Briefing Paper February 2019
While it had many strains historically, the Zionism that took hold and stands today is a settler-colonial movement, establishing an apartheid state where Jews have more rights than others. Our own history teaches us how dangerous this can be.
Zionist interpretations of history taught us that Jewish people are alone, that to remedy the harms of anti-semitism we must think of ourselves as always under attack and that we cannot trust others. It teaches us fear, and that the best response to fear is a bigger gun, a taller wall, a more humiliating checkpoint.
Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Jewish American feminist, author and activist (1945-2018) (from Jewish Voice for Peace)
Activist sent to prison for riding a bike in his village
Oren Ziv +972 mag 14/11/18
An Israeli military court sentenced renowned Palestinian activist Abdullah Abu Rahma to four months in prison on Wednesday, for two charges stemming from a bicycle race to mark Nakba Day in 2016. Abu Rahma, one of the most well-known leaders of the popular struggle against the separation wall, was convicted several weeks ago of violating a closed military zone order and obstructing a soldier during a race in May 2016 in Bil‘in, where he is from. Hundreds of Palestinian and international cyclists participated in the so-called “return ride,” which kicked off in Ramallah and ended in the West Bank village…
Jerusalem governor banned from interaction with Palestinian officials
The central commander of the Israeli army issued an order, on Thursday, banning the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, from interacting with a number of Palestinian officials, according to WAFA correspondence. Under the order, Ghaith must not interact or directly or indirectly communicate with a listed set of Palestinian government officials, most of them based in the occupied West Bank. This comes two weeks after Israeli occupation authorities issued an order banning him from entering the West Bank for six months.
Israeli Supreme Court rules to evict 40 Palestinians in Jerusalem
Celine Hagbard IMEMC 19/11/18 40
Palestinian family members will be forced into homelessness, following an Israeli Supreme Court decision to evict them from their homes. The ruling also sets a precedent that will likely result in the evictions of hundreds more Palestinians in a neighborhood that Israeli authorities have designated for ‘Jewish-only’ settlements as part of the E1 Jerusalem plan.
The Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood is a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, located on the slopes of Mount Scopus, home to about 3,000 residents. In the 19th century, a small Jewish community lived there, most of which left by 1948, as East Jerusalem came under Jordanian rule. In 1956, 28 Palestinian families who were made refugees from West Jerusalem in the 1948 war were settled there through an agreement reached between Jordan and UNRWA. In recent years, several of these families were evicted as a result of Israeli court decisions to recognize pre-1948 ownership claims made by two Jewish bodies, the Sephardic Community Committee and the Knesset Israel Committee, which enabled Jewish settlers to move into their homes immediately. Although implemented according to Israeli legal and justice systems, the move set a political double standard that justifies Jewish claims to property held before 1948, but does not allow Palestinians to make similar claims to properties they were forced to leave in West Jerusalem. This week’s Supreme Court decision denied the Sabag family’s appeal of the eviction order filed against them by the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem…
Evacuation of 700 Jerusalemites from Silwan approved by Israeli court
In direct contradiction of the Geneva Conventions, the Israeli Supreme Court has approved the evacuation of 700 Jerusalemite Palestinians from their homes in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, Makan Israeli Broadcasting Corporation informed. It explained, according to Al Ray, that the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by 104 Jerusalemites from Silwan , and allowed the Ateret Cohanim association to evict the 51 Palestinian families living in the heart of Silwan. Ateret Cohanim plans to expropriate 5 dunams and 200 square meters in the Silwan neighborhood.
Starting on September 15, 2015, 84 families from the neighborhood, which received evacuation notices, headed to the Israeli Supreme Court. The families explained, in their petition, that the lands are public domain lands, and that Israeli association is not entitled to put hand on it. Haaretz reported that it is not a private property dispute between the families and the landowners. The eviction efforts are a clear manifestation of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians living in Jerusalem. It added that it must be remembered that the settlement project in the heart of Silwan is bound to fail. Settlement efforts, there, have been ongoing for more than 25 years. Hundreds of millions of shekels have been poured into it, and it has had the sweeping support of successive governments. Nonetheless, as in Hebron, the settlers remain a tiny minority, a minuscule percentage of the population.
PLO condemns Israel’s demolition campaign in East Jerusalem
Ahmad Abu Holy, the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLO) refugee department, accused the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem of waging a war on the Shu‘fat refugee camp with the demolition of 20 Palestinian shops “under the illegal pretext of building without a permit.” …
Abu Holy said in a statement, “The Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem intended to change the character of the camp as part of former West Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat’s plan to end the status of the camp as a refugee camp as part of a bigger plan to end the presence of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Jerusalem and to shut down all its services.”
He said that, “the municipality cancelled the name of the camp as Shufat refugee camp, which has a population of 21,000 Palestinian residents who carry the Jerusalem Israeli identity card, and named it the town of Shufat, which means it will be supervised by the city and falls under its laws and regulations, rather than under UNRWA supervision as the case with all Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied territories and outside them.” Abu Holy stressed this would mean “changing the status of the camp’s refugees from refugees to non-refugees,” which means “they will be subject to municipality laws and have to pay high taxes on their shops and homes, in order to force them to leave it and move to the occupied West Bank.” Abu Holy said that changing the status of the Shufat camp’s refugees is part of Israel’s demographic war against the Palestinians, intended to reduce their number in Jerusalem, while multiplying the number of Jews through the construction of illegal Israeli settlements.”
Demolitions in the villages of Jabal al-Mukabber and Silwan Silwanic
The Nature and Park Authority along with municipal employees carried out a demolition operation against commercial establishments in the villages of Jabal Al-Mukabber and Silwan under the pretext of building without a permit. Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the occupation’s bulldozers accompanied by the police and the special units stormed a land belonging to Khaled Al-Zeer in Abbasyeh neighborhood in Silwan, and proceeded to raze it and confiscate its contents including a commercial vehicle and a canopy. The center added that the Israeli occupation authorities confiscated several vehicles under the pretext of ‘expired registration’.
In Al-Sal’a area, Israeli bulldozers demolished a sandwiches canteen and a storage built from iron and steel belonging to Eyad Ja’afra, standing in front of his shop. In the village of Jabal Al-Mukabber, the bulldozers demolished commercial facilities consisting of 45 square meters of warehouses and 80 square meters of offices belonging to the Surri family. The bulldozers destroyed the land. They also demolished a barracks used for carwash services for Muhtaseb family, and another carwash for Obeidat family. The families explained that the Israeli authorities carried out the demolition, razing and confiscation without prior warning, and some of them had already gone to the competent authorities to license the facilities, but were surprised today by the demolition.
Israeli demolition leaves Palestinian family homeless
Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian home and a commercial building, on Wednesday, in the Jabal Al-Mukabbir neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.. A Ma‘an reporter said that dozens of Israeli forces along with staff from the Israeli Civil Administration and several bulldozers stormed the neighborhood and blocked a number of streets. According to local sources, prior to the demolition, Israeli forces raided a residential building, belonging to Mahran al-Mughrabi, and forced him along with his wife and two children out of their home. Sources added that Israeli bulldozers demolished the home under the pretext that it was built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit. Al-Mughrabi pointed out that the demolished home measured 200-square-meters and was built nearly two years ago.
IDF troops involved in botched Gaza operation used fake IDs
Israel Hayom 28/11/18
New details about the IDF’s covert operation inside the Gaza Strip on Nov. 11 have emerged alleging that the commandos entered the coastal enclave in different times and from different locations so as not to arouse the suspicion of Hamas security forces, a Lebanese newspaper reported Wednesday … On Wednesday, Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper quoted a senior Hamas official as saying that the Israeli commandos entered Gaza through the Erez pedestrian crossing, in the Gaza Strip’s north, while their equipment was delivered through the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing, in its south. The Israeli troops were carrying fake IDs and once inside Gaza, they met with a Palestinian collaborator who readied two vehicles for them, the official said. He said that while the main vehicle used by the Israeli troops was destroyed by the IAF during the force’s extraction, Hamas was able to seize what he called “sensitive equipment and documents.” The paper reported that Arab Israelis and Palestinians tipped Hamas off as to the location of the troops in Khan Yunis, and that Hamas had monitored the force’s movements and was able to expose most of its missions. The report reiterated Hamas’s claim that the Israeli commandos sought to abduct or assassinate a top operative. The IDF maintains the botched operation was a top-secret intelligence-gathering mission.
Plans for the Old City Basin and the northern corridor of East Jerusalem
Ir Amin 5/12/18
The District Planning and Building Committee is fast tracking two Arieh King-promoted plans in the heart of the Um Haroun section of Sheikh Jarrah, where approximately 45 Palestinian families are living under threat of eviction. On December 23, the Committee will discuss objections to plans for two buildings that would necessitate the tear-down of existing buildings and the subsequent eviction of 5 Palestinian families. Advancement of these plans demonstrates the acceleration of new facts on the ground to tighten Israel’s ring of control in and around the Old City, deepening tensions in the band of Palestinian neighborhoods outside of it. In Sheikh Jarrah alone, there are roughly 75 families at risk of eviction and in Silwan, just south of the Old City, approximately 85 additional families are at risk in Batan al-Hawa, site of a massive takeover campaign by the Ateret Cohanim settler organization. Legislation enacted last month is anticipated to open the floodgates for settlement expansion in the Elad settler stronghold of Wadi Hilweh, where some 70 families have been evicted. Roughly 2,500 radical settlers are now embedded inside the Old City and around its walls, primarily in the neighborhoods of Silwan, Ras al-Amud, At-Tur, Sheikh Jarrah…
Knesset approves settlement constructions in Silwan
The Israeli Knesset approved, Monday, the construction of residential units for colonialist settlers, in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem, in the area that Israel has termed “The City of David National Park.” Media sources said 63 Knesset members approved the plan, while 41 others voted against it. The constructions are in Silwan Palestinian town, which is subject to ongoing illegal annexation of its lands, homes and property, in addition to frequent demolition of homes. The “City Of David” colonialist project is part of the larger plan which include the Old City of Jerusalem, and various Palestinian areas near its walls, where more than 100,000 indigenous Palestinians reside. Israel initially claimed that the “City Of David” project would be a national park and facilities, with no residential components, but is now approving housing units of the illegal colonialist settlers. It is worth mentioning that the Elad colonialist organization, which instigated this bill, has been pushing for the construction and expansion of colonies in occupied Jerusalem, especially in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods and towns … On Tuesday, Israeli bulldozers dug and uprooted lands in Wadi ar-Rababa neighborhood in Silwan, and started preparing for terraced trenches, as part of the ongoing illegal colonialist activities.
Israel will no longer recognize degrees from Al-Quds University
After the initial hope that degrees from Al-Quds University, located in Abu Dis town, East Jerusalem, would be officially recognized by the Israeli government, the latter’s Ministry of Labor and Welfare Services has revoked its decision. This retracting decision comes within the pretext that the Palestinian Authority-administered college named after Jerusalem allegedly supports terrorism against the state of Israel. Israeli Minister of Welfare and Social Services, Haim Katz, said that the ministry “will not grant recognition to an institution that supports terrorism”, after it had initially lobbied to acknowledge the validity of social work degrees due to the lack of staff in Israel. However, despite the shortage of social workers in Israeli and Arab neighborhoods, the official recognition of the degree has been halted, as Katz alluded to not wanting to tarnish Israel’s integrity by employing people from institutions that have been deemed anti-Israeli and who “undermine the legitimacy of Israel.” The university, which is surrounded by the Israeli separation wall and in C area of the West Bank (controlled by Israeli Occupation Authorities), has over 20,000 students studying at the University for bachelors and masters degrees, according to the PNN.
Int’l court prosecutor reports progress in Palestinian probe
Mike Corder AP 5/12/18
International Criminal Court prosecutors intend to complete “as early as possible” a long-running preliminary investigation into allegations of crimes in the Palestinian territories, according to a report issued Wednesday. The annual report by ICC prosecutors on progress in nine so-called preliminary examinations underway at the court, said that the Palestinian territories probe “has advanced and significantly progressed” analysis of whether legal conditions for opening a case have been met. Those legal conditions include whether alleged crimes were serious enough to be dealt with at the global tribunal and whether local authorities are investigating and prosecuting the crimes. The ICC is a court of last resort that only takes on cases when local courts cannot or will not prosecute. ICC prosecutors have been conducting a preliminary inquiry since 2015 in the Palestinian territories, including Israel’s settlement policy, crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict and Hamas rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians. Israel is not a member of the court and doesn’t accept ICC jurisdiction. But Israeli forces could face charges if they are suspected of committing crimes on Palestinian territories. The court has accepted the “State of Palestine” as a member.
UNGA adopts five resolutions in favor of Palestine
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favor of five resolutions regarding Palestine and a sixth resolution on the Golan Heights, on Friday evening. One of the most important resolutions adopted called upon member states not to recognize any measures taken by Israel in Jerusalem and to maintain the current status-quo in the holy city … UNGA also adopted a sixth resolution on the occupied Syrian Golan, demanding the withdrawal of Israel from all of the territory and affirming Syria’s sovereignty over it, in line with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
Israel Kills 4 year old in Gaza
Maureen Clare Murphy Electronic Intifada
Ahmad Yasser Sabri Abu Abed, 4, was in his father’s arms at 3:30 pm local time when Israeli forces opened fire on protestors in Khan Younis, Gaza, on December 7. Ahmad was hit with bullet fragments and sustained injuries to his head, chest and abdomen. He died on December 12.
Israeli Knesset rejects bill to ‘maintain equal rights amongst all its citizens’
Yossi Gurvitz Mondoweiss 12/12/18
The Knesset voted down today, by a margin of 71-38, the Basic Law: Equality bill, tabled by MK Mossi Raz (Meretz). The text of the bill was clear and concise: “The State of Israel shall maintain equal political rights amongst all its citizens, without any difference between religions, race and sex.” This is a direct quote from Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Following the resignation of Defense Minister Lieberman a few weeks back, the governing coalition has a razor-thin margin of one vote: it controls 61 one votes out of 120. However, the coalition enjoyed the support of Yesh Atid, led by Israel’s Trump wannabe, Yair Lapid. Its eleven votes are unlikely to have delivered victory to the opposition, however, as many members of the Zionist Camp fled the hall before the vote. Despite one the greatest political cons in history – “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East” – Israeli law never recognized equality between citizens. An attempt to enter an equality clause to the Human Dignity and Freedom Basic Law, back in 1992, failed – mostly due to the opposition of the religious parties. The Israeli Supreme Court, doubling as the country’s High Court of Justice, found – or, rather, invented – emanations of equality in Israel’s Basic Laws; doing so often required the court to fall back on the equality clause of the Declaration of Independence, claiming it was the expressed will of the Founders. Doing so after today’s vote will require extraordinary powers of judicial juggling. And the court, which was never that great shining light its supporters portray it (see, for damning example after another, Michael Sfard’s superb “The Wall and the Gate”) is becoming less emboldened to face the government. Following the tumult of the Nation State Law, when the Druze filled the streets in protest – claiming, correctly, the law made them second class citizens – Netanyahu promised them he’d grant them an exemption somehow. Perhaps he’d declare them honorary Jews. Today, Netanyahu closed the gate of equality before them. He did so with the votes not only of his ultra-nationalist coalition, but also with those of Lapid, whose party claims to be a center party while serving as a gateway drug to the extreme right. And by the absent votes of the frightened members of Labour. Those 71 votes represent the hard core of practical Zionism – Zionism as it is, not as it may be – who decided Israel would be a Jewish country and not a democratic one. The Knesset told 20% of the country’s citizens that it would demand their loyalty, but would not grant them equality. They would have second class citizenship, dependent on the whim of the Jewish majority. Next time the government of Israel tells you it “shares values” with the US, remember what that value is: 3/5 of personhood.
Israel detains 6-year-old Palestinian in Hebron
Israeli occupation forces seized a six-year-old Palestinian child in Hebron, the occupied West Bank, and detained him without family members for an hour, reported B’Tselem. The incident took place on 25 November, at around 2pm, when Israeli forces seized 15-year-old ‘Abd a-Rahman Abu Daoud, and six-year-old Zeid Taha. Both children were then taken to so-called “Pharmacy Checkpoint” in the segregated city. Abu Daoud was then transferred to Ofer Prison and ultimately sentenced to three months in prison. Zeid, meanwhile, was moved to two further checkpoints, before being handed over to Palestinian Authority police. “The policemen took me into Abu a-Rish Checkpoint (the Pharmacy Checkpoint) and kept me shut in a room there for about an hour,” Zeid told B’Tselem researchers. “I cried and the soldiers cursed me. Then they put me into a white car. I heard the other boy who was arrested with me asking a woman soldier where they were taking us, and she answered, ‘To prison’.” His mother – Falestin Taha, 26, a married mother of three – told B’Tselem: “I couldn’t have imagined that the military would arrest such a young boy. I was shocked and terribly worried. I kept imagining Taha all alone with armed Israeli soldiers.” According to the mother, “Zeid is still very scared and anxious.. He’s not ready to be apart from me even for a moment. He isn’t even willing to sleep in his own bed. He sleeps holding on to me.”…
Israeli forces assault mourners at funeral of slain teen
Ali Salam IMEMC 25/12/18
The funeral of Qassem al-Abbassi, the teen killed by Israeli forces on December 20, 2018, was held Monday night, in the town of Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem. The Palestinian men were carrying the teen’s body on their shoulders, from the Silwan mosque, and many of the mourners shouted criticism regarding the death of the teen, and chanted for the liberation of Palestine, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center (Silwanic), has reported. Walking behind an ambulance, the funeral procession was blocked by Israeli forces, who instructed the mourners to return the body of the teen to the ambulance, and to stop chanting slogans. Israeli forces threatened not to allow the teen to be buried at the cemetery of Bab al-Rahma, at the eastern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque. According to Silwanic, although the mourners complied with the orders given by Israeli soldiers, they were assaulted and attempts were made to block the funeral procession from entering Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. The mourners were forbidden from raising flags or banners at the funeral, and were eventually allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque with the body of the slain Palestinian, and later went to the cemetery, amidst extensive Israeli military presence.
Israel concluding work on Gaza Strip sea barrier
Construction could have knock-on environmental effects for Israel and the blockaded enclave, Israel’s environment ministry has warned — The Israeli army has almost completed work on a 200-metre long barrier of boulders and concrete on the boundary with the Gaza Strip, Israel’s Channel 10 reported. Israel announced work on the barrier in May, claiming it would prevent Hamas fighters from infiltrating Israel by sea as they did during the last war in 2014. It adds to the existing security fences and naval presence around the blockaded Palestinian enclave. The barrier consists of an over-ground fence and a combination of an underwater concrete wall and sensor systems, filling a gap in the shallow area of the waters where Israeli naval boats cannot operate…
Farming permits for Palestinians in West Bank ‘seam zone’ cut drastically
Amira Hass Ha’aretz 3/01/19
Israel has drastically reduced the number of Palestinian farmers who are allowed to work their lands located between the separation barrier and the Green Line, according to Civil Administration data. In 2018, 72 percent of Palestinian requests for farming permits were refused, compared to 24 percent in 2014. There are also very few permits issued for “agricultural employment,” beyond the barrier, permits generally given to the relatives of the plot owner who work with him, but also to paid laborers. This information was supplied to Hamoked – the Center for the Defense of Individual Human Rights in response to a Freedom of Information Law request … The land between the barrier and the Green Line, which Israel refers to as the “seam zone,” totals 137,000 dunams (33,853 acres) … A reason that Civil Administration clerks often state out loud, but which isn’t listed in its response to Hamoked, is that the plot for which the farmer is seeking a permit is “too small,” to require cultivation (this refers to plots smaller than 330 square meters). This reason could explain the substance behind the written reasons cited above, and reflects the enormous change Israel is trying to impose on the Palestinians’ ownership and land cultivation customs … When they examine a farmer’s request, the Civil Administration takes into account only his relative portion of the family’s land (which is often still registered by the name of grandparents or parents), with no consideration for family traditions of working the land together or the fact that siblings are abroad or otherwise employed and unavailable for farm work. That’s how small, 330 square meter plots emerge that ostensibly don’t need cultivation, even though they contain trees and have been cultivated for decades….
Israeli internet radio propaganda and recruiting collaborators
Local radio stations in the Palestinian territories maintain a mass audience among Palestinians and are considered the main source of information. There are nearly 70 local radio stations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. According to Salameh Maarouf , director of the Government Media Office in Gaza, “Not too many Palestinians are engaged with COGAT’s radio. A limited audience is anticipated,’ he told Al-Monitor. He said the office, which is not affiliated with any Palestinian faction, is trying to warn listeners. ‘[The webcast] seeks to be closer to Palestinians, and this is very dangerous. It’s expected to broadcast shows that suit the Palestinian mood, and will not be limited to political talk shows. Music and songs will be played and matters of social interest will be discussed to attract more people.” He added, “Also, calls to the radio numbers will be free of charge,which will gradually attract Palestinians.’ Emad Abu Awad, an expert on Israeli affairs at the Vision Center for Political Development in Turkey, told Al-Monitor, “COGAT’s radio [platform] seeks to break the barriers between Israel and the Palestinians, boost [Palestinian] dealings with the Israeli Civil Administration and lay the foundations of an economic peace between the two sides. Many Palestinians are interested in obtaining a work or construction permit or agricultural support. COGAT’s radio hopes for open relations between Israel and Palestinians. Unfortunately, there is a chance that this radio will attract a wide audience, as it will focus on ameliorating their living conditions.”
Al-Majd security website in Gaza, which is close to Hamas, announced Jan. 2 that COGAT’s radio webcasts seek to ‘follow up’ on Palestinian news by circulating the Israeli army’s versions of the stories. COGAT webcasts pose a new challenge for both the PA and Hamas. Its declared goal is to help Palestinians meet their living and economic needs, at a time when both the PA and Hamas are experiencing financial crises and economic pressures. This will encourage Palestinians who are eager to improve their situation to follow the broadcast, even if they are made aware that the risks include becoming a target or being recruited by Israeli intelligence.
Hospitals under threat
Charles Stratford Al Jazeera 19/1/19
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza is warning that at least three hospitals may be forced to close because there isn’t enough fuel to power generators vital to the supply of electricity. The latest fuel crisis started after Israel stopped millions of dollars from transferred from Qatar to the Palestinian territory more than two weeks ago.
The human cost of the drug crisis sweeping Gaza
Hazem Balousha Arab News 13/1/19
It started with a single pill. Mohammed was working as a digger of tunnels through which goods were being smuggled into the southern Gaza Strip from Egypt when he said felt the need for a “pep pill” to help him make it through the daily grind of grueling 18-hour workday. In 2010 he started to take tramadol, also known by the brand name Tramal, an opioid pain medication used to treat moderately severe pain, which is commonly prescribed after surgery or for musculo-skeletal problems. At the time, Mohammed was 30 years old, with a degree in information technology but little prospect of landing a job …. Fadl Ashour, a consultant psychiatrist and neurologist, said that during a study in the Gaza Strip three years ago he found the number of addicts to be as high as 200,000. He attributes the use of drugs such as opioids, stimulants and hallucinogens by young men and young women to the feelings of hopelessness and anxiety that pervade the Gaza Strip…
Israel evicting Palestinian family to replace them with settlers
Zena Tahhan Al Jazeera 15/01/19
Huddled around an electric heater on a chilly winter day, four Palestinian women sit nervously, making calls to acquaintances to ask about homes for rent in the city. ‘We can’t leave it to the last minute. We have to figure it out – the Israelis can come at any time to evict us from our homes,’ says 31-year-old Ramziyeh Sabbagh. She is due to give birth to a baby girl in five days. ‘My husband is in denial that we may be evicted,’ says Khadija Sabbagh, Ramziyeh’s aunt. ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do. We only have God at this point.’ Umm Alaa Skafi, who lives next door and whose family is also facing eviction, came over to check on her dear neighbour. ‘Keep praying. Don’t let your mind wander. Keep yourself busy. I am here for you. I’ll make a dish and bring it over for you and your family’ Umm Alaa tells Khadija. On January 12, Israeli authorities handed an eviction order to the Sabbagh family – numbering about 45 people – so Israeli settlers could move into their homes. The five Sabbagh brothers, their wives, children and grandchildren were given until January 23 to leave their homes. On Tuesday, lawyers representing the family said Israeli authorities agreed to freeze the eviction until a final decision was reached within a month. The families have lived there since 1956. They were forcibly displaced from their hometown of Jaffa during the 1948 Palestinian Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist militias to create the state of Israel
Israeli forces evict 13 families for military training
Israeli forces on Sunday evicted 13 Palestinian families from their homes in the village of Khirbet Ibzeiq, to the northeast of Tubas in the Jordan Valley region, the occupied West Bank, making way for military training using heavy armored tanks. Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli violations in the area, said Israeli forces stormed the village and forced 13 families out of their homes for the next 24 hours for military training in the area. Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley regularly face evictions due to Israeli military exercises on or near their land. Only last month, Israeli forces evicted the village’s population three times for the same purpose…
Cancer patient held in Israeli jail at critical stage
Palestinian detainee and cancer victim Sami Abu-Diak has lost a great amount of weight and is no longer able to eat or drink, the Detainees Affairs Commission said on Thursday. Karim Ajwa, the Commission’s attorney, said Abu-Diak has also lost the ability to sleep and can no longer walk. He is also suffering severe stomach pain as a result of the advanced stage of cancer he is suffering. Abu-Diak, who comes from the town of Silat al-Dahr in the West Bank, is serving a life sentence, and so far served 18 years in jail, according to WAFA. He underwent surgery in September of 2015, at the Soroka Hospital in Israel, during which 80 cm of his intestine was removed. He suffered a medical error during the surgery, resulting in kidney and lung failure, along with other serious health complications.
The challenge of filling gaps in the legs of Gaza’s wounded
Médecins Sans Frontières 24/01/19
In the wake of the March of Return protests in Gaza, MSF teams in the Palestinian enclave are coping with the arduous task of replacing the centimetres of bones pulverised by Israeli bullets in the bodies of protesters. The limited resources available on site, however, make it impossible to provide a viable solution for many of them – this is why referrals to hospitals abroad are a necessary part of the equation. Two centimetres doesn’t sound like much. When it comes to your leg, though, a missing two centimetres of bone leaves a big hole – especially when the cause is a bullet turning and smashing its way through your body. That much was evident at al-Awda hospital in Jabalia, in northern Gaza, as our surgeons opened the shin of Yousri* … Unfortunately, as ghastly as the gap left by the bullet in Yousri’s bone was, his case was relatively simple. In protests held along the fence that separates Gaza from Israel since 30 March 2018, 6,174 people have been injured by live bullets fired by the Israeli army. Nearly 90 per cent of those were injured in the lower limbs. We have provided care for around half of the wounded after their initial treatment in local hospitals, and the wounds we have observed have been unusually severe. In half the cases, patients have complex open fractures – where the bone is exposed to the air – and severe tissue and nerve damage in most of the rest. Many patients are missing huge parts of their leg bones: if two centimetres leaves such a big hole, just imagine 10…
Body count and bombing Gaza into ‘stone age’ in campaign ad
Former Israeli Defense Forces chief turned political candidate Benny Gantz is touting the body count he racked up leading Operation Protective Edge with a campaign that boasts about bombing parts of Gaza “back to the Stone Age.” Gantz has released a series of campaign ads for his “Hosen Le Yisrael” (Israel Resilience) party, glorifying the operation he oversaw as IDF commander as he attempts to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister in April’s election … As chief of general staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Gantz led the offensive that bombarded Gaza for 51 days, killing – as the ad boasts – “1,364 terrorists” and bringing “3.5 years of quiet.” The second ad in the series shows a running tally of deaths over scenes of Palestinian funerals, and a third shows the targeted assassination of a Hamas leader whose car explodes in a ball of flame. Gantz, whose campaign slogan translates to “Israel Before Everything,” seems convinced that Israeli voters pick their leaders by evaluating their death-dealing prowess – though he may be onto something, as recent polls have him trailing Netanyahu by just ten points…
Weaponizing medical treatment to keep Palestinians divided
Amira Hass Ha’aretz 21/01/19
Imagine that the Interior Ministry prohibits your relative from receiving essential medical care in Tel Aviv, because you – contrary to the policies of increasing the Jewish population in the outlying areas and separating ethnic communities – moved there from your hometown, where you could not find a decent job. Hard to picture such ill will, right? But that’s what Israel habitually does to patients from the Gaza Strip: If they have a relative who has moved out of Gaza to live and work in Ramallah, in the West Bank, for example, Israel prohibits them from leaving Gaza for essential medical care not available in Gaza. It conditions granting them an exit permit for medical treatment on the relative in Ramallah first returning to live in the Strip … The ban imposed by the Israeli bureaucracy does not skip over a person whose nephew committed the anti-Semitic crime of going to live where he could find a livelihood. Like Abed Al-Hakim, 61, father of 11. Problems with his eyes caused his vision to decline badly. He was set to undergo surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in East Jerusalem. But his application for an exit permit was turned down because one of his nephews lives in the West Bank.
Schoolboy shot in the head by Israeli police on his way to school Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Ha’aretz 20/01/19
The boy is Fawaz Abed; he’s 16. … On that Sunday morning, Fawaz had left his house on the way to Amin al-Husseini High School, to have coffee with his friend Amjad Quran, who attends a different school. At the same time, the Border Police were gathering the security cameras from the stores and cafés down the street. While they did that, a few boys were throwing stones at them and drawing tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets in return. According to the investigation conducted by Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, the police engaged in a shouting match with Fawaz. Hadad thinks this was probably to distract Fawaz while two members of the unit approached, took him by surprise from the right and shot him. Why was he shot? It’s still not clear. Maher thinks his son aroused their suspicion when he tried to run away. Fawaz’s grandmother, Therwa says they shot him because he’s tall. It was hard to find more persuasive explanations for the shooting, this week … The police spokesman did not respond to what is the perhaps the most important question: Why did the force shoot Fawaz Abed in the head?
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