As raids on occupied ‘Issawiya escalate, Israelis arrest a Palestinian mother to pressure her son to turn himself in
|Kate on July 6, 2019|
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 4 July – Israeli security forces today arrested a Palestinian mother from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya, reportedly to pressure her son to hand himself over to the police, according to the Jerusalem-based Wadi Hileh Information Center (WHIC).
WHIC said the mother of Palestinian teen Mahmoud Ebeid was taken by Israeli police as a bargaining chip so that her son, who is currently wanted for the Israeli occupation forces, may turn himself in. Earlier today, Israeli police detained three Palestinians from the Damascus Gate in the old city neighborhood of Jerusalem. The three were detained a couple of hours later. Tensions have gone high across the city during the past week, especially in the neighborhood of al-Issawiya, against the backdrop of the Israeli police’s killing of a young man from the neighborhood. Dozens were arrested or injured by the Israeli occupation forces ever since.
In serious ongoing escalation, Israeli soldiers kill one Palestinian, injure 95 and arrest 30, since Thursday
IMEMC 30 June — Israeli soldiers have killed one Palestinian, injured more than 95 and abducted at least 30, in ongoing invasions and serious escalation since this past Thursday, in the al-‘Isawiya town, in the center of occupied East Jerusalem. Besides the ongoing invasions, and the excessive use of force against the Palestinian protesters, the army and the police have also imposed a series of sanctions and collective punishment measures against the residents, in addition to invading and ransacking dozens of homes, hospitals and clinics. Although the invasions are more violent in al-‘Isawiya, they also targeted many other parts of occupied Jerusalem, including the Old City, and surrounding areas, and once again, the army invaded various sections of al-Makassed Hospital. During the invasions into the hospital, the army assaulted many physicians, nurses and even patients, while the soldiers were also deployed it in various sections, and around it, looking for wounded Palestinians to abduct.
On Thursday, June 27th, the soldiers killed a former political prisoner, identified as Mohammad Samir Obeid, 21, when they shot him with a live round in the heart, from a close range, after the soldiers assaulted and resorted to the excessive use of force against the Palestinians in al-‘Issawiya town … During the Israeli invasions into al-‘Isawiya since Thursday evening, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said its medics have provided treatment to at least 95 Palestinians, including 74 who were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, 7 who sustained fractures and bruises, and 15 who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. Mofeed al-Hajj, a lawyer with the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) in Jerusalem, said the soldiers have abducted at least 30 Palestinians. Some of the abducted have been identified as: As‘ad Dari, ….
The abductions were also carried out amidst further collective punishment measures, including destruction of property, imposing high fines and fees, causing damage to cars, and tightening the siege and isolation of the town. This escalation came while Israel has already been imposing sanctions and collective punishment against the Palestinians, their homes and lands, and started shortly after Israel decided to demolish homes and remove the Palestinians from their lands, to build what it called a “National Garden.”
[with photos] JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian man who was killed by Israeli police during clashes in east Jerusalem last week has been laid to rest after his body was released to his family. Authorities had held the body of 20-year-old Mohammed Samir Obeid since he was fatally shot last Thursday. The shooting sparked three consecutive nights of clashes between Israeli security forces and residents in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya. Over 1,000 people took part in Obeid’s funeral, after which Palestinian protesters clashed again with police. Residents say Obeid was shot during a protest by Palestinian residents of Issawiya against police violence. Police said Obeid threw fireworks at officers.
IMEMC/Agencies 2 July — An Israeli military jeep ran over two Palestinian teenagers before briefly detaining them, said local WAFA sources. The jeep reportedly ran over Ahmad Saba‘neh, 16, and Mohammed Saba‘neh, 18, at the southern entrance of the town of Qabatia, south of Jenin, before briefly detaining them.
HEBRON (WAFA) 2 July – Israelis settlers assaulted today Palestinian residents of Beit Ummar town in the south of the West Bank, according to a local source. Mohammad Awad, a local activist, told WAFA that settlers assaulted and beat Palestinians and cursed them for no apparent reason causing fear among children. He said the residents live on the main Jerusalem-Hebron road.
NABLUS (WAFA) 1 July – Extremist Israeli settlers Monday raided the Sebastiaarchaeological site in the north of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, according to Mohammad Azem, head of the Sebastia municipality. He told WAFA dozens of Israeli settlers raided Sebastia archaeological site for the second day in a row under the heavy protection of the Israeli forces, and prevented Palestinian residents’ access to the site.
IMEMC/Agencies 6 July — Israeli settlers from the terrorist price-tag group spray-painted racist graffiti outside the Arab dormitory, in Tel Aviv University, students said. The students told journalists that settlers broke into the surroundings of their dormitory and spray-painted racist, hate and anti-Arab graffiti on walls. Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is commonplace and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
IMEMC 3 July — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, at least fifteen young Palestinian men from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, and confiscated surveillance equipment. In Bethlehem, south of occupied East Jerusalem in the West Bank, the soldiers invaded and ransacked several homes, and abducted Dia’ Abu ‘Aker, from ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the city. In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers invaded and searched many homes, in addition to several shops, in Yatta town, south of the city, in addition to the nearby ar-Reehiyya village….
+972 Mag 26 June by Orly Noy — All my friend’s son wanted to do was pass his high school exit exams and go on to study at a university. Now, like thousands of other Palestinians before and after him, he is behind bars. No one knows why. — Several days ago, a dear friend who lives in the West Bank city of Jenin called to tell me that his son had been detained by the Israelis. Perhaps “kidnapped” would be a more precise way of putting it, since no one bothered informing the family of his whereabouts. It took two whole days to find out where he was being held. I have known this boy, who is not yet 18, since he was a small child, when his father was imprisoned in Israel. I would meet the father’s friend at the Hizme checkpoint outside Jerusalem to pass along presents for the boy, and while in prison the father would tell me all about his boy, who was then only a small child. The last time I met the boy was a few months ago; he spoke about his plans to go to university once he finishes high school. He may be the nerdiest teenager I have ever met — shy, studious, and curious. When it was time to go, he and his younger brother gave me a scented candle and prayer beads as presents. The beads have been hanging in my car ever since. As is quite common in the Israeli military court system in the occupied territories, the boy has yet to be charged with a crime. Moreover, neither he, his family, or his attorney have been informed of the nature of the arrest. His parents cannot even imagine what the authorities might accuse him of. What kind of crime can you pin on a kid whose sole interest is passing his exit exams?….
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 2 July – The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed today that laboratory tests have determined that water sources in Marda village[just below Ariel] in the north of West Bank is now clean, a week after over 800 of the village residents suffered symptoms of poisoning that turned out to be from polluted water. The Ministry announced in a press statement that tests conducted for the village’s water source verified that drinking water supplies are now free from contaminants. It added that no new poisoning cases have been reported in the village since the middle of the previous week. Up to 850 Palestinians from Marda were treated last week for vomiting, diarrhea and acute abdominal pain, which turned out to be from the contaminated drinking water.
BEIT SAHOUR, West Bank (TML) 26 June by Judith Sudilovsky — Palestinian uses his workshop to teach communal self-reliance and discourage consumerism — The broken chairs, discarded glass bottles and collection of random antique silverware in Ala’a Hilu’s workshop in Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem, are a form of protest – a protest against consumerism; a protest against the trash strewn in the streets; a protest against what he called the Israeli occupation; and a protest in favor of more communal activity … In 2012, Hilu, now 37, was frustrated with what he felt was an NGO culture that had killed the spirit of initiative in Palestinian society and in its stead had created a dependency on foreign organizations and funding for projects not necessarily in sync with the needs of the local population … One of the projects that gives him the greatest satisfaction is his work with a small group of women from the nearby rural village of Al-Walajeh, which he began three years ago. He trained the women to create and improve their home gardens by using discarded items in order to grow more vegetables and thus reduce their need to buy Israeli produce.
Indictments / Court actions / Prisoners
Five detainees suspend hunger strike after reaching an agreement ending their administrative detention
IMEMC 5 July — The Palestinian Committee of Detainees and Ex-Detainees has reported, Thursday, that five detainees from Hebron governorate, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, have suspended their hunger strike after reaching an agreement with the Israeli Prison Service, ending their arbitrary Administrative Detention, without charges or trial. The Committee stated that the detainees, including two siblings, are held in the Ramon Israeli prison, and added that the agreement sets a date for their release, after renewing their Administrative Detention orders one time, instead of the repeated renewals and uncertainty of when or if they will be released. It said that Mahmoud al-Fasfous, 28, and his brother Kayed al-Fasfous, 30, in addition to Ghadanfar Abu ‘Adwan, 26, will be released on November 30th, after their Administrative Detention orders expire. The Committee also said that Abdul-Aziz Sweity, 30, will be released on September 14th, while detainee Saed Nammoura, 27, will be released on December 1st, 2019.
+978 Mag 3 July by Edo Konrad — Israel’s High Court of Justice refused to hear a petition by an Israeli human rights organization demanding that Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons be allowed to call their parents Palestinian minors classified by Israel as “security prisoners” are subject to restrictions identical to those imposed on adult prisoners, including the denial of telephone contact with their parents. The prison service allegedly refuses to treat minors classified as “security prisoners” according to Israeli laws and rules regulating the treatment of children. According to HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, which petitioned the court, the Israel Prison Service imposes these restrictions on all minors, without considering the severity of the allegations or the length of the prison term. According to the justices, the case should have first been brought to lower court on behalf of one or more specific prisoners….
Times of Israel 3 July — Israel recently arrested a Hamas agent accused of traveling to the West Bank and then Israel under the guise of needing medical treatment in order to set up an explosives lab, the Shin Bet security agency said Wednesday. Fadi Abu al-Sabah, 35, was recruited by Hamas in July of 2018 and trained by the terror group’s military wing for about a year. He was taught to create explosives and bombs with the aim of carrying out attacks against Israelis, the Shin Bet said. According to a statement from the security service, al-Sabah was recruited by Hamas operative Ashraf Sabah, who was released from Israeli prison in 2015 after serving 12 years for bomb attacks against IDF troops in the Gaza border. Hamas became interested in al-Sabah, who has a prosthetic limb, because he was in the process of acquiring a humanitarian permit to receive medical treatment in the West Bank. However, the Shin Bet also accused him and Hamas of having a doctor falsify documents to claim the treatment he sought was only available outside of Gaza in order to get the permit. The Shin Bet did not explain why the documents needed to be falsified or why al-Sabah had applied for the permit in the first place. Before crossing to the West Bank via Israel last September, al-Sabah received a coat in which was hidden a list of code words for the purpose of communications between Hamas leaders and the planned West Bank cell. However, he failed to bring it through for unspecified reasons. In early May, he traveled to Hebron, where he joined up with other contacts, and on May 18 he entered Israel and traveled to the Israeli Arab town of Taybeh, where he was arrested by Shin Bet and Israeli police. He has now been indicted at a military court in the West Bank, though the Shin Bet did not detail the charges.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 30 June — U.S. envoys wielded hammers on Sunday to break open a new tunnel at a Jewish heritage site in East Jerusalem, signaling Washington’s support for Israel’s hold over parts of the city that Palestinians seek for a future state. Palestinians – who view the project and settlement activities in the Silwan district as moves by Israel to further cement control over areas it captured in the 1967 Middle East war – called the U.S. presence at the event a hostile act. Two of President Donald Trump’s top Middle East advisers – peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman – came to the opening of an excavated road that Israeli archaeologists say was used by Jewish pilgrims to Jerusalem two millennia ago. The “Pilgrims’ Road” site is part of the City of David, an open-air Jewish archaeological attraction built within Silwan through purchases of Palestinian-owned property that have at times been contested in court. Israel captured Silwan and neighboring districts in the 1967 conflict, annexed and settled them, angering foreign powers that back the Palestinians’ goal of building a capital there for a future state taking in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip … After his speech, Friedman, along with Greenblatt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara and donors to the project, enthusiastically hammered through a wall to open the subterranean path to the holy site revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
“This is not a U.S. ambassador, (it) is an extremist Israeli settler, with Greenblatt also there, digging underneath Silwan, a Palestinian town,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat wrote on Twitter. The project is co-sponsored by a Jewish settlement group and Israel’s Antiquities and Nature and Parks authorities….
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) 3 July — An international body of Muslim nations has condemned the opening of an Israeli tunnel that runs beneath a Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Wednesday called it a “bold and irresponsible move” that seeks “to alter the historic and legal status” of east Jerusalem. The OIC reiterated its position that east Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory.
[with photos] HEBRON, West Bank (AP) 1 July by Uri Blau & Josef Federman — When travelers shop at dozens of duty free stores at airports worldwide, they may be paying for more than a bottle of vodka or a box of chocolates. The Falic family of Florida, owners of the ubiquitous chain of Duty Free Americas shops, funds a generous and sometimes controversial philanthropic empire in Israel that runs through the corridors of power and stretches deep into the occupied West Bank. An Associated Press investigation shows that the family has donated at least $5.6 million to settler groups in the West Bank and east Jerusalem over the past decade, funding synagogues, schools and social services along with far-right causes considered extreme even in Israel. The Falics support the ultranationalist Jewish community in Hebron, whose members include several prominent followers of a late rabbi banned from Israeli politics for his racist views, and whose movement is outlawed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. They back Jewish groups that covertly buy up Palestinian properties in east Jerusalem, and they helped fund an unauthorized settlement outpost in the West Bank. They have supported groups that are pushing for the establishment of a Third Temple for Jews at the holiest and most contested site in the Holy Land … Other big donors include casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a backer of Netanyahu and Trump, who donated $5 million in 2014 through his charitable foundation to the Israeli university in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, according to IRS records. Billionaire Ira Rennert, financier Roger Hertog and the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, are also among prominent Jewish-American donors to settlement causes. The names of scores of lesser-known donors adorn buildings, playgrounds and even park benches throughout the West Bank.
CHART: Duty Free Americas owners fund settler and far-right groups. The Falic family’s Segal Foundation has donated more than $5.6 million between 2007 and 2017 …
“Everyone should be aware that when they shop at ‘Duty Free Americas,’ their dollars could potentially finance some of the most extreme right-wing actors in Israel,” said Ran Cohen, founder of the Israeli Democratic Bloc, which aims to expose anti-democratic trends.
IMEMC 1 July — Sixteen apartment buildings, home to more than 100 Palestinian families, will have their homes destroyed by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem after a ruling Sunday by the Israeli Supreme Court allowing the demolition. The High Court accepted the argument of the Israeli government that the homes were “too close to the Israeli ‘security wall’”, despite the fact that these homes were constructed on Palestinian land and were permitted by the Palestinian Authority – and the fact that the Wall was constructed on Palestinian land with no consultation with the Palestinian Authority as to its route. The Israeli Annexation Wall, as it is known to Palestinians, illegally confiscates hundreds of acres of Palestinian land and annexes it into Israel, in direct violation of international law and signed conventions. According to the Palestinian Wafa News Agency, the Israeli Supreme Court dismissed the appeal which was filed by Palestinian residents against the demolition of 16 apartment buildings in Wadi al-Hummus area of Sur Baher neighborhood, southeast of occupied Jerusalem.
[behind paywall] Haaretz 30 June by Yotam Berger — A Jerusalem district court judge has accepted a legal theory put forward by the government, which may set a precedent allowing for the legalization of settlement homes built on privately owned Palestinian land. A final ruling in the case, involving the northern West Bank settlement of Alei Zahav, could provide judicial grounds for the legalization of up to 2,000 homes in West Bank settlements whose legal status has been in dispute. In his ruling last month regarding Alei Zahav, District Court Judge Carmi Mossek accepted the state’s position that settlement construction on private Palestinian land can be legalized retroactively if the land had mistakenly been thought to belong to the state.
IMEMC 3 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, Wednesday, a natural reserve area in the villages of Khashm ad-Daraj and Um el-Kheir, east of Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and demolished a children’s park, in addition to uprooting trees and demolishing water wells. Ibrahim Eid al-Hathalin, the head of Khashm ad-Daraj village council, said dozens of soldiers invaded the area, before demolishing a children’s park used by dozens of families. He added that the soldiers also demolished several water wells, in addition to uprooting evergreens and other trees in the natural reserve. The Israeli army claimed that the invaded lands, and the uprooted trees, are in an area “designated for military training.” It is worth mentioning that the areas east of Yatta and its surrounding communities are subject to constant Israeli invasions and violations, including the demolition of homes and residential structures, in addition to shed and barns, as Israel is trying to illegally annex the lands and use them for its army and for the construction and expansion of Israel’s colonies.
IMEMC 3 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, Wednesday, the al-Jiftlik village, in the West Bank’s Central Plains, and confiscated an irrigation network from lands owned by a Palestinian from the village. Media sources said the soldiers invaded the lands, owned by a local farmer, identified as Na‘el Bani Odah, and confiscated the irrigation network providing his farmlands with the needed water. They added that the confiscated network and pipes were used to provide water for nearly 30 dunams, which for the past eight seasons have been planted with grapevines. The incident is part of repeated violations carried out by the army, and in many cases by illegal colonialist settlers, in several parts of the occupied West Bank.
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 30 June — Israeli forces ordered a halt today on works on a road in the village of Battir, near the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to local sources. Tayseer Qattoush, head of the Battir municipality, told WAFA that Israeli forces accompanied by staff of the so-called Israeli Civil Administration raided an outskirt of the village and forced the staff working on the road to stop, under the pretext that the area is classified as Area C. He said the forces ordered the Battir municipality to hand over the vehicles working on the road to the Israeli authorities.
IMEMC 6 July by Ali Salam — Thousands of protesters took part Friday, in the weekly Great March of Return, at Israel’s so-called security fence bordering Gaza, according to Palestinian WAFA Agency. According to medical sources, some of the injured were treated in field hospitals, while others had to be transferred to hospital for medical care. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 95 people were injured by Israeli forces, including 33 children, 1 journalist, and 4 women, one of which was a volunteer medic. PCHR has documented that Israeli soldiers have killed 207 Palestinians, including 44 children, 2 women and 9 Palestinians with special needs, in addition to 4 medics and 2 journalists, since March 30th, 2018.
IMEMC 2 July — The Israeli Authorities have decided, Monday, to release the corpse of a Palestinian teen, identified as Ishaq Abdul-Mo’ti Eshteiwi, 16, who was killed by Israeli army fire in April of this year. The decision came after the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights filed an appeal with Israeli courts demanding the transfer of the teen’s corpse to his family. Yahia Mohareb, a lawyer with al-Mezan, said that the center filed the appeal on April 15th, asking for allowing the transfer of the slain teen to his family for burial. A senior official at the Palestinian District Coordination Office said, Monday, that Israel has informed them that the Ishaq’s corpse will be transferred on Tuesday, July 2d. Ishaq was from Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip; he was shot with several live rounds in the abdomen, and the upper extremities, after crossing the perimeter fence.
The ‘invisible bullet wound’: Gaza’s mental health crisis worsened by funding cuts, aid workers warn
The Independent 1 July by Bel Trew — What do you do when your child keeps waking up screaming? This was the question Ghaliah desperately asked her friends when her daughter started to change. Nour, 11, had stopped speaking properly. She began wetting the bed, was afraid to go to the toilet on her own and clung to her mother “like a shadow”. Ghaliah Gharabli, 35, a mother of four in Gaza, explains the family was reeling from a series of personal tragedies. Among them was the death of Nour’s brother Mohamed, 15, the breadwinner of the family who had been depressed. He was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers in May 2018, when he sneaked off to join protests against the US moving its Israeli embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem. Living in the vulnerable border area of Shajaiya, the Gharabli home was bombed in all of the last three wars between militants in Gaza and Israel. Nour, who was born just months before the 2008 conflict, has lived through each one. But it was the death of her brother, and the recent rounds of airstrikes and rocket fire, that was the breaking point …
Aid workers, including officials at the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), warn of an unprecedented mental health crisis unfurling across Gaza, exacerbated by a surge in violence over the last year and funding cuts to vital psychosocial support programmes. The hardest hit are the children,
like Nour, who live near the perimeter fence. But there is some help. The Norwegian Refugee Council runs a three-tiered psychosocial support programme for children – which Nour managed to join. The council estimates that two-thirds of minors living in border areas such as Shajaiya have clear indications of psychosocial distress. A study they published in March revealed that a staggering 81 per cent of schoolchildren struggle academically due to conflict-related stress….
[behind paywall] Haaretz 20 June by Amira Hass — In August Adam Hemo will be six years old. For the past two and a half years Israel has not allowed him to leave the Gaza Strip together with his mother, three brothers and sister and move back with them to the West Bank. The grandmother, grandfather, aunts and uncles want to celebrate his birthday at their home in the village of Kafr Malik, east of Ramallah. They want him to register for first grade in the village’s school. They hope that in the bosom of his family and the rural quiet, their daughter and sister Kawthar – Adam’s mother – will return to herself and escape the depression she is suffering, in spite of the medications she is taking … At the beginning of 2017, Kawthar Hemo, who lives separately from her husband (they were married in 2000 and moved to his hometown of Rafah a few years later), decided to return and live with her family in the hilly West Bankvillage. Israel allowed her and her four older children to leave Gaza, but on one condition: Adam, three and a half at the time, must be left in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli bureaucracy’s explanation is simple: In the Palestinian population registry, it is written that Kafr Malik is the address of the mother and her four older children. But Adam’s address is in Rafah. Three-and-a-half years old or not, he must remain at the address that’s in the computer, declared the official from the IDF’s District Coordination and Liaison office at the Erez checkpoint. Of course Kawthar, the mother, refused to abandon Adam. It was decided that her oldest son, who was born in Ramallah, would return to the West Bank and live in his grandparents’ house. This week he completed his matriculation exams in Kafr Malik. Kawthar and the rest of her children returned to their empty apartment in Rafah – whose contents she had already given away. They returned to an exhausting and frustrating bureaucratic slog that has yet to end, in an effort to obtain an exit permit for Adam. Two and a half years have passed and “all Adam knows is that because of him we can’t leave Gaza, that’s what his brothers tell him too,” says his mother, speaking by phone from Rafah….
JPost 2 July — Israel returned a boat to fisherman Abad Al-Moati Al-Habil from the Gaza Strip following long legal proceedings that human rights organizations Gisha–the center for freedom of movement of Palestinans, “Adalah”–the legal center for the rights of Arab minorities in Israel and the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza administered. This comes after Israel held it over the course of three years. Similarly, at the request of the organizations, the state told the High Court of Justice that in the course of the 4 upcoming months, it will return another approximately 65 boats that were captured from the hands of the fishers in the Strip. In a petition to the High Court of Justice in January 2019, the organizations demanded that in addition to Al-Habil’s boat, which was returned yesterday, Israel would immediately return all fishing boats from the Gaza Strip that were seized by the army, along with everything that was on board. It has happened in the past that Israel returned boats to its owners without the goods that were in them. In response to the court, on June 13, Israel informed the High Court of Justice that it would return Al-Habil’s boat within two weeks, and that with regard to the rest of the boats, they intended to “start in a month or so the process of returning them to the Gaza Strip, following the process of the seas. This process is expected to be completed in four months or so.”
Al-Habil’s boat was damaged during the seizure by the Navy and from the years it was held without maintenance, to the extent that it could not be transferred by sea. It was driven to the Kerem Shalom crossing on Monday, from where it took another seven hours to go to the Gaza port due to logistical challenges. Al-Habil estimates that the damage repair will cost more than $ 45,000. Spare parts and materials required for repairs are very difficult to obtain in the Gaza Strip, because Israel severely restricts and even prevents the entry of items it defines as “dual use”. Among other things, the aforementioned materials refer to spare parts for engines and fiberglass, which are used to repair the body of the boat….
[with photos showing the state the boats are in] MEMO 2 July by Mohammed Asad — Israeli occupation authorities announced yesterday that they will be returning 20 fishing boats to the besieged Gaza Strip within 24 hours.
[with photos]GAZA (Xinhua) 4 July — Yusuf Abu Selmi, 32, a farmer based in the Gaza City, was waiting the annual harvest of grapes to start and earn his profits through selling the delicious fruit, after several months of caring for his cultivated trees. However, Abu Selmi was shocked at the beginning of the season, especially when he lost his profits even before the harvest season. Several reasons are behind the loss, including the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, the closure of the crossings, economic stagnation and the reluctance of customers to buy the national products, the farmers said. Abu Selmi, a father of four children, told Xinhua that “we earned zero for this harvest season,” adding that he was forced to sell some of his properties to be able to rent agricultural land. “This year’s plantation cost us about 25,000 U.S. dollars, but we earned nothing. We only get about 10,000 dollars and our average loss is doubled,” he added, noting that the current harvest season is the worst for the farmers. The importation of grapes from Egypt and the West Bank is one of the most difficulties faced by farmers in Gaza, because it competes with the local product that is usually higher in price than the cost of imported fruit. The cost of a kilogram of grapes before picking is about 3 Israeli new shekels (0.84 dollars), while it is sold at 2.3 shekels (0.65 dollars) per kilogram in the market. About 6,000 dunams (6 square km) of agricultural land can be cultivated in the Gaza Strip, where it is supposed to produce about 7,500 tons of grapes, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Agriculture in the Gaza Strip….
National Public Radio 4 July by Daniel Estrin and Abu Bakr Bashir — For over a decade, the Gaza Strip — controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas, blockaded by its neighbors, difficult to leave — has amounted to an experiment in human isolation. Now there is a new escape route. Egypt suddenly opened its border with Gaza in May 2018, and, facing increasingly unbearable living conditions, tens of thousands of Gazans are believed to have crossed that border and scattered across the world, in the latest chapter in a mass exodus of migrants out of the troubled Middle East. “I didn’t find my future here,” says Zeid al Kurdi, 25, at the Gaza-Egypt border with just a backpack and small rolling suitcase. He grew up in a refugee camp and, like most Gazans, relied on United Nations food rations. His family’s house was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in 2008, during the first of three wars that Hamas and Israel have fought, and his father went broke paying off a loan to rebuild it. Kurdi had a plan: He went to university, earned a bachelor’s degree in English and French, and was sure his language skills would land him a job with an international aid organization working in Gaza. But some aid groups have scaled back their activities in Gaza … Kurdi tried to get a visa to the U.S. — “you know, the land of opportunity,” he says — but his application was rejected. So his family collected enough money for him to fly from Cairo to Abu Dhabi to look for work … Absent official emigration statistics, experts in Gaza estimate 35,000 to 40,000 Gazans have left since mid-2018….
CitizenTruth 29 June by Rami Almeghari — At the home of the al-Judeili family in the central Gaza Strip refugee camp of Albiuraij, family members, friends and neighbors mourned the loss of Mohammed Subhi al-Judeili, a 35-year-old father of four children and a long-time paramedic. Al-Judeili died in June at a West Bank-based Palestinian hospital of wounds he sustained a month ago while providing first aid along the northern Israel-Gaza border lines during a Palestinian anti-occupation protest, mainly in the Abu Safiya area. He was shot and wounded in the nose with a rubber-coated steel bullet … Mahmoud Alserhy, close friend and colleague of Mohammed al-Judeili and a long-time paramedic working with the Gaza-based non-governmental Palestinian Red Crescent Society, spoke with sadness to Citizen Truth, as he and others sympathized with and gave support to the al-Judeili family. “I remember very well how caring and sharing Mohammed was. He was such a goodhearted person, who was never upset with anyone. I remember well how cheerful he was. After anyone quarreled at work, Mohammed always initiated the peace-making with some food or a picnic. He always volunteered, supporting and sympathizing with others.”…. Al-Judeili is not the first Gazan paramedic to lose his life. Razan al-Najjar, a 20-year-old volunteer paramedic, was shot last year when she was helping rescue wounded Palestinians along the eastern borders of Gaza during the Great March of Return….
+61J 2 July by Elhanan Miller — Hamas security forces have arrested three members of the Gaza Youth Committee, including the group’s leader, and are holding them incommunicado for a week. The arrests followed a bicycle marathon held in Gaza on June 21, calling on Israel to end its siege of the Gaza Strip. A solidarity bike ride took place on the Israeli side of the border, as well as in other international locations. A statement published by the group on July 1 reported that Muhammed Matter, Alaa Qaddom and group leader Rami Aman were arrested on June 25 and are still being held by Hamas security with no information on their condition or whereabouts. The organisation — and Aman personally — have been accused by Hamas media of “normalisation” with Israel due to the coordinated peace activity, as well as a Skype conversation held between Gazan and Israeli activists following the event. “The Gaza Youth Committee received permission from Tawfiq Abu Naim (head of Gaza’s internal security force) for the marathon,” the statement read. “They accuse them of tricking the Palestinian security and engaging in normalisation with the ‘Zionist enemy’.”
JERUSALEM (Washington Post) 4 July by Ruth Eglash & Hazem Balousha — The son of one of Hamas’s founders has caused an uproar in Palestinian society recently by speaking out against the militant Islamist movement he grew up in, calling it a “racist terror organization that is dangerous for the Palestinian people.” In an interview with an Israeli news channel aired Wednesday night, Suheib Yousef, 38, son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, told journalist Ohad Hemo of his disillusionment with the group’s rampant corruption and disappointment with leaders living opulent lifestyles abroad while the people in Gaza continue to suffer in abject poverty … Suheib is the second son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef to turn on the movement. In 2010, his oldest son, Mosab, revealed in a detailed autobiography how he had helped Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency, for more than a decade while working as his father’s right-hand man … In Wednesday’s interview, Suheib was quick to distance himself from his brother’s actions, saying he never worked for Israel and never betrayed Hamas. He also said he hoped his father would respect his political views, just as he honored his father’s for 40 years … Samia Zubaidi, also in Gaza, commented that many people, even those not affiliated with Hamas, were now rallying around the sheikh, who spent many years in Israeli jails. “Although the question about what led two of the sheikh’s sons to betray their father and family and their homeland is very legitimate question,” she wrote….
Mondoweiss 2 July by Mohammed Asad
JPost 30 June by Tzvi Joffre — Residents of Israel’s South have decided to turn to the United Nations concerning the waves of incendiary balloons that have been launched from Gaza toward Israeli communities near the Strip, according to Channel 12.
Heads of regional councils near the Gaza border and residents of communities in the area are looking into the legal options for turning to the UN in order to protest the disruptions and human rights violations carried out by the Hamas terror organization against residents of southern Israel. “I’m from a community near the Gaza Strip and I feel invisible,” said one resident in a video by the Unity with the South protest group. “I feel like the rest of the country doesn’t see me.” “Right-wing people say that I deserve this because of the disengagement. Left-wing people say that I deserve this because I voted for Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu],” she added. “We’ve been shields for the state for years and I feel like we’re the body bags of the state.”….
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon
MEMO 21 June — In 1948, some 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homeland in what is known as the Nakba (the catastrophe). As a result, thousands of Palestinian families left their homes for what was promised to be just a few weeks, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. With their keys in their hands, they were unaware that this would be the last time they would see their homes. Now, more than 70 years later, there are at least 5 million UN-registered Palestinian refugees who live in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and refugee camps in neighbouring countries. Some 450,000 of those reside in Lebanon, with many living in the country’s 12 refugee camps. MEMO visited four of Lebanon’s refugee camps to see what life is like for displaced Palestinians: Burj El-Barajneh, Shatila, Nahr Al-Bared and Mar Elias.
IMEMC/Agencies 6 July — From July 10th–15th, groups from across the world are coming together to send a powerful message to HP companies, HP Inc and HP-E, demanding that they stop profiteering from Israel’s apartheid, occupation and colonisation … July 15 marks one year from the adoption of the racist Nation-State Law by the Israeli parliament, that has made discrimination of Palestinians and all non-Jews mandatory, officially declaring Israel an apartheid state. Let’s call out Israel on its regime of apartheid and take action to stop international complicity with it! HP companies have been enabling Israel’s apartheid and brutal oppression of the Palestinian people for years. HP-E provides Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority with the exclusive Itanium servers for its Aviv System. This system enables the government to control and enforce its system of racial segregation and apartheid against Palestinian citizens of Israel. HP-E is also directly involved in Israel’s settler colonialism through its “Yesha database”, which compiles information on Israeli citizens in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. HP Inc., the legal successor of HP, provides computer hardware to the Israeli army which maintains the illegal occupation over millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem….
RAMALLAH (Asharq Al-Awsat) 3 July– Palestinian security services carried out large-scale security maneuvers in a number of West Bank cities, covering attacks, violence and emergencies. The rare exercises took place in Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Jenin with the participation of all Palestinian security services. Police closed several streets, and security forces conducted drills involving shootings, explosions and evacuation of hostages, dealing with riots and blocking of convoys, as well as earthquakes and fires. They were held even as the security agencies suffer from budget cuts due to a halt of US aid and Israel’s seizure of Palestinian tax revenues. Israeli security authorities have drawn up several scenarios on the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the spread of chaos. However, the security maneuvers delivered a different message….
Al Jazeera 30 June — The Palestinian Authority (PA) has released from custody a Palestinian businessman arrested for taking part in the United States-led economic conference in Bahrain, a family source has said. The PA’s intelligence service had on Saturday detained Salah Abu Mayala, a businessman from the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, a security source told the AFP news agency. Abu Mayala, who is in his 70s and has health problems, was back at home on Sunday, a family source in the occupied southern West Bank city, told AFP. Abu Mayala’s family refused to comment on the arrest. The PA had decided to arrest Palestinians found to have taken part in the conference, where US President Donald Trump‘s son-in-law Jared Kushner earlier this week presented the economic component of a long-awaited Middle East initiative.
UNITED NATIONS (NY Times) 28 June by Rick Gladstone — The life of Riyad H. Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, has been shaped by the conflict with Israel. But he is also a child of the American antiwar movement. His father, a Palestinian refugee, came to the United States in the 1950s, found employment as an Ohio steelworker and later brought over Mr. Mansour and the family’s six other children from Ramallah, in the West Bank. When Mr. Mansour attended college in Ohio, he plunged into student activism. He marched not only to protest Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and other land seized in the 1967 war but also for civil rights and to get the United States out of Vietnam. His circle of contacts, he said, included antiwar activists like Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda. He once helped lead a demonstration at Kent State University against a speech by the Ku Klux Klan’s grand wizard, David Duke … At 72, Mr. Mansour likes to cite his background as a steelworker’s son to underline his humble roots. But he is better known as a leading critic of both Israel and the United States for what he sees as their collaboration to foil Palestinian statehood … He is perhaps best known for tactics advancing the cause of Palestinian statehood in ways that have bypassed Israel. Seven years after his return to the United Nations, the body recognized Palestine as a nonmember observer state, an upgrade that gave the Palestinians the right to join global treaties and groups including the International Criminal Court, and one that angered Israeli officials and their American allies. In Mr. Mansour’s view, such tactics are necessary because direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians have done little and, he says, Mr. Trump has corrupted the United States as a mediator….
Times of Israel 30 June by Adam Rasgon — Ibrahim Abu Zahra decides to change the name of Bahrain Street in Yatta, says Gulf kingdom acting as if it is ‘a state of the United States’ — A mayor in the West Bank decided over the weekend to rename a street in his town to protest Bahrain’s hosting of a US-led economic workshop last week. Ibrahim Abu Zahra, the mayor of Yatta, a town south of Hebron, announced that he decided to change Bahrain Street in his municipality to Marzouq al-Ghanim Street. Ghanim, the speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, is an outspoken critic of Israel and ardent supporter of the Palestinians … An official municipality document said that Abu Zahra decided to rename the street after a number of “citizens and important parties” appealed to him to do so. It also said he made the move to “express appreciation for Kuwait’s position to reject the deal of the century,” employing a term that opponents of the US plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict often use sarcastically….
WASHINGTON/RAMALLAH (Reuters) 3 July by Steve Holland, Ali Sawafts — White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump is fond of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and willing to engage with him, but Abbas was cool to the gesture … Abbas, asked about Kushner’s remarks in Ramallah, said he would resume dialogue with the United States should the latter assert its recognition of the two-state solution and the right of Palestinian refugees to return … In comments likely to raise concerns among Palestinians, Kushner hinted that his peace plan might call on Palestinian refugees to settle where they are and not return to lands now in Israel. Whether the hundreds of thousands of refugees from the 1948 war of Israel’s founding, who with their descendants now number around 5 million, would exercise a right of return has been among the thorniest issues in decades of difficult diplomacy … Asked by a Lebanese reporter whether the United States hoped Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees would accept them permanently in exchange for funding, Kushner declined to answer directly, saying the matter would be addressed later. But he suggested a comparison with Jews displaced from Middle Eastern countries in 1948, many of whom Israel took in….
AFP 3 July — A poll published on Wednesday has revealed that 90 per cent of Palestinians do not believe or trust the US government’s recently unveiled economic plans. US has claimed that the plan aims to improve Palestinians’ economic wellbeing. The economic part of the plan dubbed ‘Peace to Prosperity was presented in the Bahraini capital Manama on June 25-26 by President Donald Trump’s administration. The Palestinians refused to attend the conference, accusing the US of systematic pro-Israel bias. The poll, carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and the first since the Manama conference, found overwhelming distrust of Washington. Ninety per cent of the 1,200 people polled said they did not believe or trust Washington’s claim that the Bahrain meetings aimed to improve Palestinians’ economic conditions … The poll also found three quarters of Palestinians wanted their leaders to outright reject the US plan. Fifteen per cent said the plan should be accepted with reservations and just four per cent wanted to accept it without reservations….
JPost 4 July by Khaled Abu Toameh — A vast majority of Palestinians believes that the participation of Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan in last week’s US-led “Prosperity to Peace” economic workshop in Bahrain signifies an Arab abandonment of the Palestinians, according to a public opinion poll published on Thursday. While 80% of Palestinian respondents supported the Palestinian Authority’s call for boycotting the Bahrain workshop, a similar percentage viewed the participation of Arab countries as an abandonment of the Palestinian cause … Half of the Palestinian public continues to oppose the two-state solution. “The public is divided into three groups in its assessment of the most effective means of ending the Israeli occupation: armed action comes first followed by negotiations, and then popular nonviolent resistance,” the center said … According to the center, when asked to choose between economic prosperity and independence, “the overwhelming majority (83%) opts for independence; only 15% chose economic prosperity.” … If new presidential elections were held today and only two were nominated – Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh – the former would receive 48% and the latter 42% of the vote, compared with 51% for Abbas and 41% for Haniyeh three months ago. The poll also showed that 67% of surveyed Palestinians believe that corruption is deeply rooted in the PA….
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 5 July by Rasha Abou Jalal — Palestine is seeking to put landfills to good use by developing sustainable energy sources to become more self-sufficient and help limit its power reliance on Israel. It plans to increase its locally produced energy through its first waste-to-energy project. The Palestinian government is taking the first steps toward the establishment of a project aimed at generating electricity from the gas produced from decomposing biomass at the Zahrat al-Finjan (ZF) landfill in the Jenin governorate, which is considered the main landfill in the northern West Bank….
BETHLEHEM (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 2 July — Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born, was removed from UNESCO’s list of endangered world heritage sites Tuesday following restorations there. The church was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2012 and placed on its endangered list the same year due to its poor condition. Church and Palestinian officials have since overseen high-quality work restoring “roof, exterior facades, mosaics and doors,” UNESCO said in a statement. A previous plan of concern to UNESCO to dig a tunnel underneath Manger Square, in front of the church, was also abandoned, it said … The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches share custody of the site located in the city which is today in the Israeli-occupied West Bank under Palestinian Authority control….
RAMALLAH (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 3 July — The final of the Palestine Cup has been postponed after Israel denied Gaza-based players permits to travel, the Palestinian Football Association said on Wednesday. The second leg of the final between Balata FC and Khadamat Rafah, the winners of the West Bank and Gaza leagues respectively, was due to take place on Wednesday, PFA vice president Susan Shalabi told AFP. Gaza-based team Khadamat Rafah requested travel permits to the West Bank for 35 people, but Israel granted just four, three of them to club officials, Shalabi said. “The Israelis are very adamant in their refusal,” she added, saying they had cited security concerns they did not specify. A Khadamat Rafah official told AFP the club were still waiting for final decisions and were hopeful of securing more permits in the coming days. “We are ready at any moment. If we got the permits now, in 30 minutes we will be there,” Hodaifa Lafi told AFP. “The game has to go ahead.”
NHK World 3 July — A trade fair has been held in the West Bank town of Jericho to promote business between Palestinian and Indonesian companies. Japan’s government sponsored the event to help the Palestinians develop their economy. Nine Indonesian firms took part in Wednesday’s fair at the invitation of the Japanese government. Islamic countries in Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, while refusing to have diplomatic ties with Israel. Without cooperation from Israel, it has been difficult for these Southeast Asian nations to have economic exchanges with Palestinian firms in the West Bank. At Wednesday’s fair, Palestinian companies sold processed foods and health supplements made from dates and olives to Indonesian firms. An official from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry told NHK they hope that the Indonesian people’s desire to help their Muslim colleagues will help to create new business exchanges….
MUSCAT (AFP) 2 July — Oman on Tuesday denied it has agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, a day after the Israeli intelligence chief said his country was renewing ties. Reports on the “establishment of diplomatic relations between the sultanate and Israel are baseless”, the foreign ministry said on Twitter. “The sultanate is keen to create diplomatic conditions to restore communication between all international and regional parties to work on achieving peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, resulting in an independent Palestinian state,” it said. On Monday, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, said his country was establishing “formal relations” with Oman. “Just recently, renewal of formal relations with Oman was declared and the establishment of a representative office of the (Israeli) foreign ministry in that country,” he told a security conference in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. Oman’s statement on Tuesday made no mention of an Israeli representative office. Israel and Oman agreed to open trade representative offices in the 1990s, but in 2000 the Gulf sultanate closed them after the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada … Last week, Oman said it would open an embassy in the Palestinian territories, in a first for a Gulf Arab state.
Demanding end to ‘AIPAC-created status quo’, progressive Jewish group pressures 2020 Democrats to take stand against Israel’s brutal occupation
Common Dreams 30 June by Jake Johnson — In an effort to pressure Democratic presidential candidates to take a stand against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, the youth-led progressive Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow has launched a new campaign arm with the goal of bringing Israel’s brutal occupation “to the forefront of the 2020 elections.” As Politico reported on Saturday, IfNotNow is “training organizers in the early primary state of New Hampshire” and “plans to ‘bird-dog’ presidential candidates at public events to create viral moments and prod the Democratic Party leftward on the issue of Israel.” “In addition to pushing the candidates to adopt more progressive positions on Israel,” according to Politico, “the group said it is hoping to draw public attention to the Democratic Party’s changing attitudes on the topic and clarify candidates’ stances on particular issues.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appears to have been the first 2020 presidential candidate confronted by IfNotNow members in New Hampshire. The group said the senator expressed support for their campaign. “IfNotNow believes that the time is ripe to put Israel at the center of the primary debate,” Politico reported. “Only 26 percent of Democrats view the government of Israel favorably, according to a 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center.”….
ICH 5 July by Hagar Shezaf — Since early last decade, Defense Ministry teams have scoured local archives and removed troves of historic documents to conceal proof of the Nakba — Four years ago, historian Tamar Novick was jolted by a document she found in the file of Yosef Vashitz, from the Arab Department of the left-wing Mapam Party, in the Yad Yaari archive at Givat Haviva. The document, which seemed to describe events that took place during the 1948 war, began: “Safsaf [former Palestinian village near Safed] — 52 men were caught, tied them to one another, dug a pit and shot them. 10 were still twitching. Women came, begged for mercy. Found bodies of 6 elderly men. There were 61 bodies,3 cases of rape, one east of from Safed, girl of 14, 4 men shot and killed. From one they cut off his fingers with a knife to take the ring.” The writer goes on to describe additional massacres, massacres, looting and abuse perpetrated by Israel forces in Israel’s War of Independence….