Briefing Paper February 2017
Yet we must not ignore the fact that the modern Hebrew language employs word laundering to mask an arrogant, violent and even racist attitude toward the Arab enemy. . .
Israel’s word laundering is amongst the most advanced in the world. In part because the reality keeps changing and requires new words every time. . . In the army . . . We were educated to respect the “purity of arms” an oxymoronic term meant to cleanse the conscience, as if killing with a “pure” firearm legitimizes killing. . . When our armed forces . . . kill people who pose no immediate threat . . .the army uses the term “targeted prevention” . . . sounds much better than “extermination”, “assassination,” or “liquidation.”
The Holocaust is over we must Rise from its Ashes Avraham Burg
Why the Palestinian attacker in Jerusalem was not deterred
Amira Hass Haaretz 9/01/17
Whether Fadi al-Qanbar planned Sunday’s ramming attack in Jerusalem or whether it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, he knew exactly what collective punishment was in store for his family. He knew that his body would not be returned to the family for burial – a particularly humiliating and painful blow. He knew that relatives would be arrested immediately and be beaten while in detention. That some might be fired from their jobs in West Jerusalem. And that female relatives without Israeli identity cards who are married to Jerusalem residents might find themselves expelled from their homes and separated from their children. He knew that for months, and perhaps years, his family would be harassed by the police and state authorities. He also knew that the family home would be demolished. All this has happened to other Palestinian attackers from East Jerusalem … In his neighbourhood of Jabal Mukkaber alone, in the last six months of 2015 Israel destroyed three homes and sealed two others. All of them belonged to families of terrorists. “Sealing” means pouring concrete into the home up to only a few centimetres below the ceiling … The fact that the parents, children, grandparents, nieces and nephews who lost their homes had nothing to do with the attack is irrelevant. Israel and its Supreme Court justices see demolition as a legitimate punishment and effective deterrent against those considering a terror attack. What’s more, Qanbar surely knew that his children would not only suffer the loss of their father, they would become either violent or withdrawn – and if they are of school age, their grades would suffer, as would their health. Yet he was not deterred … A group of soldiers in uniform is not a neutral sight to any Palestinian. That’s the look and dress of those who burst into dozens of Palestinian homes every night, those who shoot women and minors to death at checkpoints, those who are sent to attack in the Gaza Strip, and who accompany Civil Administration forces to destroy water cisterns, portable toilets, tin shacks and tents. That Israelis have erased these facts from their agenda doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Israelis will no doubt say that without the deterrent steps, the number of Palestinian attackers would be higher. Or the opposite – that there should be further crackdowns. The Palestinians, however, see Israeli retaliations as a natural part of the general policy toward them, not as a response … With or without lethal attacks, it expands settlements, strangles the Palestinian economy, and plans forced expulsions of Palestinians from villages and homes in Jerusalem…
Azaria exposed the reality of Israel’s colonial project
Neve Gordon Al Jazeera 5/01/17
It is no coincidence that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who was then followed by a slew of ministers and Knesset members – has called for a presidential pardon for Israeli soldier Elor Azaria. Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter after he shot and killed Yusri al-Sharif as he lay wounded on the ground. This striking mobilisation to exonerate Azaria, which cuts across party lines and includes MKs from Labour, should actually come as no surprise, since the desired pardon is not really about absolving one lone murderer, but rather an effort to vindicate Israel’s 50-year occupation. Consciously or unconsciously, each and every government official calling for such absolution understands that Azaria is in no way an aberration of Israel’s colonial project, but rather a clear symptom of its very structure.
The bystanders are testimony to the structure’s effect. The video released by the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem first depicts al-Sharif lying on the ground, wounded, as scores of soldiers and settlers stand near his body chatting, talking on the phone and taking pictures. Several medics are at the scene, but they, too, are oblivious to the injured Palestinian. Indeed, one of these medics is the killer. Following the execution, not one of the bystanders appears surprised; no one grabs Azaria and pushes him away from the scene, no one runs to al-Sharif to see if he can be resuscitated; rather, the bystanders simply continue to chat. The laid-back everydayness of those standing just metres away from an execution can certainly be understood as a manifestation of what Hannah Arendt has called the “banality of evil”. Yet, it also profoundly captures something crucial about the structure of Israel’s colonial project…
Surge in East Jerusalem home demolitions leaves Palestinian children sleeping rough
Matt Matthews Palestine Monitor 24/11/16
Mohammed Jaabees reclined on a sofa among the rubble of what was once a four-storey home, housing 30 Palestinians. “The municipal authorities kept trying to pay me off and I said no, no,” said the unemployed 32-year-old. “So eventually they said I was going to pay.” Like an estimated 20,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Mohammed was unable to secure planning permission for his apartments in the Wadi Hilweh district. So the Israeli authorities offered him a choice: pay 150,000 shekels for a fleet of bulldozers, laborers and armed guards, or take it apart himself, brick by brick. Now the building Mohammed helped to build with his own hands is gone, and the four families who shared it sleep rough under a fly-blown tarpaulin. An icy November wind already laced through the debris: it was cold enough sitting there with a cup of coffee at midday, let alone for Mohammed’s preschool-aged children in the night. “I had to demolish my own home,” he said. “And doing it destroyed me.”
Palestinians living in the Holy City are facing an escalating campaign of home demolitions and evictions. Over 180 households in East Jerusalem are currently scheduled for further demolition. More than 800 Palestinian Jerusalemites, and nearly 400 children, are living under immediate threat of homelessness as the bitter winter months come round. East Jerusalem is seen as the only viable capital for a future Palestinian state but is currently under Israeli occupation, in defiance of international condemnation. This means building permits are difficult or impossible for Palestinians to come by, as Israeli authorities and settler organizations seek to tighten their illegal grip on the land. Even if a permit is granted, it can cost up to 300,000 ILS ($80,000), a sum unaffordable for the 82% of East Jerusalemites who live below the poverty line. It can take several years to secure authorization, and only 7% of permits granted go to the Palestinian 40% of the Jerusalem populace.
I miss the Gaza Strip
Gideon Levy Haaretz 23/11/15
The kindergarten teacher lies on a stretcher, her body covered with blood. The minibus is parked beside her. The cannon fires shells, the children lie on the road. This is a child’s drawing on the wall in the town of Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip. It was drawn 10 years ago, a day after an Israel Defense Forces shell hit the kindergarten minibus, killing the teacher and two children who were standing in the street. This description was published 10 years ago today, in my last story from Gaza. For 10 years, the only Israeli journalists who have visited Gaza are Haaretz’s Amira Hass, who was there twice, once via the sea and the other time via Egypt, and the military reporters accompanying the IDF, who see nothing but the soldiers’ heroism. Israeli journalists have been in Syria and Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, but not in Gaza, an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. Israel forbids such visits and nobody protests. During my last visit, I saw an elderly man lying wounded on a donkey-drawn cart in the courtyard of the shabby Kamal Radwan clinic. He had been hit by an IDF shell. Afterwards, we went with the children to the funeral of their kindergarten teacher, who had been killed in front of their eyes. It didn’t occur to me that this would be my last visit. The toddlers have since become teenage boys and girls, some of them may have been killed. The IDF killed 344 children in the 2008-09 Gaza war, known as Operation Cast Lead; 180 toddlers and 366 children were killed in the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, known as Operation Protective Edge. No Israeli journalist can write their stories any more. The Israeli reader knows nothing about them, nor does he want to know. For him, all the dead children are terrorists, or children that terrorists hid behind, as Israeli propaganda tells it. All of Gaza is Hamas, Israelis are told, and everyone in it wants only to destroy Israel. I look at my last reports from Gaza. A visit to the remnants of the Abu Udah family – Mohammed, whose son Ismail and daughter Hanan were shot dead by soldiers; Dam al-Ez Hamad, 14, the only daughter of a paralyzed mother, was killed by a missile fired by Israeli Air Force pilots at the house next door. Dam was killed in her sleep, curled up in her mother’s arms. The IDF said it was an attack on a tunnel. Abdallah a-Zak was able to identify half of his son’s body in the morgue because he recognized the belt he was wearing … These are my last memories of Gaza. Go explain to an Israeli that this work has to be done; that I miss Gaza, despite it’s awful fate – the beaches, the landscapes; the wondrous spirit of the residents I knew until 10 years ago.
Not guilty. The Israeli captain who emptied his rifle into a Palestinian schoolgirl
Chris McGreal The Guardian 16/11/16
An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday. The soldier, who has only been identified as “Captain R”, was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago. The manner of Iman’s killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was “scared to death”, made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago, even though hundreds of other children have also died.
After the verdict, Iman’s father, Samir al-Hams, said the army never intended to hold the soldier accountable. “They did not charge him with Iman’s murder, only with small offences, and now they say he is innocent of those even though he shot my daughter so many times,” he said. “This was the cold-blooded murder of a girl. The soldier murdered her once and the court has murdered her again. What is the message? They are telling their soldiers to kill Palestinian children.” The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident. Capt R’s lawyers argued that the “confirmation of the kill” after a suspect is shot was a standard Israeli military practice to eliminate terrorist threats.” … The army’s initial investigation concluded that the captain had “not acted unethically”. But after some of the soldiers under his command went to the Israeli press to give a different version, the military police launched a separate investigation after which he was charged. Capt R claimed that the soldiers under his command were out to get him because they are Jewish and he is Druze.
Israeli soldiers not in danger when they killed woman & boy
Maureen Clare Murphy Electronic Intifada 30/11/16
Israeli forces “acted without any justification and did not face lethal danger” when they shot three Palestinians, killing two of them, in separate incidents last month, the human rights group B’Tselem has said.
Two of those shot, one fatally, were children.
Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, 15, was slain on 20 October when he was shot in the back from a distance of approximately 20 meters while running away from soldiers at the entrance to a grove near Route 60 in Beit Ommar, a village in the southern occupied West Bank. A military inquiry into the incident determined that “the soldiers’ lives were not in danger, and that they could have acted differently in this case,” according to the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz. An Israeli army spokesperson said that the incident is being investigated by the Military Police Investigation Unit, and will then be referred to the Military Advocate General.
A day before Khalid Bahr was killed, Israeli forces shot dead Rahiq Shaji Birawi, 19, at the Zaatara intersection near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. A military inquiry found that Birawi pulled out a knife while approaching the forces and a Border Police combatant shot at her legs, but missed. “At this stage, and as a video clip published in the media shows, four Border Police officers fired around 30 bullets at Birawi while she was several meters away from them, killing her,” according to B’Tselem.
The Border Police said the incident was still under investigation, Haaretz reported.
“The massive shooting at [Birawi], when she was already lying on the ground and could no longer endanger the Border Police officers, is unjustified and unlawful,” B’Tselem stated.“This incident joins a list of dozens of cases of extrajudicial executions since October 2015,” the group added. “This policy receives support from both military and government officials, who instruct security forces that terrorists should die.”
The third case investigated by B’Tselem concerns the 15 October shooting of Faris Ziyad Ata Bayid, 15, with a rubber-coated metal bullet during a protest by dozens of youths outside the entrance to Jalazone refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Israeli soldiers used stun grenades, rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition to try to disperse the demonstration.
Bayid was among around six youths who had climbed to the base of a nearby hill, “where they hid at a distance of 20-30 meters from the soldiers above them, who fired at them,” according to B’Tselem. “While Bayid was preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail at the soldiers, and before it had been ignited, the soldiers fired three or four ‘rubber bullets’ and live ammunition toward him,” B’Tselem stated. “One of the ‘rubber bullets’ struck Bayid in the head.”
A 17-year-old boy who was hiding with Bayid told B’Tselem that soldiers “shot a rubber bullet directly down at us. [Bayid] was struck in the upper front of his head.” “The bullet tore open a hole with a diameter of two or three centimeters,” the witness added. “He began to bleed heavily and fell on his back, totally unconscious and immobile. His eyes flipped over.”Bayid underwent surgery for his injuries, “but he has not yet regained consciousness and he is still connected to a resuscitation device in the intensive care unit,” B’Tselem stated. “He’s in a vegetative state and his chances of survival are poor,” Haaretz reported this month.
A military inquiry found that the soldiers were justified in opening fire.
Will Israeli soldier get away with videotaped killing of teen?
Ali Abunimah EI 10/12/16
An Israeli soldier facing trial for the killing of an unarmed Palestinian teenager that was shown on TV screens around the world may now get away with a slap on the wrist. Israeli Border Police combatant Ben Dery is charged with manslaughter in the slaying of 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara on 15 May 2014 – Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate their 1948 ethnic cleansing from much of their homeland. But Israeli media are reporting that the manslaughter charge may now be dropped. Dery’s lawyer told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz this week that prosecutors are discussing a plea bargain in which his client would admit only to “negligence” – that a live round, instead of a rubber-coated bullet, found its way into his magazine unintentionally. The charges against Dery represent one of the exceptionally rare instances of Israeli soldiers being prosecuted for the killing or injury of a Palestinian. “Reports of a potential plea agreement are unsurprising given that Israeli forces enjoy near complete impunity for killing and violence against Palestinian children,” Brad Parker, attorney and international advocacy officer with Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), told The Electronic Intifada. Between January 2014 and November 2016, 70 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been killed, all except two at the hands of Israeli forces, according to evidence collected by DCIP. “Nothing illustrates the systemic impunity enjoyed by Israeli forces more than the fact that out of these 70 cases, only one killing, that of Nadim Nuwara, has resulted in an indictment,” Parker noted. “This single indictment was issued, not because Israeli authorities were interested in justice, but because overwhelming video and forensic evidence could no longer be denied,” Parker added. Parker said it would be “shocking” if with all the evidence related to Nuwara’s killing, Dery were held accountable only for “negligence.”….
Theresa May’s new definition of anti-Semitism will do more harm than good
Ben White The Independent 12/12/16
Prime Minister Theresa May today announced that the UK is formally adopting a definition of anti-Semitism agreed on earlier this year by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This definition is not new, however, and it poses a familiar threat to legitimate criticism of the State of Israel. The text of the IHRA definition is based on, and very similar to, a draft document first circulated by a European anti-racism agency in 2005, only to be subsequently abandoned as not fit for purpose. That particular definition, drafted with the help of pro-Israel advocacy groups, was the subject of serious critique for its conflation of genuine anti-Semitic bigotry on the one hand, and criticism of or opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel on the other. It is that definition which has now been resuscitated, and endorsed by a Tory government that has already sought to intimidate Palestine solidarity activism and undermine civil society boycotts.
In fact, the definition endorsed by May is almost identical to the one at the heart of a free speech furore in the US, pitching pro-Israel senators against groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Jewish Voice for Peace, who oppose efforts they see as intended to stifle pro-Palestine activism. Writing in Israeli newspaper Haaretz last week, American Jewish commentator Peter Beinart suggested that such efforts “to classify anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, punishable by law” are a direct response to the growing number of “progressives” who “question Zionism”. Beinart dismissed the idea that “denying Israel the right to exist” constitutes anti-Semitism, noting that “political Zionism – the belief that Jews enjoy the greatest safety and self-expression in their own state – has always been controversial even among Jews.”…
‘Apartheid Israel’ is not just a political slogan, it is a daily reality
Jihad Abu Raya MEMO 8/12/16
Around 70 per cent of all towns within Israel — Palestinian land occupied since 1948 — are “for Jews only”; the state’s Arab citizens are banned from living therein. This has been the sustained policy since the establishment of the State of Israel on Palestinian land. The means and methods may have changed, but Israel’s goal has not; establishing “Arab-free” towns, which are solely for those who have Jewish ethnicity, is the official intention. This is no ordinary discrimination in favour of one group of citizens; this is Apartheid itself. Despite this obvious fact, it is an issue which the international community would rather not address and so Israel continues to get away with it. The so-called Israel Land Authority manages 94 per cent of the 1948 Palestinian lands on behalf of three main “owners”: First, the State of Israel, which claims ownership of 69 per cent of the 1948 land that was inherited from the British Mandate Government, seized because it was alleged that it had no owners or was simply confiscated. The second “owner” is the Development Authority, which lays claim to 12 per cent of the land that was handed over by the protector of properties belonging to “absentees”; in other words, properties that belong to ethnically-cleansed Palestinians. The third is the Jewish National Fund, which “owns” 13 per cent of the land. A small percentage of the JNF land was seized or purchased by the fund prior to the creation of the State of Israel. However, most consists of land that belonged to Palestinians driven from their homes in 1948 which was then given to the JNF as a gift by the government of Israel after the state was established, as part of what is known as the first million deal and the second million deal….
Why is the Israeli army scared of a 14-year-old boy?
Amira Hass Haaretz 19/12.16
What kind of training do soldiers receive if they’re so frightened by a young kid with a knife that they shoot him in the back when he tries to flee?
The first image circulating on WhatsApp and Facebook showed the face of a boy lying on a rock, his panicked
look combined with some curiosity, with a bloodstain on the rock. Even before that, when the soldiers stood in front of him and he held a knife in his hand, they noticed that he was scared. The first soldier who encountered him – as the boy hid in the bushes between a vineyard and a parking lot at the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba – saw him raise the knife, say “Allahu Akbar” and, facing the loaded rifle, lower the knife and burst into tears. This is A.Z. His name is known to consumers of Palestinian media, but we are not allowed to write it in full or reveal his face. He was seriously wounded on September 23, underwent surgery and was charged with attempted manslaughter. And no, the Israeli soldiers sustained no injuries. Not even a scratch …
About two and a half months passed until lawyers Nery Ramati and Akram Samara managed to track down the medical information from Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem. (It took time to discover that the injured boy was registered in the hospital under a fictitious identity number, and to find out the number.) The medical file confirms the lawyers’ original assertions, based on the small wound in the boy’s back (the bullet’s entry point) and large wound in the chest (the bullet’s exit point) and also based on what the boy said: He fled toward the vineyard, and then was shot. So far, the judges have accepted the soldier and military prosecutor’s version: That the soldier shot at the boy from the front. That’s why military Judge Yitzhak Ozodin and the president of the appeals court, Col. Netanel Benishu, rejected the requests to release the boy on bail. The president of the military youth court, Menachem Lieberman, is now meditating how to rule on the second request to release him on bail – based on the contradiction between the version of the soldier who fired and the medical file….
At least 10 Israeli military judges have seen the boy: Each time, he is transferred to Ofer in a hospital bed from the Israel Prison Service infirmary in Ramle, where he was moved after Shaare Zedek. At first, he remained in his bed outside the trailer that serves as a courtroom, with a too-thin blanket protecting him from the cold. The bed is big and it wasn’t until last week that the military court finally found the right screwdriver to open the closed half of the door to the trailer so they could bring the bed and injured kid inside….
Why my family is facing eviction from our home in the Old City of Jerusalem
Rafat Sub Laban Salon 24/01/16
For my entire life, 27 years, I have lived with the threat that I will be permanently evicted from my home in the Old City of Jerusalem. It’s a beautiful location, just 200 yards from the Dome of the Rock and offering an absolutely stunning view of the Old City’s holy sites. We have paid our rent. We have been good tenants. We have tried all legal means, including a Dec. 3 protest march, to stay in our home. Yet our “goodness” matters not at all when anti-Palestinian discrimination is the law of the land. We fear the Israeli government will turn over our home permanently to Israeli settlers. Beyond eviction, we could eventually lose our residency rights in the city as has occurred to more than 14,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites since 1967. Many of our Palestinian neighbours have already been dispossessed in an ongoing Israeli effort to “Judaize” the Old City and strip it of its long-time Muslim and Christian Palestinian population. The Israeli government established a policy to keep the Jewish population at 72 percent and the Palestinian population at 28 percent. It failed. But not from a lack of effort against us. And in key parts of the city the Palestinian presence has been dramatically cut. Imagine the outcry if American politicians tried to keep the percentage of white people in a U.S. city at 72 percent by expelling other groups. Yet Israel’s policies since its founding in 1948 have been very much about demographics and how to keep Palestinian numbers down, largely by removing us….
7 year old boy targeted in Kafr Qaddum Popular Resistance Committee of Kafr Qaddum
Friday December 23rd, 2016, the village started its march as usual toward the blocked road. Suddenly 12 soldiers from a special unit of the Israeli occupation force surprised them in an ambush, and attacked and arrested a 7 year old Palestinian child. Twelve heavily armed soldiers surrounded the boy, attacking him. One of them forcefully grabbed the boy from his neck, questioning him about his father. Three Palestinians were also injured with rubber bullets. Kafr Qaddum’s weekly protests have been occurring since July 2011 to take back the road that connects their village to the city of Nablus, elongating Palestinians commute by 14 kilometers. These demonstrations are always met by the Israeli occupation forces and/or border police, who throw sound grenades, tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and at times live ammunition to prevent the nonviolent protesters from executing their democratic rights. The young boy was released after one hour, and he told his father, “I was very afraid. I didn’t know what to do. I just began shouting between 12 huge soldiers, and one of them hanged me from my neck and asked me about my father”. The boy continues to experience post-traumatic stress, shaking continuously, and sharing more and more of the experience to his family.
The two-state solution is already dead
Gideon Levy Haaretz 1/01/17
A question for declared supporters of the two-state solution, which means almost everyone, from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Prof. Shlomo Avineri: You all say that this solution is in great danger, maybe even in its death throes. So what needs to happen for you to admit that it has breathed its last? What else needs to happen for you to declare it dead? Another 10,000 settlers? Or 20,000? Another five years of stalemate? When will you admit it? Most people know the truth but refuse to admit it. They know that the number of settlers has reached a critical mass. They know that no party in Israel will ever evacuate them. And without all of them being evacuated – and this, too, is something they know – there is no viable Palestinian state. They know that settler Israel never intended to implement the two-state solution. The fact is that all Israeli governments – all of them – continued the settlement enterprise … It’s hard to begin again from scratch. The two-state solution was ideal. It guaranteed relative justice to both sides and a state for each nation. But Israel did everything it could to destroy it via the settlements, the one irreversible factor in the equation of the Israel-Palestine relationship. That’s why the world’s anger at the settlements has suddenly increased: It knows they are irreversible. Yet two-state supporters, both in Jerusalem and in Washington, never did anything to stop them when it was still possible. The conclusion is unavoidable: declaring the death of the two-state solution. But instead, they continue waiting for a miracle … Indeed, the solution of a single democratic state is heresy against everything we were raised on. It requires us to rethink everything – to rethink Zionism and the all privileges that were bestowed on one people only. This is the beginning of a long, painful road, but it’s the only one that’s still open to us. This road leads to one of two destinations: an apartheid state or a democratic state. There is no third option….
Israel backing ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy against Palestinians
Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “Some senior Israeli officials have been encouraging Israeli soldiers and police to kill Palestinians they suspect of attacking Israelis even when they are no longer a threat,” the statement said. “Other Israeli officials have failed to repudiate the calls for excessive use of force.” The statement noted, according to Days of Palestine, that Human Rights Watch had documented numerous statements since October 2015, when the current intifada started, proving its finding. It said that the statements were delivered by senior Israeli politicians, including the police minister and defense minister, calling on police and soldiers to shoot to kill suspected attackers, irrespective of whether lethal force is actually strictly necessary to protect life. “It is not just about potentially rogue soldiers, but also about senior Israeli officials who publicly tell security forces to unlawfully shoot to kill,” said Sari Bashi, Israel advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. There have been more than 150 instances, since October 2015, in which security forces fatally shot Palestinian adults and children, some were suspected of trying to stab, run over, or shoot Israelis in Israel and the West Bank. The organization cited an example of a stabbing attack that injured two Israeli passers-by in West Jerusalem, on 10 October, 2015, noting that the Israeli police fatally shot the 16-year-old Palestinian suspect. Commenting on the incident, HRW said, the Jerusalem Police District Commander Moshe Edri told reporters that those who carry out attacks should be killed….
The EU giveth, Israel taketh away in West Bank Ahmad Melhem Al-Monitor 3 /01/17 http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/west-bank-area-c-eu-projects-israel-destruction.html Palestinians are calling for the European Union to put its muscle where its money is by increasing pressure on Israel to stop destroying EU-funded facilities. Israel is preparing legislation to forbid EU states from aiding Palestinian building projects in the West Bank’s Area C. The aid the EU gives Palestinians in Area C often ends up wasted. Despite the EU’s long-running complaints that Israel’s settlements are illegal, not much has been done about it, as the abuses continue. In some recent examples, inhabited EU-funded facilities north of Jericho were destroyed Dec. 6, and on Dec. 7, solar panels and electrical appliances were confiscated from Hebron and farms were destroyed in the village of Nabi Samwil, northwest of Jerusalem. All these locations are in Area C. The destruction sparked the anger of EU delegations in Jerusalem and Ramallah, and they voiced their ire in a Dec. 13 press statement that read, “Since early 2016, Israel has destroyed around 866 facilities funded by the EU and affected the lives of 5,704 Palestinians, including 1,221 who have become homeless and 586 children. It has cost the EU around 536,000 euros [$558,096].” Area C, which covers more than 60% of the West Bank, is under Israel’s administrative and security control under the Oslo Accord signed on Sept. 13, 1993. About 150,000 Palestinians currently reside in Area C. EU media official Shadi Othman told Al-Monitor, “The European aid, whether humanitarian or developmental, is directed to Area C in order to maintain the Palestinian presence there and keep the two-state solution viable. Depriving Palestinians of their existence and conducting [Israeli] construction and development works in these areas is the biggest challenge for this solution.” Israel claims it is demolishing houses that were built without permits in Area C. But Israel is in charge of issuing such permits….
Israeli troops demolish 11 Bedouin homes – dozens of children made homeless http://imemc.org/article/israeli-troops-demolish-11-bedouin-homes-dozens-of-children-among-the-87-made-homeless/Celine HagbardIMEMC 3/01/17 On Monday morning, Israeli forces invaded Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, and destroyed the homes of 87 Palestinian Bedouins, most of whom are women and children. Adal Jahaleen, one of the residents of the Bedouin village, told the Palestinian Wafa news agency that the Israeli military arrived with several Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozers in the morning and forced his family and other families out of their homes. The Israeli military then proceeded with the destruction of eleven dwellings, home to 87 people. The demolition took place in the middle of winter, and Jahaleen said that he is extremely worried for his family and the other families that were forced into the cold today when the military destroyed their homes. Dawood al-Jahalin, a representative of the Abu Nuwwar Bedouin community, told Press TV reporters that the Israeli army carried out the demolition without giving any notice to the families, and without allowing them to retrieve any of their personal belongings from their homes before the military demolished them. Nearly 7000 Palestinians have been rendered homeless this year by Israeli home demolitions.
First week of 2017: Israel demolishes houses of 151 Palestinians, almost four times last year’s average http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763331 Amira Hass Haaretz 7/01/17 by — The IDF’s Civil Administration is carrying out Netanyahu’s vow to demolish the homes of Arabs with a vengeance — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to settlers from the unauthorized outpost of Amona to enforce the law “equally” by demolishing the homes of Arabs is being strictly fulfilled. The number of Palestinian buildings demolished in the first week of January 2017 is almost four times as high as the weekly average for 2016: 20 structures. In 2015, the average was 10 structures a week, according to the records of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In Area C, which is under full Israeli civil and security control, between Monday and Thursday the Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration demolished 65 structures in Palestinian communities, and seven rainwater cisterns. The Jerusalem Municipality demolished another two homes in East Jerusalem. Some 151 people, including 90 children, lived in the buildings that were demolished. On Monday, the day on which the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee discussed a proposal to annex the city of Ma’aleh Adumim (east of Jerusalem) to Israel, the Civil Administration and IDF forces demolished 12 tin and wood shacks – including eight used for living purposes – in two Bedouin communities from the Jahalin tribe south of the settlement; three shacks in Bir al-Maskub; and nine in Wadi Sneysel. In total, 84 people, 68 of whom are children, lost the roofs over their heads within just a few hours. …
In mid-December, the Civil Administration told Haaretz that it was holding 11 agricultural machines, mostly tractors, that were confiscated from Palestinian farmers after the IDF turned their lands in the northern Jordan Valley into a firing zone. The Palestinians must pay the Civil Administration a ransom of a few thousand shekels to release each tractor, and make a commitment not to commit the “offense” a second time. In 2016, only two tractors were released after payment was made. In addition to their agricultural uses, the tractors also aid in transporting water to the residents and their livestock, from the springs that are located a few kilometers away from the sheds. Israel does not allow the Palestinian communities in areas under its control to connect to the water infrastructure….
Israeli police shoot Palestinian teen, then arrest him after his father files complaint
Gideon Levy Haaretz 5/01/17
A teenager and his mother are walking, happy and carefree, along the street, together with the boy’s aunt, on the way to buy him a present – a pair of new shoes – as a reward for his excellent report card. As they proceed up an alley, a group of children running for their lives hurtle toward them. Before they can figure out what’s going on, they hear a shot and the boy falls to the ground in the horrified presence of his mother. He screams in agony, as blood streams from one eye. Ahmed Mahmoud, a 15-year-old in the 10th grade, a top student well-groomed with stylishly cut hair, is on the verge of losing consciousness. He thought he’d lost his sight and was coughing up blood, he recalls now, weeks later. His mother, Esrar, was panic-stricken.
The incident happened on December 5, at about 3:30 P.M., on a street close to their home in the village of ‘Isawiyah, within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. Ahmed’s aunt rushed into a nearby house to summon a relative, who took the teen to Makassed Hospital, also in the eastern part of the city … But after finding that Makassed wasn’t able to treat him, his parents brought him to Hadassah University Hospital, in Jerusalem’s Ein Karem neighborhood. The Mahmouds are a modern, affable family. The two parents are 42. Their firstborn child, a daughter, is studying education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem … The physicians at Hadassah found that the retina of Ahmed’s right eye had apparently suffered irreparable damage; the left one was not injured. … In addition to the bleeding retina, the medical staff found a fracture in the eye socket. Ahmed’s mother estimates that her son was shot from a range of about 20 meters. People in the village told them that the Border Policeman who shot Ahmed was hidden behind a wall and was probably a sniper. There have been many recent cases of stone-throwing at policemen, who for some reason often come to ‘Isawiyah at the end of the school day. In the past few months, some eight local children and teens have been hit in the eye with rubber-coated bullets, arousing suspicions in the village that this is the work of snipers aiming at the eyes. The full extent of the permanent damage to Ahmed’s vision is not yet known; at present, he can barely see with his right eye.
On December 18, a week after his release, Ahmed’s father filed a complaint with the Justice Ministry’s unit for the investigation of police officers …. And then on December 26, at 4:30 A.M., police officers knocked on the door of the family’s house. When Ahmed’s father opened the door, he was confronted by four policemen in civilian attire, backed by six or seven Border Policemen, masked and with weapons at the ready … Ahmed relates that he was beaten during his interrogation: He was made to lie on the floor and was kicked for about 10 minutes, to force him to admit to throwing stones. He also says that the interrogators cursed his mother and threatened to arrest her if he didn’t confess. They also threatened to bring in his school principal unless he confessed. He was given a Hebrew-language form to sign but he refused to so, he says. The interrogators told him they had a photograph of him throwing stones; he asked to see it, but it was not shown to him. Mohammed is convinced the arrest happened only because he had lodged a complaint with the unit that investigates police officers…. [long article (this is only a sampling), well worth reading if the reader can access it]
Green light for 153 East Jerusalem settler homes
Al Jazeera 26/01/17
Authorities also plan to provide permits for 11,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem amid surge in settlement action — Israeli authorities have given the final approval to the building of 153 settler homes in the occupied East Jerusalem and plan to provide permits for thousands more in the upcoming months, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor has said. The Israeli government has boosted plans for settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, which are illegal under international law, since US President Donald Trump, whose administration does not oppose the settlement activity, took office last week. Thursday’s approvals were for the settlement neighbourhood of Gilo. Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman told the AFP news agency that the approvals by a city planning committee were among those held up due to pressure from former US President Barack Obama’s administration. Turgeman also spoke of plans for about 11,000 homes in process for East Jerusalem. “I’m going to deliver permits for thousands of homes in Jerusalem in the coming months,” Turgeman said.
Israeli forces deliver demolition notices in the Negev
Israeli authorities escorted by Israeli police delivered demolition orders in a number of Palestinian villages in the Negev in southern Israel. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces delivered demolition notices in the villages of Khashim Zina, al-Zarnuq, and Umm Batin, as well as the al-Riwehi and Ghoural areas. The Negev region has been a focus of protests since devastating demolition campaigns were carried out against the homes of Palestinian citizens of Israel this month in the central Israeli town of Qalansawe and in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, where a deadly police raid left a local Bedouin teacher and Israeli police officer dead. In the wake of the demolitions, Bethlehem-based NGO BADIL argued in a report that the “oppressive measures” were part of the same Israeli policy of forcible displacement carried out against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israeli state ordered by Supreme Court to prove stone-throwing law not discriminatory
The Israeli Supreme Court has demanded that the Israeli state prove it was not directly discriminating against Palestinians in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem by passing a 2015 law that strips social benefits for Palestinian families whose children are convicted of stone throwing. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli Supreme Court gave the state 45 days to produce legitimate reasoning as to how the decision to revoke social benefits of Palestinian families during the time their children are imprisoned for throwing stones did not “constitute a violation of the principle of equality before the law.” The justices also imposed a temporary injunction on the order until the state provides acceptable reasoning for the law. Haaretz noted that the order, which was passed in November 2015, states that “when a minor is convicted and jailed for any “politically motivated” offense, any payments their families may be receiving — such as child benefits, food and income allowances — will be suspended while the minor is incarcerated.” Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone throwing every year, with Israeli rights group B’Tselem reporting that from 2005 to 2010, “93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months.” The amendment is one of several measures past in recent years as Israeli authorities have dramatically escalated crackdown on Palestinian youth who are caught throwing stones, with Israel passing a law in 2015 setting sentences up to 20 years in prison for stone throwing if intent to harm could be proven, and a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli … Haaretz pointed out that several rights organizations have petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court against the law, and accused the Israeli state of targeting Palestinian minors who typically employ stone throwing during protests or clashes with Israeli forces, while Jewish minors can be charged with a more serious offense but do not have their families’ social benefits revoked….
100,000 hours of isolation: Gaza blockade enters its 12th year
Global Research 28/01/17
A recent report by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor exposes the catastrophic consequences of Israel’s 11-year long blockade on the Gaza Strip. While Israel is only continuing its long history of isolating Gaza yet at an unprecedented length and severity since 2006, the international community shoulders this isolation with silence and oblivion. For eleven years, Israel has systematically used the two policies of isolation and division, in addition to violence, to keep the humanitarian situation in Gaza growing worse and worse — “The consequences of the blockade continue to aggravate in unimaginable ways,” says Ramy Abdu, chairman of Euro-Med Monitor. “The multiple, multifaceted and interconnected crises documented in our new report communicate much about civilian suffering in the Gaza Strip. Over 2 million people struggle with both growing rates of poverty, unemployment and food-insecurity and with diminishing quality of basic services, including electricity, water, education and healthcare.” The report, Gaza: 100,000 hours of isolation, taking after the estimate duration of the blockade, brings to attention yet more shocking statistics of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. 65% of Gazans suffer from poverty, 72% are food-insecure, and 80% have grown dependent on international aid. 43% of Palestinians in Gaza face the heavy economic and social burdens of unemployment. This percentage, recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016, is unprecedentedly high, especially when compared to that in the West Bank, standing at 18.7% ….
Tel: 0141 637 8046
View all →