PA sentences journalist to three months in prison

Palestinian police in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 5 July 2021 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images]
Palestinian police in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 5 July 2021

A Palestinian Authority court in Nablus yesterday issued a three-month imprisonment sentence against the journalist, Abdul Rahman Zaher, for “defaming the authority.”

Lawyers for Justice said in a statement that the verdict came after he was acquitted from charges of “disseminating information that incites racial strife on social media, as well as transmitting false news to cause panic.”

The rights group pointed out that Zaher was being tried on three charges that affect the essence of his professional work, and restrict freedom of opinion and expression. The ruling was laid down against him after more than 10 sessions in court.

The group noted that the conviction was reinforcing the restriction on Zaher’s freedom of work.

Zaher was arrested for 35 days at the Preventive Security Service in August 2020, during which time he had suffered from difficult health conditions. Days after his release, the occupation rearrested him, as part of a campaign against Palestinian journalists and interrogated him on the same charges he faced during his detention by the Preventive Security Service.

The Palestinian journalist works in the Media Centre of An-Najah University in Nablus, as a producer and presenter for various programs. He has held various positions, including manager of the media production at Watan Production Foundation, executive producer for the Jordanian “Roya”, and he also participated in many dramatic and theatrical works, documentaries and journalistic investigations.

READ: How Israel’s ‘Facebook Law’ plans to control all Palestinian content online

(Source / 22.01.2022)

Israel settlers install barbed wire around Palestinian home in Sheikh Jarrah to seize it

A view of the demolition site in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem on January 17, 2022. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem on 17 January 2022

Israeli settlers, today, fenced off a plot of land in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, reported Wafa news agency.

Along with deputy Jerusalem Mayor, Arieh King, and heavily armed Israeli forces, the settlers barged into the neighbourhood, where they re-installed barbed wire around a plot of land in preparation to seize it.

The land belongs to the Salem family; one of the families that are threatened with forced expulsion from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.

According to a Wafa correspondent, the intruders physically assaulted members of the Salem family, inflicting fractures on a Palestinian woman’s hand.

This comes after Israeli authorities demolished their neighbour, Saliyeh family’s home after forced eviction.

Jewish settler groups claim the Palestinian homes were built on land owned by Jews before 1948, claims which official Jordanian and UN documents refute.

READ: UNRWA condemns Israel’s demolition of Salhiyya family home in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood

The Salem family became refugees in 1948, when some 700,000 Palestinians were forcefully expelled from their homes and land when Israel was founded.

In 1951, the family leased the house under a protected tenancy agreement from the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property, which had been established to handle property taken from Jews in areas controlled by Jordan after the 1948 Arab–Israeli war. Israel later seized control of East Jerusalem during the 1967 war.

Extremist Israeli settlers’ violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by the Israeli authorities.

They often coordinate their raids and assaults against Palestinians with Israeli occupation forces, who provide them with cover and protection.

Israel soldiers attack Palestinians resisting forceful eviction in Sheikh Jarrah [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]
Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah are being replaced with Israeli settlers as Israeli soldiers vacate the Palestinian property by force – Cartoon

(Source / 22.01.2022)

Jerusalem Salhiah family to bring home demolition case to ICC

Palestinian, Israeli, and foreign activists gather on the site where the Salhiya family's house stood before demolition by Israeli authorities lately, during a demonstration in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on January 21, 2022 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]
Palestinian, Israeli, and foreign activists gather on the site where the Salhiya family’s house stood before demolition by Israeli authorities lately, during a demonstration in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on January 21, 2022 

Lawyers acting on behalf of the Salhiah family of Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem have confirmed that they will be taking their case to the International Court of Justice (ICC). Their case is one of several to be brought court by Bindmans Solicitors partnering with the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), London.

Last week, the Salhiah family were attacked by Israeli occupation forces, beaten, arrested and detained. Their home was also demolished.

Although East Jerusalem is illegally occupied under international law, the ICJP said it has witnessed “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly,’ amounts to a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and is considered a war crime according to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

The ICJP statement noted, “New avenues for legal address have opened in recent years for families like the Salhiah family. In 2019, the International Criminal Court Prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation respecting the situation in Palestine covering crimes committed since June 2014, within the jurisdiction of the court. In 2021, the Pre-trial Chamber of the ICC concluded that the court’s territorial jurisdiction extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 (Gaza, West Bank, including East Jerusalem).”

Faced with the prospect of indictment, Israeli leaders have been stepping up efforts to deter ICC officials by threatening and smearing them with the “anti-Semitic” label. Following his recent meeting with Israel’s defence minister, Benny Gantz, it was reported that President Abbas had ordered the committee collecting evidence against Israel in preparation for submission to the International Criminal Court “to stop its work at this stage.”

READ: PA freezes committee collecting evidence for ICC

Today press release revealed that Bindmans’ partner, Tayab Ali, will be speaking to the Salhiah family next week in order to finalise details to send to the ICC.

Meanwhile ICJP Director, Crispin Blunt MP, said:

‘The cases in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood highlight a century of historic injustice meted out to the Palestinian people individually and collectively. For the Palestinian and Israeli peoples’ sake, and our humanity’s sake, the Sheikh Jarrah case needs to be a turning point where justice and our common humanity starts to count for more than people’s insecurities driven by fear. ICJP is proud and privileged to stand alongside this family and other Palestinian victims against Israeli injustice.’

(Source / 22.01.2022)

2008 Gaza war’s effects continue to resonate for Palestinian resistance, says expert

GAZA CITY, GAZA - JANUARY 02: Smoke and flames rise from the site hit by Israeli airstrikes, targeting a point belonging to Hamas in Gaza City, Gaza on January 02, 2022. ( Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency )
Smoke and flames rise from the site hit by Israeli airstrikes, targeting a point belonging to Hamas in Gaza City, Gaza on January 02, 2022

Saad Wahidi still remembers the day in 2008 when he was trying to rescue his family from Israeli fires by moving them to his uncle’s home, where he believed it would be safer, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“The distance between the two houses is passed in two minutes, but at the time, it felt like a year,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Wahidi recalled the first time he saw the white phosphorus, fired by Israeli artillery, descending from the sky around him and his family amid the clashes that came to be known as the 2008 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

“It was very strange, like a small date of a fire that can never be put out, even by water. The fire was increasing,” he said.

READ: The pro-Israel lobby sees more Palestinian activists walk free from court

For Wahidi, the worst part of the war was when his family was separated, amid Israeli ground invasion of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, storming the region from multiple points.

“Then, we lived without electricity and heating. The army arrested all the men under 40 years old in those cold days and the fire was everywhere around us. Those were unforgettable days,” he said.

Wahidi remembered those days, comparing them with later wars that took place in Gaza and how resistance groups improved their methods against the Israeli troops.

“In the war of 2008, dozens of rockets were fired. But in the later wars, hundreds were launched on each rocket burst, and this improvement is the only thing that helped us forget the horrible days we lived,” he said.

On 27 December, 2008, Israel carried out a large onslaught on Gaza over three weeks, named by Israel as “Operation Cast Lead” during which 1,436 Palestinians, including 410 children and 104 women, were killed. In response to the Israeli onslaught, 13 Israelis were killed in the Palestinian attacks.

Coming after two years of an Israeli blockade on Gaza to put pressure on Hamas after it won the legislative elections in 2006, the 2008 Gaza war was followed by several large-scale attacks by Tel Aviv on the sea-side enclave.

“It was an attempt to eradicate the Palestinian military resistance in Gaza, but it proved counter-productive. The military resistance learned its lessons and improved its tools. This reflected in the later three wars,” said Palestinian political analyst, Wisam Afifah.

According to Afifah, the Israeli army deliberately strategised to use shock, terror, surprise and fire to undermine the region’s will to resist, as well as to pressure it to adopt a political situation that was favourable to Israel.

“Israel wanted to downsize the force of Hamas, and there was a regional support for it but the effects of that war led to a surge in the force of the resistance, not only military, but politically as well, in the region,” he added.

READ: How Israel’s ‘Facebook Law’ plans to control all Palestinian content online

Afifah emphasised that the 2008 war was the origin of all subsequent developments that affected the political and armed strength of Hamas, as well as its relations with countries that have played critical roles to support the Palestinians, like Iran, Qatar and Turkey.

“Today, as a major faction on the military resistance, Hamas is attacking the enemy, not receiving the attacks. This is one of the most important transformations of the balance of power,” he argued.

“The war of 2008 has many accumulated outcomes on the Palestinian street and the confidence of the Palestinian Authority that can’t stop Israel from imposing any measure against them,” he said, referring to recent expulsions in occupied East Jerusalem, as an example.

“After all the years that passed, today, we can note the uprising as when Hamas became a critical player that cannot be ignored, despite the war aimed at undermining its strength.

“On the other hand, we can note that the Palestinian Street has lost confidence in the Palestinian Authority’s policies and the peace process with Israel,” he added.

(Source / 22.01.2022)

Islamic Jihad: PA security cooperation reaches ‘unprecedented levels’

The Spokesman of the Islamic Jihad Movement, Dawoud Shihab in Gaza City, Gaza on October 15, 2021 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
The Spokesman of the Islamic Jihad Movement, Dawoud Shihab in Gaza City, Gaza on October 15, 2021

Security and intelligence cooperation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Israeli occupation has reached “dangerous and unprecedented levels”, the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (PIJ) announced on Friday.

In a statement reported by Quds Press, the PIJ stated: “The PA’s continuous repression, chasing and political detention of leaders and activists is a form of support for the Israeli occupation’s attempts to extinguish the ongoing revolution in the occupied West Bank.”

The PIJ condemned the detention of Sheikh Abdul Ra’ouf Al-Jaghoub by the PA’s security agencies, in addition to the detention of two other activists, Motasem Dweekat and Bilal Hamayel.

READ: Arab League’s silence about Israel’s siege of Gaza ‘unjustified’

At the same time, the PIJ called for the PA to immediately release political detainees and activists and stop summoning ex-prisoners released from Israeli jails.

In addition, the PIJ urged national figures to raise their voices against the PA and put pressure on it to stop its campaigns.

Concluding its statement, the PIJ stressed: “All the attempts aimed at stopping the ongoing Intifada and the state of engagement with the occupation will fail.”

The Committee of Families of Political Detainees reported 2,578 rights violations committed by the PA against Palestinians in 2021.

(Source / 22.01.2022)

Israel settlers uproot hundreds of olive trees in West Bank

Israeli soldiers walk past cut-down olive trees on lands belonging to Palestinian protesters (unseen) from al-Sawiyah village south of Nablus city in the occupied West Bank, on May 2, 2020 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli soldiers walk past cut-down olive trees on lands belonging to Palestinian protesters (unseen) from al-Sawiyah village south of Nablus city in the occupied West Bank, on May 2, 2020

Israeli settlers have uprooted 400 olive trees in the Palestinian occupied West Bank village of Deir Sharaf on Friday, witnesses have said.

One of the witnesses, Ghassan Daghlas, monitors Israeli colonial settlement violations in the northern West Bank and explained that the settlers broke into a plot of land known as Al-Harayek and chopped down the trees.

The owners of the land were identified as Abdul Rahim, Abdul Hamid and Ghazi Antari – all villagers of Deir Sharaf.

Ghazi Antari shared that he went to his 68-dunam farm to find that settlers had chopped down 320 olive trees, which he planted three years ago.

Daghlas said this was not the first time, as settlers had destroyed some 600 saplings almost a month ago.

Meanwhile, a group of Israeli settlers uprooted 90 olive saplings and trees belonging to Palestinian farmers in the Salfit village of Yasuf, West Bank.

Jamal Salama, a Palestinian resident of Yasuf village in Salfit, recounted that the settlers uprooted 70 olive saplings of his own after they stormed his farm near the village.

READ: Settlers cut down dozens of olive trees in West Bank to expand illegal settlement

Samer Rashed, another Palestinian resident of the village, said that some 20 olive trees belonging to him were chopped off by settlers who raided his farm.

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the occupied West Bank and is rarely sanctioned by Israeli authorities. Palestinians, local and international monitors and officials believe that the Israeli government endorses settler violence.

Over 700,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law.

The number of settlers has almost tripled since the Oslo Peace Accords signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1993, the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s official data stated.

In 1993, the number of settlers was estimated at 252,000, according to the PA’s data. Illegal colonial settlements have increased from 144 in 1993 to 515 today.

Oslo Accords, the 25th Anniversary - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]
Oslo Accords, the 25th Anniversary – Cartoon 

(Source / 22.01.2022)

Qatar signs deal with Gaza Electricity Generation Company

A tank truck raising Qatari flags transporting fuel for Gaza's sole power plant arrives to the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on June 28, 2021 [SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images]
A tank truck raising Qatari flags transporting fuel for Gaza’s sole power plant arrives to the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on June 28, 2021

Qatari Ambassador Mohammed Al-Emadi has signed a deal with the Gaza Power Generation Company and the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company, Akka news website reported on Friday.

According to AkkaIsrael Hayom, an Israeli Hebrew daily, reported that the deal stipulates opening an escrow account to cover the cost of gas supplies to the power plant and power generation.

The Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza will be the major owner of this account, and the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company will deposit $5 million each month into the account.

Several months ago, Al-Emadi was quoted by Israeli daily Haaretz stating that the gas pipeline should be completed within two and a half years, costing $60 million that Qatar would pay. He noted that work had already started.

READ: Qatar, PA agree to supply Gaza’s power plant with Israeli gas

Gaza has a diesel-fired power plant that provides around 60MW, while the Gaza Strip needs much more than this – over 500MW.

Qatar has been a major supplier of fuel used by this plant.

Al-Emadi arrived in Israel on Tuesday, met with senior Israeli officials and then travelled to Gaza to meet with Hamas leadership in the coastal enclave.

Israeli public broadcasting corporation, Kan, disclosed that Al-Emadi discussed the ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, Qatari and international projects during his meetings with the Israelis and Palestinians.

Qatar inaugurates dialysis hospital in Gaza
Qatar inaugurates dialysis hospital in Gaza – Cartoon 

(Source / 22.01.2022)

Soldiers Abduct A Palestinian, Detain Four, Near Jenin

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Friday evening, a former political prisoner, and detained four others, at the Dothan military roadblock near Ya’bad town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Media sources said the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Omar Daoud, from Qaffin village, northeast of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, after stopping him at Dothan roadblock.

They added that the soldiers also detained four young men, identified as Arabi Walid Abu Bakr, his brother Mohammad, in addition to Mohammad Abdul-Hakim Abu Bakr and Dia’ Sa’id Abu Bakr.

The four were detained and interrogated at the roadblock for a few hours before the soldiers released them.

(Source / 22.01.2022)

Israeli Soldiers Shoot A Palestinian Near Ramallah

Israeli soldiers shot, on Friday evening, a young Palestinian man near Sinjil town, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Medical sources said the soldiers shot Saher Fuqaha’, 22, with three live rounds in the thigh and pelvis, causing moderate to serious wounds, before he was rushed to the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah.

Surgeons performed an urgent surgery on the wounded young man to stop the excessive bleeding, before performing a second injury to treat him for the damage caused by the bullets.

After shooting Fuqaha’, the soldiers also detained another young man for a few hours before releasing him.

Nizar Fuqaha’, the uncle of the wounded young man, said Saher and some of his friends were driving near a Palestinian agricultural hothouse near colonialist Road #60 not far from Sinjil before the soldiers opened fire at them without a warning.

Also on Friday evening, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, and detained four others, at the Dothan military roadblock near Ya’bad town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

(Source / 22.01.2022)

Israeli Soldiers Open Fire Into Farmlands In Gaza

Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Saturday morning, into Palestinian farmlands in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Media sources said the soldiers, station in Kissufim military base, across the fence, fired many live rounds into the farmlands east of the al-Qarara town, east of Khan Younis.

They added that the attack did not lead to casualties but forced the Palestinian farmers to leave, fearing further Israeli escalation against them.

The army frequently attacks farmersshepherds, workers, and fishermen across the eastern parts of the coastal region and in Palestinian territorial waters, leading to dozens of casualties, including fatalities, in addition to preventing the Palestinians from tending to their lands and from fishing to provide for their families.

In March 2021, the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza said Israeli mines were responsible for an explosion that led to the death of three fishermen.

(Source / 22.01.2022)