On the 70th anniversary of Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of 800 000 Palestinians from their homes by Israel, Israel killed 3 people while 2 others, wounded on Monday, died of their wounds.

Among the dead are two teenagers, one of them a minor. 417 people were injured in Israeli attacks in besieged Gaza, while in East Jerusalem and West Bank the number of injured was also counted in the hundreds, with most suffering effects of tear gas inhalation.

Throughout the day funerals of those killed on Monday, rising to 62 with deaths among the wounded, were carried out in the besieged coastal enclave of Gaza Strip.


One of those who died perished as a result of tear gas inhalation. 58-year-old local politician Idris Shaker Jabareen, with no known perious health issues, died as a result of Israeli use of tear gas against a non-violent protest in the town of Sa’ir in the Hebron district of the occupied West Bank.

His death follows that of 8-month-old Leila Anwar al-Ghandour on the occupied West Bank, who died after Israeli occupation targeted the Great Return March camp she was in with tear gas.


On the besieged Gaza Strip the bloodbath of Monday was not repeated, but two more victims wounded on Monday died and two people were shot on Tuesday evening while taking part on demonstration.

18-year-old Bilal Bodeir al-Ashram and 51-year-old Nasser Ahmad Mahmoud Ghorab, both from the Nuseirat refugee camp, were fatally shot east of al-Bureij refugee camp. Both of them were shot in chest.

Two people wounded on Monday died of their wounds, and one of them was a child. 16-year-old Talal Adel Ibrahim Matar had been shot east of Gaza City and remained in critical condition until his death. 30-year-old Omar Abu Fol had also been shot east of Gaza City and they both died on the morning; Abu Fol’s death was announced several hours earlier than that of Talal Matar.

It appears Abu Fol was a father of at least three children.

(Source / 16.05.2018)

Renewed Assad Regime Airstrikes on Idlib & Hama Leave Civilian Casualties Wednesday

Renewed airstrikes by the Assad regime on Idlib and Hama provinces killed and injured a number of civilians on Wednesday as the Syrian Coalition warned that the continuing war crimes against civilians risk undermining chances of a political solution.

Local activists said that Assad regime jets hit the town of Jisr al-Shughour in western rural of Idlib with vacuum bombs, killing one civilian and wounding others as well as destroying civilian homes.

Assad regime air force also bombed the villages of Ishtabraq and Al-Najiya in western rural Idlib, while the village of Qandiya was hit with barrel bombs, causing damage to civilian homes.

Regime forces also targeted vehicles traveling near the village of Mansoura in the Sahl al-Ghab plain in northwestern rural Hama with heat-seeking missiles. Local activists said that at least five civilians were killed when the car carrying them was hit while travelling near the village. The bodies of the victims were burned beyond recognition, activists added.

Samer Nassar, director of the civil defense center in the town of Qastoun, said that rescue workers managed to reach the targeted car and saw charred corpses inside. He pointed out that regime forces targeted the place while rescue workers were trying to pull out the corpses.

The Syrian Coalition pointed out that these crimes once again showed that the Assad regime and its allies know only the language of killing, shelling, siege and mass forced displacement, arbitrary detention and systematic torture. It stressed that these crimes are aimed at forcing the Syrian people to give up their legitimate demands. The Coalition warned that the survival of the Assad regime and its continued widespread war crimes pose real threat to international peace and security.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 16.05.2018)

Israeli soldiers injure 4 unarmed Palestinians in Al-Khalil protest Monday 14th May

Protesters gather in Al-Khalil/Hebron city centre on Monday morning

On Monday 14th May at 11am, protesters in occupied Al-Khalil gathered at the Hussein Mosque stadium with placards, and marched down to the city centre, gathering there and taking pictures at around 11.30. Around 80 protesters were present, including children and observers. Some protesters continued on towards Checkpoint 56, which prevents Palestinians from entering Shuhada Street. Israeli soldiers threw stun grenades and tear gas at protesters from a rooftop above the checkpoint. The protesters were mostly under 18, and not armed or posing any threat to the soldiers. At this point, 5 heavily armed soldiers came out of the checkpoint into Bab-Azawieh, in H1, began pointing out protesters, and firing rubber-coated steel bullets towards them as well as tear gas and stun grenades. Other soldiers remained on the rooftop, using live ammunition on protesters.


International Solidarity Movement activists went to investigate if there had been any injuries amongst the protesters, and witnessed an elderly man being carried down the street away from the checkpoint and rushed into an ambulance, suffering with tear gas inhalation. In the next few hours, International Solidarity Movement activists confirmed with witnesses that three boys were shot and injured– one from live fire, and two from rubber-coated steel bullets. The victims were taken to hospital. Copious amounts of tear gas continued to be used throughout the day from soldiers occupying a rooftop above Checkpoint 56, injuring a 14 year old boy, from inhalation, who was filming for a human rights organisation and wearing a vest marked ‘Press’.  Activists also witnessed the soldiers on the rooftop dancing, singing, and jeering at protesters after throwing tear gas and stun grenades, and after hospitalising 4 Palestinians. One protester, aged around 12 or 13, waved a ‘Great Return March’ flag in view of soldiers, who responded by throwing tear gas and stun grenades.


As soldiers remained on the rooftop, International Solidarity Movement activists passed through Checkpoint 56 after receiving reports of settlers having a party. Settlers, including many children, escorted by heavily armed soldiers, police and border police, were having a party with music and balloons. The party stopped near the Beit Hadassah settlement on Shuhada street. ISM activists witnessed a settler with a rifle slung over his shoulder handing out balloons to children. Israeli police checked the activists’ passports, and they were asked to leave.

Palestinians were protesting for many reasons on this day: including the commemoration of the nakba, or catastrophe, in which much of 1948 Palestine was ethnically cleansed, and the opening of the US embassy in the occupied and contested city of Jerusalem. In protests in Gaza on the same day Israeli forces shot dead 55 unarmed Palestinian protesters.

(Source / 16.05.2018)

Explained: The Nakba 70 years on

2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, meaning ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic. So, what was the Nakba – and what is its significance today?

By Ben White

2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, meaning ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic. So, what was the Nakba – and what is its significance today?

Nakba Day 1948 - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

The Nakba refers to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that took place with the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948. Some 85-90% of Palestinians within the territory of this new, self-proclaimed ‘Jewish state’ were forced out, and four out of five Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed. In cities like Jerusalem and Haifa, neighbourhoods were emptied of Palestinians, and resettled by Jewish Israelis. The displacement of Palestinians actually began months before May 1948 and continued long after. The expulsion of Palestinians from al-Majdal wasn’t completed until 1950; with its residents driven into Gaza, al-Majdal was renamed Ashkelon.

All this matches our understanding of ethnic cleansing.

First, fear and violence were used to empty towns and villages.

We know this from the testimonies of Palestinian refugees, as well as from the work of Palestinian and Israeli historians. Massacres played a key role fomenting terror amongst Palestinians, while in many towns and villages, Palestinians were expelled at gunpoint. In Lydda and Ramla, an estimated 50,000 Palestinians were forced to march to the West Bank. In other villages, columns of refugees were ‘hurried along’ with mortar fire.

Second, the expelled Palestinians were prevented from returning.

As early as June 1948, David Ben-Gurion – Israel’s first prime minister – told his cabinet that “no Arab refugee should be admitted back”. By 1956, several thousand Palestinians attempting to return home, gather crops, or search for loved ones, had been killed by Israeli forces. Meanwhile, the Israeli government passed legislation to expropriate the properties and lands of the expelled Palestinians, while denying them the citizenship they had been entitled to as inhabitants of the new state.

Third, is the matter of intent.

In 1900, the population of Palestine was around 4 percent Jewish and 96 percent Arab, and by 1947, Palestinian Arabs still constituted more than two-thirds of the population. There was thus only one way of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine; removing the land’s non-Jewish inhabitants. In 1948, a common operational order instructed Israeli forces “to conquer the villages, to cleanse them of inhabitants (women and children should [also] be expelled)” and “to burn the greatest possible number of houses”.  When Ben-Gurion was asked what to do with the inhabitants of Lydda and Ramla, his answer was short: “Expel them.” As Israeli historian Tom Segev has put it: “‘disappearing’ the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream and was also a necessary condition of its realization”.

Nakba journey - Palestinians fleeing during the Nakba in 1948

More than 1 million Palestinians were displaced in 1948
Relive the journey of Nakba refugees

But is the Nakba just ‘ancient history’? No – and here’s why. Israeli policies of displacement and colonisation have continued to this day – an ongoing Nakba. Moreover, Israel continues to deny Palestinian refugees their internationally-recognised right to return – purely because they are not Jewish. Consider the following illustration. Person A is a British Jew. Under Israeli law, Person A can emigrate to Israel tomorrow, and automatically receive Israeli citizenship. Person B is a British Palestinian, whose parents were expelled in 1948. Under Israeli law, Person B is denied the right to return to their homeland – and indeed, Person A may end up living in Person B’s family home.

Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return, in the name of protecting its Jewish majority of citizens, reveals an important truth: that the Nakba was both central to establishing a ‘Jewish state’ in the first place, and, is the foundation on which today’s system of discrimination and exclusion has been built. The Nakba is thus at the heart of today’s so-called conflict – and realising the rights of Palestinian refugees is at the heart of any just, sustainable solution.

(Source / 16.05.2018)

UN Special Rapporteur: Israel’s actions against Palestinians amount to ‘war crime’

Michael Lynk

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied Prof. Michael Lynk

Professor Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, condemned Israel’s excessive use of force towards largely unarmed demonstrators at the Gaza fence on Monday, which has left 61 Palestinians dead, and almost 2,800 wounded. He expressed grave fears this figure could rise sharply in coming days unless Israeli authorities uphold their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

“This blatant excessive use of force by Israel – an eye for an eyelash – must end, and there must be true accountability for those in military and political command who have ordered or allowed this force to be once again employed at the Gaza fence,” he said.

READ: Israel denies West Bank medical team entry to Gaza

“I must reiterate that international human rights law sets strict prohibitions on the use of force by law enforcement officials. Lethal force against demonstrators is prohibited unless strictly unavoidable in the case of an imminent threat to life or threat of serious injury. The killing of demonstrators in violation of these rules, and within the context of occupation, may amount to willful killing, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as a war crime.”

The Rapporteur also expressed deep concern at the apparent disregard by Israeli forces for the rights to freedom of expression and assembly. “These fundamental rights belong to all peoples, and they must be permitted to exercise them within reasonable bounds. There appears to be no persuasive evidence that the use of flammable kites, throwing of stones or Molotov cocktails, or other actions reportedly taken by a small number of the demonstrators presented a deadly threat that justified the force used by the Israeli military.”

Tens of thousands of Gazans have gathered along the fence and continue to demonstrate to protest the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, as well as to continue to call for the right to return to their homes, and to demand an end to the unliveable humanitarian situation in Gaza brought on by Israel’s 11-year blockade. The latest reports say that 112 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded since the demonstrations began on 30 March.

Lynk repeated his calls to the international community, through the United Nations, to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into these killings, as well as those that have occurred in the context of these demonstrations since 30 March. “Impunity for these actions is not an option. Justice for the victims must become a priority for the international community,” he said.

Watch: Lynk’s most recent statement to the UN

(Source / 16.05.2018)

Minister: If Israel wants calm in Gaza, it must occupy it

Ayelet Shaked

Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked

If Israel wants “the Gaza border to be completely quiet, there’s no choice but to conquer the Strip”, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said yesterday.

“Soldiers are performing well, in accordance with open-fire orders,” she told Army Radio. “Security forces are doing a very good job and containing events.”

OPINION: Will Israel try to avoid its previous mistakes by launching another war against Gaza?

She said that if Israel wanted “the Gaza border to be completely quiet, there’s no choice but to conquer the Strip,” but added: “I don’t think that should be done at this time.”

Remarking on international criticism of the large death toll among Palestinians on the Gaza border, Shaked said: “It is unpleasant, but we have a lot of experience, and we can deal with it.”

Meanwhile, Arab MK, Ahmed Tibi, accused the Israeli army of committing a “massacre” against unarmed Palestinians on the Gaza border on Monday.

(Source / 16.05.2018)

Former CIA director: Trump and Netanyahu responsible for Gaza massacre

Head of the CIA John Brennan

Head of the CIA, John Brennan

A former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) held US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible Israels massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, Monday.

John Brennan, who was the head of the CIA between March 2013 and January 2017, tweeted that the “Deaths in Gaza result of utter disregard of Messers Trump & Netanyahu for Palestinian rights & homeland.”

He went on to critique moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and explain that the president has “Destroyed” the US’ role as “peacemaker”.

John O. Brennan


Deaths in Gaza result of utter disregard of Messers Trump & Netanyahu for Palestinian rights & homeland. By moving Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump played politics, destroyed US peacemaker role. New generation of Israelis/Palestinians need to isolate extremists to find path to peace.

On Monday, the Israeli army killed 61 peaceful protesters in the Gaza Strip. More than 2,200 others were injured.

READ: Gaza death toll rises to 61

(Source / 16.05.2018)

MSF: Many children in Gaza shot with live ammunition will ‘require amputation’

11-year-old Gazaian Abdurrahman Nevfel (R), who lost his leg after Israeli soldiers opened fire on "Great March of Returns" demonstrations at Gaza Strip, is seen with his crutch in Gaza City, Gaza on 12 May, 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

11-year-old Gazaian Abdurrahman Nevfel (R), who lost his leg after Israeli soldiers opened fire on “Great March of Returns” demonstrations at Gaza Strip, is seen with his crutch in Gaza City, Gaza on 12 May, 2018

Doctors Without Borders has said that its medics “treated at least 100 Palestinian children during the protests on the Gaza Strip this week”.

According to director Jonathan Whittall, the children treated were seriously injured and will face lifelong difficulties as a result.

Plenty of them are less than 15-years-old and the majority of them were shot with live ammunition, many of the children require amputation and will be disabled for the rest of their lives.

In a statement released Monday night, after Israeli forces had shot and killed dozens of Palestinian demonstrators, Doctors Without Borders described the day’s carnage as “unacceptable and inhuman”.

“It is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time,” the international medical relief group added.

PHOTOS: Injuries in hospital in Gaza

(Source / 16.05.2018)

Reporters Without Borders asks ICC to investigate Israel war crimes against journalists

Global media freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has “formally asked” the International Criminal Court to investigate “what it regards as war crimes” committed by the Israeli military against Palestinian journalists covering protests in Gaza since 30 March.

READ: ICC warns Israel over killing of protesters in Gaza

According to a statement from the group, the submission to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is based on Article 15 of the Rome Statute, and “concerns the direct shots that IDF snipers have fired at some 20 Palestinian journalists during the ‘March of Return’ protests in Gaza”.

Journalists shot on Monday:

  • Omar Hamdane, a cameraman working for the Algerian national TV broadcaster ENTV, sustained gunshot injuries to the foot
  • Al Jazeera reporter Wael Dahdouh was injured in the right hand
  • Zain Media cameraman Mohammed Abu Dahrouj was hit in the left leg
  • Yasser Qudeih, a freelance photographer, sustained a gunshot injury to the stomach
  • Abdullah Al-Shorbagi, was shot in the left foot
  • Nihad Fuad, a reporter for Forsan Al-Erada community radio, was hit in the head
  • Farhan Hashem Abu Hadayd, a reporter for the Safad Press website, was shot in the left leg

In RSF’s view, “these are crimes that clearly fall under the ICC’s competence.”

The Israeli authorities could not have been unaware of the presence of journalists among the civilian demonstrators, and therefore failed in the elementary duty of precaution and differentiation when targeting these protected persons with live rounds

said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire.

“These deliberate and repeated violations of international humanitarian law constitute war crimes. While referring them to the International Criminal Court, RSF calls on the Israeli authorities to strictly respect international law,” he added.

RSF noted that two Palestinian journalists have been killed by live rounds fired by Israeli soldiers since 30 March, namely Yaser Murtaja, 30, a photographer for the independent Ain Media agency, and Ahmed Abu Hussein, 27, a reporter for Shaab and Bisann News.

“In all,” RSF concluded, “at least 20 other journalists have sustained gunshots injuries, of whom at least three were clearly identified as media personnel.”

(Source / 16.05.2018)