Israel arrests 2 Hamas MPs in West Bank

Israeli forces in the West Bank on August 14, 2020. [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces in the West Bank on August 14, 2020

Israeli occupation forces yesterday arrested two Palestinian MPs from the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas’ parliamentarian bloc in occupied West Bank, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) reported.

According to eyewitnesses, the PPS said that the Israeli occupation forces raided the West Bank city of Ramallah and used live, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the Palestinians who had come out against the Israeli assault.

During the raid, the Israeli occupation forces broke into the homes of the Palestinian MPs Ahmad Attoun, 52, and Abdul-Jaber Fuqaha, 54, and arrested them.

Attoun is an MP from occupied Jerusalem, Israel deported him from his home about a decade ago.

The PPS said that this came as part of a comprehensive detention campaign that included 24 Palestinians, who were arrested from their homes.

READ: Israeli police detain 9 Palestinians in East Jerusalem

(Source / 27.08.2020)

Saudi to resume trials of Jordanian, Palestinian political prisoners

General Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 16 May 2019 [AFP/Getty Images]
A court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 16 May 2019

Saudi Arabia will resume the trials of more than 60 Palestinian and Jordanian political prisoners who are being held in detention in the country, Anadolu Agency reported, citing the head of the Jordanian Committee on Political Prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

Khidr Mashayekh added that the defendants have been in custody since 2019 on the charge of “receiving financial support for the Palestine cause”.

Saudi authorities on Tuesday summoned a number of Jordanians who had not attended the trial session held in March and notified a number of detainees that their trials will resume in September.

Representatives from the Jordanian Committee on Political Prisoners in Saudi Arabia met recently with officials at the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mashayekh said, adding that there are some signs that the issue is starting to move forward, such as the recent release of one detainee and the notifications of others that they will be deported.

He clarified that while the Saudi authorities recently announced the release of dozens of Jordanians, those released had been held in cases related to drugs and not on political charges.

READ: Saudi dissident sues Twitter for hacking that led to killing, torture of activists

(Source / 27.08.2020)

Israel demolishes Al-Araqeeb bedouin village for 6th time this year

The aftermath of Israeli bulldozers razing Al-Araqeeb village in Negev [Sarah Stern‏/Twitter]
Israeli bulldozers canbe seen after demolishing the Arab Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb

Israeli occupation authorities yesterday demolished all Palestinian homes in the Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev for the 177th time.

The residents of the devastated village are all familiar with the painful routine, considering that the first round of destruction took place in July 2010.

Every time the residents of Al-Araqeeb rebuild their tents and small homes, occupation forces return to raze them, sometimes several times in a month.

Today’s round of demolition is the sixth this year, according to local sources.

READ: Israel soldiers orders Palestinian families to demolish their home

According to the Gulf News, not only has Israel destroyed the village numerous times in violation of international law, it actually delivers a bill to the homeless residents expecting them to cover the cost of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli soldiers.

Located in the Negev (Naqab) desert, the village is one of 51 “unrecognised” Arab villages in the area, which are inhabited by over 20 Palestinian families, are built of wood, plastic, and corrugated iron.

The Israeli demolitions of Al-Araqeeb are carried out in attempts to force the Bedouin population to relocate to government-zoned townships.

Although the villagers have land deeds and receipts of paid taxes, the Israeli authorities refuse to accept them as valid and proceed to subject them to threats of expulsion and home demolition, as well as deprived of any services from the Israeli government.

(Source / 27.08.2020)

Gaza is in Covid-19 lockdown but Israel’s blockade and bombs continue regardless

Smoke rises after Israeli warplanes hit areas targeting positions of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian resistance group Hamas on 21 August 2020 in Khan Yunis, Gaza. [Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency]
Smoke rises after Israeli warplanes hit areas targeting positions of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian resistance group Hamas on 21 August 2020 in Khan Yunis, Gaza

By Mohammed Rafik

Life has shut down in the Gaza Strip with an unexpected number of coronavirus infections within a single-family outside the quarantine zones. A number of deaths have also been reported and a full curfew was announced on Monday. In the middle of all of this, Israel is continuing to bomb the besieged territory regardless of the unprecedented suffering of the Palestinians.

The curfew is part of the total lockdown imposed by the government and local police. This has had the desired effect of raising awareness among the people of the threats they face, although they were probably expecting things to go from bad to worse.

The lockdown affects every aspect of life: cafes, businesses, mosques, markets, schools, colleges and public gardens are all closed. People are now confined to their homes to await updates after a relatively lengthy period of what passes for normality these days.

The latter had seen a graduation ceremony for 400 students who were told by their professors not to wait around too long, but to get home without delay. They did as they were told.

READ: Is Israel really interested in a confrontation with resistance groups? 

The four coronavirus cases within one family were detected in Al-Maghazi refugee camp. The government sealed off the camp immediately and then extended the lockdown across the Strip as the number of confirmed cases increased.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Health has issued instructions and guidance for the lockdown, and warned everyone against breaking or ignoring the safety measures. He also advised anyone who might have been in touch with those who have tested positive for the virus to be checked themselves.

Still hope in Gaza despite destruction - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]
Still hope in Gaza despite destruction – Cartoon

On Tuesday, the source of the infections was traced and revealed to be someone who had gone to the West Bank for, ironically, medical reasons, where they apparently picked up the virus. Tests on twenty people found that another two tested positive. The government then took the necessary action to try to prevent the spread of infections across the beleaguered territory.

Police officers played an important role by driving around slowly to let residents know that they should stay at home until further notice. The people heeded the call, encouraged by fears and cautionary tales spread on social media.

Rumours and false information tend to dominate social media, of course. As a journalist, I see a lot of these stories. The pandemic means that I now have to work remotely, reporting news, translating foreign language articles and editing others. Family life is confined to the four walls of our home. My father insists on everyone obeying the rules, so nobody goes to buy essential goods, and we depend on the media for news updates. Yes, there is hardship, but this enforced togetherness has a beauty all of its own given the distressing things that we see on television.

I am now used to having an early morning chat with my neighbour, Abu Ahmed. He is aware of what is happening and is also staying at home. He expects things to get worse before they get better.

Netanyahu vs Gantz: Gaza Escalation as Reflection of Israel’s Political Rivalry

The curfew was extended for a further 72 hours on Wednesday night; it is possible that it will then be extended yet again. This is not easy for us here in Gaza; we have faced an Israeli-led siege for more than 14 years with the resultant shortages of goods, materials and even basic necessities. Throw in the Covid-19 situation and it is a potent mix to cope with.

We Palestinians in the Gaza Strip — and the West Bank — call on the international community to take our suffering and the pandemic into account and provide the essential medical equipment, supplies and medicines needed to keep our health sector afloat. The Israeli occupation authorities keep cutting the imports allowed across the nominal border and the Ministry of Health is warning that the sector could collapse at any time, such is the serious level of shortages. This is catastrophic for the people across the Gaza Strip. We can do whatever is asked of us to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, but we really do need outside support, especially in terms of medical supplies.

Our people are sitting at home and are doing as they are asked by the government, but with a shortage of fresh water and electricity cuts — often for more than 12 hours every day — the ability to endure the blockade and the pandemic is severely curtailed. The ongoing Israeli bombardment — not deemed to be newsworthy by the international media, it seems — compounds the uncertainty and difficulties. The Palestinians are doing their part to help the world to stop the spread of Covid-19; now we need the world to do its part to stop the Israeli blockade and bombardment of our homes, hospitals and infrastructure.

(Source / 27.08.2020)

PPS: Israeli Forces Detain Dozens of Palestinians Including a Minor

Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-atribuut; de bestandsnaam is Screen-Shot-2020-08-26-at-9.44.25-PM-e1598493462997.png

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) in a statement, confirmed the detention of 24 Palestinians, including a journalist.

The PPS stated that at least 10 Palestinian civilians were arrested from several areas of the Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate, in the central occupied West Bank.

The Israeli forces detained two former Palestinian lawmakers, Ahmed Atoun, and Abdul Jaber Faqha, Musab Saeed who is a journalist from Birzeit town north of Ramallah. Israeli forces also detained Yaqoub Hussein, who is a former prisoner, Shuja Darwish, Maher Shreiteh, Fadi Hamad, Amr Abu Ghosh, Arafat Nasir, and Raafat Abu Rabee.

In the northern West Bank Tulkarem governorate, two youths, Luay Rasim Abu Shuqair, 19, and Nasser Osama Nassar, 18, were detained by Israeli soldiers.

The PPS added that at least 7 Palestinians were detained from occupied East Jerusalem, including the Director of the Office of the Secretary-General of the National People’s Congress, Moaz Al-Ashhab, Arafat Naguib, Obadah Najib, Muhammad Awad, Mustafa Al-Tarhouni, Muhammad Nayef Obeid, and Salama Ghasseb Ubaid.

In the northern West Bank Nablus governorate, Israeli forces stationed at a military roadblock, detained Ibrahim Shaher Ziada and Ahmed Imad Ziada from Madama town, south of Nablus city. Ahmed Eid and his son Ismail Eid, from Burin town, southwest of Nablus, were also detained and then released.

Another former prisoner, Youssef Jamal Al-Zubaidi, from Jenin, in the northern West Bank, was detained by Israeli troops.

The Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported that Abdul Jaber Faqha was released, and that Israeli special forces entered the Jenin refugee camp using a Palestinian-registered civilian vehicle, and rearrested Youssef Jamal Al-Zubaidi from his restaurant.about:blankFacebook URL

Ingesloten inhoud van facebook.com kan niet worden bekeken in de editor.Jerusalem: The occupation forces arrested the child Abdullah Ubaid from his home in the village of al-‘Isawiya

(Source / 27.08.2020)

OCHA: Gaza Strip: Snapshot – July 2020

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

July Highlights

  • No casualties reported as a result of hostilities in Gaza for the second month in a row.
  • Exit arrangements for treatment in Israel and East Jerusalem, via the Erez Crossing, continues to be
    affected due to the halt of coordination between the Palestinian and Israeli authorities.
  • A male patient died after his exit to undergo urgent surgery in Israel was delayed due to the halt of
    coordination, the third in this context since 21 May.
  • The Egyptian and Palestinian authorities kept the Rafah Crossing with Egypt closed between 15 May and 10 August to control the spread of COVID-19.

Protection of Civilians and Casualties

  • Three rockets were fired by a Palestinian armed group from Gaza towards Israel in July, causing no injuries or damage to property. Following the incident, Israeli forces targeted several, reportedly military, sites in Gaza. This resulted in no injuries. Three houses and a livelihood structure, adjacent to the sites, sustained damage.
  • On at least 50 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire near its perimeter fence with Gaza and off the Gaza coast, presumably to enforce access restrictions, about 40 per cent below the number of such incidents reported in June.
  • On three occasions, Israeli bulldozers entered Gaza and levelled land near the perimeter fence.

Access

  • 325 people holding permits crossed the Israeli-controlled Erez Crossing, a 27 per cent increase compared to June, but two per cent of the 2019 monthly average. Eighty per cent of the exits were patients and their companions, whose permits were exceptionally coordinated by NGOs and international agencies, due to the halt in coordination.
  • 305 people entered Gaza via Erez, a slight increase compared to June. All were sent to mandatory quarantine by the local authorities.
  • Some 9,556 truckloads of goods entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom Crossing with Israel, almost the same as the previous month, and 17 per cent above the monthly average in the first half of the year. Another 348 truckloads entered via the Rafah Crossing from Egypt, a 17 per cent decrease from the previous month.
  • Some 197 truckloads carrying mostly agricultural produce, exited Gaza through Israel to the West Bank (157 truckloads); Israel (39 truckloads); and markets abroad (1 truckload); a 19 per cent decrease compared to June (244 truckloads).

Services, Livelihoods and Shelter

  • The daily supply of electricity during July declined to 11 hours, compared to 14 hours in June, due to the increased demand triggered by summer temperatures.
  • The pollution level of the wastewater discharged into the sea increased by 13 per cent in July compared to June, due to repair works at the Gaza wastewater treatment plant.
  • The percentage of essential drugs at zero-stock was 46 per cent in July, almost the same as in June.
  • The Government of Qatar distributed $10,000,000 in financial aid to 100,000 impoverished Palestinian families in Gaza.
  • Three UNRWA health centres received support through a EUR1.79 million donation from the Government of Italy.

(Source / 27.08.2020)

Israeli Jets Fire 3 Missiles into Southern Gaza

Israeli military jet (archive image from Twitter)

Israeli warplanes, early Wednesday morning, fired missiles at farmland near Khan Younis city, in the southern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian WAFA News Agency correspondent.

He confirmed that an Israeli reconnaissance plane fired two rockets at a plot of farm land, situated to the east of Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis. The same site was targeted with three missiles fired by an Israeli warplane, which caused destruction of the site and damages to homes in the area.

No human casualties were reported.

The Israeli military has led numerous offensives on the Gaza Strip, beginning on 10 August, in addition to the Israeli occupation’s decision to stop all fuel from entering the strip, causing the electricity plant to stop functioning, making an already difficult situation intolerable.

Related News:

Israeli Warplanes Bomb Several Sites in the Gaza Strip

Israeli Soldiers Fire Missiles, Shells, Into Rafah

(Source / 27.08.2020)

Looking for a Way Out

Why the Israel-UAE agreement is a sign of Israel’s deep failure

By Qassam Muaddi 

The announcement of the Israeli-UAE agreement, last week, provoked feelings of anger and resentment in Palestine. Marches and stands in protest of the agreement are still being organized across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and in the 1948 territories. On social media, accounts haven’t stopped citing “The Ten Commandments” by Egyptian poet Amal Dunqol:

Reconcile not,
Until existence returns to its due course;
Stars to their timing,
Birds to their voices,
Sands to their grains,
And the murdered to his awaiting child”

For millions of Palestinians and Arabs, the Israeli-UAE agreement represents the normalization of an injustice. An injustice that means no less than the distortion of the due course of existence itself, and that hasn’t been corrected since 1948. Such distortion of reality reached its maximum expression in 1969, when Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meyer declared, to the face of the entire world, that “there is not and never has been such a thing as a Palestinian people”. A claim which is continuously repeated, to this day, by Israeli politicians and pro-Israeli intellectuals, with little or no response.

From Jabotenski to Camp David

Amal Dunqol wrote his verses at a time when the government of Egypt, his country, was preparing to become the first Arab state to normalize relations with the occupation state. A time in which the Palestinian cause was being increasingly isolated, when the Zionist narrative of history prevailed internationally. In the Western world, the State of Israel was still being viewed by a large majority as the fair reparation to the Jewish people for the Nazi Holocaust. In the Arab world, solidarity with Palestine went no further than rhetoric. The Palestinian resistance was caught-up in the Lebanese Civil War, while the largest and most influential Arab country was negotiating peace, away from Palestinian grievances, under the auspice of the US.

The Camp David Accords with Egypt were a real historical break-through for the state of Israel. One reason for this is that Egypt had fought Israel repeatedly since 1948, and both were, until the signature of the Accords, at a state of war that kept half of the Israeli army busy on its southern front. Another reason is that Egypt was the leading country of the Arab World, with the largest resources and population, and it housed the headquarters of the Arab League. Most importantly, because this peace accord represented, for Israel at least, the fruit of a decades-long strategy that stood on two pillars: First, the adoption of the Zionist narrative by the entire Western World, including in popular culture. This meant necessarily the complete absence of the Palestinian side of the story. Second, the breaking of the Arab (and eventually the Palestinian) front into two camps; one of the radicals and one of the moderates, as the outcome of what the Zionist leader and theoretician Vladimir Jabotenski called in 1923 “The Iron Wall”.

The End of the Iron Wall

Jabotenski’s Iron Wall concept has been Israel’s political and military doctrine since its creation. It follows a simple principle; to close in front of Palestinians every chance of influencing their own destiny, through the use of excessive force in response to each one of their actions, until they begin to give up trying, and start to accept the Zionist colonial project (Jabotenski himself called it colonial) as a reality. This policy would lead to the emergence of a Palestinian leadership that is willing to negotiate under Israel’s conditions. One that would accept the Zionist narrative about Palestine. However, even in the most extremist vision of Jabotenski himself, the end goal of the Iron Wall was to achieve definitive normalization of the Zionist colonial reality, with Palestinian acceptance. In other words, a liquidation of the Palestinian Cause by Palestinians themselves. This, according to Jabotenski would be the fulfillment of the Zionist project and the end of the conflict.

Almost a century later, things don’t seem to have gone as planned. The show put up by the Trump Administration earlier in February, with the declaration of the Trump Plan for peace, demonstrated how much the Iron Wall has consumed itself as an ideology, without reaching its end goal. Thirty years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, which was seen at the time by Israeli politicians as the success of the Iron Wall, Israel and the US failed to find a single Palestinian to accept the final liquidation of the Palestinian Cause. Therefore, Trump and Netanyahu had to make their “deal” solely with themselves. In response to the Palestinians’ insistence to hold on to their inalienable right of return; Jerusalem as capital; and Palestinian self-determination; the Israeli leadership has given up on the idea of obtaining an official Palestinian submission. This couldn’t be any clearer when the Government of Israel announced last April its intent to unilaterally annex a third of the West Bank, despite international condemnation.

An Outdated Narrative

Yet, things have been changing for Israel internationally as well. Across the world, the Zionist narrative has been falling apart. Especially in the West, where Israel has traditionally had its safe reserve of support. The Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions – BDS movement marks its 15th anniversary this year, with an unprecedented presence worldwide, and with large support by civil society groups, social movements, religious communities, and even pop-culture figures from all five continents, including many Jewish organizations and notable individuals.

The judicial victory of three BDS activists before German courts, known as the Humboldt-3, last month, is clear evidence of to which extent things have changed for the Zionist discourse in its own backyard. The ruling of the European Court for Human Rights in favor of 12 BDS French activists, last June, declaring the boycott of Israel as legitimate freedom of expression, also proves that the Palestinian Narrative is more internationally present than ever, and its presence is growing.

A Leadership in Crisis

With this new reality in mind, Israeli leadership is facing its own crisis too. Netanyahu is desperately searching for opportunities to remain in power and to avoid accountability for accusations of corruption. At the same time, in the White House, Donald Trump is running against time to secure his second term, which is to be decided next November. The unconventional president, whom Barack Obama described, last Wednesday, as “treating the US presidency as another reality show”, has reached out to his last and most faithful resort; the Gulf States, to grant him a free achievement.

This time it was the UAE’s turn to come to his aid. An oil-rich monarchy whose population comprises of 80 percent expats, living there for work. A country with virtually no civil society or any counter-power to its government. A government that is willing to accept any commercial opportunity, before its oil reserves run out, and before the Chinese Silk Road strips it of its commercial significance. Most importantly, the UAE is a state that has been a staunch US ally since its founding, and as such has never been politically at odds with Israel. Its “peace” agreement with the Occupying Power, described by both Netanyahu and Trump as “historical” can hardly be considered a surprise.

A Changing World

Perhaps the only awkward fact in this story is the Arab silence, and the lack of an Arab response to the UAE’s normalization, unlike the Arab reaction to Egypt’s Camp David Accords, forty-four years ago. At that time, Egypt was expelled from the Arab League, and its headquarters were moved to Tunis. However, the Israeli-UAE agreement was met with no response on the official level by Arab states, apart from declarations by Kuwait and Tunisia that they will not follow the UAE’s steps. This Arab silence would never have been possible without the division of the Arab world and its drowning in endless destructive conflicts. This speaks to the dystopian reality in which Israel can only achieve any normalization or acceptance of its colonial apartheid regime in the region, especially when all over the world, it is becoming increasingly discredited.

The order of existence hasn’t regained its due course yet, to quote Amal Dunqol once more, because Palestine is not free yet. Nonetheless, things are changing fast. Today’s world isn’t any longer the world of Jabotenski or that of Golda Meyer. The Palestinian struggle is no longer isolated, even if it looks like it is on the level of state policies. In today’s world, states no longer make history alone. On a grassroots level, the Palestinian cause is being received and adopted by a global, diverse, and growing citizen movement, where the Occupying Power can no longer hide its true face. By resorting to autocratic states, far-right populist leaders, and desperate self-negotiated deals, and peace treaties with no enemies, Israel’s colonial project reveals how much, underneath all its military might, it is weaker than thought.

(Source / 27.08.2020)

Israeli settlers set up a new illegal outpost in a West Bank

Such a measure is always a prelude for building illegal settlement

Israeli occupation settlers set up on Thursday new illegal outpost on land belonging to Palestinianvillage of Obwein, north of occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

Mayor of Obwein, Naji Hamad, said that the occupation settlers set up four caravans on privately-owned Palestinian land between Obwein, Jaljilia and Sinjil villages.

Hamad pointed out that such a measure is always a prelude for building a new illegal settlement.

In addition, he said that the land where the outpost was set up belongs to local Palestinian residents who own official deeds proving ownership of the land.

(Source / 27.08.2020)

Injured minor, 4 brothers among 13 Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli occupation

One of the Palestinians kidnapped by the Israeli occupation was an old man

Israeli occupation forces kidnapped on Thursday morning 13 Palestinians, including injured minor and four brothers from occupied West Bank, Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) said.

Israeli occupation forces kidnapped six Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, two of them were identified as 17 years old, the PPS said.

One of them, according to the PPS, was shot and injured in the foot by Israeli occupation forces at the northern entrance of Bethlehem last week.

The four others were identified as four brothers from Battir town, northwest of the city of Bethlehem.

In Al Khalil, south of the occupied West Bank, the Israeli occupation forces raided al-Fawwar refugee camp, where they ransacked several houses and kidnapped a young Palestinian.

In Ramallah and al-Bireh, the PPS said, the Israeli occupation forces raided the village of Qarawet Bani Zeid, northwest of Ramallah, and kidnapped one person.

The Israeli occupation forces also raided Beit Liqya town, southwest of Ramallah, where they kidnapped a former prisoner.

In the northern West Bank, the Israeli occupation forces raided the city of Qalqilia and kidnapped an old man.

The Israeli occupation forces raided the city of Jerusalem and broke into the village of Biddu and Qatanna, northwest of the holy city, and kidnapped three people.

(Source / 27.08.2020)