Israeli soldiers demolish a 2 storey building with bulldozers in East Jerusalem on 22 July 2019
Hamas yesterday described the Israeli demolition of more than 100 Palestinian apartments in occupied Jerusalem as “ethnic cleansing”.
In a press release, Hamas spokesman Hazim Qasim said: “The increasing Israeli crimes against Palestinians in the holy city is a result of the endless American support for the racist behaviour of the Israeli occupation.”
He added: “The American support for the Israeli occupation encouraged it to carry out more crimes against the Palestinians, mainly after the Bahrain economic workshop, whose consequences we had warned about.”
Qasim continued: “All the racist Israeli crimes and policies will never stop the resistance of the Palestinians against the colonial Zionist enterprise which has been targeting the Palestinian people and their land.”
The Israeli occupation demolished 16 residential buildings, including more than 100 apartments
The Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority said on Monday that the Israeli occupation authorities have basically cancelled the division of the occupied Palestinian territories into so-called Areas A and B, Safa news agency has reported. Mohammad Shtayyeh pointed out that most of the Palestinian buildings in Jerusalem’s Sur Baher, which were demolished on Monday, are located in these areas, which were delineated by the Oslo Accord 25 years ago.
Speaking during the weekly meeting of his government, Shtayyeh added that the PA would not deal with the Israeli divisions, citing Israel’s violation of international law and the agreements signed with the Palestinians. He pointed out that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has directed the Foreign Minister to add the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem to the case raised at the International Criminal Court.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister condemned the remarks by US officials related to the Palestinian-Israeli struggle. Anyone who denies Israel’s violations against the Palestinians, he said, speaks about Israel’s “right” to annex the West Bank settlements, and claims that Israel is a victim, is committing a “dangerous” mistake.
“Such a person has no conscience if they can’t see the ugliness of the military occupation, theft of land and natural resources, human rights violations and racial discrimination,” said Shtayyeh. “Provocative remarks like these reflect the full support of the US administration to the right wing Israeli government, its settlement policy and its violations of agreements and international law.”
On Monday, the Israeli occupation demolished 16 residential buildings, including more than 100 apartments, in Wadi Hummus area in Jerusalem’s Sur Baher neighbourhood. The area is nominally under the PA’s administrative and security control.
Leader of the newly-established Israel Democratic Party (Yisrael Demokratit), Ehud Barak, has apologised for the killing of 12 Palestinian citizens of Israel during his tenure as Israeli prime minister.
Speaking on Israeli Public Radio today, Barak said that he “take[s] responsibility for what happened during [his] tenure as prime minister, including the October events,” referring to the killing of 12 Arab-Israeli protesters by Israeli forces.
Another Palestinian was killed in the Gaza Strip and scores were wounded in what became a seminal moment in the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising across the territories which took place between September 2000 and early 2005.
“There is no place for protesters to be killed by their country’s security forces,” Barak continued, adding: “I am expressing my regret and apology before the families and before Israeli society.”
Barak also acknowledged comments made by Esawi Freige, an Arab-Israeli Knesset Member (MK) with left-wing party Meretz, who earlier this month called on the former prime minister to pull out of September’s election race in light of the killings.
Freige added that his party would reject any agreement with Barak’s Israel Democratic Party over the killings, saying: “Do us a favour. Save your apology. Return to your luxury towers and let us do the work, don’t get in our way. The Arabs don’t want to be a fig leaf and a lifesaver. We want to be partners.”
Responding to these comments today, Barak said that “[Freige] wrote important words that come from a place of pain. These things should never happen, not then and not today. I am not evading responsibility over events from the past, but I believe I can be part of the solution.”
Barak’s comments will likely be seen as a bid to reach out to Meretz ahead of the 1 August deadline to declare party slates for the 17 September general election.
Though, following the formation of the Israel Democratic Party in June, talk quickly emerged of a broad left-wing merger which would comprise Barak’s party, Meretz and the Israeli Labor Party, these hopes were dashed this week when the Labor party’s recently-elected chairman, Amir Peretz, announced his party would merge with Gesher.
Gesher is headed by Orly Levy-Abekasis, a former MK with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party. She left the party in 2016 over Yisrael Beiteinu’s entry into government, saying it had abandoned its social platform during negotiations. She has since been serving as an independent MK.
Meretz was reportedly outraged at the move, saying in a statement that “Amir Peretz is repeating [former Labor leader] Avi Gabbay’s mistake and is destroying the chances of unions in the left bloc. Instead of a large union, he chose a small defence.”
With both Barak’s Democratic party and Meretz teetering near the minimum 3.25 per cent electoral threshold needed to sit in the Knesset, both risk political extinction if they waste crucial left-wing votes.
Meretz relied heavily on Palestinian citizens of Israel’s votes in the April election; how the 1.8-million-strong community will respond, both to Barak’s apology and to Meretz’s potential merger with the former prime minister’s party, is as yet unclear.
Barak’s apology is also likely an attempt to deflect attention away from the scandal surrounding his association with Jeffrey Epstein, a US billionaire who was this month arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking underage girls.
In an affair that has marred his political comeback, Barak was revealed to have held a multi-million-dollar business partnership with Epstein as recently as 2015. Just days after details of the partnership emerged, Barak announced that, in light of the accusations made against Epstein, he had instructed his lawyers to look into breaking off the association.
Barak has also threatened to sue British newspaper the Daily Mail for publishing photos of him entering Epstein’s New York mansion alongside photos of young women the paper claimed he had entered the property on the same day.
These revelations left Barak reeling, particularly given the huge pressure applied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called for his election rival to be “investigated immediately” over his ties to the US billionaire. Netanyahu will likely use Barak’s apology as another opportunity to attack his long-time rival, trying to discredit any opposition figure as too weak to be prime minister.
United Nations (QNN)- Three top United Nations officials issued on Monday a statement underscoring that the Israeli mass demolition and displacement operation was “not compatible” with its “obligations under international humanitarian law”.
Israel’s Supreme Court has reportedly ruled that the houses were built “too close” to the apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank, a new pretext to demolish the houses and allow Israel occupy more land and ethnically cleanse indigenous people.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruled against constructing the Israeli Barrier and found that the parts running inside the West Bank, including East Jerusalem – including the Sur Bahir homes – “cannot be justified by military exigencies and thus violates Israel’s obligations under international law”, said the statement.
Moreover, in a resolution of 20 July 2004, the UN General Assembly, demanded that Israel comply with its legal obligations as stated in the ICJ’s advisory opinion.
“Had there been concrete action to ensure respect for these principles, and for international humanitarian and human rights law, generally, the people of Sur Bahir would not be experiencing the trauma they are today, and violations of their rights”, the statement concluded
The statement also warned that the Israeli operation “results in forced evictions, and contributes to the risk of forcible transfer facing many Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.
“Among those forcibly displaced or otherwise impacted are Palestine refugees, some of whom today are facing the reality of a second displacement in living memory”, the UN officials flagged.
An army of Israeli forces and bulldozers broke into Wadi Hummus on early hours of Monday while it was still dark, and demolished 100 residential houses, displacing over 1000 Palestinians.
Although the community is under PA control, Israel has stolen it when it built the apartheid wall, dividing Sour Baher village and its residents into 2 parts.
Occupied Negev (QNN)- Israeli bulldozers and forces raided on the early morning of Monday the Araqeeb community in occupied Negev and demolished it for the 146th time, displacing its Bedouin residents, according to Arab 48.
Residents of the community said that Israeli police broke into the community and started demolishing houses and tents, leaving them homeless. Members of Yoav unit also chased locals and issued parking tickets against all vehicles in the village.
The Araqeeb Bedouin was first demolished in 2010, and since then, Israeli authorities have fought the village’s Palestinian Bedouin citizens with repeated demolitions, prosecutions, and fines.
The village was last destroyed on 27 June.
Thousands of Palestinian Bedouin citizens live in so-called ‘unrecognised villages’, which Israeli authorities refuse to regularise and grant basic services.
‘This is a continuation and part of the policy of the White House to legitimise the occupation of Jerusalem and empty it of its owners’
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is continuing its efforts with the International Criminal Court to push forward a formal investigation into Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes, especially in the town of Sur Baher, southeast of occupied Jerusalem.
In a statement, the ministry said that the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the Palestinian families’ request to cancel the planned demolition of 16 residential buildings in the Wadi Al-Homs neighbourhood in Sur Baher, which includes more than 100 apartments.
“The judicial system in Israel has proved to be an integral part of the Israeli colonial regime and has nothing to do with the law and the judiciary. It rather forms a cover and protection for the violations and crimes of the occupation,” the ministry said in the statement.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry considered that “the silence of the international community toward such practices encourages Israel to commit more crimes and blatant breaches of the Geneva Conventions, International Law, and the International Humanitarian Law.”
With the refusal of the petition submitted by the residents, the court gave the Israeli army permission to demolish 16 buildings containing about 100 apartments in the area, on the pretext that they are close to the Separation Wall.
Palestinian-Israeli Member of the Knesset Ahmad Tibi said: “This is a war crime; the eviction of people from their houses and their demolition despite having permits from the Palestinian Authority because it is in Area A and B … This is a continuation and part of the policy of the White House to legitimise the occupation of Jerusalem and empty it of its owners.”
Israeli forces invaded, Monday morning, the village of Wadi al-Homs, southeast of Jerusalem, and demolished five single-family homes and an apartment building nine stories high that was under construction.
The village is located in the township of Sur Bahir, located southeast of Jerusalem in an area that Israel has slated for colonization in its E1 Jerusalem expansion plan.
Israeli officials have issued demolition orders for sixteen Palestinian homes and apartment buildings in the neighborhood, claiming that they are too close to the Israeli-constructed Wall, and must be destroyed “for security reasons”.
According to local sources, more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers participated in the invasion of the neighborhood, mainly to push out the hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis and international solidarity activists who had arrived in the area to try to protect the homes from demolition.
Reporters from the Ma’an News Agency report that Ali al-Obeidi of the neighborhood committee told them that the soldiers attacked women, children, the elderly and the foreign solidarity activists.
al-Obeidi added that the soldiers destroyed Palestinian furniture that was in the homes, in addition to the homes themselves.
He added that the Palestinian families who live in the homes, and those who had been planning to live in the apartment building under construction, have been working through legal and diplomatic channels to try to protect their homes.
But the Israeli authorities, in an attempt to establish “facts on the ground”, went ahead with the demolitions despite the legal case that is in progress.
al-Obeidi told reporters that what is happening today is a mass displacement of the people of the neighborhood of Wadi al-Homs, despite their legal and diplomatic attempt to protect their property.
Hamada Hamada, head of the committee of the residents of Wadi Al-Homs, noted that the 16 buildings threatened by demolition in the neighborhood make up more than 100 family homes, some of which are inhabited and others under construction.
The buildings are located in the area classified as “A” under the Palestinian Authority, which means that under the 1993 Oslo Accords, they are supposed to be under full Palestinian control.
But the Israeli occupying authorities say that these buildings must be demolished due to their proximity to the Israeli Wall constructed in the past several years by Israeli forces in the Palestinian neighborhood.
According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli occupation forces demolished the homes of the Al-Kiswani and Abu Haddwan families, and homes under construction belonging to Ja’far Abu Hamed, ‘Ala’ Amira, Ali Hamid, ‘Shuqair’ and Tariq Mahamid.
As to the nine-story apartment building, belonging to Mohammed Abu Tair, hundreds of soldiers accompanied by military explosives experts, surrounded the building and planted explosives in preparation for detonation.
The demolitions come after the recent Israeli Supreme Court rejection of the appeal by the residents of the Wadi al-Homs neighborhood to preserve their homes. But residents cited legal gaps in the decision, and hoped to appeal to diplomatic channels and international bodies to stop the mass demolition.
In recent weeks, Israeli forces stormed the neighborhood a number of times in preparation for the mass demolition that began this morning.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Israeli occupation army on early hours of Monday has arrested 19 Palestinians during night raid and search campaign in different areas throughout the occupied West Bank. Meanwhile, dozens of Issawiyyeh residents were suffocated by Israeli tear gas and Israeli police surrounded the Mercy prayer room in Al Aqsa mosque and prevented worshipers from praying inside it.
A statement by the Israeli occupation army said that its soldiers arrested 19 Palestinians from different areas throughout the occupied West Bank for participating in popular resistance activities.
In occupied Jerusalem, Israeli police imposed vigorous action around the Mercy prayer room at the Al Aqsa mosque. Director-General of the Islamic Waqf department, Sheikh Azzam Khatib, told Arab 48 that worshipers performed Isha prayer inside the Mercy prayer room despite the Israeli restrictions.
Israeli soldier have earlier on Sunday broke into the Mercy prayer room and confiscated furniture. It also arrested a female worshiper recognized as Aida Sidawi before releasing her a few hours later.
In Issawiyyeh, dozens of Palestinian residents in addition to on paramedic were suffocated after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers, who beat them and showered them with tear gas and pepper gas,
The Palestinian Red Crescent said that Israeli forces assaulted its teams and prevented them from reaching wounded residents, causing one paramedic to be shot by a rubber-coated metal bullet.
‘The demolition results in forced evictions, and contributes to the risk of forcible transfer facing many Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,’ UN said
UN officials condemned the ongoing Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem, describing it as “violation of Palestinian rights.”
In a joint statement issued by Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator, Gwyn Lewis, Director of West Bank Operations for UNRWA, and James Heenan, Head of the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory, they expressed their “sadness” over the demolition.
Here is the statement:
We are following with sadness today the Israeli authorities’ destruction of homes in the Palestinian community of Sur Bahir. Initial information emerging from the community indicates that hundreds of Israeli forces entered the community this morning and have demolished a number of residential buildings, including inhabited homes, located in Areas A, B and C of the West Bank on the East Jerusalem side of the Barrier. The large-scale operation began in the early hours of this morning while it was still dark, forcing families out of their homes, and causing great distress among residents. Among those forcibly displaced or otherwise impacted are Palestine refugees, some of whom today are facing the reality of a second displacement in living memory.
Humanitarian partners are poised to provide emergency response to those displaced or otherwise affected by the destruction of their private property. But no amount of humanitarian assistance can replace a home or cover the massive financial losses sustained today by the owners.
Several of the affected people report having invested their life savings into the properties, after securing the required building permits from the Palestinian Authority.
What happened today in Sur Bahir is of even greater significance, as many other homes and structures now risk the same fate.
Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law. Among other things, the destruction of private property in occupied territory is only permissible where rendered absolutely necessary for military operations, which is not applicable. Furthermore, it results in forced evictions, and contributes to the risk of forcible transfer facing many Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruled against the legality of the construction of the Barrier and found that the parts of the Barrier that run inside the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as we see in Sur Bahir, cannot be justified by military exigencies and thus violates Israel’s obligations under international law. Just over 15 years ago, to the day, the UN General Assembly, in Resolution ES-10/15, of 20 July 2004, demanded that Israel comply with its legal obligations as stated in the ICJ’s advisory opinion.
Had there been concrete action to ensure respect for these principles, and for international humanitarian and human rights law, generally, the people of Sur Bahir would not be experiencing the trauma they are today, and violations of their rights.
102 Palestinians workers, who allegedly were not holding permits to work in the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories, were arrested by the Israeli occupation forces on Sunday morning.
Israeli media sources said that the Israeli forces arrested 102 Palestinian workers at al-Dahiriya checkpoint, south of Hebron, while they were attempting to enter the 1948 occupied territories for work without having the necessary licenses.
The West Bank Palestinian citizens who work in the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories always face the risk of being shot or arrested by the Israeli forces under the pretext of lacking the necessary work permits which Israel rarely issues.
About 500 Palestinian workers are currently held in Israeli jails for entering the 1948 occupied Palestine without having Israeli permits.