Army Injures Dozens Of Schoolchildren Near Nablus

30 Dec 8:28 PM

Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, the town of Sebastia, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and caused dozens of schoolchildren to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

Mohammad Azem, the Mayor of Sebastia, said the soldiers invaded the Schools Street in the town, and fired many gas bombs at the students who were heading to their education facilities.

Azem added that dozens of children suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, and received the needed treatment.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers repeatedly invade the town, especially while the students are heading to school or returning to their homes, an issue which caused tension and protests.

In related news, the soldiers abducted a Palestinian Shepherd in Ein al-Hilwa area, in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank.

On Sunday morning, the soldiers abducted three Palestinian children from their homes in Jerusalem and Hebron, in the occupied West Bank.

(Source / 31.12.2018)

Army Seals Entrance to Ramallah Village

31 Dec 5:20 AM

Israeli occupation forces closed, on Sunday, the entrance to the village of Deir Abu Meshal, to the northwest of Ramallah, occupied West Bank, said local sources.

Deputy mayor of the village, Fawwaz Bargouti, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers shut down the metal gate at the main entrance of the village, which forced local citizens and passengers to use alternative, longer roads to reach to their workplace.

Israeli occupation forces recently imposed restrictions on the movement of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, in a collective punishment for the fatal shooting of three Israeli soldiers near Ramallah, earlier this month.

(Source / 31.12.2018)

Israel allows Sheikh Raed Salah back home to continue term

Leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah (2nd L) appears in court after he was taken under custody on the grounds that he allegedly provoked and supported an illegal association, in Rishon Lezion, Israel on 14 August , 2017 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah (2nd L) appears in court after he was taken under custody on the grounds that he allegedly provoked and supported an illegal association, in Rishon Lezion, Israel on 14 August , 2017

The Israeli Magistrate Court in Haifa yesterday ordered the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, to be placed under house arrest at his home in Umm Al-Fahm after he spent six months under house arrest in Kafr Kanna, Arab48 reported.

Salah was released by jail in July on condition he not be allowed to return to his home town of Umm Al-Fahm after he served one year in prison. He was also banned from accessing tools of communication including telephones, the internet and social media sites.

The court looked into an appeal filed by his defence team and accepted it, allowing him to return to his home.

Khalid Zabarqa, from Salah’s defence team, said: “We asked the court to allow him to perform prayers at the mosque close to his house, but this request was denied.”

“Fixing the conditions imposed on the Sheikh is an arbitrary act by the Israeli court and it included massive oppression,” Zabarqa said.

Sheikh Salah was arrested from his house on 25 August 2017 and was indicted nine days later by the Israeli Public Prosecution. He was accused of 12 charges, including violating the law and inciting terror.

READ: Israeli police arrest three female relatives of Sheikh Raed Salah 

(Source / 31.12.2018)

PA jails Palestinian for life for selling Jerusalem land to settlers

The Palestinian Authority (PA) headquarters, Al-Muqata, in Ramallah

A Palestinian court today sentenced an American-Palestinian to life imprisonment for violating a ban on selling land to Israelis, judiciary officials said.

The US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, called in November for dual national Issam Aqel to be released, saying his suspected crime was “selling land to a Jew” and his incarceration violated American values.

Aqel was accused of attempting to sell a property in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem without the permission of his business partners or Palestinian authorities. Palestinian officials have not publicly identified the intended buyer.

The Higher Offences Court in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, convicted Aqel of “attempting to sever parts of Palestinian land and annex it to a foreign state,” the judiciary media office said.

READ: Israel seizes 1,200 dunams of Palestinian land for new settlement

“In light of the conviction, the court handed down a life sentence with hard labour,” it said. Aqel can appeal, a judiciary official said.

An official at the US embassy said: “We are aware of reports that a US citizen has been sentenced by a Palestinian court. When a US citizen is incarcerated abroad, the US government works to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”

Aqel’s family, which denied the allegations against him, said it was unaware of the verdict or sentence.

Aqel was detained on 10 October in Ramallah, an Israeli security official said.

Palestinian law bars selling land to “a hostile state or any of its citizens”. It requires the permission of the Palestinian Authority for all land sales in East Jerusalem.

Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in contravention of international law.

(Source / 31.12.2018)

Palestinian poverty level almost double Israel average

View of a Jewish settlement on 4 October 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

View of a Jewish settlement on 4 October 2018

A new report has found that the percentage of Palestinian citizens of Israel living below the poverty line is almost double the national average, pointing to a huge disparity between Palestinian and Jewish Israelis.

The report – released today by Israel’s National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) – found that 47.1 per cent of Palestinian-Israeli families live below the poverty line, versus a national average of 28.4 per cent.

The findings are based on data gathered by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics for 2017 which, according to the Jerusalem Post, is “the most recent year for which comprehensive information is available”. Although the poverty rate among Palestinian citizens of Israel fell from 49.2 per cent in 2016, the figures still indicate that almost half of all Palestinian families living in Israel live in poverty.

Other minority communities were also shown to be suffering higher-than-average poverty rates, including Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community. Today’s report shows that 43.1 of ultra-Orthodox families live in poverty, only marginally less than Palestinian citizens of Israel. According to the report, Israel has the highest poverty rate of any country in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

READ: Israel High Court cancels petition against ‘racist’ Nation State Law

The high poverty levels experienced by Palestinian families stems largely from the discriminatory policies Israel pursues against them in terms of resource allocation, building permits and, in the case of the country’s Bedouin community, punitive house demolitions.

The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – better known as Adalah – keeps a Discriminatory Laws Database of all the legal mechanisms that discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens of Israel; amounting to over 65 Israeli laws in total.

In terms of contributing to poverty, Adalah cites the 2015 “Amendment No. 163 to the National Insurance Act” which revokes child allowances from parents of children convicted of security offenses. Adalah explains that the law specifically “targets Palestinian minors who are either citizens of Israel or residents of East Jerusalem, and who are all brought before Israeli civil courts”.

Another example is the 2009 “Economic Efficiency Law,” which “extends government permission to use sweeping discretion to classify towns, villages and areas as ‘National Priority Areas’ (NPAs) and to allocate enormous state resources without criteria”. In the past Israel classified 553 Jewish towns and only four small Palestinian villages as NPAs, allowing swathes of government funding to be allocated to Jewish areas of Israel.

Palestinian citizens of Israel – sometimes known as ‘48 Palestinians – represent 20.9 per cent of Israel’s 8.9 million strong population. During the Nakba of 1948 they were among 750,000 Palestinians forcibly displaced by Jewish militias, with many now living only a few miles from their ancestral village as internally displaced persons.

READ: Israel demolishes statue of Palestinian novelist

(Source / 31.12.2018)

Gaza economic losses exceeded $300m in 2018

Palestinians, employed by the Palestinian Authority wait to receive their salaries from an ATM, outside a Bank in Gaza on 10 May 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]

Palestinians, employed by the Palestinian Authority wait to receive their salaries from an ATM, outside a Bank in Gaza on 10 May 2017

Gaza’s economic losses exceeded $300 million in 2018 as a result of Israel’s stifling siege on the Strip, head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege Jamal Al-Khodari said yesterday.

In a statement, a copy of which sent to MEMO, Al-Khodari described 2018 as “the most disastrous year” for Gaza since it was occupied by the Israeli occupation in 1967.

“Gaza experiences unprecedented disastrous economic situation […] due to the 12-year strict Israeli siege and the three destructie Israeli offensives,” Al-Khodari said in the statement.

“The continuous and systematic Israeli siege aimed to hurt the national economy,” he said.

According to Al-Khodari, the Israeli occupation is still banning hundreds of basic commodities from entering Gaza, causing up to 90 per cent of Gaza’s factories to stop working.

He stated that there are around 300,000 unemployed workers in Gaza, in addition to tens of thousands of unemployed university graduates. “The unemployment rate in Gaza is over 65 per cent,” he said.

“Income of more than 85 per cent of Gaza residents has declined to less than $2 a day,” he said in the statement.

He called for the international bodies and the international community to put pressure on the Israeli occupation in order to meet its obligations under the Geneva Convention and the Global Declaration of Human Rights, which criminalise the siege and collective punishment.

(Source / 31.12.2018)

Gaza: Hamas facing severe financial crisis

Public officials withdraw money after the Palestinian government applied a 30 per cent wage deduction from Public officials salaries in Gaza on June 1, 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Public officials withdraw money after the Palestinian government applied a 30 per cent wage deduction from Public officials salaries in Gaza on June 1, 2017

Hamas is facing a severe financial crisis which is curbing its ability to pay Palestinians’ salaries in Gaza.

Hamas is suffering from a severe financial crisis which is impacting its activities in the besieged Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reported yesterday. Anadolu added that the crisis is no longer related only to government institutions in the Strip – which have been run by the movement since 2007 – but has now also affected Hamas’ other institutions.

Anadolu quoted personnel who work in Hamas’ private institutions as saying they “have not been paid full and stable salaries for several months”.

Hamas’ financial crisis was thrust into the spotlight last week when the movement’s Al-Aqsa TV announced it would stop broadcasting immediately. The channel admitted it faced a crippling a financial crisis caused by Israel’s complete destruction of its headquarters in November, in the midst of escalated tensions and violence in the besieged enclave.

However, Head of Hamas’ political bureau Ismail Haniyeh quickly intervened, stressing that the TV channel would not be suspended and would continue its work.

Anadolu quoted Director General of Al-Aqsa TV, Wissam Afifah, as saying that “the financial crisis is related to the accumulation of debts by those companies broadcasting the channel, in addition to other operating debts accumulated during the last period”. Afifah added:

Previously we were managing the debt crisis, but because of the bombing of the channel’s headquarters a few weeks ago, we suffered losses exceeding four million dollars and lost all the channel’s capabilities. The crisis has expanded and dealing with it became a more difficult task.

Read: Hamas slams court ruling dissolving parliament

Afifah continued: “We are currently managing the channel from an emergency management site and we are witnessing an unprecedented crisis that has not reached this level of financial deficit before.”

Although Al-Aqsa TV is currently seeking donations to alleviate the situation, Afifah expressed his belief that the crisis is not limited to the channel but instead is a reflection of the broader financial conditions in the Gaza Strip caused by the Israeli blockade.

Employees working in other Hamas-affiliated institutions said that for months they have been paid only 50 per cent of their monthly salaries because of austerity measures taken by their institutions.

A staff member in one of Hamas’ media organisations in Gaza City, who did not wish to be named, said that he and his colleagues have been paid about 50 per cent of their salaries for more than 40 days. He added that: “This decision was taken because of the financial crisis in the institution,” which receives funding from Hamas, pointing out that there is no sign that they will be paid their full salaries in the near future.

Read:  Hamas reiterates commitment to national reconciliation

(Source / 29.12.2018)

On 40th Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Civilian With Disability and Wound 18 Other Civilians, including 4 Children and 2 Paramedics

28 Dec 11:06 PM

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR): On Friday evening, 28 December 2018, Israeli forces Killed a Palestinian civilian with disability and wounded 18 other civilians, including 4 children and 2 paramedics (female and male), in the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip despite the decreasing intensity of the demonstrations there for the ninth week consecutively and absence of most means usually used during the demonstrations since the beginning of the Return and Breaking the Siege March 8 months ago.

According to observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers, for the ninth week since the beginning of the Return March on 30 March 2018, though the demonstrators were around tens of meters away from the border fence, the Israeli forces who stationed in prone positions and in military jeeps along the fence continued to use excessive force against the demonstrators by opening fire and firing teargas canisters at them, without the later posing any imminent threat or danger to the life of soldiers.

According to PCHR’s documentations, the civilian killed was the 8th one of persons with disabilities, who were killed by the Israeli forces during the Return March.

On 28 December 2018, the incidents were as follows:

At approximately 14:30, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to the five encampments established by the Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege adjacent to the border fence with Israel in eastern Gaza Strip cities, except for northern Gaza due to bad weather.

Hundreds, including children and women, approached the border fence with Israel in front of each encampment and gathered tens of meters away from the main border fence, attempting to throw stones at the Israeli forces.

Although the demonstrators gathered in areas open to the Israeli snipers stationed on the top of the sand berms and military watchtowers and inside and behind the military jeeps, the Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets in addition to a barrage of teargas canisters.

The Israeli shooting, which continued at around 17:00, resulted in the killing of a civilian identified as Karam Mohamed No’man Fayyad (26), from Khan Yunis.

Karam was hit with a live bullet to the head at approximately 16:00, while present around 150 meters away from the border fence. He was then taken to the European Hospital, where his death was declared at approximately 18:00. Karam’s family said that he was suffering from mental disorder.

Moreover, 18 civilians, including 4 children and 2 paramedics (female and male), were wounded. In addition, hundreds suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures due to tear gas canisters that were fired by the Israeli forces from the military jeeps and riffles in the eastern Gaza Strip.

The following table shows the number of civilian victims due to the Israeli forces’ suppression of the Great March of Return since its beginning on 30 March:

NotesMedical CrewsJournalistsWomenChildrenTotalCasualties
Among those Killed, there were 8 Persons with Disabilities and a girl.32135180Killed
Among those wounded, 513 are in serious condition and 101 had their lower or upper limbs amputated; 89 lower-limb amputations, 2 upper-limb amputations, 10 finger amputations and 17 children had their limbs amputated according to the Ministry of Health.   The number of those wounded only include those wounded with live bullets and directly hit with tear gas canisters as there have been thousand others who suffered tear gas inhalation and sustained bruises.155134292183210,066Wounded

PCHR emphasizes that continuously targeting civilians, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly or while carrying out their humanitarian duty, is a serious violation of the rules of international law, international humanitarian law, the ICC Rome Statute and Fourth Geneva Convention.

Thus, PCHR calls upon the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation in these crimes and to prosecute and hold accountable all those applying or involved in issuing orders within the Israeli Forces at the security and political echelons.

PCHR hereby condemns the excessive use of force and commission of crimes by the Israeli forces despite the prevailed calmness, believing it is as a result of Israel’s enjoying impunity thanks to the U.S. and so encouraging the Israeli forces to commit further crimes upon an official decision by the highest military and political echelons.

PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

PCHR calls upon Switzerland, in its capacity as the Depository State for the Convention, to demand the High Contracting Parties to convene a meeting and ensure Israel’s respect for this Convention, noting that these grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied territories

(Source / 29.12.2018)

Palestinian Students Barred from Reaching Schools in Jenin

29 Dec 5:15 AM

Israeli forces, on Wednesday morning, blocked passage through Um El-Rayhan checkpoint, near Ya’bad town, to the south of Jenin, so as to  halt the movement of Palestinian citizens and students.

Local resources reported, according to Al Ray, that Palestinian students from Um El-Rayhan and Daher El-Abed towns were deprived of reaching their schools due to the checkpoint closure, as usual.

The Director of Education in Jenin condemned, in a press release, the Israeli military’s procedure and considered it a disturbance, as it prevented the students from performing their final examinations.

(Source / 29.12.2018)

Israeli Soldiers Attack The Weekly Nonviolent Procession In Bil’in

28 Dec 11:38 PM

Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, dozens of Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists, holding the weekly nonviolent procession against the illegal Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Bil’in village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The nonviolent protesters marched from the center of the village carrying Palestinian flags, and chanting for national unity, ongoing resistance against the Israeli occupation until the liberation of Palestine, the release of all detainees and the Right of Return of the refugees.

They stressed on the importance of remaining steadfast, and the continuation of popular resistance against the illegal Israeli occupation, and its apartheid policies.

The Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Bil’in said the soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at the protesters, and chased many of them but were unable to detain any of them.

(Source / 29.12.2018)