Tag Archives: palestine

More than half the population in Gaza may not have enough food by June

Gaza/PNN/

At a time when Muslims around the world are observing the holy month of Ramadan, often characterized by the festive nature of its Iftars, in Gaza, more than half the population depends on food aid from the international community. Unless UNRWA secures at least an additional US$ 60 million by June, our ability to continue providing food to more than 1 million Palestine refugees in Gaza, including some 620,000 abject poor – those who cannot cover their basic food needs and who have to survive on US$ 1.6 per da y – and nearly 390,000 absolute poor – those who survive on about US$ 3.5 per day – will be severely challenged.

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. From fewer than 80,000 Palestine refugees receiving UNRWA social assistance in Gaza in the year 2000, there are today over one million people who need emergency food assistance without which they cannot get through their day. “This is a near ten-fold increase caused by the blockade that lead to the closure of Gaza and its disastrous impact on the local economy, the successive conflicts that razed entire neighborhoods and public infrastructure to the ground, and the ongoing internal Palestinian political crisis that started in 2007 with the arrival of Hamas to power in Gaza,” said Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza.

Moreover, the tragic death of 195 Palestinians – including 14 students from UNRWA schools and the long-lasting physical and psychological injuries of 29,000 people during the year-long demonstrations known as the Great March of Return – come after three devastating conflicts in Gaza since 2009, which resulted in at least 3790 deaths and more than 17,000 injuries combined.

A report issued by the United Nations (UN) in 2017 predicted that Gaza would be unlivable by the year 2020. Today, with over 53 per cent unemployment rate among Gaza’s population and with more than one million people dependent on quarterly UNRWA food handouts, it is mostly preventive humanitarian action of UN agencies, including UNRWA, and remittances from abroad that have held Gaza back from the brink of total collapse.

At a time of increased uncertainty about the future of the Israel-Palestine peace process, UNRWA is one of the few stabilizing elements in a very complex environment. By continuing to deliver upon its mandate, the Agency remains a critical lifeline in Gaza, where its services in health and education and its defense of rights and dignity are indispensable to the most of Gaza’s 1.9 million inhabitants. Most urgent though is the food assistance that the Agency provides to counter the food-insecurity of more than one million Palestine refugees.

IOF storm Al-Aqsa mosque, force worshipers to leave

PNN/ Jerusalem/

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Magharba Gate, and forcibly evicted the worshipers inside it.

The storming came as thousands of Palestinians gathered from different cities to perform the Ramadan prayers and the Tarawih prayers in the Mosque.

It was reported that clashes broke out between the citizens and the occupation forces in the area of ​​Bab al-Amud, following the end of the prayers of Al-Ishaa and Al-Taraweeh, during which the Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs, before they arrested the two Jerusalem children Issam Abu Nab (16 years) and Mohammed Al-Ghazzawi (16 years).

Israeli settler charged with killing Palestinian woman freed to house arrest

Jerusalem/PNN/

An Israeli court has released to house arrest an extremist Jewish teenage settler charged with manslaughter over throwing a rock that killed a Palestinian mother in the northern part of the occupied West Bank last October.

On Tuesday, the court in Jerusalem passed the ruling on the 16-year-old suspect, whose identity remains under gag order with other specific details of the investigation.

He will be required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet; be under the 24/7 supervision of two adult family guardians; and have no contact whatsoever with non-family members.

On January 24, Israeli prosecutors charged the teenager with manslaughter, stating that he carried out the attack “under aggravated circumstances,” terming his “intentional vandalism of a vehicle as an act of terror.”

The attack was “based out of an ideological motive of racism and hostility toward Arabs everywhere,” the indictment stated.

“The defendant hurled the rock with great force toward the front windshield of the vehicle with the objective of hurting the passengers and with indifference to the possibility of causing their death,” it pointed out.

The teenager has been in a juvenile detention facility since December 30 last year.

Aisha Muhammad Talal al-Rabi, 47, a mother of eight children and a local resident of Bidya, located 32 kilometers southwest of Nablus, was killed and her husband suffered injuries after Israeli settlers hurled rocks at their vehicle near the Za’tarah checkpoint in Nablus on October 12 last year. The stone weighed about two kilograms, according to prosecutors.

Israeli authorities arrested five Israeli settlers, who were held on suspicion of involvement in the killing of Aisha, on December 30, 2018. Four of them were later released to house arrest.

Price tag attacks are acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and their property as well as Muslim holy sites by Israeli settlers.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank in 1967. This is while much of the international community considers the settler units illegal and subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied land.

 

Texan court strikes down anti-BDS law as unconstitutional

PNN/ Washington/

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) won a lawsuit on behalf of a speech language pathologist who lost her job because she refused to sign a “No Boycott of Israel” clause.

The CAIR Legal Defense Fund filed the lawsuit in December 2018 challenging Texas Anti-BDS Act, H.B. 89. This afternoon Judge Pitman of the Western District of Texas issued a 56-page opinion striking down H.B. 89, the Texas Anti-BDS Act, as facially unconstitutional.

According to CAIR, the Court held that the Texas Anti-BDS Act “threatens to suppress unpopular ideas” and “manipulate the public debate” on Israel and Palestine “through coercion rather than persuasion.”  The Court concluded: “This the First Amendment does not allow.”

Every single “No Boycott of Israel” clause in every single state contract in Texas has today been stricken as unconstitutional.  The Attorney General of Texas is no longer permitted to include or enforce “No Boycott of Israel” clauses in any state contract.

“We thank our legal team for this major victory and we thank the community for supporting this work,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, saying they are gearing up for the fights in the other 26 states where anti-BDS laws have been passed and we are certain that we are on the right side of the constitution and history.

“Arabic-speaking schoolchildren in Texas have been deprived of critical services from Bahia Amawi for almost this entire schoolyear because of this unconstitutional law,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri.  “Today we welcome a victory for the First Amendment.”

“This is a complete victory of the First Amendment against Texas’s attempts to suppress speech in support of Palestine,” said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas.  “More importantly, it’s a complete victory for all Texans, to engage in political speech without government censorship.”

“The First Amendment blocks any effort by state governments or the federal government from forcing their citizens to take sides in the widespread international debate about the relationship between Israel and Palestine,” said CAIR Trial Attorney Carolyn Homer.  “This is a lesson all public servants should remember when considering Anti-BDS measures around the country.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

On Prisoner’s Day: Over 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails

 PHROC- PNGO/ Ramallah/

Palestinian prisoners at the prisons of the Occupation called off their open hunger strike, which had lasted for eight days, as they made victory by getting their basic rights, after a series of systematic violations that they are subjected to. The violations had aimed to place the Palestinian prisoners under more constraints in detention especially after the publication of the recommendations of the committee that was formed by the Occupation’s Minister of Internal Security.

On the anniversary of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, statistics of ADDAMEER Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association tell us that at the end of March 2019, the number of Palestinian male and female prisoners at the prisons of the Occupation was 5,450 including 497 administrative detainees, 49 female prisoners, 7 members of the parliament – Palestinian Legislative Council –, 205 children prisoners (including 32 less than 16 years of age). According to DCI-P the Occupation forces have arrested 10,000 Palestinian children since 2000. They were tried before military courts that lacked the basis of fair trial rights. Detained Palestinian children are subject to torture and inhumane treatment while at custody or during interrogations. This violates all international norms and conventions related to children. Children prisoners are locked up at separate sections at Ofer Prison, Majeddo Prison, and Damon Prison. A number of children prisoners have recently been transferred to Damon Prison, which lack basichuman living conditions.

Many male and female prisoners at the Occupation prisons suffer from medical negligence, which exacerbates their health conditions. According to Hurryyat – Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights the number of sick prisoners at occupation prisons is more than 750, including 350 with chronic diseases, 7 have cancer, 8 have tumors, 23 have eye diseases, 30 have heart diseases, 24 have hypertension and diabetes, 5 have cardiovascular diseases, 11 with disability, 37 have osteopathy, 12 have kidney diseases, 28 have internal medicinal diseases, 23 have psychological and mental diseases, 18 have breathing difficulties, and 61 have bullet wounds.

Recommendations of Occupation’s Internal Security Minister Committee “Erdan’s Committee”

The Occupation’s Internal Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, formed a special committee in June 2018 which includes Knesset members and the intelligence agency. The purpose of the committee was to assess the conditions of detention of Palestinian prisoners at Occupation prisons and identify means of reducing such conditions to the minimum stage. The committee reviewed the conditions of Palestinian prisoners and paid visits to prisons. Then the committee recommended to impose more restrictions on prisoners at Occupation prisons. Hence, the Occupation authorities started systematic attacks on prisoners, which were justified by the recommendations of the committee.

Female Palestinian Prisoners were the First to be hit by the Punitive Measures

Cameras were switched back on at Hasharon Prison – the cameras were switched off for many years following an agreement between female prisoners and the prison administration in 2011. Naturally, Palestinian female prisoners refused the switching of the cameras back on and refused to go on their recreational time for two months. This was part of the punitive measures that followed the Committee’s recommendations – Erdan’s Committee actually visited Hasharon Prison where Palestinian female prisoners are detained.

Female prisoners also sent a letter in which they wrote that all recreational areas are covered by cameras; hence, they would not go to such areas and switching the cameras back on restricted the prisoners’ privacy. On September 20, 2018, the Occupation’s intelligence proposed switching off cameras for two and a half hours so that female prisoners can have their recreational time. Prisoners refused since the time was insufficient. Consequently, the prisoners were threatened to be transferred to Damon Prison because they refused the Occupation intelligence offer of switching cameras off for two and a half hours. The offer of switching the cameras off for two and a half hours was withdrawn. Prisoners’ protests against operating the cameras went on for two months. As a result, they were all transferred to Damon Prison, which lacks the minimumhumanlife conditions. That happened in the first week of November 2018.

Special Units Raid Prisons and Oppress Prisoners

The prisons administration launched provocative and sudden inspection campaigns at several prisons. This was part of the decision to impose more restrictions on prisoners. This was applying by mainly breaking into prisons by special units especially at Ofer Prison, Naqab Prison, and Rimon Prison. This included attacks on prisoners at Ofer and beating them with sticks, legs, and arms. Military dogs were also used in the raids against prisons, as well as rubber bullets, teargas, and stun grenades. Prison cells were damaged in many sections and prisoners’ belongings were ransacked. This was followed by tension at Naqab Prison and Rimon Prison ensued by the installation of cell jammer devices that affected some sections at Naqab and Rimon prisons and prisoners’ use of cellular phones, radio, and television. This deprived prisoners of the only means available to communicate with the world outside prison. The oppression led to injuring several prisoners and some ended up hospitalized. Until this moment, Palestinian prisoners still suffer from their wounds since they did not get the necessary treatment and suffer intentional medical negligence from the occupation authority. The recent breaking into prisons also led to taking several punitive measures against prisoners such as transfer from one prison to another, solitary confinement of some prisoners, banning prisoners from meeting their lawyers, ban on family visits, and imposing big fines on them.

Battle of Karameh 2: Prisoners’ Legitimate Step against Restriction

Prisoners went on open hunger strike, so that their legitimate demands could be met. The strike was launched after negotiations about living conditions in prisons between prisoners’ representatives and prison administration failed. This occurred especially when more restrictions were imposed on prisoners. Prisoners wanted to return to the situation that preceded the implementation of Erdan Committee’s recommendations. Prisoners also submitted several demands to end their hunger strike, including:

  • Cancelation of Erdan Committee’s recommendationsincluding imposing more restrictions on prisoners especially with respect to food, cantina, prison recreational time, books, and education. Prisoners said that food rations were reduced after Erdan Committee’s recommendations were implemented as well as restrictions on education and availability of books. Many educational books were confiscated from a number of prisons and all textbooks were later banned. This meant that prisoners’ families could not bring books to their detained sons and daughters.
  • Removal of all cell jamming devices that the prison administration had installed at Rimon and Naqab prisons.
  • Install public phones at prisons’ sections to ensure prisoners’ natural right is guaranteed by international conventions and treaties to be able to communicate with their families and the outside world.
  • Cancel the ban of visits to hundreds of prisoners and end collective punishments imposed by prison managements since 2014[1].
  • End punitive measures recently imposed by Prison Authority especially those imposed in the aftermath of the campaigns of raids and oppression against prisoners at Naqab, Ofer, and Rimon prisons, and the return of prisoners to the sections they were transferred from.
  • Ensure humanitarian conditions at the Mi’bar[2]and improve means of transportation of prisoners, especially sick prisoners.
  • Transfer Palestinian female prisoners to a different prison where humanitarian conditions are available. There are 49 female prisoners and they are all imprisoned at Damon Prison, which lacks even the minimal life conditions. Damon Prison was previously a tobacco warehouse and a stable for horses. Hence, the structure of the prison was originally designed to be humid inside; it was never meant to accommodate human beings.
  • Enhance prison conditions of children prisoners
  • End medical negligence policy and ensure treatment for the sick prisoners and those who were wounded during recent attacks on prisoners.
  • End solitary confinement policy: Prison administration places Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement for security or psychological reasons or as punitive measures for disciplinary violations at prison. A prisoner is placed in a cell where the only possession allowed in is clothes. There is also a mattress and blanket. Solitary confinement can be based on a court order since the law allows the military courts to sentence prisoners to 6 months in solitary confinement. The courts may also sentence a prisoner to 12 months in a cell with another prisoner. The courts can extend the solitary confinement for additional periods and for indefinite periods.

Actually, to officers of the Israeli Prison Authority use solitary confinement policy against Palestinian prisoners; especially the leaders, as punitive measure to destabilize them and to deprive them of the right to communicate with the world outside prison and with their families. The officers of the Israeli Prison Authority also use solitary confinement against prisoners to subdue them and to weaken their capacity to organize, divide them, and incapacitate their ability to organize their fight for the rights that are guaranteed for the prisoners of war and freedom fighters in Third Geneva Convention and the Fourth Geneva Convention and other human rights conventions.

Administrative Detention: Detention without Charges or Trial

The arbitrary Occupation policy against Palestinian prisoners does not stop at detention conditions. It also affects administrative detainees who are placed in detention arbitrarily, which violates international conventions and treaties. The Occupation forces use administrative detention systematically and illegally. Palestinians are detained without charges or trial on the basis of a secret file or evidence that the prisoners or the prisoners’ lawyer have no access to. According to Israeli military orders, administrative detention can be renewed indefinitely; however, each administrative detention order is a maximum of six months that can be renewed. There are six Palestinian prisoners who are on an open hunger strike in protest against administrative detention policy. They demand an end to their administrative detention. They are Hasan Ewiwi, Husam al-Ruza (al-Ruza started a hunger strike on March 20, 2019) and currently detained at Eshel Prison. Khaled Faraj and Mohammad Tabanja are two administrative detainees who started an open hunger strike on March 26, 2019; they are in solitary confinement at Naqab Prison. Dahood Odwan started a hunger strike on March 1, 2019 and Oda al-H’roob has been on hunger strike since April 2, 2019.

Occupation authority bans the prisoners who are on hunger strike from any communication with the world outside prison and imposes restrictions on the visits of their lawyers. Hence, the Occupation authority pays no attention whatsoever to their basic right to meet and consult with a lawyer, which is guaranteed by international conventions and agreements.

The Fourth Geneva Convention and other international standards of fair trial procedures stress banning the use of administrative detention as an alternative to trial. This confirms that administrative detention, as used by the Occupation, is arbitrary detention and inconsistent with international laws and norms.

[1]Increasingrestrictions on Palestinian prisoners has occurred frequently including in 2014 when three Israeli settlers disappeared in the West Bank and during the recent war on Gaza. Many of the prisoners’ rights were restricted such as banning family visits to a number of prisoners or making such visits intermittent or irregular. Gaza prisoners face increasing restrictions on visits by their families making such visits bimonthly rather than monthly. The number of satellite channels prisoners could watch in prison was reduced to 3 out of 10. The prison yard walk time was reduced to two hours per day and shopping at the cantina limit was reduced from NIS 1,200 to a maximum of NIS 800.

[2]This is the prison where Palestinian prisoners are held while being transferred from one prison to another.

WHO demands protection of health workers, facilities amid Gaza protests

Gaza/PNN/

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the protection of Palestinian paramedics and medical facilities in the Gaza Strip in the wake of mass protests along the fence separating the besieged coastal enclave and the Israeli-occupied territories.

WHO said on Saturday that it had recorded an unprecedented 446 attacks on health workers in the Gaza Strip ever since anti-occupation protests started in the sliver early last year, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

These attacks had resulted in the deaths of 3 health workers and injured 731 others, it said. A total of 104 ambulances and six other forms of health transport, in addition to five health facilities and one hospital, had been damaged as well, it added.

WHO further noted that health workers faced substantial obstacles to carry out their work as they might get struck or their access to injured protesters was hampered. Additionally, being witness to such events could significantly affect the mental health of health workers and their work, it said.

Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.

More than 270 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. Over 16,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, 2018, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided with a US decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

On June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, which condemned Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.

The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.

The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

It also called for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.”

Paramedic’s father: My son thought he wouldn’t be shot wearing his vest

PNN/ Bethlehem/

A young paramedic volunteer on Wednesday morning was killed by Israeli fire during clashes that broke out in Dehehisheh refugee camp south of Bethlehem, central West Bank, wearing his medical relief uniform.

The father of the martyr Sajed Mezher, Abdul-Hakeem Mezher narrated to PNN the last moments of the martyr’s life and his determination to extend a helping hand to the wounded youths in the clashes.

The father of the martyr said that he woke up at dawn and was preparing his sons to go to their schools. Among them was the martyr Sajed, who was studying for a university exam. At the outbreak of clashes, Sajed insisted on going out and helping the injured with the paramedic crews.

“I begged him not to leave, I told him that the soldiers wouldn’t care if he was wearing a medical vest or not, but he insisted on going. He thought they wouldn’t shoot someone wearing a medical vest,” the father said.

“He told me that he cannot abandon the wounded at this moment, saying he was trained to provide humanitarian aid at times like this. He told me not to worry and that he was protected under international law wearing his official uniform… but he was still shot and killed.”

Popular committees announced a general strike following the killing of Mizher, who was buried in his last resting place at the Martyr’s Cemetery in Irtas village.

Clashes also broke out at the northern entrance of Bethlehem following the funeral.

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society ni a statement said Sajed was shot in the abdomen with live ammunition as he was performing his duty, in his first aid uniform, during a raid by Israeli force on the camp; he later succombed to his wounds at the hospital, and called on its partners to condemn unequivocally this “severe violation of international humanitarian law by Israel and to demand the immediate cessation of attacks on medical personnel and other protected persons.”

Video: Group of Israeli settlers attack Palestinian woman & her son

PNN/ Hebron/

A group of Israeli settlers on Saturday evening attacked a Palestinian woman and her son in the area of Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron’s old city, southern West Bank.

According to local and security sources, a group of settlers living in the settlement outpost of Tel Rumeida attacked a lady and her son, from the Qaqour family, beating and assaulting them while they were in the vicinity of their home.

It is noteworthy that Tel Rumeida is located opposite the Ibrahimi Mosque and overlooks the center of the city, where Israeli settlers took over houses and reside there, while Israeli army controls all entrances to the neighborhood.

Palestinian citizens are exposed to daily attacks by the occupation and settlers in an attempt to pressure them to leave their homes and lands for settlement expansion.

Eight thousand people for One Voice : The Free Movement Marathon runs for Palestine

Bethlehem/PNN/

Thousands of Palestinians and internationals from 76 countries ran together for the 7th annual Free Movement Marathon on Friday morning in Bethlehem city and the surrounding areas.

The massive participation to this unique event, which is increasing its numbers of participants every year, seems to confirm the growing interest that brings internationals to the Holy Land to run in the name of freedom.

“We are proud to take part in the Palestine Marathon for the year 2019. Running for freedom, running for Palestine conveys a strong message from Palestinians to the world. In Bethlehem, you run in circles to avoid obstacles and barrier. At the Palestine Marathon, we run for Palestine”, said EU Representative Ralph Tarraf.

Whether participants run for the family race (5-kilometer race), the 10-kilometer race or the 21-kilometer race, the city life stops from the early morning turning the streets into one global itinerary that starts from the main square passing through the Aida Refugee camp and al-Khader village.

Since the occupied territories in the West Bank are facing a growing international tourism flow, the Marathon contributes to enlighten the international attention to the struggle of Palestine. Running freely out of the ordinary tourist tracks, breaking into a refugee camp and running alongside the separation wall, make internationals see through their own eyes how the territory is actually shaped from the occupation.

Furthermore, a group of Palestinians from the Aida Refugee camp and international volunteers joined the marathon through a pacific protest against the Israeli occupation, starting from one of the Israeli watchtower near the camp.

The right of movement is one of the basic human rights that every human should have. The illegal occupation of West Bank and Gaza is denying it to Palestinians that keep on raising their voices in the name of a free Palestine.

Singing for their prisoners, singing for their lands Palestinians demonstrate an immeasurable love for their homeland and the strength to keep on fighting for their freedom.

EU for Palestine: The EU and Member States join the Palestine Marathon

Runners from the European Union (EU), EU Member States and Norway yesterday joined thousands of Palestinians running the Palestine Marathon organized in Bethlehem. The EU team of around 600 participants ran under the theme “EU for Palestine”.

Europeans from Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, joined forces to form one team with one theme: EU4Palestine. This is the second year an EU team participates in the Marathon to support Palestinians in shedding light on basic human rights, including the right to move.

“We are proud to take part in the Palestine Marathon for the year 2019. Running for freedom, running for Palestine conveys a strong message from Palestinians to the world. In Bethlehem, you run in circles to avoid obstacles and barriers. At the Palestine Marathon, we run for Palestine,” said EU Representative Ralph Tarraf.

The Palestine Marathon is organized by the Palestine Olympic Committee (POC).

The objective of the POC pursuit in the Palestine Marathon is to focus the lens on the basic right of freedom of movement in Palestine.