Israel to discuss bill that would see BDS activists facing jail

BDS protesters [Heri Rakotomalala/Flickr]

BDS protesters

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation “will discuss a bill on Sunday that would subject activists convicted of promoting a boycott of Israel to prison terms of up to seven years”.

As reported by Haaretz, the bill would apply to anyone who works to “undermine Israel’s interests, its relations with any other country, organisation or institution … or any interest they have in Israel”.

The bill’s explanatory notes state that the legislation is primarily meant “to apply to anyone who plays an active role in a movement that boycotts Israel or its products”.

“It’s possible to criticise Israel,” the explanatory notes say, continuing: “But anyone who lends a hand to boycotts that harm Israel economically or harm it in another way, like academic boycotts, must be called to account for it. That is the difference between criticism, which is legitimate, and damage that’s a thuggish act in and of itself (boycotts) and harms Israel and its citizens”.

The bill is sponsored by MK Anat Berko (Likud), and co-sponsored by several other MKs from Likud, Kulanu and the ultra-Orthodox parties.

Read: Israel orders BDS activists to pay $12,000 damages over cancelled concert

Haaretz notes that Berko’s aides say “the law’s vague language, which doesn’t specify which Israeli interests must be protected, would enable the law to be applied not just to boycotts of Israel as a whole, but also to boycotts of the settlements or settlement products.”

Under existing law, the paper explains, “a person can be jailed for trying to harm Israel only if a crime was committed in the process. Such a person would face a sentence of up to 10 years, or even life imprisonment if the crime committed were a serious one.”

The new bill, however, “would expand the prohibition such that working to harm Israel’s interests or its international relations would be a crime even if no other crime were committed in the process.”

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Erekat calls on ICC to investigate Israel crimes in Hebron

Image of Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Palestinian Authority chief negotiator [file photo]

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Palestinian Authority chief negotiator

The ICC should expedite the opening of a criminal investigation into the ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestinians and properties as “war crimes and crimes against humanity”, senior Palestinian official Saed Erekat said yesterday.

The chief negotiator said he sent a letter to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on behalf of the Supreme National Follow-up Committee complaining about the Israeli occupation’s continuous settlement activity in the occupied city of Hebron and the Israeli army’s and settlers’ attacks against the city’s Palestinian residents.

In his letter, Erekat focused on the Israeli government’s recent approval of 31 new housing units in Shuhada Street which would be the first settlement built in the area since 1979 in the heart of the old town which is “a very dangerous precedent”.

Erekat pointed that the move would lead to separating the northern parts of the Old City from its south and will increase the number of settlers by 20 per cent in addition to “the erection of more military barriers and more attacks on the Palestinians”.

Read: Israel demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in Hebron

He stressed that this illegal settlement is a violation of the city’s sanctity as a World Heritage Siteaccording to UNESCO.

“Over the past 15 years, the Israeli occupation authorities have committed countless violations against the Palestinian people, including the crimes mentioned in this report,” he said, adding that “it is unacceptable that the perpetrators continue to enjoy impunity”.

On Wednesday, Bensouda warned Israel against demolishing the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar and displacing its residents saying the action could constitute a “war crime”.

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Rights group documents Israel’s killing of paramedic in Gaza

Palestinian medical staff carry a wounded woman during a protest within the "Great March of Return" demonstrations near Israel-Gaza border in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian medical staff carry a wounded woman during a protest within the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations near Israel-Gaza border in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 July, 2018

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has published the findings of its investigation into the killing by Israeli snipers of a Palestinian paramedic on 10 August, as the NGO continues its documentation of the repression of “Great March of Return” protests.

On Friday 10 August, demonstrations took place close to the perimeter fence of the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, as they have done since 30 March.

In one protest east of Rafah, Israeli forces killed three local residents with live ammunition: Ahmad Abu Luli, 30, who was shot in the hip; ‘Abdallah Qutati, 22, a paramedic who was shot in the chest; and ‘Ali Al-‘Alul, 54, who was also shot in the chest.

According to eyewitnesses interviewed by B’Tselem, Qutati was working with other paramedics close to the perimeter fence when he was struck. As Qutati was evacuated, Israeli soldiers continued to shoot, so that those carrying him “literally ran to the ambulance under a hail of bullets”.

Raed Al-Sharif, 19, a paramedic who was standing next to Qutati when he was shot, said:

My colleagues and I come to the area close to the eastern border of Gaza as volunteer paramedics. Why does the Israeli army harm us? We’re there in white uniforms, with the Ministry of Health emblem and identity tags. It’s clear that we aren’t endangering the army. All I have in my hands is first aid equipment. We’re there to help the wounded and nothing else.

Qutati was the third paramedic to be killed by Israeli occupation forces during the demonstrations, after the fatal shootings of Musa Abu Hasanein and Razan Al-Najjar.

Razan Al-Najjar: a white coat stained with blood

112 Palestinians were killed in #Gaza by Israeli forces from 30th March to 15 May 2018

Read more:
MEMO infographic by The White Canvas

Meer weergeven

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Hamas leader accuses PA of firing rocket against Israel

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a member of the Hamas leadership in Gaza [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a member of the Hamas leadership in Gaza on 15 November 2016

A senior member of Hamas has accused the Palestinian Authority of firing rockets from the besieged Gaza Strip and in to Israel yesterday.

Mahmoud Al-Zahar told France24 , that firing the rockets aimed to strain the security relations ion the area and give the occupation an excuse to commit atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza.

“Therefore, the party that fired the rocket is either a party that is related to Israel or the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah,” he said.

“The Palestinian Authority wants the Palestinian street to revolt against the resistance, and divert it from confronting the occupation on the eastern border. If Hamas launched the rocket, it would have announced it without shame. Since we issued a statement denying our responsibility, then we did not launch the rocket,” he added.

Earlier this week, the Joint Operation Room of the Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip “reject[ed]” what they referred to as the “irresponsible attempts” to damage ceasefire talks headed by Egypt, including “the firing of rockets”.

Israeli occupation fighters launched a series of air strikes on several Palestinian targets along the Gaza Strip, claiming the strikes came in response to rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.

Resistance rockets are a lifeline for Israeli officials

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Rights group: ‘At least 1 Gazan is killed every single day’

Funerals are held for Naji Jamil Abu Assi, 18, and his cousin Alaa Ziad Abu Assi, 21, in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on 19 September 2018, after they were killed by Israeli occupation forces [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Funerals are held for Naji Jamil Abu Assi, 18, and his cousin Alaa Ziad Abu Assi, 21, in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on 19 September 2018, after they were killed by Israeli occupation forces

At least one Palestinian is killed by Israeli occupation forces on average each day since the “Great March of Return” protests were launched in the Gaza Strip 200 days ago, the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) said.

“The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor calls on the international community to exert serious pressure to put an end to the targeting of Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip and to protect their right to peaceful assembly,” the groups said in a statement.

It went on to call on “all parties concerned to exert pressure on Israel to lift its blockade affecting every aspect of Gaza’s largely civilian population.”

Euro-Med described the continued use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters at the Israel-Gaza fence as “deeply shocking”, noting that in the 200 days of protests, Gaza lost 205 residents.

Read: 7 Palestinian protesters killed in Gaza

At least “one Palestinian is killed every single day”, it added, further noting that “in every 100 Gazans, one injury was recorded.”

“Despite the fact that the protesters were mostly unarmed civilians and did not in most cases pose a credible threat, the Israeli forces met them with lethal force, including by live fire and explosive bullets, as well as toxic gas and tear gas.”

In addition, 69 of those injured suffered permanent disability, 14 of whom were children, according to the latest statistics by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Euro-Med stressed “Israel’s response to protests violates the principles of international human rights law; that is, despite the fact that protests have largely been peaceful, Israeli soldiers killed 205 people, including five women and 38 children, while also injuring 22,527 others, 18% of whom are children.”

Read: Israel’s Bennett wants ‘shoot to kill’ policy in Gaza

205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli occupation forces as they took part in the #GreatMarchOfReturn between 30 March to 4 October 2018


Infographic by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

“The Israeli authorities continue to impose a relentlessly suffocating blockade that has left civilians unaccounted for, simply as collateral damage to a policy of collective punishment.”

“The Israeli forces targeted Palestinians indiscriminately.”

Read: 2 killed, 124 injured in Gaza protests

Euro-Med said “Neither medical teams nor journalists were spared; three medical personnelhave been killed and 409 others wounded by live ammunition and tear gas canisters since the beginning of demonstrations. In addition, 84 ambulances and medical tents have been targeted using gas bombs.”


Sarah Pritchett, Euro-Med’s spokesperson, said: “The Israeli soldiers deliberately caused the greatest harm they could to civilians,” adding, “Israeli soldiers continue to target Gazans with impunity.”

“The targeting of civilians while exercising their right to peaceful assembly, guaranteed by Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, cannot be justified, and violates the protection accorded to them as civilians – in accordance with Article III of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits attacks on persons not taking part in hostilities.”

She added: “The targeting of medical staff and journalists also contravenes international humanitarian law, specifically articles 15 and 79 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, which stipulate that medical, journalistic and civilian personnel must be respected and protected.”

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Jewish settlers attack Nablus school, injure Palestinian

NABLUS, PALESTINOW.COM — A Palestinian youth sustained injuries on Thursday as Israeli settlers and soldiers broke into Urif town, south of Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank.

Speaking with Palestinian reporter, head of Urif village council Mazen Shahada said over 70 extremist Israelis residing in Yitzhar illegal settlement and escorted by policemen stormed Palestinian lands in al-Marah, south of Urif, and attacked Palestinian homes and the local high school, leading to clashes.

Israeli soldiers attacked the locals with spates of bullet fire and teargas canisters.

A young man was shot and injured in the thigh. He was taken to a hospital in Nablus.

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Watch: UK medics travel to Gaza to improve breast cancer care

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual worldwide campaign to raise understanding of the importance of breast cancer treatment, education and research. Across the occupied Palestinian territory, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is working to improve breast cancer care and supports multi-disciplinary teams of UK specialist oncologists, surgeons, nurses, and radiologists to make regular visits to Gaza and the West Bank.

Last month, a MAP-supported breast cancer mission travelled to Gaza. The team comprised of Dr Ashwini Sharma, Consultant Radiologist, and Dr Gerard O’Hare, Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist. Based at three hospitals, Al Shifa, Rantisi and the Gaza European, they delivered training to local health workers caring for women affected by the disease, teaching them new techniques to improve outcomes and quality of life for breast cancer patients.

Living in Gaza presents many barriers to breast cancer care. A woman treated by the breast cancer mission, Suhair Jaber, told MAP:

I hoped I would get the cancer removed as soon as I was diagnosed. If only things were available here, for example, if it were easy to get a medical transfer permit, or find the medicine, it would have been so much easier on me. But it is difficult to find your medicines, or travel for medical treatment. There are a lot of things we do not have here in Gaza due to the occupation.

One of the medics trained by the UK specialists, Ibrahim Zaqout, Head Nurse at the Tumour Clinic in Rantisi Hospital, outlined how shortages of cancer drugs undermine the treatment of breast cancer patients.

“A patient would start with a specific treatment, then this treatment is no longer available in Gaza, and after three to four months, the treatment becomes available again. This results in deepening the crisis, as the cancer cells become resistant to the treatment. This would require a change to another treatment protocol, and then the patient goes into another crisis similar to the one before.”

Writing on the week’s training Dr O’Hare said:

I would like to thank the fundraisers who have enabled this project to happen who recognise the fact that cancer is a serious public health issue in Palestine. It has a devastating effect on patients and their families. And there is hardly a family in Palestine that has not been affected by cancer. I hope that in the future the small changes that this project bring, make a significant improvement for some of the patients who are diagnosed with cancer.

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Excuses, excuses when the stone-thrower is an Israeli settler and the victim is Palestinian

When a Palestinian child throws a stone at an Israeli soldier hiding in his heavily armoured military vehicle, he gets 20 years in prison, but when an Israeli settler kill a Palestinian civilian, he might get only one year in prison.

In 2015, Israel approved a law that stipulated a 20-year-prison-sentence for individuals caught throwing stones. The intention was to target Palestinians involved in resistance activities, despite the discrepancies between armed Jewish Israeli settlers and Palestinians in terms of weapons available for them to use.

“Tolerance towards terrorists ends today,” commented Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. “A stone thrower is a terrorist and only a fitting punishment can serve as a deterrent and just punishment.”

Yet despite claiming that Palestinians who throw stones during clashes “provoke” unwarranted violence, stone throwing by Jewish Israeli settler-colonists has many precedents and victims, and is usually overlooked. The latest Palestinian victim of Jewish stone-throwers was Aisha Al-Rabi who was killed last Friday while on her way home in the car. Settlers hurled stones at the family car, killing Aisha and injuring her husband Yacoub.

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin described the killing and subsequent attachment of blame to Jewish settlers as “a scrap of an incident”. He added, “It is quite galling that it takes an incident like this in relation to a Palestinian vehicle for it [stone throwing] to be raised on the agenda.”

In fact, B’Tselem has documented many instances of settler-colonial violence, including stone throwing by extremist Jews on many occasions. The Israeli rights group has pointed out that there is an absence of law enforcement in such cases.

The Israeli media gives priority to detailing clashes between stone-throwing settlers and the Israeli military, which usually end in a tally of those injured and a notification of temporary arrest. There is an explicit difference in punishment and media portrayal between settler violence and Palestinian resistance. The former is exempt from punishment, whether the violence is directed against Palestinians or the Israeli military; the latter, meanwhile, is criminalised.

Al-Rabi’s case crossed a red line as regards media coverage due to settlers causing her death by stone throwing, hence the need for her murder to be downplayed by Levin. His comments indicate that close scrutiny of Jewish Israeli settler stone throwers is unacceptable to right-wing politicians, particularly when the victim, who was killed, is a Palestinian.

However, if the context is taken into consideration, it is clear that the Israeli state has manufactured a culture of impunity for stone throwing (and other) crimes by its settler population. This precise bequeathing of impunity is evidence of the colonial state’s dependence upon its settlers, no matter that they live in illegal settlements, to preserve its existence.

While condemning the murder, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov failed to address settler stone throwing, focusing instead upon the attack as creating “a new cycle of violence that would further undermine the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.” This was not, however, a “new cycle of violence”; to describe the crime thus is to absolve the Israeli colonial state and its settlers of embracing stone throwing as the means to terrorise Palestinians merely for being the indigenous inhabitants of historic Palestine.

Palestinian stone throwers, facing heavily armed settlers and the military, face harsh sentences and at times even extrajudicial murder for daring to resist the colonial violence endorsed by Israel. Al-Rabi’s killing was an unprovoked terror attack. Will Shaked’s misplaced words, directed against Palestinians, be fully invoked against Jewish Israeli settler stone throwers when, as in this case, the end result is murder? Or will it be yet another examples of excuses, excuses but no justice from Israel’s Justice Minister?

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Christian Cemetery Desecrated, Graves Destroyed in Jerusalem

18 OCT
9:12 PM

Ha’aretz Israeli newspaper, on Thursday, reported that about 30 graves were vandalized two weeks ago, in the cemetery of Beit Jmal monastery, near Jerusalem.

The monastery monks discovered the destruction of the tombs yesterday, saying the concrete crosses on the graves were taken down.

The old cemetery is located about half a kilometer from the monastery building, so people do not visit it often. After the monks discovered the vandalism, monastery officials filed a complaint with Israeli police.

In an interview with Haaretz, Father Antonio Scududo estimated that this work took time, effort and even the use of tools, because all the crosses were cast concrete. “I do not know who did it, as it seems,” he said.

For its part, the Christian Islamic Commission for the support of Jerusalem and holy sites today condemned  the attack on the cemetery of the monastery, desecration of the sanctity of graves and religious symbols inside the cemetery, and breaking the tombstones and the number of 27 crucifix concrete.

Secretary-General of the Commission, Dr. Hanna Issa, the occupation authorities responsible for providing protection for religious places and places of worship, calling for the need to stop the aggression on sanctities and places of worship and respect for all religions.

PNN notes that the monastery was subjected to previous years of numerous attacks by settlers and attempts to burn and a line of racist slogans in Hebrew on the walls. Where the monastery was subjected to a similar attack on September 27, 1981, and the monastery was desecrated in March 2014 when anti-Christian slogans were written on its walls and another attack on 9/1/2016, breaking dozens of crosses in the cemetery.

(Source / 19.10.2018)

Barghouti Warns of New Offensive on Gaza

18 OCT
9:30 PM

Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement MP, Mustafa Barghouti, warned of serious intentions to launch a devastating aggression on the Gaza Strip, by Israeli forces.


Barghouti said, in a press statement, that “Similar to what happened in 2014, Israeli occupation ministers want to use the blood of the Palestinians in their competition on the votes of elections.”

He called to launch an international campaign to deter Israel from committing new war crimes.

Israeli aircraft launched a series of raids on Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, in response to a rocket attack on Beersheba, according to Al Ray.

The Israeli occupation army targeted 20 resistance sites in different areas in the Strip, which led to the killing of a Palestinian and wounding three others.

(Source / 19.10.2018)