Report: Settler attacks against Palestinians witnessed a rise amid the “Corona” outbreak

Issa Qattash, 40, still remembers what happened to him last April 16, when he and his brother were wounded, after they were severely beaten by a group of Israeli settlers, while they were on a picnic with their families in a forested area outside a village Pocket, north of Ramallah (central occupied West Bank).

“One of the settlers was carrying a gun and another was an ax. My brother Moses managed to escape to seek help … I lay on the ground while I was injured for a while, and then the settlers began to drag me out of the area … but then the Israeli soldiers arrived and released me,” said Issa. And they let the settlers go their way.

His mother Fatima Qattash, who witnessed the incident, who is 70 years old, added: “We were all shocked and we were afraid … and children still have nightmares.”

In a report, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs “OCHA” documented 143 attacks attributed to Israeli settlers during the first five months of the year 2020, causing 38 injuries to Palestinians, or damage to their property, to 105 incidents.

These accidents resulted in the injury of 63 Palestinians, including 13 children, injured and damaged more than 3,000 and 700 trees and seedlings, various field crops, and more than 100 vehicles.

Hotbeds of settler violence
According to the “OCHA” report, the outpost that was established about two years ago was formed as a cattle farm east of the settlement “Halmish” near Ramallah, one of the hot spots during the first five months of the year 2020.

The residents of three nearby Palestinian villages (Jibya, Copper, and Umm Safa) reported that this settlement is a source of intimidation and systematic violence, which has increased over the past year. 

In terms of damage to agricultural property, the most significant incidents were recorded in the Gush Etzion settlement area, west of Bethlehem (south) and near the Adi ‘Ad settlement outpost, northeast of Ramallah, where more than 60 percent of the total of 3,000 and 700 trees are located. Settlers destroyed it between January and May in these two regions. 

The settlement area in the city of Hebron, where around 7,000 Palestinians have been affected by the long-standing restrictions on access (which have nothing to do with the epidemic), constituted an additional hot spot, with 18 attacks recorded between January May 2020.

These incidents represented a continuation of the increasing frequency of settler violence, which has been recorded since the beginning of 2019 after the departure of the Temporary International Presence Mission in the city of Hebron (south).

Other hotspots included the “Yitzhar” settlement and the surrounding settlement outposts in Nablus (north), where 22 incidents were recorded that damaged the residents of five villages, and the settlement of Homesh (also in Nablus), which was evacuated in 2005 and the settlers resumed in recent years, where It was the source of seven attacks that affected the residents of Burin village; The center of Hafat Ma’on settlement, south of Hebron, where six attacks were launched and damaged the residents of Al-Tuwani village.

The report of the UN office confirmed that the settlements established in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in contravention of international law are a major source of the vulnerability of Palestinians, depriving them of their property and livelihoods, leading to restrictions on access and producing a range of threats to their protection, including It includes violent attacks, such as this article. 

Impunity policy
He added that this phenomenon is exacerbated by the long-standing loopholes in law enforcement by the Israeli authorities on violent settlers, as it has created a “prevailing climate of impunity”, as reported by the United Nations Secretary-General.

According to a report published by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, among 273 investigation files opened by the police against settlers who assaulted Palestinians and monitored by the organization between 2014 and 2019 and reached its final stages, only 25, or 9 percent, resulted Among them was the pursuit of settler violence, while the other 248 files were closed without anyone being indicted.

For his part, B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights said: The settler violence is not “exceptions”, but rather is part of a strategic activity that the state allows, participates in, and benefits from its consequences.

He added that the long-term result of these actions is the theft of more and more land from the hands of the Palestinians throughout the West Bank, which makes it easier for the state to control the West Bank and its resources.

As of early 2019, the number of settlers in the occupied West Bank, including the city of Jerusalem, reached 670,000, of whom 228,000 and 500 were in the city of Jerusalem.

In mid-2019, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics estimated the number of Palestinians in the West Bank at about 3 million.

By an overwhelming majority, the international community considers the settlements illegal, and this is partly based on the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prevents the occupying power from transferring Israelis to the occupied territories.

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Study: Israel’s plans to annex West Bank could damage the environment

A Palestinian girl fills up bottles with spring water in West Bank, Israel [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]
A Palestinian girl fills up bottles with spring water in the West Bank, 21 February 2017

Israel’s plans to annex illegally occupied Palestinian territory could seriously damage the environment, a study claimed.

In a report by Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, experts said that Israel’s plan to annex 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank could exacerbate the damaging effects of climate change, including threatening the region’s strategic water supplies, endangering the food security of Palestinians and bring an end to essential cross-border environmental collaboration.

The report warned Israeli politicians to think about their actions. It said: “Climate change is a cross-border global issue with serious natural resource and environmental justice implications.”

The report continued: “As the world and the region are trying to recover from a devastating pandemic and facing an existential threat from rising average annual global temperatures, leaders of Israel must ask themselves if this is the time to attempt to fulfill the dreams of a small minority of Israeli citizens while ignoring the needs of the majority of Israeli citizens and our neighbors for a future with hope.”

READ: Israel wants to control all of Palestine, with as few Palestinians there as possible

This comes as a top demographer warned that Israel faces mass emigration and a record drop in immigration due to COVID-19, throwing Israel’s desire to have a Jewish majority into question.

Israel plans to annex 132 settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

Despite the international community roundly condemning Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory, the US has been in negotiations over how to go ahead with the plans.

Since Israel announced its annexation plans, the Palestinian Authority said it would cut all agreements with the Israeli government.

Water supplies in the West Bank are controlled by Israel leaving Palestinians to face regular water cuts.

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Palestinian expats call for reform of PLO

Outside view of the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington, US on 10 September 2018 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]
Outside view of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s office in Washington, US on 10 September 2018

The Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad has called for the Palestine Liberation Organisation to be reformed, Quds Press has reported. The group also hailed the proposed national conference to be held in Gaza to reunite the Palestinian factions.

The comments were made after a meeting in Istanbul. The call for PLO reform includes the choosing of a new executive committee which would be able to agree on a national programme based on pulling out of the Oslo Agreement.

Hamas and Fatah agreed recently to hold a national conference that would reunite them against the US deal of the century and Israel’s annexation plan.

“The deal of the century aims to liquidate Palestinian rights and impose unilateral solutions that bypass all international laws and UN resolutions,” said the Acting President of the Popular Conference, Majed Al-Zeer. He called for comprehensive action within and beyond occupied Palestine to challenge the targeting of Palestinian rights.

Al-Zeer stressed that the Palestinians have the right to practice all forms of resistance against the “Zionist occupation” of Palestine. Such a right, he pointed out, is guaranteed by international law.

READ: PLO doesn’t accept scrapping the Arab Peace Initiative

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Israel blocks Palestinians from selling lambs in Jordan Valley

A Palestinian child holds a lamb in Jericho, West Bank on 18 January 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
A Palestinian child carries a lamb in Jericho, West Bank on 18 January 2020

In the run-up to the Islamic festival of Eidul Adha, when Muslims traditionally sacrificial animals to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his then only son Ismail, Israel is blocking Palestinians from selling lambs in the occupied Jordan Valley.

Shepherd Mahmoud Bsharat told Al-Mujtama Magazine that this is the culmination of a year-long campaign against Palestinian farmers in the valley. The Israeli occupation forces, he explained, have prevented farmers from accessing their pastures and grazing, making it very expensive to raise and care for their animals.

The Israelis, he pointed out, impose restrictions on the movement of shepherds under the pretext of army exercises on areas declared with no notice to be closed military zones. “This complicates our life and harms our economy which is based on grazing and bringing up animals.”

The shepherds, added Bsharat, wait all year for Eidul Adha to sell their animals and make some money to cover their annual costs. “However, we were surprised by the Israeli restrictions imposed on moving lambs out of the Jordan Valley.”

Jordan: livestock prices suffer

The occupation forces won’t allow them to take their flocks to markets across the West Bank, and won’t allow buyers to come to the shepherd’s barns. “Buying a lamb from the Jordan Valley for a sacrifice then becomes a crime,” he added. Potential buyers are often detained and have their vehicles impounded by the Israelis.

Bsharat said that he has 35 lambs ready for this season, but has only sold three. He hopes to be able to sell more in the coming days.

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Palestinian prisoners in quarantine after Israel guards test positive for covid

Prisoners gesture from their cell Hasharon, an Israeli prison [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]
Prisoners can be seen through barbed wires from an Israeli prison, 9 November 2018

Two prisoners from Ramon prison have been put in quarantine following the announcement of a state of emergency in the prison, reported Wafa news agency.

Serious concerns have long been expressed that the virus could spread rapidly within a closed prison environment.

According to the Palestinian Chronicle, concern was raised after two Israeli prison guards tested positive for the coronavirus.

Members of the Israeli Prison Service underwent tests after Palestinian prisoner Mohammad Al-Hazeen tested positive for coronavirus a day after he was released from the same prison.

READ: Another Palestinian political prisoner dies in Israeli prison due to deliberate medical negligence

This comes after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled last week that Palestinian prisoners have no right to social distancing protection against coronavirus.

Israel’s top court rejected a petition made by the Adalah -The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights, which called on Israel to implement COVID-19 protective guidelines for inmates at Gilboa prison, a facility in northern Israel housing about 450 Palestinians classified by Israel as “security prisoners”.

Around 222 Palestinian detainees are estimated to have died in Israeli prisons since 1967, five of them died this year.

Over 5,500 Palestinians are currently languishing in prisons located throughout Israel, according to Palestinian official figures.

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Israel to make 200 Palestinians homeless in West Bank

Palestinian boys sit near rubble after Israeli authorities demolished their house in the West Bank on 3 June 2020 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]
Palestinian boys sit near rubble after Israeli authorities demolished their house in the West Bank on 3 June 2020

Israeli occupation forces will demolish a Palestinian village based in the north of the occupied West Bank, displacing more than 200 people, Wafa news agency reported.

Mahmoud Amarneh, head of Farasin village council, told Wafa that Israeli soldiers raided the village this morning and issued 36 demolition orders for entire buildings and ancient water wells.

He said the military warned the residents that the demolition will be executed in a few days

The village, home to 200 Palestinians, is located west of Jenin and consists of a 200-year-old well and several ancient buildings. Therefore, Amarneh is urging international intervention to prevent Israel from committing a massacre in the village.

Israel’s widely practiced policies of home demolitions targeting entire families are acts of illegal collective punishment and come in direct violation of International Human Rights Law.

READ: Israel fines Palestinian $30,000 after demolishing his East Jerusalem home

Critics of Israel’s decision have pointed to the minuscule number of building permits issued to Palestinians and claim the demolition paves the way for a new Israeli settlement.

ZERO building permits were issued by Israel in 2015 !

Amarneh reiterated that the Israeli occupation government wants to take over the village in order to expand illegal settlements built in that area.

Most of the international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal.

Palestinians seek an independent state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, areas captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Free Mahmoud Nawajaa!

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the General Coordinator of the BDS movement, Mahmoud Nawajaa [Twitter]
Mahmoud Nawajaa, the General Coordinator of the BDS movement, Mahmoud Nawajaa [Twitter]

By Asa Winstanley

A nine-year-old boy shouts: “Leave dad alone. Get out. Your dog doesn’t scare me!”

The boy’s home has just been invaded in the middle of the night by a score of soldiers in full battle-dress, armed to the teeth. Accompanying them is a vicious, trained military hound.

The boy and his younger brother are outwardly defiant.

“Take care of the kids,” their father tells his wife as the soldiers take him away.

He is blindfolded, handcuffed and led away into the night by this cowardly gang of thugs who pass themselves off as soldiers.

This scene is not fiction. It happened in the early hours of Thursday morning, 30 July, in occupied Palestine.

The man, who now languishes inside an Israeli dungeon without charge, is Mahmoud Nawajaa.

Nawajaa is not a “terrorist” or even a member of the legitimate armed resistance. He is the general coordinator of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Palestine.

The BDS movement which Nawajaa helps to lead is an entirely peaceful, legitimate campaign of resistance against Israel’s illegal occupation and systemic racism.

The 15-year campaign to hold Israel to account with targeted, ethical boycotts, divestments and sanctions has made massive strides. Israel considers it such a threat to its apartheid regime that it dedicates its spy agencies – including Mossad – towards a global campaign of sabotage and dirty tricks to fight it.

Now Israel has also engaged its “soldiers” in this particular war against Palestinian human rights.

It is a typical sign of Israeli weakness and fragility that they felt they needed around 20 soldiers to kidnap this one unarmed man, who posed no threat to their lives.

A decade or so ago, in all likelihood, the Israeli army and secret police would by now have briefed the Israeli press with disinformation intended to smear a non-violent activist like Nawajaa – and most Israeli journalists would have dutifully parroted their line.

On a quick review of Israeli websites the day after Nawajaa’s arrest, they have not even bothered to do that. There is no story about Nawajaa yet published that I can see. To Israelis, he is simply yet another dangerous Palestinian “extremist” who must have done something wrong.

This is a lie. We must pressure our political leaders to demand Nawajaa’s immediate, unconditional release from Israeli detention.

In a press release, the BDS National Committee (or BNC, the coordinating body for Palestinian civil society for which Nawajaa works) explained Nawajaa’s arrest by Israeli occupation forces: “Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is desperately trying to terrorise Palestinian BDS activists and their families, after having failed to slow down the growth of the movement. We call on all BDS activists everywhere to further strengthen BDS campaigning to hold Israel accountable.”

Their persecution of Nawajaa is only the latest of many examples of Israel’s constant violations of international law – aided by its US, Canadian and European allies.

The United Nations’ International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid defines the objective conditions in which the term “apartheid” applies. Israel of course qualifies, as a multitude of experts have pointed out for many decades.

Under the convention, the “persecution of organisations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid,” is one of the inhumane acts committed to maintaining an apartheid system. Israel is clearly guilty of this in the case of Nawajaa.

While Nawajaa remains in Israeli prison, there is the additional threat to him and the other political prisoners of the coronavirus.

As the BNC further explained in an email rallying international activists to Nawajaa’s defence: “Mahmoud is one of the more than 4,700 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. In the current circumstances, with the COVID-19 virus spreading, mass detention aggravates health and safety risks to all detainees, adding to the common culture of torture and degrading and inhumane treatment of Palestinians in Israeli jails.”

The BNC is calling on the BDS movement’s supporters to write to their governments to demand Nawajaa’s release, mobilise support in local groups, parties and unions, raise awareness on social media (using the hashtags #FreeMahmoud or #LibertadParaMahmoud) and strengthen and escalate our BDS campaigns.

Take inspiration from the fearless example of Nawajaa’s young son – yet another sign that the Palestinian people refuse to give up, go away and die quietly.

Take action: Free Mahmoud Nawajaa!

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Israel Delivers Demolition Orders for 36 Palestinian-owned Structures near Jenin

Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of a Palestinian village of Farasin, west of Jenin, in the northern occupied West Bank, on Wednesday, the head of the village council stated.

The head of Farasin village council, Mahmoud Amarneh, told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that Israeli forces invaded the village and handed out 36 demolition orders for all standing structures and water wells in the Palestinian village where 200 civilians live.

Amarneh said the military told the residents that the structures will be demolished in just a few days.

“The village has a 200-year old well and several ancient buildings,” he said, urging international intervention to stop the occupation state of Israel from displacing 200 people, while at the same time, expropriating more Palestinian land.

A demolition notice placed on one of the doors of Farasin village.

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Israeli Forces Demolish Palestinian-owned Home, Confiscate Farm Equipment

Israeli forces, on Wednesday morning, demolished the foundation of a Palestinian-owned house in Beit Awwa town, south of Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank, Palestinian WAFA News Agency correspondent reported.

He confirmed that Israeli soldiers invaded the town, and demolished the foundation of the 150 square meter house belonging to Mu‘ath Swaiti, allegedly for building without an Israeli issued permit.

Swaiti told WAFA that once he received the military order to stop-construction, he and his family appealed to overturn the demolition order.

The family was stunned to see the occupation forces destroying the foundation, given the fact that there had been no court ruling.

In the northern West Bank Jordan Valley area, on Wednesday, Israeli soldiers, seized 3 Palestinian-owned tractors from 3 different villages in the Jordan Valley, according to a local activist.

Aref Daraghmeh, a Palestinian human rights activist, told WAFA that Israeli forces stormed Marj Na‘ja, Marj al-Ghazal and Az-Zubeidat villages, and confiscated at least three farming tractors.

(Source / 01.08.2020)

Israeli Forces Shoot, Injure 7 Palestinians at Weekly Kufur Qaddoum March

Seven Palestinian young men were shot and injured by Israeli forces, on Friday, while dozens more suffocated on tear-gas at the weekly march in Kufur Qaddoum village, east of Qalqilia, in the northern occupied West Bank, the Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported.

The coordinator of the Popular Resistance in the village, Morad Eshteiwi, said that Israeli soldiers stormed the village, firing a barrage of live rounds, rubber-coated metal rounds, sound bombs, and tear-gas canisters towards demonstrators.

Eshteiwi added that seven young men were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, in addition to the dozens of suffocation cases as a result of tear-gas inhalation.

The locals sang national slogans, and expressed their opposition to the Israeli government’s plans to annex lands from the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

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.

(Source / 01.08.2020)