaking at a community event on Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century.” Barakat has filed an urgent appeal against the political ban, demanding it be lifted immediately. He was threatened with up to a year in prison if he participated in events, demonstrations or even gatherings.

The political ban imposed on Barakat comes amid other repressive German actions targeting Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organizing, such as the anti-BDS resolution passed by the Bundestag in May; the criminal prosecution of activists for interrupting a member of the Knesset speaking; the ongoing threats of funding cuts against community organizations hosting Palestine events; the closure of bank accounts of organizations supporting Palestine, including Jewish Voices for a Just Peace; the deportation of former prisoner and torture survivor Rasmea Odeh; and the forced resignation of the director of the Jewish Museum following Israeli official pressure.

Organizations and activists around the world have denounced the political ban imposed on Barakat as a severe attack on freedom of expression and fundamental human rights. Several legal organizations have joined in the call to lift the political ban, including the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. The IADL, founded in 1946, has consultative status as an NGO with the United Nations. It has individual and organizational members from more than 50 countries.

The European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights, headquartered in Düsseldorf, has members across Europe. It joined with the Association of Democratic Lawyers in Germany (VDJ) and the International League for Human Rights to issue a statement demanding the immediate end of the political ban, which was also published in Junge Welt newspaper.

The lawyers’ organizations’ statements emphasized that the political ban on Barakat violates his human rights under the German constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), urging that it be lifted immediately.

Around the world, people of conscience are raising their voices in solidarity with Khaled Barakat and against the ongoing racist violations of Palestinian human rights both in Europe and in occupied Palestine. Please join the support campaign! Send your statements of solidarity to samidoun@samidoun.net or take a solidarity photo featuring the campaign posters to post online or share with us!

Read the statement of the IADL:

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) a non-governmental organization founded in 1946 with consultative status with ECOSOC, opposes in the strongest terms the German government’s imposition of “political ban” on German resident Mr. Khaled Barakat, a Palestinian activist and writer.   This ban was imposed on June 22, 2019.

IADL has been informed that the stated bases for the political ban are Mr. Barakat’s opinions regarding Palestine and his open support for Palestinian self-determination. IADL has no illusion regarding the source of this ban.  It reflects a disturbing trend by the State of Israel to pressure governments such as Germany to isolate and quiet critics of Israel by equating criticism of the State of Israel or its government with anti-Semitism.  IADL fundamentally rejects this equivalency and notes that many of the people who have spoken out against Israeli violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and who generally oppose Zionism are members of the Jewish community.   Advocating against oppression of Palestinians or for Palestinian self-determination is neither anti-Semitic nor advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred.

IADL views this “political ban” as an impermissible and illegal restriction on the rights of all persons to freedom of opinion and expression, in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which guarantees everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference; the right to freedom of expression which includes the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.   IADL notes that to be permissible restrictions placed on these rights must be justified by a finding they are “necessary” to protect national security, public ordre public health or morals. (General Comment 10 paragraph 4).    The ICCPR also in Article 2 prevents discrimination on many bases including on the bases of political or other opinion, or national or social origin.

IADL is aware that Germany has ratified the ICCPR but placed reservations on its ratification which conditioned its ratification on its right to interpret ICCPR Article 19 and Article 2 consistent with Article 16 of the European Convention on Human Rights which exempts aliens from provisions of Article 10 and 14. Article 10 and 14 correspond to ICCPR Articles 19 and 2. This reservation ostensibly allows Germany to restrict the freedom of expression of aliens and to discriminate against them on the basis of their political or other opinion or national or social origin.

IADL rejects these reservations as being contrary to the purposes and objects of Articles 2 and 19 of the ICCPR, and states affirmatively that such reservations destroy the right of people not to be discriminated against on the basis of their national or social origin.  The Human Rights Committee which interprets the ICCPR has also confirmed that such reservations would not permitted by Article 19(3) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.  (General Comment 24 paragraph 6 of the Human Rights Committee.)

IADL further states that political bans were widely used in South Africa during the Apartheid era to stifle opposition to Apartheid.  They were widely imposed and were part of the actions universally condemned by the United Nations.    IADL opposed the use of such bans to restrict freedom of thought, expression and conscience by the anti-Apartheid activists.    At that time South Africa was not a democracy as it prevented its African majority population from participating in any elections.    The use of these political bans were desperate attempts by the South African government to stave off the day when it would have to change to a democratic state. Germany is a democratic state already.  There is no political necessity for aliens to suffer restrictions on their freedoms of speech, expression or conscience.

Therefore, IADL publicly calls upon German officials to lift the political ban on Mr. Barakat.

Read the statement of the ELDH:

The journalist Khaled Barakat was forbidden to take part in an event in Berlin with the topic, “Palestine and the Arabs – American Deal of the Century from Compromise to Liquidation” under threat of imprisonment by decision of the Foreigners’ Office on 21.06.2019. He was also barred from participating in any other events with reference to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Khaled Barakat is a Canadian citizen who has been in Germany for 4 years. The refusal to extend his residence permit after 31.07.2019 was also announced in the document.

In the detailed but not very substantial statement of reasons of the German Foreigners’ Office it is alleged, among other things, that Mr. Barakat is a functionary of the PFLP. The PFLP is on the EU terror list, as it is in Israel and in the USA. In Germany it is not classified as a terrorist organization. In Great Britain it has not been listed since 2014. Neither the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution nor Berlin’s report mentions the PFLP. There is no evidence that Khlaled Barakat is an official of the PFLP, which he denies by the way.

The Foreigners’ Authority bases the prohibition of lectures on § 47 para. 1 sentence no. 1 AufenthG. Through his lectures, the Foreigners Authority alleges that the peaceful co-existence of Germans and foreigners or of different foreign groups in Germany is imperiled. It refers to the unproven assessment of the Berlin Anti-Semitism Research and Information Centre (RIAS) that anti-Semitic propaganda had been carried out at the event “STOP APARTHEID – Decolonise Palestine.” RIAS here regards the depiction of Palestinians throwing stones on a poster as a visual element “glorifying violence.” Therefore, the statement alleges peaceful coexistence between non-Jewish and Jewish citizens in Germany may be impaired. There is no evidence of this presented either. After his multiple past lectures, there were never any such conflicts. The reason for any conflict is rather the “smouldering political conflicts between Jews and Arabs/Palestinians”, as the Foreigners’ Office itself declares.

However, the Foreigners’ Office wrongly equates Jews with the Israeli government. Numerous prominent Jews in Israel, Germany and other countries are rather very critical of the policies of the the Israeli government. The Foreigners’ Office also justifies its decision by reference to a threat to public safety and order. They also mention forbidden meetings of other organizations. However, Mr. Barakat never gave lectures at any forbidden gatherings. Listing of the PFLP as a terrorist organisation in the USA, Israel and the EU is alleged to be sufficient for the Foreigners’ Office to claim that public safety and order, and Germany’s good relations with the state of Israel, are at risk due to his lectures.

This decision of the Foreigners’ Office intervenes massively against the fundamental rights of Khaled Barakat. The justified and necessary fight against anti-Semitism is not facilitated by such decisions, but in fact made more difficult. Equating criticism of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism distracts from the danger of real anti-Semitism.

The prohibition means that his rights under Art. 5, 8 of the German constitution, Art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are injured. The core of freedom of expression consists precisely in being critical of the policy of one’s own government and to the policies of other governments. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental for a democratic community.

The ELDH, the VDJ and the International League for Human Rights call on the Berlin authorities to cease these unlawful practices without delay and also to annul their decision on the extension of Mr. Barakat’s residence permit on the basis of speculation and defamation.

(Source / 19.07.2019) 

Medics Need Miracles To Stay Alive In Gaza

Nobody in Gaza is exempt from being an Israeli target. Luck is the only thing that saves anyone here from being killed.

The medic Muhammad al-Judaili ran out of luck.

On 3 May, he was working at the Great March of Return – weekly protests to demand that the rights of Palestine’s refugees be fully respected. He was next to an ambulance parked approximately 100 meters from the fence separating Gaza and Israel when he saw that a child had been shot in the arm.

Muhammad rushed toward the child, with the intention of administering first aid. Before he could do so, Muhammad had himself fallen to the ground. An Israeli sniper had shot him in the nose with a rubber-coated steel bullet.

He was taken to al-Quds hospital in southern Gaza, where he had previously worked. After three weeks, he was discharged so that he could celebrate Eid with his family in al-Bureij refugee camp.

While he was in his apartment, Muhammad lost consciousness. He was brought back to the hospital, where his heart stopped for minutes.

Although doctors succeeded in reviving his heart, he remained in a coma. His medical team was concerned that his brain would be damaged as a result of his injury.

On 4 June, Muhammad was transferred to al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, a city in the occupied West Bank. Six days later, he died. He was 36 years old.

“I never expected to be a widow and have the burden of raising four children alone,” said his wife Muna Shurrab. “Muhammad had a big heart that loved us all.”

Muhammad’s 10-year-old son Adel recalled how they had gone shopping together at Eid.

“We were very happy,” Adel said. “We thought we had our normal life back.”

“Duty”

Muhammad was the fourth medic in Gaza to have been killed since the Great March of Return began last year.

One such killing – that of the nurse Razan al-Najjar – received some coverage in the international media.

Yet the violence inflicted by Israel on medics has generally been met with indifference by Western governments.

Gaza’s health ministry argues that the killing of medics has been deliberate. Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra said Israel aimed at the victims “directly in the head or chest.”

Ahmad Abu Foul witnessed the shooting of his colleague Muhammad al-Judaili. The two men had worked together on numerous occasions.

When Abu Foul was injured by Israel during Operation Cast Lead – a major attack in late 2008 and early 2009 – it was Muhammad who gave him first aid.

Abu Foul has himself been wounded four times since the Great March of Return began last year. One week before Muhammad received his fatal injury, Abu Foul was shot in the leg.

Despite the danger that he faces, Abu Foul has pledged to continue his work. “It’s a duty,” he said. “I don’t deserve to be killed for doing what I do.”

He was also part of a medical crew targeted with a missile fired from an Israeli drone during Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza at this time five years ago. “It is a miracle that we survived,” he said.

Bravery

Ali Saqir, a shoe shop owner, was a neighbor and close friend of Muhammad al-Judaili. He recalled Muhammad’s bravery during Israel’s 2014 attack.

When al-Bureij camp came under Israeli fire, Saqir called Muhammad asking for help in evacuating its residents. Although Muhammad was working in another part of Gaza at the time and road journeys were extremely dangerous, he insisted on bringing an ambulance to al-Bureij so that he could aid his neighbors.

On another day during the 2014 attack, Muhammad was working in the Beit Hanoun area of northern Gaza. Israel had destroyed homes in the area and many of those displaced had gathered around an ambulance in desperation.

The Israeli forces ordered that the people move away from the ambulance. But Muhammad disobeyed the order and drove away quickly, the ambulance full of people.

As the ambulance departed, the Israeli forces fired a missile in its direction. “Luckily, Muhammad managed to swerve away and he survived, along with his passengers,” said Saqir.

“The first time I felt helpless”

The fifth anniversary of the 2014 attack brings back painful memories for Gaza’s medics.

In total, 23 Palestinian health workers were killed during that offensive, 16 of them while on duty. The medics who survived have, in many cases, had to cope with bereavement.

Basem al-Batsh works for Gaza’s civil defense department. Late in the evening of 29 July 2014, he received a phone call to say that Israel was bombarding Jabaliya refugee camp, where he lived.

Basem set out for home. Yet when he got to the entrance of his neighborhood, it was impossible to venture any farther.

Israel was firing missiles “at everything that moved,” he said. “I could see my family running in the street, fleeing the house.”

The extended al-Batsh family lived in a multi-story building. As they tried to escape, the Israeli forces attacked them.

Five members of the family were killed. Among them were Basem’s mother Halima. “I watched my mother dying,” he said. “At that moment, Israel killed me as well.”

Once he felt safe enough to move, Basem took his mother’s body and placed it in the back of the ambulance.

“I sat in the front seat and couldn’t look in the back at my mother’s body,” he said. “It was the first time I felt helpless. I’m a paramedic and a civil defenseman, who couldn’t save the life of his mother.”

(Source / 19.07.2019) 

HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE: 628 ISRAELI VIOLATIONS OF AGREEMENTS IN EASTERN GAZA

Gaza (QNN)- A report by Al Mizan human rights centre revealed that ‘Israel’ committed over 628 violations on the separation fence in eastern Gaza during the first six months of 2019.

The violation included 261 attacks on Palestinian workers and 183 against protesters. It also included arresting 56 Palestinians, 15 of whom are children, in addition to 27 raids.

The report focused on Israeli violations in the restricted area, which makes up 35% of the agricultural lands in Gaza strip.

The restricted area is located in eastern Gaza, stretching for 62 KM along the separation line between Gaza and the occupied Palestinian lands, while extending 300-1500 meters deep into Gaza.

Israeli violations in the restricted area killed 32 Palestinians, including 10 children and one woman, and injured 3610 Palestinians, including 1205 children and 168 women (who are mostly protesters).

The report also stated that Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian workers in industrial or agricultural enterprises at the area. They also targeted shepherds, birds hunters, and junk collectors with artillery and machine guns.

The report documented 159 shootings against farmers, one against birds hunter, 41 against shepherds, 11 against junk collectors, and 49 bombings and shootings at empty areas.

The report also said that Israeli soldiers raided into the restricted area and arrested any Palestinians they found after beating and humiliating them.

(Source / 19.07.2019)