Israeli Soldiers Attack Journalists, Abduct Two, In Sheikh Jarrah

Jarrah – Israeli soldiers repeatedly attacked, Thursday, two Palestinian journalists in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, before abducting them, and assaulted many others.

The soldiers assaulted many journalists, before abducting a photojournalist, identified as Wahbi Mikeh, in addition to Zeina Halawani. The two journalists work for the Al-Kofiya Palestinian TV station.

The two abducted journalists were repeatedly attacked and dragged by the soldiers in the neighborhood.

Wahbi was bleeding after the soldiers assaulted him; his team members retrieved his camera that has his blood on it.

Palestinian Journalist Christine Rinawi said the Israeli police has decided to remand the two abducted journalists and to send them to court this coming Friday.

The attack is part of the constant Israeli violations in Sheikh Jarrah, especially amidst the Israeli plans to displace and remove the indigenous Palestinians to replace them with illegal colonialist settlers.

28 Palestinian families are living in Sheikh Jarrah; they moved there when they were forced out of their homes and lands during the Nakba of 1948, when Israel was established in the historic land of Palestine, after ethnically cleansing hundreds of towns and villages.

In the year 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that Israeli colonialist groups filed lawsuits with Israeli courts to displace more than 218 Palestinian families (970 persons, including at least 424 children), in occupied East Jerusalem, including 75 families Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The Israeli Supreme Court recently postponed the deliberation of appeals filed by four families in Sheikh Jarrah, while three other families are awaiting a hearing which is said to be conducted in August of this year.

(Source / 28.05.2021)

Undercover Israeli Soldiers Kidnap A Palestinian In Jerusalem

Undercover Israeli soldiers kidnapped, Thursday, a young Palestinian man in Biddu town, northwest of occupied Jerusalem.

Eyewitnesses said the undercover soldiers, driving a civilian car, infiltrated into the town before storming into a building, and abducted a young man, identified as Bassam Hajjawi.

The Palestinian works at a Fruits and Vegetables market which was invaded by the undercover soldiers who kidnapped him. The attack was caught on video from an exterior surveillance camera.

Bassam was later sent to an Israeli detention and interrogation facility in Jerusalem.

In related news, the soldiers assaulted and abducted, Thursday, two Palestinian journalists in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem.

(Source / 28.05.2021)

Army Injures Three Palestinians Near Ramallah

Israeli soldiers injured, Thursday, three Palestinians in the Yabrud bridge area, east of the al-Biereh city, in the Ramallah and al-Biereh governorate, in central West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired several live rounds and rubber-coated steel bullets at a Palestinian car, forcing it to stop.

They added that the soldiers then attacked the driver and two passengers, causing various cuts and bruises, before leaving the area.

The soldiers had no reason to open fire at the car and did not abduct or detain the Palestinians.

Palestinian medics rushed to the scene and moved the three injured young men to a clinic in Silwad town, northeast of Ramallah.

In related news, Israeli colonialist settlers invaded Palestinian farmland in Burin village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and stole 110 haystacks, owned by Mohammad Raja and Jamal Eid.

In addition, undercover Israeli soldiers kidnapped, Thursday, a young Palestinian man in Biddu town, northwest of occupied Jerusalem.

In related news, the soldiers assaulted and abducted, Thursday, two Palestinian journalists in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem.

(Source / 28.05.2021)

Israeli Colonist Attacks A Palestinian Car Near Salfit

An Israeli colonialist settler, illegally squatting on Palestinian lands, attacked, and caused damage to a Palestinian car, Thursday, after the vehicle stopped at a red traffic light near Hares village, west of Salfit, in the central West Bank.

The Palestinian, Yasar Abu Hijla from Deir Istiya near Salfit, said that he stopped at a traffic light before an Israeli colonist stepped out of his car and started shattering the rear windshield, and several windows while hurling insults and racist slurs against the Palestinians and the Arabs in general.

He added that Israeli soldiers were parked nearby and did not apprehend the assault, but instead pointed their guns at him and ordered him to leave the area.

(Source / 28.05.2021)

UN High Commissioner: “To avoid next round violence, root causes must be addressed”

Bombed building in Gaza - image by Times of Gaza
Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian TerritoryStatement by Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Madam President,

Appalling events in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territory have once again called this Council into Special Session. We have recently witnessed the most significant escalation in hostilities since 2014.
According to figures verified by my Office, 242 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli Security Forces (the ISF) in strikes on Gaza, including 63 children. Thousands of others have been injured while it is estimated that over 74,000 Palestinians have been displaced. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 28 Palestinians, including five children, were killed as of 24 May. At the same time, rockets launched by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups killed 10 Israeli citizens and residents including two children, and forced thousands into shelters.
This escalation was directly linked to protests and a heavy response from Israeli security forces first in East Jerusalem, then spreading to the entire occupied Palestinian territory and also within Israel.
Two main issues led to the rise in tensions. The imminent evictions of Palestinian families and their forced displacement in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, to make way for settlers; and the ISF deployment at the Al Aqsa compound, restricting access to thousands of worshippers during the last days of Ramadan. On several occasions, the ISF used force against peaceful protesters and worshippers inside Al Aqsa Mosque. On other occasions, as demonstrations turned into clashes, they resorted to crowd control means utilizing excessive force, including physical violence, which inflamed tensions.

Madam President,

The latest escalation between Israel and Palestinian armed groups erupted on 10 May, when Hamas, the de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip, demanded that Israeli forces leave the Al Aqsa compound and Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. When this did not occur, Hamas and other armed groups launched a heavy rocket barrage towards Israel. These rockets are indiscriminate and fail to distinguish between military and civilian objects, and their use, thereby, constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law. Over the 11 days up to the ceasefire, a number of these rockets killed and injured civilians and caused significant damage to civilian objects, such as public facilities, houses, factories and other civilian structures.
Israel responded with intense airstrikes in Gaza including shelling, missiles fired from fighter aircraft and attacks from the sea. Although reportedly targeting members of armed groups and their military infrastructure, Israeli attacks resulted in extensive civilian deaths and injuries, as well as large-scale destruction and damage to civilian objects. Those include governmental buildings, residential homes and apartment buildings, international humanitarian organizations, medical facilities, media offices and roads connecting civilians to essential services such as hospitals. The result was their partial or total destruction. Despite Israel’s claims that many of these buildings were hosting armed groups or being used for military purposes, we have not seen evidence in this regard.
Although Israel undertook a number of precautions, such as advance warning of attacks in some cases, air strikes in such densely populated areas resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries, as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure. Such strikes raise serious concerns of Israel’s compliance with the principles of distinction and proportionality under international humanitarian law. If found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects, such attacks may constitute war crimes.
On the other hand, it is also a violation of international humanitarian law to locate military assets in densely populated civilian areas or to launch attacks from them. However, the actions of one party do not absolve the other from its obligations under international law.
Unlike Israeli civilians, who have the benefit of the “Iron Dome” and professional military forces to assist in their protection, Palestinian civilians have virtually no protection against airstrikes and military operations carried out in one of the most densely populated areas of the world. They have no place to escape to, due to the Israeli land, air and sea blockade that has been in place for the last 14 years. As a result of this blockade, Palestinians in Gaza have suffered from a crumbling infrastructure and diminished access to basic services, including inadequate health services and a decaying sewage system that poses a direct threat to the health and well-being of all civilians resident there. The incapacity of the health system to comprehensively respond to COVID-19 in the recent surge in cases made this deterioration particularly evident. To obtain appropriate health care, many Palestinians are forced to travel abroad subject to permission by Israel, which is frequently denied.
There is no doubt that Israel has the right to defend its citizens and residents. However, Palestinians have rights too. The same rights. They too have the right to live safely and freely in their homes, with adequate and essential services and opportunities, and with respect for their right to life and physical integrity. The lived reality of the occupation, however, is that they are instead systematically deprived of fundamental rights and freedoms due to every human being.

Madam President,

In Sheikh Jarrah and other neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, the risk of evictions remains and continues to fuel tensions. Such evictions should cease, in line with Israel’s obligations under international law. I urge the Israeli authorities to immediately halt the process of evictions.
While the shocking loss of life and destruction in Gaza has justifiably made headlines around the world, the alarming situation in the West Bank has gone unnoticed by many. Tension, protests and violence, including the heavy use of force by the ISF, has reached levels not seen in years. On 14 May alone, the ISF killed 10 Palestinians in the context of demonstrations and clashes, the highest number in one day in the West Bank since the United Nations started systematically collecting these figures in 2008.
I am also extremely troubled by the documented incidents of settlers using live ammunition to attack Palestinians, in some cases alongside Israeli Security Forces.

Madam President,

The third aspect of the last weeks’ serious human rights violations is the situation inside Israel, where there were unprecedented scenes of clashes, mob violence and riots between Palestinian citizens of Israel and ultra-right-wing groups, reinforced by Israeli settlers. Particularly concerning were several attempted mob attacks on individuals in the mixed cities of Bat-Yam, Jaffa and Acre, as well as attacks on places of worship and cultural heritage, instigated by both sides. I am especially concerned over reports that Israeli police failed to intervene to adequately protect Palestinian citizens of Israel against such attacks, while often using excessive force to control Palestinian demonstrators.
While I welcome the ceasefire of 21 May, it is clear that unless the root causes of this violence are addressed, it will sadly be a matter of time until the next round of violence commences, with further pain and suffering for civilians on all sides. There must be a genuine and inclusive peace process to address these root causes and bring the occupation to an end. In any such processes and for any resulting agreements, the respect and protection of human rights must be fundamental, including accountability for past human rights violations and abuses. Only when human rights are fully respected and protected can trust start to be built between the various communities and a durable, lasting and just peace be achieved.
In the meantime, I reiterate my call on Hamas and all armed groups to refrain from use of indiscriminate rockets and mortars, for which there must be accountability. And, once again, I urge Israel to ensure accountability in accordance with its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws. That includes conducting impartial, independent investigations into actions taken during this escalation. As the occupying power under international law, Israel is obligated to protect the population of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza and to ensure their welfare. Palestinians’ rights to life, to security and to freedom of assembly and expression must be respected.
Lastly, the death and injury of children in this escalation is a source of shame for all. In these recurring cycles of conflict, we cannot lose sight of their suffering and loss, nor that of any civilian. No matter how long the road has been, “never-ending” should not be an acceptable term.
Worldwide, 2021 is supposed to be a year of recovery. And, above all, a chance to recover better.
In Gaza particularly, rebuilding is, of course, urgent. People need a home, a school, a functioning hospital; stable electricity, clean water, sanitation. All fundamental to the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, which have also been so drastically infringed in the recent conflict.
Reconstructing lives also requires reconstructing sustainable livelihoods. A people-centred reconstruction of Gaza, which delivers on the human rights of its citizens, is an essential building block for durable peace and a sustainable future.
I sincerely hope that this will be the last time we will need such a special session.

Thank you, Madam President.

(Source / 28.05.2021)

Army Abducts Four Palestinians In Hebron

Israeli soldiers abducted, Friday, four Palestinians in Hebron governorate, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Media sources said the soldiers invaded the southern area of Hebron city, before storming and searching homes, and abducted two Palestinians, identified as Saeb Adnan Abu Turk and Hussam Abdul-Razeq Salayma.

They added that the soldiers also invaded Ethna town, west of Hebron, searched homes, and abducted Mohammad Aref Abu Sa’doun, 52, and Monther al-Jeyyawi.

In addition, the soldiers installed roadblocks in several parts of the governorate, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogate the Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

(Source / 28.05.2021)

Army Shoots, Kills Palestinian Young Man, Injures Others near Nablus

The Israeli forces shot and killed, on Friday, a Palestinian young man and injured several others during a peaceful demonstration in Beita village, south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed.

Hundreds of unarmed Palestinians assembled on the Jabal Sbeih mountain near the village, and were confronted with excessive use of force by the army, who fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel rounds, tear gas and stun grenades against the unarmed civilians.

The slain young man identified as, Zakaria Hamayel, 28, was shot in the chest, succumbing to his wounds shortly afterwards. At least ten other participants were shot and injured during the non-violent procession rejecting the continued illegal Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported.

WAFA correspondent stated that 2 Palestinians were shot with live rounds, 3 with rubber-coated steel rounds, and 2 more young men were injured after being chased by the army, while 15 suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

Similar protests rejecting the illegal colonial settlements in the occupied West Bank were held in Beit Dajan, and Kufur Qaddoum, in the northern occupied West Bank.

Kan een afbeelding zijn van een of meer mensen, staande mensen en buitenshuis
Kan een afbeelding zijn van een of meer mensen, staande mensen en buitenshuis

(Source / 28.05.2021)

US Organizations to Hold March in Washington DC Protesting Israel’s Settler-colonialism

RAMALLAH, Friday, May 28, 2021 (WAFA) – US organizations are scheduled on Saturday to hold a march in Washington DC in protest of Israel’s settler-colonialism, apartheid and military occupation.

The pro-human rights grassroots organizations have issued online calls for mobilization for the National March for Palestine, which will be the largest protest in U.S. history supporting the Palestinian cause and is organized by dozens of Palestinian, interfaith, and various civil rights organizations and will take place at the Lincoln Memorial.

Their call for participation follows their successful mobilization of tens of thousands of Americans, who took to the streets in the past few weeks in many cities, including New York, Chicago, Texas and San Francisco, in protest of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza and encroachments upon Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Among those endorsing the event are Jewish organizations, namely the Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews for Palestinian Right of Return.

The march is a part of the new Sanction Israel campaign calling on the Biden administration and Congress to sanction Israel and stop giving it billions in U.S. tax dollars and military hardware, like the very same bombs that the Israeli government just used to obliterate entire Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip.

American Muslims for Palestine urged protestors to “go big and bold right now for Palestinian liberation now that a ceasefire has gone into effect,” and said: “No return to the status quo. It is time for Israeli settler-colonialism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, military occupation, and blockade to be dismantled now!”

“The cease-fire is not enough. The U.S. needs to stop sending money to the government of Israel that has been displacing people for 73 years,” Roxana Bendezú, Pax Christi USA Program Director, stated.

Meanwhile, Faizan Syed, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called the US to end its support of Israel that is “illegally occupying and brutalizing Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank”.

“We are proud to be part of the growing movement in America that is calling attention to crimes committed by Israel and working to end U.S. support for those crimes,” he added.

“I am a proud American-Palestinian, and I refuse to have my tax dollars fund illegal Israeli settlements, construction of the apartheid wall, human rights violations, and the killing of Palestinian children,” said Fadya Risheq, organizer of the bus delegation who will be traveling to D.C. “I’m going to D.C. to let my government know that it must immediately stop its support of Israel that continues to commit crimes against Palestinians”.

(Source / 28.05.2021)

Israel’s air strikes on Gaza may constitute war crimes, says UN

The United Nations high commissioner for human rights has voiced deep concern over Israel’s recent aggression on the Gaza Strip which might constitute “war crimes”, she said.

At an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday, Michelle Bachelet spoke of her deep concern over the spike in violence between Israelis and Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip earlier this month.

The UN human rights chief also said she had seen no evidence that civilian buildings targeted and bombed by Israeli forces were being used for military purposes.

“Despite Israel’s claims that many of these buildings were hosting armed groups or being used for military purposes, we have not seen evidence in this regard,” she said.

“If found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects, such attacks may constitute war crimes,” Bachelet said.

“Although Israel undertook a number of precautions, such as advance warning of attacks in some cases, air strikes in such densely populated areas resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries, as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure.”

Bachelet urged Hamas movement and all other resistance factions in Gaza to refrain from firing indiscriminate rockets and mortars.

“There is no doubt that Israel has the right to defend its citizens and residents… However, Palestinians have rights too. The same rights,” Bachelet told the 47-member council, who was debating a draft resolution to launch a broad, international investigation into violations surrounding the latest aggression, but also of “systematic” abuses in the Palestinian territories and inside the occupied territories.

At least 279 Palestinians were killed, including 69 children and 40 women, and 1,910 others injured in the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

More than 90,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes, and much of Gaza’s infrastructure and many residential buildings were completely destroyed or levelled.

19 families in the Gaza Strip have also been wiped off the population civil registry, including 45 children, after the Israeli bombardment on residential areas.

(Source / 28.05.2021)

Rashida Tlaib calls social media platforms to stop censoring Palestinian content

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has accused leading social media websites of censoring Palestinian political content, calling “to ensure Palestinian voices are heard”.

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In a letter sent to the public policy heads at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok, Rashida, the first Palestinian Progressive Democrat who was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents, called the platforms “to cease censorship and ensure Palestinian voices are heard”.

Tlaib accused the webistes of deleting posts and accounts as well as restricting the outreach of pro-Palestinian content and hiding activists’ hashtags.

In the letter, Tlaib said that she had received scores of similar complaints from voters.

“My email inbox has been filled with reports of your companies improperly removing and suspending posts and accounts highlighting Israeli apartheid violence against the Palestinian people,” Tlaib wrote.

“I understand that your companies have acknowledged that these removals and suspensions have indeed been occurring and are attributing them to systematic errors.”

She continued, “It is not enough to continue to blame technical errors by automated systems and algorithms. I know that these processes and systems have humans who create and maintain them; thus, biases are automated as well.”

Tlaib also noted pressure put on social media platforms from the Israeli government, highlighting its attempts to get such companies to adopt the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which has been used to criminalise pro-Palestinian initiatives such as the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“The liberation movement for Palestine is centered on equality and justice for all people, regardless of religion and is proud to stand with all people of Jewish faith in the face of the disgusting surge in hateful, anti-Semitic attacks against them,” Tlaib wrote.

The congresswoman also pointed out what she called “a disturbing double-standard” laid out in a New York Times article that described the way far-right Israeli groups had been using Facebook-owned WhatsApp to coordinate violent mob attacks on Palestinians.

“I cannot understand how Facebook can justify censoring peaceful Palestinian voices while providing an organizing platform for extremist hate,” she said.

Tlaib cited a report released last week by 7amleh, a nonprofit that focuses on Palestinians’ digital rights, that highlighted more than 500 incidents in which Palestinian political speech had been censored during Israeli violence against Palestinians.

According to the report, content and accounts were removed, reduced and restricted, hashtags were hidden, and archived content deleted. 50% of these reports were about Instagram, 35% Facebook, 11% Twitter and 1% Tik Tok. 3% of the reports did not include sufficient information to be reported to companies.

Lately, hundreds of social media users have been reporting the social media websites for deleting their posts, shutting down their personal accounts and censoring content about Israeli forces and settlers attacking Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s recent aggression on the Gaza Strip.

The social media users from Palestine and around the world have uploaded and shared videos and images about Israeli forces and settlers attacks and aggression, using the hashtags #SaveSheikhJarrah, #GazaUnderAttack, in both English and Arabic.

However, social media websites have censored, limited, and shut down their accounts, silencing their voices while they are fighting against the occupation.

Another hashtag, Al-Aqsa in Arabic, has also been hidden by Instagram, because, as it claims, the “content may not meet Instagram’s Community Guidelines.”

The hashtag was used to cover the settlers and forces’ violence and attacks against the Palestinian worhipers in al-Aqsa mosque courtyards.

Palestinians are no strangers to such restrictions on social media.

For years, American apps, including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, have been deleting and deactivating the accounts of Palestinians in coordination with the Israeli government and security agencies, on the pretext of preventing Palestinian “incitement and hate speech” on its platform, stifling the Palestinian voices.

On May 2020, Facebook deleted the accounts of more than 50 Palestinian journalists and activists, saying their accounts had been deactivated for “not following our Community Standards,” according to Sada Social.

Sada Social said it documented 38 violations against Palestinian content in April 2021 only.

Sada Social, along with two news agencies and a translator, last week, said it filed a 14-page legal complaint with Facebook, saying the social media giant censored their posts and, in some cases, shut down their accounts in violation of the company’s own policies.

(Source / 28.05.2021)