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On the Ground in Palestine, July 20, 2018

On the Ground in Palestine, July 20, 2018

According to Sabeel, Jerusalem, July 19:

The ‘Great March of Return’ protests continue for the fourth month as Palestinians call for the right of return. On Friday the 13th of July, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Othman Halas, a Palestinian teenager, who had been taking part in the border protests.


Last week, Israel launched the most intense wave of airstrikes on Gaza since the 2014 war, while militants in the enclave fired volleys of rockets at towns adjacent to the border. Now a ceasefire has been agreed between Israel and the different Palestinian factions.


Israeli forces destroyed more than 400 metres of water pipeline, which is a vital lifeline to the Palestinian farmers and Bedouin in the Jordan valley. Many have to eke out an existence in enclaves closed off by Israeli military zones, checkpoints, and more than 30 illegal Israeli settlements.


Recently, Israeli forces used bulldozers to raze the ground in search of water holes and have destroyed water sources in several areas in the Jordan Valley.


The Irish Senate has voted in favour of a bill prohibiting the importation and sale of goods and services originating in illegal Israeli settlements. 


On Saturday the 14th of July, 7000 Israeli demonstrators took part in a protest march in Tel Aviv against the proposed nation-state bill. If passed by the Knesset, this bill would allow Jewish-only communities and Hebrew would become Israel’s only official language. The bill cites Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, fixes the Hebrew calendar as the official calendar of state and recognizes Jewish holidaysIf passed, the legislation would constitute a violation of human rights, democracy, and complete disregard for international law. The bill would deprive Palestinian citizens in Israel of economic, as well as political and social rights.


From Frances Combs and the Middle East Working Group

On the Ground in Palestine, June 29, 2018

On the Ground in Palestine, June 29, 2018

According to Sabeel, Jerusalem, June 28,

Last Friday marked the eighty fifth day of the ‘Great March of Return’. It has been named officially as the ‘Friday of the Wounded’. Since the Gaza protests began on the 30th of March, at least 133 Palestinians have been killed and 14,600 wounded by the Israeli forces. Last week Israeli war planes bombed more than two dozen sites in the besieged Gaza Strip. This action drew retaliatory rocket fire from the Palestinians.

On June 20, two boats which are taking part in the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza arrived in Lisbon, Portugal. The ‘Al Awda’ (the ‘Return’) and ‘Freedom’ have 25 activists on board and hundreds  of people greeted their arrival. These boats and several other boats are heading towards Gaza in a new attempt to break the 11- year Israeli siege. Two other boats arrived in Paris, but the French police prevented them from landing along the River Seine. Nevertheless, hundreds of supporters waved Palestinian flags while standing on the banks of the river, to cheer them on their journey.

Israeli activists hung 115 kites along the Boulevard Rothschild in Tel Aviv last Sunday, June 17. Each kite commemorated a Palestinian who had been killed by Israeli forces during the ‘Great March of Return’ and each kite bore the photograph, name, and birth date of the victim. These tokens of remembrance were displayed to challenge the lack of response from the Israeli public to the killings in Gaza.

The World Cup brings hope and joy to people around the world, including the people in Gaza. A rehabilitation centre in Gaza has formed a football team for amputees called the ‘Heroes Football Club’. This team is seen as a glimmer of hope for many young Palestinians who were injured by the Israeli forces during recent wars and the ongoing protests.

From the Middle East Working Group

On the Ground in Palestine, June 6, 2018

On the Ground in Palestine, June 6, 2018

According to Sabeel, Jerusalem, June 7, 2018

An Israeli sniper shot and killed a 21-year-old Palestinian female paramedic, Razan Ashraf al-Najjar, as she was treating injured protesters during the demonstrations along the Gaza border with Israel.

There are hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who are being held under detention by the Israeli state without trial for up to six months (renewable), for ‘security reasons.’  These prisoners, held under ‘administrative detention’, are expected this week to launch a hunger strike against this Israeli policy. Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention continue their boycott of the law courts as they have lost hope in ever receiving a just hearing in an Israeli court.

On Thursday the 24th of May, three Israeli Supreme Court justices – Noam Sohlberg, Anat Baron and Yael Willner – ruled that the state may demolish the homes of the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar and transfer its residents forcibly to a different location.

Once again, the United States has vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s use of force in seeking to stifle protests at the border with Gaza.  The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, rejected the Kuwaiti resolution – which sought ‘measures to guarantee the safety and protection’ of Palestinian civilians.

The Israeli government has approved the construction of 2,070 new illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank. Since U.S. President Donald Trump came to office, Israel has permitted the construction of more than 14,000 settlement units.

This week marks the 51st anniversary of the beginning of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

From the Middle East Working Group

On the Ground in Palestine, May 3, 2018

On the Ground in Palestine, May 3, 2018

Palestinian U.N. Aid Still $200 Million Short After Trump Cuts
From Reuters: “Emergency food aid for around a million Palestinians in Gaza may run out from June if the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees cannot raise another $200 million following a cut-off in U.S. funding, the agency said on Tuesday. … [Pierre] Kraehenbuehl, [who heads the U.N. Relief and Works Agency] warned of greater instability in Gaza in part because the economy is already suffering its deepest collapse after a decade of Israeli-led blockades, and internal Palestinian divisions in the coastal strip. Kraehenbuehl said the shortfall in funding for the agency could also mean there may not be enough money to re-open schools in August and September for the new academic year.”
Protest Casualties Compound Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis
Haaretz reported on UN numbers about the mass protests in Gaza: “Of the injured, 2,596 people were hospitalized in government hospitals, 773 in nongovernment hospitals and the rest were treated in the field. Of those in government hospitals, 1,499 were hit by live ammunition, 107 by sponge-tipped bullets, 408 suffered gas inhalation and 582 suffered other injuries; 2,142 were adults and 454 were minors. ‘Gaza’s health sector is struggling to cope with the mass influx of casualties, due to years of blockade, internal divide and a chronic energy crisis, which have left essential services in Gaza barely able to function,’ stated the report.”

 According to Sabeel, Jerusalem, May 3

A young deaf man, Tahrir Mahmoud Wahba, (18 years old), has died of the injuries he sustained during the ‘Great March of Return’ protest in the besieged Gaza Strip. The protest has continued for five weeks so far and during that time 45 Palestinians have been killed and 5500 have reportedly been injured.

Israeli authorities handed notifications on Saturday to confiscate forty two dunums, (over 10 acres) of Palestinian land in the village of al-Khader, to the south of Bethlehem in the Occupied West Bank.

In May 2014, Nadim Nuwarra, a 17-year-old youth, was taking part in a protest at the Beitunia checkpoint in the Occupied West Bank. Israeli border police officer Ben Deri was filmed shooting him dead, even though the lad posed no danger. Ben Deri has been sentenced to nine months in prison in a plea bargain with the Israeli Jerusalem District Court.

On the Ground in Palestine, April 8, 2018

On the Ground in Palestine, April 8, 2018

 According to Sabeel, Jerusalem: on Good Friday, seventeen Palestinians were killed and more than a thousand Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire as thousands of protesters marched to Gaza’s border with Israel. The protest on Friday, named the ‘Great March of Return’, was planned by several Palestinian civil society organizations and backed by all political factions to mark forty two years since the first commemoration of Land Day in Palestine.

It is now official that the United States of America has ceased to fund the Palestinian Authority (PA). This decision will not affect the budget which the United States provides for the Palestinian Authority’s security and intelligence forces, which is distinct from the funding which goes towards dealing with civilian issues within the PA.

Israeli Border Police briefly detained a three-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron for allegedly throwing stones. A video posted online shows the father asking for his child to be returned to him.

PALM SUNDAY PROCESSION ATTACKED: Members of a procession marking Palm Sunday in occupied East Jerusalem were able to wave European flags. But when Palestinian flags came into view, Israeli soldiers attacked. On a weekly basis, peaceful Palestinian demonstrators who dare to raise their own flag are attacked by the occupation forces. (from Sabeel, Jerusalem)

The Washington Post re: Good Friday protests: Israeli authorities claimed they opened fire in response to some protesters who had encroached near the fence, burning tires and hurling stones or molotov cocktails. Footage that emerged from the chaotic scene suggested Israeli soldiers targeted unarmed protesters, including some who were running away and were shot from a distance by snipers.   The aftermath of the protests underscored both the desperate futility of the Palestinian struggle and the relative impunity with which Israel can snuff out Palestinian lives.”

On the Ground in Palestine, March 22, 2018

On the Ground in Palestine, March 22, 2018

With Palm Sunday this weekend, many Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank are still waiting to hear if they will obtain permits from the Israeli military to go to Jerusalem for the Palm Sunday procession, for celebrations and worship.


Haaretz reports, “For the first time, the Knesset Ethics Committee has decided to bar an MK from traveling abroad on a trip subsidized by an organization that supports a boycott of Israel. Knesset member Yousef Jabareen of the predominantly Arab Joint List party was informed on Tuesday (March 13) by committee chairman Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) that the committee had decided to refuse his request to fly abroad for a series of lectures in April to be funded by Jewish Voice for Peace. The group appears on a Strategic Affairs Ministry list of groups supporting BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.”


From the Jerusalem Post: “Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem is a war crime, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein charged in a report he issued last week. ‘The establishment and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Israel, including the legal and administrative measures that it has taken to provide socioeconomic incentives, security, infrastructure and social services to citizens of Israel residing in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, amount to the transfer by Israel of its population into the Occupied Palestinian Territory,’ al-Hussein, who is a Jordanian prince, said.”


It’s happening right now, every day: Israel is trying to displace thousands of Palestinians who live in about 200 farming-shepherding communities throughout Area C of the West Bank. Dozens of these communities face imminent expulsion, and others are subject to various forms of abuse, violence and dispossession.

Now is the time to act. Get your friends to take action against the transfer.
Forward this e-mail or share this link:

 From the Middle East Working Group
On the Ground in Palestine, Feb. 24, 2018

On the Ground in Palestine, Feb. 24, 2018

According to Sabeel, Jerusalem, Feb. 22,

On Sunday, Israeli settlers assaulted a Palestinian bus driver who works for the Israeli transportation company Egged, near Hebron. The driver, identified as Salah Abu Jamal from occupied East Jerusalem, was severely beaten by fanatic settlers near illegal Kiryat Arba settlement. Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely investigated by Israeli authorities.

Last week, more than 450 Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli jails began a general and open-ended boycott of all Israeli courts. The administrative detainees are held without charge or trial for prolonged periods of time that sometimes reaches many years.

Israeli authorities have completed the construction of a watchtower/checkpoint at the entrance of Damascus Gate, the main gate into occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

Palestinian youth in Hebron held their ninth annual “Open Shuhada Street” campaign last week. The campaign included nonviolent demonstrations, art exhibitions, and cultural events to raise awareness about the 24 years of increasing restrictions on Palestinians living in Hebron and the human rights violations they suffer.

Two Palestinian teenagers were found killed in the southern area of the besieged Gaza Strip following waves of Israeli air raids. Israel said it had targeted 18 Hamas positions in response to an “improvised explosive device” that detonated near the border with Israel last weekend, wounding four Israeli soldiers.

On the Ground in Palestine, Feb. 3, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Feb. 3, 2017

 According to Sabeel, Jerusalem, Feb. 1, 2018,

A new book by Ronen Bergman, the intelligence correspondent for the Israeli Yediot Aharonot newspaper, chronicles Israel’s ‘2,700’ assassination operations. In his book, Mr Bergman raises moral and legal concerns provoked by state-sponsored killings.

Israel Radio reported that Israel has prevented the Palestinian Authority (PA) efforts to obtain observer status at the UN Conference on Disarmament (UNOG). The Israeli Foreign Ministry has apparently been working behind the scenes with the United States, to prevent the PA’s accession to the international body this year.

Israel launches an unprecedented criminal probe against a Shin Bet interrogator. This is the first investigation to be opened since the establishment of a unit dedicated to complaints against Israel’s internal security service 10 years ago. 

Confidential documents obtained by Yedioth Ahronoth, the largest newspaper in Israel by sales and circulation,  reveal how Israel’s internal security service operated in the Israeli Arab school sector for years. The classified documents reveal how Israel’s internal security service meddled in Arab society’s educational system, firing teachers deemed ‘threats’ and employing Shin Bet agents in the Education Ministry.

In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa, Israeli settlers raided and spray-painted graffiti in Hebrew saying “Death to the Arabs” before setting a vehicle on fire. Many rights-groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israelis committing violent acts against Palestinians.

During the World Economic Forum in Davos, U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking alongside Israeli  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dramatically changed the rules of the decades-long Israeli Palestinian peace process, saying that “we took Jerusalem off the table.”

 From the Middle East Working Group

On the Ground in Palestine, Jan. 14, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Jan. 14, 2017

All of the following news items come courtesy of Sabeel, Jerusalem

On Dec. 28, Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli naval forces detained two fishermen, Sameh al-Quqa and Shawqi Bakr, and confiscated their boats.

On Dec. 31, about 1,500 members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud ruling party voted  unanimously to impose Israeli sovereignty over the occupied West Bank. The non-binding resolution also called for the unlimited construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A new report, by the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, revealed how Israel exploits the West Bank to treat waste –  including hazardous waste – generated in Israel. In so doing, Israel abuses its power as an occupying power. It exposes the Palestinian residents – who are excluded from the decision-making process –  to environmental and health hazards..

Late last month, 63 Israeli teenagers published an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, declaring their refusal to join the Israeli army due to their opposition to the occupation.

 A Palestinian teen, Musaab Firas al-Tamimi, was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Jan. 3 near the Deir Nitham village, northwest of Ramallah city.
On the Ground in Palestine, Dec. 24, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Dec. 24, 2017

On Dec. 18, in the middle of the night, the Israeli army came to the Tamimi family home and arrested 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, Al Jazeera reports. They confiscated the family’s laptops, phones, and computers. Ahed’s mother Nariman was arrested when she went to visit her.

From Codepink: “Ahed is a high school student preparing for college. She lives in a Palestinian village famous for women’s leadership in resistance to the occupation. As a young girl, Ahed rose to headlines for her bravery to confront the Israeli soldiers who enter her village on a regular basis. In 2014, at the age of 13, she received the Hanzala Courage Award in Turkey. In 2015, she and her family were profiled by the New York Times Magazine.”

According to Sabeel, Jerusalem, Dec. 21, 2017

Mohammed Tamimi, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, has been placed in a medically-induced coma after Israeli soldiers shot him in the face with a rubber bullet during a protest against a U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mohamed al-Taweel, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, affected by Down Syndrome, was arrested while protesting against the U.S.  decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Turkey-based International Down Syndrome Federation denounced the arrest by Israeli soldiers.

The U.S. vetoed a UN resolution seeking to reaffirm Jerusalem’s status as unresolved, after 14 UN Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize it as Israel’s capital.