Two Palestinian minors injured by Israeli gunfire east of Gaza

2 minors injured

Two Palestinian juveniles were injured Friday evening east of al-Bureij refugee camp and Jabalya town in Gaza Strip.

The PIC reporter said that Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) at the security border fence east of Gaza Strip opened their gunfire and unleashed tear gas grenades at a group of Palestinian youths who were gathering near the fence. Two young men aged 16 and 17 years were shot in the head and leg respectively.

The injury in the head was very serious while the other was moderate, the spokesman of the Palestinian Health Ministry Ashraf al-Qudra said.

The Gaza border area with 1948 Occupied Palestine usually witnesses clashes and demonstrations in protest at the continuation of the Israeli decade-long siege on Gaza especially on Fridays.

(Source / 11.08.2017)

Israel, PA discreetly resume security coordination

Israeli security forces stand at the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, after Israel removed all security measures it had installed at the compound, and Palestinians entered the compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, July 27, 2017

Security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been renewed, but no official announcement was issued — nor is one expected. Al-Monitor had learned about it from Israeli defense sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. On July 21, at the height of the crisis triggered by the shooting death of two Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount compound, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared he was suspending security ties with Israel. The move was intended to prove to the Palestinian public that Abbas was taking a tough line with Israel over its placing of metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif site, a move perceived in the Arab world as a violation of the fragile status quo there.

Abbas had initially not intended to halt security coordination with Israel. When Palestinian journalists asked PA officials whether the suspension of ties with Israel included a stop to the security coordination, the officials hemmed and hawed and did not provide a clear answer. The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah understood that absent an unambiguous announcement to the effect that the security ties had also been halted, they would not be able to appease public opinion. Abbas then made a dramatic announcement in which he said that he was freezing cooperation with Israeli security echelons until things at the site return to the way they were. But even after Israel removed all its new security devices, continued public pressure made it hard for Abbas to officially announce that business with Israel was back as usual.

Security officials on both sides say the coordination between them has foiled dozens of terror attacks against Israelis in recent years. But so as not to be perceived as caving in too easily, the Palestinian president presented Israel with a set of demands for renewing security ties. These included a clear Israeli pledge to stop raids into the Palestinian controlled Area A of the West Bank to carry out arrests of Palestinians wanted for questioning. The Palestinians also demanded that Israel ease the passage of Palestinians into Israel and through the Allenby Bridge from the West Bank to Jordan (including the deployment of Palestinian police alongside the Israelis conducting security checks at the crossing). Still, no one in the PA was surprised when Israel rejected these conditions out of hand.

Palestinian security officials, especially intelligence chief Majid Faraj who is considered a moderating influence on Abbas’ circle, understood that the suspension of the security ties with Israel could not continue for long. The coordination serves the interests of the PA, too. Israel’s well-developed intelligence apparatus regularly passes on sensitive information to the heads of the Palestinian agencies, who use it to thwart domestic threats to Abbas and the PA’s stability.

However, US pressure appears to have played an even more significant role in the decision. As reported by Al-Monitor on Aug. 4, a team of American envoys headed by Jason Greenblatt conveyed a clear message to Faraj that a halt to the security coordination could end in disaster. In a phone conversation, Greenblatt personally conveyed the message to Faraj.

It now turns out that security coordination between the sides was restored on Aug. 4, without any formal announcement and with Palestinian security forces being sworn to secrecy about the move. The next day, Israeli troops had already detained dozens of suspects in the Jalazone and Balata refugee camps in the West Bank. Both these camps are located in West Bank Area A. Past experience indicates that Israeli soldiers coordinate their entry into these areas with Palestinian police. A resident of the Balata camp in the town of Nablus, a Palestinian journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al-Monitor that raids by Israeli special forces on such densely populated areas are regularly coordinated with the PA. This well-known fact fuels the public anger at Abbas and his people. There’s no way, he added, that the recent arrests were conducted without coordination with the PA.

A Palestinian security official who spoke to Al-Monitor refused to confirm that the reported arrests in the refugee camps were carried out in coordination with the PA. He said Abbas had announced in the past that he was opposed to Israeli military raids into areas under sovereign Palestinian control. Nonetheless, he noted that in Abbas’ announcement of a halt to security ties, he had left an opening for coordination of urgent matters.

At the end of last week, Israel also handed back to the PA the bodies of four Palestinians who had carried out attacks against Israelis — another indication of “business as usual” between the sides. At the same time, Israel stopped issuing threats of planned sanctions against the PA if Abbas persisted in his refusal to resume the security coordination. On the night of Aug. 6-7, hundreds of Israeli worshippers prayed at Joseph’s Tomb, a site holy to Jews located in the PA-controlled city of Nablus. Obviously, such visits cannot be arranged without close coordination between the sides.

It remains to be seen whether the renewed security cooperation goes unnoticed by the Palestinian street. The families of those arrested in the latest Israeli raid on the refugee camps could well start agitating and highlighting the renewed links with Israel. Abbas’ opponents within his Fatah movement — former Fatah senior Mohammed Dahlan and Fatah senior (jailed in Israel) Marwan Barghouti — are waiting in the wings for an opportunity to attack Abbas. They will not hesitate to embarrass him.

(Source / 11.08.2017)

IOF storms Nablus town

For the third time in a week

IOF storms Nablus

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed Friday afternoon a historical site in Sabsatia town, north of Nablus.

Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that IOF soldiers stormed the town and were deployed in large numbers in the archaeological area, known as Bayader.

IOF soldiers stormed the town three times within one week.

(Source / 11.08.2017)

Jerusalem’s African community stands with Al-Aqsa

African migrants take part in a protest opposite the Knesset, Jerusalem, Israel, Jan. 8, 2014

RAMALLAH, West Bank — As Jerusalemites protested at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque in July, in rejection of the Israeli decision to install metal detectors at the holy site, members of the city’s African community offered protesters water and food. They also welcomed worshippers into their homes during the protests, as the hub of this community is located near Al-Aqsa, around the Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis).

Jerusalem’s African community is relatively small and consists of nearly 50 families living in the Bab al-Majlis neighborhood of the Old City. The majority of the community comes from countries such as Chad, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan. Their ancestors came to Jerusalem in successive periods, beginning in the Ottoman era and continuing into the British Mandate.

Moussa Qaws, a co-founder of the African Community Society in Bab al-Majlis, told Al-Monitor that Africans “immigrated to Palestine for two main reasons: the first is religious and consists of the hajj [to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which often follows the pilgrimage to Mecca]. In fact, Africans who used to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem were rewarded a privileged social status. The second reason is jihad and the [religious] bond [formed] in Jerusalem.”

Though Africans first began to visit Jerusalem in the Ottoman period, Qaws said they only started settling there in the 1940s, during the British Mandate. Most Africans came to the city as part of the Arab Liberation Army, which included volunteers from various Islamic countries who wanted to help the Palestinians in their fight against the British and the Zionists. Many African members of the army stayed in Jerusalem after the fighting concluded. According to Qaws, Jerusalem’s African community numbers around 750 people at present.

Qaws’ father came to Palestine from Chad in 1942 to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque after making the hajj to Mecca. He carried a French travel document since Chad was then under French rule. He ended up staying in Jerusalem and marrying a Palestinian woman.

When Jordan controlled East Jerusalem, from 1948-1967, the Jordanian government did not grant citizenship to Africans. Following the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, Africans who lived in Jerusalem obtained identity cards.

Once they obtained identity cards, members of the African Palestinian community in Jerusalem were forced to travel with a document known as the “laissez-passer.” This prevented Qaws and his brothers from visiting their relatives in Chad due to the country’s nonrecognition of Israel and the absence of diplomatic ties. “My father died in 1983, so I went to the French Embassy to ask for [French] nationality,” he said, noting that his father had been a French citizen. “My request was rejected since Chad was no longer a French colony.”

Although the African community merged with Jerusalemites and adapted to the city’s way of life, it has kept its own traditions and customs. Qaws said, “Even though we do not come from the same country, we were raised in Jerusalem as members of one family, and we have common traditions that we seek to maintain — such as those of death and marriage, as well as our shared popular dish of porridge known as Asida that we eat on special occasions.”

These traditions were in part preserved with the help of the African Community Society, which was established in 1983. The society seeks to connect its members to their varied African heritages, especially the youth, and also to introduce tourists in Jerusalem to their traditions.

The economic situation of the African community is no different from the rest of the Old City, where the poverty rate reached 82% in 2014, according to a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. Members of the city’s African community are generally not landowners in the city; they primarily rent houses.

Ihab al-Jallad, a researcher on Jerusalem affairs at the Jerusalem Popular Committee, said this community is a central part of the city’s social fabric, which is composed of many different groups that all acknowledge the sanctity of the city. However, members of the community tend to marry within the community, and can also face discrimination based on their skin color.

Jallad told Al-Monitor that African community members were “famous for their work as guards at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque over the years.” He said the community does not have any singular political leaders, since members are often affiliated with a diverse range of authorities in Jerusalem.

Many years have passed since the African community’s initial arrival in Jerusalem. Though they still feel an innate sense of connection to their ancestors’ countries of origin, they have chosen to continue living in Jerusalem for its sanctity. It is in this tradition of fusion, Qaws said, that the African Community Society has embarked on a new project: to embroider a traditional silk African wedding gown using the stitched embroidery of the Palestinians.

(Source / 11.08.2017)

Palestinians decry annulment of Jerusalem residence permits

Palestinians celebrate the removal of Israeli security measures at the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem, on 27 July 2017 [Mahmoud İbrahem/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians celebrate the removal of Israeli security measures at the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem, on 27 July 2017

Gaza’s Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowments) has condemned Israel’s decision to annul residence permits for thousands of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents.

“Israel has abruptly cancelled residence permits for 14,595 Palestinians in Jerusalem,” the Hamas-run ministry said in a statement released late Wednesday.

“The Israeli authorities continue to escalate their Judaization campaign in the city, while carrying out settlement projects [in the occupied West Bank] and adopting brutal security measures against Palestinians there,” the statement read.

It went on to note that, last month alone, Israeli forces had demolished dozens of Palestinian structures in and around Jerusalem.

“The Israeli authorities are pursuing a massive settlement project with a view to bringing some 150,000 Jewish settlers into Jerusalem while driving 100,000 Palestinians from the city,” the ministry said.

Read: Israel committing ‘war crime’ by revoking residency of Jerusalemites

(Source / 11.08.2017)

PLO official: Washington is not an honest peace broker

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks during US President Donald Trump's (R) visit to Israel Museum in Jerusalem on 23 May 2017. [Israeli Government Press Office/Haim Zach/Handout]

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks during US President Donald Trump’s (R) visit to Israel Museum in Jerusalem on 23 May 2017

A senior member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Ahmad Majdalani, said that the US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt will arrive in the region by the end of August and will hold separate meetings with Palestinian and Israeli officials, Quds Press reported.

Majdalani told Quds Press yesterday that the US administration’s position and role prove that it has not been an honest broker in the peace process.

“The United States has always conveyed the Israeli position,” he said, adding that this has called into question America’s role in the peace process.

On Washington’s position he mentioned that the new US administration has not yet crystallised their vision of the political process in the region, in spite of previous agreements to form a Palestinian-American team to review and prepare a plan to reach a comprehensive deal to resolve the Palestinian issue and end the occupation.

Read: Kushner’s comments about peace present the Palestinians with a way out of the current shambles

He also pointed out that during previous meetings with the Americans Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had specific demands in light of Washington’s failure to declare “traditional positions” taken by all previous American administrations on issues such as the two-state solution and the settlements.

Majdalani’s statements, which indicate that Palestinians are not expecting much support from the United States, came in light of a report by the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom  which quoted senior sources in the Palestinian Authority saying that a delegation of US officials, headed by Jason Greenblatt, is set to arrive in the region to meet representatives of the two sides to examine the possibility of resuming Palestinian-Israeli talks.

(Source / 11.08.2017)

Israel demolished 41 houses of Palestinian resistance fighters since October 2015

An Israeli bulldozer demolishes a Palestinian house [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apa Images]

An Israeli bulldozer demolishes a Palestinian house

Since the beginning of the Jerusalem Intifada in October 2015, Israeli occupation authorities have demolished 36 houses of Palestinian resistance fighters, according to Abdullah Al-Hourani Centre for Studies and Documentation.

The centre stated in one of the reports issued today that the occupation authorities closed four houses through “pouring ready-made concrete inside, in addition to the closure of one house by welding doors and windows because it was difficult to demolish.”

Two houses belonging to the families of the martyrs Baraa Saleh and Osama Atta were demolished, while the house of martyr Adel Ankush’s family was closed in Deir Abu Mashaal village, western Ramallah, in addition detainee Malik Hamid’s home was destroyed.

Read: Jerusalem: 600 injured, 425 arrested, 12 buildings demolished

Dr. Sulaiman Al-Waari, the centre’s director, declared that the Israeli authorities are conducting a policy of collective punishment against Palestinians through demolishing their houses.

In an interview with Quds Press today, Al-Waari said that the demolitions are “a clear violation of international law and the Geneva Convention, and come within the occupation’s claims of creating a state of deterrence to stop resistance operations.”

He explained that the pace of demolitions increased since 2015, in an attempt to end Palestinian popular resistance and appease Jewish settlers.

In 2005, Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered an end to the practice of home demolitions following an army committee report which found that the practice generally inflamed hatred, citing only 20 cases in which the threat of demolition deterred potential attackers or pushed their families to turn them in.

(Source / 11.08.2017)

Israeli forces enforce closure of main Jerusalem-area road for 3rd day

Closure of road

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Thursday continued to enforce a road closure for the third consecutive day, cutting ten villages northeast of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank off from the main road.

Locals told Ma’an that as of Thursday, Israeli forces had for three days, closed down the entrance to the three-kilometer long “tunnels” road which originates in the Rafat villages, and leads to the villages of Qatanna, Biddu, Beit Surik, Beit Anan, al-Qubieba, Beit Duqqu, Beit Ijza, Khirbet Em al-lahem, Beit Iksa and Nabi Samwil.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were unaware of the closure.

(Source / 11.08.2017)

2 Palestinians shot by Israeli forces undergo surgery, 1 in critical condition

2 Palestinians shot

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Two injured Palestinian detainees, who were detained on Wednesday after they were shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces during a raid on the Bethlehem-area al-Duheisha refugee camp, have undergone surgery and are still in the hospital, with one in critical condition.Lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Karim Ajwa released a statement on Thursday after visiting the two injured Palestinians, Abd al-Aziz Arafeh and Raed al-Salhi, who are being held in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.Ajwa said that Arafeh, who was shot in his left leg, is being held in the hospital’s Orthopedic wing, and that his condition is stable.Al-Salhi, who was shot in the stomach and thigh, is in critical condition and being held in the intensive care unit.Ajwa added that a court session is expected to be held on Thursday to extend the detention of the two, who were detained during a predawn raid on the camp, located in the southern occupied West Bank.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an at the time that during the raid to detain al-Salhi and Arafeh, the two attempted to flee on foot, at which time Israeli soldiers chased and shot them.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Due to the typically aggressive nature of the raids, clashes often erupt between local Palestinian youth who throw stones and are met in response with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.
Rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians, particularly in refugee camps, during incidents that did not warrant a violent response.
(Source / 11.08.2017)

Palestinian prisoner undergoes surgery after suffering from heart attack

Dawoud al-Khatib

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian prisoner is in stable condition after undergoing heart surgery, following a heart attack he suffered earlier this week, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).

PPS lawyer Khalid Mahajna said in a statement on Thursday he was able to visit Palestinian prisoner Dawoud al-Khatib in Israel’s Soroka hospital, due to a heart attack al-Khatib suffered while being held in Israel’s Ramon prison.
Mahajna said that doctors at the hospitals told him that al-Khatib suffered from 70 percent blockage in one of the heart’s valves, and that he “will remain under observation at the hospital,” noting that his condition is stable.
Al-Khatib, whose age remained unknown, is from the Bethlehem governorate, and is serving an 18 year prison sentence in Israeli prison.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,128 Palestinians were imprisoned by Israel as of July, 450 of whom were being held without charge or trial.

(Source / 11.08.2017)