Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Funeral held for Palestinian shot by Israeli forces 3 months ago while crossing the street
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 18 Feb — Hundreds of Palestinian mourners joined a funeral procession in the city of Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank on Saturday for 25-year-old Muhammad Jallad, who died last week in Israeli custody, after being hospitalized for three months for being shot by Israeli forces while he was crossing the street on his way to a chemotherapy session. Members of Jallad’s family have firmly rejected the Israeli army’s claim that the young man was attempting to carry out a stab attack on soldiers when they shot him. The funeral procession marched from the Tulkarem’s mosque to the cemetery, where Jallad was laid to rest. Palestinian Authority (PA) officials were present at the funeral, along with representatives of popular Palestinian movements and civil society groups …The day Jallad was shot at the Huwwara checkpoint in Nablus, he was on his way to his final chemotherapy session after his cancer had gone into remission. After the shooting, he was taken to Israel’s Beilinson Hospital, where he died a week ago.
Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe told Ma‘an that Jallad’s “martyrdom” was a “new crime on Israel’s record of criminal activities against the Palestinian people.” He corroborated Jallad’s father’s comments that his death was not caused by his cancer, but due to the gunshot wound inflicted by Israeli forces. According to a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, when Jallad was on his way to what was supposed to be his last treatment session, he mistakenly took a shared taxi traveling in the wrong direction. Upon realizing his mistake, he exited the vehicle and tried to run to the other side of the highway to get a taxi headed toward Nablus. However, as he was running, Israeli forces stationed nearby shot him, later claiming he had attempted to carry out an attack with a screwdriver….
Opinion: How will you deal with your consciences, doctors? / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 19 Feb — He lay in your hospital for three months straight. For part of the time, he was sedated and on a respirator in intensive care, after which he improved and was transferred to the surgical department. You knew that he was 25 years old and had cancer and that until recently, he had been undergoing chemotherapy. You also knew that the soldiers had shot him in the stomach, causing damage to internal organs. Apparently you provided the correct medical treatment for him. He lay in your hospital for three months. None of you were bothered by the fact that he was lying in his room, totally cut off from his family. After all, you saw him gradually come out of his coma, his abdomen hacked to pieces. Didn’t you think he deserved to see his parents, even for a moment? A caress of the hand? A telephone call at least? You saw him when he was near death, but even then he didn’t deserve such consideration? Maybe you thought he didn’t have parents or that they didn’t care. Did you think it was all right that a wounded cancer patient would undergo so much without someone without someone close to him by his side, in addition to the soldiers or armed police that guarded his room? Didn’t you see his elderly mother come periodically to the hospital unit, exhausted after the ordeal of checkpoints, begging to be allowed to see him for at least a moment, a plea that cruelly fell on deaf ears? Why didn’t you consider doing anything about it? After all, it was taking place inside your hospital, where you are responsible for everything that takes place. Didn’t you see? Didn’t you hear? Didn’t it bother you? … You’re no different at all from the soldiers who shot Jalad to death or the generals and politicians who engaged in profiteering over his body.
Israeli soldiers attack the weekly procession in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 18 Feb — Israeli soldiers invaded, Friday, the town of Kufur Qaddoum, in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilia, and attacked the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies, leading to clashes. Murad Eshteiwy, the coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum, said several armored Israeli military vehicles invaded the town, and chased many young men. He added that the soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs, while local youngsters hurled stones and bottles filled with paint on the invading military vehicles. There have been no reports of injuries or arrests, and the soldiers left the town, after chasing many protesters and failing to abduct them. The soldiers used their armored bulldozer to remove tires that some youngsters burnt in the street, to obstruct the military invasion. Eshteiwy stated that the procession started peacefully, before the soldiers invaded the town, and that the protesters, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, marched while chanting for ending the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian, and ongoing popular resistance.
Bil‘in marks twelve years of ongoing struggle against the Israeli Annexation Wall, colonies
IMEMC 18 Feb — Scores of Palestinian, Israel and international peace activists marched, Friday, in Bil‘in village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, marking twelve years of ongoing nonviolent struggle, steadfastness and determination. Photojournalist Haithem Khatib, from Bil‘in, said a young man suffered a fracture in his leg, after the soldiers chased him while attempting to abduct him. Khatib added that the soldiers reached the wounded young man, who was suffered severe pain due to the fracture, and other cuts and bruises, and left him on the ground. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, attended the procession and stated that “the racist Israeli apartheid wall will fall, just as the Berlin wall fell.” Dr. Barghouthi added that Bil‘in became the beacon for the ongoing struggle, and steadfastness, countering Israel’s escalating violations, the illegal Wall and colonies, built on Palestinian lands. “For twelve years, the locals, Israeli and international peace activists have been protesting despite Israel’s aggression that led to many casualties, including serious injuries and fatalities,” he said, “Only ongoing resistance, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions will be able to counter the Israeli violations, and its apartheid system.” It is worth mentioning that some protesters climbed the Annexation Wall, and raised Palestinian flags, in addition to opening the iron gate of the Wall, leading to clashes with the soldiers.
12 years strong: Hundreds march against Israel’s wall in Bil‘in
[with short video] +972 mag 17 Feb by Haggai Matar — Perhaps finally learning the value of nonviolence from the villagers, the Israeli army did not disperse the weekly protest on Friday. Youth manage to pry open gate in the wall — Some 300 people — Palestinians, Israelis and internationals — took part in a protest march Friday from the West Bank village of Bil‘in to Israel’s separation barrier, built on the village’s land, to mark 12 years of continuous popular struggle against the wall, Israel’s settlements, and its military occupation of Palestine. Unlike nearly every other Friday over the past 12 years, no soldiers came to break up the protest, an anomaly that allowed the demonstrators to march unimpeded through blooming almond trees and olive groves, all the way to the wall. Several of the protesters climbed the wall and tore off pieces of the fencing from the top, while others pried open a heavy steel gate in the wall. On the other side of the wall is a neighborhood of the Modi’in Ilit settlement, which is built on Bil‘in’s land. Among the participants were Higher Arab Monitoring Committee chairman, former MK Mohammed Barakeh, and Palestinian Legislative Council member Mustafa Barghouti. Also present was a group of U.S. military veterans who came to stand in solidarity with the village and its struggle. The Israeli army’s decision to simply not show up at the protest deserves special note. Soldiers have been sent to the weekly protest to forcefully suppress the residents’ struggle, both when it has been entirely nonviolent and when stones have been thrown. Even after the separation wall was built and after it was moved further from the village, the soldiers continued to show up each week and attack the protest, to cross the wall and chase the protesters all the way back into the village. [continues with history of the land and the protests]
Israeli forces ‘attack’ Palestinian activists near Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 17 Feb — Israeli forces allegedly “attacked” Palestinian activists following Friday prayers at the gates of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron city in the occupied West Bank, as hundreds had gathered to perform prayers as part of a demonstration called for by the international campaign “Dismantle the Ghetto, Take Settlers Out of Hebron.” An activist from the campaign, Majed Abu Sbeih, said that Israeli border guards had attacked several demonstrators, including local Sheikh Ziad Abu Heleil, activists Anan Daana and Muhammad al-Jibrini, and human rights activists Badie al-Dweik and Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, after they shouted slogans calling for ending the military closure on Shuhada street in Hebron. The activists did not provide more specifics on how the border guards had attacked them.
Israeli forces raid Jerusalem-area town
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 Feb — Israeli forces raided the village of Hizma early Friday morning in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli vehicles, border guards, and soldiers raided several areas of Hizma from multiple entrances. Sources added that Israeli soldiers stopped and searched passing vehicles and checked the ID cards of the Palestinian passengers. In addition to routine military raids in neighborhoods and villages in the West Bank carried out on an almost nightly basis, clashes also routinely erupt between Palestinian youth in the neighborhood and Israeli forces. Last month, Israeli forces shot a young Palestinian man in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet during clashes in Hizma….
Arresting a girl from the village of Silwan
Silwanic 16 Feb — The occupation forces arrested 21-year old Rawan Shyoukhi after raiding her house in Silwan after midnight Wednesday. Shyoukhi family explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that the occupation forces arrested Rawan and the Magistrate judge extended her arrest until next Monday. The family added that the occupation intelligence requested Rawan’s father as well as several family members for interrogation. Rawan is the sister of Martyr Ali who was shot by the occupation forces last October and the sister of Ali’s twin-brother, Mohammad, who was arrested and sentenced to 10 months in prison on charges of “incitement on social media”.
Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinians in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 Feb — Israeli forces detained five Palestinians in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron during predawn raids on Saturday. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided and searched several houses in al-Fawwar refugee camp and detained Muhammad Muath Hleiqawi, Ahmad Hasan Hleiqawi, and Amin Jaber Asfour. Israeli forces also detained two Palestinians at an Israeli checkpoint near the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Hagai in southern Hebron, identified by locals as Ahmad Fawzi Rateb al-Tubasi and Nasser Talal al-Tubasi from the village of al-Rihiyyeh.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided several houses in neighborhoods in central Hebron, including the home of Jihad Irsheid, father of Dania and Uday, both of whom were killed by Israeli forces within a few months of each other in 2015. Irsheid was also delivered a notice to meet with Israeli intelligence.
Dania,17, was killed in October 2015 after Israeli forces alleged that she had attempted to carry out a stabbing attack, while Uday, 24, was killed some two months later after Israeli forces shot him with live ammunition during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. Israeli forces routinely target family members of slain Palestinians during raids of Palestinian neighborhoods, villages, and refugee camps, which rights groups have said amounts to a policy of collective punishment. Israeli forces also raided a library near the Palestine Polytechnic University campus belonging to Majdi al-Karaki, and confiscated several files and computer storage devices, according to locals.
Medical negligence inside prisons — 40 hours to treat the appendicitis for the minor Majd Sa‘eedeh
Silwanic 15 Feb — The administration of Megiddo prison released on Tuesday (7/2/2017) the 17-year old Jerusalemite Majd Nader Sa‘eedeh after serving his 17-month prison sentence in the occupation prisons between Al-Maskobyeh, Hasharon, Giv’on and Megiddo in addition to the prisons’ hospitals in Afula and Ramleh. The freed prisoner suffered from medical negligence and a delay in the treatment of pain in his stomach which led to an explosion of his appendix causing poisoning and pollution in the stomach that led to weakness in the tissues of the abdominal wall and stomach muscles. He remained under treatment and follow-up for three months later in Afula and Ramleh prisons. Majd said: “I was arrested in September 2015. Seven months later, I started feeling severe pains in the abdominal area. I was then in Megiddo prison and the prison’s doctor was giving me pain relief medicine which wasn’t reducing the pain. After a week of severe pain, the doctor asked me to drink “Coke” to identify the pain.” He continued: “I drank the Coke and several hours later I suffered severe pain that I can’t even describe. It was a very difficult night. I couldn’t walk or sit inside the small room where 10 inmates were detained. Everybody requested the doctor to check me and find out what’s happening. The doctor arrived with the guard nearly half an hour later. The doctor checked my temperature through the room’s small window and an hour later received a permit to open the door and transfer me to another room with the young men.” Majd added “All these hours, I did not receive any treatment. The next morning, I was transferred in a police vehicle while handcuffed to Afula hospital to undergo the necessary check-ups. After several hours of waiting, I was diagnosed with “appendicitis” and the doctors decided an urgent surgery.” Sa‘eedeh continued. Sa‘eedeh continued: “During the surgery it was revealed that the appendicitis had exploded in my abdomen. I remained in hospital under treatment and monitoring for 22 days. Despite the severe pain and weakness I was suffering, my hands and feet were cuffed at all times to the bed, and policemen and guards were present inside and outside my room. My mother was able to visit me 3 times in hospital.”….
Palestinian prisoner’s health condition deteriorates in Israeli custody
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 Feb — The health condition of Palestinian prisoner Walid Ghaith from the occupied West Bank district of Hebron has severely deteriorated recently, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Saturday. PPS said in the statement that the 43-year-old is suffering from heart problems and is in need of a pacemaker implant. Ghaith’s wife, who visited him recently at the Israel’s al-Ramla prison clinic, said that her husband was transferred to the clinic from the Negev prison after his health deteriorated and he lost consciousness. She noted that her husband had suffered a heart attack three years ago and had been forced to undergo open heart surgery at the time. Ghaith is sentenced to seven and a half years in Israeli prison and is expected to finish his sentence next month.
Israel releases 2 Palestinian prisoners
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Feb — Israeli authorities on Thursday released two Palestinian prisoners from the occupied West Bank to their families after serving time in Israeli prisons. The Islamic Jihad movement in Bethlehem welcomed Muhammad Issa Khader Taqatqa, 38, who was released by the Israeli authorities late Thursday, after spending 15 years in Israeli jails. Taqatqa was detained in February 2002 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for being an active member of the Islamic Jihad movement’s resistance, and “carrying out activities” against Israeli forces, sources told Ma‘an. Israeli forces also released Rami Jihad Odeh al-Khatib, 33, to his home in the al-Fawwar refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank Hebron district, after spending 27 months in administrative detention — the Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence. The Muhjat al-Quds organization said that Israeli forces had detained al-Khatib on November 11th, 2014 and transferred him to administrative detention. Prior to his administrative detention order, al-Khatib, a husband and father of two, had previously been detained several times by Israeli forces for being a member of the Islamic Jihad movement.
Video interview – House arrest away from home!!!
Mohammad and his father are interviewed in this video. On the first day of this year, 17-year-old Mohammad Jodeh was arrested. He is from Shu‘fat Refugee Camp and is now under open house-arrest in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina. He was arrested at a checkpoint when working with his uncle delivering newspapers. After a quick trial, he was released to house arrest, but not to his home – his aunt took him in. It was his first arrest and his first time away from his parents and little sisters. He can no longer go home and work to help his father. As his father says, the family is now ‘kind of dispersed.’
Palestinian wins Berlinale award with documentary on Israeli prison
DPA & Nirit Anderman 18 Feb — Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni won Saturday the Berlinale’s first-ever Silver Bear for best documentary for “Istiyad Ashbah” (“Ghost Hunting”), in which former inmates reenact events at Israel’s main interrogation center. In the film, Andoni recreates the interrogation rooms and cells at the Moskobiya interrogation center, which acts as the backdrop to the former inmates discussing prison life and the humiliation they experienced during their detention.
Gaza: Electricity company unable to schedule power supply
GAZA (PIC) 19 Feb — The electricity distribution company in Gaza has said it cannot set a schedule for providing citizens with power after all Egyptian lines and several generators of the power plan have become out of service. Spokesman for the company Tareq Labad stated in press remarks that Gaza needs 600 megawatts of electricity to cover the increasing consumption of power during the cold weather, but the amount available is only 170 megawatts. “The breakdown of the Egyptian lines and the growing demand for electricity due to the cold weather have led to a reduction in the hours of supplying houses with power,” Labad added. He also pointed out that there are only two generators operative in the power plant, while the Israeli lines sustain malfunctions every once in a while. He affirmed that there are only three to four hours of power supply each day as a result of this acute electricity generation deficit in the Strip.
Israeli navy prevents Gazans from fishing
GAZA (WAFA) 18 Feb – Israeli navy boats Saturday opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and prevented them from fishing off the Sudaniya area coast in the north of Gaza, local sources said. The fishermen returned to shore to avoid harm to them or damage to their boats. Despite the signed agreements between the Palestinians and Israel which allow fishermen to go 12 nautical miles inside the Mediterranean Sea, Israeli navy targets Palestinian fishermen and their fishing boats on an almost daily basis if they exceed three nautical miles into the sea.
Palestinian remains in Israeli custody after being detained at Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Feb — Israeli authorities detained a Palestinian man for unknown reasons on Wednesday while the man was attempting to pass through the Erez border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Palestinian sources told Ma’an of the arrest on Friday, and identified the detainee as Majdi Muhammad Abu Taha from the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, saying Abu Taha was heading to a meeting at the US consulate in Jerusalem when he was detained. Israeli intelligence officials were not immediately available for comment. Erez is the only land crossing for people between Gaza and Israel, although travel is heavily restricted by Israeli authorities as part of a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave in place since 2007. Palestinians detained at Erez are often interrogated for several hours, sometimes for days, before they are either allowed into Israel or sent back to Gaza.
Gaza doctor seeks justice in Israeli court
GAZA (Al Jazeera) 18 Feb — Izzeldin Abuelaish’s lawsuit is finally set to be heard, years after the Israeli army killed his daughters in Gaza. The walls of Izzeldin Abuelaish’s office at the University of Toronto are covered in photographs, but one, in particular, stands out. Three of his daughters, Bessan, Mayar and Aya, sit on a beach in the Gaza Strip. The tide is out, and the girls – aged 13, 15 and 20 – have written their names in big letters on the sand. Mayar is barefoot, Aya looks directly at the camera, and Bessan smiles widely as she gazes over her name. For Abuelaish, the image is a reminder of the promise he made them. “I am determined to bring my daughters justice,” the 62-year-old Palestinian doctor told Al Jazeera, his voice both confident and hopeful. After years of fighting, his case will finally be heard before an Israeli court next month.
Only a few weeks after this photo was taken, Israel’s brutal 2008-09 war on the Gaza Strip was nearing its end. On January 16, 2009, Israeli army tanks shelled the Abuelaish family home in the Jabaliya refugee camp, killing Bessan, Mayar, Aya and their 17-year-old cousin, Noor. “When they were killed, I swore to God, I swore to my daughters, I will never give up. I will never rest,” Abuelaish told Al Jazeera. “From the early days, I said [that] if I could know that my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I would accept it. They were not the last, and that makes me sad, even angry: What can I do more?”….
Included in case you have never heard this (warning: very tough to listen to):
The phone call that shocked Israel to its core
In the final hours of the Gaza war, Israeli tank shells slammed into Doctor Abuelaish’’s home killing half of his family. His tragic phone call to Channel 10 Israel has become a symbol of the war worldwide. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian doctor, working at hospitals in Gaza and Israel. During the Israeli attacks he was providing regular phone updates to Israeli television on life in Gaza. ‘”Dr. Abuelaish was supposed to give us an interview that day,’” tells Channel 10 Israel presenter Oshrat Kotler. But nothing prepared them for the phone call they received. Viewers were transfixed as presenter Shlomi Eldar held up a phone live on air for 5 minutes listening to the outpouring of grief. ‘”My God! What have we done to them?’” Abuelaish’s niece and three of his daughters had just been killed. “I wanted to try and save them but they died from head wounds immediately’.” [Eldar somehow managed to get Palestinian ambulances through the Erez crossing, one of them carrying a daughter who survived.] This broadcast delivered something Israelis hadn’t experienced before, a real account of life in Gaza under Israeli attack. [Not that most Israelis were sympathetic – many blamed Channel 10 for broadcasting the tragedy, claiming that the house must have been full of Hamas terrorists, one woman shouting at the bereaved father, ‘Who knows what you had in your house?”]
What can memorizing the Qur’an buy you in Gaza?
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 17 Feb by Rasha Abou Jalal — Gazans who have memorized the Quran can have their weddings paid for through a new, controversial program in Gaza — Memorizing the Qur’an has always been appreciated among the Palestinian Muslim community. The Hamas-affiliated Al-Tayseer Society for Marriage and Development in partnership with the Riyad Charity Society on Feb. 4 announced the launch of Ridwan (Satisfaction), a program to provide free weddings in Gaza for individuals who memorize the Islamic holy book. The project is being funded by the Palestinian Charity Committee, affiliated with the International Islamic Charity Organization in Kuwait, a prominent organization that collects donations to help the poor in the Arab and Muslim worlds. The spread of poverty and high unemployment, which according to figures issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics stood at 41.2% in the first quarter of 2016, have made wedding ceremonies and dowries expensive propositions for young people. Riyad Shahin, chairman of the Riyad Charity Society, said during the press conference announcing the program that it targets unmarried “huffaz” — people who have memorized the Qur’an — 26 and older. The aim, he said, is “to encourage youth to read the book of Allah and strengthen ties and social solidarity.”….
Joy and fear: A mother’s lot in Gaza
GAZA STRIP (EI) 17 Feb by Nesma Seyam — …When Israel bombed Gaza in November 2012, the television showed a mother running right and left in a hospital after she saw the bodies of three of her children, looking for the fourth, asking everyone around her if they knew where the child was. Is this what it means to be a mother in Gaza? Two years later, during Israel’s 51-day onslaught in the summer of 2014, most of my family, including my sister and her four children, slept on the floor of the living room on the western side of our apartment. The eastern side of the home is situated above an apartment which belonged to a man who was wanted by Israel. My bedroom was located on that side of the apartment. I slept in it throughout the war, even though it was directly above a likely target. I was never afraid, because I believed that I would not hear or feel the missile that would end up killing me. One night, the shelling and bombings intensified terribly, and my mother insisted that I sleep in the living room with everyone else. She rejected my efforts to convince her that the missile has no intellectual capacity to recognize that it is approaching our living room and change its path. As we sat in silence, my sister Walaa started to frantically separate her children on opposite sides of our home. Her entire body shaking with fear, she said, “I’ll put one girl and one boy on my right and the other boy and girl on my left. If they bomb one side of the apartment, then two of them will likely survive. I don’t want all of them to die at once.” It took me a while to process what she had said. I forced a smile while tears gathered in my eyes. Slowly, I slid under my sheets, pretending to sleep, and cried all night … We were not bombed in the end. But that does not mean we were unharmed. Two years have now passed. I’ve since gotten married and gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl with black hair and two deep dimples on her cheeks. She’s 6 months old now. I am happy I am a mother and I love my daughter beyond words. But I am also afraid. I can’t bear the thought that because I am a Palestinian in Gaza, I may have to guess where in our home my baby is least likely to be killed. Whenever I hear a loud sound, I run to my child and hug her….
Learning in the line of fire
EI 8 Feb by Sarah Algherbawi — Wala, 16, always finds a seat away from the windows. The girl is a student at the Hayel Abdul Hamid secondary school in Beit Hanoun, a United Nations facility in the northern Gaza Strip. She has developed a phobia of sitting next to windows, afraid, she told The Electronic Intifada, of stray bullets. Her fear is well-founded. Beit Hanoun lies close to Gaza’s boundaries with Israel, and the concrete wall that marks the boundary is visible from Wala’s school. In such boundary areas Israeli gunfire is common and fatalities frequent. Mere closeness is a mortal danger as Israeli soldiers endeavor to keep quite expansive areas clear of residents, farmers or anyone else trying to get close. When shooting near the boundary is especially fierce, Gaza’s ministry of education is forced to evacuate schools in the affected areas. According to Muhammad Nasser, who works at Gaza’s education ministry, in Beit Hanoun alone there are four schools, including the Hayel Abdul Hamid School, in so-called high-risk locations – within 1,000 meters of the boundary. These are “Access Restricted Areas” – in the language of the UN – enforced by the Israeli military, usually with force. Wala is also scarred by her experience during the Israeli military offensive of 2014 and the bombing of a Beit Hanoun primary school. She and her family had taken refuge at the school administered by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, along with hundreds of other civilians from the area, when it was attacked on 24 July 2014….
Gaza situation report 181
UNRWA 17 Feb –HIGHLIGHTS: * UNRWA estimates that due to the impact of the blockade and recurrent conflicts approximately 30 per cent of UNRWA students require structured psychosocial interventions. It has been noted that feelings of desperation, hopelessness and lack of perspective also lead to a rise in suicides in Gaza, as reported by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. In response, the UNRWA Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP) maintains a network of 287 counselors and 82 psychosocial facilitators in UNRWA schools, in addition to 21 counselors and five legal advisors in UNRWA’s Health Centres. From 30 January to 2 February 2017, the programme held a capacity building training for 25 Area Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Supervisors and Assistant MHPSS Supervisors. The four-day training was conducted by Nimisha Patel, an international expert….
* In the beginning of this year, the UNRWA Relief and Social Services Programme (RSSP) in Gaza started the first of four food distribution rounds, providing food baskets to almost one million beneficiaries. In January, RSSP distributed parcels to over 278,400 Social Safety Net beneficiaries (Abject Poor beneficiaries, those individuals who live below US$ 1.74 per person per day); additionally, almost 122,000 Abject Poor individuals received non-food items – such as mattresses and hygiene-related articles – from the Agency. To continue to assess the household status and the eligibility of families to receive UNRWA assistance (Poverty Assessment System), in January RSSP social workers visited over 8,100 families across Gaza;. Over the same period, almost 31,000 previously assessed families were notified of their assessment results via SMS.
Restriction of movement / Collective punishment
New infographic shows how restrictions of movement put Palestinian lives at risk
16 Feb — The latest infographic from Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI) explores how Israeli Government’s restrictions on freedom of movement are putting the lives of Palestinian patients at risk. Click here to see the infographic.
Soldiers block traffic from West Bank village in collective punishment step
JENIN (WAFA) 18 Feb – Israeli soldiers set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the village of Zabouba, northwest of Jenin, and held up traffic in a step residents considered a collective punishment. Residents told WAFA that the army set up the checkpoint and slowly inspected cars and passengers seeking to leave or enter the village causing long delays and traffic jams. They said soldiers told commuters that this checkpoint and delays will continue as long as stones are thrown at Israelis in the area or people cut the barbed wire the army had set up around the village. The Israeli army has designated areas around Zabouba as military training ground and occasionally carries out military exercises in that area.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel to seize West Bank widow’s inheritance, claiming it belongs to the state
Haaretz 19 Feb by Or Kashti — Israel has declared its intention to take away the compensation given to a Palestinian woman whose Israeli Arab husband was killed in a car accident, claiming that her inheritance belongs to the state by virtue of the Custodian of Absentee Property Law. The law has been used for decades to oversee the assets of Arabs who left or were forced to leave Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. The office of the custodian of abandoned property in the Finance Ministry determined that Raba‘a Ali Satal, from the West Bank city of Qalqilya, was an “absentee” and therefore the state was the owner of the compensation the court had awarded her. The amount, about 600,000 shekels ($162,000), was given to her as a result of the death of her husband, who was killed when a truck ran into him as he was fixing his car by the roadside … In May 2016, the registrar determined that Ali Satal was entitled to half her husband’s estate, and that the other half would be divided among his three daughters from a previous marriage. However, next to Ali Satal’s name in the order, the word “absentee” was written in parentheses. Ali Satal and her attorney, Pesach Stamler, were not the only ones surprised by the parenthetical note. So was the Kfar Sava court, which asked the registrar of inheritances for clarifications. The registrar turned the matter over to the office of the custodian for absentee property. In June 2016, the head of the custodian’s office, Ronen Baruch, responded that Ali Satal was a “resident of the military government in Judea and Samaria, and thus according to the law she is considered absentee with regard to her portion of the deceased’s estate.”… Shabaita added that the decision meant that not only would the state deprive Ali Satal of the insurance money the court awarded her, but also of 10,000 shekels the court ordered the truck driver who killed her husband to pay her in criminal proceedings. Shabaita wrote that such an extensive interpretation of the Custodian of Abandoned Property law had never been applied before, “certainly not with regard to personal compensation awarded by a court in Israel to a resident of the territories.”
Palestinian family in East Jerusalem forced to demolish their own home
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 Feb — A Palestinian family in the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem was forced to demolish their own home on Saturday following orders from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem. The Qarrain family told Ma‘an that they had recently received an order from the Jerusalem municipality stating that the house was lacking Israeli-issued building permits and would need to be demolished. The family added that they had been given two weeks to carry out the demolition themselves, to avoid the exorbitant fees imposed by the municipality when their crews carry out home demolitions. The house is 65 square meters and was built seven years ago, according to the family.
Though the Israeli Jerusalem municipality has said it receives a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem compared to the Jewish population, and that Palestinian applications “see high approval ratings,” procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits are lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs can reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180). As four out of five of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for these permits is nearly impossible. As a result, only 7 percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods. According to UN documentation, at least 1,093 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished in 2016, displacing 1,601 Palestinians. So far in 2017, more than 119 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished.
Palestinian family of 13 displaced after being forced to demolish their own home
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 Feb — A Palestinian family of 13 was displaced after they were forced to demolish their own home in the Beer Ayyub area of the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, in compliance with orders from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality. Hajj Salih Shweiki told Ma’an that his family chose to carry out the demolition themselves to avoid the huge fees imposed when municipality crews perform demolitions. The municipality would have charged 80,000 shekels (approximately $21,600) for the demolition, according to Shweiki. Members of the family started to manually demolish the interior of the house on Saturday using sledge hammers and other small tools. The house was built of bricks and corrugated metal sheets. “I had to choose between two very difficult options: either to demolish myself the home where our children and grandchildren have been brought together for ten years, or to allow the occupation’s bulldozers to demolish the house and all of our belongings without providing us prior warning and forcing us to pay 80,000 shekels,” Shweiki said. He said the demolition had been postponed several times over the past few years, and that a final demolition order was issued recently … Fakhri Abu Diab, a spokesman for a local committee aiming to defend Palestinian properties in Silwan, told Ma’an that “Israeli occupation institutions have launched an unprecedented attack against Silwan in the form of land confiscations, demolitions, and other methods, in order to apply pressure on its indigenous residents to coerce them to leave their town that abuts the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque, to pave the way for settlers to replace them.”….
Pictures — Occupation municipality decides to confiscate land in Silwan
Silwanic 16 Feb — The occupation municipality decided to confiscate a piece of land owned by the Ghazlan-Abbasi family in Al-Ein Street in Silwan under the pretext of using it for “public benefit.” Wadi Hilweh Information Center explained that municipality crews raided the village of Silwan on Thursday and hung a note on a piece of land in both Arabic and Hebrew saying: “Order to use an empty piece of land in order to do gardening work”; they also attached a map showing the location of the land. The center added that the 300-square meters land is owned by the Ghazlan family and is classified as “green land” by the municipality where building is prohibited. According to the municipality’s order, the land will be confiscated and used for 5 years based on Article 2 of the law of “local authorities – temporary use of an empty land”. Trees will be planted and irrigation systems will be installed as well as equipment and toys. According to the decision, the owner of the land can submit an objection to the order of confiscating the land within 90 days. Mohammad Ghazlan-Abbasi (one of the heirs of the land) confirmed his refusal of the order and said: “I will head to court to object the order of confiscating the land even if it is temporary. If the land will be used for public benefit and for the benefit of the locals of Silwan, then we will plant it and install toys and benches.”
Israel delivers demolition orders to 40 homes, school in Bedouin community
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Feb — Israeli forces raided the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank northeast of Jerusalem on Sunday morning to deliver demolition orders to classrooms for the village’s primary school, locals told Ma‘an, while 40 homes in the community were also reportedly delivered demolition orders. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces surrounded the school — which has been threatened with demolition by the Israeli government for years — as faculty and students were prevented from accessing the building. Israeli soldiers imposed a military closure on Khan al-Ahmar before they stormed the village’s school to deliver the demolition warrants, sources said. Official Palestinian news agency Wafa meanwhile reported that Israeli authorities also issued demolition order against 40 Palestinian-owned houses in Khan al-Ahmar on Sunday morning.
Eid al-Jahalin, a witness, told Wafa that Israeli forces raided the area in the early dawn hours and notified residents to evacuate their houses, who were given until Feb. 23 to leave.
Photo essay: Scores join the Freedom March
IMEMC 17 Feb by Ghassan Bannoura — More than 200 Palestinian and Israeli activists marched on Friday in the freedom march titled “Together Against Land Theft” which was organized by Combatants for Peace and Standing Together collation near the southern West Bank town of Beit Jala. The protest started from a roadblock the army erected at the entrance of Husan village, south of Beit Jala, ten days ago, forcing villagers to walk to their homes. At the roadblock troops tried to stop the protest, however the participants march on towards the nearby settlers road 60 chanting against the occupation and the Israeli policy of confecting Palestinian lands for building settlements … From his part, Udi Gur, the Israeli coordinator of CFP said “I want to thank all who joined us today. The current government of Israeli is not pleasing many Israelis as much as it angers Palestinians. The government that close roads, uproot olive trees and displace people after demolishing their homes is a government we work against it.”….
Fatah picks senior party officials, leading candidate Barghouti jilted
Haaretz 19 Feb by Jack Khoury — Party officials say that while Barghouti’s prominence cannot be disputed, he cannot be appointed to an operational role while he is in prison — Fatah’s Central Committee convened last week in Ramallah to determine the movement’s most senior officials after its chairman, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah is the largest faction of the PLO and the one which dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The Fatah central committee is the movement’s supreme authority. Veteran Fatah member Mahmoud al-Aloul was appointed as Abbas’ deputy, and Jibril Rajoub was appointed as the central committee’s secretary. Saeb Erekat, who is in charge with negotiations with Israel, is to remain in office, as is Mohammed al-Madani, the chairman of the Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society. Madani is boycotted by the Israeli government and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who revoked his entry permit to Israel on claims of subversive political activity in Israel.
New documentary highlights life of imprisoned Palestinian leader
Al-Monitor 17 Feb by Daoud Kuttab — The producers of “Marwan,” a documentary about the life of imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, hope to revive national pride among Palestinians with his story — The audience at the grand opening of the documentary was not the usual art crowd. More than 1,200 Palestinians including politicians, students and laborers crowded the main hall at the Red Crescent Society in al-Bireh Feb. 7 for the premiere of “Marwan,” a documentary about imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti. Before the screening, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, along with senior members of his Cabinet and top Fatah officials filled the front seats of the auditorium. Hamdallah called Barghouti an “icon” of Palestinian resistance. He expressed support for his immediate release, referring to the imprisoned leader as a genuine expression of Palestinian aspirations to live in peace. “He has served more than 20 years of his life in jail, and he has made this sacrifice for the dignity and the freedom of Palestinians,” he said. Hamdallah added that President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership endorse the efforts of the Belgian parliament, which nominated Barghouti for a Nobel Peace Prize. In May 2016, the Belgian lawmakers praised Barghouti’s democratic principles, saying in a letter addressed to the Nobel Committee: “Marwan is an elected representative of the Palestinian nation, and was the first parliamentarian to be arrested. … He is a democrat defending human rights, notably women’s rights.”….
Hamas: Israel not showing seriousness in forming new prisoner exchange deal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Feb — The Hamas movement said on Friday that Israeli authorities were [not] making a serious effort to strike a new prisoner exchange deal to release Israelis held by Hamas and Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said that the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, had received Israeli offers through intermediaries last week, but said what Israel is offering did not “meet even the minimum of the demands made by the resistance.” Qassem said that the “statements of Israeli leaders are just part of their lies directed at the families of the imprisoned Israeli soldiers to convince them they are putting in efforts to bring them back.” Hamas claims to hold the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were pronounced dead by Israel during the 2014 war in Gaza, though Hamas has never explicitly said whether the two Israeli soldiers were alive or dead. Earlier this month, Hamas had reportedly rejected an offer by the Israeli government to release a Hamas official in Israeli custody in exchange for the release of one of two Israelis thought to be held alive in the Gaza Strip.
Jenin police go after illegal vehicles following hit-and-run
JENIN (WAFA) 18 Feb – Police and security forces in Jenin intensified Saturday a campaign to go after illegal cars and motorcycles in the district following Friday’s hit-and-run accident that caused the death of a traffic police officer. Jenin chief of police Muhannad Suwan told WAFA that the security forces in the district have intensified their efforts to remove from the roads all vehicles and motorcycles deemed illegal and to destroy them because of the danger their drivers could cause to people. He said police seized 145 illegal cars last month and destroyed 170 others, including two trucks and a motorcycle. First Lieutenant Mahmoud Ayyaseh, 44, was fatally injured when a resident of the town of Qabatiya hit him with his car when the officer attempted to stop him to check his papers. The car was illegal.
Palestinians launch massive appeal to Trump
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 16 Feb by Ahmad Melhem — Palestinians enthusiastically respond to a letter-writing campaign designed to draw US President Donald Trump’s attention to their cause — Some 100,000 Palestinians have written letters to US President Donald Trump asking him to actively support the Palestinian movement for sovereignty. The Youth Center for Development and Innovation in Nablus collected the letters — written by Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the diaspora — in just 11 days through Jan. 20, the day Trump was inaugurated. The center has summarized the letters in an 11-page missive to be submitted to Trump through official channels. Youth center director Mohammed Abu Ras told Al-Monitor the campaign emanated from Palestinians’ fear of Trump’s potential policy toward the Palestinian cause and his support for Israel. The campaign is “an attempt to draw Trump’s attention to the Palestinian cause and have him support the efforts of President Mahmoud Abbas, who showed readiness to cooperate with Trump in the peace process,” Abu Ras said.
UN chief: US blocking Libya envoy was ‘serious mistake’
MUNICH (AP) 18 Feb — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that the U.S. decision to block a former Palestinian prime minister from leading the U.N. political mission in Libya was “a serious mistake.” Washington blocked the proposed appointment of Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister from 2007 to 2013, a week ago. It said it was acting to support its ally, Israel. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Guterres said: “I believe that it’s essential for everybody to understand that people serving the U.N. are serving in their personal capacities. They don’t represent a country or a government.” Guterres said that Fayyad “was the right person in the right place at the right time.” Libya has been gripped by unrest since its 2011 revolution and the killing of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.
European Parliament delegation starts Monday a four-day visit to Palestine
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 18 Feb — Marking 50 years of Israeli occupation, a cross-party delegation of the European Parliament’s (EP) Delegation for Relations with Palestine starts Monday a four day visit to Palestine during which its members will meet with President Mahmoud Abbas and other high-level Palestinian Authority officials as well as civil society, students and peace activists. The delegation will also meet with communities at risk of forcible displacement and with civil society organizations battling the ramped-up settlement expansion, according to a press release. “Settlement expansion and the recently-enacted regularization law constitute a concrete threat to the two-state solution supported by the European Union and the international community, as evidenced by UN Security Council resolution 2334,” Delegation Chair Neoklis Sylikiotis stated. “Settlements are an obstacle to peace as they are threatening the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.” … The five-person EP delegation will be discussing in-depth with various sectors of society how to move towards achieving the two-state solution, and how the EU can support this goal, said the press release. “I would like to reiterate our support to the recognition of a viable independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders, living in peace alongside Israel,” stated Sylikiotis. “The EU must exert pressure on Israel in order to put an end to its settlement, to lift the occupation and commit to a roadmap for peace and two-state solution. We want peace for the Palestinian people, the Israeli people, and all the people of the Middle East.” The delegation, which will be led by delegation chair Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL, Cyprus) and composed of 4 other members: Margrete Auken (vice-chair of delegation, Greens, Denmark), Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy), Ivo Vajgl (ALDE, Slovenia) and Angela Vallina (GUE/NGL, Spain), will conclude its visit on Thursday with a press conference in Jerusalem.
Video: Protests disrupt Vienna talk by Israeli genocide advocate Ayelet Shaked
EI 17 Feb by Ali Abunimah — Israeli justice minister Ayelet Shaked faced repeated disruptions during a speech at the University of Vienna on Wednesday. Protesters read back words she posted on Facebook in 2014 calling for the genocide of the Palestinian people, including the slaughter of mothers who give birth to “little snakes.” Shaked also has a history of racial incitement against refugees and migrants from African countries. The video above, edited by activists, includes footage and audio from several cameras. Meanwhile, the vice dean of the University of Vienna law school who introduced Shaked and defended her invitation admitted to The Electronic Intifada that he had not read the comments Shaked posted on Facebook advocating the destruction of the Palestinian people. A video streamed live on the Facebook page of BDS Austria, a group that campaigns for Palestinian rights, shows some of the protests.
Israelis post anti-Arab racism online every 46 seconds, study finds
+972 mag 13 Feb by Rami Younis — A new study shows that Israeli Jews published 675,000 racist posts on social media in 2016 — a dangerous increase from 2015, when only 280,000 such posts were published. Every 46 seconds an Israeli Jew publishes a racist or inciting comment against Arabs on Facebook and other social networks, a new study finds. According to the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media (7amleh), which published its Index for Racism and Incitement on Social Media last week, 60,000 active Israeli social media users published at least one racist post against Arabs in 2016. 7amleh’s study also focused on the correlation between remarks made by high-level government officials and the amount of inciting posts. One can see a clear increase in the number of racist posts against Arabs following every inciting remark by a member of the government. The sharpest spikes in racist posts came following remarks by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against Arab citizens, following the fires that raged across Israel and the West Bank in November 2016, which leaders blamed on nationalistically-motivated arson. Miri Regev’s comments against Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar and poet Mahmoud Darwish also led to a higher volume of incitement on the internet. Another sharp increase was felt throughout the trial of Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who was found guilty of killing an incapacitated Palestinian in Hebron early last year….