Briefing Paper May 2017

100-year-old Bedouin woman left homeless as Israel continues Negev demolitions

Ma‘an  8/2/2017

In the latest instance of Israel’s demolition campaign in the Negev region of southern Israel, homes were demolished in two unrecognized Bedouin villages on Wednesday, while Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran. Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police, demolished a house in the village of Wadi al-Na‘am in the western part of the Negev in southern Israel.  Locals told Ma‘an that the demolished house was owned by an elderly woman and her daughter. A member of the local committee, Yousif Ziyadin, said that an emergency session would be held to discuss the Israeli demolition. A relative of the elderly homeowner, Ahmad Zanoun, told Ma‘an that 100-year-old Ghaytha Zanoun and her 60-year-old daughter Hilala were living in the house, both of whom suffer from various health issues.  Zanoun said that both Ghaytha and Hilala were unable to walk, and noted that the family had renovated the home in accordance with their doctor’s suggestions due to their health conditions. He added that Ghaytha and her daughter now were homeless following the demolition….

Israeli torture of Palestinian children ‘institutional’

Ben White Al Jazeera 7/02/17

A recent article published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has confirmed the extent to which Shin Bet interrogators subject their prisoners to torture. Methods include slapping the head “to hurt sensitive organs like the nose, ears, brow and lips”, forcing a handcuffed individual to squat against a wall for long periods of time, and placing the suspect bent backwards over a chair with his arms and legs cuffed. The interrogators’ accounts echo what Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups have long documented. Prisoners’ rights NGO Addameer said that such practices “are known to be routinely and systematically used against Palestinian detainees”. Other torture methods used against Palestinians include sleep deprivation and threats against family members, an Addameer spokesperson told Al Jazeera. Rachel Stroumsa, the executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), said that her NGO was aware of hundreds of complaints and allegations along these lines. In addition to interrogation being used to gain information about future acts, “our experience is that torture is also used to obtain confessions regarding past acts”, Stroumsa told Al Jazeera. In its annual report last year, Amnesty International found that Israeli forces and Shin Bet personnel had “tortured and otherwise ill-treated Palestinian detainees, including children, particularly during arrest and interrogation”, with methods including “beating with batons, slapping, throttling, prolonged shackling, stress positions, sleep deprivation and threats”. A representative of Defence for Children International – Palestine told Al Jazeera that the group’s research had shown that almost two-thirds of Palestinian children detained in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces had endured physical violence after their arrest….

It’s too late to stop the senseless capture of Palestinian land

Sarah Helm The Guardian 13/02/17

Buttoned up against a biting wind, Khalil Tufakji, a 65-year-old Palestinian cartographer, points down from the Mount of Olives in the east of Jerusalem towards a huge wasteland – the last remaining space in the ring of Jewish settlements that surround the city. This 35 sq km plot of West Bank land was confiscated several years ago and the settlement of Maale Adumim, now home to 40,000 people, was built on the south-eastern corner. But most of the plot still remains empty With Donald Trump now in the White House, Tufakji fears that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will seize his chance to announce another expansion of settlements; bulldozers are ready, pink-roofed homes will be up in no time, and busloads of new immigrants – many arriving nowadays from war-torn Ukraine – will be whisked through settler roads and tunnels so fast they won’t see the Arab villages that lay claim to the land. They won’t even know they’re in a settlement. By the time they close their front doors, the whole area will have been annexed to Jerusalem, thereby not only cutting the city off from a hoped-for Palestinian state, but slicing the West Bank in two. Some say the expansion can still be halted. United Nations resolution 2334, passed in December after Barack Obama’s change of heart, condemned settlements. But Tufakji lists countless UN resolutions passed only to be followed by settlement expansion. Today there are 630,000 settlers in Arab East Jerusalem and the West Bank, both illegally occupied since 1967. In East Jerusalem, 87% of the land is now under Israeli control “which leaves 13% for the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, down from 100% in 1967. Soon there’ll be none,” says Tufakji. I’ve been listening to Tufakji since the mid-1990s and everything he foresaw has so far come true. He pointed out where a tunnel would be drilled through the Mount of Olives to connect settlements – it seemed impossible but we are now driving through it. He can read the future of this conflict because he reads the land and everything about this conflict concerns the land. Poring over maps, he identifies the next land seizure by locating an aquifer; he can see where a settler road will divide an Arab village from its olive groves….

A shadowy edict of Israeli occupation

Amira Hass  Haaretz 15/02/17

Military Edict No. 1933 is a far more effective tool than the blatant land-theft law (the “Regulation Law”). In contrast to that civil statute, there is no High Court of Justice that can overrule the military edict. And contrary to formal military orders, this one is shadowy. It obliges every foot soldier and commander to obey every settler, to fulfill his every wish. This order has evolved of its own accord over the years, deriving from the concept of the Jew as belonging to a superior nation, and from the idea that every settler embodies the wishes of the Creator to rid the land of its indigenous natives or at least to concentrate them in closed reserves. One of the corollaries of this edict is that army commanders obey settlers’ instructions to prevent members of the lesser race from reaching their lands in order to work them. The instructions are translated into weapons, dogs, batons, stones, saws, shooting, fire, blows, threats and their enactment; and smiles, lots of smiles. Anyone who hasn’t witnessed the white-toothed smile of an armed master removing farmers and shepherds from their land has not seen a real smile. The armed master knows that ultimately the High Court of Justice will confirm that he has been on this plot of land for 3,200 years, which gives him ownership rights over it. If you’ve scarcely heard of these instructions it’s because giving them is not the kind of event Israeli media define as news, and because in many locations the edict has already attained its objectives. On one hand, Judeo-Samarian troops indeed frighten and deter Palestinian farmers from reaching their orchards and fields and shepherds from going to pasture, while on the other hand our army has issued orders barring these farmers from entering their land. The Judeo-Samarians attack? The military commander will prohibit Palestinians from moving around. This results in curfew, closure, orders for closing off areas, binding shepherds tending their flocks, detention….

Israeli forces demolish house in Bedouin village, leaving disabled woman homeless

Ma’an  15/02/17
Israeli bulldozers escorted by the Israeli police’s Yoav unit, the section created to implement demolitions of Bedouin homes in the Negev, demolished a house in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Zarora in the Negev of southern Israel on Wednesday morning, leaving a wheelchair-bound woman in her forties homeless. Head of the regional council for unrecognized Bedouin villages Attiya al-Asam told Ma‘an that the Israeli demolition campaign in the Negev had “crossed all lines” by targeting the homes of disabled residents, adding that the recent wave of demolitions were “inhumane” and were motivated by “hatred for the Arabs.” He added that Israeli police and authorities had dealt with the recent evacuation of the illegal Israeli outpost of Amona with “patience,” while the government has “done everything to solve the settlers’ problems, pay them compensation, and provide them new homes.” However, the demolitions carried out on Palestinian homes are done with “cruel methods,” while leaving “women, children, and even handicapped individuals homeless in cold weather and rain.” A Ma‘an reporter on the scene said that Israeli forces and bulldozers were still present in the area, including in the area of Beersheba, since the early morning, sparking fear among residents that more demolitions might be carried out. Israeli forces also leveled lands at the Gulim bus station in Rahat, a recognized Bedouin city in southern Israel, on Wednesday. The head of the Galim Public Transportation Company in Rahat held the mayor responsible for the activities in the area.

Who needs The Hague when you have Israeli army justice?

Gideon Levy Haaretz 23/02/17

Let’s welcome the Israel Defense Forces Theater, sitting as a military court. It’s the most authentic reflection of society, the country’s real High Court of Justice. It’s an epic production with dozens of extras; the reviews are flattering, and the audience goes wild. The costumes (IDF uniforms) are nothing special, and neither are the scenery, lighting and makeup – “absentee” property in Jaffa or a barracks in the Kirya (army headquarters), neon lights and metal benches. But the play is excellent – current and relevant, representative and indicative – and the ending is always predictable. There’s nothing more Israeli than this court, and nothing more authentic than its sentence in the case of soldier Elor Azaria. Once again, we have the cloak of self-righteousness, once again the deceit, once again the façade of due process, with a defense, a prosecution and summations. Once again, it’s the best show in town, and once again, the crying injustice is present without our feeling it, just the way Israelis like it … Azaria left the court as a national hero, in a country where everyone who kills an Arab is considered a hero and there are almost no heroes who didn’t kill Arabs. The court once again told Israelis what they most wanted to hear: Palestinian lives are dirt cheap; they’re on end-of-season sale. This is the same court that has judged hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with severity and cruelty over the decades of the occupation….

Five children who got longer sentences for throwing stones than Israeli soldier who shot incapacitated Palestinian dead 

Bethan McKernan The Independent 22/02/17

An 18-month jail sentence handed down to an Israel Defence Force (IDF) recruit for the killing of a wounded Palestinian has prompted for widespread criticism for its apparent leniency in light of the severity of his crime … The ruling was a landmark case insofar as no member of the IDF has been prosecuted for actions carried out in uniform in over 12 years.  . . . In 2015, Israeli Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet established a mandatory minimum penalty of four years in prison for those who “endanger human lives by throwing stones, fire-bombs and explosives”. The temporary measure, expected to last until 2018, came into force after an Israeli man died in a car crash linked to a stone-throwing incident. Under military law, Palestinian rights group Addameer says, throwing stones can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Just a handful of people imprisoned under the new stone-throwing legislation who were handed down longer sentences than Azaria, include five boys from east Jerusalem who were sentenced in March last year for throwing stones at cars: Saleh Ashraf Ishtayya, 16:  three years and three months in prison;  Muhammad Ahmad Jaber, 14: three years in prison;  Murad Raed Alqam, 14: three years in prison; Muhammad Na‘el Tayeh, 17:  two years and four months in prison; Zaid Ayed al-Taweel, 16: two years and four months in prison….

Israeli soldiers destroy and confiscate equipment in a Tulkarem print shop

IMEMC 1/03/17

Dozens of soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, Tulkarem city, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, and broke into a local print shop, before destroying much of its equipment, and confiscating machines. Abdul-Rahim Badawi, the owner of the print shop, said a large military force invaded the area, before the soldiers broke into his shop after smashing its main doors, and initiated violent searches, leading to excessive property damage. He added that the soldiers confiscated most of his equipment, and destroyed several computers and machines, during the violent invasion and search. Badawi further stated that his shop is licensed, and never received any notices or warnings from the Israeli military, or any other party. The soldiers also invaded several neighborhoods in Tulkarem, before storming several buildings and violently searching them.

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian structures in the Negev

Ma‘an 1/03/17

Israeli authorities demolished Palestinian structures in the town of Rahat and in the village of Kuseifa in the Negev region of southern Israel in two separate incidents Tuesday morning, under the pretext that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits. Israeli news site Arab48 reported that Israeli police forces stormed Neighborhood 9 in Rahat as bulldozers demolished an exterior wall and were preparing to demolish other homes in the city. East of Rahat, in the village of Kuseifa, Israeli police escorted bulldozers to demolish a home there, witnesses told the news outlet. The report added that Israeli police and bulldozers stationed near the Nebatim airport near the entrance to the village of al-Surra were also preparing to carry out demolitions. Bedouin communities in the Negev have been the target of a heightened demolition campaign in recent weeks, following Israeli leaders publicly expressing their commitment to demolish Palestinian structures lacking difficult to obtain Israeli-issued building permits across Israel and occupied East Jerusalem in response to the Israeli-court sanctioned evacuation of the illegal Amona settler outpost.

Over 12,000 Palestinians in limbo, 15 years after ‘temporary’ Israeli status

Nir Hasson Haaretz 4/03/17

Emergency order creates impenetrable bureaucratic barrier between Palestinians of East Jerusalem and Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — The 1-year-old son of Taysir al-Asmar, who lives in Jerusalem’s Old City, was born with a serious brain defect. He is hospitalized in Jerusalem’s Herzog Hospital, at the western end of the city, but Asmar is not allowed to drive there to visit him. In fact, Asmar is not allowed to have a driver’s license – and if he takes the bus, he could end up being detained by the police. Asmar is just one of the more than 12,000 people living in fear and uncertainty due to the law prohibiting family unification when the family members in question are Palestinian. Next month will mark 15 years since the initial government decision (later replaced by an “emergency order” – the Citizenship and Entry into Israel law that is renewed annually) that has built an almost impenetrable bureaucratic barrier between the Palestinians of East Jerusalem and Israel in general and Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The law has been legally justified citing security needs, but demographic goals have also been mentioned – in other words, limiting the Arab population within Israel. Thousands of people living in the territories who are married to Israeli citizens or permanent residents, and their children, have found themselves trapped in an impossible bureaucratic limbo by this law, with no change in sight. Last week, both the Knesset and High Court of Justice held hearings on the law. As expected, it was left in place. The Knesset will discuss the matter in another six months, while Supreme Court President Miriam Naor hinted to the petitioners that they withdraw their petition to the High Court. Of the 12,500 people in the process of family unification, 10,000 are currently without status. This means, among other things, that they cannot go to school or work; until only a few years ago, they could not even obtain health insurance….

ISIS executes four Palestinian refugees, orders execution of anyone who raises Palestinian flag

IMEMC 4/03/17

Fighters of ISIS terrorist organization in Syria, occupying large areas of the al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, have executed, among others, four Palestinian refugees, and issued orders to its gunmen to execute any person who raises a Palestinian flag. One of the executed refugees has been identified as Mohammad Nassar, while another was from Oleyyan family, and two others from Tayha family. Also, ISIS ordered the execution of any person who raises a Palestinian flag in areas controlled by the terrorist group. This is not the first time that ISIS destroys and removes Palestinian flags and symbols; in 2016, its gunmen removed and destroyed posters of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and in various cases burnt and stepped on Palestinian flags. In 2015, ISIS fighters managed to invade and occupy large areas of al-Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, in collaboration with fighters of Nosra terrorist organization.

Our punch bag in Gaza

Editorial Ha’aretz 4/03/17
Attacks on and from the Gaza Strip have become more frequent recently, to the point where it seems Israel must once again prepare for a military operation. Faithful to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s view that “our orders to the Israel Defense Forces are to act with full force until the other side cries uncle and raises a white flag,” Israel has responded aggressively to the launch of every lone rocket from Gaza – bombing Hamas command posts, but also civilian buildings. Israel acknowledges that Hamas isn’t the one launching occasional missiles at its territory, and that the guilty parties are Salafi organizations close to or affiliated with the Islamic State. Despite this, it holds Hamas responsible for the rocket fire and demands that the organization, which it doesn’t recognize and which it defines as a terrorist group, fight the Salafists. These are the same groups that launched missiles at Eilat from Sinai in early February, but Israel doesn’t operate in or bomb Egyptian territory – at least not publicly. It leaves the work to the Egyptian army. Nor does it denounce Egypt or hold it responsible for the rocket fire on the grounds that it is the sovereign power in Sinai.
The paradoxical situation in which Israel views Hamas as the sovereign, and therefore holds it responsible for what happens in Gaza yet at the same time fights against it, cannot produce the quiet it seeks. Residents of border-area communities around Gaza shouldn’t have to endure a “trickle” of rockets. But brutal clashes with Hamas – at the very moment when the organization is strengthening its ties with Egypt and cooperating with Cairo in the battle against terrorist organizations in Sinai – don’t demonstrate wisdom …one can only be amazed by Hamas’ ability to maintain comparative quiet, and the steps it has taken against the organizations that seek to undermine its authority by launching rockets at Israel. Given the absence of any intent to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians in general and Hamas in particular, the government must immediately consider other ways of halting the deterioration in Gaza – first and foremost by alleviating the wretchedness of life there.

Israel passes law barring entry for supporters of boycott of Jewish state  

AFP  6/03/17

Israel’s parliament has passed into law a bill barring entry into the country to those supporting a boycott of the Jewish state. “The Knesset [parliament] passed on its second and third readings the entry into Israel bill,” it said in a statement on Monday night. “A visa will not be granted nor a residence permit of any kind to any person who is not an Israeli citizen or permanent resident if he, or the organisation or body in which he is active, has knowingly issued a public call to boycott the state of Israel or pledged to take part in such a boycott,” the statement said. Israel has been faced with a boycott movement over its nearly 50-year occupation of the West Bank but it has lately intensified the diplomatic and legal fight against it. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement campaigns for a global boycott of Israel until, among other demands, the country withdraws from all occupied Palestinian territories. Israel sees the movement as a strategic threat and accuses it of antisemitism – a claim BDS denies. Haaretz newspaper said the wording of the new law left open the possibility that it could be used against Palestinians living in Israel as temporary residents while their applications for permanent residence were being considered. Such a process is required by Palestinians seeking right of abode with their Israeli-Arab spouses. Last year, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of prominent BDS campaigner Omar Barghouti. His family are Palestinian but he was born in the Gulf state of Qatar. He is married to an Israeli-Arab and as such has permanent resident status, although not full citizenship. But interior minister, Aryeh Deri, has been considering revoking Barghouti’s residence permit, the ministry has said.

Political Discrimination

Charlotte Silver Electronic Intifada  7/03/17

Israel’s parliament passed a law on Monday barring entry or residency to non-Israelis who advocate boycott, including of settlements in the occupied West Bank. The law will apply to anyone “who knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel that, given the content of the call and the circumstances in which it was issued, has a reasonable possibility of leading to the imposition of a boycott – if the issuer was aware of this possibility.” After a month’s delay, the new law passed by 46-28 votes. The Joint List, a coalition of parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel, Meretz, a Zionist left-wing party, and the Zionist Union all opposed the bill. Adalah, a group that defends the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, wrote to lawmakers last month warning that the bill would have a particularly severe impact on Palestinian citizens of Israel who are applying for reunification with family members living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip or outside the country … The groups said the new measure would come on top of discriminatory residency restrictions that have affected thousands of Palestinian families since 2003 Israeli officials already can – and frequently do – deny entry to anyone at their discretion, including activists and people of Palestinian, Arab or Muslim ancestry. But the new law seeks to make a political test for entry the norm … The new law is proving to be a major embarrassment for Israel lobby groups that have tried to shield Israel from growing international ostracism over its human rights abuses. J Street, a US liberal Zionist organization that strongly opposes BDS, said it was “alarmed” by a measure that would deny people entry based on “political discrimination.” “This bill will do nothing to deter the global BDS movement – indeed it hands them a victory,” J Street warned. “The bill will further isolate the country, validate Israel’s critics and deny many people the opportunity to hear and learn from Israelis and Palestinians firsthand.”

 A boy without a leg, an occupier without a heart

Gideon Levy Haaretz 12/03/17

Perhaps Israel would only understand what’s happening in the territories if the roles were reversed – if the Palestinians had shot a disabled Jewish child and taken him away for interrogation — We left the house in the Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem last week with a malaise I cannot remember feeling for a long time: sadness over a boy’s fate, frustration at my helplessness, and rage at those who had caused him the suffering. Issa al-Mouati – a 14-year-old boy whose right leg was amputated after he was shot by Israeli soldiers in September 2015 – is being held in an Israeli prison. Back in the home of his sick grandmother in the overcrowded refugee camp, his mother Rada told me, with remarkable acceptance, what happened to her son since the soldiers left him permanently crippled. She spoke of the two and a half months he had been confined to hospital, one of which he spent as a detainee with his hands bound to the bed. She did not move from his side, leaving her newborn baby and sick mother behind. She told us of the three operations when they amputated his leg, in stages. Of his month-long trip to the United States, alone, at the age of 13, for the prosthetic leg fittings. And of his arrest in the dead of night about 10 days ago.The Israel Defense Forces stormed the camp in one of its unnecessary, abominable round-up operations, intended mainly as a show of strength, to abuse the residents and as a military exercise. The camp’s youth tried to resist the invader with their primitive weapons – rocks and firebombs. The soldiers hunted down whoever they could catch and Issa, with his prosthetic leg, was part of their haul.
The IDF spokesman would later claim the soldiers didn’t know he was disabled. The police spokesman would say that an indictment was being prepared against him. Rada would tell of the beatings her son received during the interrogation and the kick to his prosthesis, which dislodged it. The police spokesman would deny it. Rada would recount that she was instructed to produce medical documents to prove Issa’s leg had been amputated, in order to release him.


Israel has established ‘apartheid regime’

Zeina Karam AP 15/03/17

A report published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia that concludes that Israel has established an “apartheid regime” drew swift criticism from the U.N. and Israeli officials on Wednesday. The report titled “Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” was released by ESCWA at a news conference in Beirut. Its authors conclude that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalizes racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole.” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon issued a statement condemning the report. “The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie,” he said. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when asked about the report, said it was published without any prior consultations with the U.N. Secretariat and its views do not reflect those of the secretary-general. When asked who commissioned the report and who reviewed it, he said: “That’s a question to ask of ESCWA. It’s a report commissioned by ESCWA, and I would refer your questions to ESCWA.” … Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said the U.S. is outraged by the report and suggested it be withdrawn.

UN official quits over Israel apartheid report 

Rouba El Husseini  AFP  17/03/17
UN official Rima Khalaf announced her resignation on Friday, saying the secretary general had asked her to withdraw a report in which she accused Israel of being an “apartheid state.” UN chief Antonio Guterres accepted the resignation of Khalaf, a Jordanian national, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York, while denying that the secretary general had acted under US pressure. Khalaf, under-secretary general and executive secretary at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), told a news conference: “The secretary general asked me yesterday morning to withdraw (the report). “I asked him to rethink his decision, he insisted, so I submitted my resignation from the UN. “We expected of course that Israel and its allies would put huge pressure on the secretary general of the UN so that he would disavow the report, and that they would ask him to withdraw it,” she added. “It’s only normal for the criminal to attack those defending the cause of his victims, but I cannot accept being subjected to such pressures,” she told reporters in Beirut, quoting from her resignation letter. On Wednesday, the United States demanded that Guterres withdraw an ESCWA report entitled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”. The report concluded that “available evidence established beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid”….

 Twisting the knife and calling the twisting a solution

Amira Hass  Haaretz  22/03/17

At any given moment there is an Israeli somewhere, exercising his status, power and authority to worsen the condition of some Palestinian, or a few of them, or all of them. Some take pleasure in this while others do it out of inertia, unaware of what they are doing. Most are obeying orders while others invent them. They are civilians and soldiers, men and women, adults and minors, coming from every social class, ethnic community and military rank. There are those who think it is only natural to make things worse for a Palestinian, and over the years their numbers have swelled. This is the order of things that they were born into and they protect it and nurture it. And the rest? Going through our lives, ranging from reasonable to very comfortable ones, we are all collaborators. Even the few among us who try to employ their privileges to combat this regime of privileges are involuntary accomplices of the system. Call it apartheid, call it colonialism or democracy for Jews. The definitions aren’t really important. The monstrous thing is that there isn’t a moment in which millions of Israeli Jews (and a significant number of Druze) are not involved in this abuse … No intelligence warning by the head of the Shin Bet security service or the coordinator of government activities in the territories is worth a damn it if doesn’t take into account the density of evil and the worsening of this evil that we, masses of Israelis, inflict at any given moment. No intelligence warning is worth the salaries invested in producing it if it doesn’t address the basic question: What is our power structure (government, bureaucracy and civilian population) inflicting on the Palestinians as individuals and as a people? … Over the weekend thousands of Palestinians, mainly young people, took part in two funerals: one in Al-Walaja, where 33-year-old Basil al-Araj was buried after being killed by soldiers and Border Policemen in Al-Bireh on March 6, the other for 16-year-old Murad Abu-Ghazi from the Al-Aroub refugee camp, killed by soldiers on Friday. The manufacturers of intelligence warnings, like all Israelis, disconnect these victims from their own reality, from our system of organized sadism that drives them to choose the path of asymmetrical confrontation, personal confrontation, amateurish, pitting themselves against armed soldiers of a global military power….

Border police killed Siham Nimer in unjustified shooting after she brandished scissors at them

B’Tselem 4/04/17

— On the afternoon of 29 March 2017, Siham Nimer, 49, approached a metal police barrier near Damascus Gate, the Old City, East Jerusalem. She brandished a pair of scissors at Border Police officers who were standing on the other side of the barrier, and they shot and killed her. A screenshot from a security camera installed in the area, released by the police, shows Siham holding up the scissors while standing behind the police barrier. It is quite doubtful whether Siham could have, in the circumstances, crossed the barrier, proceeded toward the officers and put them in danger. Moreover, given the officers’ protective gear and the means they had at their disposal, it stands to reason that they would have been able to subdue her and take her into custody without resorting to gunfire, let alone lethal gunfire. Nevertheless, they shot and killed her. Jerusalem District Police Commander Major General Yoram Halevy said of the officers’ actions that their “determined, uncompromising response nipped the attempted attack in the bud and prevented further harm to innocents”. There is an irreconcilable gap between the facts of the case and the district commander’s statement which, coupled with similar sentiments expressed by other senior ranking officials and a mood of general hostility ever since October 2015, encourages security personnel to shoot to kill even in cases such as this one, where lethal measures are unjustified. Siham Nimer was the mother of Mustafa Nimer, 26, who was shot and killed by police in Shu‘fat Refugee Camp on 5 September 2016. The police said the driver of the car he was a passenger in at the time had been driving erratically under the influence of drugs and alcohol. In both cases, the security forces’ trigger-happy policies with regard to Palestinians have resulted in needless death. B’Tselem has already repeatedly stated that shooting to kill is permissible only when the target puts others’ lives at risk. This is yet another case in which security forces acted completely at variance with this, and received full support for their actions….

Israeli army gunfire paralyzed this young Palestinian, and his entire family

Gideon Levy & Alex Levac  Haaretz 8/04/17

Here’s what someone who was wounded by Israel Defense Forces gunfire looks like, eight years later: Half a person, he’s carried like a sack into the living room of his family’s meager home in Al-Fawwar refugee camp, southwest of Hebron. He sobs silently. He’s gaunt, ashen and paralyzed from the waist down. For eight years he’s been in and out of hospitals – most recently a few weeks ago, when his right leg had to be removed at the groin. Life-threatening gangrene had set in, caused by bedsores that developed from prolonged sitting in a wheelchair. He’s from a refugee family that can’t afford the never-ending treatments and hospitalization. But his mother, Maryam, refuses to give up, fighting like a lioness for her son’s life. As he lay on the sofa in their well-kept home when we visited on Monday, head drooping, tears welling, she recounted his story – the chronicle of their ordeals – as though she herself were not one of the protagonists. Actually, it is the soldier who shot Yakub Nassar – then 13, on his way home from school, on January 8, 2009 – who needs to hear this story and see the consequences of his action. But that’s unlikely to happen. Does he even remember the event? For him it was probably just one in a series of similar incidents. It happened during the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead. Demonstrations against the killings of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were widespread, and Al-Fawwar, in the West Bank, was no exception. On that January day, Yakub, a seventh-grader, encountered a melee of stone throwing aimed at soldiers who had entered the center of the camp. It would be the last school day of his life. One dumdum bullet fired by an IDF soldier smashed into his stomach and spine. Yakub’s life, as he knew it, came to a halt. He was hospitalized in the intensive care ward of a Hebron hospital, but it soon became clear that the staff there could not help him. After Israel denied him access to its medical facilities – Yakub’s parents wanted him to be transferred to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem – he was sent to Ibn al-Haitham Hospital in Amman, Jordan, where he spent three months. His parents accompanied him, of course, leaving their other children behind and renting an apartment in the Jordanian capital. The physicians in Amman concluded that Yakub would never walk again.


Silwan Palestinians receive evacuation orders due to damage caused by Israeli tunnels

Ma‘an 6/04/17

The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem issued evacuation orders for three housing apartments in the Wadi Hilweh area of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday evening, due to fractures and cracks formed at the base of the houses, as Israeli authorities continued work on a tunnel network expected to be used to provide services to Israeli settlers. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, the houses belong to Hamed Oweida, Abed Oweida, and Suleiman Oweida. Sixteen family members, including ten children, reside in the houses. The Oweida family said that Israeli tunnel-digging under their homes has increased over the past three days, adding that loud noises from the digging would last for several hours, while the family could feel their houses shaking during the construction.  They said that the digging had caused severe damage of fractures and cracks in the walls and the bases of the houses. The family added that they had called the Israeli police, who had then summoned a municipality team to inspect the houses. After taking photographs and inspecting the damage, an architect for the municipality decided to issue an emergency order for the families to evacuate and seal the houses, saying that it was dangerous to remain inside. Suleiman Oweida had left his house several days ago after fractures in the walls had become more severe.

Behind the hunger strike are countless stories of suffering

Dr Ines Abbad PIC 28/04/17

The Israeli reaction to the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike that began on 17 April has been unprecedented. The hunger strike, which involved more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners, aimed to highlight the unfairness of Israel’s detention policies and demand better treatment for inmates, however it has been met with calls for the participating prisoners’ execution. Reactions have bordered on the dangerous and racist, including the remarks made by Knesset member Oren Hazan who said: “There is no problem even if all the prisoners were to perish as a result of their strike. After all, prisons are overcrowded whereas there is room in the earth for all of their corpses.” There have also been the statements made by Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman who, in addition to calling for their execution, said that participating prisoners should be left out to die of hunger. In other statements, the prisoners were described as poisonous cockroaches who should be exterminated with gas and for whom extermination camps should be set up …
The hunger strike started with the hope that it would, in time, win the solidarity of all the Palestinian factions and national and popular forces. We also hoped that, soon afterwards, it would develop into a movement of Arab solidarity, perhaps even an international one, with the cause of the prisoners and their demands, building pressure on Israel and forcing it to meet the prisoners’ legitimate and humanitarian demands. Mass hunger strikes may have a much bigger impact than individual ones. Yet, they are no less dangerous and difficult if they continue for too long, just as in the case of individual strikes. After one week or so on hunger strike, the body of a prisoner begins to erode after their weight is reduced by no less than five kilograms. Don’t forget: in this current strike, those participating include minors, women, the elderly and the sick. The hunger-striking prisoner suffers more from pain than from hunger: headache, joint ache, trembling and immobility are just some of the symptoms. Most of the strikers suffer from various other illnesses such as osteomalacia, cancer, rheumatism, shortness of breath, asthma and other sicknesses that have resulted from tough prison circumstances, including torture and malnutrition. As it is, these prisoners require special medication that they are regularly denied….

Visitors not welcome: Israel taking border control to new extremes with tourist bans

Judy Maltz   Haaretz 30.04/17

Last week, the Border Control Department at the Interior Ministry notified tour group operators that, as of mid-May, they would be prohibited from taking travelers for overnight stays in the West Bank. Unless they signed a form pledging to refrain from sleeping in the West Bank, the directive said, they would not be granted permission to bring overseas groups to Israel. Under pressure from tour group operators, the Interior Ministry retracted the order, but only temporarily. In response to a request for clarification from Haaretz, a ministry spokeswoman said, “The draft of the letter that was sent out included some errors, and in the next few days, after the interior minister revisits the issue, we will be sending out a corrected version.” By preventing overnight stays in Bethlehem – a major destination for Christian pilgrimage tours to the Holy Land – this directive could deal a deadly blow to the industry. Yossi Fatael, chief executive of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association, says an estimated 1 million tourist nights are spent in the West Bank city every year … Add to this the brand new law that would deny entry to foreign nationals who have expressed public support for a boycott of Israel, and it almost looks like an organized government campaign to keep certain tourists out – or at least make them think twice about whether they really want to come….

3 families homeless as Israeli forces raze Bethlehem homes to ground

PIC  4/05/17

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Thursday morning knocked down three Palestinian homes in the west of Bethlehem province, in the southern occupied West Bank.  A PIC news correspondent said the occupation soldiers cordoned off Ein Jweiza area, in al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem, shortly before a flock of bulldozers started the demolition of three homes owned by the Palestinian citizen Ibrahim Neiroukh and the two brothers Hamed and Raed Abu Sneina. The occupation soldiers ordered the families to evacuate their homes in no more than 10 minutes before they reduced the buildings to rubble. The demolition process targeted a two-story home covering 400 square meters and two apartments under construction, with an estimated area of 150 square meters each. Last week, the Israeli forces notified the demolition of the buildings and ordered the families to refer the matter to the court. However, the demolitions were carried out prior to the final court rule and under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

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