A Palestinian farmer feeds calves and cows at a cattle farm in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on 8 April 2014
Israeli occupation authorities yesterday released 500 calves imported directly by Palestinian traders after blocking them for a month, Ma’an reported.
Israel banned the entry of calves to the occupied territories after the Palestinian Authority’s decision to have Palestinian traders import them directly from abroad – without the mediation of Israeli traders.
Deputy Palestinian Economic Ministry Tariq Abu-Laban said that 500 of the 5,000 cows held have been released.
He said that 3,000 claves will be released and sent to the occupied West Bank and 2,000 to the besieged Gaza Strip in the coming days, noting that meat prices will be lower because taxes have reduced as Israeli traders are not involved.
Abu-Laban said that the Palestinian traders imported the calves from Hungary, Portugal, France and Australia, noting this is the first time that Palestinian traders have imported calves without Israeli mediation.
Adding that this is the first step towards a Palestinian economic disengagement from the Israeli economy.
Israel had warned in October that it would suspend all imports and exports to the occupied territories in response to the PA’s decision to halt the purchase of cattle from Israeli farmers.
A general view of UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Middle East at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 28 February 2019
For the first time, 13 countries changed their longstanding positions and voted against a pro-Palestine measure at the United Nations on Tuesday.
Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil and Colombia voted against the annual resolution regarding the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, according to the Times of Israel.
They had previously abstained on the vote.
The resolution, which includes a call to halt to illegal Israeli settlements being constructed in the occupied West Bank, still passed with a large majority voting in favour.
The Palestinian representative told the council: “If you protect Israel, it will destroy you all.” He also said Israel’s character as a Jewish state is “shameless racism”.
The New York-based Division for Palestinian Rights oversees the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
The resolution was co-sponsored by Comoros, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The UK, France and Spain abstained, as they do every year, allowing the resolution to pass with a vote of 87-54, with 21 other abstentions.
The General Assembly adopted five resolutions on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, including one calling on Member States not to recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.
A resolution which includes a call to halt Israeli settlements being constructed in the occupied West Bank, passed with a large majority voting in favour of continuing to support the Palestinian cause and finding a “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine”.
A general view of Halamish Jewish settlement after United States announced Israeli settlements in West Bank don’t violate international law, in Ramallah, West Bank on 20 November 2019
Israeli authorities have advanced plans for a major expansion of Gilo, a key settlement in occupied East Jerusalem just north of Bethlehem.
According to human rights NGO Ir Amim, the plans will add more than 1,500 housing units to Gilo.
On 27 November, the Local Planning Committee discussed two new plans for the settlement, “following close on the heels of the plan for 290 housing units” in Gilo which had been approved by the District Planning Committee a week before on 19 November.
One plan (TPS 532325) calls for the construction of 1,444 housing units “in place of the existing number of 288 units on 83 dunams of land within a built-up area located in the north-eastern part of Gilo”, a location adjacent to Palestinian neighbourhood Beit Safafa.
“The plan is being promoted by a government-owned company by the name of Amidar,” stated Ir Amim, adding that “while this plan will not extend the settlement territorially, it will however, greatly increase its population in close proximity to Beit Safafa.”
A second plan (TPS 647842), meanwhile, “will expand the settlement eastwards towards Beit Jala”, and “calls for approximately 110 housing units on 30 dunams of land on the eastern edge of Gilo along Route 60 (The Tunnel Road)”, a plan “being promoted by a private company”.
Part of that particular plot was designed by Israeli occupation authorities as so-called “absentee property” – Ir Amim noted that its original owners “could likely be current residents of Beit Jala since the land in question belonged to the town prior to 1967”.
The NGO stated that “together all three plans will significantly increase the number of Israelis living over the Green Line in Gilo, while also extend the settlement territorially.”
“These plans are being promoted in tandem with the massive road infrastructure developments in the area, including expansion of Route 60 as well as work on the planned route of the Jerusalem Light Rail’s green line,” Ir Amim added.
“Road infrastructure projects are part and parcel of the settlement enterprise and are used to lay the groundwork for future settlement expansion. Not only will these developments expedite traffic between Gilo and West Jerusalem, but it will ease access between the Gush Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem.”
Israeli yesterday released Hamas leader Jamal Al-Taweel after two years being held under administrative detention.
The 57-year-old, who was elected mayor of Al Bireh in 2006, spent his time in administrative detention in Al Naqab Prison.
His daughter, Bushra, said that her father went on hunger strike against his detention several times and was given pledges that he would be released, but this did not happen.
She said that her father was arrested several times and spent a total of 14 years inside Israeli prisons. He was released in 2017 after spending four years in detention. In 2014 he spent 64 days on hunger strike.
On 15 April 2018, Israeli occupation forces arrested Al Taweel from his house and placed him to demonstrative detention one week later. Israeli occupation forces raided and searched his house in the Umm Al-Sharayit neighbourhood before taking him into custody, residents said at the time.
He went on hunger strike on 14 July 2019 that continued until Israeli occupation forces promised to end his administrative detention.
Israeli soldiers invaded, Thursday, the ath-Thaheriyya town, south of Hebron in southern West Bank, and destroyed machines in a blacksmith and lathe workshop, in addition to demolishing four residential rooms in Yatta nearby town.
The soldiers invaded the ath-Thaheriyya town, before storming a blacksmith and a lathe workshop, and deliberately damaged its machines.
The demolished structure is owned by members of Manna’ local Palestinian family.
In addition, the soldiers demolished four residential rooms; one owned by an elderly Palestinian woman, identified as Nozha Makhamra, and three rooms belonging to Shehada Makhamra, In Masafer Yatta village, south of Hebron.
In related news, several illegal Israeli colonists, squatting on Palestinian lands in Umm al-Arayes village, east of Yatta, attacked local farmers, and prevented them from plowing their lands.
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday afternoon, one Palestinian and injured many schoolgirls in Anata Palestinian town, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.
Najwa Refa’ey, the principal of Anata H School for Girls, said many army jeeps invaded the street in front of the school, and attacked many young men who protested the invasion and hurled stones at the soldiers.
She added that the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs and concussion grenades into the area, including the school campus, causing dozens of students to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
The schoolgirls could not leave their educational facility after the school day was over, and had to wait for some time until the soldiers left.
Furthermore, the soldiers chased a young man near the school, and abducted him; he remained unidentified at the time of this report.
It is worth mentioning that the soldiers invaded the same area earlier on Thursday at dawn, and fired many gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian protesters.
Paris (QNN)- The French parliament backed a resolution on Tuesday labelling anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism.
The motion was adopted with 154 votes against 72 at the French parliament.
It called on the government to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which equates anti-Zionism to antisemitism and considers criticizing the occupation state as a type of antisemitism.
“Criticising the very existence of Israel as a collective composed of Jewish citizens is tantamount to hatred towards the Jewish community as a whole,” the resolution states.
Thee resolution was drafted by Sylvain Maillard, a Paris lawmaker from French President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique en Marche (The Republic on the Move) centrist party.
In February, a few days after an attack on Jewish French philosopher Alain Finkelkraut on the sidelines of a yellow vest protest in Paris, Macron said anti-Zionism was one of the modern forms of antisemitism and that he would accept the IHRA definition.
In an open letter published in French newspaper Le Monde, a group of 127 Jewish intellectuals started a petition against the bill earlier this week.
Calling on the French parliament not to adopt the bill, the group underlined the importance of the fight against anti-Semitism.
They said anti-Zionism was legitimate and that criticizing a state would not amount to anti-Semitism.
“For Palestinians, Zionism means dispossession, displacement, occupation and structural inequality,” the letter says.
“It is cynical and insensitive to stigmatise them as antisemites for opposing Zionism.
“They oppose Zionism not because they hate Jews, but because they experience Zionism as an oppressive political movement.”
Mystery surrounds the death of Emad Khalil Ibrahim Shahin, who was arrested for breaching the Israeli fence
By Tariq Hajjaj
Emad Shahin crossed the eastern fence of Gaza towards Israel. He was shot by Israeli occupation forces in the leg, but he died. Israel kept his body for a while to hide its crimes against him.
Having slipped through Israel’s security fence, Emad Khalil Ibrahim Shahin and his friends sneaked into an abandoned barracks and lit a fire. Anxious they were about to be discovered, they fled the scene.
“We ran until we found a sand dune to hide behind on the other side of the fence, but then noticed Emad was not with us. He ran slower because he was on crutches,” one of his companions, who wished to remain anonymous, told Middle East Eye.
“We saw him on the ground and told him to crawl. But then a military vehicle raced up and a soldier fired at him, shooting him in the right leg. Soon a helicopter came and took him away.”
It would be 355 days until Shahin returned to Gaza. He arrived on 23 October in a body bag.
Now his family and several Palestinian and Israeli NGOs are asking why Israel’s military held the 17-year-old’s body for so long, and how he lost his life after apparently only being shot in the leg.
Symbol of protest
Shahin was the youngest of nine children, whose father made a small but decent salary as a school janitor.
His sister Monira told MEE the teen was a passionate participant in the Great March of Return protest movement, much like the rest of his family.
The protests, held every Friday since March 2018, call for Israeli authorities to lift their 11-year blockade on the Gaza Strip and allow Palestinian refugees, nearly 70 percent of Gaza’s residents, to return to their villages and towns in what is now Israel.
Fearful of Israeli snipers, Monira and Shahin’s other relatives have kept relatively clear of the fence during demonstrations. Shahin, however, repeatedly approached the barrier, burning tyres to block the vision of soldiers aiming at protesters.
It was not long before the snipers shot Shahin in the foot, on 17 May 2018.
“He healed quickly,” Monira said, adding that just two weeks later he was back at the protests using crutches.
“When photos of him participating in the protests despite his injury were widely shared on social media, he felt proud. He saw himself as a symbol of the protest.”
Twenty-one Fridays later, Shahin was shot again, in the same foot. Still, he returned to the march.
When he was shot a third time, this time in the other foot, surgeons were forced to amputate three of his toes.
“Our mother tried to stop him from going back. The entire family told him he had done his duty for his country and should rest now,” Monira said.
“But he said he did not fear death, that death is inevitable, and he would rather die for his country, resisting occupation, than in some other way that is pointless.”
Crossing the line
Limping and on crutches, on 1 November 2018, Shahin and two friends decided to cross through the fence, trying to reach a vacant Israeli army barracks almost 300 metres inside the fence, his sister told MEE.
She said his goal was to challenge the siege, bringing back a “trophy” like a soldier’s ammunition belt or a jeep licence plate.
Despite the area being heavily militarised and Shahin being far from mobile, the young Palestinian and his friends reached the compound. Breathless and excited, he called his sister as they prepared to leave.
“He wanted to share his triumphant moment. But I shouted at him, ordering him to get out immediately before he was killed. I was terrified,” Monira said.
“When he made it home, my mother was in tears, asking him not to do it again.”
The following Saturday, Shahin woke up early, telling his mother that he was going for a short errand after breakfast. Instead, he was returning to the barracks, carrying gasoline.
At 4.30pm on 3 November 2018, Shahin was shot in the leg near the fence east of central Gaza’s Maghazi refugee camp.
According to eyewitnesses, he was seized by a number of Israeli soldiers, who took him away on helicopter 20 minutes after being shot, apparently to the Soroka medical centre in the Negev.
From then, Shahin’s fate is unclear.
Immediately after the teen disappeared, Monira said her family contacted Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, frantically seeking information.
At first, Israeli authorities suggested he had sustained only “moderate” wounds, but the day after he was shot, the Tel Aviv-based NGO Physicians for Human Rights was told Shahin was dead.
For the next few days, Physicians for Human Rights pressed for answers and asked for the medical report on Shahin’s death.
On 11 November, the NGO was told Shahin’s medical records could not be released because his body had not been identified. Instead, it was told to contact Israeli’s Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.
“I contacted Dr Maya Hoffman of Abu Kabir, who tried to locate the body without success. I was referred to a records department,” Physicians for Human Rights’ Ran Yaron told MEE.
“The records department said no anonymous bodies had been transferred from Soroka, so we assumed the army was holding the body.”
After that, HaMoked, an Israeli human rights organisation, asked the Israeli army for information on Shahin’s body. No reply was received.
“I don’t understand what Israel did with a body of Palestinian teenager for a year,” Yaron said.
When asked for comment on Shahin’s death and the reasons his body was withheld for almost a year, the Israeli military referred Middle East Eye to the defence ministry.
Once contacted, the defence ministry said it was a matter only the military could comment on.
Shahin’s family was devastated to learn about his death.
“We knew he would be imprisoned, but not murdered,” Monira said. In the absence of his body, the family had held on to a small hope that Shahin was actually alive.
When the International Red Cross informed the family that Shahin’s body had arrived at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, they rushed to see him.
According to Dr Emad Shihada, the receiving physician, the body had been stored in liquid nitrogen at an extremely cold temperature for a long time.
Lacking the proper equipment to thaw the body, an autopsy could only have been performed if it had been left in the sun for two days.
Instead, the family preferred to bury him rather than to wait, in accordance with the Islamic tradition that recommends immediate burial after death.
Despite no full autopsy being carried out, Shahin’s family saw several disturbing marks on his body.
From the middle of his chest to his stomach ran a 15-centimetre scar, indicating stitching. The same pattern could be seen radiating out for 13 centimetres from the left side of his chest on both sides.
However, Shihada said it is possible the body had been opened by physicians in an attempt to stop internal bleeding.
External examination showed that Shahin had been shot three times in the right leg. If one or more of the bullets severed the femoral artery, causing him to bleed without treatment for more than 15 minutes, that alone could have caused his death, the doctor told MEE.
“Emad was only a boy,” Monira said. “Israel could have treated him after he was abducted. But they did not. They killed him.”
According to the Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Israeli authorities continue to withhold the bodies of 15 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip killed since 30 March 2018, including two children.
Though Shahin’s family waited nearly a year for the 17-year-old’s body to be returned, the other Palestinian families left in limbo may never see their relatives returned.
Last week, Defence Minister Naftali Bennett ordered all bodies of Palestinians held by Israel to be kept from their families as a “deterrent against terrorism”.
Israeli occupation forces on Thursday overnight detained at least 14 Palestinians from various parts of the West Bank, said local sources.
They confirmed that seven Palestinians were detained from the southern West Bank district of Hebron.
Two detainees were identified as residents of Surif town, west of Hebron city, two others as brothers from Adh-Dhahiriya city, southwest of Hebron, and the remaining three as residents of Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron.
Elaborating on the raid into Beit Ummar, Muhammad Awad, a local media activist, said that a scores of gun-toting soldiers raided the town, where they opened fire on civilians’ houses and ransacked several others, turning them upside down.
The soldiers ultimately detained a former prisoner and two brothers from the town.
Meanwhile, six Palestinians were rounded up from Jerusalem district.
Local sources confirmed that Israeli occupation forces shortly before dawn rounded up three Palestinians after storming their families’ houses in the Occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
Another Palestinian was detained late overnight following violent confrontations with a police force in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, which is part of Silwan.
Police also conducted a raid in Jabal Az-Zeitoun neighborhood, resulting in the detention of a Palestinian teen.
In the northern West Bank, the Palestine Prisoners’ Society (PPS) confirmed an Israeli military raid in Deir al-Ghusun town, north of Tulkarem city, resulting in the detention of a Palestinian.
A similar overnight raid was confirmed in Bir al-Basha village, east of Jenin city.
Soldiers broke into and thoroughly searched several houses in the village and threatened to kill a former prisoner if he does not turn himself to Israeli military.
Israeli forces frequently raid Palestinian houses almost on a daily basis across the West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians, triggering clashes with residents.
According to Palestinian figures, roughly 5,700 Palestinians — including numerous women and children — are currently suffering in Israeli jails.