Press Release: Israeli Authorities arrest accompanier of cancer patient at Erez Crossing

Al-Mezan: the international community must intervene to end Israel’s exploitation of residents’ humanitarian needs

The Israeli authorities continue to use Erez crossing as a means to entrap Palestinians residing in Gaza, notably of those in urgent need of medical care, who are granted a permit only to face arbitrary arrest at the crossing. Patient permits and those of patient accompaniers are only granted in cases concerning a pressing humanitarian need.

In the most recent incident, occurring on Monday morning, 25 January 2021, the Israeli authorities at Erez Crossing arrested Walaa Mohammed Refaie, 35, despite having approved his request to accompany his wife to al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem. Refaie’s wife, 32-year-old Walaa Ayoub (Refaie), is a cancer patient who was granted an exit permit after receiving a referral to the hospital for treatment.

While passing through the security screening at the crossing, Mrs. Refaie was informed of her husband’s arrest. She was allowed to make the trip to the hospital unaccompanied. On the evening of the same day, Refaei told his wife by phone that he was being detained at Ashkelon Central Prison.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and detention of Walaa Mohammed Refaei and the policies and practices of the Israeli authorities that hamper access to healthcare. By doing so, the Israeli authorities deviate from the fundamental rules and obligations pertaining to an occupying power under international law. Al Mezan also stresses that the physical and psychological pain that patients and their companions endure while attempting to access healthcare is a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Al Mezan reiterates its calls on the international community to ensure the respect of international law and to exert pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to ensure freedom of movement of goods and people, and uphold Palestinian patients’ right to healthcare and guarantee the safety of their companions.

(Source / 27.01.2021)

Army Abducts Young Man In Qalqilia, Injures Another Near Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday evening, a young Palestinian man in Qalqilia, in northern West Bank, and shot another near Jerusalem.

Media sources said several army jeeps invaded Qalqilia through the iron gates of the annexation wall, in the southern part of the city, before abducting a young man in Daoud neighborhood.

They added that the abducted Palestinian, Assef Azzam Odah, was riding his motorcycle when the soldiers stopped and abducted him, before moving him to an unknown destination.

Several youngsters hurled stones at the invading army jeeps, while the soldiers fired gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets.

In addition, the soldiers invaded Hizma town, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and fired many gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets at local youngsters who protested the invasion.

Medical sources said the soldiers shot a young man with a rubber-coated steel bullet, and caused many Palestinians to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

Earlier on Tuesday, the soldiers abducted 21 Palestinians, and injured many others, in several parts of the West Bank.

(Source / 27.01.2021)

Sources: Marwan Barghouthi will probably run for President

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Informed sources told QNN that there are several names suggested to running for the Presidential elections next May, including the prominent Fatah leader, who has been held in Israeli jails for 20 years so far, Marwan Barghouthi.

Sources close to Barghouthi told QNN that he would probably run for President for several reasons; including replicating the experience of having a political leader, who fights from jail, fighting marginalization that he has been subjected to by the Palestinian Authority, and highlighting his cause as a political leader and a presidential candidate detained in Israeli jails.

QNN talked to the family of Al Barghouthi, however, they did neither confirmed nor denied the news.

Marwan Barghouti, born in the West Bank village of Kobar in 1962, is a prominent and popular political figure associated with Fatah, currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison. He is a member of the Fatah Central Committee, and of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Often described by Palestinians as the ‘Palestinian Mandela’ he is viewed as one of the strongest leadership candidates to succeed Abbas.

In the run-up to the First Intifada, Barghouti was a student leader at Bir Zeit University involved in popular protests. He was deported by Israel to Jordan in May 1987 and was only allowed to return to the West Bank in 1993 as part of the Oslo Accords.

The following year, in 1994, he became secretary-general of Fatah in the West Bank. During the Second Intifada, he led Fatah’s faction and allegedly directed military attacks against Israeli targets. Israel also accuses him of establishing the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (AMB) at the time.

Barghouti was arrested and sentenced by an Israeli military court in 2002 to five consecutive life sentences for orchestrating attacks on Israelis.

(Source / 27.01.2021)

320 Israeli violations against Gaza fishermen in 2020

Gaza (QNN)- The Union of Agricultural Work Committees said it documented 320 Israeli violations against fishermen in Gaza during 2020.

The union said Israeli terrorizing methods include shooting at fishermen, chasing them, targeting their boats with water cannons, confiscating their boats and equipment, and sometimes suddenly closing the sea for them.

It also warned that Israeli violations increased in 2020 to 320 in comparison with 257 in 2019.

The Union registered wounding 18 fishermen and arresting nine others in inhumane conditions.

It also documented vandalizing 12 fishing boats and stealing four others with the equipment on board. Israeli forces also confiscated and damaged hundreds of fishing nets last year.

(Source / 27.01.2021)

New UN envoy reiterates his support to Palestinians, condemns ‘Israel’s violations

In his first briefing as the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland reiterates his support to the Palestinians and condemns Israel’s violations, including demolishing homes, building illegal settlements and settlers violence.

In his opening remarks, Wennesland welcomed the decision to hold legislative, presidential and National Council elections in Palestine, calling this step as “a crucial step towards Palestinian unity, giving renewed legitimacy to national institutions, including a democratically elected Parliament and Government in Palestine.”

“The United Nations stands ready to support efforts for the Palestinian people to exercise their democratic rights,” he said.

Wennesland also condemned Israel’s plans to build more than 850 new illegal housing units in Area C settlements, urging ‘Israel’ to cease all settlement activities.

“I reiterate that settlements are illegal under international law and are a major obstacle to peace. They undermine the prospect of achieving a two-State solution. I urge the Government of Israel to cease all settlement activity in the occupied territory, including in East Jerusalem.”

Wennesland also condemned Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinians’ houses and razing lands, urging ‘Israel’ to “cease demolitions and seizures of Palestinian property, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law, and to allow Palestinians in Area C and East Jerusalem to develop their communities.”

Wennesland praised the concerted efforts taken by the Palestinian government to contain and halt the spread of the coronavirus, which have succeeded in lowering the overall number of active cases in the West Bank and Gaza.

He also referred to the increasing in Israeli settlers violence against the Palestinians, saying “all perpetrators of violence must be held accountable.”

“OCHA recorded 45 incidents where Israeli settlers and others injured Palestinians or reportedly damaged their property, resulting in 22 injuries and damage to property. In two separate incidents in East Jerusalem and Al Lubban ash Sharqiya, near Nablus, a boy and a man were physically assaulted and injured.”

He concluded his briefing by reiterating “that the financial situation of UNRWA remains a serious concern.”

“The Agency is not only a lifeline for millions of Palestine refugees but is also critical for regional stability. I renew the Secretary-General’s appeal for support.”

(Source / 27.01.2021)

Israeli occupation demolishes mosque in Hebron in occupied West Bank

Hebron (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday demolished a mosque in the Bedouin community of Azwadeen, east of Yatta city, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank , according to a local sorces.

Coordinator of the Protection and Steadfastness Committees, Fuad al-‘Amour, told WAFA that Israeli forces escorted bulldozers into Khirbet Umm Qassa in the Bedouin community of Azwadeen, in what is called the Eastern Slope, where the heavy machineries tore down the mosque, reducing it to rubble.

The demolition was carried out less than two weeks after forces posted demolition notices against the mosque and a local school, which serves 50 students from three marginalized communities, citing unpermitted construction as a pretext.

Israeli occupation constantly demolishes structures built by Palestinians in Area C, including the Jordan Valley, claiming they were built without a permit, rarely, if ever, issued for Palestinians. It does not allow any development there while using the occupied land for its illegal settlement activity.

Area C makes up more than 60 percent of the area of the occupied West Bank

(Source / 27.01.2021)

UN new envoy calls on ‘Israel’ to help make vaccines available to Palestinians

The United Nations has called on Israeli occupation government to help make vaccines available to the Palestinians, saying ‘Israel’ is obligated to do so under international law.

“Israel has launched a large-scale vaccination campaign for its citizens and residents,” said UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland, who replaced Nickolay Mladenov.

“In this context, the UN continues to encourage Israel to help address the priority needs of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to support COVID-19 vaccine availability more generally,” he added.

“This will be critical for the broader efforts of both governments to control the pandemic and is also in line with Israel’s obligations under international law,” Wennesland told the United Nations Security Council, which held its only meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday.

Wennesland said that the “Palestinian government is working to procure a supply of vaccines and anticipates support through the global COVAX-AMC facility. The initial allocations of vaccines to cover priority groups are expected in the first half of 2021.”

Although ‘Israel’ has been praised for its swift vaccine rollout, it has been criticised for not giving Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip access to the vaccine.

As of 3 January 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 159,034 Palestinians in the OPT, including East Jerusalem, have so far tested positive for coronavirus since the first confirmed case was reported in March 2020.

More than a million Israelis, some 12 percent of the ‘Israeli’ population, receive the vaccination in less than two weeks – the highest rate in the world while It excludes the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.

‘Israel’ is obligated to provide Palestinians with the vaccines, as an occupying power.

Under the fourth Geneva Convention, occupying forces are responsible for providing healthcare to the population of the occupied area.

Most states as well as the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, consider ‘Israel’ to be an occupying power.

(Source / 27.01.2021)

US to reopen diplomatic missions for Palestinians, restore aid, Biden envoy says

Washington (QNN)- The United States plans to reopen the diplomatic missions for the Palestinians and restore aid, US envoy Richard Mills told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

Biden plans to take “steps to reopen diplomatic missions that were closed by the last US administration,” Mills said.

He did not name the institutions he was referencing, but its presumed he spoke of the PLO mission in Washington the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, both which had provided direct lines of communications between the Palestinian Authority and Washington.

“The Biden administration will restore credible US engagement with Palestinians as well as Israelis. This will involve renewing US relations with the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian people, relations which have atrophied over the last four years,” he said.

He added, “President Biden has been clear in his intent to restore US assistance programs that support economic development and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people.”

Mills also emphasized on the importance of preserving the viability of a two-state resolution to the conflict, even in the absence of a peace process.

“The US will urge Israel’s government and the Palestinian Authority to avoid unilateral steps that make the two-state solution more difficult,’ Mills said.

Mills set out the Israeli steps the US frowned on, “such as annexation of territory, settlement activity and demolitions.”

“These realities do not relieve member states of the responsibility of trying to preserve the viability of a two-state solution, particularly the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Mills said.

He also called for international protection for the Palestinians from Israeli settlers violence and condemned ‘Israel’ for not providing the Palestinians with COVID-19 vaccines.

(Source / 27.01.2021)

Political prisoners from Jenin demand a halt to their trial by PA

Days of Palestine – Jenin – A number of freed Palestinian prisoners protested Tuesday to demand an end to their repeated prosecution and trial before the judiciary for 13 years, against the background of political opinions, in the context of talks about reconciliation and elections.

The leader of the Hamas movement, Wasfi Qabha, called on the government in Ramallah and the Palestinian judiciary to stop the suffering of a group of freed prisoners who have been pursued before the Palestinian judiciary for 13 years due to the state of division.

Read More: Israeli minister blocks COVID-19 vaccinations for Palestinian prisoners; demand to overturn decision

He stressed during the solidarity stand in front of the Jenin Court, that the real violation of the law is the trial of these prisoners to the judiciary on the background of their political opinions and the expression of their opinion.

He said, “I have been victorious for the Palestinian Basic Law, and I am in solidarity with 13 freed prisoners who have been on trial for several years over cases guaranteed by law and freedom of opinion and expression, in terms of political and organizational action.”

Read More: Bahar calls on the Saudi Shura Council to urgently intervene to release the Palestinian political prisoners in Saudi Arabia

He believed that what is happening against these freed prisoners is a violation of the law in terms of the principle of being a guardian of it.

He added, “We refuse to violate the basic provisions of the law and the policy of gagging. These 13 citizens must be ended their tragedy, and we must embody the rule of law and protect it from any partisan interference, and whoever wants to violate the law should bear the consequences of that.”

He continued: “The interlocutors in all places and in light of the of Palestinian reconciliation must work to end the suffering of these people and provide the real infrastructure for the success of reconciliation to devote themselves to face the Israeli occupation and its crimes,” stressing that we can only face occupation crimes through unity, reconciliation, and joint work.

He added, “When talking about reconciliation, the reality requires an end to this suffering and the release of freedoms to face the arrests, killings, and demolitions of homes practiced by the Israeli occupation.”

Our unity is the secret of our strength, and officials and judges must end this file and put an end to the suffering that has lasted for several years, he stressed.

He indicated that there are prisoners of those targeted who were arrested and released, and the case is still pending in court despite attempts to end it.

He concluded: “These young people are oppressed. Their suffering must be ended in order to provide a positive environment for the success of any elections without intimidation.”

(Source / 27.01.2021)

The occupation demolishes mosque south of Hebron

Days of Palestine – Hebron – Israeli occupation forces dawn Wednesday demolished a mosque in the Bedouin community of Azwadeen, east of Yatta city, south of Hebron, according to local sources.

The Coordinator of the Protection and Resilience Committees in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, Fuad Al-Amor, said that the occupation forces stormed Khirbet Umm Qasra at dawn accompanied by demolition vehicles, and demolished the mosque and turned it into rubble.

Read More: Hundreds of Palestinians protest against a decision to demolish a school and a mosque in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron

The demolition was carried out less than two weeks after soldiers posted demolition notices against the mosque and a local school, which serves 50 students from three marginalized communities, purportedly for being built without licenses.

Read More: The occupation demolishes expansions south of Nablus

Meanwhile, soldiers seized a tin-sheet health unit in Khirbet al-Rakiz hamlet in Masafer Yatta.

(Source / 27.01.2021)