Since the end of the latest Israeli offensive on Gaza last month, Israel has tightened its siege on Gaza, keeping crossings closed, banning the entry of goods, mail, and fuel for the electricity plant. This has hindered attempts to repair damages to the water network and electricity lines.
Scores of Palestinian fishermen yesterday staged a protest against the continuous Israeli siege on Gaza, as well as the occupation’s aggression on the fishing industry, Anadolu reported.
Fishermen Syndicate in Gaza organised the protest, which took place in the port west of Gaza City.
The fishermen held posters reading: “It is my right to move freely… Yes to the full lifting of the siege.” They also raised the Palestine flag.
Head of Fishermen Syndicate, Nizar Ayyash, said: “We are standing today to express our rejection for the Israeli maritime siege imposed on Gaza, as well as against the repeated Israeli violations against fishermen.”
Ayyash said that sailing only for six nautical miles in the sea is not enough for the fishermen to get enough fish to help them make money or even provide enough fish for consumers.
At the start of the latest Israeli offensive on Gaza on 11 May, Israel closed the sea completely. Since the end of the offensive on 21 May, Israel has opened the sea only for six nautical miles.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned Israel’s plan to build 534 new settlement units in the northern occupied West Bank, Anadolu reported.
“The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemns in the strongest terms the expansionist colonial settlement project, which targets the entire area south of Nablus,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that “the Israeli occupation authorities continue to steal Palestinian land, by planning to build 534 new settlement units to expand Shvut Rahil settlement”.
The ministry called for “more firm and severe reactions” to the Israeli plans.
Earlier yesterday, Ghassan Daghlas, who is responsible for the settlements file in the northern occupied West Bank, said the approval of the new settlement units will allow the settlement to grow to five times its size.
Israeli and Palestinian estimates indicate that there are about 650,000 settlers in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, who live in 164 settlements and 116 outposts.
Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
Israeli occupation forces have launched a military exercise around Tayaseer, a village near the West Bank city of Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley, Wafa news agency has reported.
According to the head of Tayaseer Village Council, Wajeeh Dabk, large numbers of Israeli tanks and other military vehicles have been deployed around the village for the manoeuvres. Villagers were not warned about this in advance, he insisted.
The local people are complaining that the drills will set fire to large tracts of farmland and property in the northern Jordan Valley, which will result in substantial losses. This is nothing new. Palestinians in the occupied valley face frequent house demolitions and property seizures at the hands of the army.
Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley since 1967 when it occupied the West Bank. Some of the settlements in which they live are built almost entirely on private Palestinian land. All such population transfers and settlements are illegal under international law.
Dabk added that the Israeli military has also designated about 46 per cent of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone since 1967. The occupation forces use the excuse of manoeuvres to displace families living in the area as part of the government’s policy of ethnic cleansing and the stifling of Palestinian development.
African journalists have called on the African Union and governments to condemn Israel’s deliberate targeting of journalists and news media organisations and hold Israel legally accountable for crimes committed against media workers during its recent attacks on the Gaza Strip and elsewhere in occupied Palestine.
Israeli Attacks on Press – Cartoon
African governments were urged “to stand on the right side of history” by unequivocally condemning the human rights violations committed by the Israeli government. The search for permanent solutions, said FAJ President Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed, required governmental interventions.
In a two-day African Journalists Leadership Conference which took place in Accra, Ghana, earlier this month and which was held less than a week after Israel ended its brutal bombing campaign of the besieged Gaza Strip where it destroyed a building that housed the Associated Press news agency and several other media outlets, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) condemned the “total impunity” that Israel enjoyed in its killing of journalists and destruction of media offices “under the bogus pretext of self-defence.”
The destruction of the Al-Jalaa building was widely regarded as an attempt to silence journalists covering Israel’s military attacks. In less than a week, Israel bombed the offices of at least 18 media outlets.
Conference delegates also condemned the pressure that Israel was exerting on news media organisations “to sack and censor Palestinian journalists who are advocating for media freedom and protesting against the violations of the rights of Palestinians.” Associated Press was found to have fired 22-year old journalist, Emily Wilder, for her pro-Palestine views.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Hamas said on Sunday that it does not count on any change in the Israeli governments as “all Israeli governments agree on the policy of murdering Palestinians and depriving them of their rights”.
The spokesperson for Hamas Sami Abu Zohri also said that “the failure of Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the consequences of the victory of the resistance in Jerusalem’s sword battle”.
Meanwhile, Yousef Hasayneh, members of the IJ’s political bureau said the new more extremist government would trigger tensions. He said that the aggressive policies against the Palestinian people, especially regarding settlement, would raise further tensions.
Tareq Silmi, IJ’s spokesperson, said ‘Israel’ is ruled by a security and military system, which will not stop terrorizing Palestinians. He added that no one counts on changes of faces in the occupation state.
Mustafa Al-Barghouthi, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Initiative movement, said the new Israeli government is even more extreme. He said Neftali’s government is a government of settlement and racism and it is even more extreme than Netanyahu’s.
Barghouthi cited Neftali as stressing that he will support settlement expansion in ‘C’ area. Neftali had also expressed his rejection of establishing a Palestinian State.
“We must confront this racism government by popular resistance and sanctions”, Barghouti said. “No one should allow himself to even have talks with it”.
In the same vein, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Israeli policies will not change. “They will not change if they do not get worse”, The Ministry said. “Especially that the new leaders were even farther right in comparison to Netanyahu.”
Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- An Israeli undercover Special Forces last night kidnapped three Palestinians in the neighbourhood in occupied Jerusalem, local sources said.
The undercover unit, known as Mista’arvim, were assaulting Rami Salaheddine, 21, Lo’ai Kiswani, 22, and Abdullah Hadra, 25, and threatening them at gunpoint, before they kidnapped them.
The three had their hands tied to the back and taken to an unknown destination by the attacking force.
In recent weeks and months, Israel’s undercover Special Forces units have increased their activities against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The units are responsible for the arrest and assassination of Palestinian resistance members wanted by the Israeli occupation authorities.
Last April, Israeli media reported about the establishment of a new Israeli police undercover unit intended to operate exclusively amongst the Palestinian population.
Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, described the decision as being racist, illegal, and unprecedented in democracies around the world.
The term Mista’arvim is derived from the Arabic word Musta’rib, meaning a non-Arab wanting to integrate with the Arabs; Musta’ribeen is the plural.
Members of these units are trained to know the Palestinian area in which they operate, the dialects spoken there and the names of well-known families. This helps them when they infiltrate a Palestinian town, either to gather intelligence, to arrest wanted persons or, sometimes, to carry out assassinations.
Members of the units use a number of means to carry out their tasks. They impersonate Arab individuals, join in alongside protestors and impersonate journalists to kill, arrest or take pictures of their targets.
They graduate from ordinary army units after passing out from a long and difficult training programme. Priority is given to those with Middle Eastern features, especially those with a darker skin who look like Arabs.
The Musta’ribeen will dress in the same style as the residents of the area of operation, either wearing locally made clothing or traditional Arab clothes.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz approved a new bank of targets which ‘Israel’ would attack in any future aggression on the Gaza Strip, Israeli Channel 12 revealed on Sunday.
The newspaper reported that the bank of targets was updated in preparation for a possible outbreak of tension between the occupation state and the Palestinian resistance in Gaza among planned “Flag March” which is due to take place in Jerusalem tomorrow.
Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip started on May 10 and ended with a ceasefire brokered by mediator Egypt on May 21, killing at least 279 Palestinians, including 69 children and 40 women and injuring 1,910 others.
19 families in the Gaza Strip have been wiped off the population civil registry during Israel’s 11-day aggression, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, including 41 children and 25 women.
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.
Health centres, media offices, as well as schools were among the structures targeted during the 11-days of constant bombardment.
Israeli security officials, however, believe the Palestinian resistance will not fire rockets into ‘Israel’ if the march goes ahead but will fly incendiary balloons, while attacks may be planned in the occupied West Bank, the newspaper reported.
The Flag March is a provocative event organised by Israeli settlers to mark the occupation of east Jerusalem.
The Palestinian resistance in Gaza had warned several times of holding the march, which is planned to go through occupied Jerusalem and parts of Al Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest mosque.
The Joint Chamber of the Resistance in Gaza said on June 7 in a statement that it is observing the behaviour of the Zionist enemy in the Palestinian capital city and that it will be ready to fight if the enemy decides to go back to before May 11.
The resistance also called on the Palestinian people in the occupied Jerusalem, West Bank and the 1948-occupied land to continue their uprising against the Israeli occupation, promising to back them in their struggle for freedom.
A former leader of a terrorist settler group, who is infamous for making incendiary comments about the Palestinians
Naftali Bennett was sworn in to be Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday, after winning a confidence vote with the narrowest of margins, just 60 votes to 59. His victory ends a 12-year grip on power by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving leader.
Naftali Bennett is easily labeled – religious hard-liner, ultranationalist, settler leader, high-tech millionaire, and special-forces operative.
He served in an elite Israeli military unit before becoming a hi-tech millionaire by selling an anti-fraud software company to a US security firm for $145m (£102m) in 2005.
So, who is Neftali Bennett?
The hardline religious nationalist, once the head of a prominent Jewish settler group and now Israel’s next prime minister, is open about his past.
A report by the Hebrew-language print edition of Yedioth Ahronoth had cited Bennett as boasting about killing “lost of native Palestinians”.
“If you catch terrorists, you have to simply kill them,” he added, supporting killing Palestinian political detainees.
The number two on Bennett’s party list, Yamina, Ayelet Shaked, has called for genocide of Palestinians. She posted on Facebook saying “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justifies its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” She calls for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”
Only one day after Shaked’s facebook post, Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khudair was kidnapped and burned alive by six Israeli settlers.
In 2018, when peaceful Palestinians rallied at the Gaza frontier and were met with lethal force, Bennett said Israeli troops should have a “shoot to kill” policy, including for minors.
“I would not allow terrorists to cross the border from Gaza every day,” he said. Asked about the army targeting children, he replied: “They are not children. They are terrorists. We are fooling ourselves.”
Supporting illegal settlement and apartheid
Bennett was born in occupied Haifa in 1972. His parents were settler colonizers, who came from San Francisco to Palestine in 1967.
A video posted on his YouTube official page, detailing Bennett’s plan, shows support for the annexation of most of the occupied West Bank, which it argues is essential not only for security reasons, allowing hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers to remain there, but also because ‘Israel’ wants control over its water resources.
The proposal, based on a seven-point plan Bennett released in 2012, would squeeze most West Bank Palestinians into urban enclaves with limited control over their lives. A few tens of thousands would be granted Israeli citizenship, to “counter any claims of apartheid”, the document states.
People in the geographically separate West Bank and Gaza Strip would not be allowed a “connection” to each other, for fear of bringing “the violence, instability and problems” of Gaza into the West Bank.
Finally, the proposal makes clear that Palestinians would never be able to create a state in the West Bank, over which Israel would maintain “complete security control”.
Regarding peace with the Palestinian Authority, the same video presents a colourfully animated account of the far-right politician’s plan, with a lighthearted tone that belies its deeply serious message.
“There are some things that we all know will never happen,” says a narrator in a carefree voice. “The Sopranos will never return for another season … And a peace agreement with the Palestinians will not happen.”
In an interview with the Guardian in 2017, Bennett said there would not be a Palestinian state on his watch. “It’s just not going to happen. A Palestinian state would be a disaster for the next 200 years.”
As education minister, Bennett supported a law used to ban groups critical of the armed forces or the state from entering schools and speaking to students. “Anyone who wanders around the world attacking soldiers will not enter a school,” Bennett said when the bill passed.