Israel army to double troop numbers in West Bank

Chief of Staff of the Israeli occupation army, Aviv Kochavi on 12 November 2019 in Tel Aviv [Amir Levy/Getty Images]
Chief of Staff of the Israeli occupation army, Aviv Kochavi on 12 November 2019 in Tel Aviv 

Israeli occupation forces are to increase the number of troops in the occupied West Bank in preparation for a possible escalation, Israeli media reported an army official saying yesterday.

“The IDF [Israeli army] will increase its forces and expand its operational activities in the coming weeks in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank] as part of its readiness for escalation,” Chief of Staff of Israeli Army Aviv Kochavi said during a visit to the occupied West Bank.

This came during a manhunt campaign being conducted in the West Bank to look for suspects who opened fire at Israeli settlers near Zaatara checkpoint near the city of Nablus.

Sources reported that occupation forces used live ammunition to deter protests and gatherings of Palestinians who attempted to stop the Israeli occupation army from attacking their neighbourhoods.

OPINION: If Israel has committed no war crimes, then why does it refuse the ICC probe?

“Many forces, with the help of intelligence officials and the Shin Bet [Israel Security Service] have been working since yesterday [Sunday] to find the terrorists, and will continue to do so until the mission is completed,” Kochavi added.

“The IDF will continue to act as required in all sectors in order to ensure the security of Israeli citizens,” Kohavi said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“We will not allow terrorism to raise its head and we will strike our enemies with force,” he said.

(Source / 04.05.2021)

Israel settlers attack Palestinian homes in Nablus

Palestinians react to Jewish settlers for trying to seize agricultural lands of Palestinians in al-Ras region in Selfit, West Bank on November 30, 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians react to Jewish settlers for trying to seize agricultural lands of Palestinians in al-Ras region in Selfit, West Bank on November 30, 2020

Extremist Jewish settlers yesterday attacked Palestinian homes in occupied Nablus’ southern town of Qusra.

The Palestinian official who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Douglas, said in a statement that a “number of settlers, under the protection of security forces, attacked houses in the southern area of the village,” adding that locals were able “to fend off their attack.”

He pointed out that protests erupted after occupation forces stormed the used ammunition and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Occupation forces also arrested 19 Palestinians from across the West Bank.

WATCH: Israel court gives Sheikh Jarrah families until Thursday to reach deal with settlers

(Source / 04.05.2021)

Israel settlers attack Palestinians as they protect their own property

Israeli forces stand in front of Jewish settlers who are harassing Palestinians in the West Bank [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]
Israeli forces stand in front of Jewish settlers who are harassing Palestinians in the West Bank 

Jewish settlers yesterday attacked Palestinians who were defending their land against attempts by settlers to take over the area in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Wafa news agency reported.

Palestinian Aref Jaber said a group of settlers squatted on his 25 dunam (6 acres) land in Al-Baq’a area and attempted to set up a mobile home as a means to take it over. They were protected by occupation forces, he added.

When Jaber and other landowners attempted to confront the illegal settlers, the infiltrators attacked them with pepper spray and beat them.

This is not the first time settlers have tried to take over his property, Jaber explained, adding that it overlooks large parts of the 50 dunam (12 acres) area which the settlers are working to take over for the expansion of a nearby illegal settlement.

The assailants came from the nearby Israeli Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba.

READ: Israel settlers attack Palestinian homes in Nablus

(Source / 04.05.2021)

Three Israeli Settlers Shot in Drive-By Shooting Near Nablus

On Sunday evening, three 19-year old Israeli settlers were shot and injured by gunshots from a passing vehicle while standing on the roadside by Za’tara military checkpoint in southern occupied Nablus.

Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint opened fire at the vehicle from which the shots were fired — identified as a silver SUV — but the vehicle drove away.

The three wounded Israelis were identified as Yehuda Guetta from Jerusalem, Benaya Peretz from Beit Shean, and Amichai Hala from Safed. The three were students at a Yeshiva (Jewish religious school) located in Itamar settlement, built on stolen Palestinian land near Nablus.

One sustained critical injuries, one sustained moderate injuries, and the third’s injuries were described as light.

According to the Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, “The [Israeli military] and security forces will not rest until they get their hands on the terrorists who carried out the attack”.

Following the shooting, Israeli forces closed the checkpoint, preventing all Palestinian civilians from entering or leaving the area. They also began invading nearby villages and towns, forcing all residents to remain in their homes during the invasions.

In addition, the Israeli military set up a number of ‘flying checkpoints’ throughout the northern West Bank, forcing Palestinian civilians to remain stopped on roadways for hours at a time waiting for their vehicles to be examined by the soldiers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a a statement saying that, “We will not allow terror to raise its head, and we will strike our enemies forcefully.”

The three victims were taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva for treatment.

The attack came in the midst of high tensions throughout the West Bank, with numerous attacks against Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers and soldiers. The violent attacks against Palestinian civilians began two weeks ago, at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when a right-wing Israeli group Lehava held a march through Palestinian neighborhoods shouting ‘Death to Arabs’ and injuring more than a hundred Palestinians in a single night.

Israeli soldiers and settlers have also repeatedly attacked Palestinian worshipers at and around the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which is the third-holiest site in Islam.

According to Israeli media, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement issued a statement that, “We praise the courageous operation at Za’tara checkpoint. We consider it a message in the name of the entire Palestinian people that Jerusalem is a red line and harming the holy places will cause an explosion of anger in the face of the occupation”.

(Source / 04.05.2021)

UN Challenges Delay of Palestinian Elections

The United Nations issued a statement Sunday calling on the Palestinian Authority to set a date for the Palestinian elections to be held. This statement follows the announcement on Friday by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he would once again postpone the elections in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Abbas was last re-elected in 2006, and there have been no Palestinian elections since that year. Part of the reason for the ongoing delays in holding elections is the fact that the Israeli government, which rules the Palestinian Territories under martial law and has done so since 1967, has refused to recognize the results of the 2006 election, in which the Hamas party (the rival to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fateh party) won the majority of seats in the Palestinian legislature.

Since the Israeli military government does not approve of the Hamas party, they have refused to deal with the Palestinian Authority in certain areas in which Hamas is involved, and have frequently and repeatedly abducted elected Palestinian Parliament members who are affiliated with the Hamas party.

In this case, the elections, which had been set to take place on May 22nd (legislative election) and July 31st (presidential election) were postponed because of uncertainty as to the status of Palestinians in Jerusalem, and whether Israel would allow them to be able to vote.

Palestinians in Jerusalem hold a unique status in the world – they are citizens of no country, and cannot hold a Palestinian passport because the Israeli military authorities will not permit it. Because of the Israeli government’s stated objective of taking over Jerusalem for the state of Israel, many of the policies enacted by the Israeli government are aimed at stripping Palestinians in Jerusalem of their residency rights.

Any Palestinian landowner in Jerusalem who leaves their home for any period of time, for example, forfeits the ownership of their land to the Israeli government.

According to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his announcement of the election delay on Friday, “Facing this difficult situation, we decided to postpone the date of holding legislative elections until the participation of Jerusalem and its people is guaranteed”.

In response, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said that he understood the “disappointment of the many Palestinians” about the delay. He called on the Palestinian Authority to “continue on the democratic path” and said that these elections have “widespread international support”.

Wennesland added, “This will also set the path toward meaningful negotiations to end the occupation and realize a two-State solution based on UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements.”

He called on Abbas to set a new date for the Palestinian elections – especially considering that the last elections took place more than 15 years ago.

Some Palestinians, however, have pointed out the absurdity of voting for a Palestinian Authority that wields no real power, given the fact that the West Bank and Gaza are, in reality, not governed by the Palestinian Authority, but are governed by Israeli martial law.

(Source / 04.05.2021)

Updated: Army Conducts Massive Searches Near Nablus And Ramallah, Abducts Two Palestinians, Detains And Interogates Women And Children

Update: The soldiers abducted Emad Fathallah Sous, after invading and ransacking his home, in addition to breaking into a mosque and searching it,  in Aqraba town, near Nablus. Aqraba remains under strict siege, amidst constant invasions and violent searches.

The soldiers also surrounded the home of Qassem Fawzi Abu Minya, in the center of Aqraba, approximately at three at dawn, and turned it into an interrogation facility where the army, and senior security officers, questioned dozens of Palestinians from several parts of the town.

Human rights activist Yousef Deeriyya said the soldier brought many Palestinians, including children and women into the home, and are still refusing to release them.

He added that the military siege on Aqraba is extremely strict, where the army isolated many neighborhoods, in addition to installing roadblocks in the town, and surrounding communities, such as Awarta, Osarin, and Odala town that are also currently isolated and surrounded by the army as part of the extensive search campaign.

The army believes the shooter, who injured three Israeli colonialist settlers, on Sunday evening, escape to Araba, where is either hid or received help to escape to nearby communities, especially Awarta, Osarin, and Odala.

The Israeli army believes the burnt car, which was located by the soldiers, was used by the Palestinians who reportedly injured three Israeli colonialist settlers in a drive-by shooting on Sunday evening. The army towed the car to examine it.

Updated from May 4, 2021, at 02:21:

The army continued the massive invasions of homes and buildings in Aqraba, forced many Palestinians out of their homes, android interrogated them during massive searches.

Israeli soldiers carried out, on Tuesday at dawn, massive invasions, and searches of homes and property, in Aqraba town, southeast of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and in Turmus Ayya town, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and abducted one Palestinian.

Media sources said dozens of army jeeps, and undercover units invaded Aqraba before the soldiers used military bulldozers to install sandhills on all entrances of the town, to seal it off.

They added that the soldiers conducted massive searches, also using K9 units, in the main roads of the town, and several neighborhoods, in addition to the area where a burnt car was located.

The Israeli army believes the burnt car was used by the Palestinians who reportedly injured three Israeli colonialist settlers in a drive-by shooting on Sunday evening. The army towed the car to examine it.

In addition, the soldiers detained dozens of Palestinians while heading to the local mosque to perform dawn prayers, and interrogated them.

The army also stormed and ransacked dozens of homes in Aqraba, causing damage, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

Furthermore, the soldiers used a surveillance balloon and drones, in addition to firing flares in Aqraba and the nearby Qusra village, during massive and violent searches.

In addition, dozens of soldiers invaded Turmus Ayya village, north of Ramallah, before storming and ransacking many homes, and abducted a young man, identified as Ahmad as-Sahel.

The soldiers also imposed a tight siege on the town, completely isolating it from its surrounding areas, and prevented the locals from leaving their homes while trying to reach a mosque for dawn prayers.

On Monday evening, the soldiers invaded Aqraba and abducted George Hamza Bani Jaber, in the Ras al-Ein area in the village, while he was heading back home from work.

Israeli colonialist settlers also attacked many Palestinian homes, causing serious damage, especially to doors, windows, and cars, and uprooted dozens of trees in Qusra town, south of Nablus.

Abdul-Athim Wadi, the head of the local Popular Resistance Committee in Qusra, said the soldiers also invaded his farm, uprooted trees, and destroyed surveillance cameras.

(Source / 04.05.2021)

EuroMed: Israel demolished 58 Palestinian facilities, built 5,000 settlement units in Jerusalem in 2021

Israel has demolished 31 homes and 27 Palestinian facilities after plans to construct 4,982 new settlement units were approved, since the beginning of this year, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (EuroMed Monitor) said in statement.

During the past four months, Israel has escalated its policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and facilities and removing Palestinians from their neighborhoods, while building thousands of settlement units in East Jerusalem. Such a conduct aims to perpetuate racial discrimination and eliminate the Palestinian Arab presence in the city.

Euro-Med Monitor recorded that during the first four months of this year, 86 violations related to the demolition of Palestinian homes and consolidation of their settlement presence, were carried out by the Israeli forces in East Jerusalem. The month of March alone witnessed 31 violations.

The Israeli forces have demolished 31 homes since the beginning of this year, half of them occurred in March. Sixteen of those houses were self-demolished by their owners to avoid paying fines and the exorbitant demolition costs.

The Israeli authorities have seized three houses and issued six eviction decisions for other homes. Moreover, the Israeli authorities issued an eviction decision was issued against the entire Wadi al-Rababa neighborhood in Jerusalem.

The demolitions and forced evictions have displaced dozens of Palestinian families, including women and children, leaving them homeless. Even after that, the Israeli authorities harassed them when they set up tents for temporary shelter near their destroyed homes.

During the preparation of this statement, 28 Palestinian families comprising of about 500 people from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem have been threatened with forced displacement. The Israeli courts issued decisions legalizing the seizure of their homes, which threatens a mass displacement operation.

Today, the Jerusalem District Court postponed the issue of evacuating families from Sheikh Jarrah until next Thursday, May 6, to reach an agreement with Israeli settlers. The decision implicitly means expelling Palestinian residents from their homes and then handing them over to Israeli settlers.

The Israeli authorities have escalated this policy of seizing Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem in favor of settlement associations, as they seized eight residential buildings and released notices of their plans to seize 13 other buildings during 2020.

According to the United Nation’s estimates, until August 2019, there were eviction lawsuits filed against 199 Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, most of them from settlement organizations, placing 877 people, including 391 children, at risk of displacement.

During the first four months of 2021, the forced evictions and systematic destruction of residential homes have had severe physical, social, economic and psychological effects on the affected families. These are crimes that may amount to ethnic cleansing.

During the same period, the Israeli authorities destroyed 27 commercial establishments and bulldozed other properties such as water wells and walls. The authorities also issued at least 40 demolition notifications of properties within the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

The Israeli forces have seized Palestinian lands and bulldozed them to build streets that serve the settlers.

The Israeli government’s approval to build 4,982 settlement units during this period, is a strong indication of the extensive racial discrimination practiced by the authorities. Before these plans came to affect, Palestinian homes and properties have been destroyed on a massive scale, causing many displaced families.

At a time when the Israeli authorities placed severe restrictions and obstacles that prevented Palestinians from obtaining building permits by using lack of licensing and many other pretexts, to justify carrying out the demolitions. During this period , the authorities provided facilities and gave large funds for the establishment of hundreds of settlement units.

Euro-Med Monitor’s Chief Legal Officer, Tariq Al-Lewa said, that the Israeli decisions and plans to evacuate and demolish homes and displace Palestinians to establish Jewish building facilities, reflect the apartheid system that Israel pursues by relying on discriminatory laws and unfair policies.

The demolitions and evictions carried out by the Israeli authorities are part of their efforts to forcibly displace Palestinians and change the demographic character of the occupied city, Al-Lewa said.

The destruction and unlawful deportation of civilians in the occupied territories violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is also a war crime under Paragraph 2 of Article 8 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted in Rome on July 17, 1998, which states that war crimes include the “Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.

The international community and the United Nations must shoulder their responsibilities to stop Israel’s violations and urgently intervene to stop demolition plans, which aim at displacing Palestinian families and changing the demographic reality of the city.

(Source / 04.05.2021)

Israel To Build Hundreds Of Colonialist Units In West Bank

The Israeli government is planning the construction of at least 392 units in illegal Israeli colonies, on more than 432.1 Dunams of Palestinian lands.

The Maps Department of the Arab Studies Society has reported that an Israeli colonialist committee has announced it submitted a structural plan referenced as #410/5/66 aiming at annexing 128.5 Dunams to build 193 units and public facilities in the illegal Efrat colony, which was built on Palestinian lands in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem.

Another plan, referenced as 110/2/1, includes the detailed structural plan for building 179 units and public facilities on 290 Dunams, to expand the illegal Einav colony, which was built on stolen Palestinian lands in Ramin village, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Another plan was also submitted, carrying the number 514/5, to expand the illegal Shim’a colony by constructing 20 units on 13.6 Dunams, owned by the residents of the ath-Thaheriyya town, near Hebron in southern West Bank.

Israel also approved the paving of a new 5-kilometer-long segregated road serving Rahalim illegal colony, which was built on lands owned by the Palestinians in the as-Sawiya village, south of Nablus, in northern West Bank.

The Maps department said Israel is escalating its plans for constructing and expanding its illegal colonies on Palestinian lands, in addition to its plan to pave or expand settler-only roads, by illegally annexing more Palestinian lands, to link between many colonies, especially since the current stance of the US Administration of Joe Biden remains “foggy” at its best.

It is worth mentioning that Israel also issued an order annexing a Dunam of Palestinian lands in Basin 1, in the al-Baq’a area, near a military base at the northern entrance of Teqoua’ town, east of Bethlehem.

All of Israel’s colonies in the occupied West Bank, including those in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention in addition to various United Nations and Security Council resolutions. They also constitute war crimes under International Humanitarian Law.

(Source / 04.05.2021)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Sixteen Palestinians In West Bank

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, sixteen Palestinians from several parts of the occupied West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, mainly during massive and violent searches of homes.

Media sources in Qalqilia, in northern West Bank, said the soldiers abducted a Palestinian medic, identified as Abdul-Rahman Mansour, after stopping him at a military roadblock, which was installed by the army near the eastern entrance of the city.

In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Sahel and Fadi Zeebar, from their homes.

In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Humam Omar Zabaniya, from Tarqoumia town, northwest of Hebron, Rashed Mousa Sleibi, 24, from Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, and Omar Ali al-Heeh, from Surif town, northwest of the city.

In Araba village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, the soldiers abducted Fadi Adeeb Zayyad, Raddad Fawzi Bani Minya, and his brother Qassem.

In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Nasrallah Mahmoud, Bader Abu Assab, Ahmad Abu Assab, Abdullah Abu Assab, Jamail Abu Khdeir, and Ahmad Farrah.

(Source / 04.05.2021)

Army Demolishes Car Repair And Car Wash Facilities Near Bethlehem

Israeli soldiers demolished, Tuesday, car wash and car repair facilities near the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

Local nonviolent activist Ahmad Salah, said several army jeeps invaded the area between al-Khader and Beit Jala city, south, and west of Bethlehem, after surrounding and isolating it.

Salah added that the soldiers then demolished the two facilities, owned by the sons of the late Hussein Abu Ghalyoon Issa, used for repairing and washing cars.

The Israeli army claims the facilities were constructed without permits from the so-called “Civil Administration Office,” the administrative branch of its illegal occupation.

(Source / 04.05.2021)