Palestinians react against Israeli soldiers’ intervention during a protest against construction of Jewish settlements in Hebron, West Bank on 22 November 2019
Palestinians in the Al-Harika neighbourhood of Hebron are being subjected to repeated attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers, reported human rights NGO B’Tselem, as the organisation published details of five such documented attacks that took place from July to November.
Al-Harika lies in the southern part of Hebron’s city centre, and is home to 3,000 Palestinians. Since 1972, Kiryat Arba settlement – population now 7,000 – has been located next to the neighbourhood.
According to B’Tselem, “the proximity of the settlement means that al-Harika residents suffer constant harassment by settlers, who are protected by the military.”
“The attacks include verbal abuse, stone-throwing and other forms of physical assault, and intensify on weekends and Jewish holidays,” B’Tselem added.
In addition to routine stone-throwing by settlers, Al-Harika’s residents “suffer military raids on the neighbourhood almost every day”, with soldiers using stun grenades and tear gas canisters.
In one incident on 4 November documented by B’Tselem, soldiers entered a Palestinian family compound on 4 November, ostensibly “looking for stone-throwers”.
After arguing with a resident, soldiers threw a stun grenade, then departed from the compound, throwing another stun grenade and a tear gas canister.
On the 3 November, soldiers were captured on video leading a 13-year-old Palestinian child around the neighbourhood while blindfolded. As they did so, the soldiers “threw stun grenades and tear gas canisters at neighbourhood homes”.
One officer is shown waving a tear gas canister and saying to one of the residents: “This is going to be inside your house in a few minutes, okay. One minute and I’m there. Five minutes and it’s at your place. Get the kids inside, it’d be a shame…”
According to B’Tselem, such cases – and many others – “illustrate how fragile, exposed and unpredictable life has become for Palestinians living in al-Harika.”
“Israel’s policy in this area creates exasperating, impossible living conditions for local residents, which are manifested in violence by security forces and settlers, with backing from the Israeli authorities. This leads Palestinians to abandon homes and businesses in the neighbourhood.”
A Palestinian woman cries at debris of a building after Israeli forces demolished houses of 4 Palestinians, accused of killing an Israeli soldier, at Beit Kahil village in Hebron, West Bank on 28 November 2019
The pace of home demolitions by Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem has “surged” in 2019 compared with previous years, reported Al-Monitor.
Palestinian governor Adnan Ghaith – himself a frequent target of harassment by Israeli forces – told Al-Monitor that the demolition orders “are a means of repression and aim to change the demographic reality in favour of the [Israeli] settlers”.
“Israel has indulged in issuing demolition orders in Jerusalem, taking advantage of the US green light, which began with [US President Donald] Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo’s statement that settlements do not violate international law made things worse.”
Citing statistics collected by Israeli rights NGO B’Tselem, the report noted that at least 269 Palestinians have lost their homes in the city (up until mid-November), including 149 children.
“Israel has demolished 155 homes since the beginning of 2019 until the end of October 2019,” said B’Tselem spokesperson Kareem Jubran, “including 37 houses whose owners were forced to demolish them with their own hands to avoid paying the costs of the demolition.”
These costs range from 100,000 to 150,000 shekels [$29,000 to $43,300].
Jubran said that B’Tselem expects Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian structures to continue to increase over coming months and years.
“This is especially true after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statements Nov. 18 that Israel’s settlements do not violate international law,” he said.
“The demolitions create bad humanitarian conditions for the Jerusalemite families, who use all their financial savings to build a house. These families see their houses brought to the ground in moments, and they end up homeless.”
According to Ghaith, “around 20,000 homes in Jerusalem face demolition orders that may be executed at any moment”, while “Palestinians in Jerusalem need about 25,000 new housing units.”
Israeli forces brutally arrest a Palestinian man in Jerusalem on 1 October 2019
One Palestinian died in an Israeli prison last month, while another 360 others were detained by the occupation state, including eight women and 58 children, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre (PPC) said on Sunday. Sami Abu Dayyak was the prisoner who died due to alleged medical negligence.
Abu-Dayyak’s death raised the number of the Palestinian prisoners who have died since 1967 while in Israeli custody to 222.
The PPC noted that seven Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were detained, including two while they were fishing off the Gaza coast. “Jerusalem’s Governor Adnan Geith was also detained and summoned for investigation several times,” the Centre added. Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Fadi Al-Hadmi, was detained and beaten by Israeli occupation forces.
According to the centre, eight women were detained during November, including Kifah Amouri, the mother of prisoner Wisam Hannoun. She was held while visiting her son in prison.
Basel Ashour, aged 10, was taken by the Israeli occupation forces while he was going home after school. Rida Jawabra, 11, was another of the 58 children held by the Israelis. Both children are from Hebron in the occupied West Bank.
The prisoners’ organisation pointed out that two Palestinian prisoners, Mus’ab al Hindi, 29, and Ahmed Zahra, 42, have been on hunger strike for 69 days and 71 days respectively.
It added that the Israeli occupation authorities issued 74 administrative detention orders, 40 of them new. Administrative detention is a mechanism by which Israel detains Palestinians with neither charge nor trial, renewable for an indefinite number of times.
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Sunday evening, four Palestinian children from their homes, in occupied East Jerusalem, and assaulted several residents, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) has reported.
Silwanic said the soldiers abducted Ahmad Khalil Kleib, 12, and his brother, Mohammad, 16, after storming and ransacking their home in the al-‘Isawiya town in Jerusalem.
It added that the soldiers also abducted Mustafa Eyad Ghazala, 16, and his brother Mos’ab, 15, after invading and ransacking their home.
The soldiers attacked several members of Abu Ghazala family, causing cuts and bruises, before abducting the two children.
In addition, the District Court in Jerusalem ordered Mo’men al-‘Abbassi, Ala’ Mohammad al-‘Abbassi, Hatem Jaber al-‘Abbassi, Mustafa Mahmoud al-‘Abbassi, and No’man Wazouz, under further interrogation until this coming Thursday, and informed the prosecutor’s office to go ahead and indict them.
The Palestinians were among dozens of residents who were abducted by the army from their homes, in occupied Jerusalem, last week.
Palestinian Minister of Health, Mai al-Kaila, vehemently criticized and rejected the establishment of a US field military hospital in the northern Gaza Strip under the sponsorship of Hamas and the Israeli occupation, the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.
Speaking on ‘Voice of Palestine’ radio, al-Kaila stated that the ministry knows nothing about this hospital except for what was circulated through media; that it is a field military hospital that used to operate in Syria and is now being moved to the northern Gaza Strip.
All national factions oppose this plan, and consider the plan is a suspicious move with political intentions, rather than therapeutic goals. “We reject the establishment of this hospital, which falls within the framework of the “deal of the century,” said the health minister.
She stressed that the ministry does not know who will run the hospital, which she slammed as an advanced US-Israeli military fortress inside the Gaza Strip.
“The media blackout about the construction of this hospital raises many big questions about its real goals.” – Palestinian Health Minister, Mai al-Kaila
She said that nothing justifies the establishment of the military field hospital, especially that all the population of the Gaza Strip enjoy a free health insurance entitling them to all of the Ministry’s services, including referrals to hospitals in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Egypt.
“Every year, the Ministry [of Health] sends medications and medical supplies worth 60 million shekels to the Gaza Strip. Therefore, there is no need for this US military hospital, where US military and not doctors will be working,” al-Kaila added.
“If America wants to help our people in the Gaza Strip, it should have supported UNRWA, rather than cutting aid to this international institution. There is a big question mark about this hospital, which is in line with the deal of the century.” – Palestinian Health Minister, Mai al-Kaila
Al-Kaila called upon the Palestinian factions and people in the Gaza Strip to unite efforts to thwart the construction of this military field hospital, stressing that the ministry will not leave the health of its people in Gaza in any hands.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- A Palestinian statistics center documented the murder of 43 Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. 38 of the victims were in Gaza during the Israeli escalation against the enclave.
Al Quds Center revealed in a statistical study issued on Monday that three martyrs were killed in Hebron, one from Jenin, one from Jerusalem, and 38 in Gaza, most of them were killed in the Israeli aggression on the enclave
The study also revealed that the Israelis have killed 526 Palestinians since Trump’s announcement of occupied Jerusalem as capital of the occupation state back in December 6,2017. The martyrs included 111 children, 22 women, 6 Palestinians with special needs, and 108 martyrs in Israeli strikes on Gaza. There were also 13 prisoners, who were killed in Israeli jails, and one Palestinian killed in an assassination in Malaysia.
According to the study, ‘Israel’ has killed as well 258 Palestinians in Gaza’s great return march protests, which started in March 30, 2018, including two journalists and four paramedics.
The Israelis have killed 111 children following Trump’s announcement of occupied Jerusalem as capital of ‘Israel’. 69 of them were killed in Gaza’s protests, while three were fetuses, which were killed with their mothers in Israeli strikes on the besieged enclave.
Meanwhile, 13 Palestinian prisoners were killed in Israeli jails. The occupation state continues to withhold the bodies of 40 Palestinians, who have been killed after Trump’s announcement.
Palestinians blame US policy shift on illegal settlements
Israel has approved new settlement on the site of Palestinian market in occupied West Bank city of Al Khalil (Hebron), prompting anger from Palestinians who blame shift in US policy.
Naftali Bennett, Israeli defence minister, gave the go-ahead on Sunday for the new settlement, which would involve bulldozing the old wholesale market and could reportedly double the settler population.
It follows a decision made by the US in November to no longer consider Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories illegal under international law.
“Israel’s decision to build a new illegal settlement in occupied Al Khalil is the first tangible result of the US decision to legitimise colonisation; this cannot be taken out of the context,” said Saeb Erakat, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
The Palestinian market set to be affected has been closed since 1994 when Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians inside Al Ibrahimi Mosque and Israel responded by increasing its military presence around the Old City.
‘War against peace’
Around 800 Israeli settlers live near Al Khalil’s Old City, in close proximity to its Palestinian residents, and are accompanied by a heavy military presence which Palestinians say imposes an apartheid-like system.
“The settlement in Hebron is the ugliest face of Israel’s control in the Occupied Territories,” anti-settlement campaigners Peace Now said in a statement.
“In order to maintain the presence of 800 settlers among a quarter of a million Palestinians, entire streets in Hebron are closed to Palestinians, denying them freedom of movement and impinging on their livelihoods.”
The Al Khalil settler community’s spokesman Yishai Fleischer thanked Bennett for the decision and claimed the market’s land had been owned by Jews since 1807.
Peace Now said however that the land legally belongs to the Hebron municipality and its residents had a protected tenancy that prevented them from being evicted without legal grounds, though this had been disregarded by Israeli courts, paving the way for the new settlement.
Ayman Odeh, Head of the Joint List, a parliamentary coalition of Palestinian citizens of Israel, said the decision was part of a “war against peace”.
Nine members of Palestinian family were killed last month after an Israeli air raid on their home in central Gaza
By: Ali Younis
Noor al-Sawarka’s life changed forever on the night the Israeli army targeted her family’s home in the central town of Deir al-Balah.
The 12-year-old lost her parents and three siblings on November 14 after Israeli missiles struck the family dwelling some 15km (nine miles) south of Gaza City. The home – consisting of several shacks covered with corrugated metal sheets – was blown to smithereens.
The Israeli army claimed it targeted the house of a military commander belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad armed group, an allegation immediately rejected by the victims’ family.
Noor said when she first heard the explosions she found herself running outside in an open field.
“I ran as fast as I could to the open land next to us,” she told Al Jazeera. “I didn’t know what happened and all I saw was thick black smoke.”
Her eyes sunk out of focus as she refused to say how she feels, two weeks after the bombing that turned her and two younger siblings into orphans.
Her sister, eight-year-old Reem, and brother, six-year-old Dia, also survived that night. Bruises were still visible on Reem’s lower lip, nose and forehead.
“After I went to sleep that night, I only remember that I woke up in the hospital,” she said.
Since then, Reem has had trouble sleeping at night fearing that bombs will drop on her again. She said she often hears the “zannana” – Arabic for the buzzing sound Israeli drones flying overhead make.
The bombing killed nine members of the al-Sawarka family: Rasmi Abu Malhous al-Sawarka, 46; his second wife Maryam, 45; and three of their 11 children – Mohannad, 12; Salim, three; and three-month-old Firas.
Rasmi’s younger brother, 40-year-old Mohamed, and his wife Yousra, 39, were also killed in the attack, in addition to two of their sons: Thirteen-year-old Waseem and seven-year-old Moaaz.
The al-Sawarka victims were among the 34 Palestinians killed by Israeli air raids over the Gaza Strip over two days, in an escalation of violence between Israel and the Islamic Jihad last month.
False Israeli claims
The two sides began exchanging fire following Israel’s killing of top Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata in Gaza. In response, the Islamic Jihad fired rockets into southern Israel, with Israel’s military saying it recorded more than 350 projectiles.
A ceasefire, reportedly brokered by Egypt, was declared the morning after the al-Sawarka family was targeted.
Mohamad Awad, a member of the al-Sawarka Bedouin tribe and a neighbour of the family, told Al Jazeera the Israeli bombing was a “war crime” because Rasmi and his brother Mohamed were civilians and had nothing to do with any armed group.
“They raised sheep and were barely making ends meet before they were killed,” he said.
Awad denied the Israel army’s claim that Rasmi was a member of Islamic Jihad, and said he was an employee of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) government.
Awad called on international human rights organisations to investigate “Israeli crimes” against innocent Palestinians.
“The world cannot remain silent on the Israeli crimes against us,” he said.
Israel’s military said it was investigating the incident and the “harm caused to civilians”.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said on Twitter the attack targeted the head of the Islamic Jihad’s rocket unit, whom he identified as Rasmi Abu Malhous.
“Rasmi Abu Malhous, leader of Islamic Jihad and the commander of the rocket unit in the central Gaza brigade, was the target of last night in the raid on Deir al-Balah,” Adraee said.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an Israeli army official as saying Adraee’s claim appeared to have been based on false rumours spread online.
Awad said he is now helping Israeli rights organisation B’Tselem gather evidence and document witness testimony to investigate the bombing.
A B’Tselem official told Al Jazeera the incident was under investigation.
Awad said it was a “miracle” that many of the children survived. “God was looking down on these children and saved them,” he said.
After the bombing, he went to look for his cousin and the children and in the thick smoke, he heard a muffled sound of a baby crying from under the twisted metal rooves.
He said he lifted the debris and found month-and-half-old Farah, Rasmi’s baby daughter, lying on the sand, covered by a metal sheet.
“Farah was crying when I picked her up in my arm and she was unharmed,” he said. “God saved that baby girl.”
All of the surviving al-Sawarka children are now living with relatives and survive on aid from humanitarian organisations.
The Gaza Strip has been under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade for more than a decade, which has severely curtailed freedom of movement for its two million people.
Shurouq al-Bidn, a Palestinian young woman and sick prisoner in Israeli occuaption detention, is still in open-ended administrative detention without a charge or trial, the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Commission said on Sunday.
Al-Bidn, who is currently incarcerated in the Israeli prison of Damoun, is suffering from severe stomach pain and blood vomiting and is never provided with any medical treatment, the Commission added.
The young woman was detained from her family home in the West Bank district of Bethlehem on July 15, and was placed in solitary confinement for five days, during which she started having psychological and health problems
Al-Bidn was then placed in administrative detention, without a charge or trial, for six months.
There are currently 38 female Palestinian political prisoners incarcerated in the Israeli prison of Damoun, two of them placed under administrative detention. The remaining 36 others are serving various sentences for resisting the Israeli occupation of their homeland.