Many citizens were suffocated Thursday evening with tear gas during confrontations that broke out near the military checkpoint of the Israeli occupation, which is located at the northern entrance to the city of Qalqilya.
Eyewitnesses reported to the Palestinian Press, that Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters massively and rubber bullets after youths set fire to the gate of the external checkpoint, which led to suffocation injuries among citizens and their homes near the checkpoint area north of Qalqilya.
It is noteworthy that the clashes broke out almost daily in recent times near the checkpoint at the northern entrance to the city of Qalqilya, which is designated for workers to cross into the interior.
On the other hand, large forces of the occupation army conducted searches along the settlement bypass road No. 55 off Azzun town, east of Qalqilya.
The Israeli occupation forces arrested 10 civilians at dawn today.
The official news agency reported that the occupation arrested Muhammad al-Qirbi and Khalil al-Qirbi, after they raided and searched their families’ homes.
From the town of Al-Issawiya, north of Jerusalem, the forces arrested 5 citizens, and local sources in the town reported that the occupation forces stormed the town and arrested Yusef Bilal Abu Al-Hummus, Sami Salah Dari, Yazan Imran Obaid, Mutasim Hamza Ubaid, and Nasser Muhammad Abu Riala, from their homes.
And from Jenin, the forces arrested two citizens from the city of Jenin and a third from the town of Al-Yamoun.
According to the official news agency, the occupation forces stormed the city and raided the neighborhoods of Kharrouba and Marah Saad and arrested the young liberated prisoner Ashraf Nasser Tahainah and Muhammad Rushdi al-Jamal, after they raided and searched their relatives’ homes, and in the town of Yamoun in the west, and arrested Ahmed Amin Nawada after raiding and searching his house.
A Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike for more than 85 days since his arrest by Israel is entering a medically “critical phase”, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced yesterday.
Maher Al-Akhras, 49, is from Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank. He has been held since 27 July under an administrative detention order with neither charge nor trial and can be detained indefinitely. His hunger strike is a protest against such inhuman treatment.
“More than 85 days into the hunger strike, we are concerned about potentially irreversible health consequences,” said Yves Giebens, the head of the ICRC’s health department in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. “From a medical perspective, he is entering a critical phase.”
The ICRC said it has been monitoring the situation closely and visited Akhras on Thursday. “The ICRC encourages the patient, his representatives and the competent authorities involved to find a solution that will avoid any loss of life,” the organisation added.
Last month, Akhras was moved to Kaplan Hospital in the Israeli city of Rehovot, where he has been drinking water but refusing solid food, explained his family.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip have launched several demonstrations to demand the prisoner’s release. They have also organised sit-ins and online campaigns to show their support for him.
There are around 5,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, 350 of them under administrative detention. Israeli officials claim that detention without trial is sometimes necessary to protect the identities of undercover operatives.
Palestinians hunger-strikers in Israeli jails – Cartoon
The infrastructure of the Israeli occupation of Palestine is designed to have a negative impact on the lives of Palestinians, and it does. The dire situation has been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. No doubt to the delight of the Israelis, there can be no place easier to lock down than the occupied Palestinian territories.
Although necessary, the drastic preventative measures had dire consequences for the already high unemployment rate in Palestine; it has now gone through the roof. Businesses across all sectors have been hit hard, especially tourism and hospitality.
However, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for everyone. Engineering student Issa Haj Yasin saw a gap in the market and set about filling it with his mobile business, the Hotdog Van. Based in Ramallah, Yasin opened his first van before the pandemic to provide himself with an income to cover his study and living expenses.
“I was studying at Birzeit University and worked at a restaurant making sandwiches, but I wanted to start something different on the campus,” he explained. “I had originally wanted to start my own coffee shop but it was going to be too expensive.” Then he thought about a food van, which was affordable. “And since there are no places here in Palestine serving hotdogs even though they’re common around the world, I decided to be the first to open a Hotdog Van.”
Hotdog Van in Ramallah, Palestine
The business stopped in the first months of the crisis when the total lockdown was imposed but reopened even as the pandemic worsened and outdoor dining was in demand. Now his business has more than doubled in size.
“I’ve employed six students who are working in two vans, and I am preparing a third van that is going to have another four new employees,” Yasin pointed out.
Buying street food is preferred over-ordering and waiting for food indoors. His customers know that social distancing is easier, and so there is less risk of infection.
Yasin’s first orange Hotdog Van is stationed behind Nelson Mandela Square, a popular spot which families drive past when returning from road trips. The second van is parked at the university.
“Customers just park up, wear their masks, take their hotdogs, and go. It’s very popular with school children; when they see it in the street they get excited and run towards the van.”
The Hotdog Vans are classic VW campervans. “There is no vehicle like this here; the design and colours. All the elements of the van are perfect.”
The 27-year-old entrepreneur is now planning a fourth van, but this one will be the Sugar Van selling desserts ranging from marshmallow ice creams to creamy frozen yogurts and chocolate and strawberry waffles. It will mean a few more jobs for fellow students.
“Being able to provide jobs to students like me who are struggling to look after their families along with paying their university fees is what makes me more ambitious to expand my business,” said Yasin. This is important in the current climate as many employers are laying off their workers. “It’s having a devastating impact.”
One of his colleagues used to work at a hotel in Jerusalem, which closed down due to the lockdown. “He was close to having a breakdown so asked if he could work with me. I took him on right away.”
Hotdog Vans in Ramallah, Palestine
Although his degree course is normally five years, Yasin is in his eighth year of studying because he couldn’t keep up with his tuition fees. He knows what it is like to struggle. Like him, he insisted, many Palestinians just want to get on and live a normal life. If a second lockdown is imposed, he thinks that businesses should be allowed to stay open.
“People should be allowed to work even if there’s a lockdown because there’s too much economic damage here. Too many of us are struggling. We need to learn how to work around Covid-19 instead of hitting both extremes of a complete shutdown or complete freedom.”
With unemployment in the occupied West Bank reaching 26.6 per cent during the second quarter of 2020, compared to 25 per cent in the first quarter, he has a point. According to a recent report from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, those working in restaurants, hotels, and construction are the worst hit by the pandemic.
“When you see ten young people working hard to learn new skills together so enthusiastically, and know that they have families to feed even while going to university and making their semester payments, then I know that we are doing the right thing,” concluded Issa Haj Yasin. “To see them happy and achieve their ambitions, that’s what my target is now. That’s what’s going to make me open ten more vans in Palestine.”
If the success of the first Hotdog Vans in Palestine is anything to go by, he will succeed.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has recorded a notable escalation in Israeli attacks against Palestinians since the recent normalisation agreements signed with Arab states, Arab48.com reported on Friday.
In a report, the PLO disclosed that it had recorded Israeli aggression on Palestinians between 15 September, the date of signing the deals in Washington, and 15 October.
The report found that Israel intensified expansion of its settlements, demolition of Palestinian homes, the killing and wounding of innocent people, carrying out raids and detention campaigns, and “systematic aggression” on religious institutions.
The PLO indicated that the Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian lands is continuous, adding that it is accompanied by settlers’ attacks on Palestinian citizens.
According to the report, the Israeli occupation forces opened fire more than 240 times, killing two Palestinians, wounding more than 90 others, detaining more than 480 including children, and have demolished 25 homes and facilities.
The report also conveyed that the Israeli occupation conducted 370 raids on Palestinian cities, villages and neighbourhoods, as well as more than 30 attacks on religious institutions.
When it signed the deal with Israel, the United Arab Emirates claimed that Israel agreed to cancel the annexation of the occupied Palestinian lands. However, Israel denies this, asserting that the plan was only postponed and would be executed soon.
The Israeli calls against the participation of Hamas in the upcoming elections are getting louder, alleging that the involvement of a movement representing a threat to Israel is banned under the Oslo Accords. Thus, anti-Hamas advocates are demanding the Israeli authorities to block the way for the movement’s participation in the election race, by arresting its candidates, banning the elections, and closing voting centres.
Beyond that, Israel’s concerns are focused on the expected victory of Hamas that will strengthen the power of Iran and Turkey in the region, and increase their influence in the West Bank. This explains the recent warning issued by Jordan and Egypt to PA President Mahmoud Abbas about establishing closer relations with Hamas, Turkey, and Qatar.
Israeli estimates indicate that Hamas aims to participate in the next elections as part of a plan to control the West Bank. Israel believes that this requires it to intervene and make it clear to Abbas that it does not intend to allow Hamas to participate in the elections, not even indirectly, through establishing a new political party to participate in parliamentary elections on its behalf.
Israel has sufficient power to ban the elections in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to control both areas. The occupation authorities can also arrest candidates, close voting centres, and prevent 300,000 Jerusalemites from participating.
The calls opposing the participation of Hamas in the elections demand the Israeli authorities to overtly express their refusal to let the movement win the elections before a possible change takes place in the White House – if Trump loses the presidential race, which will make things harder for Israel.
Other Israeli circles have demanded the occupation to impose conditions on Hamas to accept its participation in the next elections. They claim that the movement’s involvement in the 2006 elections does not entitle it to return to the upcoming race, and does not justify repeating the so-called “hard mistake” on Israel’s part. In case Hamas does not seem ready to abandon the path of armed action, Israel must then show total opposition to its planned participation in the next Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections.
Despite the consensus between Fatah and Hamas to hold the elections, Israel must not be complacent. Rather, it should require that any Palestinian party participating in the elections should not seek to achieve its objectives via undemocratic means, whether as an individual or an organisation.
The Israelis remember Hamas’ victory in the 2006 legislative elections, which was achieved thanks to the movement’s popularity among Palestinians, along with the mistake that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government made by accepting Hamas’ participation in the elections.
A year and a half later, Hamas benefited from its victory and took control of the Gaza Strip mid-2007.
In 2005, after Sharon took a historic step to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip, US President Bush succeeded in convincing him to let Hamas participate in the 2006 legislative elections. Bush believed at the time that allowing Hamas to participate in the election would give legitimacy to the Oslo Agreement, and if the movement wins 25 per cent of votes, then it would become a constructive element in the promising Palestinian democracy.
Then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon leans over housing plans as he meets with contractors who are building temporary housing for settlers due to be evacuated from the Gaza Strip under his disengagement plan July 5, 2005 at the Nitzanim construction site in southern Israel
For his part, Sharon managed to win his government’s approval to let Hamas participate, without any opposition from the right-wing camp. This was despite the fact that several members of the negotiation team in Israel believed that Hamas’ participation in elections violates the Oslo Agreement, without showing serious opposition to this step, because they did not see a difference between the participation of Hamas, Fatah or the rest of the Palestinian factions.
In the end, the result of the elections became very problematic. Hamas achieved a sweeping victory, while Fatah did not succeed in presenting a unified list in the elections. Hamas’ victory came as a surprise for everybody, even the movement itself. On the other hand, Bush did not know how to act after this significant shift of events. The European Union set four conditions to recognise Hamas’ victory, including the complete renunciation of armed action and the recognition of the signed agreements. However, Hamas did not show any commitment to these conditions.
Today, more than 14 years since the last Palestinian legislative elections, most of the world’s countries still refuse to recognise Hamas, but they were forced to have ties with it. Even Abbas, who saw Hamas as his biggest enemy, was obliged to ally with it. This was especially true after the wave of Arab normalisation with Israel and discovering that Hamas’ allies in the region still reject establishing ties with the occupation.
The Israelis claim that holding Palestinian elections today is not an internal Palestinian affair, but rather a matter of interest for the Israelis too. As long as it was the duty of the Israeli government to enable the Jerusalemites to vote in mailboxes in East Jerusalem, it should oblige Hamas to give up armed action. If the movement does not show its willingness to do so, then the Israeli authorities will have no other choice but to declare their opposition to Hamas’ participation in the elections, or in any democratic process in Palestine. However, this might be considered a blatant intervention in Palestinian affairs.
It is strange that Israel’s increasing demands to prevent Hamas from participating in the elections, under the pretext of its anti-Israel political positions, are matched by the occupation government’s sponsorship of various right-wing parties that call for the implementation of racist policies and measures against the Palestinians.
The Israeli position revealed a blatant contradiction and a schizophrenic tendency experienced by the Zionist entity while the world watches. The Palestinians do not need Israel’s approval to hold the upcoming election, which is a purely internal Palestinian affair, in which the Israelis have no right to intervene.
Israeli and Palestinian Combatants for Peace activists, as part of the movement’s olive harvest campaign, joined Palestinian farmer Muhammad Adwan, from the village of Azzun in the northern West Bank, on Friday to help him pick his olive trees on his land in the Al-Salamah area adjacent to the Ma’ale Shimron settlement.“With the beginning of each harvest season, Israeli settlers assault us and prevent us from harvesting,” Mohammad said. “A year ago, the settlers and the Israeli occupation soldiers shot at my son and held us for hours. I feel joy and relief that Combatants for Peace activists are with us here today to help us pick the olives. “Activists also took the opportunity to send a message of solidarity with political detainee Maher Al-Akhras, who has been on hunger strike for 90 days. His hunger strike is in protest of his so-called ‘administrative detention’, in which he is held without charges by Israeli authorities for months on end. Activists hung pictures of Maher on olive trees.During the olive harvest season, Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers step up the frequency of attacks targeting Palestinian farmers and their olive trees. Attacks such as burning trees and preventing the owners of land from accessing their olive groves are commonplace during the month of October each year — a critical window of time during which the olive harvest must be completed. Many Palestinian families depend on the olive harvest for their annual income, as olive oil is a major part of the Palestinian economy.“We are here today to support Palestinian farmers. The olive tree is part of Palestinian culture and a history that we are trying to preserve from the continuous attacks by Israeli occupation forces”, explained Suleiman al-Khatib, the Palestinian executive director of Combatants for Peace.Friday’s event is part of the olive harvest campaign that Combatants for Peace is carrying out to help Palestinian farmers gain access to their olive fields, especially those located near Israeli illegal settlements and the Separation Wall.
Israeli forces attacked, on Friday, the weekly demonstration in the northern West Bank village of Kufur Qaddoum, east of Qalqilia city, injuring five Palestinians with rubber-coated steel rounds, the Palestinian Information Center reported.
Morad Eshteiwi, the Coordinator of the Popular Resistance in Kufur Qaddoum, said that five Palestinian protesters were shot with rubber-coated metal bullets, two of whom were transferred to hospital after being shot in the head and back.
The three remaining shooting injuries were treated on the scene, as were the inhalation injuries from tear-gas fired by Israeli forces.
Eshteiwi stated that Israeli soldiers attacked the civilian led march by firing concussion grenades and tear-gas canisters in addition to metal rounds.
He added that more than 100 Israeli troops invaded the village and fired tear-gas canisters indiscriminately at cars and civilian homes.
The weekly Kufur Qaddoum demonstration has been attended by locals every Friday as a means to express their rejection of illegal Israeli settlements, and to insist that the main road, which was closed by the Israeli occupation in 2003, be reopened to Palestinian residents.
Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported that two windshields of Palestinian-owned vehicles were damaged by tear-gas canisters.
Eshteiwi said that the march, which has been ongoing for a decade, will continue, in the face of all forms of repression, until its goals are fully realised.about:blankFacebook URL
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Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras, whose health is rapidly deteriorating toward organ failure after 89 days of hunger strike, was transferred Friday by Israeli authorities from the Kaplan Hospital, where he has been for the past month, back to the notorious Ramle Prison Clinic.
The transfer came after an Israeli court canceled a September 23rd decision by Israeli authorities to freeze al-Akhras’ sentence. Instead, Israeli court authorities ordered that his sentence be extended — despite his precarious and deteriorating medical condition.
al-Akhras had never been informed of the reason for his detention, and has no legal rights to appeal being held without charges. As a Palestinian living under Israeli military occupation, he has no legal standing in Israeli court — and this is the case with thousands of other Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli detention.
For this reason, al-Akhras decided to begin an open-ended hunger strike 89 days ago. He has continued to drink only water, even while hospitalized in a severely weakened state.
According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli occupation authorities arrived at the hospital without warning, and brutally transferred the medically-fragile and extremely vulnerable al-Akhras from Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot to the infamous Ramle Prison clinic.
Ramle has been cited on many occasions for inhumane and cruel treatment of prisoners.
The transfer of al-Akhras came just a day after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a statement that the deteriorating health of al-Akhras had entered a “critical phase”, and that he could be close to death.
Al-Akhras is a father of six children who was kidnapped by Israeli authorities earlier this year from his home in Jenin, in the northern West Bank. He said he has no idea what he is being accused of, and Israeli authorities refuse to tell him, because of ‘security reasons’.
In July, he began an open-ended hunger strike, which he has said that he will only end upon his release from prison or his death.
Only a few hours after Trump announced Sudan’s approval to normalize ties with the occupation state, dozens of Sudanese went to the streets of Khartoum, rejecting the normalization deal between Sudan’s military rulers and the occupation state.
The protesters chanted “listen listen Burhan, no for normalization with the Zionist entity”, “no for negotiations no for peace, and no for normalization with the Zionist entity”, and “no surrender and no weakness, we support Palestine”.about:blankFacebook URL
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Several Sudanese parties have rejected the normalization deal and announced that they will form a national front to fight against the deal.
One of the leaders, who drafted the Declaration of Freedom and Change following the revolution, said that political and social connections are being made to form a national front against normalization.
Muhammad Wada’ah, the spokesperson for the Sudanese Ba’ath Party, one of the political parties that drafted the Declaration of Freedom and Change, told AA that “we started intensive connections to form an anti-normalization front.”
“Several parties within the declaration warned the government that they will withdraw their support if it normalizes ties with Israel”, he added.
Wada’ah also said that “normalization is totally rejected and the government has no authority to take such decision with an occupying and racist state that practices discrimination based on religion.”
Meanwhile, a statement by the National Consensus Forces, the second-largest component of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, announced its rejection of the normalization plans.
The statement said, “we believe that our people, which has been systematically marginalized through secret deals, is not committed to what the normalizers agree.”
“Our people will stay committed to its historical positions and it will work through a large front to resist normalization and back the Palestinian people until it gets its full legitimate rights.”