HEBRON, Thursday, October 22, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation forces detained today and last night 23 Palestinians, including two teens and an injured man, from various parts of the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
It said in a press statement that Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians, including two 16-year-old teens, from the southern West Bank district of Hebron.
Five of the nine detainees were identified as residents of Halhoul town, north of Hebron, another as a resident of the city, and another as a prisoner’s wife from Idna town, west of the city.
In Ramallah and al-Bireh district, Israeli forces conducted a raid in Beit Rima town, northwest of the city, where they detained three Palestinians, including a former prisoner.
Soldiers also conducted two separate raids in Beitunia town, west of Ramallah, and al-Bireh neighborhood of al-Balu, resulting in the detention of two others, including a former prisoner.
In the northern West Bank, PPS said that Israeli military vehicles stormed Jenin city, where soldiers detained a Palestinian after ransacking his family house.
During the same raid, soldiers shot and injured a former prisoner in the foot before detaining him.
In Nablus district, Israeli troops rounded up three Palestinians after storming the archaeological site of Sebastia, north of the city.
PPS confirmed that two others were detained from the Nablus district.
PPS said that two other Palestinians were detained; one from Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and a former prisoner from Tammun town, south of Tubas city.
JERUSALEM, Thursday, October 22, 2020 (WAFA) – In September, the Israeli authorities demolished, forced people to demolish or seized 76 Palestinian-owned structures, all on grounds of a lack of building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
A total of 136 people were displaced as a result, and nearly 300 others had their livelihoods or access to services affected, it said in its monthly update on West Bank demolitions and displacement for the month of September.
Since the declaration of the COVID-19 emergency on 5 March 2020, 461 Palestinian owned structures have been targeted in this context and 572 people displaced, representing a 31 percent increase (for both figures) compared with the equivalent period in 2019, and the highest such figures in four years, it said.
In a statement issued on 10 September, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, James McGoldrick, called on the Israeli authorities to immediately stop unlawful demolitions, which have “increased the needs and vulnerabilities of Palestinians, who are already trapped in the abnormality of prolonged military occupation.”
Of the structures targeted in September, 21 had been provided as humanitarian aid for over 30,000 euros; this is the largest number of aid structures demolished or seized in a single month so far in 2020. Another five donor-funded structures, which cost over 40,000 euros, were handed demolition or stop-work orders.
Over 30 percent of the structures targeted in September have been dismantled and seized, said OCHA. This practice, which has been on the rise in recent years, is based on military regulations allowing the summary requisition (without prior notice) of “newly installed” structures defined by an Israeli Civil Administrator (ICA) inspector as “movable”. These regulations were amended in August 2020 to extend the period to conduct such requisition to 90 days from the installation of the structure (up from 60 days previously).
Another nine structures were demolished on the basis of Military Order 1797, which allows for the removal of unlicensed structures deemed as “new”, within 96 hours of the issuance of the “removal order”. These legal tools and related procedures are of serious concern, as they prevent or significantly narrows the ability of affected people to be heard before a judicial body.
Fifteen of all structures targeted this month (homes, water and sanitation facilities, and animal shelters), including eight of the aid structures, were in the Massafer Yatta area of Hebron governorate, which is declared closed for Israeli military training (‘Firing zone 918’). In that context, the Israeli authorities have been seeking for years to evict the 1,400 Palestinians residing in 14 herding communities in this area.
The Palestinian Bedouin community of Ras at Tin (about 200 people), in the Ramallah governorate, is also located in a ‘firing zone’ and faces a range of pressures that, combined, create a coercive environment and a risk of forcible transfer for residents. Twice this month, the Israeli authorities dismantled and seized the ceiling of a donor-funded school in this community, alongside building materials, chairs and tables. The school began operating on 6 September, serving 50 Palestinian children, who previously had to walk five kilometers to reach the nearest school. The entire building is expected to be demolished soon, following the green light recently given to that effect by an Israeli court. Currently, there are 52 schools in Area C of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem with pending demolition or stop-work orders.
Also of concern, in September, the Israeli government allocated some $6 million to the recently established ‘Settlement Affairs Ministry’ to survey unauthorized Palestinian construction in Area C, according to an Israeli media report. The authority for monitoring and law enforcement in this matter, however, is with the ICA, which receives separate funding. About 0.6 percent of Area C has a planning scheme approved by the ICA, where Palestinians are allowed to legally build, most of which is already built-up.
In East Jerusalem, 15 structures were demolished during the month, eight of which were demolished by their owners, following the issuance of demolition orders. Self-demolitions have significantly increased this year, accounting for half of all targeted structures in East Jerusalem. This is attributed to a legislative amendment imposing fines for every additional day of usage of a structure slated for demolition.
On 1 October, in response to legal action taken by a human rights organization, the Israeli authorities indicated that they would freeze the demolition of inhabited homes in East Jerusalem in the context of the ongoing pandemic. However, in the absence of a complementary freeze on the accumulation of fines, self-demolitions are likely to continue.
Also in East Jerusalem, in three separate rulings issued in September, Israeli courts ordered the eviction of 12 Palestinian families from their homes in the Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods, and the handover of the properties to Israeli settler organizations. One of the evictions is due by 5 November and the rest over the course of 2021. Over 200 families in East Jerusalem are at risk of eviction due to similar court cases filed against them.
For many Palestinian communities across the West Bank, the coercive environment they face also involves the destruction of property by Israeli settlers. In a worrying incident on 17 September near Biddya village (Salfit), Israeli settlers demolished an agricultural structure belonging to Palestinian farmers and uprooted 445 fruit trees. According to Israeli sources, the settlers claim ownership over the land and intend to establish a new settlement there, despite the lack of building permits or official approval.
RAMALLAH, Thursday, October 22, 2020 (WAFA) – During the second half of 2020, a significant high rate of Israeli occupation demolitions of Palestinian property in the occupied territory was recorded, today said the human rights organization, Al-Haq.
While the monthly average of demolished Palestinian homes and properties by the Israeli authorities was 31 during the first six months of the year, the past three months – July, August and September, witnessed an average of 59 demolitions each. In total, 186 Palestinian properties were demolished in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) during the first half of the year and another 177 properties during the period July, August, and September.
It is worth noting that during the past three months, 62 out of the 177 demolitions happened in the occupied governorate of Jerusalem.
In 2018 and 2019, the monthly averages of demolished Palestinian properties were about 22 and 30 respectively. The accelerating rate of demolitions witnessed by Al-Haq this year comes in light of Israel’s continued disregard of its obligations under international law, and its continuing plans to expand colonization through de jure annexation of more Palestinian land, all perpetrated against the backdrop of the continued failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its crimes, including the war crime of extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity.
Israel uses many pretexts to justify its demolition policy, including the pretext of building having been constructed without a building permit. However, as the Occupying Power, Israel is prohibited from demolishing the property of the protected Palestinian people unless strictly justified by military necessity. The extensive destruction of property carried out by Israel without military necessity constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and may constitute a war crime, said Al-Haq
Moreover, this policy of unlawfully demolishing Palestinian buildings and structures, taken alongside many other similarly unlawful policies and actions, reveal Israel’s intention to forcibly transfer Palestinian communities from their homes. Settlement construction and expansion, exploitation of natural resources, restricting movement and access, the application of a discriminatory planning policy, and the virtual impossibility of obtaining building permits create a coercive environment for Palestinians, which amounts to direct and indirect forcible transfer, prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention and which may constitute a war crime and a crime against humanity.
Moreover, having their properties demolished and destroyed, the Palestinian people are deprived of their right to develop their resources and are ultimately denied from exercising their right to self-determination.
Al-Haq noted that the demolitions further illustrate the involvement and complicity of business enterprises in Israel’s unlawful demolition policy. Whereas businesses are required to respect international humanitarian law standards, and to conduct an enhanced human rights due diligence process to avoid causing or contributing to gross human rights violations through their own activities in conflict-affected areas, corporations such as Volvo, Caterpillar, Hyundai, and Hidromek have been selling their equipment in the knowledge that they would be used to unlawfully demolish Palestinian property, and may therefore be complicit in war crimes directly perpetrated by Israeli forces, it said.
Today, Wednesday, it signed two Japanese support agreements worth $ 33 million, in favor of improving Palestinian camps and building a number of schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under the patronage and presence of Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh.
The agreement was signed by: Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara, representative of the JICA office in Palestine, Toshia Abe, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Ramallah, and member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Head of the Refugee Affairs Department, Ahmed Abu Houli, via video call from the Gaza Strip, in the presence of the Japanese ambassador Palestine has Maguchi Masayuki.
Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said, “We extend our thanks on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, who is bound and bound together by the friendship between us and the friendly nation of Japan, which provides serious and tangible support to our Palestinian people, in order to strengthen educational institutions, infrastructure and culture, and various sectors.”
Shtayyeh added, “The two agreements that were signed today worth 33 million dollars, distributed over the construction of 10 schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and strengthening the infrastructure in some Palestinian camps, and this support is a major priority to strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinian citizen.”
He continued: “The camp is not the subject of improving infrastructure, as it is a symbol of the Palestinian right of return, and strengthening its presence is a political identity, and building schools is the top priority for the Palestinian development project. The Palestinians are proud of having the highest rates of education in the world.”
Shtayyeh added, “We congratulate the new Japanese prime minister, and we extend our sincere thanks to the former prime minister with whom we have worked for a long time. Japan is with us to end the occupation, strengthen Palestinian institutions, and embody and consolidate the state on the ground.”
For his part, Abu Huli appreciated the Japanese support for refugee camps, whether in Palestine or in the diaspora, in addition to the continued support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is targeted politically and financially with the aim of ending its existence.
In turn, the Japanese ambassador, on behalf of the Japanese government, affirmed their continued support to our Palestinian people, especially children, youth and marginalized communities in all the Palestinian territories, stressing more work with the government and the Palestinian people to enhance friendship and mutual trust.
The Authority for Prisoners’ Affairs and Executives said in a statement issued today, Wednesday, that 39 prisoners in “Al-Damun” detention camp suffer extremely harsh living and detention conditions.
The commission clarified in its statement that the prisoners made several demands for the administration of the detention center to improve their living conditions, among them, the removal of surveillance cameras from the fora area as it limits their movement and violates their privacy, and allows them to make phone calls with their families in light of the current interruption of visits, claiming the conditions of “Corona”. And finding a solution for the al-Maabar section of “Hasharon” prison, in which the newly arrested and detained female prisoners are being held in poor and inhumane conditions, as well as repairing the damaged facilities in the section, especially al-Furah yard, and painting its floor with an appropriate material to prevent slipping.
They also demanded, according to the authority’s statement, to provide them with medical treatment and not to neglect them and leave them prey to pain, especially since there are many pathological cases, the most prominent of which is the case of the prisoner Israa Jaabis, who suffers from burns and needs several operations. Abu Taher, who complains of diabetes, as well as the captive Iman Awar, who suffers from cancerous masses in the vocal tendons, Rawan Abu Ziadeh who suffers from pain in the neck and stomach, and Nisreen Abu Kamil, who complains of hypertension, diabetes and inflammation of the toes, and all of them need urgent medical follow-up. And specialized.
The commission pointed out that these demands have already been submitted to the “Damun” administration, and that this is the tenth time in a row that the prisoners go to the administration of the detention center to demand their most basic life rights, but the administration does not offer them anything but words, false promises, procrastination and deliberate procrastination.
The authority added that if the “Damoun” administration did not respond this time to the demands, the female prisoners threaten to escalate and take protest steps.
The authority expressed its concern about the deterioration of conditions in the various Israeli prisons, in light of the continuing repressive and oppressive measures taken by the prison administration against male and female prisoners at various levels.
The Israeli occupation authorities on Wednesday banned the student branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in the occupied West Bank, calling it an “illegal and terrorist” organisation, Quds Press reported.
According to Quds Press, the Israeli army announced in a statement that the PFLP’s student branch: “Has been a terrorist organisation for years and has carried out action that caused the killing of several Israeli citizens, as well as the assassination of the late Israeli Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.”
The statement added: “In recent years, the PFLP has been recruiting student cells in the West Bank universities in order to carry out attacks.”
In the same statement, the Israeli army announced the detention of six Palestinians over claims of affiliation with the PFLP.
The PFLP was established in 1967 as an extension of the Arab Nationalist Movement, adopting Marxism. It joined the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1968 and was famous for hijacking planes in the 1970s. It was then divided into three branches.
Its founder and Secretary-General George Habash resigned in 2000. His successor Mustafa Al-Zubri, from the West Bank, was assassinated by Israel in 2001.