Israeli Soldiers Abduct A Palestinian In Northern Gaza

18 JUL6:24 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday evening, a young Palestinian man allegedly after he breached the perimeter fence, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army said the young Palestinian man breached the fence and was instantly taken prisoner by the soldiers.

It added that the young man “carried a knife,” and was moved to an interrogation facility.

It is worth mentioning that the Israeli army frequently abducts Palestinians who approach the fence, without even crossing it, in addition to its constant assaults and violations targeting farmers, workers and shepherds on Palestinian lands near the fence.

The violations also include constantly targeting Palestinian fishermen and their boats.
These violations have led to dozens of casualties, including many fatalities among the farmers, workers and fishermen, in addition to scores of abductions, and the destruction and confiscation of many Palestinian fishing boats.

(Source / 18.07.2019) 

Army Abducts Fifteen Palestinians Celebrating High-School Graduation In Jerusalem

18 JUL6:39 PM

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday evening, fifteen young Palestinian men in occupied Jerusalem, who were celebrating their high-school graduation using fireworks, after illegal Israeli colonists complained that the Palestinians are “firing live rounds.”

Palestinian sources said dozens of Palestinians, including the graduating students, were celebrating the graduations, and using fireworks.

They added that illegal Israeli colonialist settlers, living on Palestinian lands in and around the area, complained to the army and the police, and alleged that the Palestinians were also firing rounds of live ammunition.

The colonists also alleged that “some of the bullets reached their homes and cars and endangered their lives.”

The Israeli army and the police then invaded many Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, and abducted fifteen young men, in addition to initiating searches trying to abduct more of them.

(Source / 18.07.2019) 

‘ISRAEL’ DEMOLISHES SHOPS OWNED BY PALESTINIANS IN JERUSALEM

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli bulldozers demolished on Wednesday four shops in Silwan Neighborhood, to the south of the Al Aqsa mosque, which are owned by Muhammad Abbasi.

Large numbers of Israeli policemen and special forces surrounded the area and started demolition. Meanwhile, young Palestinians who happened to be in the area were beaten and assaulted then expelled from the neighborhood.

Local sources revealed that the Israeli authorities have handed a demolition note to Abbasi under the pretext of building without permit.

‘Israel’ has demolished and seized 538 houses and structures in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in 2018 only, displacing 1300 Palestinians including 225 children.

Most demolitions of 2018 were reportedly in occupied Jerusalem. 45% of the demolitions happened in the holy occupied city; 68 houses and 178 structures were demolished.

(Source / 18.07.2019) 

NEW DETAILS ON THE MURDER OF NASSAR TAQATQA UNDER TORTURE

Ramallah (QNN)- New information regarding the murder of Nassar Taqatqa (31 years old) confirmed that he was killed under torture during interrogation in Israeli jail.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said that Taqatqa was arrested in June 19, 2019 during a raid by Israeli special forces into his house in Beit Fajjar in Bethlehem before he was taken to Maskubeyyeh interrogation centre then to Jalameh interrogation centre. Taqatqa’s health started to deteriorate after the interrogation, according to eye witnesses.

Taqatqa was put in Mageddo jail on July, 9, where Israeli jailers brutally beat and handcuffed him to a bed.

On last Thursday, the jail administration rejected to get him out of solitary confinement claiming that he is punished. On Sunday, he was placed under special measures because of his deteriorating health condition, then sent to Ramleh hospital until he passed away on Tuesday.

The Prisoners Club assured that Taqata was subjected to torture in Megeddo jail before he died. Initial information stated that he had broken bones in his arms and legs because of torture.

Human rights organizations, including B’Tselem Israeli group, confirmed that Israel uses systematic psychological and physical torture against Palestinian prisoners. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have been killed before under torture like Aziz Oweisat from Jerusalem, whose body is still held by the Israelis.

(Source / 18.07.2019) 

Israel to demolish 16 residential buildings near Jerusalem

The buildings comprise of 100 apartments

Israeli forces took on Thursday measurements of 16 Palestinian residential buildings slated for demolition in Wadi al-Hummus neighbourhood, Sur Baher, southeast of occupied Jerusalem.

Head of the Wadi al-Hummus Committee Hamada Hamada said that the Israeli occupation forces along with staff from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem took measurements of the 16 buildings, which comprise of 100 apartments, in preparation to demolish them.

Mohammad abu-Teir, one of the owners of the buildings, confirmed.

This step, Hamada explained, came after the ultimatum given by the Israeli occupation to the owners to demolish their apartments on their own came to an end today, thus the demolition will be carried out at any moment.

The owners are expected to pay overpriced demolition fees as the Israeli occupation will carry out the demolition.

The Israeli high court has recently approved the demolition of the buildings, thus upholding military allegations that the buildings are close to the Israeli Separation Wall and “pose a security threat” due to their proximity to the illegal wall.

Palestinian appeals to demolition orders are frequently dismissed by Israeli courts, which are in fact complicit in perpetuating the Israeli policies of forcible transfer and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The buildings are located in Area A, supposedly under the full jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority as per the Oslo Accords.

The demolition is expected to have a disastrous effect on all other areas of the West Bank adjacent to the apartheid wall, putting these areas at a high risk of mass demolitions under security pretexts and putting the lives of Palestinians living in such areas at the risk of imminent forcible transfer.

(Source / 18.07.2019) 

British MPs Condemn Killing Of Palestinian Medics By Israel Forces In Gaza

A number of British Members of Parliament have slammed the killing of Palestinian medics at the hands of Israeli forces in the occupied Gaza Strip.

On 15 July, an Early Day Motion (EDM) entitled “Health Workers in Gaza” was tabled in Parliament.

The EDM begins with a condemnation of “the killing of healthcare workers in Gaza and in particular the recent killing of Gaza paramedic Mohammed Al-Jedaili”, who, the motion adds, was “the fifth Palestinian health worker to be killed by Israeli forces in just over a year”.

The motion then “notes that according to the World Health Organisation more than 750 health workers in Gaza were also injured between 30 March 2018 and 31 May 2019.”

The context for the timeframe is the Great March of Return, and the efforts taken by Israeli forces to violently suppress its associated demonstrations.

Finally, the EDM also “calls on the Government to take diplomatic steps to ensure that medical workers in Gaza can perform their humanitarian functions without risk of attack”.

MPs are also requesting “an investigation which complies with international standards of independence, impartiality, promptness, thoroughness and transparency into those deaths”.

Israeli military investigations are notorious for what human rights group B’Tselem has described as a “whitewashing” process, with prosecutions of soldiers almost impossible.

The primary sponsor of the new EDM is Labour MP Alex Sobel, with cross-party co-sponsors listed as Jim Cunningham (Labour), Paul Farrelly (Labour), Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrat), Sir Peter Bottomley (Conservative), and Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru).

MP signatories who have added their names thus far include Ben Lake (Plaid Cymru), Roger Godsiff (Labour), Ian Mearns (Labour), Ronnie Campbell (Labour), and Dennis Skinner (Labour).

(Source / 18.07.2019) 

Israeli plan to raze East Jerusalem homes may be first step towards mass demolitions across the West Bank

The Wadi al-Hummus area of Sur Bahir, East Jerusalem (Photo: Saleh Zghari)

The Wadi al-Hummus area of Sur Bahir, East Jerusalem 

In less than 24 hours, 42-year-old Ismail Obeidiya, his wife Nida, and their six kids, could be made homeless. It’s a terrifying reality that Obeidiya is struggling to grapple with, his unease and frustration more palpable with every word.

“We fought so long and so hard, for years, to try to save our home. But in the end, the Israeli courts, the ‘High Court of Justice’ as they say, could not offer us any justice,” Obeidiya told Mondoweiss from the front yard of his home.

The Obeidiyas’ home is one of 10 buildings slated for an unprecedented mass demolition by Israeli authorities in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Sur Bahir.

While Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem are commonplace, typically under the pretext that the homes were built without Israeli-issued permits, the homes in question stand on ‘Area A’ and ‘Area B’ land under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), as designated by the Oslo Accords.

While most of Sur Bahir is located inside Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, the area that Obeidiya lives in, called Wadi al-Hummus, borders the Green Line and is technically a part of the West Bank; but when Israel began constructing the Separation Wall in the area in 2005, the barrier was routed around Sur Bahir so that Wadi al-Hummus was annexed into the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem side of the barrier.

Despite the fact that residents of the area duly obtained building permits from the PA, Israel has continued to move forward with orders to demolish the homes on the grounds that they violate a 2011 Israeli military order prohibiting construction within a 100-300-meter buffer zone of the separation wall.

“I chose this area to build my home because it’s Area A, we thought this would protect us,” Obeidiya told Mondoweiss. “Contrary to what they say — we are here legally. Their demolition orders are illegal.”

Last month the Israeli Supreme Court denied a 2017 petition filed by Obeidiya and his fellow residents to save their homes, ending a seven-year legal battle in Israeli courts.

One week later, the court issued a notice to residents saying that they had one month, until July 18th, to demolish their homes. If they did not do so, Israeli authorities would demolish the homes for them, and send the residents the bill for demolition fees.

Should Israel follow through with the demolitions, local and international officials fear it could pave the way for Israel to enforce widespread demolitions in PA-controlled border communities across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“This will set a dangerous precedent for the Israeli occupation to take control of this area and others like it,” Hamada Hamada, 54, a local activist in Wadi al-Hummus told Mondoweiss, expressing fears that Israeli authorities will try to enforce similar measures across the occupied Palestinian territory.

“If these demolitions go through, all Palestinian towns on the border lines, close to settlements — basically anyone living on any land Israel wants, even if it’s controlled by the PA, they will be in danger and under threat.”

International attention

The case of Sur Bahir and the residents of Wadi al-Hummus has drawn widespread international attention in recent weeks, given the political gravity of the situation.

According to UN OCHA, if the demolitions are carried out, they would result in the displacement of three households, comprising 17 people, including nine children. Some 350 people whose homes are still under construction would also be affected.

“Additionally, residents fear a heightened risk of demolition of some 100 buildings that were built after the 2011 military order in the buffer zone in Sur Bahir,” UN OCHA reported.

Dozens of Palestinian, Israeli, and European officials descended upon Sur Bahir on Tuesday at the behest of residents and local activists in a last-ditch effort to save their homes.

Diplomats from some 20 countries toured Sur Bahir, visiting the 10 buildings — comprising 70 apartments — slated for demolition as per last month’s Supreme Court order. All but one of the buildings, some of which are still under construction and uninhabited, are located on the Jerusalem side of the wall.

One of the residents to speak to the officials was Obeidiya, who urged the international community to intervene on behalf of him and his neighbors, telling them that him and his family would be left on the streets if their home was demolished.

During the tour, the French consul general for Jerusalem, Pierre Cochard, told journalists “he did not think the security explanation provided by Israel was sufficient to move ahead with the move,” the Times of Israel reported.

“I think it’s important to underline that we cannot deny their right…they are here in Palestinian territory,” Cochard said.

One of the officials present was Israeli MK Ofer Kasif of the joint Israeli-Palestinian left-wing Hadash party. “I came here today to show my support and stand with all the Palestinian families whose homes are under attack and threat of demolition,” Kasif told Mondoweiss.

“The current Israeli government has opened a war against all the Palestinian people. Home demolitions are one part of all of the things they are doing. They have one goal, to kick all the Palestinians out of their homes,” Kasif said.

In a statement on Wednesday, several UN officials called on Israel to immediately halt its plans to demolish the structures in question, and to instead “implement fair planning policies that allow Palestinian residents of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the ability to meet their housing and development needs, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”

The Palestinian Liberation Organization released a report on the situation in Sur Bahir, urging the international community to move beyond “mere condemnations,” and take direct action against the Israeli government for its policies against Palestinians in the occupied territory.

“Israeli breaches of international law and violations of Palestinian rights, necessitate urgent action by the international community,” the report said, adding that “without accountability, Israeli impunity will prevail.”

Dividing Sur Bahir

Crucial to understanding the current fight in Wadi al-Hummus, is to understand the geography of Sur Bahir, how its land has been divided over the years, and the effects it has had on the local community.

With an estimated population of 24,000 Palestinians, Sur Bahir is one of the largest Palestinian towns in East Jerusalem, situated around 4.6 kilometers southeast of the Old City.

While the total original land area of Sur Bahir is around 10,000 dunums (approx. 2,471 acres), much of the town’s land has been confiscated by Israel over the years for the use of settlement construction, settler bypass roads, and the separation wall.

Following the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, Israel illegally annexed some 70,000 dunums of Palestinian land and extended the boundaries of the Jerusalem municipality to dozens of Palestinian towns along the border, including most of Sur Bahir’s land.

In 1995, under the Oslo Accords, the remaining eastern neighborhoods of Sur Bahir that were not officially under the Jerusalem municipality — Wadi al-Hummus, al-Muntar, and Deir al-Amoud —  were classified as PA-controlled land, split up into Areas A, B, and C.

When speaking to Mondoweiss Hamada broke down the 10,000 dunums of Sur Bahir land into the following categories:

  • An estimated 1,700 dunums have been confiscated for the construction of nearby Israeli settlements
    Some 4,800 dunums were classified as being under the control of the Jerusalem municipality.
  • Out of those 4,800 dunums, the municipality has allocated only 1,500 dunums for the construction of homes. The majority of Sur Bahir residents live in this area.
  • The remainder of the land in Sur Bahir, approximately 3,500 dunums, is PA-controlled land, where Wadi al-Hummus is located. Some 6,000 Palestinians live there.
  • For decades residents of Sur Bahir, like many other Palestinians living in communities bordering Jerusalem and the West Bank, were forced to navigate the complex network of zoning and housing laws.

Despite some residents technically living in Jerusalem, and others living in the West Bank, the community remained unified, with the majority of them holding permanent residency in Jerusalem.

When Israel began construction of the wall in 2004, the community was faced with another problem that threatened to complicate their lives even further.

“The original planned route of the wall was to cut directly through Sur Bahir, between the separating the Jerusalem municipality area from the West Bank area of the village,” Hamada told Mondoweiss. “But the people didn’t want this, so we protested and protested against the construction of the wall.”

It was only after then US National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice intervened, that Israel changed the route of the wall to be placed further north, effectively annexing the West Bank part of Sur Bahir onto the Israeli-controlled side of the barrier.

Even though the residents “won” their battle to have the route of the wall changed, Hamada says that its construction has still caused irreversible harm to the fabric of the community.

Living in limbo

After the construction of the wall, despite being physically separated from the West Bank and put on the Jerusalem side of the barrier, the areas of Wadi al-Hummus, al-Muntar, and Deir al-Amoud and their residents have not been incorporated within the municipal boundaries.

“It’s like we are living in limbo,” Hamada told Mondoweiss. “We are legally under the jurisdiction of the PA, but the Israeli government does not allow the Palestinian to excercise its authority beyond the wall.”

“We are living in Areas A, B, and C, and thus, everything from the permission to build, paving roads, electricity, water, etc. should all be under the responsibility of the PA,” he continued. “But the wall doesn’t allow the Palestinian government to fulfill any of their responsibilities to the people.”

While the Israeli government does not allow the PA to service these areas, the Jerusalem municipality also refuses to provide services because the areas are technically outside the boundaries of the municipality.

With no one one to protect them, residents of Wadi al-Hummus and the other PA-designated areas of Sur Bahir have been subject to widespread attacks from the Israeli government.

According to UN documentation, since 2009, “Israeli authorities have demolished, or forced owners to demolish, 69 structures in Sur Bahir, on the grounds of lack of building permits, of which 46 were inhabited or under-construction homes,” resulting in the displacement of  some 400 Palestinians.

With the issuance of the Israeli military order in 2011, hundreds more homes in Areas A, B, and C, despite already have building permits from the PA, were put under threat of demolition due to their proximity to the wall.

“The buffer zone includes more than 200 buildings, of which about 100 were built after the 2011 military order, according to local sources,” UN OCHA reported.

During their conversations with Mondoweiss, both Hamada and Obeidiya stressed the fact that the demolitions would not just cause families to lose their homes, but so much more than that.

“With these demolitions, people’s entire lives will be destroyed, all the money that they saved and spent on building their dream homes will be crushed,” Hamada said.

Obeidiya says he is more than 400,000 shekels (approx. $112,940) in debt between building costs, lawyer fees, and Israeli fines.

“We are absolutely devastated. I worked for years to build a home for me and my family, a future for me and my kids,” Obeidiya told Mondoweiss. “But the Israeli occupation has destroyed us, not just our homes. They are slowly killing us.”

(Source / 18.07.2019) 

Israel’s Shin Bet refuses work permits for 5,000 Gazans

Protest outside UNRWA after employees were to be forced in to retirement [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Protest outside UNRWA after employees were to be forced in to retirement 

Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet rejected a plan which would have allowed 5,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to work in Israel, Ynet News reported yesterday.

News reports revealed that there had been secret talks between Israel and Hamas to allow 5,000 workers from Gaza to work in Israel as part of the truce understandings.

“In Gaza, people will choose to work in Israel over digging terror tunnels,” one security official told Ynet News. “Each of the 5,000 will be thoroughly checked on his way in and out of the Strip and will earn about NIS 3,500 [$988] in comparison to about NIS 1,000 [$282] he can make inside Gaza — if he is lucky and has a job there.”

The official added: “We are talking about more than NIS 25 million [$7 million] each month, that will allow workers to purchase products in Gaza and improve the economic situation there, which will, in turn, bring calm.”

OPINION: PA salary cuts leave Gaza employees unable to cope

“Any flare-up will, of course, mean the closing of the border. But today they are in a spot where they have nothing to lose.”

Despite the support of the Israeli civil administration and the Israeli army to give work permits for Gaza workers, Shin Bet insists on its position, claiming that Hamas would exploit the workers and use them to collect information or smuggle weapons.

At the same time, Shin Bet said, according to Ynet News, Israel has no presence inside the Gaza Strip like what is happening in the occupied West Bank, and thus can’t make immediate arrests of “terror suspects” if it needs to.

(Source / 17.07.2019) 

Israeli deputy minister demands halt to Palestinian ‘takeover’ of West Bank land

Tzipi Hotovely

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely

Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) toured the southern occupied West Bank Tuesday, attacking what she described as a “takeover” by Palestinians.

According to a report by right-wing news outlet Arutz Sheva, Hotovely’s visit was organised by right-wing activist group Regavim, which campaigns against Palestinian construction.

“It’s important to stop the illegal construction and agricultural takeover by the Palestinians, which is taking place in areas under Israeli control”, said Hotovely, in a reference to Palestinian communities living in ‘Area C’ – roughly 60 percent – of the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians living in Area C must seek building permits from Israeli occupation authorities, permits that are routinely denied.

READ: 550 Palestinians to be homeless after Israel demolishes entire Jerusalem neighbourhood

“We must break the [former Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad plan to establish a Palestinian state by setting facts on the ground and stop Palestinian expansion before it’s too late”, Hotovely added.

Regavim recently carried out a PR stunt in the West Bank, hanging Palestinian flags at various intersections used by settlers.

According to the group, the goal was to warn settlers about ‘illegal’ construction by Palestinians in Area C, which, the right-wing activists believe, could lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Regavim head Meir Deutsch said at the time: “a terror state is around the corner, and the public in Yehuda and Shomron [the West Bank] has fallen asleep on guard”.

(Source / 17.07.2019) 

Irrigation Pool Demolished by Israeli Forces in Southern West Bank

17 JUL1:13 AM

Israeli forces, on Tuesday, demolished a pool used for irrigation in Wad al-Ghroos, an area close to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, to the east of the occupied southern West Bank city of Hebron, reported WAFA correspondence.

A large unit of Israeli forces, accompanied by bulldozers and other heavy machinery, raided the area and demolished a 4,500 cubic meter pool owned by local resident Ziad Jaabari, and used for the irrigation of fields and crops in the area, under the pretext that it was built in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under full Israeli military rule.

He added that Israeli forces verbally insulted and physically attacked residents, journalists and activists while they were at the scene.

Jaabari said the pool was used to collect rain water in order to use it during the summer season, to irrigate their farms, expressing fear that without the pool and the water, many crops, particularly, tomatoes and cucumber, may be ruined.

Several houses in the same area have been given notices of demolition by Israeli soldiers, and for the same reason, which is construction without a the impossible-to-get permit in Area C.

(Source / 17.07.2019)