Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians after Israeli authorities banned Palestinians under the age of 50 from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque for Laylat Al-Qadr in the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem, West Bank
At least two Palestinians were killed on Thursday evening during clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli occupation forces near the Qalandiya checkpoint, just north of occupied Jerusalem, Palestinian security sources said.
Media are reporting that Israeli occupation forces shot and killed Mohammed Al-Araj, 25 years old, and Majd Sufyan, 27 years old. Both were participating in a mass protest staged by at least 10,000 Palestinians when violent clashes broke out between them and Israeli occupation forces at the checkpoint that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank.
Hundreds were reportedly injured during the clashes, some of whom were shot with live ammunition.
In response to the killings, Palestinians have called for a “day of rage” with popular protests.
The Israeli army spokesperson told Agence France Presse that: “There are thousands of rioters there. They are rolling burning tyres and throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks at soldiers and border police.”
She said that the occupation forces were only using “riot disposal means” to control the protests, but witnesses confirmed to Al-Ghad newspaper that the soldiers fired live ammunition, tear gas bombs and rubber bullets at the protestors.
Azzun, Occupied Palestine – On Monday, July 21st, Israeli forces used Palestinian civilians as human shields in the village of Azzun, a village west of the city of Nablus.
On most evenings several Israeli jeeps are stationed just outside the Azzun’s north gate. At 10 o’clock in the evening on the night in question, approximately 15 soldiers entered the main square of the village.
Witnesses report that a few young men responded to this invasion by throwing stones at the jeeps from a distance of approximately 200 meters. The soldiers spent the next few minutes stopping cars on the road and began forcing the drivers to arrange their cars in a circle. The soldiers then forced these residents of Azzun to surrender their keys. The occupants of the cars included women and children. They were very frightened and the soldiers did not allow them to leave. The Israeli forces positioned themselves inside the circle formed by the cars, began to fire tear gas at the youths, and knelt behind the civilian occupants of the cars as to protect themselves.
Israeli forces have a long history of using Palestinian civilians as human shields. From the years 2000 to 2005, they admitted to using human shields more than 1,200 times. This practice was banned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 2005, but human rights groups have accused the Israeli army of continuing to use it. During the Gaza massacre of 2008-2009 Israeli occupation forces were accused by Amnesty International, as well as former Israeli soldiers, of using Palestinian children as human shields.
During Operation Brother’s Keeper, Palestinians reported numerous incidents of looting by Israeli soldiers. Here’s the first case we documented
During Operation Brother’s Keeper, Israeli soldiers invaded thousands of houses in the West Bank, on the pretext of looking for the kidnapped teenagers. These raids allow us to get a quick picture of the differences between Palestinians living under Israeli control and Israeli citizens.
For instance, were someone to be kidnapped in Petah Tikva, no one would imagine placing the city under curfew, prevent its denizens from traveling abroad, and carry out “searches” in random apartments, without the need to show the residents a legal search warrant.
Yet that is precisely what happened to Wasafia Sadeq Othman Salah Khater, a senior citizen living in the village of Aqraba, on June 22nd, 2014. Around 02:30 AM, about a dozen soldiers knocked on her door, entering without explanation, and as she noted, without showing her any warrant. The soldiers found nothing, as there was nothing to be found; but for an hour they wreaked havoc in Khater’s house. Aside from her, the house was home to her pensioner husband and their eight sons.
The soldiers were not satisfied with ripping off the covering of the sofas and spreading out their contents, nor with the breaking of a closet door (one wonders what the hell the purpose of that was, aside from sadistic enjoyment): they did what the army will not speak of, and it seems they looted the house. At first, the soldiers stole an expensive wrist watch, worth some 700 NIS (some 200 USD). Then, they looted an envelope that Khater held on her body – a very reasonable thing to do, when strangers invade your home – which contained 15,000 NIS (some 4,400 USD) and 1,700 Jordanian dinars (about 2,400 USD).
Even if this had been a legal confiscation, and as the soldiers did not leave Khater any receipt it wasn’t, Khater has no reasonable way of getting the money back: as we’ve seen, in order to do so she would have to appeal to the Israeli HCJ. But as she didn’t receive any written confirmation, this wasn’t a confiscation. Later on, looking through the house, Khater found out that the soldiers went off with her purse, containing 400 NIS. Looting, we’ll remind you, is a war crime, and while the Israeli military law does not recognize war crimes, it does punish looting with up to 10 years imprisonment.
Khater’s husband is a pensioner; she herself is a housewife. The money they have comes from their children. It was several soldiers who looted them; they were commanded by an officer who either did not know what took place, in which case he is unfit for command, or knew and turned a blind eye, in which case he is unfit for command and should spend time in prison with his looting soldiers; either way, he has command responsibility for their actions.
But the chances that he will be prosecuted are practically nil. The rate of indictment of soldiers is near zero. And after all, this incident took place as the national brain was suffused with blood.
Israelis have grown accustomed to excusing away everything done by IDF soldiers, up to and including the killing of children. The only things they can’t explain away yet are intentional attacks on animals and looting. Nobody can claim that looting makes any operational sense; no one can claim it is not a crime – and one of the most serious in the Israeli military law. Therefore, the IDF and the Israeli media, which has grown very good at not challenging the Israeli way of thinking, simply don’t speak about it.
So if you still have any expectations of war ethics from the IDF, promote this post. Because the mainstream media will not mention this case of looting – or the other cases we will document.
Three Israeli suspects who have confessed to the gruesome killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was abducted in East Jerusalem and later burnt to death, are going to plead “temporary insanity”, according to Haaretz. Mohammed’s father guessed as much last week, when asked whether he trusted Israel’s judicial system: “I think they will say that [the murderers] were insane and give them a year or two and that’s all.”
That’s not because Hussein Abu Khdeir has incredible prescience; it’s because this is how it works in Israel. Palestinians who kill Israelis are terrorists, and Israelis who kill Palestinians are either heroes, if they are doing it in an official capacity, or deeply damaged individuals on the “fringes of society”, if they act on their own. Either way, they are not meaningfully held to account.
As Hussein also implies, the three, if convicted, will probably get a lenient sentence and then be pardoned when the fuss dies down in a year or two.
Notice also that the three other suspects arrested last week have been released, even though the police say they were part of the cell believed to have organised the kidnapping. So why not charge them with conspiracy to murder, or membership of a terrorist organisation, or one of the other charges that would be used if the suspects were Palestinian, including Palestinian citizens of Israel?
And here’s another question: how can we take seriously a claim of “temporary insanity” among an organised group (“a cell”) that has a wider membership and whose creation presumably predated the general mood of revenge that permeated Israeli society following news that three Israeli teens had been abducted on June 12? What was this cell organised to do if not to harm Palestinians? And if this is the case, how can “insanity” apply to the group collectively and how can it be termed “temporary”?
I expect none of these questions to be addressed, let alone answered, in the trial – assuming, of course, we get one and this is not hushed up in a closed hearing at which they are committed to psychiatric care.
Instead, Israeli officials will doubtless assent to the deranged notion of “insanity” propagated by the far-right legal group, Honenu, defending the three suspects. It says:
Given the crazy, abnormal situation in the country, it’s natural that among the many people who approach us, some have been emotionally scarred by the security situation or by difficult personal circumstances and responded accordingly.
Remember, “accordingly” here refers to a decision to abduct a child, force-feed him a flammable liquid and then set him on fire. Maybe “insanity” in this case has a much wider application than just to three individuals.
RAMALLAH – Settlers attacked Palestinian villagers in Ramallah and Nablus late Sunday and early Monday, locals said.
Witnesses told Ma’an that settlers began hurling stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling near the illegal Halamish settlement, located opposite the village of Deir Nidam.
Israeli forces were present at the scene and opened fire at the villagers, locals said.
On Sunday, settlers from Halamish attempted to raid the nearby Nabi Saleh village but were blocked by locals.
Meanwhile, fierce clashes broke out late Sunday between Palestinians and settlers in the Nablus village of Einabus.
Dozens of settlers from Yizhar raided the village and attempted to attack houses, but were chased away by villagers.
Israeli military vehicles arrived at the scene and fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian residents, lightly injuring several people.
In 2013, there were 399 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Nearly all settler attacks go unpunished by Israeli authorities.
The families of the three Israeli teens killed by their abductors have been the focus of a huge outpouring of national sympathy.
But what about the family of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burnt alive by his abductors? How have they been treated by Israel since the devastating news of Muhammad’s murder in Jerusalem last week?
Here, in short, is what has happened to them.
They have been subjected to a campaign, secretly waged by the Israeli police, to discredit them by suggesting that Muhammad was a closet gay and killed in a family feud.
The father and close relatives have been forced to submit to intense and distressing questioning in police cells from the Israeli security services, all in an attempt to give greater plausibility to their planted rumours with “confessions” from the family.
And now it emerges that a 15-year-old cousin of Muhammad’s, visiting for the summer from the US, was the victim in video footage of a savage beating by armed Israeli police. They kicked and punched him relentlessly after he was cuffed and lying on the ground. He is still under arrest, apparently without charge.
The US state department – so eloquent in denouncing the killing of the three Israeli teens – is apparently lost for words when it comes to the mistreatment of one of its citizens.
Here is the horrifying video of Tarek Abu Khdeir’s beating:
Is this what Netanyahu meant when he said of Israel’s response to the abductions: “The devil himself has not yet created vengeance for the blood of a small child”?
Initial autopsy reports reveal that 16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, was still breathing when he was burnt after being assaulted by his Israeli kidnappers.
Forensic studies found chars in the lungs, indicating that Muhammad was still breathing while he was being burned, according to WAFA. 90% of the child’s body was burned, varying from 1st to 4th degree in severity.
The child was also beaten on the head, as signs of beating and concussion were clear.
The Palestinian Forensic Center has taken samples and tissues from the body, to be submitted for further analysis before a final detailed report can be revealed, according to Arabs48.
16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir was abducted from outside his home, in the Shu’fat district of occupied East Jerusalem, by a group of Israelis who forced him into a car and sped off.
The teen’s burned body was found hours later in a vacant lot in another part of the city, sparking protests in his home neighborhood which are ongoing at the time of this report.
Over 200 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli army fire in ongoing clashes with Israeli soldiers, in different parts of occupied Jerusalem and nearby towns, following the abduction.
His funeral was held Friday, amidst further clashes with Israeli forces.
Photo by a villager from Qarawat Bani Hassan
Qarawat Bani Hassan, Occupied Palestine – At 9 o’clock in the evening of July 2nd, Israeli forces invaded the small Palestinian village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, approximately 10 km northwest of Salfit in the northern half of the West Bank.
They approached the mosque in the center of town and fired tear gas and stun grenades inside. One witness described the scene as follows:
“There were maybe 500 people inside the mosque – many old men, women and children. The tear gas was horrible. It was difficult to breathe. The sound bombs were terrifying, and the children were so afraid.”
The motives of the soldiers remain mystifying, since the streets surrounding the mosque had been empty before the attack. “They just come here to make problems,” suggested one witness.
The occupants of the mosque escaped the tear gas, and clashes ensued on the nearby streets. Qasaam Mareh, a fourteen year old boy, was detained by the soldiers. According to witnesses, they interrogated and beat him, before they took him away in a jeep. Qasaam was held for approximately eighteen hours before finally being released the next day.
Ecostream issued the following statement this morning: “SodaStream confirms that the EcoStream store, located on Western Road in Brighton, closed earlier this week. Following the two year test period, the company has decided to focus its business efforts on other channels, specifically on retail distribution partnerships.”
John Lewis have also informed Corporate Watch today that they will no longer be stocking Sodastream products. According to John Lewis’ Senior Press officer: “John Lewis has stocked Sodastream for the past four years but in light of declining sales we’ve taken the decision to no longer stock the range”. Campaigners have demonstrated repeatedly outside John Lewis stores calling for the chain to discontinue its Sodastream range and for consumers to boycott Sodastream products.
In 2012, Israeli company Soda Club, which owns the Sodastream brandname, opened a new store called Ecostream on Western Road in Brighton.
Sodastream, a manufacturer of machines and refills for making fizzy drinks at home, has a factory in the Mishor Adumim settlement industrial zone. Mishor Adumim is an industrial area attached to the residential settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, East of Jerusalem in the Israeli occupied West Bank.
In 2013, Corporate Watch conducted interviews with Palestinian Bedouin who had been displaced from their land to make way for Mishor Adumim. One of them told us:
“We are not allowed to go near them [the factories]. They took our livelihood to build them and we got evacuated for them to build their factories. After they built them there were no resources to live from for us. The gains are nothing compared to what was lost. They destroyed our lives and then gave a few people a job. It is nothing”.
Since the store opened there have been demonstrations outside its doors on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Activists from Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, local trade unionists, university students from Palestine solidarity groups and more joined together with the aim of closing the shop down. As well as the weekly pickets, campaigners took the oppurtunity to use the space outside the store to highlight the daily aggression against Palestinians. They talked to the public about Israeli house demolitions, the illegal apartheid wall erected on Palestinian land and Israel’s use of drones to attack people in Gaza.
Mass marches have been held in Brighton against the store. During an Israeli attack on Gaza in 2012 one activist locked himself to the doors of the shop forcing them to close. Last week activists unfurled a huge ‘Free Palestine’ on the wall opposite the shop.
It soon became clear that the pressure was taking its toll and the store remained largely empty even on the busiest of shopping days.
The demonstrations against the store led the Israeli embassy to contact Sussex Police asking them to take measures against the demonstrators. A group called Sussex Friends of Israel formed and has been holding a counter-picket every Saturday. The Zionist and Christian Zionist demonstrators regularly shouted racial abuse at Muslim, Palestinian and Jewish activists opposing the shop. They regularly chanted that there was “no such thing as a Palestinian” and called Jewish activists “self-hating Jews”. In short, SFI used bullying tactics to intimidate people who attended the demonstrations. Their antics caused chaos outside the store every weekend and made it even less likely that people would do their shopping there.
The closure of the Ecostream store is a victory for people power against a corporation profiting from human suffering and shows that the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid, militarism and occupation is continuing to gather momentum.
Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign today issued the following statement:
“This campaign has taken the message about human rights abuses in occupied Palestine to the people of Brighton, and their response has been fantastic. They have made it clear that they do not want businesses from illegal Israeli settlements trading in their town. The closure of SodaStream’s so-called flagship UK store in Brighton is just one step in a campaign to send a clear message to the Israeli government and the international community that, at the grassroots level, people of conscience are taking action to force Israel to comply with international law and to bring about justice for the Palestinian people. We give notice to the other stockists of SodaStream products in the city that we will continue to take the message about SodaStream to the people of Brighton on behalf of the Palestinian people. Congratulations to the people of Brighton and Hove, who can tell the difference between ethical and unethical.”
A child was seriously wounded in the head when an Israeli settler ran her down Monday night as Israeli settlers marched through the city of Hebron demanding vengeance.
Sanabel Attous, 9, from Jab’a village southwest of Bethlehem was hit by an Israeli car which witnesses say deliberately ran her down.
She was taken to the Bethlehem Arab Society Hospital suffering serious fractures and bruises in the head, face and abdomen.
Eyewitnesses said the settler struck her intentionally, and left her in a ditch, on the side of the road without providing assistance to the wounded child, and left the scene.
Israeli troops closed all entrances to the city of Hebron and the village of Halhoul, near Hebron, where the bodies of three settlers were found on Monday.
Israeli extremists attacked two Palestinians in Jerusalem. A taxi driver was sprayed with pepper spray, and a second man was beaten by Israeli settlers in West Jerusalem.
Settlers across the West Bank have stepped up attacks on Palestinian civilians over the past 18 days, since 3 Israeli settlers disappeared.
When the bodies of the three settlers were found on Monday, Israeli settler leaders and Israeli government officials vowed revenge against the Palestinian people and particularly the Hamas party, though there has been no evidence linking the deaths of the three settlers to Hamas.
One former Israeli Knesset (Parliament) member posted a video Monday called Palestinian children “little terrorists”, and called for “Death to the enemy, evacuation, and wiping off of [their] smile”, according to a translation by the Electronic Intifada.
EI also quoted Tzachi Hanegbi, a former cabinet minister from the ruling Likud party, as saying, “I don’t know how many Hamas leaders will remain alive after tonight.”
HEBRON – Israeli forces in Hebron late Monday blew up the homes of two Palestinians Israel says are prime suspects in the kidnapping and killing of three teens who were found dead earlier that evening, witnesses said.
The two houses, which are both located in the same neighborhood in northwest Hebron, belong to the families of Marwan al-Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu Eisha, 33.
After Israeli forces in Halhul north of Hebron found three bodies presumed to be those of three Israeli teens who went missing on June 12, soldiers surrounded the houses, forcibly removed the families, and declared the area a closed military zone, locals said.
Witnesses said the homes were then blown up by explosives.
Locals had told Ma’an earlier that soldiers were preparing to demolish the homes.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that the homes “were not demolished,” but said Israeli forces searched the houses late Monday.
Military sources told Ma’an that soldiers used explosives to break down the doors of the houses, and that a fire caused by the one of the explosions “got a little out of control.”
Video footage, not independently verified by Ma’an, emerged showing an explosion in the Abu Eisha home as Israeli forces were stationed nearby.
Meanwhile, Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces, hurling empty bottles and stones at soldiers, who fired tear gas and stun grenades, locals said.
Entrances to Halhul and Hebron were shut down, witnesses added.
Israeli forces have killed six Palestinians in the West Bank military operation that followed the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers from the Gush Etzion settlement on June 12.
The Israeli army said on Thursday that it was still searching for Abu Eisha and al-Qawasmeh.
Abu Eisha’s family has denied the allegations.
About two weeks ago, we filed a petition to the HCJ, which is unusual even given the cases we regularly deal with; it deals with Kafkaesque behavior by the security forces. We are petitioning on behalf of Akhlas Sayel Mustafa A-Shatiyeh and her sister, Suhad Sayel Mustafa A-Shatiye.
The story of the sisters is unique. Akhlas was born blind, and their father – Sayel Jabara A-Shatiye – was killed in 2004 by a settler, Yehoshua Elizur, a resident of the settlement of Itamar. He was convicted of homicide, but – lo and behold – managed to escape Israel before he began serving his sentence.
Despite this background, Akhlas managed to finish a master’s degree in English and literature, and served as a counselor for female students suffering from disabilities, in the University of Beir Zeit. Presently she works as an investigator for the Stars of Hope Society, a Palestinian NGO promoting the rights of disabled women. She is often sent on behalf of the Society to conferences abroad; her sister Suhad accompanies her and aids her.
Last December, the sisters arrived at Allenby Checkpoint, after Akhlas represented the Society at a UN conference promoting the political rights of disabled women in Jordan. Arriving at the checkpoint, they found themselves under interrogation, which lasted eight hours. At the end of it, the army confiscated all of the money held by the sisters, refusing to leave them even enough money to return home, forcing them to spend the night outside, in the cold. In total, the army seized a sum of some 5,000 NIS. The sisters presented the soldiers with receipts, showing some of the money was travel expenditure they received, and that the rest was given to them by their mother in order to purchase gifts in Amman; but the army claims the money is of “an unallowed association,” and issued a confiscation order.
And here another problem came up. Until recently, a Palestinian whose property was confiscated by our troops, could turn to the military courts in the West Bank and demand it back. Since 2013, Amendment nr. 36 to the Order Regarding Security Provisions is in force, and it reads: “The decision of the Military Commander, according to Article 61, or the decision of the Military Commander to seize, sell or confiscate property, according to the Defense (Emergency) Regulations – 1945, cannot be appealed before the military court, and is final.” In other words, if the army decides to seize your property, there’s nothing you can do.
Hence, the A-Shatiye sisters had no choice but to petition the HCJ, demanding inter alia the cancellation of the draconian Amendment nr. 36. It’s important to note that in many cases, the cost of an appeal to the HCJ is greater than that of the confiscated sum, so this route is also Kafkaesque; you have to lose money to get yours. Furthermore, an appeal to the HCJ requires either an Israeli advocate, or an entrance permit into Israel. This is one more factor which may cause the prospective claimant to give up his property, where formerly he might just have appealed to the military court. Our petition against Amendment nr. 36, it should be mentioned, follows two previous petitions on this issue by the Center for the Defense of the Individual, also demanding its repeal.
When the A-Shatiye sisters tried to understand why their money was confiscated, the Legal Advisor to the territories of Judea and Samaria (LAJS) replied that it did so “in light of reliable, double-checked intelligence presented to him, which shows that these are funds belonging to an association that is not allowed,” and hence the confiscation was appropriate. This information, needless to say, was not presented to the A-Shatiye sisters.
As our petition states, “it was also noted that even when the petitioners were allegedly given the right to present their arguments in writing before the bureau of the LAJS, they were forced to do so without having any knowledge of what charges were alleged against them, and therefore could not defend themselves. The petitioners were not informed of any relevant information on which the intent to confiscate was based, a fact that fatally harmed their right to argue, and in fact, to this day they do not know why the respondent reached the conclusion that their money belongs to an unallowed association. […] the petitioners were asked to defend themselves against vague accusations, the nature of which was not detailed, and based on documents they were not allowed to review.”
If the government of Israel wants to confiscate the A-Shatiye sisters’ money, it should act as a civilized country, not as the heir to Kafka’s court: let it stand in open court and present its evidence. A person’s right to know what crime he is being punished for, and his right to defend himself against an accusation, is a fundamental right, without which you cannot speak of a trial, but at most of a kangaroo court. The same goes for Amendment nr. 36, which allows the Military Commander to confiscate property without being accountable to anyone.
As a human rights organization, we find ourselves in an unusual position: petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court so it might restore to the military courts, which are not known for doing justice to say the least, authorities stripped away from them. And yet, this new situation is considerably worse than its predecessor, and leaves us no choice.