Violence in occupation: orchards raided, trees bulldozed, hikers tear-gassed, two youths killed

Kate – April 6, 2019
West Bank / Jerusalem

[with video] IMEMC 3 Apr by Celine Hagbard — Israeli soldiers have reported that a Palestinian was killed, and another injured [on Wednesday], when an Israeli settler [reported by Ma‘an to be Joshua Sherman, from the illegal settlement of Elon Moreh] opened fire on them near Beita town, south of Nablus. The Palestinian who was killed was identified as Mohammad Abdul-Mon’em Abdel-Fattah, 23, from Khirbet Qeis village in the Salfit district, in the northern West Bank. The one who was injured has been identified as Khaled Salah Rawajba, a 26-year-old resident of the village of Rojeeb, east of Nablus. He was shot in the abdomen and taken to Rafidia hospital in Nablus, where he remains in a moderate condition. The Israeli settler who shot and killed the young man tried to claim that “he had a knife” – but video footage taken by another Israeli settler on the scene, showing the brutal and callous treatment of Adel-Fattah’s body after he was killed, shows that there was no weapon. In the video, a soldier and a settler are seen kicking the young man’s corpse, flipping him over and going through his pockets, finding nothing. According to eyewitnesses, the claim of an attempted stabbing was completely false. They said that Mohammad was a truck driver who was waiting at the checkpoint when the Israeli settler closed the road with his car. Khaled then got out of his car and tried to tell the settler to move. But the Israeli settler began shooting. Khaled Rawajba, an employee at an auto repair shop on the side of the road, heard the altercation and stepped out of his workplace to see what was happening. He was then shot as well, and seriously wounded.
IMEMC 2 Apr — A young Palestinian man, identified as Mohammad Ali Dar Adwan, 23, was shot and killed by Israeli forces who invaded Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem, on Monday, and attacked local protesters, wounding at least two other young men. The Palestinians gathered in the streets and alleys of the refugee camp, and protested the invasion, while several protesters hurled stones at the armored military jeeps. The soldiers fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at the protesters. Medical sources said the soldiers shot three young men in the refugee camp and the al-Matar adjacent neighborhood. Adwan was near his home when he was shot and killed – it was unclear if he was participating in the protest or not. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said Mohammad ran towards his home due to the intensity of the live rounds fired by the soldiers, but once he approached his home several soldiers were standing right in front of it, and opened fire at him. WAFA added that the soldiers shot the young man with more than 10 bullets, before dragging his body into their jeep, and prevented medics from reaching him to provide aid, until he had passed away from blood loss. The Israeli forces then handed Adwan’s corpse to medics with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, who transferred his body to Ramallah governmental hospital….
IMEMC 31 Mar — An armed illegal Israeli colonialist settler opened fire, on Sunday evening, at several Palestinian homes in the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Eyewitnesses said the colonist stepped out of its car near the main entrance of the refugee camp and fired several live rounds before fleeing the scene. The attack did not lead to casualties, while Israeli soldiers invaded the area, and fired many rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at Palestinian protesters and many surrounding homes
IMEMC 6 Apr by Ali Salam — An extremist Israeli settler ran over a young Palestinian man with his vehicle on Friday, near the village of Tuwanah, east of Hebron’s Yatta town, in the southern occupied West Bank, local sources told WAFA News Agency. Sources said that the illegal Israeli colonist was seen running over Aysar Mahmoud Hushia (15), with his car, after repeated attempts to ram other Palestinian pedestrians in the area. The status of the injured youth is described as critical. He was transferred to hospital, and Israeli authorities did not offer any statement on the incident.
IMEMC 4 Apr — Groups of illegal Israeli colonists invaded, on Thursday morning, Palestinian lands in Burin village, south of Nablus, and Ya‘bad town, south of Jenin, in northern West Bank, before bulldozing them and uprooting trees to expand their outposts. Media sources in Nablus said dozens of colonists brought bulldozers and other machinery into Palestinian lands in Karem Abu Salim area, and started bulldozing dozens of olive trees, owned by several Palestinian villagers. The colonists are trying to expand the illegal Yitzhar colony, which was built on private Palestinian lands. In addition, groups of colonists invaded Palestinian lands in Ya‘bad town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and stating preparing for paving a road leading to a newly installed illegal outpost. The outpost was installed, nearly two months ago, by an armed colonist who brought an RV into the Palestinian land and built two barns for sheep and cows. The colonist, with the help of other assailants, cut and uprooted Palestinian olive trees, while the Israeli army just stood and watched, and are now preparing to pave a road leading to his illegal outpost.
IMEMC 30 Mar — Illegal Israeli colonialist settlers invaded, Friday, Palestinian olive orchards and grazing lands in the al-Farisiyya area in the West Bank’s Northern Plains. Human Rights activist Aref Daraghma said the colonists invaded the lands, located near the illegal Rotem colony, which was built on stolen Palestinian lands. He added that the colonists planted dozens of olive saplings in the grazing lands, which raised fears that they intend to illegally annex them to their colony. It is worth mentioning that the colonists usually invade and uproot Palestinian farmlands and orchards in the area, and several parts of the occupied West Bank, in addition to flooding other lands with wastewater mixed with chemicals.
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — Israeli settlers chopped down some 550 trees in Palestinian agricultural lands in the Deir Jarir village northeast of the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, on Tuesday. Landowner Abed al-Dayim Ajaj reported that Israeli settlers chopped down 150 almond trees and 400 grape vines from his land. Ajaj pointed out that the trees are more than five years old. Israeli settlers also spray painted racist anti-Arab slogans on a water tank in Ajaj’s land. Walid Assaf, head of the National Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlements, condemned Israeli violations against Palestinian farmers, saying that the Deir Jarir village faces regular violations by Israeli settlers from the Kokhav HaShahar [settlement].
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 Apr — Hundreds of Israeli settlers, escorted by heavily armed Israeli forces, raided the Palestinian village of ‘Awarta, in the south of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, on predawn Thursday, and performed religious rituals in the area. Head of the ‘Awarta village council Saad Awwad, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the village and imposed closure by setting up several flying checkpoints at the entrances of the village and preventing Palestinians from going in or out. Awwad added that hundreds of Israeli settlers raided three areas in the eastern and central parts of village where they performed prayers. Israeli forces had reportedly warned locals from the settlers raid, requesting them to remove their vehicles from the streets through which settlers would pass. ‘Awarta, which is less than eight kilometers from Nablus, has 14 historic sites, 11 in the village and three on the outskirts, most of them sacred to Muslims….
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — Dozens of Palestinian students and teachers suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation, on Tuesday, in Hebron’s elementary school, in the southern occupied West Bank. According to local sources, Israeli forces stormed the premises of Hebron’s elementary school and heavily fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear-gas bombs into the school. Sources confirmed that a large number of the students and school staff suffered from tear-gas inhalation and were transferred to Muhammad Ali al-Muhtaseb Hospital for medical treatment. Sources added that the attack disrupted classes, as well as caused panic among the students. Palestinian students are regularly harassed by Israeli forces and settlers in Hebron City.
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 5 Apr — Rocks were thrown by Palestinians at an Israeli settlers’ bus in northern Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, on Thursday evening. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli soldiers sealed off the northern entrance of Halhul town, where the incident occurred.
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 4 Apr – Israeli settlers threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles near the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish, west of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, according to witnesses. Atheer Shuqair, from al-Zawiyeh village, told WAFA that about 15 settlers attacked her car, attempting to stop her and attack her before she was able to get away unharmed. She said another group of settlers was throwing rocks at other vehicles traveling on the same road ahead of her. Often Israeli soldiers are present in the area where an army observation tower is located but none intervened to keep the settlers from harming the Palestinian civilians, she said.
CNN 1 Apr by Abeer Salman with Andrew Carey — The day before we met, human rights campaigner Aref Jaber recorded the arrest of a 9-year-old Palestinian boy, taken out of school in the West Bank city of Hebron by armed Israeli soldiers. His footage shows soldiers inside Ziad Jaber elementary school, arguing with the school principal and other teachers, as they attempt to remove Zein Idris and his 7-year-old brother Taim. At one point on the video, one of the teachers is told that if he does not let go of Zein, the soldier will break the teacher’s arm. The age of criminal culpability in Israel — under both civilian and military law — is 12, but when the principal points out that the brothers are just young children, an Israeli officer replies, “They threw stones, I don’t care how old they are.” Taim was hidden in a classroom but, as the video shows, Zein was eventually frog-marched away and taken to an army vehicle. According to the school and residents of the neighborhood, he was taken off to a nearby military post and held for just under an hour. Describing the incident to CNN, the Israeli army spokesperson’s unit said that a group of students had thrown stones toward cars belonging to residents of Israeli settlements in the city, and that soldiers then conducted a warning chat with the pupils. The army disputed the suggestion it had made any arrests….
JORDAN VALLEY (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — Several Palestinians suffered from tear-gas suffocation, on Wednesday afternoon, as Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas bombs at nature-hikers in the Jordan Valley area in the northern occupied West Bank, while seven others were detained. Mutaz Bisharat, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the Jordan Valley/Tubas district, reported that Israeli forces fired tear-gas bombs and stun grenades targeting Palestinians hiking on a trail near an illegal Israeli settlement. Israeli forces detained seven of the hikers including two women. Bisharat pointed out that the track begins at the Ein al-Hilweh area and goes through areas that are constantly targeted by Israeli settlers, adding that the hike comes under a series of activities called for by the Palestinian national forces in Tubas to highlight the failure of Israeli plans in the Jordan Valley.
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including a minor, across the occupied West Bank on predawn Tuesday. According to Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians in the central West Bank district of Jerusalem. They were identified as Bashar Najib, Tawfiq Najib, Ibrahim Naaman Mutir, Rajeb Naaman Mutir, Yousef Naaman Mutir, and Jamal Khalaf along with his 15-year-old son, Muhammad. In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, a former Palestinian prisoner was detained and identified as Hassan Yousef. In the northern West Bank district of Jenin, two Palestinians were detained. PPS identified them as Muaawiye Taher al-Qaram and Talab Muhammad Jaradat.
Israeli raids in Palestinian cities, towns and refugee camps are a daily occurrence. According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,450 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, including 205 minors, 32 of whom under 16 years old.
MEMO 5 Apr — Elor Azaria, the former Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian in Hebron, is crowdfunding a “tell-all” book, reported Haaretz. The book’s title is “From Dark to Light: One Shot in Hebron”, and apparently promises to “reveal the full story of the episode that continues to this day to touch the rawest nerves of Israeli society”. The crowdfunding campaign’s range of suggested donations starts at just 50 shekels up to 3,500 shekels ($14 to $970). For the smallest contribution of 50 shekels, you’ll receive “a letter of thanks emailed to you for your donation toward the publication of Elor Azaria’s book”. For 200 shekels, meanwhile, “you can get a personal note” from Azaria. However, for 800 shekels, the donor receives a copy of “Elor Azaria’s book and a double ticket for a fascinating tour of the scene of the shooting in Hebron led by Charlie Azaria, a retired police investigator [and Elor’s father]”. Azaria was convicted of the March 2016 shooting of 21-year-old Palestinian Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif, following an alleged attempted attack on soldiers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Abdel Fattah was lying wounded when Azaria shot him in the head, events captured on camera. [see video] Azaria eventually served just nine months in jail. He has expressed no remorse for his actions, and became a cause-celebre for far-right activists.
Prisoners / Courts
MEMO 5 Apr — As many as 250 Palestinian children under the age of 18 are held in Israeli jails and subjected to all forms of oppression, torture and degrading treatment, the Palestinian Detainees Committee said. In a special report released yesterday to mark Palestinian Children’s Day, the group revealed that Israeli forces have arrested nearly 10,000 Palestinian children since the Second Intifada in September 2000. According to the report, Israeli forces subjected the detained children to brutal treatment including arresting them from their homes late at night, interrogating them without a lawyer, food or drink and subjecting them physical and psychological maltreatment including severe beatings, insults, threats and intimidation to obtain confessions under pressure….
MEMO 5 Apr — An Israeli court yesterday extended the detention of Mustafa Kharouf, a Palestinian photojournalist who works for Turkey’s Anadolu Agency in the West Bank. The Central Court in occupied East Jerusalem announced its decision to extend the 32-year-old’s incarceration on 31 March, a statement released by his family and lawyer said. Kharouf’s detention has been extended to 5 May, the statement said, adding that the Israeli authorities were trying to expel Kharouf based on what they said was “secret information” which they did not disclose. Adi Lustigman, Kharouf’s lawyer, said he will appeal to the decision at the Israel High Court. For the last 20 years, Israeli authorities have consistently refused to grant Kharouf a long-term residence permit, forcing him to obtain tourist visas each year. On 22 January, Kharouf was arrested by Israel Police. Since then he has been held at a deportation centre for illegal foreign migrants. Since Kharouf was born in Algeria, Israeli prosecutors are calling for his expulsion from the West Bank to neighbouring Jordan, even though his family hails from Jerusalem. He does not hold full Jordanian citizenship.
JPost 3 Apr by Yonah Jeremy Bob — Prisons on verge of boiling over — The IDF West Bank Courts continues to be disrupted by a political and legal battle over the arrest of Palestinian lawyer Tarek Barghout on February 27. Although originally the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested Barghout for one month, The Jerusalem Post has learned that his arrest and the gag order on his case was extended until at least April 28. Following his arrest and the later arrest of Barghout’s wife, defense lawyers for Palestinians went on strike for a few days until his wife was released on March 10. Recent hearings, including the trial against the alleged murderer of Ari Fuld, and the appeal of a partial acquittal for the attempted stabbing murder of Nirit Zamura, were postponed. On February 27, Barghout was arrested along with his client, a Fatah strongman named Zakariya Zubeidi, on still unspecified terrorism charges since the case is under gag order pending the Shin Bet’s investigation. Barghout was also representing the Palestinian accused of murdering Ari Fuld … Palestinian lawyer Khaled al-Araj, who has taken over representing the alleged murderer of Fuld, told The Post that they do not know what Barghout’s status is and accused the courts of being an “arm of the occupation.”….
MEMO 5 Apr — Jordan has rejected a proposal by the United States to mediate between Jordan and Israel over the reopening of the Bab Al-Rahma Mosque building, the International Crisis Group said in a report. Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported on Wednesday that Jordan has rejected the American proposal as a result of the US administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving its embassythere. The group explained in its report that, four years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a recommendation by the National Security Council (NSC) to allow the Islamic Waqf to reopen the building as a goodwill gesture to the Jordanian government. Over the past few years, Israel has rejected Jordan’s demands to reopen the building and use it as an institute to teach Islam. According to the report, Palestinians fear that Israel plans to turn the building into a synagogue, warning that this could escalate the situation on the ground.
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — The Israeli police detained two Palestinians on Tuesday morning after they opened the al-Rahma Gate (Gate of Mercy) inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem. Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, said that the Israeli police raided the area and held the ID cards of two Palestinian youths, identified as Bashar Najib and Tawfiq Najib, as they were opening the al-Rahma Gate. The two were then detained and transferred to an interrogation center. Al-Dibs pointed out that the Israeli police attempts to prevent Al-Aqsa guards, employees of the Islamic Endowment Department and even worshipers from opening the al-Rahma prayer area. He added that more than 45 employees of the Islamic Endowment were detained during the past month for attempting to open the gate; most of whom were released on the condition of being banned from Al-Aqsa….
MEE 5 Apr — At least 83 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces that fired tear gas and live ammunition at demonstrators on Gaza’s eastern boundary, the enclave’s health ministry said. Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidreh said on Friday that Palestinian protesters arrived at local hospitals with “different injuries”, including gunshot wounds. Hammad Issa, a paramedic from the Palestinian Red Crescent, told Middle East Eye that he and his colleagues were worried Friday’s protest would result in mass injuries. “We were waiting near the protesters, fearing that this could happen and it happened,” Issa said. One of the protesters, Maysaa al-Sous, told MEE that Israeli forces have recently started using a new, red-coloured tear gas. “We were shocked when the Israeli occupation fired [the red] tear gas at us,” al-Sousi said. “In the beginning, we thought it might have serious repercussions, but until now, nothing strange [has] happened.”
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Apr — Three Palestinians were injured with Israeli live fire on late Wednesday, in the southern besieged Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli army spokesperson, Israeli forces opened heavy fire towards three Palestinians who allegedly attempted to cross the Israel-Gaza border fence, and injured them. The spokesperson added that the three injured were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, in southern Israel, to receive necessary treatment. Their medical condition remained unknown.
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — A Palestinian youth who was shot and critically injured by Israeli forces during Land Day protests in the besieged Gaza Strip succumbed to his wounds, late Tuesday. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that Fares Youssef Abu Hajras, 26, from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday evening. Abu Hajras is the fifth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces during protests alongside the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, last Saturday, in commemoration of the 43rd anniversary of Land Day and the 1st anniversary of “The Great March of Return.”
The ministry confirmed that, with Abu Hajras’ death, the total number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of “The Great March of Return” is 271, while 16,556 others were injured.
IMEMC 30 Mar — Israeli soldiers killed, Saturday, four Palestinians, and injured 316 others, including 14 who suffered life-threatening wounds, during protests across the perimeter fence, in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip. On Saturday at night, a Palestinian teen, identified as Bilal Mahmoud Najjar (Abu Jamous), 17, from Bani Soheila near Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, died from serious wounds suffered earlier after the soldiers shot him with live fire. The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that, among the wounded are 86 children and 29 women. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians gathered on lands near the perimeter fence, marking Palestinian Land Day, and the first anniversary since the beginning of the Great Return March
… On Saturday evening, the Health Ministry in Gaza said the soldiers killed Tamer Hashem Abu al-Kheir, 17, after shooting him with a live round in the chest, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the coastal region. His death came just hours after the soldiers killed Adham Nidal ‘Amara, 17, who was fatally shot during the processions east of Gaza city. On Saturday morning, the soldiers killed Mohammad Jihad Sa’ad, 20, east of Gaza city, before the Great Return March processions started. Mohammad was killed after being struck with a bullet shrapnel in the head, near the perimeter fence, east of Gaza city. He was from the Sheja‘eyya neighborhood in Gaza city; his corpse was moved to the Shifa Medical Center. It is worth mentioning that Mohammad was injured several times since the beginning of the Great Return March procession a year ago. Among the injured Palestinians are three medics and seven journalists, while the soldiers also caused damage to three ambulances.
MEE 31 Mar by Motasem A. Dalloul — Two out of three 17-year-old boys killed in Great March of Return demonstration left school early to support their families — It was 4pm when Hala al-Najjar received a phone call, asking her to come visit her son, Bilal, at the hospital in Khan Younis. “I was shocked and could not identify the caller. I ended the call immediately and collapsed. I lost consciousness for a couple of minutes and when I woke up I found my house full of relatives and neighbours and everyone was crying,” Najjar, 38, told Middle East Eye. Bilal was one of three 17-year-old boys shot and killed during protests across Gaza on Saturday that drew tens of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators marking the first anniversary of the Great March of Return. Adham Amara was shot in the face, Tamer Abu al-Kheir was shot in the chest and Bilal Najjar was shot in the abdomen. Mohammad Saad, 20, was also killed by wounds caused by shrapnel from Israeli shooting before the demonstrations started….
EI 5 Apr by Amjad Ayman Yaghi — When Aed Abu Amro held a Palestinian flag aloft during one of the Great March of Return protests last year on the boundary between Gaza and Israel, the last thought on his mind was that he would become an internet sensation. But a picture of the shirtless Aed, slingshot and flag in hand and enveloped by the smoke from tear gas, went viral almost instantly … The photo was taken on 22 October by Mustafa Hassouna of the Turkish Anadolu press agency. And it so happened that in composition, lighting and motif, the picture closely resembles “Liberty Leading the People,” a painting by the French painter Eugène Delacroix … On 5 November 2018, a bullet strafed Aed’s left leg at a coastal protest against the naval blockade, leaving him wounded but undeterred. He returned to the Great March of Return protests within days … Then on 23 November back at the fence east of Gaza City, Aed was shot again, this time in his right leg, and this time more seriously. Doctors told him he had been struck by a so-called butterfly bullet, a projectile that opens up on impact for maximum effect. The bullet caused severe damage to his knee and other bones in his leg, leaving him unable to move his toes and in need of constant pain medication. It forced him to stop going to the protests. It also forced him to stop going to the gym. The gym was Aed’s escape and his hobby … “I was the best bodybuilder in the East Gaza region at 55 kg. I was preparing myself for the Gaza Strip bodybuilding championship on 26 November. But then I was wounded.” The injury has been extensive. The white stabilizers on his leg are due to come off at any time now, but he still needs surgery on tendons in his toes, as well as a knee operation….
Mondoweiss 5 Apr by Ahmad Kabariti — On Monday, April 1, Israel doubled the area where Palestinians can fish in the Mediterranean Sea off of the Gaza Strip as part of Egyptian-brokered talks with Hamas. The distance fishermen can operate in was extended from 6 nautical miles at the narrowest sea corridor, to 15 nautical miles at the widest. This is the first time that part of the fishing zone has been extended to this distance since restrictions on access took effect in 1995, following the implementation of the Oslo Accords. One main benefit, Reuters reported, is that Palestinian can now reach deep sea fish like tuna and mackerel, and Gaza’s most-desired fish, grouper. Yet for Gaza’s shallow water fisherman, the extension of the fishing zone has no impact. At the end of a 12-hour day, Wayel al-Habeel, 46, said he can catch a combined 45 pounds of crab, shrimp and anchovy, regardless of the fishing zone. “I was catching the same amount when we were boating 6 miles a few days ago,” said al-Habeel. He said the rush to excitement amongst Palestinians is short-sighted. “We are being tricked again by Israel’s decision.” … Zakaria Baker, the head of a fisherman and agricultural workers’ union told Mondoweiss, “The sea off of the southern area that was expanded today has shallow and rocky areas, meaning that the potential catch is poor.” ….
IMEMC 4 Apr — Israeli navy ships attacked,Thursday, Palestinian fishing boats within three nautical miles from the shore of Gaza city … Media sources said the navy ships fired several live rounds at fishing boats and sprayed them with water cannons forcing the fishermen to sail back to shore without being able to fish to provide for their families. They added that this violation took place despite Israeli claims about allowing the fishermen to fish within 6 nautical miles, as the navy continues to attack them and their boats even within three nautical miles.
In related news, several Israeli army vehicles, including bulldozers, dozens of meters into Palestinian lands, east of Khan Younis. Eyewitnesses said the invasion was carried out by three tanks and three armored D9 bulldozers that were stationed in the Kissufim military base, near the fence northeast of Khan Younis. The bulldozers leveled sections of the invaded lands, and installed sand hills in other parts while firing sporadic rounds of live ammunition.
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — Israeli naval boats sprayed ‘skunk water’ at Palestinian fishermen working off the coast of the central besieged Gaza Strip, on Tuesday noon. Head of the Palestinian Fishermen Union in Gaza, Zakariya Bakr, reported that Israeli naval boats sprayed Palestinian fishermen with “skunk water” at 12 nautical miles off coast of the central Gaza Strip. This is the first Israeli assault against Palestinian fishermen since the expansion of the permitted fishing zone off Gaza’s coast a day earlier. The permitted fishing zone was extended from 12 nautical miles to 15 nautical miles. Known as “skunk,” the Israeli military has been using the chemical since at least 2008 as a form of non-lethal crowd control. Palestinians, however, simply call the liquid “shit,” after the smell that can stay for weeks on clothes, body, walls and furniture.
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — A Palestinian fisherman was shot and injured with Egyptian live fire while fishing off the coast of Rafah, south of the besieged Gaza Strip bordering Egypt, on Tuesday morning. Local sources confirmed to Ma‘an that Egyptian naval forces entered 300 meters into Palestinian waters and attacked a fishing boat with five Palestinian fishermen aboard. Sources also confirmed that during the attack, Egyptian forces shot and injured one of the fishermen, as well as detained the other four. The injured fisherman managed to flee the boat, while Egyptian forces detained the others. Sources identified the injured fisherman as Muhammad Abu Suleima. However, his medical condition remained unknown. The detainees were identified as Sahib Abu Suleima, Khaled Kanaan, Raafat Kanaan, and Musaab Kanaan. Following the attack, Egyptian naval forces confiscated the fishing boat and sailed it towards an unknown location. No reason was provided for the attack.
i24NEWS 3 Apr — The Gaza Strip’s joint factions – led by the Hamas Islamist movement and Palestinian Islamic Jihad – reportedly on Wednesday instructed their operatives to halt all violent provocations on the border with Israel. Palestinian Al Quds newspaper reported the command to stop use of explosive devices and activities of the “night disturbance units” just hours after Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said that progress was being made in negotiation efforts led by Egypt, the United Nations, and Qatar. Moreover, the report noted that in recent days, Israel and Egypt’s lifting of some restrictions on the blockaded enclave influenced the directive given by Gaza’s leading armed factions, both of which Israel considers terrorist organizations … Negotiations toward an agreement between Israel and Hamas are being directed by Egyptian Major General Ahmed Abdel-Khaliq who heads the General Intelligence Service (GIS) department of Palestinian affairs. Abdel-Khaliq is working alongside the United Nations envoy to the Middle East Nikolay Mladenov and Qatari officials in ongoing attempts establish a ceasefire between Gaza factions and Israel. The Egyptian GIS delegation has been travelling in and out of Gaza throughout the week in ramped up efforts to reach an agreement, according to Israel’s Ynetnews agency.
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — Israeli warplanes fired one missile towards a group of Palestinian youths, in the southeastern al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City, on Wednesday. Eyewitnesses confirmed to Ma‘an that one missile landed near Palestinian youths in eastern Gaza. No injuries were reported. According to the Israeli army, the targeted youths were allegedly firing incendiary balloons towards southern Israel. On late Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes were carried out in three areas across the Gaza Strip. However no injuries or damages were reported.
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Apr — The Palestinian Islamic Jihad denied the Israeli army’s claims suggesting the movement was attempting to carry out a “significant terror attack,” in order to sabotage ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas, on Monday. The Islamic Jihad said in a statement, “There is no truth to these reports. From time to time Israel tries to create confusion in the Palestinian arena, but these attempts will fail.” Hebrew-language news outlets reported that the Israeli army claimed that the Islamic Jihad is attempting to carry out an “attack or a series of attacks” against Israel in the coming hours or days, apparently in attempt to sabotage the Egyptian mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas. Sources said that the Israeli army’s claim came after “unusual activity” by members of the Islamic Jihad in several locations along the Israel-Gaza border fence….
UNRWA 3 Apr — Glimpse the impact that the ubiquity of injury and death in Gaza is having on young pupils in an UNRWA classroom from the perspective of their teacher
“This is a situation completely underestimated by the world. More people were injured in about 10 days of mostly peaceful demonstrations than during the 50 days of an all-out war in 2014. This should have generated far more robust reactions.”
Excerpt: A mother’s perspective – lives changed in an instant. I’m a mother of six. My youngest son, Ahmed, was shot in the head during the GMR. He was only 17. Now nothing is the same, there is no happiness in our home anymore. His injury was so serious that his brain was outside of his skull. Luckily, the doctors managed to save his life. He spent 20 days in the Intensive Care Unit and two months in a special rehab clinic. I spent every hour I could with him at the hospital. Ahmed is no longer himself….
Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 2 Apr — Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said Tuesday the rocket from Gaza that hit a house in Israel last week launched due to a technical error, his first official statement on the strike. The rocket that was fired from the Gaza Strip on March 25 destroyed a house north of Tel Aviv and injured seven Israelis. Israel responded by striking a series of Hamas targets in the Palestinian enclave, including flattening Haniya’s office, before Egypt brokered a ceasefire that prevented a full conflict. In his comments on Tuesday, Haniya said the rocket was “due to a technical defect, but was a mini demonstration if (Israel) thought to commit folly against the Palestinian people.” … He did not provide further details on what type of technical defect could have caused the launch. Previously only unnamed officials from Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza, have said the rocket was fired due to a technical error….
Al-Monitor 4 Apr by Adnan Abu Amer — Israel has struck the offices of Gaza’s Al-Multazem insurance company, claiming it serves the financial activities of Hamas … Al-Multazem identifies itself as a Palestinian public joint stock company established in 2008 with five branches in the Gaza Strip. It offers insurance services and seeks to alleviate the risks facing the Gaza residents and improve the national economy. Israeli reports claim the company works in technology investment, including cyber and information technology….
MEMO 1 Apr — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman has accused Palestinian women protesting in Gaza of being affiliated to Daesh [Islamic State], in a renewed bid to smear demonstrators participating in the Great March of Return. Ofir Gendelman, the prime minister’s spokesman for Arab media, tweeted a picture of veiled women holding Palestinian flags this weekend, alleging they were members of Daesh, claiming this was evidence that Gaza Strip authority Hamas was also part of the terror group in Iraq and Syria. The tweet was condemned by various journalists, who pointed out that Daesh consider the Palestinian flag to be blasphemous, and so there was no evidence that they had any relation to militants abroad. In a conversation with the Telegraph’s Middle East correspondent Raf Sanchez, Gendelman confirmed that the only evidence he had for linking the women to Daesh, was the fact that they were wearing face veils, prompting some to accuse him of Islamophobia.
Los Angeles Times 2 Apr by Noga Tarnopolsky & Rushdi Abu Alouf — About a year ago, on April 5, 2018, Yasser Murtaja, a 30-year-old photographer living and working in the Gaza Strip, took his drone-mounted camera and set out for the tiny enclave’s border with Israel to take some aerial shots in anticipation of major protests scheduled for the next day. On Friday, April 6, the day of the second protest, Murtaja donned his dark-blue bulletproof vest marked “PRESS” on top of his street clothes and headed to the dusty boundary area to cover the march. Shortly after noon, in bright daylight, working in a cloud of tear gas and in the midst of thousands of largely peaceful protesters, and among an estimated few hundred violent rioters, Murtaja was struck in the abdomen by a bullet shot by Israeli army snipers from across the divide … Suddenly, we heard people yelling, ‘A journalist was wounded!’” When he found Murtaja, Sarraj said, “he was lying down in agony, wearing his reporter’s vest.” About 12 hours later, Murtaja was declared dead, the first journalist killed in protests that have gone on for a year, in which close to 200 Gazans have been killed in clashes with the Israeli army. A year later, Murtaja’s story appears to be at a dead end. After announcing it would investigate the circumstances of his death in response to an international outcry, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has gone silent … Yet almost immediately, even before a probe could be launched, Israeli officials began claiming, with no evidence, that Murtaja was a Hamas militant….
Times of Israel 5 Apr — Yaron Blum says Israel ‘leaving no stone unturned and sparing no efforts’ to bring back slain soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, as well as captured civilians’. Israel has long demanded that Hamas release the remains of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed during a 50-day conflict with Hamas in 2014.
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Apr — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, on Thursday, that he had spoken with many Arab leaders about the possibility of taking over the besieged Gaza Strip, however, there were “no takers.” During an interview with Israeli Kan Reshet Bet radio, Netanyahu said that Israel “may be forced” to carry out an operation in Gaza, which would only be taken “after every alternative had been explored.” Netanyahu revealed, “All the options are still on the table, including entering Gaza and occupying it, out of consideration of what is best for Israel.” “But that is the last option and not the first,” he added. He explained, “Israel hasn’t recaptured Gaza, because once it does, it would have to continue to hold onto that territory and Israel doesn’t want to rule the 2 million Palestinians there.”….
MEE 2 Apr by Walid Mahmoud — In a modern-style building in Gaza City a white banner catches the eye: “Gaza’s first Women’s Yoga and Circus Hub.” The centre opened in 2018 and, amid an Israeli siege, power cuts and attacks by Israel’s army, has become an oasis of calm for hundreds of women and girls … The idea came about when Suzan Church, an Irish aid worker, taught her Palestinian colleagues yoga in 2016 to relieve stress, Khayal said. Another Irish aid worker, Jenny Higgins, then taught her Palestinian colleagues aerobatics and social circus tricks.
MEMO 2 Apr by Mohammed Asad – Home-made soups, decorates mugs and jewellery are amongst a number of items which are on display and up for sale in Gaza’s latest exhibition. Launched under the name “Made with our hands”, the shopping exhibition saw women showcasing their art by applying henna tattoos on visitors, while others sold embroidered tapestries they had made. Locally made earrings and necklaces were also on display, as were traditional outfits and olive wood which had Quranic calligraphy painted on to it. The event is an effort to not only encourage local produce but also benefit Palestinians in Gaza who are experiencing an economic slump as a result of the 12-year-old Israeli siege on the enclave.
i24NEWS 3 Apr — Nickolay Mladenov has actively taken part in the ceasefire process between Israel and the Palestinians. A new package worth $45 million will be awarded to Gaza, a statement by the UN envoy to the Mideast peace process said on Tuesday. The money is slated to create 20,000 temporary job in the economically embattled coastal enclave this year. More than 52% of Gazans were unemployed in 2018, a record figure, and an increase from around 30% before the 2007 Israeli blockade that followed the Hamas takeover. The diplomat praised efforts by Palestinian and Israeli authorities, as well as mediator Egypt and the private sector, in working towards bettering the Gaza Strip – going through several achievements in the field of medicine delivery, and water management. He expressed the hope that “construction on the associated works of the Gaza Central Desalination Plant will also begin.”….
Jewish News 4 Apr by Jenni Frazer — The former mayor of an Israeli town near the Gaza border has revealed that it is also home to the families of 17 Palestinian collaborators – and the locals are absolutely fine with it. Speaking to Jewish News during a recent visit to Sderot, the Negev town that takes the brunt of rocket attacks from Gaza, the former mayor revealed that collaborators who once lived in Gaza have now made their home here. The collaborators – Israel’s eyes and ears in the Strip – were later extracted, said former mayor Dr David Bouskila, and both Sderot residents and the ex-collaborators are more than comfortable with the situation. “They use the same names as they had in Gaza,” he said. “They work in our factories. Their children go to the same schools as our children. They feel part of the community.” At least one family is Dr Bouskila’s neighbour, he added….
5 Apr — The aims of the Great March of Return protests, which began in Gaza on March 30, 2018 are to put an end to the suffocating Israeli siege and implementing the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees who were expelled from their homes and towns in historic Palestine 70 years earlier. But there is much more to the March of Return than a few demands, especially bearing in mind the high human cost associated with it. According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, over 250 people have been killed and 6,500 wounded, including children, medics and journalists. Aside from the disproportionately covered ‘flaming kites’ and youth symbolically cutting through the metal fences that have besieged them for many years, the March has been largely non-violent. Despite this, Israel has killed and maimed protesters with impunity … Many in the media, however, still do not understand what the Great March of Return really means for Palestinians … What is largely missing from the discussion on Gaza is the collective psychology behind this kind of mobilization, and why it is essential for hundreds of thousands of besieged people to rediscover their power and understand their true position, not as hapless victims, but as agents of change in their society … Those who admonish Palestinian resistance or, like the Post, fail to understand the underlying value of popular movement and sacrifices, have little understanding of the psychological ramifications of resistance – the sense of collective empowerment and hope which spreads amongst the people….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Apartheid
MEMO 3 Apr — Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem are advancing plans for a new Jewish religious school in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, settlement watchdog Ir Amim reported yesterday. According to Ir Amim, the District Planning and Building Committee has now deposited for objections the plan for the Ohr Somayach Yeshiva. The plan “calls for construction of an eleven-story building with eight levels above ground and three below, including a dormitory for hundreds of students and housing for faculty, to be located at the mouth of Sheikh Jarrah”, explained the NGO, describing it “as an alarm bell in the context of Israel’s ramped up efforts to deepen its circle of control around the Old City Basin.” … According to the NGO, “the private settlement compounds being built in the Old City and around its circumference (where roughly 2,500 settlers are now quartered)…have disastrous implications.”….
MEMO 30 Mar — The Israeli government is expected to approve construction of 4,500 new illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank next week. According to a report yesterday by the Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the expected approvals may be postponed until after Israel’s general election – which is slated for 9 April – if an ongoing dispute between the finance and defense ministries is not first resolved.
MEMO 5 Apr — Israeli occupation authorities have advanced plans for a new settler bypass road in the occupied West Bank, reported the Times of Israel. According to the news site, the Defence Ministry “has granted approval for construction of a new road that will bypass the Palestinian town of Hawara in the northern West Bank”, a decision announced by settler umbrella organisation the Yesha Council. “The road stretching from the Tapuah Junction to the Yitzhar Junction will run east of Route 60, the West Bank’s main, frequently congested north-south artery, and will shorten the commute for Israelis living in northern West Bank settlements,” said the Times of Israel. The road “will be built on land originally belonging to the Palestinian villages of Hawara and Beita”, the report continued, land originally seized by the Israeli army “for security reasons” … The news site noted that the road is part of a “broader plan” being pushed by settler leaders for more bypass roads throughout the occupied West Bank.
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 5 Apr — Israeli forces set up several military checkpoints surrounding several villages and towns in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin, and closed off Route 60 connecting Jerusalem and the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem. Locals reported that Israeli forces set up flying checkpoints surrounding the Yaabad, Arraba, Ajja, al-Rama, Kafr Raie, Jabaa, Anza, Zabuba and Anin towns and the Jenin-Nablus road. Israeli soldiers deployed at checkpoints interrogated Palestinians and searched their ID cards.
Israeli forces also closed part of Route 60, preventing pedestrian Palestinians from using the road, for a marathon for Israeli settlers.
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Apr– Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned residential building, on Tuesday, in the Shu‘fat refugee camp, in occupied East Jerusalem. A Ma‘an reporter said that a large number of Israeli forces along with bulldozers stormed the Shu‘fat refugee camp while helicopters flew overhead. Sources confirmed that Israeli forces were deployed throughout the refugee camp as bulldozers demolished an under-construction residential building. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem…
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian home in Beit Jala City in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, on Tuesday morning. Locals in Bir Ouna said that Israeli forces escorted bulldozers into the area, sealed off the area preventing Palestinians from approaching. Israeli bulldozers then demolished a three-floor house belonging to Palestinian lawyer Bassima Issa under the pretext that the building was not issued a permit by the Israeli authorities. Israeli forces have recently demolished Palestinian homes and delivered demolition notices to others in the Bir Ouna area….
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 4 Apr — Israeli bulldozers demolished the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev desert in southern Israel for the 142nd time, on Thursday. Locals reported that Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police forces, demolished residential structures and tents of al-Araqib villagers, leaving women, children and the elderly without a shelter. Villagers said that they insist on remaining in their village, adding that they will keep re-building their village. The Israeli demolitions of al-Araqib are carried out in attempts to force the Bedouin population to relocate to government-zoned townships. Like the 34 other Bedouin villages “unrecognized” by Israel, al-Araqib does not receive any services from the Israeli government and is constantly subjected to the threats of expulsion and home demolition.
HEBRON (WAFA) 3 Apr – A school in Khillat al-Dabe, in the south of the West Bank, is under constant threat of demolition after an Israeli army force came to the school today and took pictures of it and of other homes in the area, according to Rateb al-Jabour, a local activist. He told WAFA that soldiers raided Khillat al-Dabe village, located in Area C of the West Bank, and took pictures of the school and several homes for the Dababse family in what is believed to be a prelude to demolishing the structures under the pretext they were built without a permit. Israel has already demolished the school once in July and its furniture seized, but it was rebuilt by the village residents and the Palestinian Ministry of Education in clear defiance of the Israeli measure.
EI 9 Mar by Kristian Davis Bailey — In September 2017, Palestine Legal attorneys received nearly 30 emails from students, teachers and even librarians who were justifiably concerned about an anonymous message they had received. The emails contained threatsfrom that recipients had been “marked” and “identified as a BDS promoter” and had a “limited window of opportunity to cease and desist or face the consequences of your actions in legal proceedings.” The origin of the attack was a mystery. Thanks to February exposés in The New Yorker, however, we now know the origin – Psy-Group, a defunct Israeli private intelligence firm. Additionally, we have further confirmation that former Israeli intelligence agents were paid to spy on US students and activists engaged in BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – campaigns….
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Apr — The UK-based band Slovo has released a new song which calls for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest final, which will be held in Tel Aviv on the 18th of May. Entitled ‘Not My Kinda Party’, the song refers to Israel as an apartheid regime, and lists aspects of the government’s policies, including ‘illegal settlements’ and ‘kids in prison’ followed by the verdict ‘Nul Points’ (a reference to infamous zero score at the Eurovision Song Contest). The song release comes just two days after the announcement of a “Not the Eurovision: Party for Palestine” gig set to be held in London on the same evening of the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, in support of Palestinian rights….
EI 2 Apr by Nora Barrows-Friedman — In a historic move, Brown University in Rhode Island has become the first US Ivy League institution to pass a student referendum supporting divestment from companies complicit in Israel’s human rights violations. The Brown vote follows a similar divestment resolution passed by the student government at Swarthmore College in early March….
Palestinian refugees / UNRWA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5Apr — The Japanese embassy to Lebanon announced, on Thursday, that Japan contributed an additional $6 million in support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). According to the Japanese embassy’s Facebook page, Japan’s ambassador to Lebanon, Matahiro Yamaguchi, announced that his country extended $5.5 million to UNRWA to mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon through the implementation of projects in the fields of healthcare, water and sanitation, and solid waste management. Yamaguchi added that Japan also supported the agency with additional $580,000 to enhance medical services in UNRWA’s healthcare facilities….
Other news and opinion
The Electronic Intifada 3 April
AFP 5 Apr — In the days ahead of Israel’s April 9 elections, activists in the country’s north were not trying to convince some residents who to vote for — but just to vote. Israel’s Arab citizens, who account for some 17.5% of the population, have been engaged in a debate over whether to boycott the upcoming elections. In 2015, Arab parties ran under one alliance and finished with a historic tally: they won 13 seats out of 120 in the parliament, making them the third-largest force. But this year the Arab population is facing their own divisions in addition to hostility from Israel’s right-wing and questions over whether participating in the elections in the past has brought any real benefit. There have long been boycott calls by Israeli Arabs, but the debate has taken on renewed relevance. “Successive Israeli governments have ostracised the Arab population,” Sondos Saleh, a candidate for the Hadash-Taal alliance of Arab parties, told a group of around 100 supporters in the old city of Acre recently. “Our struggle must not be absent from parliament. The laws are made there … But those opposed have made their message known as well. In the Arab district of the coastal city of Haifa, campaign posters were defaced in red with the words: “I will go to vote when the martyrs will vote”, in a reference to those killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict….
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Apr — The number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in 2018 increased sharply from the previous year and reached 57 compared to 15 in 2017, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a report published on Thursday marking Palestinian Child Day, which coincides on Friday. The PCBS report said that based on data provided by the Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), among the 57 children killed in 2018 five were in the age group of 0 to 12 years, 29 in the age group of 13 to 15 years, and 23 children were in the age group of 16 to 17 years.
The PCBS also said that according to data released by the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, 1,063 children were among around 6,500 detention cases in 2018, and among around 6,000 Palestinian detainees by end of 2018, 250 were children under 18 years of age.
It also said that the percentage of children who were living in poverty rose from 27% in 2011 to 31% in 2017, which is 645,000 children (14% in the West Bank, and 53% in Gaza Strip). In 2017, the percentage of children who were suffering from deep poverty was 17% (5% in the West Bank, and 34% in Gaza Strip). While in 2011, it was 14% (8% in the West Bank, and 22% in Gaza Strip)….
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1Apr — Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon signed an order, on Sunday, to deduct 42 million shekels ($11,584,650) every month from the tax revenues that Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and is the amount the PA pays as stipends to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel. According to a report presented to Israel’s security cabinet, the order signed by Kahlon deducts the monthly transfers over the course of 2019, amounting to 504 million shekels ($139,015,800)….
Al Jazeera 2 Apr — How thousands of Palestinian civil servants in the occupied West Bank are trying to survive following tough salary cuts — For the second month in a row, the Palestinian government will only pay civil servants half their salaries. This comes afterIsrael said it would withhold the taxes that it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestine government says salary cuts will come from high-salary officials. Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reports from the occupied West Bank on how the pay cuts are hurting the Palestinian economy.
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Apr — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) welcomed the Arab support for Palestine, particularly the activation of the financial safety net, to enable Palestine to overcome both the United States and Israeli political and financial blackmail, on Monday.
Arab leaders concluded the Arab League Summit, on Sunday, held in Tunis City, during which they reaffirmed strong support for Palestine both politically and financially.
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Apr — Tens of thousands of Palestinians observed Al-Isra Wal Miraj Muslim holiday, today, with worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City, the site of this holy day, thus the religious significance of Jerusalem and specifically Al-Aqsa Mosque, to millions of Muslims worldwide, as scouts marched through the city streets playing all kinds of musical instruments. Eleven scout bands with some 600 members marched through the streets of East Jerusalem and its Old City alleys as thousands of people gathered at Al-Aqsa Mosque to worship this important Muslim holiday.
The Islamic Waqf department, which is in charge of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, said that over 50,000 worshippers have gathered at Al-Aqsa compound, for this occasion, where they heard the story of Al-Isra Wal Miraj miracle, or Prophet Mohammad’s one-night journey, or Isra, from Mecca to Jerusalem on a horse called Al-Buraq, which landed at the current location of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and his travel from this location to heaven, or Miraj, before returning to earth.
EI 2 Apr by Riri Hylton — Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian political activist, has strongly criticized the German authorities for trying to muzzle her. Odeh left Germany this week after a Berlin court upheld a deportation order issued against her. Before her departure, Odeh stated that she “felt sorry” for Germany. The treatment she received was at odds with Germany’s image of being a “democratic country,” she suggested. Odeh (72) argued that she could not see what was “dangerous” about how she had been invited to give a speech in Germany about the situation facing Palestinian women….
MEMO 5 Apr — South Africa has downgraded its embassy to Israel, the first phase in reducing diplomatic relations between the two countries at the request of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party. In this first phase, South Africa’s formerly full-service embassy in Tel Aviv has been downgraded to a liaison office, a diplomatic mission with limited functionality. South Africa’s Minister of International Relations, Lindiwe Sisulu, explained in a statement that this liaison office “will have no political mandate, no trade mandate and no development-cooperation mandate”. Sisulu added that the liaison office would now focus only on “consular [assistance] and the facilitation of people-to-people relations”. South Africa’s Ambassador to Tel Aviv, Sisa Ngombane, has also been permanently recalled as part of the downgrade, AfroPal Forum reported….
Bloomberg 31 Mar by Samer Al-Atrush — U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan shows it’s rolling out its Middle East peace plan without a formal announcement, and a similar ruling will follow over parts of the West Bank wanted by Palestinians for a future state, the Palestinian foreign minister said. Riad Malki said he hadn’t seen U.S. President Donald Trump’s much-trumpeted peace plan and was unaware of any Arab country having received a copy. “We think there’s no need to announce the ‘deal of the century’ if it’s being implemented in steps and we are now in the last steps of its implementation,” he told reporters in the Tunisian capital on the sidelines of a meeting of Arab foreign ministers. “The most recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was preceded by the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and will be followed by recognition of Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.”
Times of Israel 6 Apr — PM says all communities over the Green Line must be under Israeli sovereignty, vows this will eventually happen; hints at progress, with US support, in his next term — When asked if he knew the details of Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” Netanyahu told Channel 13 in an interview broadcast Friday that he knew what he had told Trump to include in the agreement….
Al Jazeera 3 Apr — With six days to go before Israel’s general election, attention is focused on the battle for re-election by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu needs the help of smaller parties to defeat his main challenger, former army chief Benny Gantz. Meanwhile, the country is also seeing a rise of other far-right candidates. The Zehut party’s Moshe Feiglin wants to annex the occupied West Bank and Gaza and dispatch hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to other countries. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from occupied East Jerusalem.
JPost 4 Apr — Now we are witnessing the final stages of the implementation of the plan devised by Sharon, and likely to be completed if Netanyahu wins the elections on April 9 … Gaza will be recognized as a Palestinian state and Hamas will be transformed from a terror organization into a state with a no-war, no-peace relationship with Israel. Hamas will gain international recognition, and any possible international pressure on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank or east Jerusalem will be removed. Netanyahu and his right-wing government will begin their plan for the annexation of the West Bank. Sooner, not later, Israeli control and annexation over the West Bank will become officially a new form of apartheid – a state with two separate legal structures: one for citizens and one for several million non-citizens. These steps will mark the beginning of the next stage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will not end, and the Palestinian demand for full equality will be formally launched as the two-state solution is abandoned – either seen as already implemented with Gaza being the Palestinian state, or seen as irrelevant with the occupation and Israeli control continuing over the West Bank and east Jerusalem – and Gaza still under almost full Israeli control and domination.