A non-governmental organisation named the International Commission to Monitor Saudi Administration of the Two Holy Mosques – otherwise known as Al Haramain Watch – has launched an campaign and petition to establish an international administration to manage the affairs of the two holy mosques of Makkah and Madinah.
The campaign, which has already resulted in the support of around 100 Muslim scholars and human rights activists, aims to target Muslim-majority and Arab countries, as well as Muslim communities in Europe and the United States, in order to raise awareness of the policies recently enacted by Saudi Arabia with regards to the cities’ administration and pilgrimage.
According to Al Haramain Watch, the kingdom is violating both international law and the morals of its founders by failing to protect the unequivocal rights of Muslims’ access to the holy sites. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has enforced a number of limitations on certain groups and nations in making the Hajj pilgrimage and from visiting the country, with examples being the ongoing ban of Qatari nationals from making the pilgrimage and the ban of Iranian nationals until it was lifted in 2017.
The petition by the organisation states: “Due to the permanent failure of Saudi Arabia to manage the two holy mosques and the feelings and permanent politicisation and the absence of strategic development, we call on Islamic countries and governments to take the initiative and the media to form an interim framework that sets the first building blocks for a long-term plan for the process of managing the two holy sites.”
It urged the international Muslim community to establish “an Islamic administration that takes upon itself the administration of the Two Holy Places and the Holy Bekaa, whose membership consists of all Muslim countries.” The way in which this would work, it claims, would be for the states to “choose a high committee to be elected for a period of 4 years and subject to periodic review by a working association supervised by all member states.”
Al Haramain Watch was established in 2018 for the purpose of ensuring that Saudi Arabia maintains good management of the Islamic holy sites by preserving Islamic historic and preventing the politicisation of the religious pilgrimages.
A key figure in this petition is the Malaysian scholar Azmi Abdul Hamid, who claimed that he had obtained an important historical document written personally by the kingdom’s founder King Abdulaziz Bin Saud, which reportedly states that all Muslims – both the people of the Hijaz region and the Muslim world – have the right to administer the affairs of the holy mosques.
Among the other demands made by the petition was the call for the establishment of a sovereign fund managed by Muslim countries, which would consist primarily of the income made from the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
The petition released by Al Haramain Watch comes amid similar calls by other figures in recent years, including a Turkish politician in 2014 and a Turkish think-tank’s call for an “Islamic Vatican”.
The Foreign Minister of Jordan has warned that Israel’s annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank will be a breach of international law, undermine regional peace and will institutionalise apartheid, the Jordan News Agency has reported.
Ayman Al-Safadi urged UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov to act to “prevent the illegal annexation of Palestinian lands” and stressed the need to “create a new horizon for the resolution of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict based on the two-state solution.”
Al-Safadi added that, “The decision will kill the two-state solution and fuel the conflict and make the one-state option the inevitable result, about which the world cannot stay silent, especially with the institutionalisation of apartheid and racism.”
Mladenov later tweeted that he had also met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri. He spoke to both Shukri and Al-Safadi “about the need to help all sides engage on resolving the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict on the basis of two states [and] avoid damaging unilateral action.”
Al-Safadi had briefed the envoy on Amman’s moves to formulate a clear, practical, international stand as part of the efforts to prevent the implementation of the Israeli plan. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he will push annexation through as early as July.
Describing the move as one of the main tasks of his new government, Netanyahu told lawmakers from his Likud party on Monday that Israel would not miss a “historic opportunity” to extend its sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.
Annexation of territory taken in war is illegal under international law. The planned annexation of even more Palestinian territory by Israel has triggered a backlash with major blocs like the European Union threatening to impose sanctions. It remains to be seen if such threats are simply rhetoric for public consumption, given the EU’s longstanding development of trade and other relations with the occupation state.
Israeli troops reportedly abducted, on Wednesday morning, several Palestinian residents from the internationally-recognized occupied East Jerusalem and across the rest of the occupied West Bank.
In the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, local sources reported that soldiers abducted Abdelraheem Sabbah, 28 and Ra’ed Ammar, 20, after having stormed their homes, located in the Qaffin village, north of the Tulkarem.
In the meantime, other Israeli troops broke into the Edwan family home and abducted Hassan Edwan.
In the central West Bank city of Ramallah, Israeli forces abducted three Palestinian youths, after having invaded a number of neighborhoods in the city.
Among those abducted was a wounded person, who was previously shot and wounded by Israeli troops, identified as Mahmoud Al-Khawaja, a resident of the western Ramallah village of Ni’lin. Local sources confirmed that Al-Khawaja was taken to an unknown destination east of Ni’lin.
Sources further noted that Al-Khawaja was shot and wounded by Israeli troops, a couple of months ago, when soldiers shot and killed Al-Khawaja’s cousin, Sufian, at the entrance of Ni’lin village.
It is important to note, Israeli authorities continue to hold the body of the slain Sufian, as is standard practice for Israeli occupation authorities.
In another similar event, a special Israeli army unit was reported to have stormed the home of Nour Eldin Al-Barghouthi, 26, in the Beit Reema village, northwest of Ramallah city.
Witnesses told media outlets that the special force stormed the village with a civil vehicle. They added that right after they stormed Al-Barghouthi’s home, they abducted Nour Eldin and took him to an unknown destination, towards the western part of the city.
In the Abu Shkhaidem village, north of Ramallah city, Israeli troops stormed the Abu Saleem family home and abducted a youth, Mahmoud Abu Saleem.
Concurrently, Israeli troops invaded the Kefel Hares village, on the outskirts of the West Bank district of Salfit, however soldiers fired tear-gas canisters during the invasion, with no casualties or abductions reported.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops abducted, late on Tuesday night, a former prisoner from Ateel village, at the entrance of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, identified as Mos’ab Eqtaish, 25.
In another similar abduction, Israeli troops abducted Palestinian resident of Tulkarem city, Fahd Yehya, 20, at a military checkpoint, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Israeli military abductions of Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank, go unabated, having increased recently, as the Israeli occupation state plans to annex the West Bank, subjecting it to full Israeli sovereignty, by July of this summer.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society additional Palestinians detained include a child, Youssef Raed Al-Aneed from Ramallah.
Also detained by Israeli forces, were Mahmoud Nabil Adwan, 18, from the town of Pharaoh, in addition to Khaled Jamal Jaber, 19 and Walid Issam Asfour, 26, arrested from inside the 1948 occupied territories.
Two Palestinian children abducted from Al-‘Isawiya town in East Jerusalem, were identified as Saadi and Wissam Al-Rajabi, Mahmoud Muhammad Obaid, Farid Yusef Obaid, 50, as well as one young man arrested from Shu’fat refugee camp.
More than 35 Palestinian households in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, have reportedly been successful to extract an Israeli court’s ruling that allows them to stay in their their homes, following Israeli military attempts to demolish them.
Head of the local Palestinian committee for resisting the Israeli Apartheid Wall and illegal Israeli settlements, Hassan Brega, said that Palestinian attorney, Ghayath Naser, was able to win an appeal to an Israeli court, against the planned Israeli military demolition of 38 homes in the Ein Aljowaiza neighborhood of Bethlehem.
The attorney, quoted by Brega, said that Israeli military authorities have recently delivered warrants to 38 families that their homes would be demolished, alleging that the rural neighborhood is not included in urban planning, held by Israeli authorities.
Noteworthy, the Ein Aljowaiza neighborhood is adjacent to the boundaries of the occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and has recently declared the ‘unified capital of Israel’.
Owners of the homes believe that the demolition must be attributed to Israeli plans to expand the boundaries of East Jerusalem, at the expense of their own property, where they have lived for decades.
Recently, Israeli military authorities have announced a series of construction plans for the purpose of settlement housing units, across the West Bank and the internationally-recognized occupied East Jerusalem.
International law and United Nations’ resolutions, dub those Israeli colonial settlements as illegal, given the fact that the West Bank and the Arab East Jerusalem are both occupied Palestinian territories, since June 4, 1967.
Aref Daraghmeh, a local activist, told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that Israeli forces dismantled four stalls set up by residents to be used to sell vegetables and fruits, in Bardala and Ein al-Bayda villages, Northern Jordan Valley.
It was noted that troops also confiscated large amounts of the produce, reducing the amount of potential income for Palestinians who owned the stalls and produce.
In related news, Israeli authorities ordered a halt on the construction of structures in al-Walaja village, west of the city of Bethlehem, said a local source.
Coordinator of the local Anti-Wall and Settlement Committee, Hassan Breija and the village mayor, Khader al-‘Araj, told WAFA that Israeli forces invaded Ein Jowaize area and delivered military order to stop the construction of retaining walls, belonging to a local villager, in addition to several house basements and a water well.
Summary of Israeli Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (21 – 27 May 2020)
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians. This week, which marked the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan, was no different, as IOF attacks continued; additionally, settlers shot and wounded Palestinian farmers, set lands ablaze and attacked houses.
This week, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented 106 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. The restrictions imposed under the state of emergency have hindered our fieldwork team’s ability to cover all incidents in the oPt and were forced to collect information via phone from trusted local sources. As such, this report is an in-comprehensive record of Israeli violations of human rights against Palestinians in the oPt, as IOF continues its attacks against civilians despite the exceptional circumstances that have overcome the whole world in the face of a pandemic.
IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity: IOF shot and wounded 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in excessive use of force and in settler attacks. Palestinian man and child were wounded in two IOF raids into Ramallah and Tubas that included the use of live ammunition; another 2 were shot by settlers in eastern Ramallah; and 1 other was shot in eastern Jerusalem, alleging he attempted a stabbing attack.
In Gaza, 6 shootings against agricultural lands eastern Gaza Strip were reported.
IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 47 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 48 Palestinians were arrested, including 2 children.
Settlement expansion activities and settlers’ attacks: IOF continued its settlement expansion operations in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, PCHR documented 8 violations, including: caravan dismantled and confiscated, an under construction house destroyed in central Jordan Valley; 4 street-vendor booths in northern Jordan Valley; barracks used as a barn destroyed, and a tent removed in Bethlehem; caravan, 2 resorts and historic site destroyed in Nablus; and 3 Palestinians forced to self-demolish their homes.
PCHR also documented 9 settler attacks: Palestinian lands set on fire, farmers assaulted and trees cut in Tulkarem; 2 houses and vehicles assaulted in Nablus; 2 Palestinians shot and wounded, and 2 others assaulted in Ramallah; agriculture lands set on fire in Hebron; and trees uprooted in Salfit.
Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the History of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life. Furthermore, IOF uses Erez Crossing that is designated for movement of individuals as an ambush to arrest Palestinians who obtain permits to exit via Israel.
Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.
1. Violation of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity, Shooting and Other Violations
At approximately 03:30 on Thursday, 21 May 2020, IOF stormed Tubas. In the meantime, a number of Palestinian civilians gathered and threw stones at Israeli infantry units in the city. Israeli soldiers responded with live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, a 22-year-old civilian was shot with alive bullet in his right foot. He was taken to Tubas Turkish Hospital for medical treatment and his injury was classified as moderate.
At approximately 04:30 on the same Thursday, IOF reinforced with military SUVs stormed Beit Rema village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Adel Mustafa al-Barghouthi (62) and Basel Samer al-Barghouthi (21). IOF arrested both civilians before their withdrawal from the village. In the meantime, another Israeli force deployed and patrolled the village’s streets. Dozens of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at Israeli soldiers while the latter responded with rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, a 15-year-old child was shot and injured with a tear gas shrapnel in his knee and he received medical treatment on the field. IOF later released Adel al-Barghouthi.
At approximately 08:20 on Friday, 22 May 2020, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of al-Maghazi in central Gaza Strip, opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at agricultural lands, adjacent to the border fence. The attack continued for 15 minutes. No casualties were reported.
Ten minutes later, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands, adjacent to the border fence; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 08:45 on Saturday, 23 May 2020, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands for 30 minutes; no casualties were reported.
At approximately 06:45 on Sunday, 24 May 20200, IOF suppressed Palestinian worshipers celebrating Eid al-Fitr after the end of the Eid prayer in al-Ghazali Square, adjacent to Bab Al Asbat “Lions’ Gate”, which is one of Al-Aqsa Mosque gates in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. Eyewitnesses stated that IOF began to harass the worshippers before the Eid prayer when the latter attempted to cross the steel gates established by IOF at the entrance to al-Ghazali Square. IOF attempted to ban the worshipers from entering the square and attacked some of them by beating them. At the end of Eid Speech, large Israeli forces raided the area and forcibly evacuated the worshippers. Eyewitnesses also said that dozens of Israeli soldiers suppressed the worshipers and attacked them by beating and pushing them following the end of the Eid prayer. Israeli soldiers also detained 2 civilians after beating them for several hours at Bab al-Asbat – Al-Qeshal police station. The 2 detainees were identified as Abdul Ghani al-Emari 62) and Riyad al-Rajbi.
At approximately 03:30 on Monday, 25 May 2020, IOF opened fire at Awad Younis Bashir (38) claiming that he attempted to stab an Israeli soldier stationed at an Israeli military watchtower, adjacent to Jabal al-Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem. As a result, Bashir was shot with several live bullets in his chest. He was taken to Sha’arei Tzedek Hospital in West Jerusalem, for treatment.Following the incident, IOF closed the scene and its vicinity and banned Palestinians from approaching the area. IOF stormed Bashir neighborhood in Jabal al-Mukaber village. They raided and searched the house of Bashir and his brothers Akram and Riyad and arrested them. Awad’s relatives said that IOF thoroughly searched the house, arrested Awad’s brothers, and summoned his father for investigation.
At approximately 07:25 on Tuesday, 26 May 2020, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands. Adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
At approximately 08:30 on the same Tuesday, IOF stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip fired live bullets and sound bombs at agricultural lands, east of Khuza’a village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
At approximately 11:00, IOF stationed along the border fence, north of Buret Abu Samrah, north of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
2. Incursions and Arrests
Thursday, 21 May 2020:
At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into al-Fawakhera neighborhood, in central Bethlehem. They raided and searched Ibrahim Hani Souman’s (29) house and arrested him.
At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians including a child, a father and his son: Yazeed Abdul Raheem Abu Abed (16), Shu’lan Kiwan Abu Baker (20), Emad Mahmoud al-‘Abbadi (50), and his son Omar (19).
Around the same time, IOF moved into Qalqilia. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (6) civilians. The arrestees are: Mohammed Talal al-Baz (32), Abdul Rahman Mazen Khadraj (28), Zaki Abdul Fatah Dawoud (55), Jamal Othman Dawoud (58), Husni Sharif al-Nais (35), and Abdul Khaleq Mazen Khadraj (28).
At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, and stationed in al-Thuhr and Sha’b al-Sir neighborhood. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians including a child and took them to an Israeli army camp near “Karmi Tsour” settlement, south of the city by foot. The arrestees are: Oday Eyad Bassam Za’aqeeq (21), Majd Zuhair Muqbel (17), a high school student, Hamad Ibrahim Abu Maria (24), and Rikan Naser Abu Maria (18).
At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched Malek Ra’ed Hamed’s (22) house and arrested him.
At approximately 04:15, IOF moved into the house of the former prisoner, Nihad Bader Younis Zughaiar (43), while heading to al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took him to an unknown destination. It should be noted that Zughaiar spent 35-months in the Israeli prisons, and he was released 3-weeks ago in condition that banning his entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem for 2 weeks.
At approximately 04:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Safa village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mahdi Karaja’s (22) house and arrested him.
Around the same time, IOF moved into Sanjal village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched Izzat Ibrahim Shabana’s (23) house and arrested him.
Around the same time, IOF moved into Kharbatha Bani Hareth, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched Shadi Abdul Ra’ouf Anjas’s (36) house and arrested him.
At approximately 05:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Kreesa, southeast of Hebron. They raided and searched Mou’di Ameen al-Wahwah’s (24) house and arrested him.
At approximately 07:00, IOF stationed at Jeet checkpoint, southwest of Nablus, arrested Eyad Mohammed Sadaqa (19), from Anza village, southeast of Jenin. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
At approximately 14:00, IOF moved into Bab Hatta neighborhood, in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Sufian Omar al-‘Ajlouni’s (22) house and arrested him.
At approximately 21:30, IOF established a temporary military checkpoint in the entrance of ‘Arraba village, southeast of Jenin. They arrested Mahmoud Sa’eed al-Sa’di (55), from Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin, and took him to an unknown destination. IOF carried out two incursions in Azoun, east of Qalqilia, and Kafl Hares, north of Salfit. No arrests were reported.
Friday, 22 May 2020:
IOF carried out an incursion in al-Beireh. No arrests were reported.
Saturday, 23 May 2020:
At approximately 09:00, IOF deployed in Hebron’s Old City’s neighborhoods arrested Shadi Mohammed Sidr (30), while present in Ein Askar neighborhood. IOF took him to one of the investigation centers in “Kiryat Arba’”, east of Hebron.
At approximately 11:00, IOF stationed around the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the central Hebron’s Old City, arrested Mohammed Hisham al-Ja’bari (20), while passing through an Israeli military checkpoint. IOF took him to Ja’bara police station. Furthermore, IOF banned dozens of civilians from performing the prayers in the above-mentioned mosque.
At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into Bab Hatta neighborhood, in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mohammed Khaled Sharifa’s (22) house and arrested him.
Sunday, 24 May 2020:
At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mohammed Sameeh al-‘Abbasi’s (26) house, and arrested him.
At approximately 13:00, IOF arrested Ahmed Jawdat al-Shawish (27), while present near the western entrance of al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took him to an unknown destination. It should be noted that IOF arrested him before 5 days and released him on the same day in condition that imposing the home confinement for 3 days.
At approximately 20:00, IOF stationed at “al-Kontainer” military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Aqab Yehya Mousa (26), from al-Khader village, south of the city, after detaining him inside his vehicle for hours.
Monday, 25 May 2020:
IOF carried out (4) incursions in Beit Omra and Hadab villages in Hebron, Kafl Hares, north of Salfit, Badros al-Mazra’a al-Gharbeya, in Ramallah. No arrests were reported.
Tuesday, 26 May 2020:
At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-‘Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and handed Ahmed Kayed Abu Asab (18) and Yaser Darweesh (38) summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in al-Maskoubeya investigation center in West Jerusalem. IOF further arrested (4) civilians including a child: Faisal Lo’ay Obaid (19), Ali Mohammed Hamdan (19), Mohammed Khaldoun Mostafa (15), and Yousef Tareq Darweesh (21).
At approximately 09:00, IOF handed Hamza Nimir (41), the guard of Al-Aqsa Mosque a decision to ban his entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque for 6-months, after calling him for investigation in al-Qishla investigation center.
The Israeli Authorities arrested Nimir last week while he was on duty, when he prevented them from storming the mosque. IOF took him to al-Qishla investigation center in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and handed him a decision to ban his entry of Al-Aqsa Mosque for one week. It should be noted that IOF arrested Nimir and banned his entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque for several times, under the occupation’s policy to vacate the mosque from the supporters and guards to prospect settler raids into Al-Aqsa Mosque.
At approximately 12:30, IOF stationed at a temporary military checkpoint on the eastern entrance of Qalqilia, arrested Mus’ab Mohammed Qutaish (25), from ‘Ateel village, north of Tulkarem.
At approximately 17:00, IOF stationed at Za’tara military checkpoint south of Nablus, arrested Faher Bilal Yehya (20), from Tulkarem.
Wednesday, 27 May 2020:
At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Qafin village, north of Tulkarem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Abdul Rahim Waleed Sabah (28) and Karam Ra’ed Mohammed Ammar (20), and arrested them.
At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Far’oun village, south of Tulkarem. They raided and searched Mohammed Nabeel Odwan’s (28) house and arrested him.
At approximately 05:00, Israeli undercover units dressed in civilian clothes sneaked to Beit Rima village, northeast of Ramallah, using a white Ford car with a Palestinian registration palette, and stationed in front of Nour Adel al-Barghouthi’s (28) house. After minutes, IOF stormed the village, surrounded the house and covered the withdrawal of the undercover unit that arrested Nour. IOF took Nour to an unknown destination.
At approximately 05:20, IOF moved into Abu Shukhaidim village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mahmoud Emad Salim’s (26) house and arrested him.
At approximately 07:30, IOF stationed at a temporary military checkpoint on the eastern entrance of al-Mughayyir village, northeast of Ramallah, arrested Omar Owda Abu Alia (28). IOF took him to an unknown destination.
3. Settlement Expansion and Settler Violence in the West Bank
a. Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property for Settlement Expansion Activities
At approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 21 May 2020, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Furush Beit Dajan village. The Israeli Civil Administration officers dismantled Mohamed ‘Adely Zuhdi Hamed’s a 30-square-meter caravan and confiscated it, under the pretext of illegal construction in Area C.
At approximately 05:00 on Monday, 25 May 2020, IOF demolished a barrack for breeding livestock and a tent in Za’tarah village, east of Bethlehem. Activists said that IOF moved into Hazem Hashem Abu Mahameed’s land, demolished a livestock barrack, removed a tent, and confiscated it, under the pretext of non-licensing. The activists added that Abu Mahameed was detained for few hours and released later.
At approximately 08:30 on Tuesday, 26 May 2020, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into al-Nejma Kafur ‘Atiyia area on a road connecting between ‘Aqraba and Majdal Bani Fadel villages, southeast of Nablus. IOF demolished Marwan ‘Abed al-Hameed Abu Katab’s 35-square-meter caravan, under the pretext of illegal construction in Area C.
At approximately 05:30 on Wednesday, 27 May 2020, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Sebastia village in Nablus. IOF demolished a resort and a 30-square-meter room inside it, under the pretext of illegal construction in Area C. The demolished room belonged to Ibrahim Mahmoud Ghazal.
At approximately 06:30, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Zota village in Nablus. IOF demolished Waddah Mohamed Wael; Abed al-Haq’s resort, under the pretext of illegal construction in Area C.
At approximately 09:00, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Furush Beit Dajan village. IOF demolished Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed Banyat’s under-construction house (95 s.q), under the pretext of illegal construction in Area C.
At approximately 10:30, IOF backed by military construction vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into in an area between Bardla and ‘Ain al-Bida villages in northern valley. IOF demolished 4 vegetables stalls belonging to Feras ‘Aref Akram Sawafta, Eyad ‘Abed Mohamed Sawafta, Suliman Ziyad ‘Abed Sawafta, all of them from Bardlah village, and Shadi Nabil ‘Aref Foqaha, from Kardla village.
On Wednesday, 27 May 2020. Siyam family implemented the Israeli Municipality decision and self-demolished 3 of their houses in Wadi Hilweh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Naser Siyam said that his family house was built over 90 years ago and he built a new 80-square-meter apartment above his family house while his brothers Khaled and Majd finished the construction of their houses as a prelude to live in them. Siyam clarified that the Israeli municipality began to pursuit him when he finished the construction of his new apartment and issued several demolition notices, in addition to imposing financial fines on him. IOF gave Siyam until the end of the week to implement the demolition, so he was forced to self-demolish his family house (240 s.q) to avoid paying the demolition costs.
b. Israeli Settler Violence
At approximately 13:00 on Thursday, 21 May 2020, Israeli settlers burned Palestinians’ agricultural lands in Rameen village, east of Tulkarem. As a result, dozens of olive and almonds trees were damaged and burned.
At approximately 14:00, Israeli settlers, from “Price Tag group”, attacked Mohamed Jaser Snobar’s house in Yatma village, southeast of Nablus. As a result the house sustained material damage. Palestinian young men gathered and confronted the settlers, forcing them to leave.
At approximately 17:00, Israeli settlers, from “Price Tag group”, attacked Palestinians’ vehicles passing on Jenin-Nablus street and threw stones at them. No injuries were reported.
At approximately 21:00, Israeli settlers, from “Price Tag group”, threw stones at Palestinian vehicles and at Merhij al-Damdi’s house, causing material damage. They also broke S’ad ‘Atta Mohamed Othman’s vehicle window, noting that he sustained wounds due to scattering glass inside the vehicle.
At approximately 19:00 on Friday, 22 May 2020, Israeli settlers, from “Helmish” settlement, which is established on Ramallah northwestern lands, attacked Qusai Diyab al-Tamimi (23) and Ziyad al-Tamimi (24), from Dir Nizam village, under the IOF protection. Qusai and Ziyad were attacked and beat with stones while present in their agricultural lands in Wadi Riyia area adjacent to the mentioned settlement. As a result, Qusai and Ziyad sustained wounds in the head and bruises throughout their bodies. Palestinian young men intervened and help them. Qusai and Ziyad received treatment on the spot while IOF secured the settlers’ withdrawal. It should be noted that Qusai is the secretary of the “Fatah” movement in Dir Nizam village.
At approximately 11:30 on Sunday, 24 May 2020, Israeli settlers moved into Palestinians’ agricultural lands in Shofa village, east of Tulkarem, and prevented farmers from working in their lands. The settlers also cut the olive trees twigs and withdrew at 12:00. At approximately 16:00, Israeli settlers, from “Ma’oun” settlement, which is established on Palestinian confiscated lands, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, burned Rabi’y family’s 3 dunams planted with wheat and barley in Tawana village.
At approximately 11:00 on Monday, 25 May 2020, 3 settlers, from “Shillo” settlement, which is established on Termas’iyia village lands, east of Ramallah, attacked and deliberately opened fire at ‘Emad Fahti Abu ‘Alia (33) and his brother Murad (28) while working in his agricultural lands. As a result, ‘Emad was injured and shot with a live bullet in his left thigh while Murad was injured and shot with a live bullet in his waist. Both of them were taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for treatment.
At approximately 19:40 on Monday, 25 May 2020, settlers, from “Rafafa” settlement, which is established on Dirsitiyia village lands, north of Salfit, moved into Palestinian lands in Hares village and uprooted at least 200 olive trees belonging to the heirs of Ya’qoub ‘Odah Sultan.
Ramallah (QNN) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested clarifications from the Palestinian Authority regarding its decision to end all agreements with Israel in light of the latter’s decision to annex a large part of the occupied Palestinian territory, according to a Palestinian Foreign Ministry official.
Omar Awadallah, head of the General Department of the United Nations, its Specialized Organizations and Human Rights in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, confirmed that the Ministry has received a request from the ICC regarding President Mahmoud Abbas’ May 19 announcement that Palestine is absolved of all agreements with Israel.
He told official Palestinian news agency WAFA that despite the President’s decision, the legal jurisdiction of the ICC in Palestine will not change.
The Court asked Palestine to “provide additional information on this matter, including with regard to the Oslo agreements between Palestine and Israel,” said Awadallah, noting that “the Court will shoulder its responsibilities as the party investigating the crimes in Palestine, and that the declaration will not affect Palestine’s status on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, along with the subsequent recognition by the countries of the world and the change of its status to an observer member in the United Nations in 2012.”
He stressed that under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, international legal actors have the right to either absolve themselves from agreements or end them.
He pointed out that the Palestinian response to the Court’s request will come no later than June 10, according to the Court’s procedures, and that it will be based on and confirmation of what was stated by the President in his May 19 speech in which he declared that Palestine is absolved of all agreements with the Israeli and US governments in response to the declaration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will begin procedures for implementing the annexation of parts of the land of the State of Palestine by July 1, and that the occupying state, Israel, must bear all the responsibilities and obligations as an occupying power in the Palestinian territory.
The International Criminal Court has declared its competence to investigate possible crimes against Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.
Eyad Hamad is an outspoken defender of journalists’ rights
By Mohammad al-Kassim – The Media Line
Palestinian journalists are outraged by the firing of cameraman Eyad Hamad, who worked for the Associated Press for 20 years.
The veteran cameraman, whom colleagues call “Khal,” or uncle, accuses Palestinian Authority security officials of being behind his dismissal after they complained about him to his employer.
“One of our fellow journalists was arrested and roughed up by the police; I publicly questioned the police brutality and demanded answers. That didn’t sit well with the security officials, who complained about me,” Hamad said.
He told The Media Line, speaking from his home in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, that he received a phone call from his boss informing him of the decision and the reason behind it.
The press agency, in an official email, said the cause for dismissal was an official complaint from the Palestinian police against Hamad.
The veteran cameraman said that “[PA Prime Minister] Dr. [Mohammad] Shtayyeh called me and told me he would not allow [the threat] to happen. I told him this is a threat on my life but he assured me that he will take steps to stop this behavior.”
Hamad said he was surprised when his boss, Josef Federman, AP bureau chief for Israel and the Palestinian Territories, told him he was fired.
Repeated efforts by The Media Line to reach Federman on Thursday were unsuccessful.
PA Police spokesman Col. Louay Arzeikat, in an official statement, denied that the police had filed a complaint against any journalist. “A complaint would be submitted through official channels, and if this is done, we would inform everyone without hesitation,” he said.
Hamad, 63, is an outspoken defender of Palestinian journalists and a critic on social media of PA decisions. He said this cost him his only source of income.
He also fears for his safety after receiving several death threats.
“Not only did they cut off my livelihood and source of income; today, they put my life in danger, starting from the president and on down to the youngest officer in the PA security services,” he said. “They are threatening me and inciting against me.”
Many Palestinian journalists and activists accuse the PA of coming down hard on them. They charge the PA with employing an iron fist against them in an effort to silence dissent and any criticism of PA policies.
Hamad said PA officials had “thin skin.” His criticism of the Palestinian security forces’ violent arrest of a Palestinian journalist did not sit well with them, the dean of Palestinian cameraman said.
“It is clear that there is an agenda to silence every free voice. During the coronavirus pandemic, I stood up and showed both the positive and the negative. I raised awareness of how much people are suffering. My concern was for the citizen,” he said.
Hamad is also the head of the Palestinian Photographers Committee of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. He is disappointed that no one has reached out from the body that is supposed to protect him.
“They did not contact me; they only issued a statement on the matter and did not speak to me,” he said.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate issued a statement in which it condemned Hamad’s “arbitrary dismissal.”
Nasser Abu Baker, the head of the Journalist Association, told The Media Line he was in close contact with all parties involved to rectify the situation and called on the AP to revoke its “unfair and unjust decision” because it went against freedom of expression.
Reem al-Omari, FM manager at Ramallah-based Watan Radio and presenter of the Shid Hilak Ya Watan talk show, told The Media Line that things were getting worse for journalists.
“The situation for the Palestinian journalist in these circumstances is not easy at all. The Palestinian journalist works in exceptional circumstances and under pressure, especially during the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
For many years, Palestinian journalists have faced difficulties on many fronts. They are most afraid, they say, when covering the Israeli military, which they accuse of mishandling and mistreating them while they are doing their job.
“Unfortunately, the Palestinian journalist is on the front lines, facing arrests, rubber bullets and tear gas. It saddens us and hurts us that the Palestinian journalist, who lives under Israeli occupation and works to provide objective news coverage to reveal what is happening in the Palestinian territories, is exposed to these attacks and violations from everyone and does not have adequate protection,” she continued.
But on the domestic front, Omari attributes a great deal of what is happening to her colleagues at the hands of the PA to the absence of the legislative branch.
The Palestinian Legislative Council has not functioned since 2007, when relations broke down between Hamas and Fatah.
“We all know that the press is active in Palestine but the exceptional political conditions that we live under in Palestine and the absence of the Legislative Council and the concentration of power in the executive authority have made the free press a subject of attack and criticism by the authorities,” he said.
Despite promises by the PA government to uphold laws designed to protect journalists, abuses continue, Omari said.
“What we’re seeing in Palestine are double standards. We hear about freedom of opinion and expression and that for freedom, the sky is the limit, but we do not see this translated into reality on the ground,” he said.
The PA spouts great slogans regarding freedom of expression and protecting “journalists’ integrity,” but little is done about it, Omari said.
Many say that all these challenges facing Palestinian journalists will hurt the coverage of news. A Ramallah-based reporter who refused to be identified for fear of retaliation told The Media Line that their work faced serious repercussions.
“We unintentionally self-censor. We do this to protect ourselves and our profession,” the journalist said.
In a report released last month by Reporters Without Borders, the Palestinian Authority remains low on the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, at 137 out of the 180 countries or territories ranked, the same as in the previous report.
Last year, a Palestinian court ordered dozens of Palestinian websites shut down, regarded by the PA as “opposition media.”
And this past April, two Palestinian journalists were suspended without pay from their jobs at WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, over Facebook comments.
Rami Samara and Jaafar Sadaqa appeared before an investigatory panel, accused of violating the state of emergency declared due to the coronavirus pandemic. They were reinstated on Thursday.
The two are known for their blistering criticism of events and policies in the Palestinian territories.
As for Hamad, he said his options were limited.
“I am 63 years old. Can you tell who will hire me today to work in journalism?” he asked.
Hamad said he would meet with his lawyer and then decide on what to do next.
“We journalists must protect the next generation; we must stand up to stop suppression by those with power.
“I have never received a warning in my entire career. I am very saddened that after 20 years [with AP], the Palestinian Authority is not treating us fairly,” he said.
Germany’s attempt to muzzle thinker and philosopher Achille Mbembe on the grounds of anti-semitism amounts to an extension of Israeli apartheid
By Majed Abu Salama
When it comes to Israeli injustices, the German government is not only “turning a blind eye”, but is also acting as its European modern day saviour.
Over the past few years, Germany has reached a new level of oppressing Palestinian voices while militarising the Israeli army, instead of reflecting upon its broader history and responsibilities toward the massive and ongoing injustice in Palestine. Germany’s most recent target for the accusation of anti-semitism, is Achille Mbembe – a well-known Cameroonian historian, thinker and philosopher who has dedicated his life to decolonising white Eurocentric discourses, and proposing radical visions for the Global South.
Earlier this month, German conservative FDP politician, Lorenz Deutsch, accused Mbembe of anti-semitism and Holocaust “relativisation”, and demanded that he be disinvited from speaking at the Ruhrtriennale festival, because he has compared South African apartheid to the oppression of Palestinians.
Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life and Against Anti-Semitism, heard the demand and echoed it.
The accusation has shocked academics around the world and raised questions about Germany’s academic freedom in general, and for pro-Palestinian dialogue, specifically.
In reality, the accusations are another attempt by German policy makers to manipulate the discourse of anti-semitism in order to distract from their own failures, and scapegoat and attack the Palestinian struggle.
In fact, Mbembe’s scholarship invites everyone to learn from other histories that emerge beyond borders and identities. It interrogates real life lessons from colonialism, enslavement, capitalism, imperialism, South African apartheid, and the segregation of Black and People of Color by Europeans and their descendants.
The German criminalisation of pro-Palestinian voices is a violation of freedom of expression, as well as an outright denial of the Palestinian right to resistance and self-determination. The misplaced accusation of “anti-semitism” is being used to persecute those who speak for the Palestinian right of return, or the call for a one-state solution, and distracts from finding a just peace.
Good to see English-language media picking this up! Many German academics have come to Mbembe’s defence & I hope other academics will follow. The irony of an academic from one of Germany’s ex-colonies being accused of anti-semitism is not lost on anyone.
Wielding the “anti-semitism” accusation as a slur not only silences critique of Israeli policies and crimes against humanity in Palestine/Israel, it also manufactures persecution and censorship of the more than 200,000 Palestinians in Germany, as well as solidarity groups inside and outside of Germany.
These practices are an extension of Israeli apartheid, imposing limits and regulating speech about Israel. Germany’s staunch defense of Israel both domestically and at the European Union is putting any intellectual dialogue and critique related to Israeli apartheid and Palestinian rights under siege.
This discrimination is part of a collective punishment that reaches everyone whether they are Palestinian, or Jewish, or from another group. I am one of them. Israeli Zionist influence in Germany is instrumentalised to censor, ban and forbid Palestinians and pro-Palestine organisations from operating in the public sphere.
They twist and fabricate false narratives which portray the Boycott Diverment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as illegitimate, and smear its supporters as being motivated by anti-Jewish hatred, rather than opposition to Israel’s polices of military occupation, land theft for settler-colonialism,regular massacres of civilians and a total system of apartheid over Palestinians.
This influence was instrumental in backing Israel’s hostility regarding the prospect of an ICC investigation into possible war crimes, and forcing a German bank to close the account for Jewish Voices for a Just Peace in the Middle East, a renowned Jewish organisation that advocates for Palestinian rights in Germany.
In another example, Peter Schafer, the former director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum, was forced to quit over a pro-BDS re-tweet, after a huge Israeli campaign to delegitimise him branded him as “anti-Israel”. The tweet was a simple article on the 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars who signed a petition opposing the German parliament’s recent motion condemning the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.
These actions are not without precedence. Last year, the US American rapper Talib Kweli had his German tour cancelled because of his support for BDS. Scottish band Young Fathers was disinvited from the Ruhrtriennale festival; the German city of Aachen tried to block US American-Lebabese artist Walid Raad from receiving an award; and the renowned British-Pakistani Novelist Kamila Shamsie was stripped of an award because of her support of the BDS Movement.
On 17 May 2019, the German government’s attempts to limit the pro-Palestine cause reached a new level. A non-binding resolution was declared against the BDS movement, and it has been used since then as a cover to justify excluding critics of Israel in the public sphere, and manufacture a new layer of oppression that strips people of their freedom of conscience. It has become clear that the primary focus of German foreign policy is to protect Israel within Germany and beyond.
According to many Jewish groups and academics worldwide, the BDS movement has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to fighting anti-semitism and all forms of racism and bigotry. Talib Kweli emphasised on Facebook that “by lying and saying that BDS is an anti-semitic movement, the German movement is engaging in Fascism and doing a disservice to the German people.”
Accusing Achille Mbembe of anti-semitism united academics worldwide in their outrage; 377 scholars and artists from more than 30 countries signed a pledge opposing political litmus tests in Germany.
They collectively agreed to decline future invitations to serve on juries, prize committees, or in academic hiring consultations in Germany, if there were “convincing indicators that their decisions may be subject to ideological or political interference or litmus tests.”
Can we consider this a winning moment for the Palestinian cause? Will this contribute to decolonising Germany past and present? Will we Palestinians feel safe to speak up in Germany?
Germany must now seize the opportunity to learn from Mbembe and the Palestinians who try to struggle for an equal future for all, through supporting human rights, and an intersectional, anti-racist movement such as BDS.
As Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day, Israeli propagandists launched an online counter-campaign
On May 15, activists all around the world participated in a campaign, organized by “Palestine Online, VPalestine, Palestine Defense Forces and Palestine SunBird” and other social media pro Palestine groups, marking the 72nd anniversary of Nakba to reaffirm that they uphold their right of return, as per UN Resolution 194.
Meanwhile, Israeli cyber groups’ attacks swept social media, reiterating the Israeli mindset of repression.
On the 72n anniversary of Nakba, Palestinians around the world, following the WHO orders, couldn’t organize peaceful protests amid the Covid19 outbreak.
The four social media groups launched a large-scale campaign inviting people to tweet using the two hashtags #NakbaDay and #KeyToJustice so that they can join the Palestinian long-standing struggle for freedom and to reiterate the right of return to the Palestinian homeland that they were expelled from in 1948.
The two hashtags went viral. A lot of Pro Palestine activists, politicians and Journalists follow the campaign requests and post on social media supporting the Palestinian right of return in addition to Palestinians who tweeted sharing their support to the Palestinian cause.
Yet, the virtual sit-in was encountered by hate speech from Israeli propagandists. some anti-Palestinian accounts invited people to tweet with the hashtag #KeyToPeace, claiming that the Palestinians are the obstacle to peace and covering up war crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces and the killing of more than 320 Palestinians in Great Return March protests when the Palestinian people peacefully protested in weekly marches to demand their right of return – the right enshrined in the international law and guaranteed by UN Resolution 194 which was adopted by a majority of 35 out of 58 members.
Not only did Israeli and anti-Palestinian propagandists generate #KeyToPeace hashtag in a counter-campaign to pro-Palestine hashtag #KeyToJustice that has gone viral, but also they posted provocative and dehumanizing content with the hashtag #NakbaDay to whitewash the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
The counter-campaign also spotlighted false claims about Nakba. Anti-Palestinian activists claimed Palestinians continue to wage terror and wars and that the Nakba is the Palestinian failed attempt to annihilate the Jewish state.
The Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli organization founded in 1996 after the start of the “peace process”, aims at monitoring Palestinian public opinion, media, and education curriculum.
The organization claims that it monitors incitement by Palestinians against Israelis on the media. it’s not just studying the Palestinian media, however, it studies the Palestinian society, sporting and cultural events. It also cooperates with Parliament members in many western countries to cut off financial fundings of Palestinian authorities.
ِAccording to the Jerusalem Post newspaper The Strategic Affairs Ministry has been recently pressuring for an initiative to involve Israeli and foreign youth into a counter-campaign.
Israeli propagandists and cyber groups are used to countering Palestinian Campaigns being organized to expose the real face of Israeli apartheid. these groups aim at terrorizing Palestinians and whitewashing Israel’s crimes.
Nakba is the Arabic for catastrophe or cataclysm experienced by the Palestinian people when they were forced out of their homes and villages in historical Palestine by Zionist militias.
On May 15th, 1948, Zionist militias ethnically cleansed Palestine from its indigenous people to make way for the creation of a Jewish European colony in the Arab country.
On the day of Nakba, Zionist gangs expelled nearly 750,000, killed around 15,000 native Palestinians including children, women, elderlies, and destroyed about 531 Palestinian villages.
Palestinians inside and outside Palestine annually commemorate the day by organizing either peaceful demonstration on the ground or social media campaigns.