Israeli warplanes bomb several areas in Gaza Strip

Israeli occupation warplanes bombed agricultural land east of Al-Bureij camp in the middle of the Strip

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Israeli occupation warplanes, at dawn Saturday,  launched a series of raids targeting Palestinian resistance sites in different areas of the Gaza Strip.

The occupation warplanes bombed with several missiles a site belonging to the Palestinian resistance, west of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

In addition, Israeli occupation warplanes bombed agricultural land east of Al-Bureij camp in the middle of the Strip.

No injuries were recorded during the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Dr. Ashraf Al-Qidra, said. 

(Source / 17.04.2021)

If Israel has committed no war crimes, then why does it refuse the ICC probe?

Israeli occupation state has committed so many crimes against the Palestinian people, but it does not want any internal or external body to look into and expose these crimes

By Prof Kamel Hawwash

On 5 February, Palestinians saw a long tunnel open and a light flicker in the distance for justice. The International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber I “decided, by majority, that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”


The ICC now has jurisdiction to investigate crimes the Palestinians say were perpetrated by Israel in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had previously called for investigations, saying there was “a reasonable basis to believe” war crimes had happened.

Reactions in both Palestine and Israel were as predicted. The Palestinians welcomed the decision. Palestinian Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Shalaldeh welcomed the ICC decision and considered it “historic”.

“The International Criminal Court decision is historic and means immediate commencement in investigating the grave violations on the Palestinian occupied territory,” Al-Shalaldeh said. He added that three files are prioritised for the court, the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, the Israeli settlements, and the Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the decision in a written statement. “Today, the International Criminal Court has proven once more that it is a political body and not a judicial institution,” Netanyahu said. “In this ruling, the tribunal violated the right of democracies to defend themselves against terrorism, and played into the hands of those who undermine efforts to expand the circle of peace,” he added.

Anyone expecting a change of American position from the new Biden Administration was quickly disappointed. In a call with Netanyahu, American Vice President Kamala Harris told him that the US opposes ICC investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, the White House said.

This followed an announcement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which he said that Washington “firmly opposes and is deeply disappointed” by the ICC decision. He emphasised that “Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” Blinken said in a statement.

Israel would have been a little confused but certainly disappointed that the same administration recently lifted the sanctions on ICC personnel imposed by Biden’s predecessor, Trump in December 2020. Blinken’s team said: “These decisions reflect our assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective.” The administration continues “to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations” and to object to ICC “efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the United States and Israel.”

The US made this decision despite the investigations that may target US military personnel for crimes committed in Afghanistan. One might have expected Israel to follow suit and accept that the ICC is an independent court and that the chief prosecutor has painstakingly consulted before it was ruled that the court had jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territory and that it would investigate crimes committed by any party, including Palestinian parties going back to 2014. However, those familiar with Israel’s attitude to necessary external scrutiny won’t have been surprised with its formal rejection of the ICC decision to investigate its leaders’ crimes.

Israel is clearly worried about the ICC decision. Following a meeting of its top brass it decided to send a letter to the court to convey its refusal to cooperate. At the meeting were the prime minister, foreign minister, defence minister, strategic affairs minister, education minister, water minister, attorney-general, National Security Council head, and army Chief Military Advocate, among others.

Israel will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s investigation for alleged war crimes and will argue that the court has no jurisdiction to open the probe, consistent with Israel’s longstanding position. At the meeting, Netanyahu argued that “While IDF soldiers fight with supreme morality against terrorists that commit war crimes daily, the court in The Hague decided to denounce Israel”. “There is no other word for this than hypocrisy. A body established to fight for human rights turned into a hostile body that defends those who trample human rights.”

In the letter to be sent to the ICC, Israel will argue that it has its own ‘independent judiciary’ capable of trying soldiers who commit war crimes.

Palestinians would beg to differ as investigations by Israel of its own crimes have yielded no justice. Take the example of the investigation of the 2018 killing of 21-year-old Palestinian paramedic Razan Al-Najjar near the fence in Gaza. An Israeli investigation stated that “during an initial examination of the incident that took place on June 1st, 2018, in which a 22-year-old Palestinian woman was killed, it was found that a small number of bullets were fired during the incident, and that no shots were deliberately or directly aimed towards her”.

Commenting on the investigation Al-Haq Human Rights organisation stated: “The hastily concluded preliminary examination highlights Israel’s inability to conduct an independent, effective and impartial investigation into alleged war crimes.” It further stated: “The Israeli military effectively operates with impunity. Between 2005 and 2009, out of 800 submitted complaints of war crimes, only 49 investigations led to indictments.”

Israel therefore cannot be trusted to conduct its own investigations impartially and that is the reason why external investigation is needed. Furthermore, it has a history of denying impartial international investigating teams’ access to investigate potential war crimes going back decades.

In 2002, the Amnesty International team to investigate potential crimes committed by Israeli troops in the Jenin refugee camp were denied access to the camp. Professor Derrick Pounder, who was part of the three-person team sent to investigate human rights abuses, said: “The refusal to allow us to conduct or even to assist in enabling others to conduct such investigations is very serious and gives rise to questions about the authorities’ motives.”

In 2009 the team led by Judge Goldstone to investigate possible crimes committed during the 2008/9 war on Gaza was denied visas by Israel and had to enter Gaza through Egypt. His report eventually found Israel and Palestinian armed groups were guilty of war crimes. The report also referenced that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem had been denied entry to carry out their investigations in Gaza.

In 2014, Israel again denied entry to teams that were tasked with investigating potential human rights abuses. The UNHRC investigating team found that both Israel and Palestinian armed groups had committed war crimes.

Israel has also denied entry to UN Rapporteurs Richard Falk and Michael Link, UN special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.

Does Israel have anything to hide? Yes, of course it does. Its human rights abuses fill page upon page of any notebook. Whether it is about its war crimes during repeated wars against the helpless, entrapped Palestinian population in Gaza or its illegal settlement enterprise, or moving its population into illegally occupied areas, moving Palestinian prisoners into its own territory from occupied territory. What about house demolitions, family evictions?

With that torrid track record, justice requires that Israeli violations are examined, and it faces accountability for them. Its leaders should answer for their alleged war crimes in person and must have their day in court at The Hague. Otherwise, its leaders will continue to commit crimes, safe in the knowledge that they will not have to answer for them. The wheels of justice need to move more quickly, and then Israeli war criminals won’t be able to sleep soundly every night thinking they can just get up in the morning and commit more crimes with impunity.

(Source / 11.04.2021)

Palestinians pray Friday on lands threatened with confiscation

Palestinian activists called on the people to pray in their lands to confront the Israeli occupation’s settlement policy and to prevent its seizure in favor of settlement expansion

Dozens of Palestinian citizens in Masafer Yatta, south of al-Khalil, performed Friday prayer on lands threatened with confiscation by the Israeli occupation in the Ein al-Bayda area.

Palestinian activists called on the people to pray in their lands to confront the Israeli occupation’s settlement policy and to prevent its seizure in favor of settlement expansion. 

Fuad Al-Amour, the coordinator of the Protection and Steadfastness Committee, said that dozens of residents performed Friday prayer in Ein al-Bayda, amid the intensified presence of the Israeli occupation soldiers. 

After performing the prayer, citizens and several foreign solidarity activists organized a march, rejecting the occupation’s policy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians and the settlers’ bulldozing works in the area.

The participants planted olive trees in the lands threatened with seizure, stressing that they will continue to confront the occupation policy and its continuous attacks on citizens’ lands and property.

(Source / 10.04.2021)

Israeli forces murder Palestinian man, injure his wife in Jerusalem

The man was shot in the head and his wife was shot in her back

Israeli occupation forces murdered on Tuesday at dawn Palestinian man and severely wounded his wife while they were driving from Beir Nabala to Jerusalem.

Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that both the Palestinian man and his wife arrived to Palestine Medical Compound in very critical conditions.

Later on, the man, who was shot in the head apparently from a very close distance, succumbed to his wounds.

Although it is critical, the condition of the wife is stable now, medical sources said.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the Palestinian man as Usama Sedqi Mansour, 42, from a Palestinian village located in northwest Jerusalem.

Israeli occuaption army spokesman claims that the driver attempted to carry out a ramping attack.

(Source / 07.04.2021)

Israeli settlers storm ancient site of Sebastia under military guard

Sebastia is a mixture of structural remains and modern buildings and it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the West Bank

Dozens of Israeli settlers on Wednesday morning stormed Sebastia town, north of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, at the pretext of visiting and performing rituals at the archeological site.

Sebastia mayor Mohamed Azem said that scores of settlers stormed, under military protection, the ancient area of the town.

Azem added that the Israeli occupation forces cordoned off the area and bared local residents from using the paths and roads leading to it.

He warned of Israeli intents to storm Sebastia town every Wednesday to secure visits to the historic site for Israeli settlers.

Sebastia is a mixture of structural remains and modern buildings and it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the West Bank.

It was once a major city, home to successive civilizations from its Arab Canaanite founders to the Romans and then its modern-day Palestinian inhabitants.

Both the major archaeological site above the village and the historic center of the town itself are still fascinating tourist attractions.

However, this unique ancient town is exposed to systematic attempts by Israel and its ministry of tourism to obliterate and Judaize its Arab history and identity.

According to Azem, Israel prevents the Palestinian local authorities from carrying out any restoration or cleaning works at the historical sites in the town.

Every once in a while, groups of settlers escorted by soldiers provocatively storm the main archaeological site of the town in broad daylight to perform religious rituals as part of an Israeli attempt to claim it as a Jewish shrine.

At nighttime, the site becomes vulnerable to acts of sabotage and plundering by settlers and thieves.

(Source / 07.04.2021)

Halawani warns of dangerous plans targeting Al-Aqsa Mosque in Ramadan month

Israeli occupation aims to cut off the al-Rahma Gate chapel and the eastern courtyard from Al-Aqsa and perform Jewish rituals in it. Hence, establishing the alleged “Temple”

The Palestinian activist, Hanadi Halawani, on Saturday, warned of dangerous plans targeting the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in the coming month of Ramadan, calling for confronting those plans before it is too late.

Halawani pointed out that Al-Aqsa is in imminent danger after the calls of the so-called “Temple” groups to defile the Mosque on “Jerusalem Day” on the 28th of Ramadan.

She said that this call comes within the temporal and spatial division policy that the Israeli occupation is trying to impose on the Al-Aqsa Mosque by designating Saturday for the Jews only.

Furthermore, the Israeli occupation aims to cut off the al-Rahma Gate chapel and the eastern courtyard from Al-Aqsa and perform Jewish rituals in it. Hence, establishing the alleged “Temple”.

The so-called “Temple” groups called on youth organizations and Jewish religious schools to attend a preparatory conference “to study how to organize the storming” on the Day of Jerusalem which will fall on Monday 10/5/2021. 

This conference will be held on Sunday, in western Jerusalem, and this is the first time that a preparatory conference of this size has been called for to discuss breaking into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

(Source / 04.04.2021)

Israeli forces detain two Palestinians from Aqsa, banish another from Jerusalem

Israeli police officers also detained two young men during their presence in the Mosque’s courtyards, with no reason

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Israeli occupation forces detained two Palestinian young men, on Thursday morning, from the Aqsa Mosque and banished another from Jerusalem.

According to local sources, a large number of Israeli police forces stormed the Aqsa Mosque and raided its prayer buildings.

Israeli police officers also detained two young men during their presence in the Mosque’s courtyards, with no reason.

Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation police handed a Jerusalemite young man from the Issawiya district called Anwer Obeid an order banishing him from the holy city.

Obeid had already been expelled from the city for four months after the police placed him under house arrest for a few weeks. He was also detained and jailed several times before.

(Source / 01.04.2021)

Israel rearrests Palestinian after completing 20 years in prison

Israeli occupation authorities, backed by the US and all superpowers in the West, ignore all international laws related to human rights mainly of the Palestinians

Instead of releasing Palestinian prisoner Majd Barber after spending 20 years in Israeli jails, Israel turned him on Sunday to investigation centre for more interrogations, family sources said on Monday.

While his family from occupied Jerusalem has waited to see him coming home after spending 20-year prison term in Israeli jails, Israeli occupation authorities decided to turn him to prison again.

The family said that it was informed that Majd has been transferred to the Russian Compound detention centre in West Jerusalem for more interrogations and therefore his family, including wife and children have to wait for more days likely before reunion, Majd’s wife, Fatima, said.

“Israeli occupation authorities Majd upon his release from al Naqab prison in the south of Israel, and took him to the Russian Compound prison and summoned his brother, Izzeddin, also for interrogation,” his wife said.

Israeli authorities often re-arrest freed Palestinian prisoners from East Jerusalem and hold them for few days to prevent their families, friends and neighbours from celebrating their release and in a way to disrupt his homecoming. The police also ban families from holding any celebrations.

Majd Barbar, from Ras al-Amoud neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, was arrested on 30 March 2001, for his role in the resistance against the Israeli occupation and sentenced to 20 years.

He was married and had two children when he was arrested, one of them, a daughter named Zeina, was only 15 days old at the time.

(Source / 29.03.2021)

Israeli forces raze Araqib village in Negev for 185th time

Araqib residents live in a constant state of fear because they expect the demolition of their village at any moment after they manage to rebuild their homes again

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Israeli occupation authorities demolished, on Thursday morning, all the tents and structures in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Araqib in the Negev desert for the 185th consecutive time, displacing its residents.

According to local sources, Israeli occupation police and employees from the Bedouin development authority, which is responsible for such demolitions, stormed the village and wreaked havoc on everything.

Consequently, dozens of Bedouin citizens, including children, women, and elderlies, have become homeless and will suffer from the harsh weather of the desert for a while before they could have new makeshift homes again.

Araqib residents live in a constant state of fear because they expect the demolition of their village at any moment after they manage to rebuild their homes again.

However, such Israeli arbitrary, criminal and inhumane policy of demolition, uprooting, and displacement will only increase the residents’ resolve and adherence to their land and village even if Israel demolishes it thousands of times.  

Al-Araqib is one of several Bedouin villages in the Negev desert, which are “unrecognized” by Israel.

The demolition of al-Araqib and other villages in the Negev is a systematic Israeli policy aimed at expelling the native population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned areas to pave the way to expand and build settlements for Jewish communities.

(Source / 25.03.2021)

Israeli warplanes attack several areas in Gaza Strip

The bombing caused huge damage to Palestinians’ homes in Gaza Strip

Israeli occupation warplanes bombed on Wednesday at dawn two sites of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes and helicopters shelled the Badr site, south of Gaza City, with about eight missiles, and shelled another target of the Palestinian resistance east of Deir Al-Balah, according to local sources.

The sources pointed out that the bombing caused huge explosions and damage to Palestinians’ homes.
 
The Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that no injuries were reported during the Israeli attacks this night.

(Source / 24.03.2021)