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Palestinian Woman Stoned to Death by Israeli Settlers

IMEMC News – October 13, 2018

A group of Israeli paramilitary settlers attacked a Palestinian couple south of Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, on Friday, killing the woman and severely injuring her husband.

Aisha Mohammed Talal al-Rabi, 47, was riding in a car with her husband near the Za’tara roadblock, south of Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, when a group of Israeli settlers came onto the road and began throwing rocks at their car.

The slain woman was from Bidya town, northwest of Salfit.

The Israeli colonial settlers threw a number of large rocks, breaking the windshield of the car. They then continued to throw rocks, according to local sources, hitting the couple multiple times in the head and upper body.

Aisha died of blunt force trauma to the head, caused by a rock that was thrown at her head by the settlers.

Armed Israeli paramilitary settlers have launched a number of attacks on the Palestinian civilian population in the Nablus area, with the number of attacks drastically increasing since two Israeli settlers were killed by a Palestinian in the area on Monday.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 5 Comments

Jerusalem: Israel settlers occupy buildings near Al-Aqsa Mosque

MEMO | October 4, 2018

Israeli settlers have occupied two Palestinian buildings near Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.

In the early hours of this morning, Israeli settlers stormed a building in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. According to Wafa, the “settlers moved into the building owned by the Joudeh family, which was used as a clinic” in the Aqbat Darwish area, near Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This was the second building in Jerusalem to be taken over in the past two days. Yesterday settlers occupied a building in the Wadi Hilweh area of Silwan, situated just outside the walls of the Old City and below Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This is not the first time these areas have been targeted by illegal Israeli settlers, with Silwan in particular repeatedly facing attempts to drive Palestinian inhabitants from their homes. The “City of David” national park – a tourist site and archaeological dig run by right-wing settler group City of David Foundation (also known as Elad) – is situated in Batan Al-Hawa in Silwan and is frequently used as justification for such illegal activity.

In July, the Israeli Knesset advanced a new law that would allow residential construction in the “City of David” national park. According to a report by Haaretz, “the minutes of the [Elad] committee’s previous meeting in January made it clear that Elad and its leader, David Beeri, are behind the bill, which is designed to promote construction at the site.”

In August a “heritage centre” was opened in the park, with the inauguration attended by senior Israeli and US figures. A Palestinian resident of Silwan, Yakoub Al-Rajabi, explained that: “We know that this was a well-orchestrated plan to force us to leave […] And if we stay, it will paralyse us and isolate us in our homes”.

Since 2002, 700 Palestinians have been facing eviction from their land in Batan Al-Hawa. Their land was transferred to the Benvenisti Trust when Israel’s Justice Ministry issued title deeds to the organisation for the land in question. The trust is controlled by Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing organisation that encourages Jewish Israelis to settle illegally in Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.

In June, Israel admitted that its decision to evict the Palestinians of Batan Al-Hawa was “flawed” and that it had not properly investigated the nature of the trust, or the Ottoman-era law that applies to the case. Despite the admission, a number of families have already been evicted from Batan Al-Hawa or are embroiled in court battles to save their homes.

Other areas of Jerusalem are also targeted for illegal Israeli settlement. According to statistics from the Jerusalem Institute, as of 2015 there were some 211,000 Jewish Israelis living in occupied East Jerusalem, amounting to 40 per cent of all inhabitants in these neighbourhoods. The statistics also demonstrate that the number of Israelis living in illegal Jerusalem settlements has grown consistently since the city was occupied in 1967.

READ ALSO: Israel settlers flood Khan Al-Ahmar with waste water

October 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli settler runs over Palestinian teen in Hebron City

Ma’an – September 21, 2018

HEBRON – A 16-year-old Palestinian teen was hospitalized after an Israeli settler “deliberately” ran him over, on Friday, in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Witnesses told a Ma’an reporter that an Israeli settler deliberately ran over the Palestinian teen with his vehicle in Hebron City.

The teen was identified by locals as Munir Abdullah Gharib, 16.

Mounir suffered injuries from the attack and was immediately transferred to the Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron for necessary medical treatment; his condition remained unknown.

Incidents involving Israeli settlers hitting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are a relatively regular occurrence, and are usually treated by Israeli security forces as accidents, even in cases when witnesses claim the car rammings were deliberate.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

Palestinian residents of the Old City of Hebron face a large Israeli military presence on a daily basis, with at least 32 permanent and partial checkpoints set up at the entrances of many streets.

Additionally, Palestinians are not allowed to drive on al-Shuhada street, have had their homes and shops on the street welded shut, and in some areas of the Old City, are not permitted to walk on certain roads.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers move freely on the street, drive cars and carry machine guns.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

A New Capital? Palestinians say Abu Dis is No Substitute for East Jerusalem

By Jonathon Cook | The National | September 11, 2018

From the offputting concrete edifice that confronts a visitor to Abu Dis, the significance of this West Bank town – past and present – is not immediately obvious.

The eight metre-high grey slabs of Israel’s separation wall silently attest to a divided land and a quarter-century of a failed Middle East peace process.

The entrance to Abu Dis could not be more disconcerting, given reports that Donald Trump’s administration intends it to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, in place of Jerusalem.

The wall, and the security cameras lining the top of it, are the legacy of battles for control of Jerusalem’s borders. Sections of concrete remain charred black by fires residents set years ago in the forlorn hope of weakening the structure and bringing it down.

Before the wall was erected more than a decade ago, Abu Dis had a spectacular view across the valley to Jerusalem’s Old City and the iconic golden-topped Dome of the Rock, less than three kilometres away. It was a few minutes’ drive – or an hour’s hike – to Al Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the reputed location of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Now, for many of the 13,000 inhabitants, Jerusalem might as well as be on another planet. They can no longer reach its holy places, markets, schools or hospitals.

Abu Dis, say its residents, is hemmed in on all sides – by Israel’s oppressive wall; by illegal Jewish settlements encroaching relentlessly on what is left of its lands; and by a large, Israeli-run landfill site that, according to experts, is a threat to human health.

The Palestinian authorities do not even control Abu Dis. The Israeli security cameras watch over it and armoured jeeps full of Israeli soldiers make forays at will into its crowded streets.

Perhaps fittingly, given the Palestinians’ current plight, Abu Dis feels more like it is being gradually turned into one wing of a dystopian open-air prison than a capital-in-waiting.

Abu Dis repackaged

Nonetheless, the town has been thrust into the spotlight. Rumours have intensified that US President Trump’s promised peace plan – what he terms the “deal of the century” – is nearing completion. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been drafting it for more than a year.

Back in January Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, confirmed for the first time that the White House was leaning on him to accept Abu Dis as his capital.

The issue has become highly charged for Palestinians since May, when Mr Trump overturned decades of diplomatic consensus by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

That appeared to overturn a once widely shared assumption that Israel would be required to withdraw from East Jerusalem, which it occupied in 1967, and allow the Palestinians to declare it their capital.

Instead Mr Kushner and his team appear to believe they can repackage Abu Dis, just outside the city limits, as a substitute capital.

How plausible is it that the Palestinians can accept a ghettoised, anonymous community like Abu Dis for such a pivotal role in their nation-building project?

Symbolic power

Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian cabinet minister, said Mr Trump would find no takers among the Palestinian leadership.

“A Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital simply won’t work. It’s not credible,” he said. “It’s not just Jerusalem’s religious and historic significance. It also has strategic, economic and geographic importance to Palestinians.”

The people of Abu Dis appear to feel the same way, with many pointing to Jerusalem’s enormous symbolic power, as well as the potential role of international tourism in developing the Palestinian economy.

Abu Dis, however, is unlikely ever to attract visitors, even should it get a dramatic makeover.

The approach road, skirting the massive settlement of Maale Adumim, home to 40,000 Jews, is adorned with red signs warning that it is dangerous for Israelis to enter the area.

The section of wall at the entrance to Abu Dis alludes to the residents’ growing anger and frustration – not only with Israel but some of their own leaders.

Artists have spray-painted a giant image of Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian resistance leader imprisoned by Israel for the past 16 years. It shows him lifting his handcuffed hands to make a V-for-victory sign.

But noticeably, next to him is a much smaller image of Mr Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, whose face has been painted out. He has come under mounting domestic criticism for maintaining Palestinian “security cooperation” with Israel’s occupation forces.

Resentment at such cooperation is felt especially keenly in Abu Dis. Large iron gates in the wall give the Israeli army ready access in and out of the town.

An orphaned town

Under the Oslo accords signed in the mid-1990s, all of Abu Dis was placed temporarily under Israeli military control, and most of it under Israel’s civil control also. That temporary status appears to have become permanent, leaving residents at the whim of hostile Israeli authorities who deny building permits and readily issue demolition orders.

The restrictions mean Abu Dis lacks most of the infrastructure one would associate with a city, let alone a capital.

Abdulwahab Sabbah, a local community activist, said: “We are now a small island of territory controlled by the Israeli army.

“Not only have we lost our schools, the hospitals we once used, our holy places, the job opportunities that the city offered. Families have been split apart too, unable to visit their relatives in Jerusalem.

“We have been orphaned. We have lost Jerusalem, our mother.”

A short drive into Abu Dis and the shell of a huge building comes into view, a reminder that the idea of an Abu Dis upgrade is not the Trump administration’s alone.

In fact, noted Mr Khatib, Israel began rebranding Abu Dis as a second “Al Quds” – the Holy City, the Arabic name for Jerusalem – in the late 1990s, after the Oslo agreement allowed Palestinian leaders to return to Gaza and limited parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinian leadership, desperate to get a foothold closer to the densely populated neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, played along. They expected that Israel would eventually relinquish Abu Dis to full Palestinian control, allowing it to be annexed to East Jerusalem in a future peace deal.

View of al-Aqsa

In 1996 the Palestinians began work building a $4 million parliament on the side of Abu Dis closest to Jerusalem. The location was selected so that the office of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would have a view of Al Aqsa.

Reports from that time talk of Abu Dis becoming a gateway, or “safe corridor”, for West Bank Palestinians to reach the mosque. One proposal was to build a tunnel between Abu Dis and the Old City.

However, with the outbreak of hostilities in 2000 – a Palestinian intifada – work on the parliament came to a halt. The interior was never finished, and there is now no view of Al Aqsa. The parliament too is sealed off from Jerusalem by the wall.

Since then Israel has barred the Palestinian Authority from having any role in East Jerusalem.

Khalil Erekat, a caretaker, holds the key to the unused parliament. Once visitors could inspect the building, including its glass-domed central chamber. Now, he said, only pigeons and the odd stray dog or snake ventured inside.

“No one comes any more,” he added. “The place has been forgotten.”

And that, it seems, is the way Palestinian officials would prefer it. With the Trump administration mooting the town as a substitute capital, the parliament is now an embarrassing white elephant.

Requests from The National to the Palestinian authorities to visit the building were rejected on the grounds that it was no longer structurally safe.

Eyesore ghetto

Evidence of how quickly Israel has transformed Abu Dis from a rural suburb of Jerusalem into an eyesore ghetto are evident in the homes around the parliament.

A once-palatial four-storey home next door would be more in place in war-ravaged Gaza than an impending capital. Its collapsed top floors sit precariously above the rest of the structure.

Mohammed Anati, a retired carpenter aged 64, is a tenant occupying the bottom floor with his wife and three sons.

He said the destruction was carried out by the Jerusalem municipality several years ago, apparently because the upper floors were built in violation of planning rules Israeli military authorities imposed after 1967.

Neighbours speculate that, in fact, Israel was more concerned that the top of the building provided views over the wall.

Mr Anati said that, paradoxically, the Jerusalem municipality treated this small neighbourhood next to the wall as within its jurisdiction. “We have to pay council taxes to Jerusalem even though we are cut off from the city and receive no services,” he said.

Asked whether he thought Abu Dis could be a Palestinian capital, Mr Anati scoffed. “Trump will offer us the worst deal of the century,” he said. “Jerusalem has to be the capital. There is nothing of Jerusalem here since Israel built the wall.”

Only pigeons still free

Nearby, Ghassan Abu Hillel’s two-storey home presses up against the grey slabs of concrete. He said cameras on the top of the wall monitored his and his neighbours’ activities around the clock.

His family moved to this house in 1967, when he was 14 years old, and shortly before Israel occupied Abu Dis, along with the rest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Until the wall was constructed, he spent his time herding sheep and goats on the surrounding hills.

Now he has had to corral them into a corner of the wall. Their improvised pen is daubed with graffiti: “Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape.”

His herd of what was once more than 200 sheep is down to barely a dozen. The animals can no longer graze out on the hills, and he cannot afford the cost of feeding them.

Unlike Mr Abu Hillel and the sheep, his pigeons still enjoy their freedom. “They can fly over the wall and reach Jerusalem whenever they want,” he said.

His family owned much of the land surrounding Abu Dis before 1967, he added, but almost all of it had been taken by Israel – originally on the pretext that it was needed for military purposes.

Since then, Israel has built a series of Jewish settlements on the surrounding land, including Maale Adumim, Kfar Adumim and Kedar.

In the early 1980s it also opened a landfill site to cope with the region’s waste. In 2009 the United Nations warned that toxic fumes from waste-burning and leakage into the groundwater posed a threat to local inhabitants’ health.

A bluff from Israel

Some residents are actively finding ways to break out of the isolation imposed on Abu Dis by Israel.

Mr Sabbah is a founder of the Friendship Association, which encourages exchange programmes with European students, teachers and youth clubs. His most successful project is the twinning of Abu Dis with the London borough of Camden.

Mr Sabbah’s prominent political activities may be one reason why his home – along with the local mayor’s – was one of 10 invaded in the middle of the night on September 4.

The operation had the hallmarks of what former Israeli soldiers from the whistleblowing group Breaking the Silence have termed “establishing presence” – military training exercises designed to disrupt the lives of Palestinian communities and spread fear.

Mr Sabbah is sceptical that the Abu Dis proposal by the Trump administration has been made in good faith.

“It’s a bluff,” he said. “Israel has shown through all its actions that it does not want any Palestinian state – and that means no capital, even in Abu Dis.

“It is being offered only because Israel knows no Palestinian leader could ever accept it as a capital. And that way Israel can again blame us for being the ones to reject their version of ‘peace’.”

An oasis of normality

Amid its confinement, however, Abu Dis does have one asset – a university – that now attracts thousands of young Palestinians, though it adds to overcrowding.

The main campus of the Palestinian-run Al Quds university has been operating in Abu Dis since the 1980s.

Sitting on the crossroads between the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem and Nablus to the south, Jericho to the east, and Ramallah to the north, the Abu Dis campus has grown rapidly. It has profited from the fact that West Bank Palestinians cannot access another campus of Al Quds university in East Jerusalem.

The university is enclosed and security is tight. Inside, students enjoy spacious grounds with shaded gardens, a small oasis of normality where it is possible briefly to forget the situation outside.

Nonetheless, the university is not immune from Israeli military operations either. On September 5, soldiers shut down the campus and nearby schools, as they reportedly fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at youths.

Omar Mahmoud, aged 23, a medical student from Nablus, raised his eyebrows at the suggestion that Abu Dis could serve as the Palestinians’ capital.

“It’s fully under Israeli control,” he said. “One side there is the wall and on the other side there are Israeli settlements. There are no services and it just gets more crowded by the year.”

He has shared an apartment with other students in Abu Dis for five years. He said: “To be honest, I can’t wait to get out of here.”

September 11, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family of 9 homeless as Israel demolishes Hebron home at behest of settlers

MEMO | September 4, 2018

At approximately 4am yesterday, Israeli forces entered the Palestinian village of Khirbet Qawasis and demolished the home of Yousef Abu ‘Aram following protests by settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Yaier.

The soldiers then stormed the village of Zuwaidin and destroyed several community bathrooms legally built on the side of a main road to the village. Soldiers prevented local activists from leaving their vehicles to film the demolition.

“We are sad and upset about what happened today,” says Yousef. “The Israeli authorities want to move us from our land and take it, but we will not move.”

Yousef had completed construction of the house on his land in the southern West Bank governorate of Hebron only a fortnight ago; a house he had hoped would protect his seven children from the coming winter.

“The situation is really bad,” says Yousef, who had intended to plough the land and nurture his trees in the South Hebron Hills, just a few metres from the settlers’ road to Mitzpe Yaier.

“They have left a family of seven children and their parents with no shelter, and now we sit under the trees and will be sleeping on the ground and covering ourselves with the sky.”

Israeli settlers routinely harassed Yousef during the construction of his concrete house and the Israeli Civil Administration, under pressure from the settlers, confiscated some of his building materials. The fate of the house was due to be determined at a court hearing scheduled for yesterday, however the Israeli Civil Administration unlawfully demolished the home ahead of the hearing.

Tariq Hathaleen, human rights activist in the occupied West Bank [File]

“It’s a new thing for settlers to go out to Palestinian houses to protest against the buildings,” says human rights activist, Tariq Hathaleen, who lives in the nearby village of Umm Al-Khair. “The military want to satisfy the settlers, so if there are building materials they confiscate them. If there’s a tent, they will dismantle it and take it away. If it’s a building, the Civil Administration will work very hard to demolish it.”

Hathaleen says that the rate of demolitions is increasing in the South Hebron Hills, where some 30 Palestinian villages can expect as many demolitions to occur in a month as they once did in a year.

“The number is increasing because of the settlers’ pressure. Not just them, but also because of settler NGOs, like Regavim, that works in the South Hebron Hills and across Palestine. They have people who drive cars around Palestinian villages and they also fly drones. Once they catch a Palestinian building a house, they inform the Civil Administration and the military.”

Regavim, a pro-settler not-for-profit that has received millions of shekels of public funds, is leading the legal battle to demolish the Palestinian village of Susiya.

According to B’Tselem, Israel demolished at least 1,342 Palestinian residential units in the West Bank between 2006 and 30 June 2018, displacing 6,024 people including at least 3,040 children. Israel has aggressively pursued a policy of demolishing Palestinian homes, schools, health facilities and other essential infrastructure since it began occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. These demolitions are a violation of The Hague and Fourth Geneva Conventions.

Israeli authorities deny most Palestinian applications for the necessary building permits in Israeli-controlled “Area C”, which accounts for around 60 per cent of the West Bank, forcing Palestinians to build without permission and live under constant threat of demolition.

Meanwhile, Jewish-only settlements like Mitzpe Yaier continue to expand on Palestinian land with the backing of the Israeli government. Around 600,000 Israelis live in over 250 settlements and outposts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids occupying powers from transferring their civilians to occupied territory. Settlements are usually built on stolen Palestinian land in “Area C”, where Khirbet Qawasis is located.

Israel has demarcated approximately 70 per cent of Area C for unlawful settlement expansion, as well as outposts, firing zones, state lands and national parks. This policy has fractured Palestinian land and created a hostile environment for Palestinians living nearby.

“Every day we hear of a new incident of settler violence happening,” says Hathaleen. “Two people from the South Hebron Hills were attacked this year. These people were attacked in less than one week.”

According to Hathaleen, both incidents involved settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost Havat Maon. His friend Sami was injured in one incident after settlers drove their motorcycle down a Palestinian road directly at him, running him over and breaking his leg in three places. The other incident involved a shepherd, who was walking with his flock when settlers attacked him with wooden sticks, leaving him with a broken leg and injuries to his head and hand. One of the settlers tried to shoot the shepherd several times but the gun did not fire. “This man was lucky to survive,” says Hathaleen, who adds that Palestinian shepherds are routinely attacked by Israeli settlers and soldiers if they aren’t accompanied by international volunteers. “Settlers don’t attack Palestinians in front of cameras.”

Many settlers carry government-issued weapons with them outside their homes. Settlers usually attack Palestinians in groups, and attacks often involve throwing stones at people and their property; firing live ammunition at or near Palestinians, homes and schools; the burning of trees and agricultural land; and vandalising vehicles and other property.

According to UN OCHA, an average of seven incidents of settler violence a month led to Palestinian casualties in the first four months of 2018. An average of 14 incidents a month caused property damage. Israeli human rights group Yesh Din reports that only 8.1 per cent of investigations into ideologically motivated offenses against Palestinians have led to an indictment since 2005, and 82 per cent of investigations were closed due to police failures.

READ ALSO:

Israel demolishes Palestinian school near Hebron

Report by Sawsan Bastawy@SawsanHefny

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel celebrates 40 years of illegal settlement

MEMO | August 10, 2018

Two thousand Israelis yesterday gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the illegal West Bank settlement of Shiloh, south of Nablus.

The celebration was attended by Israel’s Agriculture Minister, Uri Ariel, who is a member of the Religious-Zionist Jewish Home party. According to Arutz Sheva, the head of Israel’s “Binyamin Regional Council”, the group which oversees 42 of Israel’s illegal settlements and outposts in the occupied West Bank, also attended. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sent a letter of congratulations to the illegal settlers, claiming historic links between the Bible and the modern-day occupied Palestinian territory.

Uri Ariel has a long history of pro-settlement activity, previously serving as head of Beit El council, an illegal Israeli settlement situated north east of Ramallah. Ariel was also previously secretary general of the Yesha council.

In July it emerged that Uri Ariel had previously approved plans to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar, the Palestinian Bedouin village that has been slated for demolition. The plans, which were made in the late 1970s, proposed a “Jewish corridor” of illegal settlements be built on some 100,000 to 120,000 dunams (25,000 to 30,000 acres) of Palestinian land, including the villages of Hizme, Anata, Al-Azariya and Abu Dis on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Demolishing these villages would make way for expanding two illegal settlements – Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim – situated on the Jerusalem-Jericho road.

Shiloh was one of the first locations targeted for illegal Israeli settlement as early as 1974 by Gush Emunim, the orthodox right-wing settlement movement that rose to prominence in the wake of the 1973 War. Gush Emunim was later succeeded by the Yesha council that Uri Ariel previously affiliated with. During the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s, Shiloh was identified as an example of an area that should be returned to Palestinian control given the high density of Palestinians living in the area.

Illegal settlement in the West Bank has been pursued as a policy by the State of Israel since it occupied the territory in the 1967 Six Day War, along with the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem states that, as of the end of 2015, there were 127 Israeli government-sanctioned settlements in the West Bank (not including occupied East Jerusalem and Hebron). When combined with 100 non-recognised outposts and 15 Israeli neighbourhoods inside the Jerusalem Municipality, these settlements are inhabited by approximately half a million illegal settlers.

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel advances new law to allow residential construction in settler-run national park

MEMO | July 5, 2018

The Israeli parliament yesterday advanced a new law that would allow residential construction in the settler-run “City of David” national park in Silwan, occupied East Jerusalem.

According to Haaretz, the bill – which was backed by the Knesset’s Interior and Environment Committee in an 8-6 vote – will “enable housing to be erected in areas zoned for national parks within municipal boundaries”. The law must now be passed by the Knesset plenum in three votes.

The legislation is backed by the City of David Foundation, also known as Elad, a right-wing settler group that operates a so-called tourist site and archaeological dig in the heart of Silwan, a Palestinian neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

“If enacted,” Haaretz reports, “the law would enable homes to be built in the City of David national park.” Indeed, the paper adds, the Elad-run site “seems to be the only park in all of Israel that meets these [the draft bill’s] criteria for residential construction.”

According to the report, “the minutes of the committee’s previous meeting in January made it clear that Elad and its leader, David Beeri, are behind the bill, which is designed to promote construction at the site.”

Two Israeli groups opposed to settlements, Ir Amim and Emek Shaveh, “say the purpose of the bill is to reinstate a grandiose construction plan Elad had prepared, which had been shelved in the 1990s due to strong opposition,” Haaretz stated.

“Then Elad sought to build 200 housing units in the national park, and a plan to that effect was prepared, but shelved.”

“This isn’t the first time a monkey is being made of the law and common sense to advance the agenda of the Elad settlers,” said Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher with Ir Amim.

July 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Authorities Demolish Graves at Historic Palestinian Cemetery

Sputnik – June 11, 2018

Israeli authorities were caught on video excavating portions of the historic Bab al-Rahma cemetery next to Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. The cemetery is believed to contain the final resting places of two companions of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Video from June 5 shows about a dozen men, presumably members of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, at a work site in the Bab al-Rahma cemetery, through which Israel is planning to build a national park trail.

​The cemetery sits adjacent to Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. It is believed to hold the graves of Ubada ibn as-Samit and Shadad ibn Aus, two of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions. The cemetery has remained in use for more than 1,000 years.

Israel plans to seize about 40 percent of the cemetery for the national park under murky legal pretexts, Sputnik News recently reported. The plan has supposedly been in place since 2015, but Palestinian lawyers and conservation activists claim Israel is jumping the gun, as court cases over the fate of the cemetery remain pending.

Israeli authorities have recently resumed work on the park and have been seen digging up and marking graves, removing trees and fencing off areas to halt future burials. During the first weekend of June, several Palestinians were injured and arrested while protesting the desecration of the cemetery.

Outside of Jerusalem proper, in the West Bank, authorities are also clearing the way for a new settlement over the village of al-Khana Ahmar, a village mostly inhabited by Bedouin refugees who were expelled from southern Israel in 1952. In 2009, an Italian aid organization constructed a school there, but Israel ordered it to be demolished one month after it opened. After that, residents in neighboring Israeli settlements petitioned the courts to demolish the community, which has been slated for destruction since February 2010. In 2015, authorities confiscated solar panels that provided the only source of electricity to the village.

​Israel plans to relocate them yet again, this time north to a village called An-Nuway’imah, allowing Jewish settlers to claim the strategically significant spot. Building an Israeli settlement there would allow the government to connect the urban Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem and to control the gateway between northern and southern parts of the West Bank.

Abu Khamiss, a spokesman for the current Khan al-Ahmar villagers, told France 24 in 2014 that “the place where Israel wants us to ‘relocate’ would be like a prison for us. We’d be surrounded by Israeli settlements, a checkpoint and military training camps.”

The demolition is expected to begin any day now. Already, Israeli authorities have been accused of poisoning locals’ dogs under cover of night, robbing the villagers of the “faithful shepherds.”

Palestinian schoolchildren queue outside a tent where they attend lessons after Israeli troops confiscated caravans used as school classrooms, due to the lack of an Israeli-issued construction permit, in the West Bank village of Jubbet Al Dhib, near Bethlehem August 24, 2017

© REUTERS / Mussa Qawasma

For Palestinian children living in the West Bank, getting to school is an incredibly difficult task because of their scarcity and the difficulty of traveling due to the abundance of Israeli checkpoints that control movement around the territory and can take hours to pass through. Israel is slated to destroy the Palestinian school in al-Khana Ahmar as well, a move the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said in 2011 “would effectively deny the children of the community their education and jeopardize their future.”

According to a January report from the the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at least 61 schools in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have pending demolition orders or stop work orders against them from the Israeli government.

See Also:

Israel’s Demolishing of West Bank Schools May Amount to Int’l Crime – Watchdog

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Dreams

Al-Haq | May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

‘Partners in crime’: Israel settlers and soldiers attack Palestinians in West Bank village

MEMO | May 4, 2018

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the West Bank village of ‘Einabus with the assistance of Israeli soldiers, according to a new report by human rights NGO B’Tselem.

On the morning of 6 March, two Palestinians – ‘Ahed Hamad and Yasser Hamad – went to the northern part of the village to pave a road intended to help residents access their farmland.

Shortly after they began work, some 30 Israeli settlers, “some of them masked”, arrived from the direction of the notorious Yitzhar settlement, located some four kilometres away.

“The settlers surrounded the bulldozer and began throwing stones at it, breaking the windshield,” stated B’Tselem. “The two men tried to escape, but some of the settlers pursued them, throwing stones and hitting them, until they managed to escape into the village.”

“The settlers who remained near the bulldozer threw stones and sticks at it and slashed its tyres.”

Some 50 village residents then went to protect their lands, after which “the settlers returned in larger numbers, accompanied by soldiers”.

Settlers and Palestinian residents “threw stones at each other”, while Israeli occupation forces “fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and teargas” at the Palestinians. Six Palestinians were injured, of whom four were taken to hospital.

According to B’Tselem: “This incident is not unusual: settlers have attacked Palestinians in the presence of soldiers hundreds of times, with the soldiers sometimes – as in the present case – joining in the assault.”

Israel effectively condones this conduct and reaps the benefits: the Palestinian residents, who know they face a possible attack with no protection at any given time, hold back from going to their farmland – to tend the land or graze flocks – and this makes it easier for the state to take over the land.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ex-Israel chief military prosecutor lives in home built on privately-owned Palestinian land

MEMO | May 3, 2018

A former chief Israeli military prosecutor lives in a house in the West Bank settlement of Efrat “which was illegally constructed on private Palestinian land”, it has been revealed.

According to anti-occupation NGO Kerem Navot, Lieutenant Colonel Morris Hirsch served as the chief military prosecutor in the West Bank until about a year and a half ago, “and was responsible for legal proceedings against thousands of Palestinians each year”.

In addition, “since his release, he has been employed as a ‘military consultant’ by the right-wing organisation NGO Monitor”.

Kerem Navot has now revealed that Hirsch not only lives in a West Bank settlement, but his house is located on privately-owned Palestinian land.

An Israeli company says it bought the land “from some Arabs”, but have no evidence to prove the claim. This did not prevent Israeli authorities “from allowing the company to advance a master plan on site and to authorise the two illegally constructed housing units, in one of which Hirsch resides”.

Kerem Navot said it is “ironic” that an individual “who was responsible for the rotten prosecution system that Israel runs in the West Bank for several years, currently lives in a house that was built solely due to the very same rottenness that pervades the law enforcement system in its entirety”.

May 3, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian families, attempt to take over homes in Hebron

Ma’an – April 21, 2018

HEBRON – A group of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian family and attempted to take over two homes on Saturday in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Local activist Aref Jaber told Ma’an that a group of Israeli settlers “attacked” two homes in the Old City and attempted to take them over, demanding that the families leave their homes.

The homes belonged to the Jaber and Kfeisheh families.

Jaber added that the same group of settlers had previously taken over a home belonging to the al-Zaatari family, near the Ibrahimi mosque in the Old City.

“These continuous threats by Israeli settlers are meant to terrify Palestinian families in order to force them to leave their homes.”

Located in the center of Hebron — one of the largest cities in the occupied West Bank — the Old City was divided into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas, known as H1 and H2, following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre.

Some 6,500 Palestinians and 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers live in the Old City of Hebron, according to a 2016 report by legal rights NGO BADIL.

Palestinian residents of the Old City face a large Israeli military presence on a daily basis, with at least 32 permanent and partial checkpoints set up at the entrances of many streets.

Additionally, Palestinians are not allowed to drive on al-Shuhada street, have had their homes and shops on the street welded shut, and in some areas of the Old City, are not permitted to walk on certain roads.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers move freely on the street, drive cars, and carry machine guns.

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment