On the Ground in Palestine, Oct. 4, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Oct. 4, 2017

Since the beginning of September, Israeli forces demolished parts of the three different Palestinian Muslim cemeteries in Jerusalem. Israel claims that the demolitions are necessary to make way for building a national park in the area or to expand two existing streets. The Palestinians of Jerusalem are outraged as photos emerge of open graves exposing the remains of their dead.

Since 2009, over 50 Christian and Muslim holy sites have been vandalized in Israel and the West Bank, but only nine indictments have been filed and only seven convictions handed down. Moreover, only eight of the 53 cases are still under investigation, with the other 45 all closed. The Palestinian community accuses Israel of failing to protect the churches and mosques from extremist Jews.

Israel’s Civil Administration is expected to advance plans soon for 2,000 new homes in West Bank settlements.

According to the World Council of Churches press release, the churches urged the 36th Session of UN Human Rights Council for action regarding the continued construction of the wall in the Cremisan Valley, dispossessing dozens of Palestinian Christian families in Cremisan for the benefit of illegal settlements.

According to Sabeel, Jerusalem: The Israeli government has called on the Israeli Supreme Court to approve plans to demolish the entire village of Khan Al Ahmar, a Palestinian Bedouin community, and forcibly transfer its residents. The village consists of more than 40 Palestinian families.

For the sixth consecutive day on Sunday,  Oct. 1, the Israeli army is imposing a general closure on a cluster of Palestinian villages in the central occupied West Bank. Human rights groups denounce the closure as an act of “collective punishment” on tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians. The closure comes after the shooting attack that left three Israeli security forces dead alongside the Palestinian assailant.

The Walled-Off Hotel was opened by the artist Banksy earlier this year in Bethlehem. The hotel stands just across from the Israeli separation wall in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem. In a ceremony in London, the hotel was granted the award of the leading culture destination as the best Art Hotel in the World.

On Monday, Oct. 2, the municipality of the illegally united Jerusalem distributed demolition notices for several Palestinian homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya.  Since 1967, the government of Israel has directly engaged in the construction of 55,000 units for Israelis in Occupied East Jerusalem; in contrast with fewer than 600 units, in the same period of time, for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the last of which were built 40 years ago.

There is fresh hope that the division within the Palestinian people that has lasted for a whole decade will come to an end. The unity government, including Fatah and Hamas, met on Oct. 3 in Gaza.

On the Ground in Palestine – Sept. 1, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine – Sept. 1, 2017

Haaretz reports, “The start of the school year in a West Bank village was pushed back to Sunday (Aug. 27) after the Israeli Civil Administration on Tuesday confiscated and destroyed trailers that were supposed to serve as classrooms, along with other educational equipment. Authorities have confiscated and destroyed trailers used as classrooms in three other Palestinian communities in the last two weeks.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, “The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is considering dismantling the Palestinian Authority (PA), if there is no political horizon to establish an independent Palestinian state, [said] Ahmad Majdalani, a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Last month, Israel revoked the citizenship of hundreds of Israeli Arab Bedouins and left them stateless. Over  500 citizens lost their citizen-status with a single keystroke and with no further explanation.        

Last week, Israeli authorities stormed the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem and demolished a Palestinian home for the second time. The same home, 60 square metres, had just been demolished on Aug. 15 by the Israeli army.

With the help of fellow Jerusalemites, the family rebuilt a temporary home made of tin sheets, which Israeli forces came to destroy on Aug. 22. The family and their friends are already working to rebuild the house for the third time.

A brand-new Palestinian primary school in Jubbet Al-Dhib was razed by Israel just as the new school year was set to begin. The six newly installed steel terrapin cabins were erected in the village of Jubbet Al Dhib so that local children do not have to walk for an hour to get to school. A total of 55 West Bank schools are currently threatened with demolition and “stop-work” orders.

From the Middle East Working Group