Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah attends the lighting of the Christmas tree on December 1, 2018 at the Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus Christ’s birth, in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem
A group of Israeli settlers hurled stones at the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah after he left Midnight Mass on Christmas Day, Arab48 reported the Palestinian Authority saying yesterday.
Two of Hamdallah’s bodyguards were injured when the settlers attacked the fleet at 2am local time, the PA said.
The incident took place near the Tapuah junction (Za’atara), south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, where, in October, a large stone was hurled at a vehicle being driven by Yaqoub Al-Rabi. That rock went through the windshield and hit his wife Aisha in the head, killing the 47-year-old mother of eight.
It is not the first time Israeli settlers attack Hamdallah’s convoy.
Four years ago, Israeli occupation troops were forced to protect the Palestinian prime minister and his fleet from settlers who attacked it.
Members of an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish family walk at the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City overlooking al-Aqsa Mosque on September 27, 2018
Tens of thousands of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque during 2018, the Department of Islamic Waqf (Religious Endowment) in occupied Jerusalem revealed this week.
The department’s director, Azzam Al-Khatib, said 29,801 “Israeli extremists” broke into the holy mosque last year; a 17 per cent increase compared to 2017.
The Israeli raids, Al-Khatib added, were usually facilitated and guarded by Israeli security forces through the mosque’s Al-Mugharbi Gate, which has been under the occupation’s control since 1967.
“All the year’s  statistics indicate the escalation of the Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa,” the Palestinian official said. He described the Israeli violations as a “blatant attack on Al-Aqsa’s sacredness.”
A wreath lays on the seat of Faris Hafez al-Sarasawi, 12 years old Palestinian child who was killed by Israeli forces in “Great March of Return” demonstrations, during a remembering by his classmates and teacher at Muaz bin Jabal Elementary School in Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, Gaza on October 06, 2018
By Ramona Wadi
Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) paints a bleak prospect for Palestinian children in revealing that in 2018, at least 56 were killed by Israel. Individuals who witnessed some of the murders have insisted that the targeted children were unarmed and posed no threat to the state or its citizens.
Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli army snipers, drones and security forces across the occupied Palestinian territories. Five of the murdered children were under 12 years of age. In Gaza, 49 children were murdered by Israel in activities pertaining to the Great March of Return protests.
Live ammunition was used by Israel in 73 per cent of the fatalities documented by DCIP, which also recorded “140 cases of Palestinian children who were detained by Palestinian forces.” Israeli forces also arrested 120 children within the occupied West Bank. In both groups, the detained children suffered abuse at the hands of the security forces holding them, whether the PA or the Israeli military.
These tactics show that Israel’s colonial collaboration with the Palestinian Authority is targeting a very vulnerable segment of Palestinian society. What’s more, the killing and wounding of Palestinian children by Israeli snipers at the Great Return March is a direct maiming of the generation which can carry on the anti-colonial struggle.
Citing international law is pointless when Israel, and even the Palestinian Authority, have extended the parameters for an ongoing cycle of abuse against Palestinian children. International law is only relevant when used to point out that violations are taking place and the Palestinians are facing a UN member state which treats international law with contempt, while the international community gives its tacit agreement to the abuse and is, in some cases, complicit.
DCIP’s research establishes the fact that Israel killed an average of more than one child per week in 2018. Earlier shocking official statistics revealed that between 2000 and 2014 Israel killed a Palestinian child every three days on average, for fourteen years. Throughout the year there was ongoing discussion about Israel’s genocidal intent and actions which were mostly discarded due to the monopoly over the term in reference to the Holocaust. Yet, Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines the term as “acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” What else is Israel doing to the people of Palestine, “in whole or in part”?
The international community’s responses are so predictable that Israel finds no obstacles in manoeuvring beyond the limits set by international law; it is allowed to act with impunity. The “drip, drip” rate of the killing of Palestinian children and the almost routine nature of their detention sneaks under the radar of human rights violations. As the international community fails to respond to Israeli violations within its established framework, Israel succeeds in bridging the gap between violations and rights.
To speak of Israel’s violations now is, in fact, also to speak of the international community’s irresponsibility. Yet neither are scrutinised and held to account; the result is the regular yet somewhat reluctant citing of what should happen according to international law being juxtaposed against Israeli breaches of the law. Accountability, however, has long since absconded from the scene of the crime. If Israel wants to kill Palestinian children (or women and men, come to that), it will kill because it has decided, quite deliberately, to do so.
Meanwhile, the international community will steer clear from ever associating Israeli actions with genocide, preferring instead to rely on “alleged war crimes”, the perpetrators of which will never be brought to justice. Palestinian children killed by Israel over many years, last year included, have been forgotten by the world.
Israeli soldiers invaded, Wednesday, Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and abducted two Palestinians, including a wounded man, and attacked the father and the uncle of the injured Palestinian.
Morad Eshteiwi, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said the soldiers abducted Yazan Barham, 20, who was previously shot and in injured by the soldiers, and Dia’ Rajab, 29.
Eshteiwi added that the soldiers assaulted and injured Yazan’s father, and his under Sobhi, 55, causing various cuts and bruises, before Palestinian medics rushed them to a hospital.
Eshteiwi called on international legal and human rights organizations to intervene and stop the escalating Israeli violations, and added that Yazan has several bullets’ fragments in his back and requires surgery.
It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also invaded and ransacked several homes, while undercover forces infiltrated into the town using a car with Palestinian license plates, but the locals managed to notice them fast.
Several armored Israeli military jeeps invaded, on Wednesday evening, the town of Ya’bad, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, at locals protesting the invading.
Media sources in Jenin said the soldiers invaded Mahmoud Abbas Street, and the area surrounding Bilal Bin Rabah mosque, and conducted proactive acts after blocking roads.
Local youngsters protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the soldiers, who fired many concussion grenades, live rounds, gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets; there have been no reports of injuries.
The soldiers also searched many neighborhoods and lands in the town, and later withdrew without abducting any Palestinian.
Israeli politicians are using Palestinian prisoners for elections purposes, Qaddoura Faris, head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), a prisoner advocacy group, said on Wednesday, according to WAFA.
He was reacting to statements by Israeli Minister of Internal Security Gilad Irdan who announced, on Wednesday, several measures aimed at worsening the daily conditions of 6,500 Palestinians held in Israeli jails for resisting its occupation of the Palestinian land.
The new measures include reducing the amount of money prisoners get, from both their families and the Palestinian Authority, to purchase items from the prison canteen, their movement inside the wards, time for going into an open area, family visits, rationing food and water by taking away their cooking utensils, and reducing the number and types of books admitted to prisons.
“What Irdan has announced, regarding his recommendation to take away what the prisoners have fought for, is a nothing more than political bankruptcy in which the prisoners are used as an election auction between candidates of the Israeli parties,” said Faris in a statement.
He said that the Israeli Prison Service has already confiscated hundreds of books from prisoners in Hadarim prison, installed and operated surveillance cameras in Hasharon prison, along with other measures that have to do with rationing food and water to prisoners.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday at dawn, shot one journalist and one medic, and caused many residents to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Palestine TV reported that several armored Israeli military jeeps invaded many neighborhoods in Nablus city, and fired live rounds, as well as rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at several youngsters who had taken to the street to protest the invasion by throwing stones at the soldiers.
The TV station added that the soldiers shot its reporter, Bakr Abdul-Haq, 29, with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his leg, before he was rushed to Rafidia governmental hospital.
The soldiers also shot one medic of the Palestinian Medical Relief, identified as Yassin Omran, with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his face.
The soldiers also surrounded Palestine TV reporters and many other journalists, to prevent them from documenting the invasion and assaults.
Medical sources said many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and received treatment.
Residents of Khan al-Ahmar, however, pledge that they will stay. Resident Eid Abu Khamees told the Alternative Information Center (AIC), “even if they demolish our homes and the village, we will remain rooted on our land… and resist.”
Khan al-Ahmar was established in the wake of Israeli military’s expulsion of the Jahalin Bedouin community from the Naqab in 1950. The community moved east of Jerusalem in the central West Bank. Shortly after, Israeli authorities expelled them from there to establish the Kfar Adumim settlement, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Today, Khan al-Ahmar lies two kilometers south of Kfar Adumim in the central West Bank. The community is severed from Jerusalem by the Apartheid wall. According to Eid Khamiees, the spokesperson of the village, Khan al-Ahmar primarily relies on agriculture and animal husbandry for income.
Israeli authorities classify Khan al-Ahmar as “Area C” of the West Bank, meaning it is under full Israeli military and civil control. Between 2010 and 2014, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories (OCHA) found that Israeli authorities approved just 1.5 percent of Palestinian building applications in Area C. Israeli authorities justify the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar by pointing to residents’ lack of these exceedingly difficult to obtain Israeli building permits. The destruction of the village would displace 180 people, 95 percent of whom are Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA.
Khan al-Ahmar is one of 46 residential areas in the central West Bank identified by the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as at risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli “relocation” plans.
Israeli authorities seek the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar to expand Ma’ale Adumim settlement and connect it with city of Jerusalem via the so-called E-1 corridor. The realization of these settlement plans would sever the northern West Bank from the southern West Bank with a contiguous block of settlements stretching across its center. These plans are not only key to maintaining what Israeli authorities euphemistically call a “demographic balance” in Jerusalem (i.e. restricting the Palestinian population to 30 percent of the city’s total population), but also to dividing Palestinian cities, towns and villages into restricted enclaves flanked by settlements on all sides. A statement from the Khan al-Ahmar community on July 5, 2018 explains:
The issue of Khan al-Ahmar illustrates…Israel’s objective of widespread and systematic forcible displacement of Palestinians and replacement with Israeli settlers, as part and parcel of Israel’s broader scheme of creeping annexation. Though various in from, these policies and practices share a common underlying force: the forcible transfer of Palestinians based on their ethnicity, under the semblance of legality.
Professor of international law at al-Quds University Hanna Issa emphasizes that international law prohibits an occupying power from altering occupied territory, especially for the purposes of forced displacement, which is a war crime under the Rome Statute.
Resident of Khan al-Ahmar Ismael Abu Dahouk adds, “at the same time as the Israeli occupation wants to displace us from our land and demolish our village, they confiscate land for settlers and expand Kfar Adumim.” Indeed, in October 2018, Israeli authorities announced plans to expand the nearby Ma’ale Adumim settlement by building 20,000 new units. Israeli Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant framed the settlement expansion as a means to sediment Israeli control over the occupied West Bank: “We must continue to establish [our] hold on the Jerusalem area, from Ma’ale Adumim in the east to Givat Ze’ev in the west, from Atarot in the north to the area of Bethlehem and Rachel’s Tomb to Efrat and Gush Etzion.”
On September 24, 2017, the Israeli civil administration, a body under the direction of the Defense Ministry, informed Khan al-Ahmar that the village would be destroyed and the community relocated by mid 2018.
On July 3, 2018, Israeli authorities delivered demolition orders to Khan al-Ahmar. The following day, the Israeli army arrived with bulldozers. Israeli forces attacked activists who protested the demolition, injuring 35. The Israeli army declared the area a closed military zone and bulldozers widened roads to make it easier to access the village.
The military closed the entrances to the community with cement blocks the following week on July 11, 2018. On July 12, 2018, residents of Khan al-Ahmar secured an Israeli High Court injunction postponing the demolition of their village until August 15, 2018. Residents’ petitions to the High Court continued to be heard until September, when it issued its final approval of the demolition project.
On Thursday, September 13, 2018, hundreds of Israeli soldiers invaded Khan al-Ahmar, proclaimed the village a closed military and demolished five caravans. Palestinian activists erected the caravans the week before as a protest camp following the Israeli High Court’s approval of the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.
However, in October 2018, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar yet again, citing the need for negotiations with residents. Nevertheless, he promised, “Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated, it’s a court ruling, that’s our policy and it will be done.”
On December 3, 2018, Israeli authorities issued a military order to extend the closure of roads to Khan al-Ahmar until January 15, 2018.
Prior to these recent Israeli threats to demolish the entire village, according to Palestinian human rights group al-Haq, Israeli authorities demolished 35 structures in Khan al-Ahmar since 2015.
The Tire School
Included in Israeli demolition plans is The Tire School. The school was built in 2009 using ecological methods (including, rubber tires) with the assistance of an Italian NGO called Vento Di Terra. It serves approximately 70 children, who would otherwise have to travel an average of 17 kilometers on dangerous roads to attend school in Jericho.
Prior to the construction of the Apartheid wall children in Khan al-Ahmar typically went to school in nearby Jerusalem. After the construction wall, school attendance rates in the community dropped, which prompted the construction of the Tire school.
Since demolition orders were delivered to Khan al-Ahmar on July 3, 2018, residents, alongside Palestinian and international activists, have grown a strong popular resistance movement in the village.
Shaikh Ahmad Abu Dahouk, a resident of the village, explains, “We are not alone. Hundreds of supporters – Palestinians and internationals – are staying with us during the day and night.” Indeed, solidarity activists support the village by maintaining a constant presence in the village, holding Friday prayers there, and peacefully resisting Israeli bulldozers and soldiers when they arrive.
Israeli forces have responded to activists with violence, as on July 4, 2018, when Israeli forces injured 35 people and arrested up to 11. In September 2018, soldiers destroyed a campsite that Palestinian activists erected at Khan al-Ahmar in opposition to an Israeli High Courts’ approval of the destruction of the village. In October 2018, three activists were arrested and five injured while peacefully resisting Israeli bulldozers.
Israeli forces’ attempts to stifle the solidarity movement, however, have not dampened its impact on residents. Spokesperson for Khan al-Ahmar Eid Khamees said, “popular steadfastness and international condemnations of ethnic cleansing give us more power to continuing resisting the occupation’s policy to demolish our village.”