PA prime minister calls for Israel to open Al-Quds Airport

A picture shows the main building of the former Atarot airport (Jerusalem International Airport), which has been closed to civilian traffic since the breakout of the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) in 2000 near West Bank city of Ramallah and Israel-annexed east Jerusalem on November 25, 2021

The Palestinian Authority prime minister called on Wednesday for Israel to open Al-Quds Airport if it really wants to facilitate travel for the Palestinians, Safa has reported.

The occupation state this week opened up Raman Airport near Eilat in southern Israel to Palestinian passengers wishing to fly overseas.

Mohammad Shtayyeh pointed out that Al-Quds Airport is already available and the Palestinians can operate it. Also known as Qalandia Airport, it was established in 1920 during the British Mandate occupation of Palestine and was used for military purposes. During Jordan’s rule of the West Bank from 1948 to 1967 it was turned into a civilian airport. Although the Israeli occupation authorities transformed it for tourism and commercial purposes, they then closed it but are now trying to use it for settlement projects.

Jordan has complained that if Palestinian travellers use Ramon Airport, then the number who cross into the kingdom to fly overseas from Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport will fall. Speaking during the inauguration of Al-Rama power plant in the southern Jordan Valley with his Jordanian counterpart Bishr Al-Khasawneh, Shtayyeh insisted that projects which harm Jordanian-Palestinian relations will not find any partners in Palestine.

“There is no alternative to our Jordanian depth,” he stressed, stating that he wished to raise the trade balance between the PA and Jordan from $200 million to $500m. “If we can, we will raise this to $1 billion.” The Palestinian official added that, “We and Jordan are one party, one team and one goal, and our goal is the safety of Jordan and the welfare of its people.”

Al-Khasawneh pointed out that Jordan is working to enhance trade exchange with the Palestinians and to enhance Jordanian exports to Palestine. “We are also committed to easing the passage of Palestinians across the King Hussein Bridge to the kingdom, and from there to the world.”

READ: Flights for West Bank Palestinians to Turkey to start at end of August

(Source / 25.08.2022)

UN experts condemn Israeli suppression of Palestinian human rights organisations

GENEVA (24 August 2022) – UN experts* today condemned Israel’s escalating attacks against Palestinian civil society in the occupied West Bank, after the Israeli army broke into the offices of seven Palestinian human rights and humanitarian groups operating in Ramallah and shut them down last week.

“These actions amount to severe suppression of human rights defenders and are illegal and unacceptable,” the experts said, encouraging UN member states to take effective measures afforded by international law to put an end to these abuses.

In a dawn raid on 18 August, Israeli forces caused extensive damage to property and issued military orders imposing the closure of the seven Palestinian human rights groups’ offices**. These actions follow Israel’s earlier designations and declarations of these organisations as “terrorist” and “unlawful”.

“These designations and declarations are illegitimate and unjustifiable and no concrete and credible evidence substantiating Israel’s allegations has ever been provided,” said the experts, who made the same observations in April 2022.

On 18 and 21 August, the Israeli security service Shin Bet interrogated the directors of three of the seven organisations, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Al-Haq and Defence for Children-Palestine. The experts noted with particular concern the alleged threats made by Shin Bet against them, including as reported in a public statement regarding Al-Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin.

“The Israeli government has taken multiple measures to undermine civil society organisations, restricting and repressing the legitimate activities of human rights defenders, which also has a disproportionate impact on women human rights defenders,” the experts said.

“The result is serious infringements of the rights to freedom of association, opinion and expression and the right to participate in public and cultural affairs, which Israel is fully obliged to fulfill, respect and protect,” the experts said. “Civil society is what is left to the Palestinians for their minimum protection. Shrinking this vital space and resource is illegal and immoral.”

The UN experts said information presented by Israel to justify its decision to blacklist human rights groups as terror organisations had failed to convince donor governments and international organisations. The experts noted that a review of Al Haq by the Anti-Fraud Office of the European Union (EU) confirmed that “no suspicions of irregularities and/or fraud affecting EU funds” had been found.

The experts called on the EU, all five permanent members of the Security Council, and all member states to take concrete measures to protect the Palestinian organizations and staff whose offices were raided and closed.

“Such protection depends on Israel revoking once and for all its designations and declarations of these organisations as “terrorist” and “unlawful”, the experts said. “The EU and its member states in particular must urgently use their leverage to stop these aggressive attacks on civil society, in line with their commitments and obligations to protect human rights defenders and civic space.”

“Once again, it is clear that statements condemning and regretting Israel’s unlawful measures are not sufficient – it is time that words are followed by swift and determined action by the international community to put diplomatic pressure on Israel to restore the rule of law, justice and human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory,” the experts said.

ENDS

*The expertsFrancesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967Mary LawlorSpecial Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defendersFionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism; Irene KhanSpecial Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Melissa Upreti (Chair), Dorothy Estrada Tanck (Vice-Chair), Elizabeth BroderickIvana Radačić, and Meskerem Geset Techane, Working Group on discrimination against women and girlsReem AlsalemSpecial Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Clément Nyaletsossi VouleSpecial Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and associationTendayi AchiumeSpecial Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerancePedro Arrojo-AgudoSpecial Rapporteur on the rights to water and sanitationTlaleng MofokengSpecial Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental healthSiobhán MullallySpecial Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and childrenLivingstone Sewanyana, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international orderSorcha MacLeod (Chair-Rapporteur), Jelena Aparac, Ravindran Daniel, Chris Kwaja, Carlos Salazar,Working Group on the use of mercenariesAlexandra XanthakiSpecial Rapporteur in the field of cultural rightsOlivier De SchutterSpecial Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; Balakrishnan Rajagopal,Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing; and Michael Fakhri,Special Rapporteur on the right to food.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel
** The organizations affected are: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Al Haq; Bisan Center for Research and Development; Defense for Children International – Palestine; Health Work Committees (HWC); Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC); the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).

For more information and media requests, please contact Dean Callas (callas@un.org) or Sarah Jacquier Nobel (sarah.jacquiernobel@un.org).

Media inquiries related to other UN independent experts, please contact Renato Rosario De Souza (renato.rosariodesouza@un.org) or Dharisha Indraguptha (dharisha.indraguptha@un.org)
Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts
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(Source / 25.08.2022)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Eighteen Palestinians In West Bank

On Thursday dawn, Israeli soldiers abducted eighteen Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank.

In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers invaded the al-Fawwar refugee camp before storming and ransacking many homes.

Media sources said the soldiers abducted Ahmad Mohammad al-Amsi, Ismael al-Amsi, Yousef Mohammad at-Teety, Mustafa al-Ballas, Ahmad Abdul-Qader Awwad, Sami Mohammad al-Janazra, and a wounded young man, Fahed Saher Natasha.

In Jenin, in the northern West Bank, the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes in Burqin and abducted a young man, Ali Mojahed al-Amoudi.

The soldiers also abducted Ahmad Mousa Halajia from Jenin city, Mohammad Khaled Ghawadra, Nayef Midhat Ghawadra, his brother Atef, and Anan Abdul-Ghani Ghawadra, from their homes in Be’er al-Basha village, southwest of Jenin.

Local sources said Palestinian resistance fighters exchanged fire with the invading military vehicles in Burqin, mildly wounding one soldier.

In Nablus, in the northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, Abdul-Karim Anwar Mona, and Ahmad Sayeh.

In Ramallah, in the central West Bank, the soldiers invaded Silwad town, east of the city, searched homes, and abducted Zaher Talal Hamed and Kamal Hamed, 32.

(Source / 25.08.2022)

Israeli Soldiers Displace Palestinian Bedouin Families In Central Plains

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers invaded the al-Wadi al-Ahmar area, north of Fasayel in the Central Plains of the occupied West Bank, and displaced the Palestinian Bedouin families

Media sources said the soldiers, accompanied by personnel of the so-called Civil Administration Office, invaded the community in the morning and demolished many residential sheds and barns.

They added that the soldiers invaded the community again on Wednesday evening and displaced the families that owned the demolished structures, forcing them to leave the area.

Various human rights defenders and groups monitoring Israel’s violations in the Jordan Village warned that the attack could be the beginning of a larger Israeli plan to displace the Palestinians in preparation for replacing their communities with illegal colonies.

(Source / 25.08.2022)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Six Palestinians In Jenin

On Thursday dawn, many Israeli military vehicles invaded Burqin town, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and exchanged fire with Palestinian fighters before the soldiers stormed homes and abducted six Palestinians in several parts of the governorate.

Local sources said Palestinian resistance fighters exchanged fire with the invading military vehicles in Burqin, mildly wounding one soldier.

The sources added that the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes in Burqin and abducted a young man, Ali Mojahed al-Amoudi.

The soldiers also abducted Ahmad Mousa Halajia from Jenin city, Mohammad Khaled Ghawadra, Nayef Midhat Ghawadra, his brother Atef, and Anan Abdul-Ghani Ghawadra, from their homes in Be’er al-Basha village, southwest of Jenin.

Protests took place in the invaded communities before the soldiers fired live rounds, gas bombs, and concussion grenades, causing many Palestinians to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.

(Source / 25.08.2022)

Israeli Prison Administration Storms Cells in Negev Prison

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported on Wednesday that special forces of the Israeli Prisons Administration stormed several sections of the Negev prison in southern Israel.

The raid targeted Palestinian prisoners associated with the Islamic Jihad resistance movement — which was also the main target of Israel’s recent bombardment of the Gaza Strip. That three-day long aerial bombardment campaign targeted a number of leaders of the Islamic Jihad movement, but did so by dropping hundreds of missiles, killing 43 people (only 11 of whom were associated with Islamic Jihad). 15 of those killed in the three-day long bombardment were children, including babies and kids under age 5.

In the prison raid on Wednesday, the Israeli special forces locked down the prisoners in their cells and cut off their electricity.

This comes after a large-scale hunger strike began in the prison on Monday, with many of the 1,400 Palestinian prisoners in the Negev prison refusing to eat and refusing to participate in security checks.

The prisoner hunger strike is in solidarity with the long-term hunger striker, Mohammad …, who has been hospitalized due to the severity of his condition. He is demanding an end to the Israeli practice of administrative detention — holding prisoners without charges.

Amani Farrahna, the media officer in the Prisoners Club, said in an interview with Anadolu News Agency that “a state of extreme tension prevails among the prisoners in the Negev prison, which is the largest Israeli prison.”

The Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement published on Wednesday, that “the prisoners continue to implement their strike, which began on Monday, to rebel against the Israeli which is to refrain from going out to the so-called security check, and to return the meals.”

The prisoners protest against the prison administrations’ intention to “impose measures to restrict detainees sentenced to life imprisonment through repeated transfers from the rooms, sections, and prisons in which they are held.”

The number of Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli prisons is about 4,550.

(Source / 25.08.2022)

Israeli Army Surveys, Annexes Palestinian Lands Near Bethlehem

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers invaded and surveyed large areas of Palestinian lands in Kisan village, east of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, and annexed them before preventing the Palestinians from entering them.

Ahmad Ghazal, a local nonviolent activist, said the soldiers invaded and surveyed massive areas of land in Wadi al-Hajjar, Thahrat al-Mizrab, Thahrat at-Teena, and Khallet al-Hadad, and placed red markers on them.

Ghazal added that the Israeli army informed the Mayor, Mousa Obeyyat, that the lands are now off-limits to the Palestinians, and any person who enters them would be subject to prosecution.

Kisan is subject to frequent violations by Israeli soldiers and illegal colonialist settlers; the violations include demolishing homes and structures, uprooting lands, and annexing the lands so that Israel can build and expand its illegal colonies.

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 Law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”.

(Source / 25.08.2022)

Palestinian Family In Jerusalem Forced To Demolish Its Home

On Wednesday, a Palestinian family from Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied capital, Jerusalem, was forced to demolish its home after Israel denied all appeals.

The Abu Ramouz family in the Ras al-Amoud area in Silwan had to remove its furniture and belongings a day earlier in preparation for demolishing the property.

Just before the family started the demolition, City Council workers came with bulldozers, but the family refused to allow them to demolish it, before the family demolished its property with the help of a Palestinian neighborhood.

When families decide to self-demolish their own homes, they do so to avoid the excessively high fines and fees and demolition costs if the City Council uses its workers and equipment.

The owner of the property, Faraj Abu Ramouz, said that the family was informed of the demolition order a month and a half earlier before hiring lawyers to file appeals and added that it paid 75.000 Shekels in legal fees and 50.000 Shekels in fines but to no avail, because the Jerusalem Municipality denied all appeals, and refused to permit the building.

“We built the property early 18 months ago on land we own,” Faraj said, “I lived in it with my wife and our eight children, including a newborn child who is only ten days old. And now, we are all homeless but will remain steadfast on our lands,”

While Israel continues to build and expand its illegal colonies in direct violation of International Law, Palestinian communities and towns, in occupied Jerusalem, and various areas in the occupied West Bank, continue to be denied the right to build homes and property.

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 Law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”.

(Source / 25.08.2022)