WEST BANK, (PIC) – The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday delivered demolition and stop-work orders against structures and homes in different West Bank areas.
According to local sources, the IOF stormed the impoverished village of Zanuta near the illegal settlement of Shim’a in southern al-Khalil and handed local officials a military demolition order against the village council and a health clinic.
The IOF also notified the local authority in Zanuta of its intent to demolish 12 crude homes and tents as well as cattle and storage sheds.
The IOF had already notified in last December 12 citizens from the families of al-Batat, Samamera and Attal of military orders to raze their homes.
Dozens of citizens, mostly children, are living these modest homes. All of them will be homeless soon.
In Qalqilya, the IOF stormed Nabi Ilyas village and handed citizens stop-work orders against three new homes as a prelude to issuing demolition orders against them later.
They also handed a citizen from the same village a notice ordering him to remove a sidewalk stand he uses for selling vegetables.
Meanwhile, the IOF delivered demolition notices against an apartment building and two houses in Asira ash-Shamaliya town, north of Nablus.
Mayor of the town Hazem Yassin said that the IOF delivered a demolition notice against a seven-story apartment building belonging to a local resident called Mohamed Shawwali.
He also said that two citizens received demolition orders against their homes in the town.
12 families would be rendered homeless if the demolitions were carried out, according to mayor Yassin.
RAMALLAH, (PIC) – The Prisoners and Ex-prisoners Affairs Authority said that the prisoner, Fouad Al-Shobaki, 82, is staying in the quarantine section of the Israeli Ayala prison in a dangerous condition after his health took a turn for the worse following his infection with the coronavirus.
The Authority stated in a statement on Tuesday that the prisoner Shobaki was infected with the coronavirus after mixing with a jailer who was driving the Busta vehicle to transport him to an Israeli hospital to undergo surgery in his eyes.
It held the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for Shobaki’s life, as he has prostate cancer and several heart, stomach and eye diseases and needs medical attention.
The Authority called on human rights institutions to double pressure on the occupation to immediately release the sick prisoners and the elderly in particular. It also asked them to work on sending an international medical committee to check on the health conditions of the prisoners.
Shobaki, who is from Gaza Strip, is the oldest of the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli occupation prisons. He has been detained since 2006 and is sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Shobaki was accused of being responsible for trying to smuggle a ship loaded with weapons that was supposed to reach the Gaza Strip.
Israel is holding about 4,400 Palestinians in its prisons, including 40 women, 170 children, and 380 administrative detainees (without charge or trial), according to official Palestinian statistics.
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) – The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) said that the management of Instagram blocked its account, which had over 170,000 followers, within a policy targeting the Palestinian content, describing the step as “sudden and unjustified.”
PIC affirmed that Instagram, which is an affiliate of the Facebook company, disabled its news page despite its commitment to the stated regulations, expressing its belief that the measure reflected the general prejudice against the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people’s right to resist the Israeli occupation, which it described as “a legitimate right enshrined in the international law.”
PIC called on the management of Instagram to backtrack on such arbitrary action and stop fighting the Palestinian content on its social networking service, pointing out that it would make efforts to restore the page.
Credible reports are now emerging of failed plots by Donald Trump to subvert democracy in America and overturn the peoples’ vote. That is why the recurrent theme of US President Joe Biden’s inauguration day was that democracy is precious.
Trump is said to be inconsolable about losing the election. It is probably true to say that a US president hasn’t been so angry at the outcome of a democratic vote since the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip decided in 2006 that they wanted to be governed by Hamas. The then President George W Bush was apparently furious that the free and fair election verified by independent observers had produced Hamas as the winning party. Spurred on by Israel, Bush’s immediate response was to isolate the Palestinians; he even tried to overturn the election result.
Bush also roped in his British poodle to join in the boycott of the Ismail Haniyeh-led Hamas government; the then Prime Minister Tony Blair was happy to oblige. In the years since then, the persecution of the Palestinians for exercising their democratic rights remains disgracefully brutal.
It is to be hoped, therefore, that President Biden’s grand words about democracy as he entered the White House extend beyond America’s borders and will also apply to May’s Palestinian elections. After such heartfelt eloquence on the steps of the Capitol Building last week, Biden must surely encourage everyone involved to proceed with sincerity, including the Israeli government — which can stymie the election if it wants to, simply by banning Jerusalemites from participating — and then, no matter who wins, accept the results. As must Israel.
Hamas may not be the favoured choice in Washington, London or anywhere else, but that matters not. For once, we should listen to the Palestinian people and respect their decision because in any democracy worth its salt, it is the choice of the voters that matters. Biden, Boris Johnson and the others should lead by example, and not simply dance to Israel’s tune if — and probably when — it shouts “security”, “existential threat” or any other “self-defence” red herring.
Biden claims to understand that democracy is all about what the people, not the powerful, want. If the Hamas candidate becomes president and others win a significant number of seats in the Legislative Council, enough to form or join the government, then the new administration in Washington must — if the US president’s words are to count for anything at all — start to engage with the movement.
The Biden team may prefer to have honest brokers to start with who can be trusted by all sides, in which case both Qatar and Turkey should step up to the plate and help to get the parties sitting together to discuss the future of a viable Palestinian state. This would be real progress because, let’s face it, the regular faces at the negotiation table have achieved nothing other than the erosion of Palestinian rights over the past three decades.
In a rare moment of honesty, Tony Blair admitted in 2017 that he and other world leaders were wrong to yield to Israeli pressure to impose an immediate boycott of Hamas after the Islamic Movement won the Palestinian elections in 2006. Without much thought to the long term consequences, Bush, Blair and other leaders severed relations with the newly-elected government until and unless it agreed to recognise Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous agreements between its Fatah predecessors and the occupation state. Predictably, Hamas did not respond well to such demands, and have been demonised and ostracised ever since. The Palestinians were punished for exercising their democratic rights, and the punishment is ongoing. Sadly, other Palestinians have played a leading role in this shabby treatment. Shame on you and your cronies Mahmoud Abbas.
This time round there are, it seems, wiser, more sanguine heads in the White House now that Trump and his team of far right pro-Israel cheerleaders have flown off into the sunset. In theory, therefore, the future should look brighter for Hamas and the people of Palestine, given that the movement has spent its years out in the cold investing in the building of bridges and strategic alliances.
In my opinion, Biden would be short-sighted not to engage with the Hamas leadership, not least because Ismail Haniyeh is, without doubt, a hugely respected figure across the Middle East and beyond among secular and Islamic groups alike. Haniyeh, like Biden, is someone who has a deep and sincere attachment to his faith; he is certainly one of the only political leaders in the region who leads the all-important Friday prayer regularly and is known and respected personally by countless ordinary people.
I met the former Prime Minister at his home in Al-Shati (Beach) Refugee Camp on the edge of Gaza City after Israel’s devastating 2008/9 military offensive known as Operation Cast Lead. Yes, he still lives in the camp in which he was born and raised. It was a poignant moment when we met, as it was Haniyeh’s first visit to his home in more than 100 days because of the very real threat of being assassinated by Israel during its offensive. The settler-colonial state has a proven track record of targeting Hamas political leaders.
So if Biden is as serious about democracy as he claims to be, he should support the Palestinians regardless of who they vote for; encourage free and fair elections and put pressure on regional busybodies such as the UAE to keep out of them; and then engage with the leadership if, as is being tipped, Hamas emerges as a major winner in May. The Palestinian elections need to be treated by Washington with as much respect as the presidential poll which delivered the new US president to the Oval Office last week. Anything less undermines and discredits the fine speeches on the steps of the Capitol Building.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has condemned increasing escalation by Israeli Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, reiterating his government’s decision to prosecute firms trading with settlers, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported yesterday.
Addressing his cabinet during the weekly meeting, Shtayyeh said that over the past few days there has been an increase in settlement expansion, the confiscation of Palestinian land, demolition of homes and uprooting of olive trees in many Palestinian villages and neighbourhoods.
He highlighted the example of three-year-old Jad Sawafta who was attacked as he was heading home to celebrate his birthday with his family.
Shtayyeh condemned the “organised terrorism” of settlers, calling for global powers to list them as terrorists and impose travel bans on them.
The prime minister reiterated that the PA is following up on settler attacks with the UN, the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), reiterating that the PA is going ahead in its legal action against firms dealing with the settlements regardless.
He stressed that dealing with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is a violation of the international law, foremost UN Security Council resolution 2334.
Last Thursday, setters hurled stones at Palestinian cars near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah injuring hree-year-old Jad and his mother.
The Fatah movement has turned down a proposal made by the Democratic Reform Current, led by dismissed Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan, to run on a joint list in the upcoming elections, the New Khaleej reported yesterday.
One day after the issuance of the election decree, Sufyan Abu-Zaydeh, a senior leader in the Democratic Reform Current, posted on Facebook that the party had planned to run on a united list with Fatah. He added that Fatah had rejected the proposal, so the party will now run alone.
Speaking to Al-Monitor, Secretary of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, Majed Al-Fityani, stressed that the Democratic Reform Current does not have any links to Fatah. “Its members,” he explained, “are the reason for all the internal crises inside the movement.”
The official added that everyone is able to run in the elections as long as they comply with the laws.
Fifty-seven-year-old Dahlan was expelled from Fatah’s ruling body in 2011 on allegations of plotting to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and has been living in exile in the UAE since 2012.
He was the former head of the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip.
In December 2019, Turkey added Dahlan to its most wanted terrorist list, with a $1.7 million bounty on his head, due to his alleged involvement in perpetrating the attempted military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government on 15 July 2016, in cooperation with followers of the exiled Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who remains in the US.
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday evening, two Palestinian women and an elderly man from the West Bank governorates of Bethlehem and Hebron.
The soldiers abducted Shireen al-A’raj, 49, in front of the District Court in occupied Jerusalem, after she was summoned for a court hearing.
The woman, from the al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem, was ordered to appear in court after she returned to the West Bank despite an order banning her from entering the occupied territory for five years.
It is worth mentioning that Shireen is the aunt of Bassel al-A’raj, 31, who was killed by Israeli army fire on March 6, 2017.
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Khashm ad-Daraj area, in Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, before abducting an elderly man, identified as Mohammad Daoud al-Hathalin, in addition to a young woman who remained unidentified at the time of this report.
It is worth mentioning that approximately 1200 Palestinians live in Khashm ad-Daraj, and face difficult living conditions due to continued violations by Israeli soldiers, and the illegal colonialist settlers who frequently uproot their lands, and attack their cattle.
Earlier Monday, the soldiers abducted two Palestinians from Hebron, in southern West Bank, including one who was taken prisoner near Nablus, in the northern part of the occupied territory.
On 25 January 2021, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), compromising of eleven Palestinian human rights organizations, submitted a joint urgent appeal to the United Nations (UN) Special Procedures on Israel’s continued demolitions amidst a global pandemic. Addressing five UN Special Rapporteurs, including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, the organizations highlighted Israel’s continued utilization of Military Order 1797 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, adequate housing is considered to be “the front line in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, as demonstrated by stay-at-home and lockdown orders,” as highlighted by Mr. Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, human rights organizations have noticed a significant increase in demolitions carried out under the auspices of Military Order 1797, which allows the demolition of unlicensed structures in Area C deemed as “new” within 96 hours after the issuance of a removal notice, if the Palestinian owners of the structures do not appeal a demolition order, with an approved master building plan and building permit within the provided 96 hours. Consequently, Military Order 1797, in requiring such a quick turnaround time, strips Palestinians of their right to due process, in violation of international law.
While human rights organizations have previously condemned Military Order 1797 for its violation of international law, and warned about its aftermath on the Palestinian protected population, the joint urgent appeal stressed that this issue is of an even more pressing concern during the period of closure, since residents cannot obtain the documents necessary to legally challenge the demolition orders and to file appeals or objections.
In their joint urgent appeal, PHROC and its member organizations requested the immediate intervention of the UN Special Procedures to uphold the rights of the Palestinian protected population during COVID-19, including their fundamental rights to self-determination, health, and adequate standard of living, including adequate housing, and, in particular, to:
Publicly call on Israel, as Occupying Power, to adhere to its legal obligations, and to immediately cease its systematic implementation of policies that are aimed and designed to forcibly transfer Palestinians, including by freeze all demolition orders, including those issued under Military Order 1797;
Call on Third States to comply with their obligations to respect and ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions, by immediately adopting effective measures to pressure Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law;
Call on the European Union to adopt restrictive measure on the import of products, goods, and services originating from illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT, namely by to supporting the proposal for a wide ban of trade with and support for illegal settlements; and
Publicly call for international justice and accountability for Israel’s widespread, long-established, and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, by urging the immediate opening, without any further delay, of a full, thorough, and comprehensive ICC investigation into the Situation in the State of Palestine.
 OHCHR, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context,” UN Doc A/75/148, 27 July 2020.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, on Tuesday, a Palestinian teenager has died from Israeli fire, near Salfit, in the northern occupied West Bank.
The teen, identified as Atallah Muhammad Rayan, 17, from Qarawat Bani Hassan, was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly attempted to stab a soldier at Giti Avishar junction near the illegal Ariel colony.
Israel’s Haaretz quoted the army;
“The terrorist arrived at Giti Avishar junction and tried to stab a squad commander and a female combat soldier that were serving as security at the junction,”
“The combat soldier and the assailant briefly wrestled, and after he tried to stab her several times, the commander shot and killed him.”
Haaretz added that the Israeli army confirmed that the soldier was unharmed by the alleged stabbing attempt, adding that they would open a investigation into the shooting.
According to Palestinian WAFA News Agency, the teen was shot with several rounds, while soldiers made no attempt to provide first aid, and the child was left to bleed out, until he succumbed to his wounds.
“At around 11:30 a young Palestinian man was crossing the roadblock, soldiers attacked and shot him, they hit him, he scuffled with soldiers after they fired at him, they forced him on the ground, then they hit him on his head with their guns, most likely this is what killed the young man, because they stabbed his head multiple times, they busted his head open, they shot and injured him first, then beat him to the ground and assaulted him and hit him on his head, this is what killed him.”
Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Palestinian Health Minister Mai Alkaila has called on today the world community, human rights organizations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross to prevent the Israeli occupation authorities from demolishing a Health Ministry-run clinic in Zanouta village in Hebron in the occupied West Bank.
Alkaila said in a statement that this clinic, which ‘Israel’ issued yesterday a demolition order against it along with several other dwellings in the same village, serves all residents who are now under threat of displacement and loss of their shelters.
“These measures by the occupying authorities are in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and in violation of international accords and conventions, which require the international community to intervene and protect international law,” said the Health Minister.
The Israeli occupation authorities yesterday informed dozens of village residents of the intention to demolish their dwellings, along with the clinic and village council building.
The village is located near an illegal Israeli settlement that seeks to expand at the expense of the local Palestinian population and lands.
There are over 700,000 Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention.