3 Palestinian youths were shot and injured, along with dozens of cases of suffocation, on Saturday evening, after the Israeli forces stormed the village of Kafr Qaddum, east of Qalqilya.
The coordinator of the Popular Resistance in the village of Kafr Qaddum, Murad Shtaiwi, said that the Israeli soldiers stormed the village and fired live bullets and metal coated with rubber and sound bombs at the citizens, which resulted in the injury of 3 young men, along with dozens of cases of suffocation due to inhaling tear gas, among them women and children. .
He added that the occupation forces stormed the house of Colonel Abdel Latif Al-Qaddoumi, tampered with its contents and used it as a military barrack for snipers.
“Preliminary steps to establish Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea”
Nablus – “Al-Quds” dot com – monitored the weekly settlement report prepared by the National Office for the Defense of the Earth and Resistance to Settlement of the Liberation Organization, the plans of the Israeli occupation authorities to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, on the one hand, and take preliminary steps to extend Israeli sovereignty On the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea, on the other hand.
The report, which covers the period from (11-17 April this year) in this regard, indicated that the occupation government continues to exploit the “Corona” crisis to stabilize its feet and plans, as it intends to link its settlements in the occupied city of Jerusalem by extending a light rail line.
The sources report that deliberations conducted by the so-called “District Committee for Organization and Building” show the entry of the light train to the (Armon Huntsev) settlement located on Jabal Al-Mukaber, east of Jerusalem, in a plan, aimed at increasing and intensifying settlement construction by a large percentage, and attracting more settlers by expanding the construction of settlement houses .
And the “Arab Center for Alternative Planning” inside the lands of 1948 revealed a few days ago a Judaic plan that the occupation began preparing for to build two railway lines linking the Jewish communities with the borders of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first underground line linking the western part of the occupied Jerusalem and the Bab al-Magharba All the way to the edge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the second is a railway over the ground that travels the various neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
This plan joins a series of other projects implemented in secret, such as the “Temple Tunnel” that runs under the neighborhoods of the Old City and threatens their safety and stability, and the “City of David” project, whose various installations threaten Silwan and the Bab al-Magharba area.
The occupation municipality in Jerusalem revealed a settlement project on the lands of Jabal Al-Mukaber, south of occupied Jerusalem, with 410 settlement units, public facilities and a 100-room hotel, linking the new settlement neighborhood to the light rail network and that public network with the railway until 2024.
It also decided within its settlement plans that it will not stop depositing a settlement plan in the settlement “Gilo” south of the city.
The scheme, which focuses on building 1,300 housing units, includes 100,000 square meters for public buildings, 25,000 square meters commercial areas, 20,000 square meters for workshops, 15,000 dunums open areas, and an area of 83 dunums northeast of the settlement near two tracks of the light rail to set up a school Sports and cultural club.
It also includes the establishment of three “douars”, which form the entrance to the new neighborhood. In the vicinity, there will be commercial shops and workshops. The project includes the construction of 10 residential buildings with a height of 10-12 floors, and seven towers of 25-35 floors that constitute a substitute for the old absorption center consisting of about 290 housing units.
On the other hand, the occupation authorities continue the policy of restricting Palestinian citizens in Jerusalem. The occupation police released financial violations at the end of the week, at the weekly demonstration in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, at a value of NIS 5,000.
The occupation police surrounded seven demonstrators, seized their identities, and freed each of them a violation of 5 thousand shekels, with a total of 35 thousand shekels. The residents of the neighborhood have demonstrated since 2009 with activists from the Israeli left and in solidarity every week, against the policy of taking over homes in the neighborhood for the benefit of settlers.
The demonstrators were present as part of the preventive measures against the Corona virus by placing masks and maintaining a distance of more than two meters, knowing that all decisions taken to restrict movement during the past weeks did not prevent the demonstration.
Also in Jerusalem, and against the background of many occupation practices, Jerusalem leaders warned against exploiting the Israeli occupation and the arrival of the new Corona virus “Covid 19” to the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, in order to declare them “infested” areas, and thus to close them completely, which could pave the future for purification. Ethnic and demographic silence of the Palestinians in a number of neighborhoods of the city at the hands of the occupation authorities, as there are targeted areas at the political and security levels in East Jerusalem, such as the Silwan region, the Old City, and the Tur, and other crowded areas with narrow areas in the Shuafat camp, Qalandiya, and Kafr Aqab, these areas by Dead, in addition to all Arab neighborhoods Palestinian in Jerusalem, Israel is seeking to reach emptied of its population many justifications, but the great danger is to exploit the occupation virus “Corona”, and spread in these areas to advertise them as areas affected, down to the justification for ethnic cleansing and wide and fast for these areas.
The settlers continue their provocations against Palestinian citizens, taking advantage of the state of emergency in the Palestinian territories.
While the movement of citizens in the Qana Valley is restricted in the light of the state of emergency instructions announced by the Palestinian government and prevented the Palestinians from hiking in the valley as part of preventive measures to prevent the spread of the dangerous kurna virus, the settlers from the surrounding settlements are taking advantage of this for the intensive presence in the valley, What has become a threat to the health of citizens in that region, which lies between three governorates: Nablus, Qalqilya, and Salfit, and increases the possibility of transmitting the virus to Palestinian farmers, who have survived the valley, despite all the continuous expulsion attempts by them by the occupation forces.
In this regard, the report indicated that the settlements surrounding the valley have become foci of Corona virus, according to the mayor of Deir Istiya, which is confirmed by statistics in this field, in addition to that the settlers in the neighboring settlements do not adhere to the measures to prevent Corona virus, and they roam the valley in a way Provocative in the form of groups, which poses a threat to the Palestinian farmers, who number more than 70 farmers with owners of beekeepers, beekeepers and herders.
Citizens in the valley and the surrounding areas say that they are living in a state of fear when coming to the valley to take care of their winter crops. What settlers see from them raises their concerns, especially since the valley is surrounded by eight settlements where the epidemic has spread.
In a remarkable development, settlers belonging to the terrorist organization “Youth of the Hills” attacked Palestinians last week, and burned two vehicles that were on the spot near “Street 90” in the occupied Jordan Valley.
Members of the “Youth of the Hills” were masked, threw stones at the Palestinians and sprayed tear gas on them. The occupation army had collected twenty members of this terrorist organization, and put them in the home quarantine, in a facility affiliated with him, near the location of the attack, because of the possibility of being infected with the virus, and had provided them with beds, food, a generator, and additional equipment. They were carrying them, and they attacked the Palestinians.
It is worth mentioning that the settler attacks are carried out with the cover and support of the occupation army and government, and in recent years resulted in the martyrdom and injury of a number of Palestinians in organized operations, behind which is known as the “Youth of the Hills” organization, and the “Paying Precious” terrorist movement, the most prominent of which was the crime of burning the family home Dawabshe in the village of Douma, which led to the death of Saad Dawabshe, his wife and their child, the kidnapping and burning of the Jerusalemite child Muhammad Abu Khudair, and the martyrdom of Aisha al-Rabi. The perpetrators of these crimes, who are well known to the occupation army and its police, were granted exemptions and innocence certificates from the trial.
In another context, the reactions to the agreement reached by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his opposition partner, Benny Gantz, regarding the annexation of Israel to the Palestinian valleys and the northern Dead Sea region, are referred to in the agreement referred to in the last weekly settlement report.
International reactions to the policies of Israel and the violations by the occupation authorities of Palestinian rights continue. The United Nations has confirmed its rejection of any approach to an agreement between “Israel” and the United States of America regarding the annexation of more Palestinian lands, considering it “to undermine the peace process.”
The Norwegian Refugee Council also warned that the Israeli authorities’ continued demolition and targeting of homes and water and sanitation facilities in the occupied West Bank is undermining efforts to limit the spread of the “Corvid 19” virus.
The following is the total weekly violations documented by the “National Office” during the observed period:
The Gush Ezion settlers flooded the land of the citizens in the Wadi Ashkheit area, north of Beit Ummar, planted with grapes, which belonged to the families of Sabarna and Awad for the second time in a week.
While two citizens were injured in an attack by settlers in the old city of Hebron, the families and activists succeeded in youth against settlement, preventing the settlers from setting up a new outpost in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the center of Hebron. Shepherds also suffered bruises in an attack by settlers in the Hamra area of the village of Tuwani east of Yatta in the south .
The settlers of “Sidi Bouaz” built on the lands of the citizens of Ain al-Qassis in the town of Al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, broke up 50 olive seedlings, in lands belonging to Safi al-Din Muhammad Da`du.
The settlers of “Sidi Bouaz” also uprooted 350 olive seedlings in the Al-Sha`f area from the town’s lands, and seized them, which belong to Khaldoun Ibrahim Sobeih.
Yesterday, settlers erected a mobile home, “Caravana”, in the lands of “Jeb Al-Deeb” near the village of Al-Fardis, east of Bethlehem, taking advantage of the state of emergency in the governorate, as part of their efforts to expand the borders of the Zdebar settlement built on the lands of citizens.
The “Berkane” settlers, established on the lands of Salfit governorate, put a worker who has been staying in the settlement for several days, on the road, because he has symptoms of the Corona virus.
The Community Protection Committee monitored the occupation forces’ assault on the project “protecting the rights and dignity of the Palestinian population under occupation in accordance with international humanitarian law.
Settlers cut down a number of olive trees planted within the lands of Qaryut village, southwest of Nablus, using automatic saws. It is owned by Mahmoud Ratib Hussein, and it is located in the (Al-Khula area) west of the village, near the “Ayleh” settlement.
This attack on trees was discovered after the occupation forces allowed farmers, through coordination, to reach their lands in that area to plow them. The settlers also cut about 36 perennial olive trees on the lands of Qaryut at the end of the week, while the “Shilo” settlers installed a mobile home in the Ras Muwais area of Qaryut lands.
The occupation forces stormed two barriers established in the Ain al-Bayda and Bardala regions in the northern Jordan Valley, to limit the movement of citizens, as part of a plan to confront the “Corona” epidemic.
A group of settlers assaulted a number of citizens in the Jordan Valley with stones and tear gas. And they left their cows grazing wheat and barley crops for a number of citizens in the “Umm al-Quba” area. The Occupation Authorities also notified the removal of a number of agricultural facilities in the villages of Al-Jiftlik and Frosh Beit Dajan in the Jordan Valley. And orders to remove facilities were attached to the Jordan Valley.
Palestinian activists sit in a mock prison, during a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on 9 April 2019
On 17 April 2020, Palestinian Prisoners Day, EuroPal Forum hosted a webinar via the ZOOM communications platform titled ‘5000 Prisoners: Israeli Racism and Medical Negligence Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak’.
The webinar, which heard from Motasem Dalloul, Akram Satari, and Charlotte Kates, sought to bridge the lack of coverage on the issue of Palestinian prisoners through facilitating a forum to better understand the current status quo for Palestinians in Israeli jails amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
In this light, the webinar was opened by EuroPal Forum’s Public Relations Officer, Robert Andrews, who noted that the webinar consists of just one action in EuroPal Forum’s broad campaign to highlight the dynamics of the prisoners’ issue. Andrews noted that EuroPal Forum have pursued a number of initiatives to this end, including a letter campaign that has seen the NGO write to a number of public officials, foreign ministers, and parliamentarians with the expressed aim of raising awareness about the plight of Palestinian prisoners.
The first speaker of the webinar was Gazan-based journalist and political commentator Motasem Dalloul, who concentrated his segment on looking at both the history of the denial of health care to Palestinian prisoners and the gravity of the threat to Palestinian prisoners in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dalloul started his segment by noting that the abuse of Palestinian prisoners is not a novel phenomenon and is not limited to factors of a specific nature. Rather, he noted that Palestinian prisoners have been subjected to continuous widespread and systematic abuse that can be traced to the start of Israel’s illegal occupation beginning in 1967. This abuse can be clearly seen, according to Motasem, through both the means and methods through which Palestinians are arrested and taken into Israeli custody, as well as the complete denial of health care once within the prison system.
Since the start of March, according to Motasem, Israel’s systematic arrest campaign has seen the detention of 357 Palestinians (including 48 children and 4 women), while since the start of 2020 Israel has arrested close to 1,300 Palestinians (including 210 children and 31 women). Among those arrested were individuals who were participating in initiatives – such as delivering food parcels, sterilisation and deep-cleaning – designed to stem the spread of coronavirus within their communities.
Following Dalloul’s presentation, another Gazan-based journalist and former child prisoner, Akram Satari, presented a first-hand account of the system inside Israeli jails, including why it is imperative that the international community acts now to safeguard Palestinian prisoners amidst the growing threat of COVID-19.
Satari started his presentation by recounting his own personal experience as a 16-year old subjected to chronic abuse and medical negligence at the behest of Israel. After suffering a stroke and paralysis while detained as a child prisoner within the Israeli prison system, Satari recounted the subhuman treatment he was subject to within the prison system. Here, he narrated his experience living in makeshift tents and camps surrounded by barbed wire with a complete lack of medical assistance given to those suffering with chronic illnesses or conditions. He notes that, in his case, he did not see a doctor for 2 months and was refused medical treatment and physical therapy and was merely told that ‘drinking water’ would remedy his condition.
Before the end of his segment, Satari alluded to an important point of contention: the prospect for a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel. Under this umbrella, Satari noted that after the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict (Operation Protective Edge) there have been calls for Israel to release 54 prisoners who were re-arrested after being released in the Shalit deal in 2011.
Amidst COVID-19, this demand for the release of 54 prisoners has been reduced by the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar. In this light, Satari said that Hamas have signalled their intention to release information about the Israeli soldiers held captive and to initiate a humanitarian swap-deal designed at securing the release of a number of elderly and young Palestinian prisoners.
The final speaker of the webinar, Charlotte Kates, the international coordinator of Palestinian prisoner rights group Samidoun. Kates’ presentation focused on the different initiatives available to raise awareness about the situation facing Palestinian prisoners.
She began her segment by noting that with the global pandemic of COVID-19 the prisoner issue has become more critical on a health level than ever before despite being critical on a political, social, and human level prior to the outbreak. In this context, it is important, as Charlotte notes, for international activists to focus on the case of Palestinian prisoners because the ‘potentially devastating impact of the spread of this virus among the prisoners is really quite clear’. These prisoners, 5000 in number, are ‘mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, teachers, students, community organisers, women’s leaders, workers’ union leaders, freedom fighters, people who are engaged in all aspects of struggle and all aspects of society locked away in Israeli jails and threatened with death by the spread of COVID-19’.
In commenting on the steps that can be taken across Europe and the wider international community, Kates stressed that the issue of Palestinian prisoners must be increasingly integrated into the wider BDS movement and struggle; in essence, campaigning must adapt so as to take issue with, for example, European Union funding of Israeli research and development projects and with the European-Israel Association Agreement. These campaigns are vital, according to Kates in ‘fighting back against the interconnectedness of the European Union, the United States, and Israel’. She concluded by calling for greater organised efforts and contact with elected representatives while simultaneously disrupting the existing connectedness between Israel and European states.
At least three Palestinians were injured, on Saturday, by Israeli forces as troops invaded the northern West Bank village of Kufur Qaddoum, local sources reported.
Morad Eshteiwi, coordinator of the popular resistance in Kufur Qaddoum, told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that the Israeli army stormed the village, provoking resistance from local Palestinians. Occupation forces fired live rounds at the protesters, injuring three of them. Israeli troops also fired tear-gas towards protestors, causing many others to choke.
According to local sources, Israeli forces suppressed the weekly demonstration, held every Friday in Kufur Qaddoum village in the Qalqilia district.
Morad Eshteiwi, a local activist, told the Palestinian Information Center that the soldiers and attacked peaceful demonstrators with live rounds, rubber-coated metal bullets, tear-gas canisters and stun grenades, causing some to suffer inhalation injuries, and were treated at the scene.
Since 2002, the citizens of Kufur Qaddoum have been staging weekly demonstrations in an expression of their opposition to Israeli settlements, the annexation wall, and the closure of the main road leading east to Nablus City.
A Palestinian shepherd was injured on Friday when illegal Israeli settlers attacked herders grazing sheep near the village of Tuwaneh, near Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank a local official reported.
Palestinian official, Fouad al-Amour, told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that settlers, under the cover of Israeli soldiers, assaulted the sheep herders and chased them out of the pastures, injuring Akram Raba’ee, 20.
Also on Friday, Israeli forces ordered several agricultural facilities in the Palestinian villages of Jiftlik and Furush Beit Dajan in the Jordan Valley, a local source said.
Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli violations, told WAFA that an invading Israeli force broke into the two villages, and announced to the owners, the military order to remove the structures within a specified time.
Political Leader of the ruling Islamist Hamas party in Gaza, Ismail Haniyya, told the Alaraby Arabic TV channel, on Friday, that his party has four Israeli soldiers in captivity, and that the party is ready to indirectly negotiate over a possible prisoner swap deal with Israel.
The leader of Hamas further noted that some external parties have recently contacted the party over prospects of such a prisoner swap deal, saying that such contacts could bring about a breakthrough.
“Freeing Palestinian prisoners, inside Israeli jails, is a priority, not only for Hamas but also for the entire Palestinian people and all other free nations. We look forward to completing a deal on their release”, Haniyya said during a televised interview with the London-based Alaraby TV.
He maintained that mediated negotiations with the Israeli occupation could lead to such a swap deal, expressing his party’s readiness to embark on those negotiations immediately.
The Hamas political chief also stated that his party has always been optimistic towards ‘winning the battle with the Israeli occupation’, based on previous rounds with Israel, mainly the 2012’s prisoner swap deal, in which Israel released around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
The 2012 prisoner swap deal led to the release of the then-captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who remained hostage for six consecutive years, after he was captured in a Hamas-led cross-border attack, in south of the coastal enclave.
Noteworthy, Hamas’s local leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has recently offered Israel a prisoner swap deal, within what Sinwar called a ‘Humanitarian offer’, in which Hamas is ready to give out information about missing Israelis, since the end of Israel’s devastating large-scale attack on Gaza in 2014.
Sinwar demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, mainly the elderly, women, children and those with chronic diseases.
The offer has been reported amidst the spreading Coronavirus, across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
A small number of Palestinian prisoners, inside Israeli jails, have reportedly caught the Coronavirus, which is said to most likely affect those with chronic diseases, weak immune system, and the elderly.
In response to Hamas’ offer for a prisoner swap deal, conflicting media reports suggest that Israel has considered the offer but no concrete response has been reported as of yet.
Haniyya’s remarks come in the context of widespread calls by many Palestinian, Arab and international bodies for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, fearing the spread of the Coronavirus among them.
On Friday, which coincided with Palestinian Prisoners Day, the western-backed Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah party that is rival to the Islamist Hamas, was quoted as saying “No final peace deal with Israel can be reached, unless Israel empties its prisons of around 5,000 Palestinian prisoners”.
Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- In an unprecedented view, a small group of Christian clergy celebrated on Saturday the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in a near-empty Jerusalem.
Usually tens of thousands of pilgrims pack the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and surround the Edicule, the inner sanctum that houses the spot where tradition says Jesus was entombed and resurrected.
This year, no pilgrims attended as they stayed home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Clergymen entered the Edicule, a chamber built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was buried two thousand years ago and rose from the dead after being crucified. Bells tolled above a near-empty church as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Theophilos III, emerged from the crypt carrying a candle lit by the flame. The source of the flame is a closely-guarded secret.
The ceremony was broadcast live to tens of thousands of Orthodox Christian believers around the world. Clergy from Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic and Syriac churches were represented at the ceremony.
Six new COVID-19 (coronavirus cases) were confirmed in the West Bank today raising total in Palestine to 320, Minister of Health Mai Alkaila announced today.
She said during the daily briefing that the six new cases were of a woman from the village of Shuqba, near Ramallah, who contracted the disease from her husband who works inside Israel.
Four other cases were for four sisters from Kafr Aqab town, north of Jerusalem, who contracted the disease from their husband who works in Israel. The sixth case was reported in Tulkarm, north of the West Bank.
With the new cases, the number of infected cases in the West Bank has reached 306 in addition to the 13 in the Gaza Strip. Plus, 111 cases have been reported so far among the native Palestinian population in occupied Jerusalem.
Alkaila said the number in occupied Jerusalem is not final or official due to lack of exact information from the Israeli authorities about the city’s Palestinian population.
Of the total infected, 248 are still active cases after recovery of 71 patients in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Two deaths in the West Bank.
A total of 22,800 corona tests were also conducted so far, said the Health Minister, and 15,500 are in quarantine.
Three Palestinian citizens were injured on Saturday by rubber-coated metal bullets when Israeli occupation forces stormed areas in Qalqilya and Tulkarem districts in the West Bank and clashed with residents.
Popular resistance activist Murad Shtewi said that Israeli forces raided Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqilya amid heavy firing of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and stun grenades, which sparked clashes with Palestinian residents.
Three Palestinian young men were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets and dozens suffered breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling tear gas, including women and children, he added.
The Israeli forces further broke into a Palestinian house, wreaked havoc on it and used its rooftop as a lookout.
Meanwhile, violent confrontations flared up in Tulkarem when Israeli forces stormed Shweika village and attacked Palestinian residents.
Local sources said that Israeli forces heavily and randomly fired live ammunition and stun grenades at Palestinian houses. No injuries were reported there.