Israel plans settlement on land Trump earmarked for Palestine state

Jewish settlements near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on 10 February 2015 [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]

Jewish settlements near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on 10 February 2015

The Israeli housing ministry filed a request on 9 February for the construction of 9,000 houses in occupied East Jerusalem, on land marked as Palestinian in US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, watchdog Peace Now reported.

If approved, the homes will be built on land between the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Kafr ‘Aqab, Qalandiya and Al-Ram in East Jerusalem, and on the site of the Atarot Airport, which has been out of use since the Second Intifada in 2000.

According to the Trump plan, Israel would maintain control over Atarot and all other neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem west of the Separation Wall, but the self-declared Jewish state “should allow for the development by the State of Palestine of a special tourism zone in Atarot”.

The plan states that the Atarot “tourist zone” is intended to encourage Muslim tourism to Jerusalem through “state-of-the-art public transportation that provides easy access to and from the holy sites”.

Palestinians have widely rejected the deal, which President Mahmoud Abbas said would lead to a “Swiss cheese” state.

Peace Now said that “the planned settlement neighbourhood drives a wedge in the heart of the Palestinian urban continuity between Ramallah and East Jerusalem”, and precludes “the establishment of a viable Palestinian state”.

READ: Israel asks UK to include settlements in free trade deal

Much of the land involved in the plan is considered government property, and private landowners are to be offered rights to part of the plan, based on the value of land that they own.

However, Haaretz reported that at least 15 Palestinian homes, built in the surrounding area without official permits, because they are unable to obtain them from the Israeli occupation authorities, will be demolished.

This is not the first report of a possible settlement in the Atarot area. After the Israeli Ministry of Housing declared an intent to establish approximately 10,000 homes in the area, as early as December 2015. The ministry reportedly allocated $7.6 million for construction.

Details of the settlement plan emerged after the Israeli transport ministry approved plans for a train line between Ben-Gurion Airport and the occupied old city of Jerusalem.

Jordanian officials called the planned railway extension “a flagrant violation of international law”.

The approval process for the new settlements is expected to take several years, but should the construction go ahead, the homes will be the first new neighbourhood in East Jerusalem since Har Homa in 1997.

More than 600,000 Jewish settlers already live in settlements, considered illegal under international law, in the occupied West Bank.

READ: Amazon forcing Palestinians to list themselves as Israelis for free shipping

(Source / 19.02.2020) 

Palestinian factions form national committee against Trump deal

Salah Al-Bardaweel of the Hamas Political Bureau (C) speaks at a press conference in Gaza on 26 November 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Salah Al-Bardaweel of the Hamas Political Bureau (C) speaks at a press conference in Gaza on 26 November 2019

Seven Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip announced on Tuesday that they have formed a national committee to challenge Donald Trump “peace plan”.

According to senior Hamas official Salah Al-Bardaweel, the committee is made up of representatives of those factions which have resistance fighters on the ground.

The committee is to set out a timetable for its activities, explained Al Bardaweel. He noted that it will also stand up to any Israeli attack on Gaza and is similar to the national committee which was formed to run the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege protests.

READ: Hamas decides against media war with Fatah

The National Committee for the Return March and Undermining the Deal of the Century has already attracted interest from Palestinian institutions in Lebanon and the occupied West Bank, as well as the wider diaspora, who want to participate.

As far as Fatah is concerned, the Hamas official pointed out that the new committee intends to start talking with the faction, but he believes that it will not join because it won’t work with most of the Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Al-Bardaweel also revealed that Fatah had cancelled its visit to Gaza because Hamas refused to meet with it alone. However, he insisted that there are no differences with Fatah and there should be a meeting with all of the Palestinian factions to start a national public dialogue.

(Source / 19.02.2020) 

PPS: “Israeli Soldiers Abduct Seven Palestinians In West Bank”

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, at least seven Palestinians, including the father of a young man who was killed by army fire in October 2018, from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported.

The PPS said several army vehicles invaded the al-Am’ari and the al-Jalazoun refugee camps, in the central West Bank governorate of Ramallah, searched many homes and abducted Ayman Ahmad Abu Arab, 22, and Ahmad Abdul-Jaber, 18.

In Bethlehem, south of occupied East Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Ziad Khalil Fararja, 32, and Mohammad Mahmoud Sha’fout, 40.

In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Hamza Eyad Qteina, from his home.

In Qalqilia, the soldiers abducted the head of the Department of Education in the governorate, identified as Saleh Yassin, 57, and the father Elias Yassin, 22, who was killed by Israeli army fire on October 15th, 2018.

In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Nasser Abu Sneina, after invading his bakery, and shutting it down.

(Source / 19.02.2020) 

PCHR Welcomes the Publication of UN Database on Business Enterprises Operating in Israeli Settlements

On 12 February 2020, after three years of delay and consistent pressure by Palestinian, regional and international organizations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report on business enterprises involved in certain activities related to unlawful Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

This came in response to a specific request by the United Nations Human Rights Council, contained in resolution 36/13, which mandated OHCHR to produce a database of business enterprises involved in such activities. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) commends OHCHR’s efforts in producing this report and for its independence and impartiality in fulfilling its mandate.

The report listed 112 companies, the majority (94) of whom are domiciled in Israel while the rest (18) are headquartered in six other countries. These companies are specialized in wide range of sectors including, security, construction, food, banks, retail, and transport.

All companies in included in the list have been identified as engaging in a listed activity, as a parent company owning a majority share of a subsidiary engaged in a listed activity, or as a company that has granted a relevant franchise or license to a company engaged in a listed activity in the OPT.

This report marks a significant step towards holding settlement businesses accountable for their role in violating Palestinians’ rights. For a long time, these businesses have facilitated the growth and operations of settlements, and benefited from Israeli authorities’ unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and other resources.

They also benefited from Israel’s discriminatory policies that provides privileges to settlers at the expense of Palestinians such as access to land and water as well as permits to build and develop land.

The release of the database also comes at an important period as the current United States administration led by President Donald Trump has released its Middle East peace plan which would allow Israel to annex vast parts of the occupied West Bank, including the strategic Jordan Valley, thus legitimizing the settlement enterprise.

This report, however, re-affirms the international community’s rejection of Israeli and US efforts to legitimize Israel’s unlawful settlement enterprise and whitewash violations of Palestinians rights caused by it. It also constitutes an important precedent in the global efforts to ensure that businesses respect international law and standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

In light of the above, PCHR stresses the importance of releasing the database annually, pursuant to resolution 36/16, to exert pressure on companies to cease their activities in Israeli settlements.

PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian Authority, Arab states and the international community, including Human Rights Council Member States to take measures to sanction and boycott the companies contained in the UN database until their business activities in the settlements are ceased.

(Source / 19.02.2020) 

Soldiers Shoot A Young Man In Southern Gaza

Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday afternoon, a young Palestinian man east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Media sources said the soldiers shot the young man near the perimeter fence, inflicting moderate wounds before he was rushed to the European Hospital for treatment.

The Israeli army claimed that sharpshooters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad fired rounds at military vehicles and soldiers across the fence and that the soldiers fired back.

It is worth mentioning that the army frequently opens fire at farmers and workers close to the perimeter fence in the besieged coastal region, in addition to constant invasions and bulldozing of Palestinian lands and the ongoing attacks against the fishermen in Gaza territorial waters.

These attacks have led to hundreds of casualties, including fatalities, mainly among workers, farmers, and fishermen.

(Source / 19.02.2020) 

PCHR: Child Killed and Young Man Wounded By Palestinian Security Service in Qabatia

On Wednesday, a Palestinian minor is reported to have succumbed to gun-shot wounds he sustained, on Tuesday, when a Palestinian security force was dispatched to a gathering for a freed prisoner.

The celebrating crowd allegedly threw stones at the security force, and some armed men in the group shot rounds into the air, west of Qabatia, police responded by opening fire and firing tear-gas at the crowd.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is concerned about the incident and calls upon the Public Prosecution to open an investigation to identify the circumstances.

PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian Authority to take all necessary measures to end the prevailing security chaos and proliferation of weapons and to maintain civilians’ life in accordance with the relevant international covenants and standards.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 19:30 on Tuesday, February 18, a large force of Palestinian security services arrived to disperse a celebration, west of Qabatia, when unidentified gunmen opened fire in the air.

Amid the ongoing shooting by the gunmen, those celebrating threw stones at the security force, which in response opened fire and fired tear-gas canisters to disperse them.

As a result, Salah Mohammed Sa’id Zakarnah, 15, was wounded with a bullet in the abdomen; and Naser Faisal Khzeimiyah, 25, was wounded with a bullet that entered his abdomen and exited from the back.

The two wounded were taken to Khalil Soliman Governmental Hospital in Jenin, but due to their serious condition, they were transferred to An-Najah National Hospital in Nablus, where Wednesday morning, doctors declared Zakanrah’s death.

Following the incident, Palestinian media quoted a statement for Jenin Governor, Major General, Akarm Rojoub that a security force moved towards the village after being informed that gunmen intended to organize a military parade to welcome a prisoner released from the Israeli prisons.

When the security force arrived at the village, civilians threw stones and the gunmen opened fire. In response, the force fired tear-gas canisters and opened fire. He added that 15 security officers were wounded with the stones.

PCHR hereby condemns the killing of Zakarnah and:

  • Calls upon the Public Prosecution to investigate the incident, identify the circumstances and publish the investigation results on public in addition to taking the legal proceedings necessary for prosecuting those responsible.
  • Emphasizes the significance of taking the measures necessary for maintaining security and banning possession or use of weapons but with the security officers’ full compliance with principle of proportionality, protection of civilians’ property and nonuse of excessive force in accordance with human rights standards in law enforcement missions.

(Source / 19.02.2020) 


Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli authorities closed a Palestinian traditional well-known bakery in the old city in occupied Jerusalem last night after distributing its famous Ka’ek to worshipers at Al Aqsa mosque.

Crews from the Israeli municipality and police stormed the bakery, owned by Abu Naser Abu Sneineh, in the neighborhood of Bab Hittah last night and arrested the son of the owner for several hours.

The Israelis closed the bakery claiming that it did not commit to conditions, of which they were previously informed.

The Israeli municipality had stormed the bakery on February 9th and threatened to close it unless Abu Sneineh fulfills the terms in one week.

The municipality accused the bakery, which has been working for over 60 years so far, of distributing its famous Palestinian Ka’ek to worshipers at Al Aqsa mosque during the “Great Dawn” campaign.

The bakery was previously targeted by several Israeli search and raid campaigns.

(Source / 19.02.2020) 


Occupied Hebron (QNN)- The Israeli army on Wednesday confiscated a container classroom that used to serve students from the village of Susya in eastern Yatta, Hebron

The head of the village council, Jihad Nawaj’a, told QNN that the Israeli army and its crews stormed the village of Susya and confiscated a container classroom.

Eight students were already in the classroom when the Israeli army expelled them. The container classroom has been serving the students of the village for five years.

Thee Israeli army has demolished eight structures in the village in 2019. The village has been facing an Israeli vicious attack that aims at pushing its locals to leave.

(Source / 19.02.2020) 


Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The Israeli ministry of housing has recently put a plan for a new large settlement on land that used to be a Palestinian airport in northern Jerusalem, reported Israeli Haaretz.

The Israeli newspaper stated that the ministry has started putting the plan 10 days ago. The settlement project will be constructed on the land of Qalandiya airport all the way to the apartheid wall.

The project, which will include 6,000 to 9,000 settlement units in addition to malls, will be built on nearly 1200 dunums.

Trump’s plan has suggested that the area in question would be specialized for tourism projects after the creation of a Palestinian state. It would include hotels and markets that would “support Muslims’ tourism in Jerusalem and the holy places”. The plan, however, does not define the area, dedicated to that.

Israeli organizations stated that the new settlement “will disconnect the urbanization between Ramallah and Jerusalem, which would prevent the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

(Source / 19.02.2020) 

Israel reduces amount of bread served to Palestinian prisoners

It also decided to withdraw cookers and 40 items from their purchases, as well as it will cut down on the amount of meat, water and books allowed into their cells

Israeli Prison Services (IPS) has decided to reduce food amounts and many other services offered to Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails, Palestinian Prisoner Club (PPC) revealed on Monday.

In a statement, the PPC announced that this step is part of Gilad Erdan’s Committee, which decided in 2018 to cancel all the achievements that the prisoners gained throughout their struggle with the IPS.

The statement, which was sent to mass media, pointed out that the IPS is to reduce the number of TV channels allowed for the prisoners from ten to seven.

It also decided to lower the number of loaves of bread from five to four and to withdraw cookers and 40 items from their purchases. In addition, the IPS will also cut down on the amount of meat, water and books allowed.

The IPS will also offer only boiled eggs, ban the use of coloured blankets, restrict movement among prison departments, decrease the time of breaks, minimise the number of family visits and change factional representation.

Meanwhile, the prisoners stressed that they are currently laying out a resistance plan against the IPS over these measures, which are gradually being implemented.

The PPC reiterated that the IPS is intending to impose a new reality inside the Israeli prisons, based on political orders and systematic policies aiming to put more pressure on the prisoners and rendering their lives unbearable.

(Source / 19.02.2020)