Soldiers Demolish Residential A Structure In Northern Plains

Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, the al-Farisiyya Palestinian Bedouin community in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank, and demolished a residential structure.

Human rights activist, Aref Daraghma, stated that the soldiers demolished a residential structure, owned by Raddad Hamed Daraghma.

He added that this is the second time in less than a month that the soldiers demolish the residential stricture under the allegation of being installed without a permit.

Al-Farisiyya is one of the dozens of Bedouin communities in the Northern Plains and other parts of the occupied West Bank that are frequently targeted by the army, especially amidst the ongoing Israeli attempts to annex the Jordan Valley, and to remove Palestinian communities for the benefit of the illegal construction and expansion of its colonies.

Earlier this month, the soldiers invaded Khirbat al-Hamsa village in the Jordan Valley, and demolished it, rendering eleven families of 73 persons, including 41 children, without a shelter.

In a statement after the demolition of the village, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA-OPT) said:

“So far in 2020, 689 structures have been demolished across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, more than in any full year since 2016: rendering 869 Palestinians homeless. The lack of Israeli-issued building permits is typically cited as a reason, even though, due to the restrictive and discriminatory planning regime, Palestinians can almost never obtain such permits. Demolitions are a key means of creating an environment designed to coerce Palestinians to leave their homes.”

(Source / 17.11.2020)

Israel To Demolish A Home, Garden, Near Nablus

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Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, Sebastia Palestinian town, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, before handing orders for the demolition of a home and its garden, in the western part of the town.

Mohammad Azem, the mayor of Sebastia, said the soldiers stormed the home of Mahmoud as-Sarrawi, before handing him the demolition order.

He added that the soldiers also took videos of the nearby archeological site and its surrounding areas, in the town.

Sebastia is subject to constant Israeli invasions, including when the army accompanies dozens of Israeli colonists into the archaeological area.

These invasions increased after the local council established a new tourism site and raised the Palestinian flag.

(Source / 17.11.2020)

On Robert Fisk and the memory of real journalism

By Qassam Muaddi 

On the 30th of October, journalism lost Robert Fisk. The Middle East correspondent for “The Independent” British newspaper, who has covered the unfolding history of this region for almost four decades. A reporter who chose to live in Beirut for most of his career because he didn’t want to report on the Middle East if couldn’t “be there”. A notion that is increasingly being forgotten in the journalism of today. In a time when the race to get a picture of an event out, before the event itself has finished taking place, and when the commenting of news from tv studios has become itself the news, Robert Fisk’s loss matters for journalism.

For the peoples of the region whose stories he has covered, from Kabul to Baghdad, and from Beirut to Gaza, his loss matters. Not because he spoke their voices or showed their side of their own stories, neither because someone could imagine that he was pro-Iraqi or pro-Palestinian, because he simply was not. But rather because he was a real journalist. One who went after the reality in people’s lives, engaged with it, felt it, and made others know it. One who grasped the ugly reality of war, waged from thousands of miles away, and put it right in front of his readers’ noses, not to give answers, but rather to raise questions, which is what a journalist is supposed to do. Robert Fisk’s death matters because he was that kind of international journalist that people in the Middle East rarely see around anymore.

“We must be partial”

People in the West probably remember his famous interviews with Osama Bin Laden, back in the nineties. In Palestine, however, Fisk is remembered for being one of the first reporters to enter the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon, in the last hours of the massacre, in September of 1982. He was one of the first to call the massacre by its name, and to call out its perpetrators: The fascist Lebanese phalange and their allies, the Israeli army commanded by Ariel Sharon, who sent the phalange men into the camps and stood on the surrounding roof-tops, for three straight days, watching the butchery happen.

He later wrote about the Palestinian refugee woman who he saw laying dead in the front yard of her house, surrounded by the washed clothes she was hanging when she was murdered, and a red stream of fresh blood coming out of the back of her head, crossing the yard. Robert Fisk wrote that night, in his own words; “with a freedom of anger and passion I never felt before”. He even went on to say that the events of Sabra and Shatila changed his own way of writing. “We should be passionate,” he said repeatedly in his lectures; “we should be partial and denounce criminals when we see them”.

Bodies of Palestinian refugees in the streets of Sabra and Shatila refugee camp after the Israeli-backed massacre was carried out

Journalism and Power

This understanding of journalism led Robert Fisk to criticize mainstream media in the West, especially when reporting on the Middle East. Fisk referred to what he called “the osmotic parasitic relationship between American journalism and Power. The need to be close, to have contact, to be In on the story” as he regularly explained. This slipping of journalists, further away from the real stories of people impacted by war, and closer to the decision makers, made it easier for governments to sell war to their citizens as something easy. Some kind of “bloodless sand-pit” as Fisk described it. And it also made it easier for people to buy into it.

With such a way of reporting, those in power will rarely be held accountable for their decisions, when they cause death and destruction upon peoples living thousands of miles from their borders. But what is more dangerous is that their political rhetoric, their language, their terminology and their narrative about the places they engage in, will have a monopolized access to the language of reporting. This means that the narrative of those in power will be presented to the public, through the media, as the uncontested, objective facts. Especially when this media presents itself as objective. “Look at the sourcing in this story” Robert Fisk pointed out in one of his lectures in the Georgetown school in Qatar in 2010, referring to an LA Times article dealing with the war in Iraq, “US officials said, said one US justice department counter-terrorism official, officials say, US authorities said, several US officials said …” he went on quoting the sourcing of the article, before concluding; “If this is journalism, ladies and gentlemen, I’m out of work. Why don’t just call the LA Times: ‘US officials said’? ”

The impact of this way of making news was often described by Robert Fisk as “lethal”, and it is. The lethal impact of this toxic relationship between mainstream journalism and Power is no less than the falsification of reality, and, on the long-run, the falsification of history. How else, if not, did the American media come to call the Israeli illegal, colonial, apartheid settlements built on stolen Palestinian land “Jewish neighborhoods”? or to call the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and Gaza, which are, by all international law standards, occupied; “disputed territories”?

But on the ground, the impact is even more lethal. It is the continuation of such inhumane realities without significant citizen challenge. As long as Americans are told that the blowing of Afghan children up into pieces with 200 pound-bombs is “cirurgical strikes”, they will never tell their government loud-enough to stop it. As long as they are told that the 26-feet-tall militarized wall that turns a Palestinian 6th grader’s walk to school into a prison-break is a “security fence”, they will continue to fund it with their tax-money without questioning. Robert Fisk did call things by their names, and he did strive to keep his work free from capture by the Power’s narrative.

In his book “The Great War For Civilization”, Robert Fisk wrote: “After the Allied victory of 1918, at the end of my father’s war, the victors divided up the lands of their former enemies. In the space of just seventeen months, they created the borders of Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia and most of the Middle East. And I have spent my entire career—in Belfast and Sarajevo, in Beirut and Baghdad—watching the people within those borders burn.”

Robert Fisk in 2001 after being beaten while reporting along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan

It was perhaps then, when those borders were created, that the peoples within them lost their voice, and that their story began to be written by somebody else. And at some point along the way, more and more journalists also gave up on reality, confined themselves to borders and sold their pens out to power. Robert Fisk was one of those international reporters who didn’t. One who went beyond the borders created by colonial powers, and took upon himself the task of showing the story of these peoples as they live it. He also encouraged journalists belonging to these peoples to raise their voices and tell their people’s stories from within, as he did with many of his Palestinian colleagues in Gaza.

Today, a new generation of journalists in the Arab world and elsewhere are using the internet to get our own narrative out to the world, and challenge the distortion of our realities by the powerful, and by the lazy journalism reporters orbiting them. And as we, journalists of the burning peoples, are more aware than ever of the fact that no body, not even Robert Fisk, could tell our story with our own words, as we live it, and that less and less international reporters are willing even to try, we still have a thought to give out to the life and legacy of Robert Fisk. Not because he was a pro-Palestinian or a pro-Iraqi, because he was not. But rather because he was a real journalist. That kind of international journalists that we, in the Middle East, rarely see around anymore.

(Source / 17.11.2020)

Austrian police interrogates Palestinians and Arabs over alleged ties to political Islam

“Do you know Yahya Ayyash and Yasser Arafat?”, was one of the questions during interrogations

Vienna (QNN)- Austrian police started a campaign against Muslims, arresting 70 people last week as part of the government’s “war on Islamism” in the country.

The Austrian police claimed it targeted headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, which were raising funds for both political groups.

In the same context, refugee charity associations told QNN that nearly 70 workers were arrested by the police and interrogated regarding their work for refugees.

They added that those who were interrogated were asked about the Palestinian cause, especially Hamas movement, and their opinions about the occupation state.

“Some questions about beliefs have been randomly mixed with others about the Palestinian cause… do you have native Austrian friends? do you wake your children up for Fajr prayer? do you know Yahya Ayyash?”, the source said.

“The police asked them if they knew Yahya Ayyash or Yasser Arafat although that has nothing to do with the financing of terrorism.”

Most of those, whose houses were raided, were Egyptians, in addition to some Syrians and Palestinians, said the sources. Some raids were harsh, breaking the doors and using canines. The police also tried to interrogate some children to know the places where the father hides his money.

Police also seized smartphones, documents, computers and large sums of cash, but no weapons or explosives, reported the Times. Austrian media said €25 million have been confiscated from those, who were arrested. That has not been yet confirmed by the prosecutor.

The operation comes after reports of a visit by senior officials in the Egyptian intelligence three weeks ago. It also comes as part of Austria’s “war on Islamism”, called for by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Kurz, at the time, told German newspaper Die Welt: “Islamist extremism wants to divide our society. This hatred should not be given space. The enemy are extremists and terrorists, not immigrants. There must be no tolerance of intolerance.”

(Source / 17.11.2020)

Israeli raid into Qalandiya leaving injuries

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Local sources said a Palestinian young man was shot with a rubber-coated metal bullet in his eye during an Israeli raid into Qalandiya refugee camp in North Jerusalem today.

Another young man was reportedly shot in his leg during confrontations in the camp.

The sources added that Israeli forces intensively used tear gas in the camp, causing suffocation cases among children and elderlies.

In the same vein, an Israeli soldier was hit with stones during the raid.

The Israeli army also stormed the headquarters of the popular committee as well as several shops in the camp during the raid.

(Source / 17.11.2020)

Israeli military infiltrates Gaza border, raze lands

Two million Palestinians live the Gaza Strip have been subjected to a punishing and crippling Israeli blockade for 14 years and repeated onslaughts that have heavily damaged much of the enclave’s infrastructure

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Israeli occupation forces infiltrated on Tuesday morning Gaza’s border to the east of Khan Younis city, in the southern coastal enclave and razed farmlands.

He said that the military vehicles and bulldozers advanced several dozens of meters to the east of the city, leveled borderline farmlands and erected earth mounds while intermittently opening fire at the site.

Fourteen years following the Israeli “disengagement” from Gaza, Israel has not actually disengaged from Gaza; it still maintains control of its land borders, access to the sea and airspace.

Two million Palestinians live the Gaza Strip have been subjected to a punishing and crippling Israeli blockade for 14 years and repeated onslaughts that have heavily damaged much of the enclave’s infrastructure.

Gaza’s 2-million population remains under “remote control” occupation and a strict siege, which has destroyed the local economy, strangled Palestinian livelihoods, plunged them into unprecedented rates of unemployment and poverty, and cut off from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories and the wider world.

Gaza remains occupied territory, having no control over its borders, territorial waters or airspace. Meanwhile, Israel upholds very few of its responsibilities as the occupying power, failing to provide for the basic needs of Palestinian civilians living in the territory.

Every two in three Palestinians in Gaza is a refugee from lands inside what is now Israel. That government forbids them from exercising their right to return as enshrined in international law because they are not Jews.

(Source / 17.11.2020)

Settlers return to illegal West Bank settlement evacuated in 2005

Israeli Jewish MK tweeted on the issue: ‘The resumption of settlement in Sa-Nur is a necessary moral, Zionist and security step’

More than 20 Israeli Jewish families today returned to Sa-Nur settlement in the northern occupied West Bank, which was evacuated in 2005.

The settlers who lived in the illegal Sa-Nur and Homesh settlements entered the area in the early hours of the morning without coordination with the Israeli army, the Times of Israel said, in protest against the evacuation of the settlements.

According to the Israeli newspaper, the settlers are protesting the evacuation of the settlements –Sa-Nur, Homesh along with two other settlements in the occupied West Bank, which were evacuated along with Jewish settlements in Gaza in 2005.

The paper reported far-right Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich writing on Twitter: “The resumption of settlement in Sa-Nur is a necessary moral, Zionist and security step.”

Smotrich called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow the Jewish families to stay. “There was no logical reason to destroy the settlement in the first place and there is no logical reason not to allow its reestablishment,” he wrote.

Yossi Dagan, the head of the West Bank Settlement Council, praised the return to the settlement, reportedly saying: “It is the right thing to do after it is clear that there is no person left in the State of Israel who believes that this displacement was correct.”

Despite the fact that staying in these settlements is illegal under Israel’s disengagement law, the occupation army has been preventing Palestinians from entering them.

(Source / 17.11.2020)

Syria asks returning Palestine refugees to prove property ownership in Yarmouk

Palestinian refugees have started to apply to return to Yarmouk refugee camp, but they are facing difficult conditions ahead of their return, Quds Press reported yesterday.

In addition to tackling unsafe infrastructure, returnees have been asked to provide proof of property ownership, as well as historic electricity, water, and telephone bills.

Speaking to Quds Press, Abu-Ziyad, a Palestinian refugee, said: “These are difficult conditions because we were displaced from the camp nine years ago.”

Read More: Israel asks America to punish the pro-Palestinian movements

Damascus governorate started to receive applications from the returnees on Tuesday, stating that anyone who wants to return to the refugee camp should provide proof that their homes are safe for them to return to, and ownership paperwork, in addition to other certificates.

The Palestinian refugees said that it is difficult to meet these conditions because most of the houses were partially or completely destroyed and many of the official documents were damaged.

Read More: Palestine hopeful about US President-elect Biden

However, lawyer Noureddine Salman called for the refugees to “immediately” start applying to return to the camp in order to reinforce their rights.

Salman was reported by Quds Press as calling for the refugees not to deal with the offers posted on Facebook and other social media platforms to buy their homes, stressing that “they are being made by opportunists.”

President of Palestinian Lawyers’ Union in Syria, and the legal advisor to the General Commission for Palestinian Arab Refugees, Tariq Murra, told Quds Press that the commission is ready to issue copies of ownership proofs and other needed documents.

He said that the water and sewage networks are working, but the electricity grid is not working because of the damage caused by the war.

(Source / 17.11.2020)

Qatar: Normalisation with Israel undermines Palestinian statehood

Sheikh Mohammed said division was not in the interest of concerted Arab efforts to get the Israelis to negotiate with the Palestinians [File: Khalid al-Mousily/Reuters]
Sheikh Mohammed said division was not in the interest of concerted Arab efforts to get the Israelis to negotiate with the Palestinians

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said Arab states that establish ties with Israel undermine efforts for Palestinian statehood.

In recent months, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan agreed to formal relations in deals brokered by United States President Donald Trump’s administration.

The Palestinians have denounced these agreements as a “stab in the back” and a betrayal of their cause. They fear the moves by Bahrain and the UAE will weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position.

Read More: Normalisation prompts Israel to build new alliances

The UAE, Bahrain and Sudan broke with this position, which had demanded Israeli withdrawal from already illegally occupied territory and the acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

“I think it’s better to have a united [Arab] front to put the interests of the Palestinians [first] to end the [Israeli] occupation,” Sheikh Mohammed told the online Global Security Forum on Monday.

Read More: Zionism threatens all Arab states, normalisation is part of the plot

He said that division was not in the interest of concerted Arab efforts to get the Israelis to negotiate with the Palestinians and resolve the decades-long conflict.

However, for the states who established ties, “it is up to them at the end of the day to decide what is best for their countries”, he said.

UAE officials have said the Gulf state remains committed to Palestinian statehood, and that its deal with Israel had stopped further annexation of lands that Palestinians seek for a state.

Until this year, Israel had only current formal relations with just two Arab states – its neighbours Egypt and Jordan – established under peace deals reached decades ago. US and Israeli officials have said more Arab states could soon follow after the recent deals.

Sheikh Mohammed said Doha maintains some relations with Israel, though only on matters concerning the Palestinians, such as humanitarian needs or development projects.

Qatar supports a two-state solution with occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, a stance the foreign minister reiterated.

Gulf crisis

Referring to a dispute that erupted in 2017 when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar and imposed a land, air and sea blockade against the country, Sheikh Mohammed said there are no winners in the crisis.

“We are hopeful that this will end at any moment and what we need right now is to have serious engagement in a good faither with other countries – and this is what Qatar is prepared to do,” he told the Forum. “There is no winner out of this crisis and all of us are losing,” he added.

The four countries accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism”, an allegation Doha has vehemently and repeatedly denied.

In a related address at the Forum, Trump’s national security adviser said the first step to solving the crisis was to allow planes to fly over Saudi and Bahraini airspace.

“We’d like to get that rift solved,” said Robert O’Brien, adding that he would like to see permission for flights granted within the next 70 days, before a transition of office in the US and noting, “I think there’s a possibility for it.”

(Source / 17.11.2020)

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian woman at military checkpoint

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Israeli occupation soldiers detained a Palestinian woman at a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, according to D.O.P correspondent.

The Palestinian lady was among 16 other Palestinians detained last night by the occupation forces, he said.

The occupation soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint, north of occupied Jerusalem, opened fire to capture the lady, who they claim was walking in a lane designated for cars only.

Read More: Israeli occupation forces kill Palestinian near major West Bank checkpoint

The soldiers immediately closed the checkpoint following the arrest interrupting traffic for a period before reopening it.

Qalandia is the largest Israeli checkpoint in the occupied territories, where Palestinian commuters are forced to go through humiliating inspection as they go about their daily lives.

Read More: Israeli forces shoot three Palestinians near Jenin-district checkpoint

Thousands of Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank have to go through the crowded checkpoint to enter Jerusalem or go to work in Israel, waiting for hours each time they leave or return.

Palestinian human rights groups have long accused Israeli occupation forces of using excessive force against Palestinians.

Meanwhile, PPS added that Israeli soldiers detained seven Palestinians from the Hebron district in the south of the West Bank, including a 16-year-old boy from Arroub refugee camp, an 18-year-old youth from Beit Ummar, and two brothers from Sair.

The soldiers also detained two other Palestinians from the village of Kubar in the Ramallah district and six more from various East Jerusalem neighbourhoods.

The Israeli army carries out frequent arrest campaigns across the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians. Children living in occupied East Jerusalem are the most targeted, the PPS said. Many apparently face arrest at least once a month.

The PPS recorded the arrest of more than 3,000 Palestinians by Israel from the beginning of this year to the end of August.

(Source / 17.11.2020)