May 2019 report: 421 Palestinians seized by Israeli occupation forces, including 78 children and 6 women

Palestinian prisoners’ institutions, including the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, issued the following report for May 2019 on 16 June. English translation by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network: 

Photo for illustrative purposes 

In May 2019, Israeli occupation forces arrested 421 Palestinians, including 78 children and 6 women. The Israeli occupation authorities seized 145 Palestinians from the city of Jerusalem, 59 from Ramallah governorate, 60 from al-Khalil governorate, 30 from Jenin governorate, 21 from Bethlehem governorate, 32 from Nablus governorate, 13 from Tulkarem governorate, 19 from Qalqilya governorate, 8 from Tubas governorate, 8 from Salfit governorate, 14 from Jericho governorate and 12 from the Gaza Strip.

The number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails reached 5500 at the end of May, including 43 women. The number of imprisoned children in Israeli jails reached approximately 220.

The following summary highlights the realities faced by the detainees in prisons and detention centers and the most prominent actions by the occupation authorities during the month of May:

Hunger Strikes During May 2019

Several prisoners continued their hunger strikes against administrative detention during May 2019, including the prisoner Hassan al-Aweiwi, who began his strike in April and experienced significant deterioration of his health. He faced clear intransigence by the occupation authorities in refusing to meet his demands and end his administrative detention.

Palestinian prisoners’ institutions documented the retaliation by the Israeli occupation prison administration against al-Aweiwi since he launched his strike, including isolation, denial of family visits and frequent transfer from one detention center to another as well as to civilian hospitals.

Al-Aweiwi is 35 years old, married wth three children. He was previously arrested several times, most recently on 15 January 2019.

Bassam Abu Akkar, from Aida camp in Bethlehem, went on hunger strike on 21 May, rejecting his administrative detention after two consecutive years. He ended his strike after reaching an agreement to limit his administrative detention

Abu Akkar, a leader of the prisoners’ movement, spent a total of 24 and one-half years in Israeli prison, between sentences and administrative detention. He has been detained without charge or trial since 27 July 2017; he is married with seven children.

Among the prisoners who took part in hunger strikes during the month of may were Ahmed Hroub from al-Khalil governorate, Thaer Badr from Beit Liqya, the wounded Moataz Abidu from al-Khalil and Murad Malisha from Jenin.

Medical Neglect

Over 750 prisoners continue to suffer from a policy of medical neglect by the Israeli prison administration, which is systematically used as a means of retaliation and pressure.

The medical situation for the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is becoming more serious with every wave of escalation by the prison administration, the latest of which was the series of restrictive measures that followed the publication of the recommendations of the committee formed by the occupation minister Gilad Erdan to exert increased pressure on the prisoners in September 2018.

These restrictions included an escalation of the policy of medical neglect against sick and wounded prisoners, which has led to increased suffering from the effects of their illnesses, even after their release.

The occupation uses medical neglect as a means of torture and pressure on detainees to extract confessions from them or attempt to break their morale and increase their suffering in prisons. This medical neglect is institutionalized in the prison system and the detention centers. For example, prison clinics lack specialized medical staff or equipment to perform necessary tests to address problems raised by the prisoners. In the event a prisoner’s health worsens, he or she is transferred to the Ramle prison clinic, which is not significantly different from the prison clinics in terms of the level of medical care available. However, the Ramle clinic focuses on prisoners with permanent disabilities, severe medical deterioration or terminal illnesses.

There are currently 15 sick prisoners being held at the Ramle prison clinic in inhumane and inappropriate conditions. In particularly difficult cases, prisoners are transferred to Israeli civilian hospitals especially for required tests.

The occupation delays the treatment of ill prisoners, whether in the provision of medication or tests required to diagnose a patient’s condition, which can exacerbate their conditions and lead to the emergence of new health problems.

Summer is a season of suffering for imprisoned Palestinians

The Israeli occupation authorities make all of the details of the lives of the Palestinian detainees; even changes in the seasons bring more suffering. As the temperature increases, so too does the humidity and the lack of ventilation in Israeli prisons and detention centers. The suffering of the prisoners is doubled, especially in the desert or near the coast. Some prisons suffer from insect infestations or unpleasant odors and the prison administration often refuses to install air conditioners or other cooling equipment in the prisons. Sometimes, cold water is deliberately cut or prisoners in isolation are denied cold water.

According to the monitoring of the prisoners’ associations, the prisoners’ complaints are continuing to rise along with the temperature and humidity, especially at Saba, Nafha, Ramon and the Negev desert prison (especially the tent sections), in Damon prison (where the women prisoners are held), in Ramle-Nitsan in the underground sections and in Shata and Gilboa, where humidity is high.

60,000 NIS ($16,627 USD) in fines imposed on Palestinian child prisoners in Ofer

In May, Israeli occupation courts imposed prison sentences on a number of child prisoners held in the Ofer military prisons, in addition to large fines amounting to more than 60,000 NIS ($16,627 USD). In May 2019, 43 child prisoners were transferred to Ofer prison; 22 were seized from their homes, 12 taken from the streets, seven arrested for lack of permits and two after being summoned to interrogation.

Of these children, four were arrested after being shot by Israeli occupation soldiers and nine more were beaten during their detention and taken to Israeli interrogation centers. There were 31 children sentenced in May 2019, with actual terms ranging from 31 days to 10 months.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

BREAKING: Former President Morsi Dies During Trial

Days Of Palestine – Egypt

Former President Mohamed Morsi died on Monday in court after the conclusion of a trial session in the espionage lawsuit.

According to Egyptian State Television, Morsi suffered a heart attack following the court hearing and his body has been transferred to a hospital in preparation for burial arrangements.

Morsi, aged 67, died after a court session in his espionage trial ended.

The ousted Morsi asked to speak at the session, and the judge gave him permission.

He then reportedly fainted in court and was later pronounced dead.

Morsi was elected in democratic elections in 2012 after the 2011 revolution ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak. He was overthrown in a coup by the Egyptian military, who installed current President Abdel Al-Sisi as the leader.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

Israel minister urges annexation of settlements, calls for Abbas’ ouster

Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan [Quds News Network/Facebook]

Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan

Israel’s Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan yesterday called for the ouster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, alongside the annexation of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to reports in Arutz Sheva and the Jerusalem Post.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Post in New York, Erdan reiterated Israeli claims that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is “rewarding terror” by offering financial support to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the families of those Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

“It’s time to say loudly and clearly,” Erdan stated, “Abu Mazen [Abbas], who supports terror, incites murder and promotes boycotts rather than co-existence, should exit the world stage and go home.”

Erdan also urged the Israeli government to apply Israeli law to settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory – a common shorthand for annexation.

Read: Israel unveils illegal ‘Trump’ settlement in Golan Heights

“All of a sudden,” the minister told the audience, “their [Palestinians’] rejectionism has led the US to take important steps such as recognising Jerusalem as our capital, moving its embassy and defunding UNRWA.”

“This is the start of a new paradigm, which means that the Palestinians must realize that time is not on their side,” he continued:

To advance this paradigm, we must take the next legal, moral and logical step, which is to apply Israeli law to the Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].

According to Erdan, “Israel desires peace”, but there is a need “to prioritise the welfare and interests of our citizens in every part of the Land of Israel [i.e. in the West Bank].”

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

3 years and no conviction: Israel’s prosecution of World Vision staffer drags on

Image of Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision's area development programme manager [Mohammad Awed]

Image of Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision’s area development programme manager 

A senior official of international charity World Vision remains on trial in an Israeli court, three years after he was first arrested, tortured, and charged.

According to a new report published by +972 Magazine, since 2016, Israel has not provided any evidence to Mohammad El Halabi or World Vision to prove its case, “and yet Halabi’s trial continues in an Israeli court, unresolved and with no end in sight”.

“This case is unprecedented in the Israeli legal system,” El Halabi’s lawyer Maher Hanna said. “Israel knows that Halabi is innocent. Some Israeli officials told me that.”

El Halabi, who was the World Vision manager for the Gaza Strip at the time of his arrest, has been accused by Israeli authorities of funnelling some $43 million from the NGO to Hamas.

“The picture that emerges from many pages of internal World Vision documents, rarely heard details of the court case, and a correspondence with Halabi himself,” +972 Magazine stated, is that of “an innocent Palestinian being tortured, mistreated and pressured to capitulate to Israeli demands.”

In addition, the report added, the case “also raises uncomfortable questions for many in the global and Israeli media who willingly accept Israeli government claims about Palestinians — even when there is no supporting evidence.”

After his arrest in 2016, Israel held Halabi incommunicado for 50 days, during which time the NGO staffer was interrogated, tortured and held in solitary confinement.

Yet by contrast to the extraordinary allegations contained within the Israeli indictment, by 2017, an investigation by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) “concluded that there was no basis to support the claim that Halabi had diverted any Australian money to Hamas”.

As noted by +972 Magazine, “World Vision has supported Halabi during the entire legal process, and two internal investigations found no evidence to support the Israeli allegations against him.”

115 Court Appearances and Counting: Father of ‘Humanitarian Hero’, Mohammed El-Halabi Speaks Out

According to a US-based spokesperson for World Vision, the organisation has “yet to see any substantive evidence to support the charges against Mohammed Halabi”.

The trial began in August 2016 and there have been more than 100 court hearings thus far. In early 2017, the Israeli judge told El Halabi “that he should accept a plea deal because there was ‘little chance’ he wouldn’t be convicted”.

El Halabi believes he is being punished by the Israeli court for refusing to accept a plea deal.

According to the report, there are also substantial problems of due process. El Halabi’s lawyer Hanna told the website: “I can’t give him any materials to read,” adding: “I can now visit him but only spend three to four hours with him and that’s not enough,”

The report noted that “Halabi has not been allowed to testify in English, never receives accurate translations of the court proceedings, and Israeli authorities have consistently refused to record the hearings to assist in translation.”

In addition, “one of the main obstacles in defending El Halabi is Israel’s refusal to allow his attorney to visit Gaza and meet witnesses who could bolster his case. The court has also refused to grant permits for many Palestinian witnesses from Gaza who want to testify in Halabi’s defence.”

Read: Israel’s World Vision crime sham

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

After Court Ordered Demolition Of 100 Flats, Israeli Police Demands Removal Of Protest Tent In Jerusalem

17 JUN9:59 AM

Dozens of Israeli police officers invaded, Sunday, Sur Baher Palestinian town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, and demanded the Palestinians to remove a tent, which was installed to protest a Supreme Court ruling to demolish 16 residential buildings of more than 100 flats.

The Israeli decision came after the City Council in the occupied city claimed that the buildings are close to the illegal Annexation Wall, which was installed on Palestinian lands.

Hamada Hamada, the head of the Services Committee of Wad al-Hummus, al-Mintar and Deir al-Amoud neighborhoods, in Sur Baher town, said the neighborhoods are in Areas A, B and C, and the lands are owned by the Palestinians, including the Local Government of the Palestinian Authority.

Hamada added that the targeted Palestinian buildings are 25 apartment buildings of around 250 flats, and said that Israel issued various demolition orders, in addition to orders halting the construction of most buildings in that area alone.

16 of the apartment buildings, which contain altogether more than 100 flats, are under the immediate threat of demolition.

He also stated that, a week ago, the Israeli Supreme Court denied the appeal, which was filed by the residents, and ordered the immediate demolition of the buildings, but without setting a date.

The Palestinians then decided to install a protest tent, and remain there, and the police has since been ordering them to remove it and leave the area.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

Israel Approves Plans To Cut Down 2000 Olive Trees Near Bethlehem

17 JUN9:59 AM

The plot to destroy 2000 fully mature olive trees near the city of Bethlehem, in southern West Bank, was rubber-stamped by the Israeli occupation authorities, according to WAFA News Agency.

The 2000 trees, extend over a 1600 meter long road connecting two Palestinian villages, Taqou’ town and al-Minya, and take up 80 dunums of land, belonging to Palestinians.

Local activist Hasan Brijiyeh, an anti-settlement, anti-wall activist told WAFA that the Israeli regime has intensified it’s arrest of the youth, theft of land, and road closures in the area.

Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 states that the occupying force is forbidden from transferring members of its own population onto the land that it occupied.

Israel occupied Palestine in 1948, and regularly demolishes Palestinian homes to make room for Jewish-only settlements across the West Bank. Today, about 600,000 illegal Israeli settlers reside in the occupied Palestinian Territories, in defiance of International Law.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

Illegal Israeli Colonists Puncture Car Tires, Write Racist Graffiti, Near Ramallah

17 JUN11:18 AM

A group of illegal Israeli colonists infiltrated, on Monday at dawn, into Kafr Malek village, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, punctured the tires of four cars, and wrote racist graffiti on the walls of a mosque.

Media sources said the colonists punctured the tires, and wrote the racist graffiti against the Palestinians in particular, and the Arabs in general.

Such attacks and violations are frequent in the occupied West Bank, especially since the Israeli military and police fail to investigate them.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi dies: state media

State TV reports Egypt’s first democratically elected president fainted during court session and died afterwards

State TV said former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi collapsed during his court session and died

State TV said former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi collapsed during his court session and died

Egypt‘s former President Mohamed Morsi has died after appearing in court in Cairo, according to state media.

The 67-year-old died after fainting during the court session in the Egyptian capital on Monday, state TV reported.

“He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died,” a judicial source said.

Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012, one year after the Arab Spring uprising saw the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

(Read the complete article / 17.06.2019) 

Palestine: Hamas Arrests Sderot Rocket Launchers

Iron Dome anti-missile system fires an interceptor missile as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel near the southern city of SderotRamallah- Asharq Al-Awsat Hamas arrested members responsible for the rocket fired on Thursday that struck a building in Sderot, Palestinian sources told i24NEWS Sunday.

The detainees were said to be residents of Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip and members of the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.

Both Hamas’ internal security agency and Hamas’ al-Qassam military wing are investigating the possibility that the order for the launch came from outside of Gaza.

Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades is a small armed group that has members from Gaza and is financed by Hamas.

The arrest came hours after Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov that Hamas was investigating the rocket fire.

Haniyeh asserted to Mladenov that Hamas was committed to the understandings reached as part of the ceasefire with Israel, stressing that the movement wanted the ceasefire to remain in place.

The arrest of the rocket launchers is intended to send a message that the movement actually wants the situation to remain stable despite recent tensions. Israel responded to the missiles with raids on Gaza.

Tension in the Strip has risen with Hamas accusing Israel of delaying the implementation of the ceasefire, followed by the incendiary balloons launched from Gaza which Israel responded by imposing a naval embargo on Gaza.

Hamas said that demonstrations would see escalations if Israel continued to stall the implementation of the understandings brokered between both parties and sponsored by Egypt, UN, and Qatar. 

Israeli media said Qatari Ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi was informed by the Israeli government he should not arrive in Gaza for the transfer of money. However, Mladenov promised Haniyeh that the Qatari envoy would enter the Gaza Strip with a monthly cash delivery, and conveyed that Israel was interested in maintaining calm in the south. 

Israel’s Channel 13 said the Qatari mission would arrive in Gaza with a new shipment of cash. 

The total amount of the grant is expected to reach $25 million, of which $10 million will be transferred to Israel to purchase fuel to the power plant in Gaza City, according to Yedioth Ahrenot.

The remaining $10 million will be distributed to needy families, with each family receiving $100. In addition, $5 million will be donated in cash to the United Nations’ cash-for-work projects, where Gazans are temporarily employed and paid.

This week, an Egyptian security delegation is supposed to arrive in order to contain any possible escalation. Cairo had drawn up an agreement last month for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

The agreement includes expanding the fishing zone to 12 miles, improving electricity networks and supplies, facilitating export and import operations, and resuming transfers of funds to the Strip.

According to the agreement, if this stage is successful, another stage will be discussed to include a prisoner exchange deal and infrastructure projects.  (Source / 17.06.2019) 

Shin Bet Chief Meets Palestinian President, Warns of PA’s Bankruptcy

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian volunteer paramedic Sajed Mezher was killed by Israeli troops, during his funeral in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 27, 2019Ramallah, Tel Aviv – Kifah Zboun, Asharq al-Awsat Head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, Nadav Argaman, recently met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to persuade him to agree to accept tax money collected by Israel on the PA’s behalf, according to political sources in Tel Aviv.

The sources said that Argaman tried during the meeting to convince Abbas to accept the funds after the deduction of amounts paid to families of martyrs and prisoners. He informed the PM that the amount Israel intends to decduct is far less than the salaries.

But Abbas refused to give up any “dime” and asked that Israel deal with these funds as Palestinian funds that no one has the right to dispose of them.

“Any deduction from these funds is a theft,” Abbas said.

After his meeting, the Israeli Minister reported to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon that Abbas firmly and categorically refused the proposal and called for a political decision to resolve this crisis.

Argaman said that the Authority is suffering from a severe financial crisis, which led to the reduction in salaries of a large number of employees, including tens of thousands of members of the Palestinian security services.

Military analyst Amos Harel indicated that Abbas believes he is facing a triple attack from the United States, Israel and Hamas. Washington has almost completely curtailed economic aid to the Palestinians.

The United States is now offering “economic peace” without resolving the issue of Jerusalem and borders, and trying to impose a permanent separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The military estimates that Abbas considers that Israel is economically affected by the prisoner crisis, but continues to build the settlements, rejects the political dialogue and seeks the opportunity to annex parts of the West Bank after the failure of the deal of the century.

Hamas is building a state in the Gaza Strip with a “silent US-Israeli approval.” It is also believed that a number of Arab leaders in the region support Trump’s plan.

Israeli security services top officials agree that the Authority will begin its economic collapse within two or three months.

In related news, Abbas stressed that “we reject the US peace plan,” better known as the “deal of the century,” in a meeting with the leaders of the Fatah Youth Movement.

He announced that Palestine will not participate in the US-sponsored economic workshop to be held in Manama, Bahrain, on June 25. 

“Jerusalem and Palestine are not for sale,” asserted Abbas, adding that “the Palestinian leadership is sticking to the stable legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state.

Abbas reiterated the Palestinians’ rejection to receive the partial funds of the tax revenue dues collected by Israel on behalf of the PA from the Palestinian trade. (Source / 17.06.2019)