On Friday dawn, Israeli soldiers invaded and ransacked many homes across the occupied West Bank and abducted at least eight Palestinians.
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted Ayman Sbeih, 24, from his home in the city’s southern area.
In Ramallah, in the central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Saddam Nimir Nafe’ and Awad Luay al-Khawaja from their homes in Ni’lin village, west of the city.
Also in Ramallah, the soldiers abducted Ali Rezeq Sadaqa, 24, and his twin brother, Mahmoud, in addition to Hamza Sadaqa, 28, from their homes in the al-Midya village, west of the city.
In Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mahmoud Abu Sari from his home in Nur Shams refugee camp, east of the city.
The soldiers also abducted Ahmad Assem Dalbah, from Jenin, in the northern West Bank.
Also in Jenin, the army invaded Rommana, Taybeh, Zabbouba, Aneen, Toura, and Misilyah, stormed and ransacked many homes near the illegal Annexation Wall, and fired gas bombs at Palestinians, protesting the invasions of Misilyah.
The soldiers also installed roadblocks near the towns of Jaba’, Sanur, Arraba, and Ya’bad, before stopping and searching dozens of cars.
Media sources in Jenin said the army deployed many tanks and armored vehicles in the illegal Mabo Dotan colonies and the hills near Ya’bad town.
Israeli soldiers abducted a young Palestinian man on Friday night after illegal Israeli colonizers attacked him and his family in the center of Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
Local sources said the colonizers invaded the home of Maher Abu Hayya in the Shallala Street before assaulting him and his family while walking near their home.
They added that Israeli soldiers stormed the home and abducted Maher Abu Hayya after assaulting him and his family.
The army did not detain or interrogate the colonizers who attacked the Palestinian and his family.
On Thursday, the Israeli army issued demolition orders targeting two flats and a room in Ya’bad town, west of Jenin, in the West Bank’s northern part.
Ahmad Hasan Hamarsha told WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the soldiers invaded the town and handed him an order for the demolition of two flats and a room in a building owned by his family.
Hamarsha said the army informed the family that they should demolish the buildings before May 26th or face excessively high fines and fees.
The family recently filed an appeal through a human rights group in occupied Jerusalem before an Israeli court only revoked the demolition order of two commercial rooms on the ground floor of the building.
Analysis by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) revealed that, in the year 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities demolished 937 structures, displacing 1119 Palestinians and directly affecting 12658.
It added that, in the Negev, the Israeli authorities demolished 3004 structures: 431 homes and 2553 agriculture and livelihood structures.
Israeli soldiers abducted, Thursday evening, a young Palestinian man in occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers abducted Othman Ahmad Jalajel and took him to an interrogation facility.
They said the young man was walking near Bab al-Majles, one of the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, when the soldiers abducted him.
The soldiers also stopped and interrogated several Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards and tried to prevent them from entering Al-Aqsa.
In related news, the soldiers fired many live rounds into the playground of a school for girls in Douma village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The attack did not lead to injuries but caused anxiety attacks among several students.
A comprehensive report on Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder, and why it played out the way it did. Her story, like that of the Palestinian people, is one of courage in the face of injustice. In mourning her murder, let us acknowledge the facts of Palestinian life – and death.by Kathryn Shihadah – IsraelPalesineNews
For a few days last week, the name of Shireen Abu Akleh was in the headlines of virtually every news outlet on the planet. Her death and the debacle of her funeral procession were front-page news.
The details of her story, however, could not be covered in a one-minute report or a few column inches on a news website. In fact, Shireen’s story is in many ways the story of 7 million Palestinians living under the Israeli regime.
Israel has killed over 10,000 Palestinians since 2000 (start of the Second Intifada), but mainstream media ignores these deaths for the most part. Shireen Abu Akleh’s name made the cut, perhaps because she was an American citizen and a well-known journalist.
Shireen did not die while reporting in an active conflict zone. Rather, she and other journalists, dressed in helmets and bulletproof vests marked Press, were standing what should have been a safe distance from the site of an Israeli raid.
Wednesday, May 11
Eyewitnesses described the scene as “dead quiet” on Wednesday, May 11 just before several shots rang out, and Shireen was found lying face down, shot in the head.
(Israel has killed well-known, well-loved Palestinians before, men and women who posed no threat – for example photojournalist Yaser Murtaja and volunteer medic Razan al-Najjar.)
Within hours of Shireen’s death, as her loved ones gathered to mourn, Israeli police invaded the gathering, demanding that the Palestinian flags outside the house be removed. Mourners shouted at them till they finally left.
(The Palestinian flag makes Israeli soldiers and police crazy. Examples: they chased and beat a child for having a flag on his bicycle, and harassed a young woman whose head covering included stripes in the colors of the Palestinian flag. More on the flag below.)
Israeli PM Naftali Bennett announced almost immediately, “According to the data we currently have, there is a considerable chance that armed Palestinians, who fired wildly, are what led to the unfortunate death of the journalist.” Israel’s foreign minister, defense minister, other ministers, and IDF spokesperson repeated this statement.
The Israeli military explained further that there had been a skirmish in which Palestinians were shooting in an “uncontrolled manner” and Israeli forces “returned the fire as accurately, carefully, and responsibly as possible.”
Somehow, Shireen Abu Akleh was “killed in the exchange.”
The officer in charge of the raid asserted, “I am sorry for every innocent person who is hurt in the course of IDF operations,” he said. “We do our best to avoid it.”
The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem easily disproved Israel’s “data.”
(Israeli leaders are always quick to declare the innocence and proficiency of their soldiers, and the desire to protect Palestinian civilians – while painting Palestinians as less civilized.
When put in a corner, they may admit to an individual soldier’s momentary lapse of judgment, as here, or find a minor offense to punish, as here. But at no point are Israel’s oppressive policies questioned.
Israel has also repeatedly lied about its officers’ actions, only to be caught later. Examples here, here, and here.)
Thursday, May 12
Next, Israel offered to do a joint investigation of the incident with the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority, unwilling to allow the alleged perpetrator of the murder to participate in the case, turned this offer down. An Israeli official stated, “Without a serious investigation, we will not reach the truth.”
When a group reports that the Israeli military is guilty of a crime, Israel invariably calls both the group and the report “antisemitic,” and/or claims they are trying to “delegitimize Israel.” Examples here, here, and here.)
Friday, May 13
By the following day, Israel had a new take: an Israeli official acknowledged that perhaps an Israeli bullet had deflected off the ground, or off a wall – and hit Shireen right under her safety helmet.
Al Jazeera described Israel’s spinning of the incident as a “PR blitz to manipulate mainstream media coverage of the shooting.” By stating immediately after the killing that they had “data” indicating Palestinians were to blame, global headlines felt obligated to give Israel the benefit of the doubt – even though the theory was absurd and disproved almost immediately. Further,
According to an Israeli official, this PR blitz has already influenced leading news organizations, including the Associated Press, Sky News, the BBC, and AFP. The official said that these agencies – which initially reported that Abu Akleh had been killed by Israeli fire – were now reporting that the circumstances of her death are under investigation.
(Israel has for decades had remarkable control over mainstream media, as has been documented numerous times, including by If Americans Knew – see this, this, and this for example).
Saturday, May 14
Al Jazeera journalist and friend of Shireen, Guevara Al-Budairi reported that while she and others were in the morgue, dressing Shireen for the funeral, they “could not find any piece of bone [skull] in the back of her head. The skull was completely shattered. That is proof that she was killed by the Israeli army because no one else has this modern weapon.” (This has not been confirmed anywhere else.)
The funeral procession took place in East Jerusalem, which the world considers occupied Palestinian territory.
Nevertheless, Israel called the shots.
Israeli officials blocked West Bank Palestinians from attending the funeral, banned the waving of Palestinian flags, and forbade the chanting of nationalist slogans. The coffin was to be transported from St. Joseph French Hospital to Mount Zion Cemetery by car, not on foot.
Palestinians, determined to grieve their Palestinian hero as they chose, defied Israel’s attempt at micromanagement.
When pallbearers came out of the hospital with Shireen’s coffin, an estimated 150 Israeli riot police rushed in and began attacking the mourners, shoving and beating them, grabbing flags from their hands, and shooting tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd. The pallbearers nearly dropped the coffin (video).
(Excessive force is the norm for Israeli police and soldiers. See this, this, and this for example. Israel also “battle-tests” new kinds of weaponry on Palestinians, then sells its products to repressive regimes worldwide.)
“But we can explain”
In addition to the massive police presence, Israeli drones overhead captured video of the event. One recorded “two young men throwing what appears to be a water bottle at the police officers.”
The police published the clip, explaining that the mourners were “disrupting public order.”
Some officers claimed that mourners began to throw stones, “and the officers were forced to use riot dispersal means.” Israeli police arrested at least six rioters; ten Palestinians required medical attention following the police brutality.
(A classic Israeli move is to incite “violence” – resistance – and then quell it violently – see this, this, and this for example – and then to blame Palestinians – see this, this, and this for example.)
Israeli brutality toward the mourners was so severe that Shireen’s family relented and had her coffin (draped in a Palestinian flag) placed in a hearse – but by this point, Israeli violence had been live-streamed around the world.
As the hearse made its way toward the cemetery, Israeli police grabbed Palestinian flags off the vehicle and even broke its windows in order to remove the flag from Shireen’s coffin.
Eventually, Shireen and her loved ones made it to the Catholic cemetery, and she was laid to rest.
As one of her fellow journalists described the moment,
We finally arrived at the small monastery in the city and the church bells began ringing for Shireen, who is from a Christian family from Bethlehem.
Around Shireen’s corpse, we all stood as Muslims and Christians, listening to the priest’s prayer in silence.
When I looked around I saw multiple cameras filming. Behind each one was a Palestinian journalist sobbing, knowing that Shireen will never be on the other end of those lenses again.
(Israel itself, and mainstream media, fail to ask the obvious questions: Why were Israeli police there to begin with? How would the funeral procession have played out if no Israeli police had been present? What actual harm were the Palestinian flags causing, that they had to be ripped out of mourners’ hands, and that the hearse windows had to be broken?)
Israel wreaked havoc in East Jerusalem that day – but that’s not all. Israel is adept at multitasking.
On May 13 – the same day as Shireen’s funeral – something significant was also happening in Hebron.
Hebron is a Palestinian city in the occupied Palestinian territories, but some Israeli Jews want to get rid of all the 200,000 “Arabs” and turn it into a Jewish city.
In the heart of Hebron, about 700 Israeli settlers have taken up residence; thousands of Israeli soldiers and police guard them. They make life nearly unbearable for their Palestinian neighbors.
On Friday, Hebroni peace activist Issa Amro filmed Israeli settlers carrying suitcases, mattresses, and other belongings into an uninhabited three-story home. The home belongs to a local Palestinian, and was under renovation.
Now it is the residence of illegal Israeli squatters, protected by Israeli soldiers
Meanwhile, Masafer Yatta
Outside Hebron is a group of villages collectively known as Masafer Yatta with a total population of perhaps 1,500 Palestinians.
On Wednesday, May 11, the same day as Shireen’s murder, Israeli bulldozers destroyed 19 structures in Masafer Yatta – 9 were family homes, the rest were storage buildings or shelters for sheep.
The buildings were located in the Palestinian territory, but within land confiscated by Israel for occasional use as a “military firing zone.” There are enormous unpopulated areas within Israel that would be suitable for firing zones, but Israel insists on using these Palestinian lands.
Following a 20-year court battle, the Israeli High Court of Justice recently declared the destruction of these Palestinian villages, and the expulsion of the residents, legal and acceptable (read more about Israeli firing zones here).
On Wednesday, just hours after Shireen had been assassinated, Israeli soldiers killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, Tah’er Khalil Yazouri.
He had been part of a group of minors who were allegedly throwing stones at Israeli police. The police opened fire, killing him with a bullet to the heart. Another boy was hit in the leg.
According to IMEMC, the International Middle East Media Center, “The soldiers also fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, and gas bombs at many schoolchildren after several army jeeps invaded the area.”
On Saturday, the day of Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral, Walid Al-Sharif, age 21, died – 3 weeks after Israeli soldiers had shot him in the head with a sponge-tipped bullet. Al-Sharif had been inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, defending it from frequent Israeli settler intrusion and police raids. Al-Sharif was one of 57 Palestinians injured that day.
Notably, on both occasions, the police were not in any immediate danger when they used deadly force.
(Israel frequently claims, in incidents as small as stone-throwing or as enormous as a full-blown “war,” that it is exercising its right to self-defense. However, Palestinians trying to exercise the same right – resisting their oppressor – are routinely punished, including collective punishment, which violates international law.)
Each of the over 10,300 Palestinians killed (more than 2,300 of them children) since 2000 is part of the story of Israeli colonial domination over the indigenous Palestinian population – a story that Americans helped to write.
Perhaps Shireen Abu Akleh has had her 15 minutes of posthumous fame; perhaps she will be remembered only by her Palestinian audience and fellow journalists. But Israel’s oppression has lasted for 74 years, with no end in sight.
It behooves the international community – all people who believe in the cause of justice – to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against Palestinian individuals and families, and its ongoing crime against the people of Palestine.
Israeli soldiers forced Thursday, a Palestinian to demolish his home in Sur Baher town, south of occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.
Media sources said the Palestinian, Mohannad Abu Kaf, had to demolish his home after exhausting appeals against the destruction of his property.
They added that the City Council in occupied Jerusalem refused to grant the Palestinian a construction permit and forced him to destroy his property or face excessively high fines and fees and the demolition costs if the city used its workers and equipment.
While Israel continues to build and expand its illegal colonies, 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”.
On Thursday, Israeli soldiers invaded a Palestinian village south of Hebron in the southern part of the occupied West Bank before dismantling and confiscating a residential tent.
Fuad al-Amour, the Protection and Steadfastness Committees coordinator in Masafer Yatta, said many soldiers invaded the Jouret al-Kammoun community of the Birin village after surrounding it.
He added that the soldiers dismantled and confiscated a residential tent owned by Mahmoud Badawi Abu Sneina.
It is worth mentioning that the area is subject to frequent Israeli violations, including attacks by the illegal colonizers trying to confiscate more Palestinian lands to expand their illegal colonies and outposts on stolen Palestinian lands.
On Thursday, Israeli soldiers abducted seventeen Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank.
In Nablus, in the northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted a former political prisoner, Ibrahim Shawahna, from his home in Rafidia.
In Ramallah, in the central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Nassim Hosni Barghouthi, 28, Majdi Monir Rimawi, 34, Ahmad Khaled Rimawi, 29, and Bilal Rimawi, from Beit Rima town, northwest of the city.
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted Safwat Ibrahim Natsha, 20, Mohammad Hamdi al-Oweiwi, in addition to Ahmad Yosri al-Oweiwi, and his twin brother Mahmoud.
In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers invaded Biddu town, northwest of the city, searched homes, and abducted Qussai Badwan and Mohtadi Ayyash, 24.
In the Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Ismael Abu Latifa, in addition to Khalil Jaber from Shu’fat town, northeast of Jerusalem.
In Jabal al-Mokabber, northeast of Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted a young man, Ayham Ja’abis.
In Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Mahdi Ahmad Tawfiq, 18, and his cousin Tawfiq Ali Tawfiq, 16, from the al-Obeydiyya town, east of the city, and Mohammad Khaled Mousa, 18, from the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem.
Hamas yesterday warned that settler calls to demolish the Dome of the Rock “is playing with fire.”
“Zionist ‘Lahava’ Organisation’s call for colonial settlers to demolish the Dome of the Rock and build their alleged temple on anniversary of occupying East Jerusalem is a direct provocation of the Palestinian people and the Islamic Ummah,” a statement said.
Israeli occupation authorities issued a final decision to allow the Israeli flag march, organised by right-wing extremists, to pass through Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem to commemorate the day the eastern part of the holy city was occupied. The march is due to be held on 29 May.
The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) said the flag march was approved following a security assessment by Public Security Minister, Omer Bar-Lev, and Police Commissioner, Kobi Shabtai.
“We hold the occupation fully responsible for the repercussions of the dangerous escalation against our identity, values and sanctities,” Hamas said.
“Hamas calls on the Palestinian masses to mobilise and gather in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque to confront the occupation’s dangerous Judaisation schemes.”
“We also call on our Ummah, leaders, organisations and people to shoulder their historic responsibilities to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque, and on the international community with its institutions and organisations to criminalise and prevent these encroachments that will have severe repercussions on the entire region.”
During last year’s annual flag march, Israeli far-right supremacists shared selfies posing with guns and messages such as “Tonight we are not Jews, we are Nazis.” A report by Amnesty International on the conduct of Israeli police during May and June’s crackdown on Palestinians found that it had failed to protect Palestinians from Jewish supremacists who had organised attacks and publicised their plans in advance.
Occupation authorities cancelled a planned flag March outside Jerusalem’s Old City organised by right-wing Israeli extremists and which was due to be held in April.
The march was announced days after Al-Aqsa Mosque was stormed by Israeli occupation forces who attacked Palestinian worshippers. At least 152 Palestinians were wounded when Israeli troops entered the mosque and fired at Palestinians.