Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a solidarity rally organized by Palestinian Authority’s Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs in front of Red Crescent office in Gaza City, Gaza on 30 September 2019
Head of Political Bureau of Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, called on Friday for establishing a popular fund in support of Jerusalem and Jerusalemites, Quds Press reported.
The Hamas leader also called for launching an initiative to fight normalisation of ties with Israel, as well as the American “deal of the century.”
During the 11th session of the Jerusalem Pioneers Conference held in Istanbul, Haniyeh called for establishing a “framework vision aiming to oppose the deal of the century, and all other plans aiming to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”
As he was speaking at the conference, entitled ‘United Against Normalisation,’ Haniyeh noted that the deal of the century is not only targeting Palestine, but it is also targeting the entire region.
He stressed that Jerusalem represents the “unity symbol” for the whole Ummah, including all religions, traditions and sects. “It is the core symbol for the struggle with the Zionist project; there is no Palestine without Jerusalem.”
Meanwhile, he asserted that the popular fund should be created in support for Jerusalemites who are currently in urgent need of “financial, political, media and popular support more than ever, as they are facing plans targeting Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The Global Coalition in Support of Jerusalem and Palestine holds this conference every year, inviting scholars, researchers, leaders and activists from all over the world.
A suspended 60-day sentence and a demotion in rank were added by the court, which indicted the soldier on the charge of “disobeying an order leading to a threat to life or health”, per article 72 of Israeli Martial Law (1955).
Convicting—even charging—an Israeli soldier for conduct that led to death or harm of a Palestinian is rare; however, the case is very troubling in that it was centered on disciplinary charges, instead of properly based on criminal charges for unlawful killing.
The absence of a criminal conviction is a testament to the perpetual manner in which the Israeli justice system, including the military courts, shields State actors from genuine accountability and denies justice and redress to the victims, even in cases amounting to potential war crimes.
Al Mezan submitted a criminal complaint to the Israeli Military Advocate General on 4 September 2018, requesting a criminal investigation into the 13 July 2018 killing of Hillis; the Military Police initiated a criminal investigation two months later.
On 6 March 2019, with Al Mezan’s legal and technical support to the family, investigators interviewed Hillis’ father at Erez crossing. Al Mezan was then informed in writing on 29 October 2019 that, “the investigation is concluded […] and based on the findings, the Military Advocate General has convicted the soldier in question with exceeding his authority” (unofficial translation of the text by Al Mezan).
The evidence collected by Al Mezan shows Hillis’ shooting to be an act of willful killing, requiring a sentence commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The sentence handed down by the court for failure to follow orders and show discipline is woefully derisory and demonstrates rampant impunity in Israel and a lack of effective means of redress for Palestinian victims and/or their families.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that since 30 March 2018, Israeli forces have killed 214 Palestinians at the ‘Great March of Return’ protests in the Gaza Strip, including 46 children, four paramedics, two journalists, and nine persons with disability. Over 18,000 more have been injured.
The use of lethal and other excessive force against unarmed protesters and media and medical personnel at the demonstrations, resulting in the fatalities and injuries, constitutes a grave violation of the right to life enshrined in International Human Rights Law and demonstrates a complete disregard for the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
After investigations, the 2018 United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, detailed a “lack of confidence” in the Israeli justice system, whereby the Military Advocate General “has yet to accept the implications of accountability”.
The Commission continued that the “principles of promptness, independence and impartiality, and effectiveness appear to be compromised”.
Al Mezan’s similar findings of persistent failure by the Israeli justice system to hold perpetrators to account in accordance with international law necessitate the intervention of international justice mechanisms, including the International Criminal Court. The protection of civilians and the rule of law are gravely undermined through the perpetuation of a state of impunity.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and legal obligations to end serious violations of the rules and norms of international law, and to ensure that civilians living under occupation are granted due protection.
The Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court must investigate the alleged grave and systematic crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory to provide justice and an effective deterrent to the possible future commission of crimes.
* This statement was issued by the Al-Mezan Center For Human Rights
 UN Commission of Inquiry report into the Gaza 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (2019) Report of detailed findings (UN Doc. A/HRC/40/CRP.2)
Israeli sources reported that Palestinian resistance groups fired around 8 rockets across the border from Gaza into Israel Friday night, with one of the projectiles causing slight damage to a house in southern Israel.
Israeli residents of the town of Sderot reportedly ran into bomb shelters as a siren sounded throughout the town, warning of ‘rocket fire’ from Palestinians.
According to the Israeli military, seven of the eight projectiles fired by the Palestinian resistance on Friday night were intercepted by their anti-rocket ‘defense’ system, Iron Dome.
The projectiles were fired around 9 pm, according to local sources, and Israelis in the town of Sderot went into shelters following the sounding of the siren in the town.
Israeli medics reported a single injury during the incident: a women who tripped and fell during the rush to the underground bunker.
The al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, has reported that one of its fighters died, Friday, from serious wounds he suffered during the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014.
In a statement, al-Qassam said the fighter, Bara’ Adel al-‘Amour, 30, was injured in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region.
Dozens of Qassam fighters were killed during the 51-day Israeli offensive on Gaza in the summer of 2014.
During the ongoing and indiscriminatory bombardment and shelling on the Gaza Strip, the army targeted hundreds of homes, public facilities, hospitals, and medical centers, mosques, roads and infrastructure.
The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has reported that the Israeli offensive left 2.219 Palestinians dead, most of them are civilians. Thousands more were injured, including dozens who died from their wounds, months or years later.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Twitter administration on Saturday suspended three QNN accounts, including the English account. No information on the causes of the suspension were given.
Quds News Network (QNN), the largest and most viewed News network in Palestine, found the English account, the Arabic account, and the Breaking News account on Twitter suspended without getting any message that would provide any information on the causes of the suspension.
The Network and its workers have been recently a target for a Facebook and WhatsApp campaign, not mentioning a recent PA decision to ban its websites along with other 58 Palestinian and Arab websites.
A new press release by Sada Social issued on Saturday revealed that violations against the Palestinian content on social media has increased last October.
Nachshon Battalion soldiers watch over a Palestinian detainee during an operation of arresting terror suspects in the Duhaisha Refugee Camp, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, over night on December 8, 2015. The operation was carried out following the recent wave of terror attacks across Israel and the West Bank
By Jaclynn Ashly
Earlier this month, Mais Abu Ghosh, a student at Birzeit University in the West Bank, sent a letter to her family from Damon Prison in northern Israel.
“I love you so much,” Abu Ghosh wrote. “I am fine as long as you and those whom I love are fine […] You are in my mind and my spirit.” She asked her family to send greetings to her university friends and to her professors, “with no exceptions.” She added: “I am with another family now. All difficulties will pass.”
Israeli forces arrested Abu Ghosh in late August. She is one of dozens of Palestinian students who have been detained over the past three months, in a heightened crackdown on students across the occupied West Bank.
According to data collected by Right to Education, a grassroots campaign aimed at defending education in Palestine, Israeli forces have detained at least 64 university students since the start of this year. Eighteen of the detainees are students at Birzeit — the second-largest university in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli authorities routinely arrest politically active Palestinian students, but rights groups say the numbers have increased with the current crackdown.
Escalation in arrests A spokesperson at Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization, told +972 that Israel has been targeting an increasing number of Palestinian students since the start of 2019. There are currently 260 Palestinian high school and university students in Israeli prisons.
Of the 18 Birzeit students who were arrested in August, Israel has released only three. All of them were taken from their homes during overnight army raids, with Israeli soldiers using “excessive force” in the course of making the arrests, according to Addameer.
Most of the detained Birzeit students are still under interrogation, which could last up to 75 days or be extended to another 90 days. Three of the students have been placed under administrative detention – a policy inherited from the British Mandate, by which Israel holds detainees indefinitely, without charge. It is used almost exclusively against Palestinians.
Addameer has expressed “serious concern for the well-being and health” of the student detainees, noting that many have been prohibited from seeing lawyers and have been subjected to “torture and ill-treatment.”
According to Right to Education, 80 Birzeit students are currently imprisoned by Israel, including 17 who are under administrative detention.
Last month, an Israeli military court imposed a gag order on the cases of several Palestinian student detainees who are undergoing interrogations. The gag order is expected to be lifted on Nov. 10.
Addameer said the gag order was a violation of the “basic rights of the prisoner, their family and their lawyer” and an “attempt to cover up grave human rights violations” inflicted on Palestinian prisoners during interrogations.
An Israeli army spokesperson told +972 that the students recently arrested at Birzeit are “suspected of involvement in terror attacks that occurred over the last few months in which Israeli citizens were murdered.” The spokesperson added that they could not provide further information while the cases were being investigated by the Shin Bet — Israel’s internal security agency.
The army spokesperson is most likely referring to an attack that occurred in August, when a 17 year-old Israeli girl named Rina Shnerb was killed by an improvised explosive near Dolev, a settlement located northeast of Ramallah.
Samer Arbeed, 44, has been accused of heading a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) cell that allegedly carried out the attack. He was hospitalized in critical condition last month, with broken ribs and kidney failure after torture and severe beatings before and during interrogations carried out by the Shin Bet at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem.
At Hadassah Hospital, Arbeed slipped into a coma and was put on a respirator. Israeli media reported that the Shin Bet had been given legal permission to use “extraordinary measures” during Arbeed’s interrogation.
In a report released last year, Addameer documented Israeli authorities’ systematic use of torture at the Russian Compound, which Palestinians refer to as al-Mascobiyya. Among the types of torture: placing the detainee in solitary confinement and exposing them to sounds of torture from neighboring cells. The cells, according to the report, do not “meet the minimum standards of adequate human living.”
‘Continuous and systematic attacks’ “Palestinian students have faced continuous and systematic attacks” by the Israeli army – particularly at Birzeit, said Yara Hawari, a fellow at the Palestinian think tank Al-Shabaka. A student who is politically active will, she said, “inevitably” have “some kind of encounter with Israeli occupation forces.”
Birzeit has served as a center for Palestinian political, cultural and academic life in the West Bank for decades. Its graduates include prominent Palestinian figures such as Marwan Barghouti, now serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail.
Since the 1970s, the university has been subject to numerous Israeli army closures, the longest of which lasted for nearly five years, from 1988-82, during the first Palestinian intifada. Students and teachers resisted the closures, holding classes in their homes or outside the closed gates of the university.
“That legacy means that Birzeit has remained a very politically active space,” Hawari said. “It’s a hub of student organizing.”
According to Tahseen Elayyan, who heads the monitoring and documentation department at the Palestinian human rights NGO al-Haq, Birzeit students represent the entire Palestinian political spectrum – both within and outside the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The Palestinian Authority has not held a general election since 2005, which means that residents of the West Bank and Gaza have been prevented from expressing their political views through the democratic process. Student elections at Birzeit have served as an important barometer for the political zeitgeist.
“Birzeit represents a vibrant political Palestinian space that represents the society,” Elayyan said. “This is one of the reasons that make the university the subject of frequent Israeli attacks.”
According to Right to Education, Israeli forces have killed 26 Birzeit University students since 1984, while around 1,000 Birzeit students have been arrested since 2004. Almost invariably, the charge is involvement in terror activities.
Israeli forces have also sent in mista’revim – undercover special forces – onto the Birzeit campus to detain individual students.
In March 2018 Omar Kiswani, the head of Birzeit’s student council and a member of the Islamic Bloc on campus, was detained by mista’revim who gained access to the university campus by posing as journalists. The arrest made international news because students recorded videos of the violent incident on their phones, and these were broadcast by various media outlets. Two students and a university employee were wounded by the arresting forces.
Israeli authorities later said Kiswani was arrested over “suspected involvement in terror activity,” most likely owing to the Islamic Bloc’s association with Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization.
Yara Hawari of Al-Shabaka explained that Israel targets politically active students regardless of any specific affiliation. Arrest campaigns usually come in waves, she said. An arrest of one student is followed by arrests of all the students in their network and their political circle. The recent wave seems to be targeting students suspected of affiliation with the left-wing PFLP. Arrests campaigns are an effective technique to break Palestinian youth, she added.
Targeting the agents of change Israel’s occupying forces target Palestinian students because they are the voice of change in Palestinian society, said Hawari. At Birzeit, students are active for both political and civil rights, which the occupation tries to criminalize. The purpose of the arrest campaigns, explained Hawari, is to weaken the academic life of Palestinian students. The Shin Bet and the army know that by targeting Palestinian educational institutions they are undermining Palestinian society as a whole, she added.
Palestinian academia suffers greatly from the occupation, said Hawari. Israel has terminated or turned down visas for foreign and Palestinian academics who teach at the universities. None of the international faculty at Birzeit was issued a visa for the 2018-19 academic year; the only exceptions are those who teach or do research under the auspices of programs sponsored by foreign governments.
Israel frequently denies visas to students who wish to study abroad, or attend academic conferences. The intended result of these policies is to isolate Palestinian academia from the outside world.
Nor can Palestinian prisoners complete their education inside Israel’s prisons. Students arrested by Israeli forces typically miss a minimum of one academic semester, while others can wait years in detention. Post-release, trying to pick up where they left off can present immense challenges. Their peers have moved on, or graduated, while they are forced to re-take classes with students who are much younger and who have not had the same life experiences.
The Palestinian Authority uses the same tactic as Israel, arresting politically engaged students to crack down on dissent — especially in cases where it challenges Fatah domination of the political landscape in Palestine. Since the beginning of this academic year the PA arrested 12 students; all of them have since been released. The Voice of Palestinian Students, a student-run Facebook group , has documented five additional arrests by PA forces in October.
Fatah, said al-Haq’s Elayyan, wants “to create an atmosphere in which Fatah always win the elections.”
In its monthly report, Sada Social revealed that the violations against the Palestinian content have dramatically increased during last October without considering the specificity of the Palestinian cause.
The center stated that Facebook topped the list of social media websites, which practiced anti-Palestine violations. 145 Facebook violations were documented, including hundreds of blocks in addition to preventing Palestinian activists and journalists from using Facebook live.
Several pages and accounts were also blocked, including the following pages: Huna Obeidiyyah, Madma Net, Bethlehem Journal, News of Palestine Universal Education, Allar Today, Rabi’a News Network, Quds News Channel, Halhoul Now, and Nawras Net.
The center also documented four violations on YouTube, Twitter, and WhatsApp. The violations are: deleting a video from Huthaifa Jarrar YouTube channel, a warning to Al Quds Network on YouTube, removing the phone number of Omar Lababidi on WhatsApp, and deleting tweets of the the Palestinian Information Center.
The center cooperated with activists and journalists to carry out a campaign using the hashtag #FBblocksPalestine, which aims at demanding Facebook to stop its violations.
Meanwhile, the center recovered in October Birzeit University Students page, journalist Ghazi Murtaga’s page, and Beit Dajan Today page, increasing the total recovered pages to 25.
Tens of students, who suffocated of the Israeli teargas, needed medical treatment at the site
Israeli occupation police raided on Saturday morning Issawiyeh Secondary School for Boys in occupied Jerusalem, detained student and fired teargas canisters into school when they left it.
Sources said that the Israeli police raided the school while the students were arriving in their classes as usual and detained a student identified as Saleh Tawil without giving any reason for this action.
Upon leaving the school, the police threw teargas canisters into the school premises causing several suffocation cases among the students and teachers.
Tens of the students required medical treatment at the site, said the sources.
Israeli police have been targeting Issawiyeh neighborhood for a while, raiding and detaining residents at all hours of the day and night.
They attack students and people and block roads into and out of the neighborhood located in the heart of the occupied Jerusalem.
The child’s father says: ‘We live under a brutal occupation, which does not respect any laws or conventions’
By Motasem a Dalloul
Parents of 14-year-old Palestinian child, Othman Hilles, who was murdered by Israeli soldier during peaceful protests in Gaza, say how his light sentence renewed their pain.
Wearing a black dress, Um Jawad sat cross-legged on a mattress in her house, overlooking the fence that separates Gaza from Israel.
Quietly, she has been receiving condolences from her neighbours and friends, 15 months after the death of her 14-year-old son Othman Hilles.
To receive condolences this long after a loved one’s death is unusual. In Gaza, mourners usually gather for three days following a death.
At first, Um Jawad did the same after her son was shot by an Israeli sniper during a peaceful protest on 13 July 2018. But after an investigation into the killing, her grief was renewed earlier this week following the announcement that the Israeli soldier responsible for the shooting was sentenced to just one month of community service inside his military base.
“I have lost the most precious part of my body,” she told Middle East Eye while weeping, surrounded by relatives and friends. “He was my soul.”
Hilles was one of thousands of peaceful protesters who flocked to the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip on the day he died, part of the Great March of Return protest movement that has seen weekly demonstrations.
The protesters have demanded an immediate end to the crippling 12-year-old Israeli siege imposed on the coastal enclave, and the return of Palestinian refugees to the homes they and their relatives were expelled from during the creation of Israel in 1948.
On that June day, Hilles approached the fence separating Gaza from Israel, as many had done before him. Despite being unarmed, without even a stone in his hands, the teen was shot in the chest.
Hilles clearly did not pose any danger to any of the Israeli troops who were hiding behind sand barricades at a distance of about 150 metres behind the fence.
Bullet in the chest
Hilles is not the only unarmed protester to have been killed by Israeli forces since the March of Return began. More than 311 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, according to the local health ministry, with thousands more wounded.
The difference with the Hilles case is that an activist filmed the moment the 14-year-old was shot in the chest and fell to the ground, and the footage was posted online.
With world leaders and human right activists watching the video, a global call for probing the unjustified shooting of the unarmed boy emerged. For the teen’s family, the killing was agony.
“I was sitting at the eastern highway, near my house, with my relatives, when an ambulance passed at a very high speed,” his 43-year-old father Rami told MEE.
“I told my relatives it seems that a protester must have been fatally wounded,” he added. “Just 15 minutes later, I received a phone call from a friend at the hospital saying that Othman was wounded and pronounced dead. I was shocked, as he had left the house less than an hour before he was killed.”
Many rights groups along with the United Nations have lambasted the Israeli military for using lethal force in dealing with the weekly protests.
“For my sons, participation in the Great March of Return protests is inevitable because we live near the eastern fence where the protesters gather every Friday,” the father said. “I worry that I will hear bad news about another one of them.”
Among five brothers and one sister, Othman excelled at school, particularly in mathematics. He aspired to one day become a maths teacher at the Hitteen School, where he had his primary education.
“He hoped to become a teacher for two reasons,” his mother said. “The first, as he told me, in order to teach young children how to be good people. While the second, he said, in order to get money and build a large house and buy beautiful clothes for me and for his sister.”
These dreams were lost the moment Um Jawad heard the news of his death. At first, she was told he was wounded.
“My brother-in-law told me that Othman was wounded and he was OK,” she told MEE. “However, when I reached the hospital, I heard people saying there is a child martyr named Othman Hilles. Then, I fainted.
“I woke up and screamed and told my relatives that I wanted to see him inside the morgue. They refused, but then they agreed. When I saw him, I fainted again. I woke up at my home.”
She continued: “I woke up and saw a lot of women around me, crying. I asked them to take me back to the morgue in order to remain beside my son. I told them that he was alive and that he hadn’t been killed.
“I begged them and told them: ‘He is alone at the morgue, and he is scared of being alone. I want to go there and stay beside him. He cannot stay alone as he is a little boy’.”
Lama, 11, is Othman’s only sister, and she is devastated about the loss of her brother who used to raise birds and sell them to buy chocolate and toys for her.
“Why did they kill him?” she asked. “He was a little boy, and he was unarmed and did not hurt them.”
Lama told MEE that she was unable to say goodbye to him when he was taken to be buried.
“I still cannot believe he has died,” she said. “I always see him with us inside the house, and I am still dreaming that he one day will come, open the door and say: ‘Assalamu alaykum, I am here with you’.”
According to the Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, 46 children, two women, nine disabled individuals, two paramedics and two journalists were among the Palestinian fatalities that have blighted the protests.
However, Sarit Michaeli, international advocacy officer for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, said on Twitter that the Israeli military police have investigated only 13 of the children’s killings.
“But these investigations focus only on forces on the ground, not on decision-makers who dictated an illegal and shameful open fire policy,” Michaeli said.
Hillel’s father told MEE that he was not shocked with the very light sentence given to the Israeli soldier who killed his son.
“The Israeli occupation soldiers have been massacring us for more than 70 years,” he said.
“The sentence did not bring joy for me and for my family,” he added. “It only renewed our grief.”
When Hillel’s grandmother was told of the sentence, she wept as if she had only just heard about his death.
“Friends and relatives approached our house to offer their condolences again,” he said. “I wish that there had been no trial and no conviction.”
Israel has occasionally tried soldiers who have killed Palestinians; though rights groups say the process is heavily biased towards the Israelis” favour and little more than a sham.
“These are mock trials,” Ramy Abdu, chairman of the Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights, told MEE. “Such trials reflect the real image about how Israel underestimates the Palestinian blood.”
Abdu said the unnamed Israeli sniper who killed Hillel was not convicted over the killing, but rather over a violation of Israel’s rules of engagement that could lead to a threat to life and health.
“The soldier had recognised killing the Palestinian boy, but the Israeli military did not recognise it, and this means that there is no intention to stop the violence against the peaceful protesters,” he said.
B’Tselem’s Michaeli said: “For the record, even in the extremely rare cases when Israeli soldiers are actually convicted of deliberately killing Palestinians, they can expect a puny sentence of around nine months for manslaughter.”
Othman’s father told MEE he was afraid that his four other sons and only daughter might face the same fate as their brother due to the fact that they live near the fence.
“We live under a brutal occupation, which does not respect any laws or conventions,” he said.
“We are expecting more violations and killings against us, but what can we do? Where can we go to protect ourselves? World leaders must feel our pain and put pressure on Israel to stop it.”
Israeli warplanes bombarded several places in the whole Gaza Strip in about only one hour on Saturday night.
Local sources said that Israeli warplanes and drones attacked several Palestinians Resistances post in the whole Gaza Strip, south, north, east and west.
The Ministry of Health reported that an Israeli attack in the west of Khan Younis city, south of Gaza Strip, causing 3 civilians wounds with different injuries.
Israel keeps attacking Gaza, kill civilians, intimidate its children. Yesterday in the afternoon, Israel injured 96 Palestinians, most of them with live ammunition while taking part in the peaceful Great Return March calling for their dignity and freedom.