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:
https://www.btselem.org/btselem/no_to_forcible_transfer/en/

 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.

On the Ground in Palestine, Dec. 10, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Dec. 10, 2017

Late last month, Israeli police arrested 17 Palestinians, accusing them of carrying out a population census in occupied East Jerusalem. The Israeli police claim this to be illegal work. The arrests are part of a campaign to limit the PA’s activities in East Jerusalem which Israel occupied in 1967 and proceeded to annex it in breach of international law.

Qusra, a village in the Nablus district of the occupied West Bank is outraged after Mahmoud Odeh, a Palestinian farmer, was killed by an Israeli settler while working on his own land on Nov. 29.

Israeli occupation forces have installed six caravans at a military outpost in Hebron city, expropriating  one and a half dunams of Palestinian land.

According to Haaretz, the Israeli High Court of Justice has denied a petition filed in 2013 by Palestinians who wanted land in the Jordan Valley that belonged to them but is being cultivated by settlers to be returned.

 

 

On the Ground in Palestine, Nov. 20, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Nov. 20, 2017

On Nov. 3 at around 7 a.m., Civil Administration officials, together with security forces and four bulldozers arrived at the Badu al-Baba community near ‘Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem.  The forces destroyed three pre-fab homes that housed four families, leaving 27 people, including 18 children and youths, homeless. The forces also demolished two bathroom stalls donated by a humanitarian aid organization. The most recent abuse the community was subjected to by the authorities was on Sept. 11 when forces confiscated equipment used to repair the community’s access road.

 

On July 22, three residents of Khirbet Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley were grazing their flocks on nearby pastureland when a dud – unexploded munitions – went off, killing ‘Udai Nawaj’ah, 16. At least two other Palestinians have been killed in the Jordan Valley in similar circumstances since 2014. The military trains close to Palestinian communities as part of a policy aimed at taking over the area, and does not make sure to remove unexploded ammunition. This illegal practice violates the residents’ rights and endangers their lives.

 

According to Sabeel, Jerusalem: 
A new report by Israeli rights groups B’Tselem and HaMoked  accuses Israel of “systematic abuse” of young Palestinians arrested after attending protests in occupied East Jerusalem, ignoring laws to protect teenagers’ rights, detaining them in the middle of the night and questioning without a lawyer present.

Due to American intervention, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is delaying bringing the “Greater Jerusalem Bill” for a vote during his cabinet meeting. The bill would annex a number of the illegal Israeli Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank to the city of Jerusalem in order to make the Jewish population greater than the Arab population, strengthening the Jewish hold on the city.

 

A group of British activists, organized by our friends in Amos Trust, walked for 174 days from the U.K. to Jerusalem as a symbolic act of penance to apologize for the injustice of the “Balfour Declaration” which marks its 100th anniversary this November. The activists concluded their visit with a worship service at St. George’s cathedral in Jerusalem.

 

Seven Palestinians were killed, and 12 others were wounded after Israeli forces blew up an underground tunnel between the southern Gaza Strip and Israel at the end of last month.

 

The Times of Israel reported Nov. 8 that Jerusalem authorities granted building permits for 240 homes in East Jerusalem.

From the Middle East Working Group

 

 

On the Ground in Palestine, Oct. 22, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Oct. 22, 2017

The olive harvest has started in Palestine. Many Palestinian communities, who earn their living from this harvest, are unable to reach their olive groves due to the separation wall, or their proximity to illegal settlements, or because of military intervention.

 Rev. Naim Ateek, a co-founder of Sabeel, has published his third book “A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine-Israel Conflict.”

Earlier this month, Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 119th time. The temporary aluminum shelters, which had been put up since the last time the village was demolished, were bulldozed, and the residents of the town have been ordered to pay for the cumulative cost of demolitions. Members of the village committee say that residents will continue to rebuild their homes and remain in the village.

On Monday, Oct. 2, three Palestinians, including an 11-year-old boy, were injured when Israeli forces raided Shufat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem.

On Oct. 11 and 12, three Palestinians were injured in clashes that erupted with Israeli occupation forces after settlers raided Jospeh’s Tomb in Nablus city.

Last Sunday, Israeli settlers stole picked olives from dozens of trees belonging to Palestinian farmers from the occupied West Bank districts of Ramallah and Nablus. Israelis rarely face consequences for such attacks committed against Palestinians.

Hamas and Fatah have signed a landmark reconciliation deal in Cairo in a key step towards ending a ten-year-long rift. The deal will see administrative control of the Gaza Strip handed to a Fatah-backed unity government.

All info from Sabeel, Jerusalem