[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Palestine and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Palestine Page co-editors or of Jadaliyya.]
The Occupation Forces
Today, 14 December 2020, Al-Haq Organization launches a new report “DEPRIVED A VOICE: An Investigation into Shrinking Space in Area C” which examines the daily harassment of human rights defenders by the Israeli Occupying Force (IOF) and Israeli settlers illegally transferred in to colonize the West Bank, in the area classified under the Oslo Accords as Area C. In doing so, the report examines how human rights defenders, including human rights field workers, journalists, medical personnel and volunteers, are targeted and silenced in Area C, in an attempt by Israel to shrink Palestinian space for critical human rights work.
Dozens of students and teachers suffered from teargas inhalation today, Thursday, as a result of the Israeli occupation forces firing teargas canisters, inside the courtyard of the Anin Secondary School, west of Jenin. Local sources reported that the occupation forces fired tear gas bombs inside the school yard, which led to the injury of dozens of students and teachers in cases of suffocation and panic, and a number of teachers worked to provide first aid to them, apart from the chaos they caused, which affected the educational process.
In an October report, HaMoked, an Israeli human rights organization that campaigns against Israel’s abuses of Palestinians living under occupation, details Israel’s arrest of Palestinian children from the moment the Israeli military seizes them from their homes to the moment the captured children arrive at an interrogation facility. The group collected affidavits from 81 Palestinian boys arrested between August 2018 and December 2019, a small sample of the 500 to 700 children Israel detains every year. HaMoked found that the vast majority of the boys were arrested between 11 pm and 5 am. Furthermore, it found that almost all pre-planned arrests were done at night. Night arrests, which HaMoked says the Israeli military conducts mostly as a “measure of first resort,” do not offer children the option to come into custody on their own. When it comes to Palestinian children, Israel “routinely uses the harshest and most injurious measure at its disposal,” according to the Israeli human rights organization.
The health charity Medical Aid for Palestinians issued an urgent call on Monday for boosted emergency funding to Gaza. The number of COVID-19 cases in the besieged territory has increased by more than 65 percent over the past three weeks, the charity stated, “stretching the capacity of Gaza’s beleaguered health system.” Testing capacity is limited to around 2,000 tests per day and the health ministry in the territory temporarily ran out earlier this month. While the World Health Organization made an emergency shipment of kits, health authorities said they amount to only one week’s worth of supplies. The provision of a “predictable flow of testing kits and supplies remains a major challenge,” WHO recently announced. The world body has been “a main supplier of testing kits to Gaza, which will be unsustainable in the long-run.” WHO added that “additional resources are needed from the international community.”
Former Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal announced on Tuesday that his movement is holding internal elections shortly, stating that these elections are held every four years. In an interview with Al-Resalah newspaper, Meshaal explained: "Hamas renews its shura and executive councils every four years." He added: "The internal elections have been treated as a holy issue by Hamas, believing this is the legal way to lead and run the movement based on the choice of its basis and depth." Meshaal noted that the internal elections will be held in the coming months and all of its institutions will be renewed, emphasising that: "Any elected leadership is trusted and respected by everyone." Meanwhile, he said that his movement, in cooperation with other national partners, has maintained Palestinian constants, including Jerusalem and the right of return.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kamal Al-Shakhra confirmed that the health situation is dangerous and Palestine is on the verge of a health disaster, in light of the significant increase in the number of injuries and deaths from the “Corona” virus, indicating that cases can increase on a daily basis, to 2000 or 3000, and the main reason is lack of commitment. Al-Shakhra added that the number of deaths yesterday reached 23 deaths without the city of Jerusalem, pointing out that the epidemiological curve in all closed governorates of the homeland is escalating, indicating that 80% of the governorates are escalating in the epidemic curve.
Hamas will not concede one inch of the land of Palestine, member of Hamas' political bureau, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, said yesterday. Al-Zahar said in an interview with Dunia Al-Watan news site that Hamas has participated in the legislative elections as a "necessity" to change the reality and make reforms. "Hamas did not accept the international quartet's demands and give up its principles and objectives," he said, adding that this was a sign of "success". The movement's actions, he explained, had ensured that Gaza and the West Bank remained part of one state and were not separated. "Hamas's history is full of achievements and success," he said, noting that "it did not fail”.
Palestinian and Sahrawi activists have expressed their hope for greater cooperation and solidarity in the wake of the Israel-Morocco normalisation deal, which saw the US recognise Rabat's sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara. Morocco's move this week to establish diplomatic ties with Israel has been greeted with outrage by Palestinians, coming on the heels of similar recognition deals involving the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. It has also highlighted the joint struggle for sovereignty and recognition faced by both the Palestinians and Sahrawis against the powerful militaries of Israel and Morocco. Though links have been made for decades between the two struggles - Rabat claimed Western Sahara in 1957 - those ties have largely been neglected by much of the Palestinian leadership in recent years as it remained close to the Moroccan government.
The United States has brokered four normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states in recent months and marketed them as peace treaties. The Trump administration used a mix of intimidation and incentives to achieve some of these deals. Last week, Morocco became the latest Arab state to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, normalizing years of clandestine relations between the two countries.
Ms Wimborne-Idrissi says that Jewish critics of Israel in the UK are denied the right to speak freely. "We are being no-platformed, we are being cancelled, we are being denied the freedom to express legitimate points of view. People who care about civil liberties, human rights, freedom of speech....all these people should be up in arms about what is happening to Jeremy Corbyn and his associates in the Labour Party. So far they are silent." Ms Wimborne-Idrissi has recently been suspended from membership of the Labour party, apparently for supporting Corbyn's view that allegations of antisemitism in the Labour party have been exaggerated.
Bahrain demonstrated this month how indifferent it is to the negative impacts on Palestinians. On a visit to Israel, the country’s trade minister, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, said Bahrain was open to importing products from Israel wherever they were manufactured. “We have no issue with labelling or origin,” he said. The comment suggested that Manama was ready to become a gateway for Israel to export settlement products to the rest of the Arab world, helping to bolster the settlements’ legitimacy and economic viability. Bahrain’s trade policy with Israel would then be even laxer than that of the European Union, a top trade partner for Israel. The EU’s feeble guidelines recommend the labelling of settlement products.
Despite their divergences, France and Britain are following eerily similar scripts when it comes to the Middle East. Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, has generally struck the same poses toward al-Sisi as Macron. Johnson is committed to maintaining a “strong partnership” with Egypt on “security” matters, his press team announced during the autumn. Speaking of “strong partnerships,” Egypt has teamed up with Israel to enforce a medieval siege on Palestinians in Gaza for more than a decade. Britain and France both voice “concern” about the plight of the Palestinians every so often. Their “concern” is negated by their actions.
Phillip Weiss argues that “endorsing BDS is not just a provocation. It is an endorsement of human rights, and of what Palestinians have asked non-Palestinians to do for them. They have been asking for such help for 15 years through unending settlement expansion, segregation and routine slaughters — that Americans for Peace Now and J Street have done nothing to end despite all their best efforts. Boycott is merely the most obvious natural political tool that exists. Just look at how the American Jewish Committee celebrates the use of boycott to battle American segregationists in the 1960s. American Jews are in denial of what Israel is. They think it is a Jewish and democratic state, whatever that could mean. Americans for Peace Now and J Street are part of that structural denial.”
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Suhail Khaliliya, director of the settlement monitoring unit at the ARIJ Institute, said that the occupation’s plans to legalize 70 settlement outposts in the West Bank are located in strategic areas, aiming to link settlements and create geographical barriers between the Palestinian territories. Khaliliya emphasized that the occupation aims to link the settlements from “Ariel” settlement established on citizens ’lands in Salfit Governorate to the Jordan Valley, in addition to linking outposts located in the areas between the annexation wall and the 1948 lands.
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements (nbprs) stated in its latest weekly report , that several indicators on the ground show that Israel has lifted the annexation plan from the table only to deceive the public opinion and the International Community, at a time when the infrastructure for the annexation project is implemented through ‘bypassing annexation’ settlement units, and streets among the settlements aiming to turn the West Bank by 2045 into a “new Galilee”.
A Palestinian man, Abdul Fattah Ebayyat (37) on Wednesday night was found bruised and killed while working at Gilo settlement. The family of the man confirmed that he died after a group of settlers attacked him while he was at work. According to a statement carried by journalists, the family confirmed that the man was found in a residential building in Gilo settlement, with bruises and scars on his body, and a rope wrapped around his neck.
Israeli settlers on Thursday morning uprooted 250 olive seedlings in the village of Kisan, east of Bethlehem, central West Bank. The deputy head of Kisan village council, Ahmed Ghazal, told the official agency that the settlers of “Ibi Hanhal”, which are located on the citizens’ lands, uprooted 250 olive seedlings from the lands west of the village, owned by Ayoub Yousef Ebayyat, and stole them, knowing that he planted them about two weeks ago. It is noteworthy that the settlers have escalated their attack against the people of the village, the latest of which they attacked citizens’ homes and throwing stones at them, and attacking sheep shepherds and attacking them with predatory dogs yesterday.
Palestinian authorities condemned Israel's expansionist and aggressive policy in occupied East Jerusalem early Wednesday, reports Anadolu Agency. Israel aims to create a new reality that makes realizing the two-state solution and Palestine's sovereignty over its territories impossible, said Palestinian Presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina in a statement. The Tel Aviv administration is targeting around 30 Palestinian families in East Jerusalem who were ordered to be evicted from their homes in favor of far-right Jewish settler associations, said Abu Rudeina. He also called on the international community to urgently intervene and take concrete and immediate measures to deter Israel and stop its violations.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
In a press conference which took place in the German Theatre building in Berlin near parliament on Thursday, leaders of some of Germany’s most prestigious cultural organisations expressed their dismay at what they said was becoming a culture of fear amid shrinking spaces for public speech on Israel and Palestine. Israel boycott: What is the BDS movement? Read More » The focus of the press conference was a non-binding parliamentary resolution, adopted by a large majority on May 2019, which condemned the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel as “antisemitic” and compared it to the Nazi regime’s demands not to buy from Jews. The resolution also called for denying public funding and public spaces to individuals and organisations who support BDS. The German government never formally adopted the parliament’s resolution, and a verdict of the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) in June saw French BDS activists successfully appeal a decision by Paris to fine them for their activities.
In this context, it is concerning that the government is reaching for coercive measures to force reluctant universities to implement the working definition. This fits into the government’s long-term commitment to target Palestine solidarity activism and to undermine civil liberties. Its counter-extremism agenda does exactly that, as do the repeated failed attempts by the Tories to criminalise the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement. This is not the first time the government has levied such pressure on universities. In 2017, Jo Johnson, then the universities minister, asked Universities UK to disseminate the IHRA definition system-wide, specifically targeting the annual Israeli Apartheid Week events on campuses across the country.
Law & Prisons
This morning, Wednesday, the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs Authority reported that the prisoner, Ahmed Abu Sariya, from Jenin Camp, had been infected with the Covid-19. The authority stated that the prisoner Abu Sariya was arrested early this month, and detained at the “Huwara” detention center, and there he had a Coronavirus test which was positive, meaning that the prisoner was infected with the virus. The authority added that the occupation prisons administration had transferred Abu Sariya to isolation.
Environment, Economy, and Other
Whoever accesses this database will realise not only the great injustices inflicted upon the Palestinian people but also how much Israel has profited from Palestinian refugee property. The database includes 210,000 owners and 540,000 parcels of land, and it was mainly built up using British land and tax registries. This includes around 6,000 maps showing the locations of each parcel. In other words, we can fairly talk about 5.5 million dunums (1.359 million acres) of private Palestinian property in what is now Israel, excluding the Naqab, as it was not registered.
Yaseen Abu Odeh, a representative of the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development, noted that poverty has worsened in Gaza over the past year. “The pandemic has really hurt working women in Gaza, which is really tragic as many of them are the primary breadwinners for their families,” he said. “There are some employers who furloughed the contracts of many women or reduced their pay to less than the minimum wage.” Gaza’s minimum wage is only around $200 per month. About 84 percent of Gaza’s private sector workers received less than that amount in the period between July and September this year. Female unemployment reached 65 percent in Gaza during those months, compared to 44 percent for men, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has calculated.
A member of the Abu Dhabi royal family has purchased a nearly 50 percent stake in Beitar Jerusalem, Israel’s most notoriously racist football club. The club announced the sale on Monday after it was finalized between Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and his now co-owner Moshe Hogeg. The club called it a “historic and exciting day.” The Emirati royal has pledged to invest more than $90 million over the next decade, which the club said will be used for infrastructure and recruiting players, among other things. The club will form a new board of directors that will include Hamad Bin Khalifa’s son, Muhammad Bin Hamad Al Nahyan, who will be his father’s representative.
Culture & Art
The ancient religious holiday is one of the primary pre-Christmas traditions in the region and the village of Aboud has been the focal point of celebrations for hundreds of years. Located on the northern outskirts of Ramallah and home to about 2,200 residents, the village observes the event with much spirit and enthusiasm. The most widely held belief among residents about the origins of the day is that Aboud gave shelter and a final resting place to Saint Barbara, a Christian convert fleeing persecution some 1,700 years ago.
Report by Negotiations Affairs Department/ Ramallah/ From Jericho, the oldest city still inhabited, to the first place of religious pilgrimage in Jerusalem, Palestine’s geography has many of the world’s richest archeological sites. Palestine’s historical and cultural heritage is a source of national pride that has molded the country’s national, cultural, social, and economic identity. The Israeli occupation does not only deny Palestine’s cultural potential and other resources but has weaponized archeology as a political tool to normalize its occupation, annexation plans, looting of artifacts, and an extremist Zionist religious-fundamentalist and historically erroneous narrative.