Briefing Paper August 2018

Nothing was carried out uncontrolled, everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed. IDF official statement (until it was deleted) 31 March 2018.

A Grotesque Spectacle in Jerusalem Myriam Goldberg NY Times

It was a consummation of the cynical alliance between hawkish Jews and Zionist evangelicals who believe that the return of Jews to Israel will usher in the apocalypse and the return of Christ, after which Jews who don’t convert will burn forever.

Religions like “Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism ” lead people “to an eternity of separation from God in Hell,” Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, once said. He was chosen to give the opening prayer at the embassy ceremony.

John Hagee, one of America’s most prominent end-times preachers, once said that Hitler was sent by God to drive the Jews to their ancestral homeland. He gave the closing benediction.

A deconstruction of Israel’s approved history is the best way to challenge a word laundrette that turns ethnic cleansing into self-defense, land robbery into redemption and apartheid practices into “security” concerns.

Ilan Pappe Electronic Intifada 30 May 2018

Unusually severe and devastating gunshot injuries MSF (Doctors without Borders) 19/4/18

Since 1 April, MSF teams in Gaza Palestine, have provided post-operative care to more than 500 people injured by gunshots during the March of Return demonstrations. The number of patients treated in our clinics over the last three weeks is more than the number we treated throughout all of 2014, when Israel’s military Operation Protective Edge was launched over the Gaza strip. MSF medical staff report receiving patients with devastating injuries of an unusual severity, which are extremely complex to treat. The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities. Medical teams in Gaza’s hospitals prepare to face a possible new influx of wounded this Friday in the latest of the March of Return demonstrations. MSF surgeons in Gaza report devastating gunshot wounds among hundreds of people injured during the protests over recent weeks. The huge majority of patients – mainly young men, but also some women and children – have unusually severe wounds to the lower extremities. MSF medical teams note the injuries include an extreme level of destruction to bones and soft tissue, and large exit wounds that can be the size of a fist. “Half of the more than 500 patients we have admitted in our clinics have injuries where the bullet has literally destroyed tissue after having pulverized the bone”, said Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, Head of Mission of MSF in Palestine.. “These patients will need to have very complex surgical operations and most of them will have disabilities for life.” Managing these injuries is very difficult. Apart from regular nursing care, patients will often need additional surgery, and undergo a very long process of physiotherapy and rehabilitation. A lot of patients will keep functional deficiencies for the rest of their life. Some patients may yet need amputation if not provided with sufficient care in Gaza and if they don’t manage to get the necessary authorisation to be treated outside of the strip…

Israeli government justifies killing child protester in Gaza Philip Weiss Mondoweiss 24/4/18

Alaa Zamli, 15, lived in Gaza, where he was killed by an Israeli sniper during the fence protests April 10. Today Ben White tweeted Zamli’s picture along with  those of three other children protesters Israeli snipers have killed in Gaza … Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett was asked on Sunday if Israel had not gone too far when it killed Ayoub, as Orly Noy reports at +972: Army Radio morning show host Razi Barkai asked Education Minister Naftali Bennett if “we had gone too far” in killing 15-year-old Mohammed Ayoub during the Gaza return march protests last Friday“If he had gone to school like every other kid,” Bennett responded, “there wouldn’t have been a problem.” That is what Israel’s education minister had to say about the murder of a child – killed by a sniper’s bullet – during a protest. This is now a theme of Israeli propaganda surrounding the killings in Gaza: the children are to blame for not being in school, or not reading books…

Israeli troops first shot a Gaza journalist’s left leg, then his right. And they didn’t stop there Gideon Levy & Alex Levac Haaretz 27/04/2018

His left leg was amputated in Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip, and now efforts are underway, in Istishari Arab Hospital in the West Bank, to ensure that his right leg doesn’t suffer the same fate. More than two weeks passed between the amputation of the first leg – which itself could have been prevented – and the action undertaken to save the other one. Precious time in which Israel refused to allow Yousef Kronz, the first Palestinian seriously wounded during the recent weekly protests in the Gaza Strip, to be moved to the hospital outside Ramallah.. The High Court of Justice finally forced the Defense Ministry to bring this disgraceful conduct to an end and allow the transfer of the 19-year-old student and journalist from Bureij refugee camp, to that more sophisticated facility.

On Friday, March 30, Kronz was shot, first in the left leg, by an Israel Defense Forces sniper, and then, seconds later, when he tried to get up, in the right leg, by a second sniper. According to Kronz, the rounds that slammed into his legs and shattered his life came from two different directions. In other words, he was shot by two different marksmen, as he stood 750 meters away from the Gaza border fence, armed with no more than his camera, wearing a vest with “Press” emblazoned on it, trying to document the incessant firing by IDF snipers at unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. After he was hit, he tells us now, he saw more and more people falling to the sand, bleeding, “like birds.” The incident occurred on Land Day, the first day of the Marches of Return opposite the Gaza fence….

Army refuses to disclose engagement policy on Gaza protesters IMEMC/Agencies 2/05/2018

The Israeli occupation army has refused to disclose their rules for opening fire on Palestinian protesters along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday. The refusal came after a petition filed by a number of Israeli and Palestinian rights groups, to the Israeli High Court of Justice, requesting clarification of policies regarding the demonstrations of the Great March of Return started on 30 March, in Gaza. Responding to the petition, the Israeli army said that the policy regarding the use of force on Gaza border is “confidential.” It insisted, according to Haaretz, that the rules of engagement in this regard could only be disclosed in a closed court session. Rights groups, including international ones such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on Israel to stop using live ammunition against peaceful protesters in Gaza. Due to the Israeli disregard for human rights and rights groups, regarding the continuous use of live ammunition, Amnesty International has called, twice, for imposing arms embargo on Israel….

Israel to top court: Gaza protests are state of war, human rights law doesn’t apply                                                                                                                                              Yanic KubovichHa’aretz 3/05/2018

The protests by Palestinians on the Gaza border fall into the category of a state of war and thus human rights law does not apply to the rules of engagement, the state said in its response to a High Court petition filed by human rights groups. According to the response, the Israeli forces’ rules of engagement comply with both Israeli and international law. “The state opposes the applying of human rights law during an armed conflict,” the state wrote, adding that the Red Cross had acknowledged that such law indeed did not have to be applied during such a state of affairs … The state said the demonstrations were part of hostile acts by Hamas against Israel, though Israel did not necessarily see participation in violence at the border fence or the approaching of the fence as direct participation in a hostile act. Each case should be examined individually, it said … The state’s response relied on a 2015 High Court ruling on a petition by a demonstrator on the Lebanese border who was shot by the Israeli army. According to the ruling, the breaking-up of a violent, life-threatening protest allows for the use of potentially deadly force.

They shoot medics (too), don’t they? Amira Hass Ha’aretz 28/05/18

An ambulance a minute, 1,300 people shot in a day: Gaza’s Shifa Hospital faces crises that would swamp the world’s best hospitals — Any healthcare system in the West would collapse if it had to treat as many gunshot wounds in a single day as there were in the Gaza Strip on May 14, say international medical figures. Yet Gaza’s medical system, which for years has been on the brink of collapse as a result of the Israeli blockade and Palestinian internecine conflict, coped amazingly well with the challenge. In Israel, the events of May 14 are already history. In the Strip, their bloody consequences will shape the lives of thousands of families for years to come. It was the number of people injured by gunfire, more than the high body count, that was so shocking: Nearly half of the more than 2,770 people who sought emergency care had gunshot wounds. “It was clear that the soldiers are shooting above all in order to injure and maim demonstrators.” That was the conclusion I heard from my interlocutors, some well experienced in bloody international conflicts. The aim was to hurt rather than to kill, to leave as many young people as possible with permanent disabilities.

If Palestinians in Gaza don’t shoot, no one listens Gideon Levy Ha’aretz 1/6/18

They are the last fighters against the Israeli occupation. While the occupied West Bank behaves like it’s given up, Gaza is not giving up —  We have to say it simply and honestly: They’re right. They have no choice but to fight for their freedom with their bodies, their property, their weapons and their blood. They have no choice, except for the Qassam and the mortar. There is no way open to them except for violence or surrender. They have no way of breaching the fences that pen them in without using force, and their force is primitive and pathetic, almost touching. A people that is fighting for its freedom with kites, tunnels, mirrors, tires, scissors, incendiary devices, mortar shells and Qassam rockets, against one of the most sophisticated war machines in the world, is a people without hope. But the only way they can change their situation is with their pathetic weapons. When they’re quiet, Israel and the world take no interest in their fate. Only the Qassam restores awareness of their disaster… When do we hear about Gaza in Israel? Only when Gaza is shooting. That’s why they have no choice but to shoot. That’s why their shooting is justified, even if it criminally harms innocent civilians, instills fear and terror in the residents of the south and is intolerable to Israel, and rightly so … It’s clear that their violence is cruel, like any violence. But what choice do they have? Every hesitant attempt they make to take a different path – a truce, a change in leadership or in their political positions – immediately encounters automatic Israeli dismissal and rejection. Israel believes them only when they shoot. After all, there’s a clear control group: the West Bank. There’s no Hamas there and no Qassam, there are barely any vestiges of terror, and what good did that do Mahmoud Abbas and his people? They’re right, because after all the diversions and deceptions and lies of Israeli propaganda, nothing can blur the fact that they have been thrown into a huge cage for the rest of their lives. An unbelievable siege, 11 years without respite, which is the greatest war crime in this arena….

Anonymous snipers and a lethal verdict Amira Hass Ha’aretz 5/06/18

We know her name: Razan al-Najjar. But what’s his? What’s the name of the soldier who killed her, with direct fire to the chest last Friday? We don’t know, and we probably won’t ever know. In contrast to the Palestinians suspected of killing Israelis, the Israeli who killed Najjar is protected from exposure to the cameras and an in-depth breakdown of his family history, including his relatives’ participation in routine attacks on Palestinians as part of their military service or their political affiliation. Demanding Israeli microphones will not be pushed into his face with probing questions:

Didn’t you see she was wearing a paramedic’s white robe when you aimed at her chest? Didn’t you see her hair covered with a head scarf? Do your rules of engagement require you to shoot at paramedics, men and women as well, and at a distance of about 100 meters (some 330 feet) from the border fence? Did you shoot at her legs (why?) and miss because you’re useless? Are you sorry? Do you sleep well at night? Did you tell your girlfriend it was you who killed a young woman the same age as her? Was Najjar your first?

The anonymity of our soldiers picking off and killing Palestinians is an inseparable part of the culture of Israeli impunity. We are above it all. Immune from everything. Allowing an anonymous soldier to kill a young paramedic with a bullet that hit her in the chest, exiting from her back, and continuing on with our lives… . We do not know the name of the soldier, but we do know who is in the chain of command that ordered and enabled him to kill a 21-year-old paramedic: Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, both of whom approved the wording of the rules of engagement, as the High Court justices were told before they denied petitions against the shooting at protesters along the border fence…

Israeli army orders Palestinian families out of their homes for military drills Ma’an 5/5/18

Israeli forces on Tuesday delivered temporary eviction notices to five Palestinian families in the Hamsa al-Fawqa area in the Jordan Valley in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas. Locals told Ma‘an that the families were ordered to leave their homes to make way for Israeli military authorities who would be conducting active military training drills in the area. The five families, including 19 children, will be left without homes for the duration of the training, which coincides with the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramada. Palestinian activist Aaref Daraghmeh warned of the gravity of the forced displacement of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley. Daraghmeh told the Voice of Palestine radio that the Israeli forces aim to expel residents from the area, stressing the dangers of unexploded ordnances left by the Israeli army following military trainings. Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuations and interruption due to Israeli military exercises on or near their land. The district of Tubas, meanwhile, is one of the occupied West Bank’s most important agricultural centers.

Palestinian teen shot by Israeli soldier: ‘My leg is gone’ Maram Humaid al Jazeera 14/06/18

More than one month later, sadness and anger still grip Rania al-Anqar’s heart every time she thinks about her son Abdullah, whose leg was amputated after he was shot by an Israeli soldier. The 13-year-old had made his way to an area east of Gaza City, near the Israeli fence and close to his home in the al-Shujayea neighbourhood, on a quiet Thursday morning in early May. “I took my slingshot with me,” Abdullah, a skinny boy of 13, told Al Jazeera. “A few people were in the area, and everything was calm.” “I went near the fence and starting throwing rocks,” he said, sitting in his wheelchair. “Then as I started to climb the fence, I saw an Israeli soldier hiding in the bushes.” Abdullah’s immediate reaction was to step down from the fence and run away, but before he could do that, the soldier shot him in the left thigh with an explosive bullet at close range … Dr Ayman al-Sahbani, head of the emergency departments at the Shifa Hospital, told Al Jazeera he believes that the Israeli army is using new weaponry based on the types of injuries the wounded protesters from the Great March of Return demonstrations have sustained since March 30. “Israeli snipers use explosive bullets that shatter the bones, the tissues, and slice the veins and arteries,” al-Sahbani said, adding that 51 percent of the injuries sustained in the demonstrations were the result of these bullets. “In numbers, they are 7,500 injured with explosive bullets out of 15,000, which is the total number of injuries since March

Night raids and attack dogs Amira Hass Ha’aretz 10/06/18

Israel’s Border Police are increasingly using dogs to attack people in the middle of the night, while soldiers have used creative solutions like welding a door shut and keeping a family prisoners in their own house — Every night, Israeli soldiers, the Border Police or its counterterrorism unit carry out raids on Palestinian homes throughout the West Bank, whether to detain suspects or potential informants, or for military exercises or general deterrence. If soldiers aren’t hurt, information on those raids doesn’t reach the Israeli media and get attention. Often attack dogs accompany the soldiers, as they did last month during an encounter in Jenin.

Not only did the dogs accompany the troops, they assaulted four civilians, among them a 13-year-old boy, a woman paralyzed on one side, and an elderly man. At about 4 A.M. on May 7, Sabah and Salah Yaakub from Jenin woke up to the sound of barking dogs and voices outside their door. They suspected the people outside were trying to break down the iron door of the house’s street entrance, and assumed they were soldiers. Salah, 44, an official at the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry, went to open the door before it was broken down… As soon as he opened it, Sabah said, soldiers stormed in with two dogs. Before one dog knocked her to the floor she saw the other dog attacking her husband. Since Sabah had a stroke last year, her right arm and leg have been paralyzed. Even though Salah was being attacked by a dog as well, his only thought was for his wife’s safety. He says he tried to push the dog off and grasped it between his legs. The dog tried to free itself from the hold, moving its head right and left, its muzzled mouth striking Salah’s legs. Salah says he managed to grab hold the other dog as well, the one that knocked down his wife. Then the soldiers restrained the two dogs, Salah told a field researcher from rights group B’Tselem, Abed al-Karim Saadi. Salah saw one of the soldiers kicking his wife, who was lying on the floor, too petrified to move. He pulled her to the bedroom. His 85-year-old mother was brought to the bedroom and two armed soldiers wouldn’t let them out. Sabah – again, someone paralyzed on one side – was so overcome with fright she lost consciousness and came to when her husband sprayed perfume on her face … Meanwhile, other soldiers entered the rooms where the couple’s three children – the youngest of whom is 17 – were sleeping. They arrested Abed al-Rahman, 20, who has been suffering a mental disability since a childhood accident. He was brought to the bedroom, his hands tied behind his back with plastic handcuffs; the soldiers let his parents hug him and bid him farewell. A month later he is still in custody….

The Guardian bans cartoon crticizing killing of Palestinian medic Ma’an 29/6/18

The British newspaper The Guardian banned the publication of a cartoon criticizing Israel’s killing of Palestinian paramedic, Razan Ashraf al-Najjar, on the grounds of anti-Semitism. The banned cartoon depicts British Prime Minister Theresa May alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while medic, al-Najjar, burns alive in the fireplace behind them. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health al-Najjar was one of at least two medics who had been killed by Israeli forces, and another 170 medics were injured or suffered tear-gas inhalation since the “Great March of Return” began in Gaza on March 30th. The cartoonist, Steve Bell, denied using projections about the mass murder of European Jews during World War II. . . The debate about the banned cartoon was discussed at the House of Lords of the British Parliament by member Tony Graves, who believes that the decision of banning the cartoon is not necessary and that it is time for Israel to be accountable for its actions.

Freedom of movement can save the Gaza Strip from collapse Amira Hass Ha’aretz 2/7/18

The only thing that could really save Gaza is rapid and immediate growth in jobs and revenue sources. No technical solution can rescue Gaza from the distress it is in after 27 years of Israeli closure, whose direct results are unemployment among almost half the labor force and even more among the young, the impoverishment of formerly prosperous industries such as commerce, manufacturing and construction, a decline in the quality of education and health and a brain drain. Neither can mobilizing donations from the Gulf States – another therapeutic magic trick. Gaza doesn’t lack entrepreneurs, people with ingenuity and talent and ideas who want to support themselves and their families and not be dependent on humiliating donations. But a rapid increase in the availability of work can be achieved only by restoring freedom of movement to Gaza residents – above all to Israel and the West Bank, and through it to other countries in the region, rather than solely to impoverished Egypt and distant Cairo. This would also revive the Palestinian economy as a whole ... There are plenty of ideas; the obstacle to their implementation is not technical but political… Restoring freedom of movement to the residents of the Gaza Strip contradicts Israel’s consistent policy of almost three decades – to sever the Gaza Strip from the West Bank in order to turn it into a separate Palestinian political entity from that in the West Bank enclaves. This has also been one of Hamas’ goals since the movement won the 2006 elections …  There is a contradiction between removing the Israeli fear of uncontrolled entry of cement (and other raw materials) into the Gaza Strip, and the apparent fear of having several thousand laborers enter Israel. This contradiction shows that Israel intends to continue to sever Gaza residents from the population of the West Bank from a political, civil, cultural and economic perspective, and from Israel – from an economic perspective. This continuing disconnect under the outline of U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu means ensuring Hamas’ rule. This is the main message behind the leaks about the Israeli easing of conditions.

A West Bank highway’s road sign captures the Israeli psyche Amira Hass Ha’aretz 17/7/18

If you want a tour of the Israeli subconscious, follow Route 60 through the West Bank to the junction of the villages of Beitin, Dir Dibwan and Burqa, then turn left. You’re not familiar with that intersection? Here’s a hint: Netivei Israel, the National Transport Infrastructure Company, is upgrading the junction and has even posted signs there with the following wording: “Very dangerous site. Drive carefully.” … Underneath the circle, it says, “Givat Assaf Junction. Widening the intersection and making safety upgrades … In mid-March, I asked spokespeople at Netivei Israel why it chose that name for the intersection, given that Givat Assaf is, as I put it, “An unauthorized and illegal outpost built on privately owned land belonging to residents of the Palestinian village of Beitin. Moreover, this land was taken over by means of forged documents.”

The outpost was built in 2001 by exploiting the severe restrictions the army had imposed on Palestinian movement at that time, which enabled settler gangs of robbers to take over more land … “Isn’t the choice of this name a form of encouragement for real estate crime?” I asked the company. Here is the answer I received: “Netivei Israel is the national transportation infrastructure company and doesn’t get involved in political issues at all, but only in the core issues it is responsible for – planning, building and maintaining a network of roads.” … It doesn’t get involved in political issues? There’s nothing more political than a state-owned company that built a major road on lands belonging to the Palestinian villages of Beitin, Burqa and Dir Dibwan, without even giving them direct access to the road and the intersection. There’s nothing more political than a company paving roads beyond the state’s borders to enable Jewish Israelis to violate international law, which forbids transferring members of an occupying population into occupied territory….

Israel adopts divisive Jewish nation-state law  Maayan Lubell Reuters 19/7/18

Israel passed a “nation-state” law on Thursday declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, stirring anger from members of the Arab minority who said it was racist and drawing an expression of concern from the EU. The bill, backed by the right-wing government, passed through parliament after months of political argument and some Arab lawmakers shouted and ripped up their papers after the vote …

Largely symbolic, the law was enacted just after the 70th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel. It stipulates “Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”. Palestinian leaders condemned the move. “No racist law will undermine the rights of our people. We are proud of being a strong nation deeply rooted in our homeland,” Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

In Brussels, a spokeswoman for EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini expressed concern at the move and said it would complicate a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The bill also removes Arabic as an official language alongside Hebrew, downgrading it to a “special status” that enables its continued use in Israeli institutions. Israel’s Arab citizens number some 1.8 million, about 20 percent of the 9 million population. “I announce with shock and sorrow the death of democracy,” Ahmed Tibi, an Arab lawmaker, told reporters after the law was adopted. .               Early drafts had gone further in what critics at home and abroad saw as discrimination toward Arabs, who have long said they are treated in Israel as second-class citizens. Clauses that were dropped after political wrangling would have enshrined in law establishment of Jewish-only communities …  Even after the changes, critics said the new law will deepen a sense of alienation within the Arab minority…

Settlers prevent shepherds from grazing livestock in Jordan Valley WAFA 15/07/18

Illegal Israeli settlers on Sunday chased Palestinian shepherds out pasture areas near the village of Khallet Makahoul, in the northern  Jordan Valley, and prevented them from grazing their livestock, said a local activist. Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors settlement activities in the Jordan Valley, said settlers chased the shepherds and prevented them from grazing their livestock, although the settlers were grazing their sheep in the same area.

Israeli settlers destroy crops in West Bank town WAFA 16/07/18

Israeli settlers destroyed on Monday crops in the southern West Bank town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, after they ran over them with their vehicle, according to the landowner. Fadi Zayyah, a local farmer, said that the assailants drove their vehicle on his land planted with tomatoes and cucumbers, destroying the crops before fleeing the scene. Zayyah’s field is adjacent to the illegal Nevi Daniel settlement, which was established on lands seized from Wad Rahhal and al-Khader villages in 1982. Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by the Israeli authorities

Israeli forces assault Palestinian farmers, confiscate crops in Hebron Ma‘an 17/7/18

Israeli forces attacked Palestinian farmers and confiscated their crops in the Beit Ummar village on the main road between the Jerusalem and Hebron districts on Monday. Activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad said that the farmers were from Halhul City, Beit Ummar village and the al-‘Arroub refugee camp in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. He added that they were selling their crops of cucumbers, almonds, peaches, grapes and other on the main road using booths or tents. Awad pointed out that the proceeds of selling these crops support dozens of needy or less fortunate Palestinian families of the area. Awad said that this systematic behavior occurs every season as Israeli forces attack Palestinian farmers and forcefully confiscate the crops they are trying to sell.

PLO denounces Israeli closure of Hind Al-Husseini College  WAFA 14/7/18

Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and president of the Arab American University, Ali Abu Zuhri, Saturday denounced the Israeli closure of Hind Al-Husseini College in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli police reportedly shut down the educational facility until further notice, banned the holding of an academic conference, and detained 15 participants. Abu Zuhri, in a statement, condemned this Israeli measure, maintaining that the Israeli occupation aims through such measures to obstruct the educational process and prevent the teaching of Palestinian curricula. He said Israeli authorities impose their own curriculum on several Palestinian schools and higher education facilities in occupied East Jerusalem at the expense of the development of Palestinian students’ own national awareness. He slammed such measure as an attempt to impose new facts on the ground aimed at changing the cultural and historical identity of Jerusalem.

Israel bans groups critical of state & military from schools Maayan Lubell Reuters 17/7/18

Israel’s parliament passed a law on Tuesday that could see groups critical of government policies toward the Palestinians banned from entering Israeli schools and speaking with pupils. Critics of the law, which passed with 43 votes in favor and 24 against in the 120-seat Knesset, said it was a blow to core democratic values such as free speech and part of the Israeli government’s effort to delegitimize rights groups and NGOs.

The amendment to the education act grants new powers to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party, to order schools to bar certain groups from giving lectures to students. The legislation has been dubbed the “Breaking the Silence” law, a reference to the Israeli group of that name which collects and publishes testimony from Israeli veterans about the military’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and during conflicts with militants in Gaza. … Breaking the Silence, which has given talks in schools, said the law was meant to weaken it and other rights groups. “It’s really about trying to silence and cover up what’s been going on in the occupied territories for 51 years,” said the group’s director, Avner Gvaryahu…

US aid suspension hits Gaza’s poor  AFP 23.7.18

Hadil al-Rafati gently adjusts her anaemia-stricken toddler’s frail legs onto her lap in the lobby of an NGO’s clinic in Gaza City. The programme providing treatment to her son is among those in the enclave facing cuts or closure due to a freeze on US aid to the Palestinians, organisers say. “He weighs 7.2 kilogrammes (16 pounds), but at a year and a month, he should be at least 10,” the 21-year-old mother said of her son, Essam.

Since January, US financing for humanitarian programmes serving the Palestinians has been suspended, with Washington saying it is being reviewed. President Donald Trump has threatened to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to force the Palestinians back to the negotiating table with Israel. On a recent day, around 15 mothers waited in the lobby of the clinic run by Palestinian organisation Ard al-Insan to see a paediatrician or to receive food supplements for their children. Certain services have been maintained with available funding, but the programme is due to expire at the end of August if the money is not released. “They help us, give us medicine,” said Rafati, who is unemployed and whose husband picks up odd jobs to make ends meet. “If they close, where will we go?” … Some 80 percent of the enclave’s two million residents rely on aid, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) … Some programmes are already facing cuts, such as the Palestine Avenir for Childhood Foundation, which has not renewed contracts for some 30 employees since the start of the year. Suffering from cerebral palsy, nine-month-old Maher had been receiving four physiotherapy sessions per week from the organisation. He now only comes twice per week due to a lack of available therapists. “The change has been huge in the last three months,” said his mother Nada Abu Assi, 27, as she watches her son move with the help of a support device. The foundation’s director, Ahmad Alkashif, said “these are the last beneficiaries,” adding that hundreds of children are on its waiting list. The project, financed by Washington’s development agency USAID, is part of a $50 million programme started in 2016 and meant to last five years.

Israel demolishes kindergarten in Bedouin community east of Jerusalem WAFA 25/7/18

The Israeli military destroyed on Wednesday a kindergarten in Jabal al-Baba Bedouin community east of Jerusalem, according to WAFA correspondent. He said an army force and a bulldozer raided the village and proceeded to demolish the kindergarten and a women’s center in the village under the pretext they were built without a permit. Israel has been waging a campaign to uproot dozens of Bedouin communities east of Jerusalem in an effort to clear the area from its Palestinian residents to eventually build a Jewish settlement in their location. The demolition and uprooting of the communities has generated an international uproar and protest.

Israeli soldiers attack Palestinian with Down syndrome Palestine Chronicle 22/07/18

Israeli soldiers have assaulted a Palestinian youth with Down syndrome in the West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil), according to a local Palestinian official on Saturday. The soldiers attacked Mahmoud Zayed, 26, with the back of their guns and left him with a broken arm in the Bab al-Zawiya area in Hebron on Friday, Ynis al-Juneidi, head of Palestinian group Fatah in Hebron, told Anadolu Agency. He said the soldiers had been deployed in the area to disperse Palestinian protests against the decades-long Israeli occupation. Al-Juneidi said Israeli soldiers often abuse and mock at the young Palestinian despite his health condition.

Demolition of Khan al-Ahmar could amount to war crime IMEMC/Agencies 26/7/18

Under the 1998 Rome Statute, the proposed demolition of Khan al-Ahmar by Israeli occupying forces could amount to war crimes if the demolition proceeds. Khan al-Ahmar has been under intense pressure from Israeli forces to abandon its land, after Israel’s government expressed the desire to connect the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement to Jerusalem, annexing an area inside the Palestinian West Bank known as the E1 area. Michael Lynk said, in a statement, on Tuesday, that forcing the transfer of a protected community would be a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israeli Courts approved the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar in May, but, after weeks of intense protest, the same courts halted the plan until Aug… However, PNN reports, this has not stopped other areas from being demolished, as residents of the Bedouin village on the Mount of Olives could not stop the demolition of a kindergarten and women’s center, by Israeli forces. The Bedouin village on the Mount of Olives is also part of the E1 area between Ma’ale Adumim and East Jerusalem… The relevant crimes, under the 1998 Rome Statute, include: (a) (iv) Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly; (vii) Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement; (b) (viii) The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory…
Hugh Humphries  


Scottish Friends of Palestine     0141 637 8046           


View all →