May 2019 report: 421 Palestinians seized by Israeli occupation forces, including 78 children and 6 women

Palestinian prisoners’ institutions, including the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, issued the following report for May 2019 on 16 June. English translation by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network: 

Photo for illustrative purposes 

In May 2019, Israeli occupation forces arrested 421 Palestinians, including 78 children and 6 women. The Israeli occupation authorities seized 145 Palestinians from the city of Jerusalem, 59 from Ramallah governorate, 60 from al-Khalil governorate, 30 from Jenin governorate, 21 from Bethlehem governorate, 32 from Nablus governorate, 13 from Tulkarem governorate, 19 from Qalqilya governorate, 8 from Tubas governorate, 8 from Salfit governorate, 14 from Jericho governorate and 12 from the Gaza Strip.

The number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails reached 5500 at the end of May, including 43 women. The number of imprisoned children in Israeli jails reached approximately 220.

The following summary highlights the realities faced by the detainees in prisons and detention centers and the most prominent actions by the occupation authorities during the month of May:

Hunger Strikes During May 2019

Several prisoners continued their hunger strikes against administrative detention during May 2019, including the prisoner Hassan al-Aweiwi, who began his strike in April and experienced significant deterioration of his health. He faced clear intransigence by the occupation authorities in refusing to meet his demands and end his administrative detention.

Palestinian prisoners’ institutions documented the retaliation by the Israeli occupation prison administration against al-Aweiwi since he launched his strike, including isolation, denial of family visits and frequent transfer from one detention center to another as well as to civilian hospitals.

Al-Aweiwi is 35 years old, married wth three children. He was previously arrested several times, most recently on 15 January 2019.

Bassam Abu Akkar, from Aida camp in Bethlehem, went on hunger strike on 21 May, rejecting his administrative detention after two consecutive years. He ended his strike after reaching an agreement to limit his administrative detention

Abu Akkar, a leader of the prisoners’ movement, spent a total of 24 and one-half years in Israeli prison, between sentences and administrative detention. He has been detained without charge or trial since 27 July 2017; he is married with seven children.

Among the prisoners who took part in hunger strikes during the month of may were Ahmed Hroub from al-Khalil governorate, Thaer Badr from Beit Liqya, the wounded Moataz Abidu from al-Khalil and Murad Malisha from Jenin.

Medical Neglect

Over 750 prisoners continue to suffer from a policy of medical neglect by the Israeli prison administration, which is systematically used as a means of retaliation and pressure.

The medical situation for the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is becoming more serious with every wave of escalation by the prison administration, the latest of which was the series of restrictive measures that followed the publication of the recommendations of the committee formed by the occupation minister Gilad Erdan to exert increased pressure on the prisoners in September 2018.

These restrictions included an escalation of the policy of medical neglect against sick and wounded prisoners, which has led to increased suffering from the effects of their illnesses, even after their release.

The occupation uses medical neglect as a means of torture and pressure on detainees to extract confessions from them or attempt to break their morale and increase their suffering in prisons. This medical neglect is institutionalized in the prison system and the detention centers. For example, prison clinics lack specialized medical staff or equipment to perform necessary tests to address problems raised by the prisoners. In the event a prisoner’s health worsens, he or she is transferred to the Ramle prison clinic, which is not significantly different from the prison clinics in terms of the level of medical care available. However, the Ramle clinic focuses on prisoners with permanent disabilities, severe medical deterioration or terminal illnesses.

There are currently 15 sick prisoners being held at the Ramle prison clinic in inhumane and inappropriate conditions. In particularly difficult cases, prisoners are transferred to Israeli civilian hospitals especially for required tests.

The occupation delays the treatment of ill prisoners, whether in the provision of medication or tests required to diagnose a patient’s condition, which can exacerbate their conditions and lead to the emergence of new health problems.

Summer is a season of suffering for imprisoned Palestinians

The Israeli occupation authorities make all of the details of the lives of the Palestinian detainees; even changes in the seasons bring more suffering. As the temperature increases, so too does the humidity and the lack of ventilation in Israeli prisons and detention centers. The suffering of the prisoners is doubled, especially in the desert or near the coast. Some prisons suffer from insect infestations or unpleasant odors and the prison administration often refuses to install air conditioners or other cooling equipment in the prisons. Sometimes, cold water is deliberately cut or prisoners in isolation are denied cold water.

According to the monitoring of the prisoners’ associations, the prisoners’ complaints are continuing to rise along with the temperature and humidity, especially at Saba, Nafha, Ramon and the Negev desert prison (especially the tent sections), in Damon prison (where the women prisoners are held), in Ramle-Nitsan in the underground sections and in Shata and Gilboa, where humidity is high.

60,000 NIS ($16,627 USD) in fines imposed on Palestinian child prisoners in Ofer

In May, Israeli occupation courts imposed prison sentences on a number of child prisoners held in the Ofer military prisons, in addition to large fines amounting to more than 60,000 NIS ($16,627 USD). In May 2019, 43 child prisoners were transferred to Ofer prison; 22 were seized from their homes, 12 taken from the streets, seven arrested for lack of permits and two after being summoned to interrogation.

Of these children, four were arrested after being shot by Israeli occupation soldiers and nine more were beaten during their detention and taken to Israeli interrogation centers. There were 31 children sentenced in May 2019, with actual terms ranging from 31 days to 10 months.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

Israel minister urges annexation of settlements, calls for Abbas’ ouster

Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan [Quds News Network/Facebook]

Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan

Israel’s Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan yesterday called for the ouster of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, alongside the annexation of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to reports in Arutz Sheva and the Jerusalem Post.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Post in New York, Erdan reiterated Israeli claims that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is “rewarding terror” by offering financial support to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the families of those Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

“It’s time to say loudly and clearly,” Erdan stated, “Abu Mazen [Abbas], who supports terror, incites murder and promotes boycotts rather than co-existence, should exit the world stage and go home.”

Erdan also urged the Israeli government to apply Israeli law to settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory – a common shorthand for annexation.

Read: Israel unveils illegal ‘Trump’ settlement in Golan Heights

“All of a sudden,” the minister told the audience, “their [Palestinians’] rejectionism has led the US to take important steps such as recognising Jerusalem as our capital, moving its embassy and defunding UNRWA.”

“This is the start of a new paradigm, which means that the Palestinians must realize that time is not on their side,” he continued:

To advance this paradigm, we must take the next legal, moral and logical step, which is to apply Israeli law to the Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].

According to Erdan, “Israel desires peace”, but there is a need “to prioritise the welfare and interests of our citizens in every part of the Land of Israel [i.e. in the West Bank].”

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

3 years and no conviction: Israel’s prosecution of World Vision staffer drags on

Image of Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision's area development programme manager [Mohammad Awed]

Image of Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision’s area development programme manager 

A senior official of international charity World Vision remains on trial in an Israeli court, three years after he was first arrested, tortured, and charged.

According to a new report published by +972 Magazine, since 2016, Israel has not provided any evidence to Mohammad El Halabi or World Vision to prove its case, “and yet Halabi’s trial continues in an Israeli court, unresolved and with no end in sight”.

“This case is unprecedented in the Israeli legal system,” El Halabi’s lawyer Maher Hanna said. “Israel knows that Halabi is innocent. Some Israeli officials told me that.”

El Halabi, who was the World Vision manager for the Gaza Strip at the time of his arrest, has been accused by Israeli authorities of funnelling some $43 million from the NGO to Hamas.

“The picture that emerges from many pages of internal World Vision documents, rarely heard details of the court case, and a correspondence with Halabi himself,” +972 Magazine stated, is that of “an innocent Palestinian being tortured, mistreated and pressured to capitulate to Israeli demands.”

In addition, the report added, the case “also raises uncomfortable questions for many in the global and Israeli media who willingly accept Israeli government claims about Palestinians — even when there is no supporting evidence.”

After his arrest in 2016, Israel held Halabi incommunicado for 50 days, during which time the NGO staffer was interrogated, tortured and held in solitary confinement.

Yet by contrast to the extraordinary allegations contained within the Israeli indictment, by 2017, an investigation by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) “concluded that there was no basis to support the claim that Halabi had diverted any Australian money to Hamas”.

As noted by +972 Magazine, “World Vision has supported Halabi during the entire legal process, and two internal investigations found no evidence to support the Israeli allegations against him.”

115 Court Appearances and Counting: Father of ‘Humanitarian Hero’, Mohammed El-Halabi Speaks Out

According to a US-based spokesperson for World Vision, the organisation has “yet to see any substantive evidence to support the charges against Mohammed Halabi”.

The trial began in August 2016 and there have been more than 100 court hearings thus far. In early 2017, the Israeli judge told El Halabi “that he should accept a plea deal because there was ‘little chance’ he wouldn’t be convicted”.

El Halabi believes he is being punished by the Israeli court for refusing to accept a plea deal.

According to the report, there are also substantial problems of due process. El Halabi’s lawyer Hanna told the website: “I can’t give him any materials to read,” adding: “I can now visit him but only spend three to four hours with him and that’s not enough,”

The report noted that “Halabi has not been allowed to testify in English, never receives accurate translations of the court proceedings, and Israeli authorities have consistently refused to record the hearings to assist in translation.”

In addition, “one of the main obstacles in defending El Halabi is Israel’s refusal to allow his attorney to visit Gaza and meet witnesses who could bolster his case. The court has also refused to grant permits for many Palestinian witnesses from Gaza who want to testify in Halabi’s defence.”

Read: Israel’s World Vision crime sham

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

After Court Ordered Demolition Of 100 Flats, Israeli Police Demands Removal Of Protest Tent In Jerusalem

17 JUN9:59 AM

Dozens of Israeli police officers invaded, Sunday, Sur Baher Palestinian town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, and demanded the Palestinians to remove a tent, which was installed to protest a Supreme Court ruling to demolish 16 residential buildings of more than 100 flats.

The Israeli decision came after the City Council in the occupied city claimed that the buildings are close to the illegal Annexation Wall, which was installed on Palestinian lands.

Hamada Hamada, the head of the Services Committee of Wad al-Hummus, al-Mintar and Deir al-Amoud neighborhoods, in Sur Baher town, said the neighborhoods are in Areas A, B and C, and the lands are owned by the Palestinians, including the Local Government of the Palestinian Authority.

Hamada added that the targeted Palestinian buildings are 25 apartment buildings of around 250 flats, and said that Israel issued various demolition orders, in addition to orders halting the construction of most buildings in that area alone.

16 of the apartment buildings, which contain altogether more than 100 flats, are under the immediate threat of demolition.

He also stated that, a week ago, the Israeli Supreme Court denied the appeal, which was filed by the residents, and ordered the immediate demolition of the buildings, but without setting a date.

The Palestinians then decided to install a protest tent, and remain there, and the police has since been ordering them to remove it and leave the area.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

Israel Approves Plans To Cut Down 2000 Olive Trees Near Bethlehem

17 JUN9:59 AM

The plot to destroy 2000 fully mature olive trees near the city of Bethlehem, in southern West Bank, was rubber-stamped by the Israeli occupation authorities, according to WAFA News Agency.

The 2000 trees, extend over a 1600 meter long road connecting two Palestinian villages, Taqou’ town and al-Minya, and take up 80 dunums of land, belonging to Palestinians.

Local activist Hasan Brijiyeh, an anti-settlement, anti-wall activist told WAFA that the Israeli regime has intensified it’s arrest of the youth, theft of land, and road closures in the area.

Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 states that the occupying force is forbidden from transferring members of its own population onto the land that it occupied.

Israel occupied Palestine in 1948, and regularly demolishes Palestinian homes to make room for Jewish-only settlements across the West Bank. Today, about 600,000 illegal Israeli settlers reside in the occupied Palestinian Territories, in defiance of International Law.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

Illegal Israeli Colonists Puncture Car Tires, Write Racist Graffiti, Near Ramallah

17 JUN11:18 AM

A group of illegal Israeli colonists infiltrated, on Monday at dawn, into Kafr Malek village, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, punctured the tires of four cars, and wrote racist graffiti on the walls of a mosque.

Media sources said the colonists punctured the tires, and wrote the racist graffiti against the Palestinians in particular, and the Arabs in general.

Such attacks and violations are frequent in the occupied West Bank, especially since the Israeli military and police fail to investigate them.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

MOLDOVA’S FALLEN GOVERNMENT SOUGHT TO SAVE ITSELF BY MOVING THE COUNTRY’S EMBASSY IN ISRAEL TO JERUSALEM

The now fallen government of eastern European state of Moldova on Tuesday June 12th turned to increasingly common last refuge of a desperate, disgraced government: Supporting illegal Israeli annexation of occupied East Jerusalem.

DESPERATE ANNOUNCEMENT

The now ex- prime minister Pavel Filip announced that his government would move the Moldovan embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to divided Jerusalem.  His government had originally negotiated such a deal last year.

Apparently he did this in the belief that United States and Israel would wave a political magic wand and he would stay in power in exchange of support to breaking international law.

This the Trump and Netanyahu regimes didn’t do or were incapable of achieving in the first place. A troubled government announcing the move of the country’s embassy in Israel to the divided Jerusalem doesn’t – for reasons politicians like Filip seem incapable to grasp – tend to lead to their domestic opponents immediately hoisting a white flag and letting them to stay in power just because it would please US and Israel.

Filip’s turn to US and Israeli help took place in the context of a week-long struggle over who would rule Moldova; Filip’s Democratic Party was pitted against pro-EU and pro-Russian parties’ alliance which was formed on June 8th and has 61 of the parliament’s 101 places. Filip, with support from the Constitutional Court, sought to block the new alliance from taking power and tried to dissolve the parliament, ruling without it until new elections he had announced would be held in September.This he would have done as both a president and a prime minister, as Filip had the court to suspend president Igor Dodon of the pro-Russian Socialist Party and declared himself as interim president. Unsurprisingly neither the new alliance or Dodon gave in just because Filip wanted to so – and the US-Israeli magic wand failed do its political sorcery. After a standoff that lasted from June 9th, with opposition planning a major demonstration for Saturday, the Democratic Party’s power-grab crumble His attempt at strong-man tactics in pieces, on Friday June 14th Filip caved in and his party announced its government would resign; the United States State Department declared that it ‘welcomed the decision’. TRANSNISTRIA

moldova_map_transnistria

Since 1992 the government of Moldova has not controlled the breakaway territory of Transnistria east of the Dniester river. Transnistria, of whose population many are Russians and Ukrainians, rebelled against the central government of Moldova soon after its independence after the fall of Soviet Union and Russian “peacekeepers” have helped to protect the breakaway local government, under which Transnistria has become one of the most corrupt and unlawful areas in eastern Europe.

One would think that this experience would cause Moldovan politicians like Filip to sympathize and support the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, but then one wouldn’t have expected states like Georgia (part of which is controlled by Russia) and Estonia (occupied by Soviet Union from 1940 until 1991) to support and take part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Sadly many leading politicians in small countries seem to think that a smaller state has a right to exist in peace without foreign occupation only if the small state happens to be their own – otherwise realpolitik in their opinion dictates that they must help to do to others as has been done to them.

(Source / 16.06.2019)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Four Palestinians In Bethlehem And Ramallah

16 JUN12:02 PM

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Sunday at dawn, four Palestinians from their homes, in the West Bank governorates of Bethlehem and Ramallah.

The Bethlehem office of the PPS said the soldiers abducted Mahmoud Nabil Taqatqa, 18, and Mohammad Ali Taqatqa, 17.

It added that the soldiers also summoned Ahmad Rashid Taqatqa for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center, south of Bethlehem.

In addition, the soldiers invaded Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, searched homes, and abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Luay Abdul-Razeq, in addition to Karim Saleh Tamimi.

Several Palestinians protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the soldiers, while the army fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades.

In related news, the soldiers abducted five Palestinians from their homes, in several parts of occupied East Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

(Source / 16.06.2019) 

Army Injures Many Palestinians In Southern Gaza

16 JUN10:42 AM

Israeli soldiers fired, on Sunday, dozens of high-velocity gas bombs at many homes, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, causing many Palestinians to suffer the effects of inhalation.

Media sources said the soldiers, stationed across the perimeter fence, fired the gas bombs at homes located in the Nahda area, in Rafah.

Most of the wounded Palestinians received treatment by medics, while five of them, including children, were rushed to Abu Yousef Najjar hospital.

(Source / 16.06.2019) 

IOF attacks Palestinian detainees in Ashkelon prison

RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli soldiers attacked, on Saturday at dawn, many Palestinian political prisoners in Asqalan Prison, and conducted very violent searches of their rooms and property.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the attack comes one day before the planned hunger strike in the prison due to the escalating Israeli violations against them, which significantly increased starting this past April.

The detainee placed several demands, including an end to the heavily armed and very violent invasions and searches of their rooms, cancelling the sanctions imposed on them, providing the adequate urgently needed medical care to four detainees, identified as Bassel Na’san, Yasser Rabay’a, Haitham Hallas and Mohammad Barrash.

The Committee stated that the detainees have announced the following list of demands:

  1. The army must stop the repeated and violent invasions and searches of their rooms.
  2. To cancel all sanctions recently imposed on the detainees without a real cause or justification.
  3. Provide the ailing detainees with the needed medical treatment, including surgeries to the following detainees – Bassel an-Na’san, Yasser Rabay’a, Haitham Hallas and Mohammad Barrash. This also includes providing specialized physicians, and dentists, to examine them.
  4. Installing air-conditioning systems in the hallways.
  5. Installing large fans in the yards.
  6. Changing and providing different TV channels.
  7. Transferring the detainees’ back to the facility.
  8. Allowing the entry of books and clothes on regular bases into the facility.
  9. Dedicating a room that is only meant for preparing food.
  10. Increasing the time limit of the period the detainees are allowed to be in the yard.
  11. Allowing the detainees to have their pictures taken with their visiting family members.
  12. Allowing access to hot water during the day once again.
  13. Upgrading the speakers used in the visiting rooms.
  14. Removing restrictions on the purchase of fruits and vegetables from the prison canteen.

(Source / 16.06.2019)