Qatar envoy lands in Gaza to ease Israel-Hamas tensions

Flames and smokes rise after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes over Jabalia neighborhood in Gaza Strip, on 15 January 2020. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]
Smoke and flames rise after Israel carried out air strikes in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2020

A Qatari delegation entered Gaza last night for negotiations to end Israel’s escalating attacks against Hamas’ infrastructure and agricultural land in the Gaza Strip.

According to Hebrew-language outlet Maariv, Palestinian sources within the enclave hope the visit will calm tensions after Israeli occupation forces carried out strikes in Gaza for over ten days, claiming that they are in response to incendiary balloons which Palestinians fly towards Israel.

The Palestinian resistance in Gaza reached understandings with Israel mediated by the UN, Egypt and Qatar that included easing of the Israeli siege and allowing international donors to carry out vital projects and job-creation programmes.

Palestinians in Gaza say Israel backtracked from its commitments.

Qatar’s Ambassador Mohammed El-Emadi arrived last night as part of the Gulf state’s delegation with $30 million to help the territory of almost two million people.

The Gaza Strip receives a monthly grant which amounts to $30 million, with the aim of providing aid to 109,000 Gazan families living in poverty as well as to pay for some fuel imports to the Strip which has been suffering from a 13-year-long air, land and sea blockade imposed by Israel.

Qatar: ‘We face obstacles to send assistance to Gaza’

The poverty rate among Gaza’s population has reached 53 per cent, while “extreme poverty” stands at 33.8 per cent, according to statistics from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

In a press release last week, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum blamed the Israeli occupation for ongoing tensions, pointing to the Israeli siege and daily bombings of farms and resistance sites.

(Source / 26.08.2020)

Israel soldiers orders Palestinian families to demolish their home

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 issued demolition orders to two Palestinian-owned homes in Al-Maniya village located in north-east of Bethlehem, reported Wafa news agency.

Head of Al-Maniya Village Council, Zeyad Kawazba, told Wafa that Israeli forces stormed the village and handed military orders to demolish two houses, because they were allegedly built without the impossible to obtain construction permits.

A restrictive planning regime applied by Israeli authorities makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in what the Oslo Accords labelled as ‘Area C’ of the West Bank, which falls under both Israeli military and administrative control, impeding the development of adequate housing, infrastructure and livelihoods.

ZERO building permits were issued by Israel in 2015 !

The houses belong to local Palestinians, identified as Yousef Jabbarin and his brother, Shadi Jabbarin, and are currently inhabited by their families.

Located some nine kilometres to the south-east of Bethlehem, Al-Maniya has a population of some 1,450 and occupies a total area of 8,908 dunums (8.9 square kilometres).

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 forces Palestinian family to demolish their home or risk hefty fine

(Source / 26.08.2020)

PPS: Israeli Forces Detain 15 Palestinians from West Bank

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) reported that the Israeli forces, Monday night until Tuesday at dawn, detained four Palestinians from Tulkarem, in the northern occupied West Bank; Wajdi Tawfiq Jayyousi, 35, Imad Akram Balawi, 26, Ahmed Darwish Abu Dhiab, 22, and Rifaat Rabhi al-Saleh, 35.

From Jenin in the north, soldiers detained Mahmoud Nasser Zakarneh and Shadi Sami Zakarneh, and from the town of Marah Rabah in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Israeli army detained Ahmed Saleh Abdel Karim, Ahmed Muhammad Thawabeh, and Hamza Khalil Taqatqa.

Meanwhile, from the central West Bank city of Ramallah, from the town of Silwad, Muhammad Yasin Hamed, a former prisoner who was released about one month ago, was detained.

Late Monday night, the occupation forces detained four young men from occupied Jerusalem; Omar Odeh, Ibrahim Al-Natsheh, Youssef Al-Shawish, and Adel Al-Ajlouni.

From Al-Samou’ town in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, the youth, Jihad Hassan Awad Abu Obeid was detained by Israeli troops.

The Palestinian Information Center reported that dozens of Palestinian youths attempted to stop the military invasion into their neighborhood in Tulkarem. The youths threw stones, while the army fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades towards the protestors.

Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: tekst

#Captive _ Club: Occupation forces arrest (15) citizens from the bankRamallah – Al-Asir Club: Israeli occupation forces arrested last night and Tuesday (15) dawned on Tuesday (15) citizens of the bank.Occupation forces arrested four citizens from Tulkarm: Grandpa Tawfiq Geosi (35 years old), Amad Akram Belaawi (26 years old), Ahmed Darwish Abu Dhiab (22 years old), and Rifa My good profit (35 yrs old)From Jenin, the occupation Mahmoud Nasser Zakarna, Shadi Sami Zakarna, and from the town of Marah Rabah in Bethlehem, the occupation arrested both: Ahmed Saleh Abdul Karim, Ahmed Muhammad Thawabatah and Hamza Khalil Takaqa.A citizen of the town of Salwad in Ramallah, Muhammed Yassin Hamed, a former prisoner who was released about a month ago was arrested. Late yesterday evening, the occupation from Jerusalem arrested four young men: Omar Odeh, Ibrahim Al-Natcha, Youssef Al-Shawish and Adel Al-Ajlouni.Added to the young detainees Jihad Hassan Awad Abu Obaid from the town of Samoua in Hebron.

(Source / 26.08.2020)

Israeli Warplanes, Tanks Attack the Gaza Strip

Israeli jets and tanks, Tuesday at dawn, bombed Palestinian lands in Rafah and Khan Younis in the southern besieged Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Local sources told the PIC’s reporter that Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at Palestinian-owned farm land east of Rafah City.

At the same time, Israeli tanks stationed along the eastern border between Gaza and Israel, opened fire at two observation posts east of Khan Younis City.

No injuries were reported, however adjacent buildings suffered partial damages.

The Israeli army issued a statement that the latest attacks were in retaliation for so-called ‘incendiary balloons’ released from the Gaza Strip, which float towards adjacent Israeli settlements.

The Israeli military has led numerous offensives on the Gaza Strip, beginning on 10 August, in addition to the occupation’s decision to stop all fuel from entering the strip, causing an already difficult situation to become even more dire.

In related news, a 48 hour curfew was imposed on the Gaza Strip late Monday night, PIC further reported, when it was discovered that 4 members of the community tested positive for the coronavirus.

Salama Ma’rouf, head of the media office in Gaza, announced the closing of government and private institutions, schools, and mosques for a 48 hour period.

(Source / 26.08.2020)

Israeli Forces Demolish 2 Homes in Jerusalem, 8 Structures near Ramallah

Two Palestinian-owned homes were demolished Monday night and Tuesday morning, in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to the Palestinian WAFA News Agency.

In Silwan neighborhood, in East Jerusalem, the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem knocked down a house owned by Khaled al-Khales, witnesses said.

Occupation forces sealed off the area before proceeding to knock down the one-story home using manual tools due to its location in a confined area.

In Sur Baher neighborhood, also in East Jerusalem, Mohammad Amira was forced to demolish his own home to avoid the heavy fines for the West Jerusalem municipality to demolish it.

Israeli forces demolished eight makeshift structures, on Tuesday in the Bedouin community of Wadi al-Seeq, northeast of Ramallah district in the central West Bank, local sources reported.

Sources said a large force of the Israeli army escorted a bulldozer into the Bedouin community, where the heavy machinery destroyed the structures belonging to three members of the Ka‘abneh clan, seizing their contents, and displacing their occupants.

Israeli forces delivered demolition orders to two Palestinian-owned homes in al-Maniya village, northeast of Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank, according to a municipal source.

Head of al-Maniya village council, Zeyad Kawazba, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers stormed the village and handed military orders to demolish two homes purportedly for being built without Israeli licenses.

The two homes, are currently inhabited by and owned by Yousef Jabbarin, and his brother, Shadi.

Good Shepherd Collective op dinsdag

Israeli occupation authorities demolished eight barracks in the village of Wadi al Siq, located east of Ramallah, this morning.

According to OCHA data, thus far this year, Israeli forces have demolished over 450 structures, including 72 donor-funded structures. These demolitions have an acute impact not only on the families displaced or affected by the loss of a barn or store, but also have effects that ripple through entire communities. For 101 families that have been displaced this year alone, OCHA data records another 368 families affected in another way.

Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: lucht en buiten
Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: lucht, buiten en natuur
Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: auto, buiten, natuur en water
Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: lucht, buiten en natuur

Good Shepherd Collective op dinsdag

This morning Israeli forces demolished the home of Khaled Muhammad al Khalis in the Ein al Lozeh neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem. This is the same neighborhood where, six days ago, we reported that Israeli forces patrolled and raided homes, taking photos as they did so.

These acts of violence and harassment are not the ubiquitous experience of all Jerusalem residents, Jewish and Muslim or Christian alike—rather, they are the ubiquitous experience of Palestinians living under Israeli rule. The police in East Jerusalem have the same function as the military across areas C: for them, as it is under all settler regimes, upholding law and order means furthering settler-colonialism, not equity and justice.

Geen fotobeschrijving beschikbaar.
Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: een of meer mensen en korte broek
Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: buiten

(Source / 26.08.2020)

Covid Hits Gaza As Its Bombed, Deprived Of Electricity And Humanitarian Aid And Media Silent

Between the 11th and 21st of August Israel launched airstrikes targeting sites from Rafah (Southern Gaza) to Beit Hanoun (Northern Gaza), hitting a UN school and injuring Palestinian civilians, including a pregnant woman and two young children. For the bulk of this bombardment, the Western press was almost completely silent on the issue

An Israeli airstrike against Gaza city on August 16, 2020

The Gaza Strip was bombarded by Israel for ten consecutive nights, with little to no international media coverage. Even when the media did touch on the issue, outlets such as the guardian injected Israeli propaganda into their headlines, publishing terms such as “balloon bombs”. However the worst part of Israel’s latest assaults on Gaza, has not been the airstrikes.

Between the 11th and 21st of August Israel launched airstrikes targeting sites from Rafah (Southern Gaza) to Beit Hanoun (Northern Gaza), hitting a UN school and injuring Palestinian civilians, including a pregnant woman and two young children. For the bulk of this bombardment, the Western press was almost completely silent on the issue, quoting the lines of the Israeli foreign ministry almost verbatim when they did publish on the issue.

By the 13th of August, Israel had already locked down Gaza’s sole humanitarian aid crossing to the flow of gas and oil into the besieged coastal enclave. The prohibiting of fuel into Gaza has now effectively dissabled Gaza’s sole power plant, leading to 34 hour plus blackouts, with the lack of electricity severely impacting vital services in Gaza, such as hospitals. Israel has stopped all but limited humanitarian food and medical aid to reach Gaza, which does not sufficiently meet the demands of Gaza’s two million residents.

Israel has continued their campaign of air raids, attacking early in the morning for the most part and there has been no international condemnation. Instead we hear in the West of so called “balloon bombs”, most concerning is that this is not just coming from right-wing pro-Zionist papers, but rather the likes of the widely respected Guardian in the United Kingdom.

The situation has effectively been painted by the Western media as Israel responding in self-defence to Hamas aggression against it. But the reality is a staunchly different picture. On the 10th of August balloons, set off by Gazan youths, with burning objects attached to them, flying across into Israeli held farm lands. The same farm lands that formerly belonged to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, prior to them being dispossessed and ethnically cleansed from their lands beginning in 1947.

The tactic of flying balloons with hand-made burning objects attached to them, across the separation fence, was created during the Great Return March, by youths wishing to apply pressure to Israel to end the illegal siege on Gaza. After around 8 weeks – into the Great Return March (beginning on March 30, 2018) – of bombings, shootings, gassings and incursions by Israeli bulldozers onto Gazan farmlands, this strategy began to become a strategy. Putting this in its proper context is important, as by this point, hundreds of Palestinians had been massacred and thousands had been wounded by Israel and the International Community did not lift a finger to help Gaza.

The strategy of balloons was created as a form of attempting to pressure Israel to ease the siege. Not a single Israeli has been killed as a result of the balloons, also on top of this, there have been very little balloons or kites which have had explosives attached to them and when they have been attached, these are very small homemade devices which rarely ever even explode. The non-lethal nature of the balloons and kites were originally addressed by Israel as a threat, but were never confronted in the past with airstrikes on Hamas or Islamic Jihad military positions.

When the balloon tactic was re-launched on August 10th, it was done so via the Hamas government in Gaza essentially turning a blind eye to such activities by Gazan youths and young men. The reason for the blind eye being turned to this activity, was due to Israel creating such an unbearable situation in Gaza and Hamas seeking for an easing of the conditions in which the people were living.

Even according to the Israeli news outlet ‘Walla’, who claimed to have seen the terms presented to the Egyptian delegation, which had travelled to both Gaza and Israel in order to negotiate a truce, reported that the demands of Hamas, were for Israel to allow more humanitarian aid and Qatari aid money to enter Gaza. So even by the admission of Israeli media reporting, Hamas are seeking better living conditions for the people of Gaza and from Hamas itself, it is calling for an end to the illegally imposed siege.

Israel responded to the pressure applied to it, not by rational engagement and a willingness to deliver an easing of the situation for civilians in Gaza, but instead by making it worse and setting new rules of engagement. The new rules of engagement were for Israel to respond to young people flying flimsy balloons over the separation fence, burning farmland, with airstrikes for 10 straight nights and then around 4-5 A.M. in the morning from then on. Also Israel closed the sole humanitarian aid crossing, preventing fuel and now all but a limited supply of food and medical aid into Gaza. This form of collective punishment, a war crime under international law, has caused a crisis in Gaza hospitals and various other areas of life. Israel has also cut off all of Gaza’s fishing waters.

In response, there were new rules of engagement established by Hamas and other resistance factions, which included responding to Israeli bombardments of Gaza as well as attacks on Gaza fishermen. Until the fifth night of consecutive bombings of Gaza, using warships, drones, fighter jets, helicopters, artillery and tanks, the resistance factions did not fire a single rocket or bullet at Israel. After this only three out of five nights did the resistance actually respond to Israeli attacks. But now it seems as if Hamas threatening to expand its responses has effectively neutralised Israel’s larger scale bombings which were causing huge distress in Gaza, as Israel does not seem to want an escalation at this moment. The reason for a lack of desire for an Israeli large-scale onslaught is that they cannot risk any humilitiations at the hands of Gaza’s resistance factions at this time. Israel also understands the huge blow it would be dealt, in terms of casualties to its troops, if it was to attempt to actually attack strategic positions of real importance to the armed groups in Gaza, which would have to involve Israeli ground troops.

Israel has not yet even appeared to ponder allowing for an easing of the siege, but instead has collectively punished the civilian population of Gaza for two whole weeks now. Using its propagandistic cover of trying to make “balance” out of balloons versus thousands of tons of the most cutting edge munitions on the planet. Something that the media, silent on the suffering of Gaza’s civilian population, seem to have no problem printing. It begs the question as to whether the likes of the Guardian editorial staff, and that of other mainstream outlets, are hardline Zionist ideologues and believe what they are saying, or bare with them an orientalist mindset which allows them to quote the Israeli occupation forces verbatim, without reflection and without laughing at the almost comical nature of the excuses.

The situation on the ground makes it seem as if a military escalation is imminent, but that’s not where this horror story ends for Gaza’s residents. Covid-19 has now made its way to Gaza, with the first four cases being confirmed yesterday, outside of quarantine, warranting the first large-scale lockdown of its kind in Gaza since the 1987 Intifada (Uprising). With reportedly just over 100 ventilators and packed ICU’s rendering Gaza’s hospitals semi-functional during a pandemic, Gaza could now be hit by the virus like crazy.

Gaza is amongst the most highly populated places on earth, more densely populated than Tokyo and one could imagine how horrific the spread of the virus would be during a military escalation between Israel and besieged territory. The tens of thousands who would likely be displaced in the event of an escalation, even if temporarily, could be devastating for the spread of the virus and also any other contagious diseases.

The besieged coastal enclave has been rendered unlivable, as of the beginning of this year, according to experts at the United Nations. The horrors that await the population of 2 million, 52% of which are minors, is truly a horrifying image and what is worse is that, what can only be described as a racist Western media, won’t even give the Palestinian people the dignity of writing their articles correctly.

Any outlet, whether right-wing or left-wing, in the West, which is inaccurately depicting what is going on in Gaza, can only be assumed to be a racist outlet and this is the way this needs to be portrayed by anti-imperialists and anti-racists. The people of Gaza do not have the time to have us pretend like this isn’t a huge issue, if anyone is covering this up, they are to be held accountable and if they’d like to hide behind their own labels, so be it.

Racism is the reason that Gaza is still under siege and racism is the reason why Western media outlets do not report correctly on the matter correctly. If the likes of the Guardian and others, who claim to be anti-racist, were true to their principles then they would not allow for such laughable excuses for maintenance of the worlds largest concentration camp – which you are included within based upon identity purely and nothing else – to be printed.

(Source / 26.08.2020)

Jerusalem Mufti resigns from UAE peace forum over normaliSation statement

‘UAE normalisation of ties with Israel is a stab in the back of Palestinians and Muslims, and a betrayal for Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem,” the Mufti said

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, announced on Wednesday his resignation from UAE forum over statement endorsing normalisation with Israel.

Hussein announced in a press conference that he submitted his resignation from the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies (FPPMS), citing the forum’s statement which supported the UAE agreement to normalize relations with Israel.

“This normalisation is a stab in the back of Palestinians and Muslims, and a betrayal for Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem,” he said.

The FPPMS hailed the UAE-Israel deal, claiming it “stopped Israel from extending its sovereignty over Palestinian lands” and was a means to reinforces peace and dialogue among nations.

However after being criticised for the statement, the body removed the statement from its platforms.

While Emirati officials have hailed normalization as a successful means to stave off Israel’s illegal move to annex large swaths of the West Bank, Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to the annexation plan.

The FPPMS was established in 2014 in the UAE to reinforce peace and dialogue. It is headed by the former Mauritanian politician and professor in religion and current Grand Mufti of the UAE Abdullah Bin Bayyah

(Source / 26.08.2020)

Israel sold spyware to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain

Israel’s spyware is used to spy on dissents in these countries which are allies to US and Israel

Israeli company, encouraged with Israeli government, has sold spyware to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain to use for monitoring dissidents, Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed on Sunday.

According to the most popular Israeli paper, the Israeli firm NSO Group Technologies, whose software is used to hack into cellphones, has in the past few years sold its Pegasus spyware for hundreds of millions of dollars to the UAE and other Gulf States.

These states the Israeli spyware to monitor anti-regime activists, Haaretz said, with the encouragement and the official mediation of the Israeli government.

Chaim Levinson wrote to Haaretz that NSO “is one of the most active Israeli companies in the Gulf, and its Pegasus 3 software permits law enforcement authorities to hack into cellphones, copy their contents and sometimes even to control their camera and audio recording capabilities.”

The company works only with state authorities, according to Levinson, “but it doesn’t distinguish between democracies and dictatorships, as in the Gulf; despite its claims, it does little to supervise how its technology is used.”

“Israel,” Levinson said, “put NSO in touch with Arab states in the region, and Israeli representatives even took part in marketing meetings between intelligence officials in the Arab states and NSO executives. Some of the meetings were held in Israel.”

Levinson said that NSO makes hundreds of billions from spyware trade with the Arab countries. He explained the cooperation mechanisms between the Israeli firm and these countries that keeps their names secret.

He said: “Every Gulf state has a nickname based on the first letter of the country’s name and an automotive manufacture: Saudi Arabia is called Subaru, Bahrain is BMW and Jordan is Jaguar. The practice within NSO is to use these names rather than the country’s real name.”

Regarding Qatar, Haaretz said, NSO does not do business with it because Israel prohibits it.

(Source / 26.08.2020)

Israeli forces kidnap 24 Palestinians, including 2 MPs, journalist

Two of the kidnapped were identified as father and a son from Burin, south of Nablus

Israeli occupation forces kidnapped on Wednesday night 24 Palestinians, including two MPs and journalist, from occupied Palestinian West Bank, Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) reported.

The PPS confirmed in a press release that Israeli forces kidnapped ten Palestinians in multiple raids across Ramallah and al-Bireh district.

It said that two of them members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, namely Ahmad Attoun, 52, and Abdul-Jaber Fuqaha, 54.

Three others, including a journalist, were identified as residents of Birzeit town, north of Ramallah, another as a resident of al-Tireh neighborhood and two others as residents of al-Mazraa al-Gharbiyyeh, northwest of Ramallah.

In Jerusalem, the PPS confirmed that Israeli police kidnapped seven Palestinians after ransacking their houses.

One of them was identified as the Officer Director of the Secretary-General of the Popular National Conference for Jerusalem (PNJC).

In the northern West Bank, Israeli troops kidnapped a father and his son after breaking into several houses in Burin town, south of Nablus city.

(Source / 26.08.2020)

12 Palestinian prisoners at Ofer jail test positive for coronavirus

The Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission on Wednesday announced that 12 Palestinian prisoners at Israel’s Ofer jail have tested positive for coronavirus.

Qadri Abu Baker, head of the Commission, said in press statements that all infected prisoners are from section 21 of the prison.

According to Abu Baker, the Israel Prison Service closed the section, where 160 Palestinians are being held, and placed the infected prisoners in isolation.

Read More: Three Palestinian prisoners engage in open-ended hunger strike

Abu Baker expressed his concern that the number is likely to increase given the overcrowding in Ofer jail and the deliberate medical neglect policy pursued by the Israel Prison Service against Palestinian detainees.

(Source / 26.08.2020)