Israeli Colonists Prepare For New Road On Palestinian Lands

Israeli colonialist settlers invaded, Sunday, Palestinian lands in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem, south of the occupied Palestinian capital Jerusalem, in the West Bank, and started preparing for a new road.

Ahmad Ghazal, the deputy head of Kisan Village Council, said the colonists came from the illegal Maale Amos outpost, which was installed on stolen Palestinian lands, and were accompanied by Israeli soldiers.

Ghazal added that the colonists dug and uprooted nearly four kilometers of Palestinian lands, in preparation for the new road which would also lead to the illegal annexation of hundreds of Dunams.

The official also said that the lands were previously dug and uprooted as part of the constant efforts by the colonists to prepare for a new road that would link between Maale Amos and Avi Hanahal colonies.

All of Israel’s colonies in the occupied West Bank are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, in addition to various United Nations resolutions.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Al-Mezan stands against Israeli apartheid on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Al-Mezan Center For Human Rights: March 21, 2021: March 21 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It was first proclaimed in 1966 by the United Nations (UN) in memory of the Sharpeville massacre during apartheid in South Africa and solidarity with peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination.

Since then, the international legal framework to counter racism and racial discrimination has expanded considerably in all fields of international law, guided by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The value attributed to the principle of non-discrimination by the international community is such as to regard the prohibition of racial discrimination and apartheid as a peremptory norm of general international law, which violations amount to crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Despite the existence of a robust framework to combat all forms of racial discrimination and apartheid around the world, the international community remains silent in the face of the decades-old apartheid system established by Israel against the Palestinian people.

Earlier this week, Al Mezan’s Director, Mr. Issam Younis, delivered a joint statement at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council during the General Debate under Agenda Item 9, which concerns racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

Al Mezan’s statement drew the attention of the international community to the apartheid regime instituted by Israel and endured by the Palestinian people, a regime that undermines the Palestinian right to self-determination and amounts to a crime against humanity under the ICC’s Rome Statute:

“Since 1948, Israel has instituted a series of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices that form the foundation of its institutionalized regime of systemic oppression, domination, segregation, and fragmentation of the indigenous Palestinian people. This colonial project against the entirety of the Palestinian people amounts to the crime of apartheid under the ICC’s Rome Statute.

Israel’s illegal and discriminatory closure policy and use of military force in the Gaza Strip form part of this campaign and serve as a deliberate attempt to destroy life and divide the Palestinian people. Israel’s systematic extrajudicial killing and arbitrary arrest and torture practices undermine the inherent dignity of the person and violate the right to life and liberty of person.

Israel’s water domination, selective vaccine application, and movement restrictions that limit food supply deny adequate healthcare, and destroy family life are also manifestations of the discriminatory policies employed throughout its prolonged occupation.

We emphasize that apartheid is prohibited under international law as a peremptory norm and call on the Council and the UN Member States to fulfill the duty to cooperate to bring these violations to an end, and to encourage the ICC Prosecutor to investigate Israel’s apparent continuous perpetration of the crime against humanity of apartheid, amongst other apparent crimes committed against Palestinians.”

The statement was co-sponsored by the Palestinian and regional organizations Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Haq, Law in the Service of Man, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Al-Mezan deplores water situation in Gaza and calls for Palestinians’ right to water and accountability for water-related violations

Al-Mezan Center For Human Rights: Water is the essence of all forms of life, including that of humans. As such, water is a recognized human right by itself, as well as a prior condition to implement other basic rights, including the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to health. In 1993, the United Nations (UN) instituted an awareness day to focus the attention on water-related issues and to advocate for sustainable and rights-based water policies. Ever since March 22 is globally known as World Water Day.

To mark this year’s World Water Day, the UN called on communities around the world to debate and discuss the values of water and address the following question: what does water mean to you? As is to be expected, water means different things to different people in different settings. For the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), water is not only an essential element for leading a life in human dignity but also a tool of control, domination, and oppression by Israel, the Occupying Power.

Since the start of the occupation in 1967, Israel and its parastatal institutions have purposely prevented Palestinians from controlling their water sources throughout the whole oPt, thereby flagrantly violating their inalienable right to self-determination, including permanent sovereignty over natural resources. The extent of control exercised by Israeli authorities over the water sector has impeded Palestinian access to their water sources, such as the Jordan River, to maintain and develop existing water facilities or to build any new infrastructure without having been granted an Israeli-issued permit.

This system of racialized and institutionalized material discrimination implemented by Israel and its parastatals in the water sector has led many rights groups to describe it as “water apartheid”, possibly amounting to a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.[1]

The Gaza Strip, part of the oPt, has been affected for years by a severe and purely human-made water crisis that continues unabated. In parallel to the Israeli occupation and apartheid system, the crisis is further compounded by Israel’s 13-year illegal closure and systematic military attacks on civilian populations and infrastructure in Gaza. The closure—which is considered an unlawful collective punishment of two million Palestinians under international law—and full-scale military bombardments have pushed all basic services in the Gaza Strip to the brink of collapse, including water and sanitation facilities.

Several years ago, the UN Country Team in the oPt warned that by 2020 “with the supply of water too low to meet the demand, the living and health conditions of the people of Gaza can only further deteriorate, exposing the population to water-borne illnesses, and other threats.”[2] In the same report, it was said that the Gaza Strip in 2020 would no longer be “a livable place” unless action was taken. And yet, in 2021, 95 percent of Gaza’s two million population still do not have access to clean water, as 97 percent of water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption based on the standards of the World Health Organization.[3] In light of these figures, what does water mean for Gaza’s population?

For many Palestinians in Gaza, safe and clean water means expensive and unaffordable water. Indeed, as a result of the poor financial situation and high levels of poverty in Gaza, most of its population cannot afford to buy drinkable water and must rely solely on tap water (when available). For just as many, the lack of water means being unable to implement even basic safety and preventive measures for COVID-19, such as hand-hygiene. For the Palestinian agricultural community in the “buffer zone”, the no-go military area unilaterally enforced by Israel within the territory of the Gaza Strip, water means work, cultivation, growth, but also devastation.

For several years now, Al Mezan has been reporting episodes of flooding incidents carried out by Israeli authorities, undermining the activities of Palestinians farming in the buffer zone. Israel has in fact built several dams within its territory to control and redirect the natural flow of water away from the Gaza Strip. When these dams reach their full capacity, the Israeli authorities open their gates and deliberately flood Palestinian farmland in the buffer zone, devastating harvests and causing huge damages to houses and other properties.

On World Water Day, Al Mezan recalls the words of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the oPt, who rightly noted that “[t]he collapse of natural sources of drinking water in Gaza […] has become a potent symbol of the systematic violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”[4]

With the understanding that having access to safe, clean and drinking water is central to living a life in dignity and to ensuring respect for a wide set of human rights, Al Mezan seizes the occasion to call on third States and the international community to uphold their moral and legal obligations towards the occupied Palestinian people, also by guaranteeing the respect for the human right to water—which requires an equal, inclusive and non-discriminatory access to safe and clean water— and by ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the oPt, including those that are water-related.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Statistics Bureau: “Only 4% of household members in Gaza Strip have access to safely managed water that is free of pollution”

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) Issue a joint Press Release on the Occasion of World Water Day; on March 22nd, 2021

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) issue a joint press release on the occasion of World Water Day; on March 22nd, 2021. This year, World Water Day comes under the theme of “Water Source Security: Is desalination the way to go?”, according to the announcement of the United Nations.

The availability of clean and accessible water for all is an essential part of the goals of sustainable development goals. It is the first target of goal 6, which focuses on equitable access to an improved drinking water by 2030.

As for safely managed water resources [defined as improved sources, used in the dwelling, available when needed, and free from pollution (free of E-Coli bacteria)], the survey data indicates that 39.5% of household members in Palestine have access to safely managed water, and this percentage fluctuates among the West Bank, in which it reaches 66.2% of household members, compared to 4.3% of household members in Gaza Strip.

The daily allocation per capita from consumed water for domestic purposes is 81.9 liters/capita/day (l/c/d) in Palestine: 85.6 (l/c/d) in the West Bank, while it was 77 (l/c/d) in Gaza Strip in 2019.

It is worth noting that the average Palestinian water consumption per capita is still less than the minimum recommended level globally according to the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 100 liters per day. This is as a result of the Israeli control over more than 85% of the Palestinian water.

The amount of water extracted from the coastal aquifer for domestic use was 187.6 million cubic meters (MCM) in Gaza Strip in 2019. However, this quantity is obtained via unsafe pumping that jeopardizes the sustainability of the source, as the basin sustainable yield should not exceed 50-60 MCM a year.

More than 97% of the water pumped from the coastal aquifer in Gaza Strip does not meet the water quality standards of the WHO, leading to the depletion of groundwater reserves, where the groundwater level in the coastal aquifer reached 19 meters below sea level.

The above-mentioned numbers warned of a real disaster in Gaza Strip, which made the Palestinian Water Authority to intensify its efforts to save the water situation and work to mitigate its severe effect on the daily life of about 2 million persons in Gaza Strip. It is expected for these indicators to improve in the coming years, with operating strategic water and sewage projects in Gaza.

On the other hand, the quantity of water pumped from the Palestinian wells in the West Bank in 2019 was 101.3 MCM from Eastern Aquifer, Western Aquifer, and North-Eastern Aquifer.

With scarce water and Israeli restrictions on access to resources, Palestinian cities are forced to purchase water from the Israeli water company “Mekorot”.

Note: Data mentioned in this press release excludes those parts of Jerusalem which were annexed by Israeli Occupation in 1967.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Eighteen Palestinians In West Bank

Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier Monday, eighteen Palestinians from their homes, in Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, and Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said.

The PPS office in Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, said the soldiers invaded and searched homes in ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the city, and abducted Ahmad Eid Abu Aker, 33, Hamdi Mustafa Abu Aker, 34, and Abdo Faisal Abu Hammad, 37.

In added that the soldiers also invaded the al-Jadawil area in Beit Jala city, west of Bethlehem, searched homes and abducted Nafeth Othman Shehada, 33.

Furthermore, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Wael at-Till, 28, from his home in the ath-Thaheriyya town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, in addition to Ali Ezzeddin Abu Mariya, 18, from his home in Beit Ummar town, north of the city.

In Hebron city, the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes, in addition to installing roadblocks on its northern and southern roads, and the entrances of Sa’ir and Halhoul towns, northeast, and north of Hebron, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated the Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

In the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, the soldiers stormed and ransacked many Palestinian homes in the Old City, before abducting eleven Palestinians, identified as Amir al-Basity, Eyad al-Basity, Mahmoud Shaweesh, Mustafa Abu Ghazala, Majd Sharifa, Amin Dweik, Khaled Milhis, Mohammad Abu Farha, Abdullah al-Harbawi, Mohammad Bassem Hijazi, and Jihad Qous.

In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers invaded the al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of the city, and abducted a young man, identified as Bilal Kifaya.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Palestinian officials urge Turkey to oppose Israeli demolitions

Istanbul (QNN)- The leader of the Palestinian group Hamas on Saturday urged Turkish officials to oppose Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in occupied Jerusalem, Anadolu Agency reported.

Ismail Haniyeh and other senior members of Hamas met Turkish officials and legislators, including Hasan Turan, the head of the Turkey-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group, in a visit to Istanbul for official talks.

According to a written statement by Hamas, Haniyeh pointed out during the meeting that the demolition by Israeli occupation of Palestinians’ homes and their deportation from Jerusalem, especially Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, must be stopped.

While noting Turkey’s “political weight” and “network of international and diplomatic relations capable of taking a positive action for Jerusalem,” Haniyeh called for a common stand against such “crimes against the Palestinian people” with other regional and international parliaments.

Haniyeh also said Israel’s decision to evict seven families in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood would be a “crime against humanity and a catastrophe” for the neighbourhood and its residents, who would be rendered homeless.

Since November 2008, Israeli occupation authorities have forcibly expelled five Palestinian families in Karem Al-Ja’oni section of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood from their homes.

Today, an additional eight Palestinian families are under the imminent threat of being evicted from their homes.

These houses are all included in the 28 Palestinian homes designated for eviction to make way for a new Israeli settlement known as “Shimon HaTsadiq”.

A plan for the settlement, consisting of 200 housing units on 18 dunums, has already been submitted to the Israeli occupation municipality in Jerusalem.

In Batn Al Hawa neighborhood in Silwan, seven Palestinian families are under the imminent threat of being forcibly evicted from their homes.

They are part of 87 families designated for forcible house eviction in the neighborhood. An Israeli court had previously rejected the petition filed by the residents of Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Al-Hara Al-Wusta (central quarter) of Silwan, south of occupied East Jerusalem, and allowed “Ateret Cohanim” settler organizations to continue its procedures relevant to the immediate expelling of the seven Palestinian families.

The Israeli occupation municipality in Jerusalem has also asked Israeli courts to reactivate demolition orders relating to 119 of buildings housing 1,550 Palestinians in al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem.

The request was filed with an Israeli court three weeks ago. If approved, seven of the 119 houses in the al-Bustan neighborhood are at immediate risk of demolition.

Hundreds of Palestinian families are being threatened with evictions and house demolitions from their homes by illegal settler groups, fully supported by the Israeli government.

In the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan alone, homes that have been evicted of their Palestinian inhabitants, being replaced by illegal settler groups implanted in the middle of the Palestinian neighborhoods.

On Saturday, Turkey condemned the demolition, evacuation, and confiscation of Palestinian property by Israeli occupation in the occupied territories, noting that such illegal acts “demonstrate that Israel intends to consolidate its occupation rather than aiming for peace.”

“Israel’s recent decisions of forced eviction, demolition and confiscation targeting Palestinians in the occupied territories, in particular in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem, are the latest examples of Israeli steps in violation of international law,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement.

“These illegal acts clearly demonstrate that Israel intends to consolidate its occupation rather than aiming for peace.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the acceleration of such steps by Israel at a time when the Palestinians are fighting against the adverse conditions created by the Covid-19 epidemic “further hurt everyone’s conscience.”

It called on the international community to show solidarity with the Palestinians against Israel’s expansionist policies.”

Turkey has long been a strong supporter and defender of the rights and the cause of the Palestinians.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Israeli ‘Water-Apartheid’ in Palestine constitutes systemic attack, says rights group

Marking World Water Day, al-Haq said, in a press release, that since the initial observation of the United Nations World Water Day on 22 March 1993, ‘Israel’ has continued to consolidate and expand its domination of the Palestinians through its discriminatory and unlawful policies and practices around the control and distribution of water.

The human right to water encompasses a number of elements, including availability, quality, and accessibility, and includes the ability to both physical access water and the principle of non-discrimination in the distribution of water.

The occupied Palestinian Territories’ natural water supply comes from three main sources: the Jordan Valley, the Mountain Aquifer, which stretches from the West Bank across the Green Line, and the Coastal Aquifer, located around the Gaza Strip.

Each of these sources are under Israeli military control, and have been the subject of extensive restrictions introduced either by the Israeli occupying forces or Mekorot, the Israeli national water company, into which the Palestinian water system has been integrated, said al-Haq.

“Palestinian direct access to water in the occupied West Bank is denied in favour of providing access to illegal Israeli settlements.”

Approximately 50,000 Palestinians residing in Area C of the West Bank are denied access to clean, safe, and affordable water, while as of 2016, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank consumed on average only 73 litres of water per day, well below the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended 100 litres.

Conversely, Israeli settlers consumed approximately 369 litres per day, over three times the recommended average. It is estimated that Israeli settlers, illegally residing in the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPT), consume three to eight times more water than the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem.

Israel’s denial to Palestinians of the human right of access to water has been aggravated by COVID-19, with the pandemic presenting a disproportionate and substantial threat to a Palestinian society deliberately denied for decades the right to develop a functioning healthcare system, as a result of apartheid policies and practices imposed by Israel’s occupation, it.

Al-Haq said that ‘Israel’, as Occupying Power, has failed and is continuing to disregard its obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is borne out not only by the absence of any effort at adopting and applying ‘the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics,’ but by Israel’s discriminatory policies and practices, which actively deny Palestinians access to adequate water and sanitation.

The ongoing pillage by ‘Israel’, and with the complicity of corporate actors, of Palestinian water resources in the occupied West Bank is having a disproportionate affect on Bedouin and herder communities and Palestinian farmers.

These communities depend fully or partially on water for their survival and livelihoods, and are particularly severely affected by Israeli and corporate pillage of their natural resources including water.

Bedouin communities are most affected by Israeli policies of fragmentation, discriminatory planning and zoning, resulting in demolitions and land confiscations, promotion of ‘relocation’ plans, forced evictions, denial and restrictions on access to essential services and natural resources, including to farming and grazing land and water; restrictions on freedom of movement; lack of enforcement of settler violence and exposure to military trainings and activity in closed military areas and firing zones, and related temporary displacement, as well as the risk posed by unexploded munitions.

Israeli ‘Water-Apartheid’ constitutes a systemic attack on the Palestinian people’s right to water and sanitation as well as a concerted assault on the broader right of Palestinians to the highest attainable standard of health, at a time of unprecedented global crisis, it said.

Al-Haq called upon third States, the international community, and private entities to recognize Israeli policies and practices with regards to access to water in the OPT as a gross and systematic denial of the right to health and to water and sanitation.

Al-Haq also called on to recognize the contributing factor of the construction, and maintenance, of Israel’s institutionalized regime of systematic racial domination and oppression, amounting to the crime of apartheid, over the Palestinian people as a whole.

“In line with their obligations erga omnes under international law, we urge all States to take positive measures, address the root causes of the apartheid and occupation and to bring this unlawful situation to an end,” it stated.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Palestinian Election 2021: How Jerusalemites will participate in the elections

Days of Palestine – Jerusalem – The Executive Director of the Central Elections Commission, Hisham Kahil, affirmed that there is a Palestinian agreement that residents of occupied Jerusalem should participate in the upcoming elections.

Kahil said that the Palestinian factions agreed in the second Cairo meeting on (16-17) this March that elections should be held in the holy city, as happened in the previous elections, and therefore all efforts are directed towards that.

Read More: If you participate with Hamas in elections you will be jailed: Israel said to Palestinian in West Bank

He explained that the form of the participation of Jerusalemites will be the same as in the previous elections in 2006.

He continued that the committee does not open centers for it in Jerusalem because of the prohibition of the Israeli occupation, and we consider every Jerusalemite registered, whether for the purpose of election or candidacy and therefore his name is included in the elections’ lists.

Read More: Haniyeh: We prefer to participate in the legislative elections through unified national list

He stated that the committee registers Jerusalemites who vote in six postal centers inside Jerusalem, while the rest of Jerusalemites can go to 15 centers in the vicinity of the city to register and vote on the same day, and this does not affect the electoral process.

The Election Commission affirmed the right of Jerusalemite citizens to run and vote in the 2021 Palestinian elections.

The census of the Palestinian population in the world until the beginning of the year 2021 indicates that their number reached 13.7 million, including 417 thousand people in occupied Jerusalem.

According to the Election Commission, 118,000 citizens are entitled to vote in occupied Jerusalem.

The head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, stressed the necessity of holding elections in Jerusalem and the participation of the people of the city in the elections.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Israeli authorities impose a comprehensive closure on West Bank and Gaza tomorrow

Days of Palestine – Ramallah – The Israeli occupation authorities announced the imposition of a comprehensive closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, starting tomorrow, Tuesday, under the pretext of securing the “Israeli Knesset elections.”

Today, Monday, Hebrew media outlets said, “Israel will impose a closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip regions on the day of the elections in Israel on 03/23/2021, according to an assessment of the security situation.”

Read More: Hamas: Israeli aggression will not stop without a comprehensive confrontation

The “Israelis” go to the polls tomorrow for the fourth time in two years. The results of the previous elections, close and disagreements between the parties, prevented the formation of a stable government.

Those infected with the Coronavirus and subject to quarantine procedures will be allowed to vote in special centers, where they can vote without leaving their vehicles.

Read More: Massive Israeli campaign of raids and arrests in the West Bank and Jerusalem

According to Israeli sources, another closure will be imposed on the West Bank and the crossings with the Gaza Strip during the Jewish “Passover” holiday from Friday 26/03/2021 until midday on Saturday 03/04/2021.

(Source / 22.03.2021)

Foreign Ministry: Communications with ICC will continue despite the obstacles of Israel

Days of Palestine – Ramallah – The Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Ramallah government, Riyad Al-Maliki, confirmed that contacts will continue with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, “Fatou Bensouda,” despite all the obstacles imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities.

In response to the Israeli occupation authorities’ withdrawal of the VIP card from him, and subjecting his team to the investigation during their return to Palestine through the Karama crossing, Al-Maliki said, “His card has expired for five years and has not been renewed. It is for travel on official foreign missions, representing the State of Palestine”.

Read More: The Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister criticizes Israel’s brutality in dealing with Palestinian children

He added, in an interview with “Voice of Palestine” radio, today, Monday, that the Israeli occupation authorities informed the foreign ministry staff at the Jordanian-Palestinian border, after interrogating them, that dealing with the International Criminal Court is a red line, and threatening to implement penalties if they go ahead and coordinate with them.

He explained that the meeting with Bensouda stressed the need to accelerate the opening of the investigation, transfer files in the transitional period for the new president, and for there to be practical steps on the ground to continue them, instead of examining the files anew from the new team of the court.

Read More: Ministry of Health of Ramallah distributes anti-coronavirus vaccines within a framework of favoritism

Regarding diplomatic moves, Al-Maliki stressed that the Security Council meeting on the current 25th will discuss the Palestinian situation, and the Palestine mission will demand the implementation of Resolution (2334), which condemned settlement activity, indicating that meetings will be held with Arab ambassadors in the United States and asking them to communicate with the United Nations and the Security Council to push for holding an international conference for peace and condemning the crimes of the Israeli occupation.

(Source / 22.03.2021)