Israeli Colonists Attack Palestinian Cars Near Nablus

A group of fanatic Israeli colonists, illegally squatting on Palestinian lands, hurled stones at Palestinian cars, Wednesday, on the main Nablus – Qalqilia road, in northern West Bank.

Ghassan Daghlas a Palestinian Authority official who monitors Israel’s colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the attacks took place on the junction near Yitzhar colony, near the main Nablus – Qalqilia road, causing damage to many Palestinian cars.

He added that Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene and started closing Palestinian roads leading to Nablus, in addition to invading areas near Huwwara town, south of the city.

The army did not arrest any of the colonists, and did not remove them from the area.

(Source / 24.02.2021)

Army Shoots One Palestinian Near Ramallah

Israeli soldiers shot, Wednesday, a young Palestinian man with a rubber-coated steel bullet, after the army invaded Abu Shkheidim village, northwest of Ramallah, in central West Bank.

Local sources said the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at Palestinian youngsters, who protested the invasion, wounding one of them.

Ezzat Badwan, the mayor of Kobar nearby town, said several army jeeps invaded the al-Morouj area in the town, and inspected sheds that received demolition orders nearly two months ago.

He added that protests erupted in Abu Shkheidim during the invasion, in addition to Kobar Mazra’a al-Gharbiyya nearby villages.

(Source / 24.02.2021)

Palestinian political prisoner Marwan Barghouti for president?

If Barghouti runs and wins the Palestinian election, he may well become Palestine’s Nelson Mandela

Palestinian politician Marwan Barghouti, who is seen as the leader of the First and Second Intifada, is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison. His intention to run for president in the upcoming Palestinian elections has shaken the Palestinian political scene. If he runs and wins, as recent polls have suggested he might, his victory could reshape the Palestinian cause with great implications for the Israeli occupation.

Predictably, Barghouti is facing a stiff opposition from the octogenarian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is planning a rerun, and from his clique of loyalists in the Fatah party, who have been running the Palestinian Authority for over two decades.

They have been trying to dissuade Barghouti from running, as they did the last time around, but to no avail. The popular 61-year-old seems adamant, as this may be his last chance to step up and restore the revolutionary zeal to the Palestinian cause.

Barghouti’s detractors, however, claim that he may be driven by personal not revolutionary motives in seeking to win the presidency, as that may secure his release from prison.

This is rich coming from those who for years have benefitted from running the Palestinian Authority and its security services, while the rest of the Palestinians have suffered under occupation.

Still, regardless of his reasons and their motives, the idea of a long-serving Palestinian political prisoner being elected president is a definite game-changer for Palestine and Israel.

Symbolically, nothing represents the bitter Palestinian reality under occupation more than the thousands of political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails. And nothing personifies the struggle for liberty more than the likes of Barghouti, who spent much of his adult life in an Israeli jail or in exile, including the past 19 years.

During the decades of the so-called “peace process”, the Palestinians were told to hold elections as a way to nurture democracy and pave the way for independence.

They did, but in return, they got more occupation, more illegal settlement, more repression and, yes, more division.

Indeed, after more than 70 years of occupation and dispossession, Palestine remains a prisoner of its Israeli jailor.

That is why in the absence of sovereignty and independence, holding elections in the shadow of occupation is no democracy; it is a contest among inmates over the management and, at best, improvement of their incarceration.

Hence, politically speaking, future elections should aim to overturn the status quo, not prolong it.

But that requires a new younger and bolder leadership to replace the old and jaded one that has failed to attain liberty and justice for the Palestinians.

If Barghouti and his multiplying supporters represent change, Abbas and his lieutenants have come to represent political stalemate and the marginalisation of the Palestinian question.

It is perhaps long overdue for Abbas to step aside, not only because of his old age and poor health, but also because his political and diplomatic project has reached a dead end.

It failed to achieve liberation and independence and failed to stop the illegal Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land from multiplying and expanding since Abbas signed the Oslo Accords in 1993.

He may be hopeful about reviving the “peace process”, with the advent of the Biden administration, but that lopsided process is destined to produce more political paralysis in the absence of a new popular strategy that pressures Israel to reconsider its position.

Diplomacy reflects the balance of power; it does not change it.

The tenacious Abbas may have done all he could, but he failed to safeguard Palestinian unity. It was under his watch that the Palestinians witnessed the worst, most violent split in their history after the 2006 elections, which resulted in Fatah ruling over the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Islamist Hamas ruling over Gaza, until this day.

Last but not least, Abbas has already served 16 years as president, even though he was elected in 2005 for a four-year term only.

All of this begs the question: Why would the 85-year-old Abbas insist on running yet again, when more than a few younger and experienced Palestinians are ready and able to lead?

Clearly, the Palestinian political regime suffers from the same malady that has long plagued Arab regimes throughout the region. It is no coincidence Abbas has vehemently opposed the Arab Spring since its inception.

But unlike other Arab countries, Palestine suffers from both autocracy and dictatorship, otherwise known among Palestinians as Israeli settler colonial occupation.

This is why a change of leadership is urgent and the candidacy of a political prisoner like Barghouti is terribly attractive to so many Palestinians.

But what if Barghouti does run and win? How would he lead from an Israeli prison?

In terms of everyday life, it is the prime minister who is tasked with managing the Palestinian Authority, and Barghouti could appoint any one of the able Palestinian parliamentarians to lead his government.

In terms of the national cause, Israel, the US and others will eventually have to deal with him directly in prison, highlighting the harsh reality of the Palestinian cause, or be forced to release him, which would be a win for the Palestinians.

Palestinian consensus around their very own Nelson Mandela is sure to underline the unmistaken parallel with apartheid South Africa that a growing number of Israelis, Americans, and South Africans have already recognised.

In fact, apartheid was officially instituted in South Africa in 1948, the year Israel was founded on the ruins of Palestine. But when it was finally dismantled when Mandela became president in May 1994, apartheid took hold in Palestine, as Israel used the Oslo Accords of Palestinian “self-rule” to institutionalise segregation and divide Palestine into Bantustans, all “in the name of peace”.

Many Israelis believed in that sort of peace and may be indignant at the prospect of dealing with a political prisoner convicted, fairly or unfairly, on charges of masterminding attacks against Israelis.

But Israeli leaders know better. With so much Palestinian blood on their hands, they are the last to judge this freedom fighter for his record of resistance against the occupation.

For many years, apartheid South Africans also deemed Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) “terrorists” and saboteurs. Mandela himself was not taken off of the US “terrorism” watch list until 2008.

But when South Africa came under international pressure and its leader, President FW de Klerk, showed the necessary wisdom to release the ANC leader, Mandela became an acceptable and credible interlocutor overnight.

But it was not only Mandela: many freedom fighters, who were accused of terrorism for fighting colonialism, became respected statesmen after independence. Their worthiness was measured only by the worthiness of their cause.

Barghouti, who is fluent in Hebrew and even supported the Oslo Accords until he became disillusioned, just like Mandela, also believes in peaceful coexistence based on freedom, justice and equality.

The Palestinian people are ready to present the world with their own Mandela. But is the world ready to pressure Israel, as it pressured apartheid South Africa, to produce its own de Klerk?

(Source / 24.02.2021)

‘Israel’ sends threatening messages to PLC possible candidates

Ramallah (QNN)- The Israeli authorities on Tuesday sent threatening messages to several possible candidates for the next Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

Several figures, including Muhammad Iqtayil and Nayef Rjoub, received messages, ordering them not to run or even participate in campaigning in the next elections.

Nayef Rjoub, a current member of the Legislative Council, told QNN that the occupation state ordered him not to run for the next elections.

“The occupation [state] wants to influence the results of the next elections through its daily arrests and raids”, he added.

“They sent an obvious threatening message to me, warning me of participating in the next elections even if I only participate in a family list. They said my brother, Jebril Ar Rjoub can run for the elections but I can only vote”.

In the same context, Israeli forces broke into the house of Muhammad Iqtayyil and ordered him not to run for the elections.

“In my discussion with an Israeli officer, who broke into my house a few time ago, he ordered me not to participate in the next elections, neither as a candidate nor in anyone’s campaign. So, I asked him: why is it allowed for you to have a political life while we’re not?”, Iqtayil wrote on his Facebook account.

“He said: where do you think you live?! I said: I’m free to run with the PFLP, Hamas, or Fatah. I’m free to do any of that. He said: If you run in the election with the PFLP you will be taken to the Negev [desert jail], and if you run with Hamas you will be taken to Ofer [jail]. My brother asked him: what if he runs with Fatah? he answered: no one will bother him”, Iqtayil continues.

(Source / 24.02.2021)

“The only sure-fire way not to be accused of war crimes is simply not to commit them”

Palestinians clash with Israeli soldiers during clashes in Al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, on December 31, 2017. Palestinians protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

With every settlement and military operation, ‘Israel’ has been paving its own road to The Hague, Avner Gvaryahu, the executive director of Breaking the Silence wrote.

Avner Gvaryahu was born and raised in a religious-Zionist family. He joined the IOF as a paratrooper in 2004, and served as a sniper team sergeant in a special operations unit, mostly around Nablus and Jenin.

After his military service, Avner became involved with Breaking the Silence where he has served as Jewish Relations Coordinator for the past year.

Breaking the Silence, as it describes itself, is an organization of veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.

Avner said that the decision released by the International Criminal Court on Feb. 5, which confirmed that its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by ‘Israel’ in the 1967 war, clearing the way for its chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes, may have been delivered by a panel of international judges, but it is very much an “Israeli production.”

“We have occupied land, built settlements, and whitewashed outposts as if there were no tomorrow, no Palestinians, and no world watching,” he said. “In short, we ended up in The Hague because it was precisely where they have been heading for a very long time.”

During the war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, the IOF killed 2,202 Palestinians, nearly two-thirds of whom had no part in the fighting and 526 of whom were children. According to B’Tselem, 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, and more than 100,000 people were made homeless.

When asked about the Israeli army’s rules of engagement in Gaza, one soldier who testified to Breaking the Silence, explained the thinking that led to these horrifying statistics, “If it looks like a man, shoot. It was simple: You’re in a motherfucking combat zone. A few hours before you went in, the whole area was bombed. If there’s anyone there who doesn’t clearly look innocent, you apparently need to shoot that person.”

“Who’s innocent?” the interviewer asked. The soldier replied, “If you see the person is less than 1.40 meters tall, or if you see it’s a lady. You can tell from far away. If it’s a man, you shoot.”

“The real problem is Israel’s wider, official approach to the use of force,” Avner said.

In the 2006 Lebanon War, for example, the Israeli forces carried out the so-called “Dahiya Doctrine” — the disproportionate use of firepower, from the air and the ground, against towns and villages. The devastating results were entirely predictable.

That same year, the IOF produced a document known as the “Military Ethics of Fighting Terror,” which lays out the “moral, ethical and legal considerations that should guide a democratic state when it faces terrorist activities committed against its citizens.”

Eight years later, as the 2014 war on Gaza was underway, retired Brigadier General Ilan Paz described the dangerous combination of these two military rules:

In the past, I was a member of the IDF committee that looked at the ethical code for fighting terrorism in civilian settings, and changed [the code]. The committee was headed by Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, then commander of the military colleges, with Prof. Asa Kasher and others as members. When the committee concluded its work, I refused to sign off on its recommendations. I thought they gave moral sanction to hurting civilians. The results were apparent during Operation Protective Edge [in 2014]. I am not referring to errors — these happen during warfare. I am referring to protocol, to that ethical code, its implementation and its dire results. There is no justification for harm on this scale, nor can there ever be.

“This is in large part why Breaking the Silence, like many other human rights groups, determined years ago that the Israeli military should not be given the responsibility to investigate itself, ” Avner stated.

He continued, “The introduction to our booklet of testimonies and photographs of the 2014 war, “This is How We Fought in Gaza,” concluded with the following remarks:

The findings that arise from the testimonies call for an honest and thorough investigation into how IDF forces were activated during Operation Protective Edge. Such an investigation will only be effective and meaningful if carried out by an external and independent entity, by actors that can examine conduct at the highest ranks in the security and political establishments. Anything less, as we have seen in past experience, will lead to placing the responsibility for the acts on more junior and lower ranks, thereby precluding the ability to bring about fundamental change that can prevent a recurrence of the harsh reality we witnessed in the summer of 2014.”

Avner said, “For years, we Israelis have trapped ourselves in a bubble. We have refused to heed the warnings against our actions. We have accused anyone who tries to break through the walls of our indifference of committing treason or spewing antisemitism.”

“All the while, we have convinced ourselves that the rules we invented to guide our actions would allow us to continue forcibly lording over millions of people with no rights.”

“The signal received from The Hague last week is an opportunity to reevaluate the occupation in its entirety. It is a reminder that the way to avoid an ICC investigation does not require evasive maneuvers or legal trickery; the only sure-fire way not to be accused of war crimes is simply not to commit them, ” Avner added.

“I do not know how the ICC’s legal endeavor will proceed, but I do know that it did not come out of thin air. We ended up exactly where we were headed. But it is not too late to change course.”

(Source / 24.02.2021)

Blinken asks for Israeli help in facilitating COVID-19 vaccines to the Palestinians

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in a phone call on Monday to facilitate the transfer of COVID-19 vaccines to the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.


Secretary Antony Blinken@SecBlinken
·

United States government official

Great speaking with @Gabi_Ashkenazi today to discuss our partnership, regional challenges, and Israel’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States remains unwavering in its commitment to Israel’s security.

On Tuesday, the Israeli prime minister’s office announced that ‘Israel’ has decided to send a “symbolic amount” of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority and to several countries that have asked for assistance.

The prime minister’s office also said the Palestinians will get several thousand vaccine doses for medical teams.

A similar number of doses will be given to several other countries like Honduras, which sent a plane to pick up the vaccines.

The vaccines will be taken from a supply of 100,000 Moderna doses that ‘Israel’ purchased but hasn’t yet used.

This comes after ‘Israel’ faced wide criticism following banning the entry of shipment of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia and not giving the Palestinians access to the vaccines.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said in a Zoom speech at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on Monday that Israel has refused to give vaccines to the Palestinians or even allow vaccine shipments from abroad to enter the West Bank and Gaza.

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

‘Israel’ has said that half the population received COVID-19 vaccines.

Today, 34.62% of Israel’s population is fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University while it excluded the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.

To date, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, there have been nearly 2200 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic, 545 of them in the Gaza strip. 87580 Palestinians have been infected with the virus.

Last month, ‘Israel’ agreed to transfer only 5,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize just the front-line medical workers.

Last week, ‘Israel’ allowed the Palestinians to send the first shipment of 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines donated by Russia to the besieged Gaza Strip, after it banned the entry of the shipment earlier in the same week.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 2,000 doses of the Russian ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine were supposed to enter Gaza Strip last week, however, ‘Israel’, allowed the entry of only 1000 doses, which has a population of about 2 million.

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

The UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and many other human rights organizations have called on ‘Israel’ to help make vaccines available to the Palestinians, saying ‘Israel’ is obligated to do so under international law.

“The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and immediately act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” said Amnesty International.

“These responsibilities, alongside its obligations under international human rights law, include providing vaccines in a nondiscriminatory manner to Palestinians living under its control, using as a benchmark what it provides for its own citizens. The Palestinian authorities’ own obligations to protect the right to health of Palestinians in areas where they manage affairs do not absolve Israel of its responsibilities,” said HRW.

(Source / 24.02.2021)

Israel detains several Palestinians in West Bank

Three young Palestinians were detained by the Israeli occupation forces from their homes in Tulkarem refugee camp

The Israeli occupation forces detained a number of Palestinians during campaigns in different West Bank areas, at dawn today.

According to local sources, the Israeli occupation forces stormed some areas of Tulkarem and detained a Palestinian from the family of Na’alwa along with his two sons in Shuweika town.

Three young Palestinians were detained by the Israeli occupation forces from their homes in Tulkarem refugee camp, Anabta town, and Illar town. They were identified as Jihad Kharyoush, Qusay Balbisi and Emad Abu Asaba.

In Nablus, the Israeli occupation forces stormed Tell town and kidnaped a young man called Husam ad-Deen Shtayyeh. He was released about one week ago from a Palestinian Authority jail.   

The Israeli occupation forces also kidnaped noted activist Anwar al-Hammoud from his house in Fari’ah, south of Tubas city.

In Ramallah, the Israeli occupation forces stormed the city and al-Mughayyir village and kidnaped two young men from their homes. They were identified as Abd Ba’iraat and Mumen Abu Alya.

(Source / 24.02.2021)

Israeli court extends Sheikh Salah’s solitary confinement

Israel prison service submitted a request to extend Sheikh Salah’s solitary confinement for another six months

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The lawyer of Sheik Raed Salah, Khaled Zabarqa, said on Wednesday that an Israeli occupation court transferred Sheikh Salah, who is the head of the northern branch of the Islamic movement in 1948 Occupied Palestine, last week to solitary confinement in Ohli Kedar prison in the Beersheba desert under poor detention conditions.

Zabarqa added that Sheikh Salah, 62 years old, is prevented by the Israeli occupation court from speaking or meeting with anyone and he can only meet his lawyer and his family.

He said that the Israel prison service submitted a request to extend Sheikh Salah’s solitary confinement for another six months after the expiry of the first six-month period.

“It claimed that Sheikh Salah is a well-known, influential and important symbol for the media which means, according to Israeli interpretation, that he is a security threat to Israel”, the lawyer underlined.

Zabarqa noted that Salah is in good spirits and health despite the Israeli measures against him.

(Source / 24.02.2021)

Israeli settlers steal sheeps from Nablus-district village

Israeli settlers‘ violence includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, among others

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Israeli settlers stole sheep from a Palestinian shepherd in the village of Jalud, south of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus today, according to local sources.

Ghassan Daghlas, a local official who monitors Israeli colonial settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that a group of Israeli settlers broke into a sheep barn belonging to Hisham Hamoud in the village, caused damage to the barn and a shack, and eventually managed to steal seven sheep.

The settlers came from the nearby colonial settlement outpost of Ahilya, constructed on confiscated Palestinian land.

Meanwhile, settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli occupation authorities.

Israeli settlers‘ violence includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, among others.

Over 700,000 settlers live in illegal settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.

(Source / 24.02.2021)

Israeli forces attack fishermen, farmers and shepherds in Gaza

Days of Palestine – Gaza – The Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday morning opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and farmers in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Local sources said that the Israeli navy opened fire and water hoses at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within six nautical miles offshore Gaza city, causing damages to the boats.

Read More: The occupation attacks Palestinian farmers and shepherds in the Gaza Strip

The fishermen had to leave the water and abruptly end their fishing mission, which is their sole source of livelihood.

Israeli forces manning Gaza’s frontier opened fire at Palestinian farmers and shepherds who were tending their groves and flocks to the east of Khan Younes city, in the southern coastal enclave, forcing them to leave.

Read More: Israeli settlers attack Palestinian shepherds east of Yatta

No injures were reported though.

The Israeli occupation forces attack forced the famers and shepherds to leave the area and go home.

(Source / 24.02.2021)