Jewish settlers last night seized a Palestinian residential building in Wadi Hilweh neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Silwan, the Palestinian Information Centre reported.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Centre said that dozens of masked Israeli policemen and settlers stormed the Wadi Hilweh neighbourhood, closed the entrance to the Al-Fakhouri yard with a truck and prevented locals from approaching the area. They took control of a house after entering it from its main door, as the residents weren’t inside.
The centre added that about 20 settlers raided the Wadi Hilweh neighbourhood and were deployed in several settlement outposts. After midnight, they broke into the house with the support of occupation forces.
It pointed out that the building consists of two floors, made up of a total area of 160 square metres.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces installed surveillance cameras at the entrance to the neighbourhood.
Parallels between Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation with black Americans fighting for civil rights in the US were made by American Congressman Andre Carson in a recent interview with the Haaretz. The Representative from Indiana, one of only four Muslims ever elected to Congress, described how his support for Palestinians is rooted in his experience as a black person growing up in America and spoke at length about the racism he saw during his three visits to Israel.
“I’ve been arrested outside a mosque. I know what it’s like to be in handcuffs and targeted and profiled,” he said, noting how his empathy for Palestinians in particular is largely drawn from his experiences as a Black American. “I’ve experienced this daily as a young, Black male in my community — being stopped and asked for ID and called the N-word. I’ve had guns drawn on me unnecessarily. I know what this feels like.”
Carson was raised in a Baptist environment and went to Catholic school, but converted to Islam in the 1990s after reading works such as the Autobiography of Malcolm X and poetry by the Sufi mystic Rumi, as well as observing Muslims in his community fighting crime and protecting the vulnerable.
“I was moved not just by the beautiful words, but the actions that followed,” Carson said, speaking about his conversion, adding that he also studied Judaism (such as the works of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel) and monotheism to resolve his inner conflict with the Christian concept of the Trinity.
Speaking about the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza which led to the death of more than 250 Palestinians, Carson said that he was “heartbroken”. In May, The 46-year-old announced to the House floor: “For too long, America has looked the other way as Israel has engaged in this horrific campaign against Palestinians.” He added that he “rose in solidarity with the Palestinian people as they face grave injustices, violence and abuse.”
Carson has been at the frontlines of the unprecedented wave of progressive criticism of Israel. He was one of several Democrat members of Congress to support a bill that aims to regulate US aid to Israel. Some $3.8 billion is sent to Israel annually making the occupation state the highest recipient of American tax-payers money in history. The draft bill draft bill sought to prevent Israel using American tax dollars to target Palestinian children.
During his 13 years in Congress, Carson has visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories three times. Speaking about the racism he had witnessed, Carson highlighted the plight of Ethiopian Jews. “The last time I was there with the Congressional Black Caucus, we met with members of the Ethiopian community, some who were part of the Knesset. They talked about the daily racism they had to experience,” he said.
“It makes me say ‘look at what our fellow African brothers and sisters are telling us about discrimination and bigotry.’ We cannot speak out against this without fear of being labelled as antisemitic? That is unacceptable to me. What kind of world do we live in? We need the media and the activist community and legislators to work collectively to solve this,” Carson added.
Thousands of Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, many of them airlifted into the country secretly in two separate operations in 1984 and 1990 that helped them to escape famine and war. However, despite the government drive to bring them to the country, this community – which now numbers about 135,500, around 1.5 or 2 per cent of Israel’s eight million people – has struggled to integrate. For years, Ethiopian Jews have complained of racism, lack of opportunity, endemic poverty and police harassment.
Commenting on the new Israeli government led by far-right Jewish nationalist, Naftali Bennett, Carson expressed pessimism. “You can paint a car,” he said, “If you haven’t done a tune up, had an oil change, rotated the tires, it may take you up the street but it will eventually break down. It’s still the same car with poor maintenance, and the passengers will suffer.”
“Given the new leadership’s record, we could see a continuation of the same atrocities of the past 13 years and the past several decades.”
On the ongoing US support for Israel despite the demolition of Palestinian homes and ethnic cleansing of occupied East Jerusalem, Carson said: “This is a global matter that cannot continue with business as usual”.
“We’re talking about billions of dollars in foreign aid every year that has essentially become a blank check. That is unacceptable as America continues to suffer economically and educationally, and as the racial divide grows daily.”
On the domestic front, Carson argues that the Jewish, African-American and Muslim communities all face a common enemy in white supremacy — one that can be fought by listening to each other and coming to mutual understandings. “We shouldn’t be so wedded to our view of reality that we become unmovable and unable to advocate for one another,” he adds.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a case brought by the widow and daughter of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat requesting it reopen an investigation into his 2004 death.
After unsuccessful lawsuits in French courts, Suha and Zahwa Arafat filed a criminal complaint to the ECHR in 2017 claiming the former Palestinian Authority (PA), PLO and Fatah president had been the victim of premeditated murder.
However, in a ruling issued yesterday, the ECHR said there had been no infringement of the right to a fair hearing and the complaint was “manifestly ill-founded”.
The court unanimously declared the complaint inadmissible, according to the Guardian.
Three judges said that after reviewing the case, “at all stages of the proceedings, the applicants, assisted by their lawyers, had been able to exercise their rights effectively”.
“Judges did not appear to have reached arbitrary conclusions based on the facts before them and their interpretation of the evidence in the file or the applicable law had not been unreasonable,” they added.
In 2015, French judges closed an investigation into claims Arafat was murdered, without bringing any charges. The French court of appeal upheld the dismissal of the case, leading the former leader’s family to take their case to the ECHR.
The couple married secretly in Tunisia in 1990, when Suha was 27 and Arafat 61. Their daughter Zahwa was born five years later.
Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza Strip, Ahmad Al-Mudallal, today rejected linking the file of Israeli prisoners of war held in the Strip to that of the reconstruction of the besieged enclave following Israel’s latest aggression.
“The rebellious youth in the Gaza Strip are launching incendiary balloons [into Israel] as an expression of public anger against the [Israeli] occupation’s practices, which is procrastinating in implementing the terms of a ceasefire agreement signed with the resistance,” Al-Mudallal said.
In an interview with Palestine Today, Al-Mudallal said the Israelis living in the area around Gaza will not enjoy stability or security as long as our people in Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank and within the Green Line do not enjoy them.
“The issue of [detained Israelis] is separate, and will be resolved according to an honourable exchange process based on liberating our male and female prisoners from the [Israeli] occupation’s prisons. As for reconstruction and lifting the siege, this is another issue related to the agreement concluded between the [Palestinian] resistance and the Zionist occupation under Egyptian auspices,” he added.
Al-Mudallal called on the Egyptian leadership and all mediators to pressure Israel to implement the terms of the ceasefire agreement.
He also held Israel fully responsible for any escalation in the region as an outcome of the siege imposed on Gaza and Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The defence team of the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, has called on the free people of the world, legal institutions, human rights organisations and civil society groups to put pressure on Israel to stop its violations of his rights, including putting an end to his solitary confinement.
Sheikh Salah has been held in solitary confinement since he was jailed by Israel on 15 August last year, the defence team said in a statement, noting that he has been not allowed access to books and other necessities without justification. This, they added are a form of torture that is legally prohibited and violates humanitarian and international laws.
The defence team called on the Israeli prison authorities to immediately stop the systematic harassment of Sheikh Salah and provide him access to his daily necessities without restrictions, conditions or delay.
Salah was detained by Israeli forces in August 2017 and indicted for incitement following his criticism of the erection of metal detectors at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
He was sentenced to 28 months in prison by an Israeli court. He served 11 months, half of which was spent in solitary confinement, before he was moved to house arrest.
After two years under house arrest, in August 2020, Salah began a 17-month jail term on incitement charges.
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas on Friday described Israel’s evacuation of the Avytar settlement in the occupied West Bank as a “new achievement” for Palestinians.
In a statement, Hamas Spokesperson Hazem Qassem announced: “The Palestinian people scored a new and important achievement with the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Abu Sbaih Mountain under the pressure of resistance.”
Qassem added: “The evacuation of the settlement post in Abu Sbaih Mountain reiterated the ability of resistance with its different forms to impose the will of the Palestinians and push the occupation backwards.”
Qassem hailed the “great sacrifices” of the Palestinians, pointing to the martyrs who were killed by the Israeli occupation and the people wounded during their defence of Abu Sbaih Mountain.
The Hamas spokesperson called for continuing the resistance in order to prevent the return of the settlers.
At the same time, he called for resisting against every Israeli settlement and military base across the occupied territories.
Nine out of ten children in the Gaza Strip currently suffer some form of conflict-related trauma after the Israeli military attack ended over a month ago, according to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med Monitor).
In addition to more than 260 martyrs claimed by the aggression, including entire families, hundreds were injured, thousands of homes were completely and partially destroyed, and drastic damage to the economy and infrastructure was done during the 11-day aggression.
A report issued by the organisation entitled One War Older documents the most prominent statistics of the violations suffered by “the two most vulnerable groups in the besieged strip”, women and children. Around 50 per cent of the population of the Gaza Strip – more than two million people – are children under the age of 15, and 49 per cent are women.
The report pointed out that during the recent war against Gaza between 10-21 May, which the occupation called “Operation Guardian of the Walls”, the Israeli forces carried out disproportionate attacks against densely-populated residential neighbourhoods with a majority population of children and women (75 per cent).
In addition to the large numbers of fatalities and injuries among children and women, the Euro-Med Monitor disclosed that 241 children lost one or both parents as a result of the bombing, around 5,400 children lost their homes, and 42,000 children had their homes partially damaged.
Sixty-six children were killed in the Israeli bombing of Gaza across 11 days, while 470 children and 310 women were injured.
The report comes after more than five weeks of field research conducted by Euro-Med Monitor’s team, which documented hundreds of cases of direct targeting against civilian homes housing large numbers of women and children.
Around 72,000 children were displaced to UNRWA schools or relatives’ homes during the Israeli attack, while more than 4,000 children currently remain displaced, according to the Euro-Med Monitor.
Mariam Dawwas, a Euro-Med Monitor field researcher, stated that she and the field team documented hundreds of cases of direct targeting of civilians in their homes in the unprecedented, large-scale and ferocious attack on the Gaza Strip.
Dawwas, who was displaced with her child after Israeli fighter jets targeted her apartment building, explained: “There is not much difference from the three previous attacks on Gaza, except for one thing; Today I was among those whom I documented. I ran with them and screamed in search of my little daughter and left my home after an airstrike targeted the building.”
She expressed that she and her three-year-old daughter are looking for reasons to live and going through: “Post-traumatic stress disorder, like the vast majority of Gaza residents.”
According to an Israeli security research institute, the repeated failure to deter Hamas makes it necessary for Israel to occupy the Gaza Strip and overthrow the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement.
According to Sama News Agency, in an article written by the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security‘s Israeli security expert Omer Dostri, Israel has a right: “To adopt a gradual approach in dealing with the various threats facing it.”
In his paper, Dostri states that Israel: “Should deal with each threat separately, from the lightest to the heaviest, focusing as much as possible on the most serious threat it is facing, which is Iran’s nuclear programme.”
Dostri believes: “This approach requires moving first to the policy of deterring Hamas, with the aim of overthrowing its rule, as a step towards the next threat.” He argues:
The threat posed by the Gaza Strip is secondary in importance, compared to other threats such as the Lebanese and Iranian fronts, but Hamas’s continued armament, and Israel’s failure to deter it over the years, increases the threat over time, and it may develop into a threat of equal importance to the Lebanese front.
The Israeli researcher claims that in a multi-battle war: “Israel is expected to fight on three main fronts – Lebanon, the Golan Heights and Gaza, while airstrikes carried out by long-range missiles or explosive devices from Iraq and Yemen provide fertile ground for Iranian military bases, through the Iraqi militias and the Houthis in Yemen, and in such a situation, Hamas may be a force multiplier for Iran’s efforts to harm Israel.”
After overthrowing Hamas, Dostri urges that: “Israel should turn to strengthening its deterrence against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and then focus exclusively on the threat of Iran’s military nuclear programme.” In order to reduce the threats against it, Dostri explains, Israel has first to eliminate Hamas: “Because in recent decades, it has become an important governmental force responsible for the Gaza Strip and its residents, making it vulnerable to deterrence due to its fear of losing its control.”
He argues that Hamas is still sticking to its “radical Islamic ideology” and that the movement disregards the price of military losses. Dostri maintains that Israel must: “Respond to Hamas with much more firepower against targets of much higher quality, and with a much greater amount of attacks, to the launch of any rocket from Gaza.”
Dostri insists that Israel must also: “Apply this policy to flying incendiary balloons and explosive gliders, or sending activists to carry out acts of violence near the fence.”
Dostri concludes that Israel has to move to a: “More deterrent strategy, by beginning to implement the strategy of ‘the battle between the wars’ in Gaza.”
Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip are being psychologically tortured. Growing up with periods of prolonged fear and abuse has devastating physical and mental consequences, and young people are suffering as a result.
Israel’s latest military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza inflicted lasting trauma on children, with noticeable behavioural changes due to what they witnessed during the bombing; not only the destruction but also the killing of entire families.
“There have been repetitive attacks, assaults and massacres over the past 13 years in Gaza,” explained Dr Samah Jabr, chair of the mental health unit at the Palestinian Ministry of Health. “And with every attack, there is a new generation of people who are traumatised.”
There is no safe place in Gaza, and the number of children at risk is extraordinary. Israeli air and artillery strikes during the 11-day assault in May killed 253 Palestinians, including 66 children. More than 1,900 people were wounded.
The purpose of the atrocities and violence is to have a huge psychological impact on the people, noted Dr Jabr. “It is the children who are the most vulnerable because they are at that special stage in their development where they are not getting the chance to develop healthy defence mechanisms.”
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2020 nearly half of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank were under the age of 18. An average 15-year-old in Gaza has lived through four major Israeli offensives. Nearly everyone in Gaza knows someone who has been killed in the attacks.
Whole families are affected. “The children live under the care of adults who are suffering too, due to the high rate of unemployment, poverty and food insecurity in Gaza,” said Dr Jabr.
More than two million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip and suffer from deteriorating economic conditions as a result of the Israeli blockade imposed on the territory since 2006. Around 70 per cent of the population are struggling with food insecurity and require aid, say World Food Programme officials. Unemployment stands at around 69 per cent. Israeli bombs have devastated the business community and infrastructure, meaning that recovery will be very difficult.
“The trauma is very special in Gaza because it is ongoing and being superimposed repetitively on historical collective trauma,” Dr Jabr pointed out. “And there is nowhere safe for families and children to seek refuge in Gaza.” There were times she and her colleagues intervened while the traumatic situation was still taking place. “I could hear the bombardment in the background when people called me from Gaza. It was a very unusual situation.”
She explained that mental health professionals are not equipped to provide suitable interventions for such chaotic situations. “Nevertheless, we support people by advising them to stay grounded and maintain their usual routine for the day in spite of all the difficulties.”
A series of research studies on the effects of war on Palestinian children living in the Gaza Strip concluded that symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were prominent amongst children who had been exposed to substantially distressing events, such as destruction of their family home; seeing family members being killed; seeing and hearing the jets and bombs; and the arrest of family members. The effects are severe and can dramatically hinder a child’s ability to sleep and cause a lack of concentration and panic attacks, as well as anxiety. Perhaps even more disturbing, they instil constant fear.
Dr Jabr believes that their suffering actually exceeds the definition of PTSD. Western-developed interventions and tools for measuring depression do not tend to distinguish between justified misery and clinical depression. Similarly, clinical definitions of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression do not apply to the experiences of Palestinians.
In addition to horrific physical injuries and deprivation, these Palestinian children face incomparable psychological trauma and crushing poverty, with little or no access to the support and medical attention they so desperately need. “It’s the intensity of violence and atrocities that are surrounding them. Usually we are trained to provide intervention to people who are traumatised in cases of primary event trauma like car accidents or a severe injury. However, in the life of a Palestinian child, they come from a background of historical, generational and collective trauma. Eighty per cent of Palestinians in Gaza come from refugee families who have lost their homes and more, and that huge loss stays within the family. Their families also participated in the Intifada and now they’re witnessing multiple wars and massacres on top of poverty.”
They find themselves without any hope of freedom, she added, or any sign that their situation will change. The siege is fracturing minds. In response, there is a culture of apathy towards the fate of Palestinians in Gaza and their cause, which further deteriorates their mental health.
“When people see that world powers side with the aggressor and say that Israel has the right to defend itself and ignore all the killings that take place in Gaza, Palestinian parents feel that they are blamed for the killing of their children by the Israeli occupation forces,” said Dr Jabr. “That is traumatising.”
Directing suspicion towards the victim, thereby justifying or excusing the original violation that the victim suffered, is a clear attempt to avoid Israeli culpability for the deaths of Palestinian children. In addition to this dehumanisation of the Palestinian people, such an approach allows the how and why of these children being killed and wounded to be overlooked.
It’s abundantly clear that the international community is failing the people of Palestine, especially in Gaza. And yet, the discourse of psychological resilience has a heavy hold there. Dr Jabr addressed a common misconception that people are either resilient or completely hopeless. She believes that resilience is dynamic and is built by resisting oppression, as it provides a sense of justice and represents morality. “We can be resilient at certain moments, but not resilient at other moments. Simultaneously, people can be traumatised while showing signs of resilience.” The latter, she added, relies not only on the individual but also collective factors that can encourage the resilience of individuals. “These shouldn’t be ignored.”
In conclusion, Dr Samah Jabr called for international unity in challenging Israel’s aggression by standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people as they resist the occupation and military offensives. “The most valuable help is political support when Palestinians are active agents fighting for their freedom, not when it’s too late and they are bleeding around dead bodies. And when it comes to healing, we Palestinians will take care of it. In fact, we already are.”
Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly procession in Kufur Qaddoum, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and injured dozens of Palestinians, including journalists. Friday marks the tenth year since the processions started in Kufur Qaddoum.
This week’s protests came in commemoration of the tenth anniversary since the protests against the illegal Annexation Wall and colonies started in Kufur Qaddoum, and was attended by dozens of Palestinians, including political and religious figures, such as Archimandrite Abdullah Yulio, parish priest of the Melkite Greek Catholic church, and the head of the Wall and Colonization Resistance Commission, Walid Assaf, in addition to several political and social leaders and figures.
Morad Eshteiwi, the spokesperson of the Popular Committee in Qalqilia, said the Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters with a barrage of gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets.
He added that dozens of Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and many sustained cuts and bruises.
It is worth mentioning that the soldiers tried to ambush the protesters in several locations, hiding behind trees or in buildings, but were unable to abduct any.
Eshteiwi stated that Israel has been constantly trying to suppress and silence the ongoing processions in Kufur Qaddoum since Jully of 2011, demanding the army to reopen the town’s main road, which was blockaded in 2003, to enable easy access to illegal colonialist settlers driving to and from the illegal Kedumim colony, which was built on their lands.