France targeted for giving $10m to Palestinian group promoting good governance

Demonstrators hold a placard urging the international community to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign [Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators hold a placard urging the international community to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign

The French Development Agency (AFD) has been targeted by a pro-Israel lobby group for donating almost $10 million last year to a Palestinian organisation to promote good government practice in the occupied West Bank.

The pro-Israel NGO Monitor accuses France of supporting the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign with its donation for the NGO Development Centre (NDC).

The lobby group makes its allegation on the basis that the NDC facilitated the “Palestinian NGO Code of Conduct” in 2008, which includes a rejection of “any normalisation activities with the occupier [Israel], either at the political-security or the cultural and developmental levels.”

READ: MP to reactivate international solidarity to end Israel’s siege of Gaza

According to the Jerusalem Post, NGO Monitor called on the French government to “revise its grant in line with France’s clear rejection of BDS.” NGO Monitor is known for attacking organisations which document international law violations by the Israeli occupation authorities and provide support for Palestinian civil society.

However, AFD Spokeswoman Magali Mevellec pointed out that France “supports strengthening local capabilities that improve the lives of populations” in what France considers the occupied Palestinian territories. “The sole intention of France and the AFD is to improve the welfare of [those] populations,” she added.

In France, dozens of promoters of a boycott against Israel — including through BDS — have been convicted of inciting hate or discrimination. The European Court of Human Rights ruled last year that the conviction in France of activists who support the BDS movement was a breach of their freedom of expression by criminalising the movement through some of the toughest anti-BDS, pro-Israel legislation in the world.

The BDS movement has called for boycotts against Israeli businesses, universities and cultural institutions in a nonviolent campaign in protest at Israel’s abuses of Palestinians and their legitimate rights.

READ: UK Labour’s Starmer opposes Israel occupation but refuses to support sanctions on illegal products

(Source / 05.01.2021)

Israel forces raid, fire tear gas into West Bank hospital

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - NOVEMBER 11: Israeli forces intervene in Palestinians with tear gas during a demonstration to mark the 16th death anniversary of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, West Bank on November 11, 2020. ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )
Israeli forces intervene in Palestinians with tear gas during a demonstration in Ramallah, West Bank on November 11, 2020

Israeli occupation forces raided a Palestinian hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarm and fired tear gas into it in the early hours of yesterday morning, the Wafa news agency reported.

Director of Thabet Thabet Government Hospital, Haitham Shadeed, told Wafa that he and the medical staff were shocked when Israeli occupation forces raided the hospital’s courtyards and the Outpatient Clinics Section’s waiting room at 3:30am and fired tear gas inside.

The raid spread fear and panic among medical staff and patients, especially children and the elderly, Wafa said. No casualties were reported.

There’s no childhood in occupied Palestine

Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila denounced the raid as “a new Israeli crime that violates all international treaties and the Geneva Conventions.”

She called on the international community to intervene to protect the Palestinian people and put an end to the unabated Israeli violations.

The minister pointed out that this was the third attack by Israeli forces against Palestinian hospitals in less than a month.

Israeli forces attacked Al-Durra Hospital in the Gaza Strip, the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah and Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarm.

(Source / 05.01.2021)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Three Palestinians In Jerusalem, One In Bethlehem

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Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, three young Palestinian men from occupied East Jerusalem, and one near Bethlehem, in the West Bank.

The soldiers stormed and searched homes in the Old City of Jerusalem, and abducted three young men from the Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis) area.

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The Three Palestinians who were abcuted in Jerusalem – Photo by Wadi Hilweh Information Center In Silwan

The abducted young men have been identified as Abdul-Rahman Basheeti, Mustafa Abu Sneina, and Zakariya al-Bakri.

They were moved to the al-Maskobiyya interrogation and detention facility, in Jerusalem.

In addition, the soldiers invaded Janata village, east of Bethlehem, before abducting Abdul-Rahman Sa’id all-‘Orooj,  21, from his home.

In related news, the soldiers abducted eight Palestinians, seven of them from their homes in Hebron governorate, in southern West Bank, and one Palestinian from Nablus, in the northern part.

In addition, the soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, before storming into Thabet Thabet governmental hospital, and fired several concussion grenades.

(Source / 05.01.2021)

Israeli Army Demolishes Structures, Walls, In Anata, Near Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, Anata Palestinian town, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, before demolishing structures and walls, only a week after issuing the destruction orders.

Taha Refa’ey, the Mayor of Anata, stated that the soldiers demolished the structures in the eastern part of the town, close to the Industrial Zone in the an-Najma neighborhood.

He added that the soldiers demolished four commercial structures, and several walls surrounding Palestinian lands, owned by Mohammad Ahmad Ibrahim, Mohammad Hilwa, and Mohammad al-Bayya’.

The mayor stated that the military issued the demolition orders only a week ago, under the pretext of being built without a permit, and carried the destruction out before the residents could file appeals and have their day in court.

(Source / 05.01.2021)

Illegal Israeli Colonists Flood Palestinian Lands With Wastewater

On Monday, a group of fanatic Israeli colonists, illegally squatting on Palestinian lands, west of Bethlehem city, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank, flooded farmlands with wastewater.

Mohammad Sabateen, the mayor of Husan village, west of Bethlehem, said the colonists came from the Beitar Illit colony, which was installed on Palestinian lands.

Sabateen added that the colonists flooded the Palestinian lands near the colony with wastewater.

The villagers went to their lands to find dozens of dunams flooded with the sewer from the illegal colony.

Sabateen also said the attack is aimed at preventing the Palestinians from plowing and planting their lands, and added that this serious contamination would prevent them from harvesting their grapevines and olive trees in the near future.

(Source / 05.01.2021)

B’Tselem: 2020 in the Occupied Territories: Heinous Killings, Settler Violence and a Home Demolitions Spike

Report By The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories B’Tselem: Over the course of 2020, Israeli security forces killed 27 Palestinians, seven of them minors: one in the Gaza Strip, 23 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and three inside Israel.

In the West Bank, in at least 11 of the 16 incidents B’Tselem investigated, the Palestinians killed posed no threat to the lives of the forces or any other person at the time they were shot, if at all, and the forces fired at them with no justification. Several examples:

  • Ibrahim Abu Ya’qub (34) from Kifl Hares was shot in the back from a distance of about 200 meters away while he was strolling through the village, and passed away a short while later. Palestinians had hurled a Molotov cocktail at an army post at the entrance to the village, but Abu Ya’qub was not involved.
  • Iyad al-Halaq (31), a young man from Wadi al-Joz who was on the autistic spectrum, was shot by Border Police officers while fleeing from them. The officers shot him while he was lying on the ground, after a caregiver from the institute he attended daily tried to explain to them that he had a disability.
  • ‘Ali Abu ‘Alia (15) from al-Mughayir and Zeid Qaysiyah (17) from al-Fawar Refugee Camp were both killed by sniper fire from a considerable distance, while Palestinians were throwing stones at soldiers who entered their respective communities. Each of the teens was watching the clashes from afar – ‘Abu ‘Alia on the ground, about 150 meters from the soldiers, and Qaysiyah from the rooftop of his home, about 100 meters from the sniper who killed him.
  • Tareq Badwan (25), a Palestinian police officer from Jenin, was not participating in a confrontation between Palestinian youths and soldiers who had entered the city. A soldier shot him while he was standing at the entrance to a police station – as captured by the station’s security camera.
  • Bader Nafle (19) from Qaffin was shot in the neck by a soldier who was sitting in an armored jeep, after throwing stones at the jeep during a demonstration along the section of the Separation Barrier built near the village.
  • Nur Shqeir (36) from Silwan and Ahmad ‘Areiqat (26) from Abu Dis were both shot and killed by Israeli security forces manning checkpoints around Jerusalem. According to the Israel Police, Shqeir struck an officer with his car after presenting documents that were not his for inspection, fled the checkpoint and was shot by the forces after pulling over several hundred meters from the checkpoint. ‘Areiqat was shot by Border Police officers after hitting an officer with his car. He was unarmed and was shot the moment he stepped out of his car, when he no longer posed a threat.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli security forces killed one Palestinian and desecrated his body

In late 2019, the “March of Return” protests in the Gaza Strip stopped. Throughout the protests, Israeli security forces had opened live fire at unarmed demonstrators on the other side of the perimeter fence, killing more than 220.

In 2020, Israel killed one Palestinian in the Gaza Strip – Muhammad a-Na’am (27), an Islamic Jihad operative from Khan Yunis. According to the military, he and another operative had attempted to plant explosives by the perimeter fence. After a-Na’am was killed, soldiers opened fire at Palestinians who tried to remove the body, injuring two of them, and a military bulldozer desecrated the body, tossing it about as it attempted to pick it up.

Three other Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, one of them a minor (17), were killed after entering Israel. According to the military, one of them had hurled two explosive devices at soldiers.

In 2020, Palestinians killed three Israelis in three separate incidents. Shay Ohayon (39), a civilian, was killed within Israel. Esther Horgan (52), a civilian, and Amit Ben Yigal (21), a soldier, were killed in the West Bank.

For years, Israel has been implementing a reckless, unlawful open-fire policy in the West Bank. This policy is fully backed by the government, the military, and the courts, in utter indifference to the predictable lethal results. To justify it, Israel makes a show of investigation – a charade intended merely to deflect criticism. The rare investigations that are launched serve to whitewash the offenses, and most are closed with no further action. Their contribution is limited to begin with, as they focus – by definition – on exceptions, leaving the rules and the policy behind them unexamined.

In the even rarer cases in which members of the security forces are indicted for killing Palestinians, the charges and the sentences they receive – if they are convicted – do not reflect the gravity of the offenses. In 2020, two soldiers who killed Palestinians in two separate incidents were convicted of breaching the open-fire regulations and of negligent homicide and sentenced to 45 and 90 days of manual military labor, respectively.

Home demolitions

Despite the pandemic and the unprecedented economic crisis, Israel has ramped up home demolitions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In 2020, more Palestinians lost their homes in this area than in every year since 2016 – which saw the most demolitions since B’Tselem began keeping record.

In total, Israel demolished 273 homes in 2020, leaving 1,006 Palestinians – 519 of them minors – homeless. By comparison, Israel demolished the homes of 677 Palestinians in 2019, 397 in 2018, and 528 in 2017.

In 2020, Israel also demolished 456 non-residential structures and infrastructure facilities. This includes humanitarian infrastructure such as water cisterns and pipes or power grids, which are essential to maintaining health and sanitation, which are particularly important at this time.

Although Israel tries to justify the broad destruction as “law enforcement,” the law has little to do with this policy. The planning system Israel itself created – run by the Civil Administration in the West Bank and the Jerusalem municipality in East Jerusalem – blocks Palestinian development and does not permit Palestinians to build homes. This system works primarily to demolish structures – instead of planning to reflect the population’s present and future needs.

Settler violence in the service of the state

In 2020, B’Tselem’s field researchers documented 248 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, including: 86 bodily assaults, in which 75 Palestinians were injured; 27 cases of stone-throwing at homes; 17 attacks on moving vehicles; 147 of the attacks were aimed at Palestinian farmers or their property, including 80 cases of damage to trees and crops owned by Palestinians, resulting in more than 3,000 trees vandalized. In 39 cases, the violent acts took place in the olive harvest season, which lasted this year from early October through late November.

Of these incidents, 72 took place in the presence of soldiers, police officers or DCO personnel, who did not intervene to stop the assault on the Palestinians or their property. In 28 cases, soldiers dispersed the Palestinian residents by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets, and in at least five cases, even live fire. Israeli authorities arrested at least 12 Palestinians during these altercations.

These violent acts could not take place without the sweeping support provided by the state. While security forces back the perpetrators in real time, the law enforcement system releases them from accountability: in almost all cases, no investigation is launched, and no one is held accountable for causing harm to Palestinians. The rare investigations that are launched usually end with no further measures taken. In the even rarer instance of an indictment – the charges fall far short of reflecting the gravity of the acts, and the sentences are ludicrous.

A routine of occupation

The ongoing occupation of the West Bank is not merely a theoretical or political issue. It has constant, daily ramifications for the lives of Palestinians and entails a routine of violence – sometimes explicit, but often hidden from view. B’Tselem regularly documents this routine, and the full picture emerges from figures published by the Palestinian DCO:

Every day – and every night – soldiers enter Palestinians’ homes throughout the West Bank, disrupting the lives of families, intimidating entire households and invading their privacy. In 2020, Israeli security forces invaded Palestinian villages and towns at least 3,000 times and Palestinian homes at least 2,480 times.

The military restricts Palestinians’ freedom of movement within the West Bank as it sees fit, regardless of the disruption to daily life. Soldiers seal off roads permanently or temporarily, detain Palestinians at checkpoints, demand they follow their orders, humiliate them and sometimes resort to physical violence. In 2020, Israeli security forces set up at least 3,524 flying checkpoints in addition to the regular ones.

The military also arrests Palestinians throughout the West Bank. The forces often arrive at night, drawing residents – and their children – out of bed in the dead of night. They regularly employ verbal and physical violence and do not notify the families where the arrested person is being taken, why, and what awaits them. In 2020, Israeli security forces arrested at least 2,785 Palestinians.

(Source / 05.01.2021)

Israeli forces raided Palestinians houses in Tubas in West Bank

West Bank (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces last night broke into Tubas city, northeastern the occupied West Bank, raiding the houses of Palestinians, according to Wafa news agency.

Mahmoud Sawafta, the head of the PPS office in Tubas, said the forces broke into Tubas city and searched the houses of two Palestinians, but no detention cases were reported.

Israeli occupation forces frequently raid Palestinian houses almost on a daily basis across the West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians

According to Palestinian figures, nearly 5,700 Palestinians, including women and children, are currently detained in Israeli jails.

Israeli occupation forces arrested more than 3,000 Palestinians from the start of 2020 until the end of August, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).

(Source / 05.01.2021)

Palestinian administrative detainee enters day 24 of hunger strike

Palestinian detainee in Israeli prison Jibril Zbaidi has entered day 24 of his open hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention without charge or trial.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner Society, an Israeli military court approved last week a request filed by an Israeli prosecutor to detain Zbaidi administratively for six months.

Zbaidi is being held in Megiddo jail, and he was supposed to be released last September after he completed a 10-month prison term.

The prisoner already spent 12 years in Israeli jails before he was released in 2016.

According to Palestinian figures, nearly 5,700 Palestinians, including women and children, are currently detained in Israeli jails.

Israeli occupation forces arrested more than 3,000 Palestinians from the start of 2020 until the end of August, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).

(Source / 05.01.2021)

The two-state solution: The opium of the Palestinian people

It is time for the de-Osloisation of the Palestinian struggle

A Palestinian artist draws a mural awareness campaign against Israel’s West Bank annexation plans, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 1, 2020. – The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it could begin the process to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley from today. The plan — endorsed by Washington — would see the creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory, and without Palestinians’ core demand of a capital in east Jerusalem

By Haidar Eid

Last month, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator and secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, passed away at the age of 65. His death has been seen by some Palestinians as a metaphor for the end of the Oslo era and its twisted logic.

Erekat and many Palestinian political functionaries of his generation have firmly stood by the so-called two-state solution, insisting that the Palestinians will be able to strike a fair deal with the Israelis and their American patrons to establish an independent Palestinian state on parts of historic Palestine.

The illusion that this is actually possible has been maintained through decades of continued colonisation and disastrous agreements. It is “the opium of the Palestinian people”.

The accords with Israel signed by Egypt in 1978 at Camp David, by the Palestinians in 1993 in Oslo and Jordan in 1994 in Wadi Araba were supposed to be necessary steps towards Palestinian self-determination and towards “peace” in the Middle East in general.

But all these agreements ignored the existence of the Palestinian people as a people and their basic rights, including the right of return of Palestinian refugees and equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Instead of insisting on those fundamental rights and following the example of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, which mobilised international civil society around the idea of one person, one vote and the establishment of a secular democratic, non-racial, non-sectarian state, the Palestinian political leadership reduced the Palestinian people to only those living in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

This resulted in the formation of a Palestinian Bantustan of incongruous territories, where Palestinians live under the constant terror of a military occupation and where the Palestinian Authority does not actually exercise full authority.

The insistence on continuing down the Oslo path towards an illusory two-state solution has persisted even after Israel passed a Nation-State law, in which it explicitly declared the right to self-determination in “the Land of Israel” to be “unique to the Jewish People” – i.e. according to the Israeli state, the Palestinians cannot enjoy that right. And it has persisted even as Arab states have pressed forward with normalisation with Israel without any concessions along the formula “peace for land” and as the United States has put forward yet another “peace deal” in which it offers the Palestinians nothing more than humiliating subsistence.

Oslo and its derivative processes ignore the elephant in the room – the apartheid regime which Israel has effectively imposed on historic Palestine. They also do not pay attention to the consciousness of sumud that has emerged out of the Palestinian struggle. Nor do they take into account the long Palestinian legacy of civil and political resistance.

Over the years, many Palestinians have come to see Oslo for what it is and have opted to draw alternative paths to secure Palestinian rights.

In 2001, just a year after the Second Intifada erupted, the NGO forum of the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) was held in Durban, South Africa. It offered a very clear diagnosis of the nature of the Zionist project and paved the way for a much more practical but also progressive path to a new intersectional cooperation between the oppressed Palestinians and other marginalised groups.

In 2005, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement was created and two years later the BDS National Committee was formed to map its forward trajectory. BDS, along with the establishment of the One Democratic State Campaign and the Great March of Return – to give but a few examples – all represent the beginning of a process of de-Osloisation of the Palestinian mind. And in this process, Gaza has played a central role.

Most events that have taken place in the strip since the 2006 legislative elections represent an outright rejection of the Oslo Accords and their consequences. When we bear in mind that 75-80 percent of Gaza residents are refugees, the anti-colonial and anti-Oslo context of the election results becomes that much clearer.

In the following years, the calls for an alternative paradigm that divorces itself from the fiction of the “two-prison solution” intensified. It is a paradigm that takes the sacrifices of the people of Gaza as a turning point in the struggle for Palestinian liberation, one that builds on the growing global anti-apartheid movement that has been given an impetus by the 2009, 2012, 2014 onslaughts on Gaza and by the Great March of Return.

The de-Osloisation of Palestine, for most Palestinian activists, has become a precondition for the creation of peace with justice. That requires a redefinition of the Palestinian cause as an anti-colonial struggle against a system of settler-colonialism and apartheid, and reunification of the three components of the Palestinian people, namely, Gaza and the West Bank residents, refugees, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The first steps of this process were taken in Durban in 2001. The WCAR declaration, in a very peculiar way, demanded from Palestinians to offer guidance to the most effective tool of international solidarity with their struggle to end apartheid in historic Palestine. The language used in the declaration was clear, diagnostic, strong, and – most importantly – uncompromising on basic human rights:

“We declare Israel as a racist, apartheid state in which Israel’s brand of apartheid as a crime against humanity has been characterized by separation and segregation, dispossession, restricted land access, denationalization, ‘bantustanization’ and inhumane acts.”

And this has, to all of us in Palestine, been the beginning of our South African moment, a step in our long walk to freedom, equality and justice.

(Source / 05.01.2021)

Palestine records 1,191 new Covid-19 cases, 20 deaths, and 1,804 recoveries

Days of Palestine – Ramallah – Palestine today recorded 1,191 new Covid-19 cases and 20 deaths, and 1804 patients have recovered from it in the last 24 hours, according to Health Minister Mai al-Kaileh.

She said in her daily report on coronavirus in Palestine that nine people have died in the West Bank, six in the Gaza Strip, and five in East Jerusalem recorded over two days.

Read More: Gaza Health Ministry: 5 deaths and 726 new cases of coronavirus

The West Bank had 545 new coronavirus cases, most of them in the Ramallah district with 138 new cases, followed by Nablus with (70) cases, Hebron (69), Jenin (65), Tulkarm (52), and Bethlehem (39). A total of 683 patients have recovered in the West Bank.

The Gaza Strip had 396 new cases and 866 recoveries in the last 24 hours, while East Jerusalem had 250 new cases and 255 recoveries recorded over two days.

Read More: The international narrative about Gaza, the illegal blockade and Covid-19

Al-Kaileh said 113 patients are in intensive care, among them 27 are on ventilators.

So far, 87.5% of the total Covid-19 cases since the outbreak of the disease in Palestine in March have recovered, 11.5% remain active, and 1% percent have died.

(Source / 05.01.2021)