Isabel Kershner in The New York Times tells us that Palestinians are running amok, lashing out at Israelis not only in the West Bank but now in Israel as well. Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed to quell this “wave of terrorism,” she reports, and Israelis are “unnerved” by the spread of incidents.
Kershner describes three alleged stabbing attempts, dwelling at length on one of them; recaps an earlier incident that left two Israelis dead; and in the final paragraphs of her story informs us that “at least two” Palestinians were killed, one of them a 13-year-old boy “described as a bystander.”
Nowhere do we learn that the major victims of violence in this turbulent conflict are Palestinians, not Israelis, as revealed in a recent United Nations report: In one week, ending Oct. 5, Israeli security forces injured 794 Palestinians, while Palestinians injured a total of seven Israelis. (As of Oct. 5, 30 Palestinians had been killed in 2015 compared with eight Israelis.)
This is an injury ratio of more than 100 to one, a shocking disparity, but the Times story shows concern only for Israeli injuries and fears. We find no accounts there of what the Palestinian victims experienced as they faced the aggression of heavily armed security forces.
Readers and viewers elsewhere, however, got a firsthand view of Israeli violence yesterday as videos emerged that revealed undercover agents inciting stone throwers in the West Bank. The agents, wearing keffiyehs and bearing a Hamas flag, urge bystanders to join them, then draw their weapons and assault Palestinian youths.
The videos, by several agencies, including Reuters and Agence France-Presse, went viral, appearing on French, British, Israeli and American media outlets. The Times, however, has so far failed to link to the videos, which show a soldier shooting a captive Palestinian in the leg at point blank range.
The newspaper also avoids any commentary that would shed a clear light on the nature of the conflict even as Israeli columnists have recently provided eloquent testimony of the despair behind Palestinian attacks.
Gideon Levy, writing in the Middle East Eye, notes that when Palestinians remain quiet, they reap nothing but “an intensification of the occupation.” He lists the constant attacks and humiliations they endure and asks, “Are Palestinians to assent to all this in silence?”
Levy notes that after a Palestinian family was burnt alive, Israeli officials admitted that they knew who was responsible but refused to make any arrests. “What people could maintain restraint in the face of such a sequence of events,” he writes, “with the entire might of the occupation in the background, without hope, without prospects, with no end in sight?”
Amira Hass writes in a similar vein, and the headlines on her Haaretz article express it well: “Palestinians Are Fighting for Their Lives; Israel Is Fighting for the Occupation—That we notice there’s a war on only when Jews are murdered does not cancel out the fact that Palestinians are being killed all the time.”
Both these Israelis speak with an honesty that rarely, if ever, appears in the Times. Readers of the newspaper of record instead face a determined effort to protect Israel’s reputation, to preserve the narrative of Israeli victimhood even in the face of the evidence.
As Palestinians fall to Israeli violence at the rate of 100 a day, the Times obsesses on Israeli Jewish victims. It ignores the numbers that reveal an enormous toll of Palestinian suffering and it excludes the news and the voices of conscience that could help readers gain a truer perspective in this conflict.
Settlers march through occupied al-Khalil attacking, insulting and threatening Palestinians and internationals
Al-Khalil/Hebron, occupied Palestine – Yesterday night, October 7th 2015, a large group of settlers harassed, insulted and physically assaulted Palestinian residents and internationals in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood of occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), injuring several.
Around 08:00 pm, more than 50 settlers from the illegal settlements within al-Khalil, most of them children and teenagers, accompanied by a few adults, marched around the Palestinian neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida, chanting insults and hate-speech, calling for the death of Arabs. The group was not only chanting racist abuse, but also demonstrated a high level of violence and aggression towards the Palestinian residents of the neighbourhood.
After marching through the streets loudly chanting, they attacked Palestinians right outside a shop, running towards them and beating them, and hurling rocks at Palestinian youth and internationals documenting these violent assaults. Instead of intervening, Israeli forces watched these attacks happen at first just to point their loaded guns at Palestinians that just a few seconds before were standing in a hail of stones, threatening to shoot. Two persons were injured with stones thrown by the settlers, a Palestinian youth in his hand and an international in his chest. In the meantime, the settlers openly picked up more stones and rocks from the ground, attacking families that opened their main gates to find out what the shouting was about. Again, instead of preventing or stopping attacks by the settlers, the army violently pushed Palestinians to move back into their homes, yelling at them. All complaints made by Palestinians against the attacks by the settlers were ignored by the soldiers. But not only the settlers, also the Israeli soldiers violently attacked several Palestinians and beat them.
Many families rushed into their homes upon hearing the yelling, locked their doors and then had to watch the settlers chanting abuse at them from behind their windows – protected only by the metal grids installed in the past due to frequent settler attacks. Soldiers, in the best case, are standing idly by. Last night, they were pointing their guns at children and women watching in fear from the roof of their houses – the one place farthest away from the settlers down on the street; and soldiers were banging on the door of Palestinian family homes, while the group of settlers are aggressively chanting and threatening the families while standing right behind the soldiers.
Settler woman photographing internationals getting attacked
When the march proceeded down the hill towards Shuhada checkpoint, where over two weeks ago the Israeli army ruthlessly gunned down and killed the Palestinian student Hadeel al-Hashlamoun, more than two dozen activists from Youth Against Settlement arrived to document the racist abuse and attacks against Palestinians. Israeli forces that by then finally arrived, immediately stopped the Palestinians and isolated them in an alley, preventing them from going anywhere. The group of settlers on the other hand was allowed to keep on chanting racist abuse and burned Palestinian flags, cheering and clapping. Israeli soldiers were getting their guns ready, facing the Palestinians that were clearly upset when their flags were being burned, but did not do anything to stop the flag-burning.
In order to allow for the greatest possible space for the settlers to move around and keep on chanting, Israeli forces pushed back the Palestinians, with one soldier threatening an international that he would ‘break his face’ if he didn’t move right away. Settler children and women also attempted to break cameras of internationals, blocking them from documenting the events and spit at them.
Infamous, aggressive settler Anat Cohen repeatedly attacked an international observer while she was standing right in front of a police car with two policemen inside, that did not even bother to get out of the car and instead just kept watching from inside. Soldiers did at no point try to prevent Anat Cohen’s attacks and instead ordered the internationals to go back up the hill, which at that point was not safe with settlers still roaming the streets. The settler woman both tried to grab the international observer’s camera and attempt to punch her in the face without soldiers intervening. When the international observer was ordered by soldiers to move towards the Palestinians detained on the other side of the road, Anat Cohen pushed her as she was passing in front of the police car, and her daughter kicked the her in the stomach. Soldiers still did not intervene and refused to take a complaint about this attack, forcing her and another international to leave.
This incident again illustrates the power settlers hold over the Israeli army. Even when attacking Palestinians – or internationals that enjoy a greater protection than any Palestinian – settlers enjoy the protection of the Israeli army.
Last evening, most Palestinian families, did not go to sleep, staying up late scared of what might happen during the night. Unfortunately, this incident in al-Khalil is only a case in point in a long record of settler attacks, that recently have been escalating not only in al-Khalil, but throughout the occupied West Bank.
Sunday, I reported on the police execution of East Jerusalem Palestinian teenager, Fadi Alloun, outside the Old City. I noted the false reporting of the Jerusalem Post which stated that the police saw him “holding a knife” and “neutralized” him. There has been no supporting reporting in the Israeli media confirming this.
Now the international newspaper of record, the NY Times, gets in on the act. In Diaa Hadid’s report tonight, instead of focusing on his murder, she focuses on a supposed disagreement between villages and political factions about where he should be buried. The title of her story: Dispute Over a Burial Reveals Palestinian Divisions. Instead of focusing on the real news story of the video showing a flagrant execution, she invents a dispute purporting to show the Palestinian national movement in disarray.
This paragraph in particular irks:
“Mr. Alon was fatally shot by police officers early Sunday after he stabbed and wounded a 15-year-old Jewish boy on a road outside the Old City, according to the police. A video clip showed Mr. Alon being shot, apparently as he was trying to flee, with Israeli civilians in pursuit and shouting “Shoot him!”
In fact, no Israeli media has offered any proof that Alloun was the attacker who stabbed the Israeli. If you watch the video of the Alloun killing, he was not “apparently fleeing” the stabbing. He was fleeing the Israelis who were rushing at him. At one point, he says to his attackers: “Let me pass.” This is a youth being pursued by baying hounds, and seeking safety.
Why does the report not display the video of the Alloun killing in which the policeman exits his car and immediately murders Alloun without telling him to stop or saying anything to him? Why not note that when the policeman asks a bystander if Alloun had stabbed anyone, the bystander replies: “not yet.”
Why would the NY Times permit a regurgitation of police claims without offering any qualification or skepticism when no actual proof or evidence has been offered?
This is the rankest of journalism. Instead of providing illumination to readers in a dark hour of Israeli-Palestinian history, the Times gives us pandering and stenography.
Finally, there remains a possibility that Alloun was the attacker who stabbed the Israeli boy (the stabbing and later murder happened in the general vicinity). But there is not yet any firm evidence supporting this claim. The Times’ rush to judgment is irresponsible.
A minor quibble: though I am not an expert in Arabic (by any means), Hadid spells Alloun’s name “Alon.” That does not seem to be phonetically close to the spelling Electronic Intifada adopted and which I’ve used. The name Alon is a common Israeli name. But Palestinian?
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces on Tuesday raided the East Jerusalem mourning tent of a Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces in the early hours of Sunday.
The father of Fadi Alloun, 19, told Ma’an that Israeli forces and intelligence officers raided the tent in Beit Hanina and threw stun grenades and pepper-sprayed mourners.
They also removed Palestinian and Fatah flags from the tent and detained an unidentified youth, he said.
A Ma’an reporter said Israeli forces then fired stun grenades at cars leaving the mourning ceremony, including at the private vehicle of Fatah official Adnan Ghaith.
Israeli authorities on Monday night said they would not be handing over the body of 19-year-old Fadi Alloun to relatives, despite having agreed to do so earlier that day, a human rights lawyer told Ma’an.
Israeli authorities initially said the body would only be released on condition that no more than 70 Palestinians attend the funeral.
They also demanded that Alloun’s family pay a guarantee of 20,000 shekels ($5,200), which would have been refunded if the condition was met.
Alloun was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly attempted to stab a 16-year-old Israeli in East Jerusalem early on Sunday.
However, Alloun’s family has disputed that he was involved in the attack, saying saying that Israeli forces shot him dead while he was fleeing from Israelis who were trying to attack him.
Al-Manar TV cameraman, Salah al-Zayyat, was shot by the Zionist soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint on Tuesday in the West Bank while he was shooting the occupation attacks against the Palestinian people.
According to Al-Manar TV correspondent, Zayyat was wounded by a bullet in the abdomen during the Zionist attacks, and he has undergone a surgery in Ramallah hospital to extract the metal pieces that infiltrated into his body.
“Three others were wounded by the Israeli attacks, and dozens of people suffered from asphyxia due to the use of toxic gases by the Israeli enemy were treated in the scene,” the reporter added.
West Bank, occupied Palestine – Abed al-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah, 12 was still in his school uniform when he was rushed in a civilian car to Beit Jala hospital from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem today. The boy, from from a Al Kahder village, was shot in the heart during confrontations at Aida camp as violence explodes across the West Bank prompting the Red Crescent to declare a level 3 state of emergency across the occupied Palestinian territories. Another boy was shot in leg with live ammunition during the attack.
Abed al-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah, 12, just before being shot to death by Israeli forces in Bethlehem
Denouncing Israeli violations against humanitarian international law, the Palestine Red Crescent Society staff have endured 14 attacks on their emergency vehicles as Israeli forces and settler violence has sharply surged in a bloody three days. Attacks on PRCS have included medics being beaten by soldiers in Jerusalem, Israeli forces beating an ambulance crew with batons in the old city of Jerusalem and after one attack on an emergency crew in Jabal Al Taweel (Al-Bireh), two medics were injured. Israeli forces attacked an ambulance in al-Issawiya village in occupied East Jerusalem, before arresting an injured Palestinian who was being treated inside the ambulance. An ambulance windshield was also shattered by settlers in Burin village in Nablus. Burin underwent a frightening attack by settlers which left much of it in flames.
Reportedly 465 Palestinians have been injured thus far, including 28 shot with live ammunition and 68 injured with rubber coated steel bullets. Hundreds of others have been overcome by teargas that Israeli forces have been showering over villages and in cities where Palestinians have gathered to demonstrate against their murdering of several Palestinian youths since this past Saturday.
Young Palestinians martyrs recently murdered by Israeli forces.
Fadi Samir Mustafa Alloun, 19, from the East Jerusalem village of al-Issawiya, was shot to death by Israeli forces after allegedly attempting to stab a group of Israelis. 18-year-old Huthayfa Othman Suleiman was shot in the chest during clashes and died in the operating room. In a particularly heinous attack, Yousef Bayan al-Tabib, just six years old, was standing on the side of the road when a settler reportedly stopped his car, shot the child in the stomach, and fled the scene.
Across the occupied Palestinian territories, there have been reports of settlers slaughtering Palestinian’s sheep, attacking Palestinian cars with stones on roads and carrying out violent attacks on villages. As for Israeli forces, soldiers disguised as Palestinians assisting an injured Palestinian into a hospital in Ramallah, disabled security cameras and proceeded to arrest a Palestinian undergoing medical treatment. This is similar to other hospital raids in recent days where a variation of this tactic was repeated.
As for the Israeli government, Netanyahu today made an inflammatory statement to wage a “harsh offensive” against Palestinians; Zionist opportunism at its most typical. Collective punishment is the usual expectation when it comes to the illegally occupying force dealing with the civilian population whose land they are occupying. Israel launched three air strikes in the besieged Gaza strip targeting alleged Hamas ‘terror’ sites after two rockets were fired from Gaza, hitting nothing and injuring no one.
News reports of shootings, injuries, murders, arrests and raids continue to flood in as the situation unfolds at a lightning quick pace. For Palestinians enduring the brunt of Israeli incited race hatred and promoted retribution for the shooting of two Israeli settlers last week, the cavalierly imposed restrictions on al Aqsa Mosque, which have sparked outrage and violent confrontations- and the ensuing chaos, are yet another violent incursion into their lives.
Palestinians displaced by Israeli strikes wait to get water from portable tanks near a makeshift encampment behind Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, July 26, 2014. (Joe Catron)
UNITED NATIONS — Israeli restrictions on Palestinian water use, as well as damage to water supplies and infrastructure by both Israeli forces and Jewish settlers, continue to deplete the already limited water supplies available to millions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“Water is used by the Israelis to achieve non-water interests, as a tool of punishment,” Dr. Abed Elrahman Tamimi, director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group in Ramallah, told MintPress News.
Meanwhile tens of thousands of Palestinians within Israel continue to lack access to running water, despite their citizenship in the state and the equality they should receive under its laws.
Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank since its forces occupied the enclaves, placing them under military rule, in 1967.
‘Scandalously uneven, humiliating and infuriating’
The Oslo II Accord, signed by Israel and Palestine Liberation Organization on Sept. 28, 1995, formalized this disparity, imposing what Israeli newspaper Haaretz writer Amira Hass called “a scandalously uneven, humiliating and infuriating division of the water resources of the West Bank.”
The agreement afforded Palestinians 118 million cubic meters of water per year from the Mountain Aquifer that stretches into Israel from the West Bank, while obligating Israel to sell Palestinians a further 27.9 mcm annually at full price.
It also entitled Israel to claim 483 mcm per year – over four times as much – but allocated none to the Gaza Strip, which was left to rely on the small Coastal Aquifer.
According to its own terms, Oslo II should have terminated in Palestinian independence after five years, with a joint committee increasing Palestine’s water allocation through consensus in the meantime. Neither scenario has come to pass.
In coming years, Israel would make clear that it had no intention of ever ending its control of Palestinian water. A June 7, 1997 order reiterated its longstanding policy: “All the water in the land that was occupied again is the property of the State of Israel.”
Successive governments pushed new waves of settlement construction, universally considered war crimes under the fourth Geneva Convention, on Palestinian lands in the West Bank. By 2000, the number of settlers had swelled 26 percent.
Like earlier settlements, the sites of many new units were calculated to maximize Israeli control of Palestinian water. In 2001, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Haaretz : “Is it possible today to concede control of the aquifer, which supplies a third of our water? Is it possible to cede the buffer zone in the Jordan Rift Valley? You know, it’s not by accident that the settlements are located where they are.”
Israeli measures to cement its occupation, along with provocative raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, ultimately produced the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising that erupted on Sept. 28, 2000, five years to the day after Oslo II.
A vicious water cycle
Palestinians currently use no more than 11 percent of the Mountain Aquifer, with Israel enjoying the rest, according to the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), a coalition of 28 Palestinian and international agencies dealing with water issues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, West Bank Palestinians purchase 50 mcm of water each year from Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, paying $50 million for the return of their own resources at prices up to three times those charged to Israeli consumers.
Oslo II obligated Israel to increase its water sales to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from 5 to 10 mcm annually during the supposed five-year “interim period.” But only this year, following widespread condemnation of its military operation against the besieged enclave last summer, did it finally do so, meeting 5 percent of the water needs of a population that has more than doubled.
On September 1, a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report repeated a warning, first made by the UN’s Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory in 2012, that the Gaza Strip could become unlivable by 2020.
UNCTAD cited the destruction of Gaza infrastructure during repeated Israeli offensives, including damage to 20-30% of the enclave’s water and sewer network, a water desalination plant, and 220 agricultural wells during last summer’s 51-day operation alone, as well as Israeli restrictions on economic development and reconstruction.
It also warned that “a severe water crisis” had forced the use of water from the Coastal Aquifer — 95% of it unfit for drinking — at levels “well above the recharge rate by over 100 million cubic meters, almost twice the sustainable rate.”
“The over-abstraction and scarcity of drinking water have been exacerbated by crumbling sanitation infrastructure, while the blockade creates chronic shortages of electricity and fuel, which in turn aggravate contamination and the water crisis,” the report said.
“The damage of contamination and over-abstraction is such that the aquifer may be unusable by 2016 and, if unaddressed, the damage may be irreversible by 2020.”
The total damage inflicted to the water sector by Israeli strikes last summer reached over $34 million, according to a report by the Palestinian Water Authority, although UNCTAD’s report says that “long-term repair of the accumulated damage and decay of the water and sanitation infrastructure will require $620 million.”
Palestinians have never extracted their full 118 mcm of water from the Mountain Aquifer, as Israeli restrictions on wells and other infrastructure across most of the West Bank prevent them from doing so.
These military orders stretch into the Gaza Strip, where the threat of airstrikes forces residents hoping to dig wells to first seek permits from the Israeli army.
While sometimes given there, such permission is usually denied in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under direct Israeli military administration, often on the claimed basis of Israeli security.
Israel targets unauthorized construction ruthlessly. Since the beginning of this year, its forces have destroyed 36 Palestinian water, hygiene and sanitation structures in Area C, usually citing their lack of permits, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs data reviewed by EWASH.
Rare permits come at high prices. A 2013 study found that Israel usually conditions its approval of Palestinian water projects on the Palestinian Authority’s acquiescence to the construction of new settlement infrastructure, forcing the occupied population to “consent to their own colonization.”
As Palestinians, particularly in agricultural communities, scramble to meet their needs for water, Israel’s demolition of the necessary infrastructure, from pipes in Kafr Qaddum and Khirbet Yarza to wells in Hebron, continues.
The pollution resulting from the destruction of wastewater treatment facilities has further damaged Gaza’s already depleted aquifer, rendering over 90 percent of local water unfit for drinking.
In the West Bank, 73.5 percent of Palestinians have expressed satisfaction with the quality of their water.
Yet the quantity remains woefully inadequate, as the average Palestinian can use only 70 liters of water per day – a figure that dips to 20 in some cases – while illegal Israeli settlers enjoy over 300. The World Health Organization suggests a minimum of 100 liters of water per day for sanitation, hygiene and consumption.
Confronted by a lack of water in some areas of the West Bank, and nearly all of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians face the “economic burden of purchasing water from tankers,” the Palestinian Hydrology Group’s Dr. Tamimi said.
In a March 2013 report, the Ramallah-based human rights group Al-Haq called Israel’s “demarcation of the population along racial lines,” their “segregation into different geographical areas” and the “use of ‘security’ to justify an institutionalized regime of domination and systematic oppression,” “the three pillars of Israel’s ‘water-apartheid.’”
“[A] second and disadvantaged Palestinian society living in the same territory is denied most of its basic rights,” Al-Haq stated. “Palestinians are forcibly confined to a land-locked archipelago of territory with minimal water resources available.”
This gross asymmetry extends inside Israel, where a June 2014 report by the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality found that 73,000 Palestinian Bedouin, living in villages unrecognized by the state, lacked sufficient running water.
Despite paying 30 percent more than other consumers for the meager supplies of water they received, the Israeli Ministry of Health did not monitor its quality.
Palestinian water supplies face further threats from pollution by Israeli waste, both dumped from nearby illegal settlements and shipped from inside Israel.
A June 2013 Israeli state report found that a third of sewage treatment facilities in settlements were either insufficient or inoperative.
The previous year, it reported, 2.2 mcm of waste had flowed from settlements directly into nearby waterways and cesspits.
As many settlements stand on hills, much of this untreated sewage then becomes the problem of neighboring Palestinian communities whose farmlands and groundwater it pollutes.
“The settlement wastewater goes to the aquifers and pollutes the groundwater,” Dr. Tamimi said.
The city of Salfit and nearby town of Kafr al-Deek have been repeatedly drenched with sewage from the settlements of Ariel and Yakir, most recently on Wednesday, affecting their agriculture and tourism, as well as local water supplies.
“Josephine,” a volunteer for the Ramallah-based International Solidarity Movement, noted that settlement pollution does not stop with sewage. “Many factories let out polluted water and waste into the water sources that Palestinians use,” she told MintPress.
In February, after Palestinian customs police discovered a truck transporting asbestos from Israel to a landfill in Tulkarem, the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority warned against attempts to smuggle Israeli waste into the West Bank.
‘A form of racism’
On July 2, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel announced that Israel’s High Court had ruled in favor of its clients, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem who had faced years of water shortages and cutoffs.
Their neighborhoods, lying within the Jerusalem boundaries claimed by Israel but beyond its West Bank barrier, had been “perennially neglected by both municipal and national water authorities,” ACRI said.
The court’s ruling ordered the National Security Council to “investigate and work to mitigate the water crisis in East Jerusalem.”
By the following month, a new water crisis had gripped Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank as governorates in Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin and the Jordan Valley resorted to water schedules announcing planned cutoffs.
These windows of austerity, many Palestinians say, are nothing new. They often occur when demand for water is at its height, like during the hot summer months. Still, they never result in cutoffs inside illegal settlements or in Israel itself.
This disparate treatment, some think, aptly demonstrates the nature of the occupation itself. As Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouti put it: “Restricting water and electricity is a form of racism.”
Israel’s government no longer bothers to deny the intended permanence of its occupation. Last week, as Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely readied a diplomatic offensive against a pending European Union policy to label settlement products, she told the Times of Israel that withdrawals from “Judea and Samaria aren’t even on the list of options we’re offering the Palestinians.”
The occupied West Bank will remain under Israel’s “de facto sovereignty,” Hotovely said.
“It’s not a bargaining chip. It does not depend on the Palestinians’ goodwill. It’s the land of our forefathers. We don’t intend to evacuate it,” she continued, adding: “What I can promise is that Israel’s position will be very forceful and tough on this matter.”
Dozens of Israeli settlers raided a park and ancient pool in the Palestinian town of al-Karmil in the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday, under the armed protection of Israeli forces, witnesses said.
The park, part of the Yatta Municipality in the south Hebron hills, lies in Area A, under full Palestinian jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords.
Buses carrying the settlers arrived to the park escorted by large numbers of Israeli forces and military vehicles, locals said.
Settlers came from the nearby settlements of Maon, Karmel, Beit Yatir, Susya, and the outposts of Havat Yair, Mitzpe Yair, Havat Maon, and Avigal, in order to “perform religious rituals” for several hours, they added.
The mayor of Yatta, Moussa Makhamreh, condemned the raid, pointing to the “dangerous nature of Israeli authorities’ and settlers’ racist actions taken under armed security.”
Makhamreh called upon local governance to support and protect the park in order to end frequent violations by Israeli settlers in the area.
An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the incident.
The park was created in 2011 by the Palestinian Yatta municipality, which renovated an ancient pool located at the site.
Settlers have come to the area in the past through the initiative of the Susiya Tour and Study Center which describes the pool as the historical site of the Biblical settlement of Carmel, according to rights group B’Tselem. Such visits are generally approved by and coordinated with Israeli authorities.
In April, Israeli soldiers expelled Palestinians from the pool in order to allow settlers to swim and have exclusive use of the park.
Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region according to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem.
The presence of settlements in the area, considered illegal under international law, comes at the expense of Palestinian residents’ ability to build homes and infrastructure, or live unimpeded by constant and often violent interruption from Israeli forces and settlers.
Israeli soldiers attacked, Tuesday, several Palestinian ambulances while transporting wounded Palestinians to hospitals, in Ramallah, kidnapped one Palestinian after dragging him out of the ambulance, and attempted to abduct another.
Medical sources said at least two Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, after the soldiers assaulted hundreds of Palestinians protesting the ongoing Israeli invasions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
The soldiers stopped Palestinian ambulances, trying to transfer injured residents to hospitals in Ramallah, and kidnapped a wounded Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Ouri, after forcibly removing him from the ambulance.
They also attacked another ambulance, transferring a wounded Palestinian, but were unable to abduct him.
The assaults took place near the Beit El roadblock, north of Ramallah, when the soldiers assaulted dozens of protesters, including various political leaders of different Palestinian factions.
The army fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, concussion grenades and gas bombs, in addition to spraying the protesters with wastewater mixed with chemicals.
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian child, identified as Bassel Issa Shawaheen, 12 years of age, after breaking into his family’s home and searching it.
Also on Tuesday, at least 18 Palestinians were injured, as Israeli forces suppressed demonstrations across the occupied West Bank in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Nine Palestinians, including three women, have also been kidnapped in occupied East Jerusalem, after the soldiers attacked several men and women near Al-Aqsa Mosque, and prevented them from entering it.
Nabi Saleh, occupied Palestine – On the 28th of August, Mahmoud Tamimi was arrested in Nabi Saleh during the weekly non violent demonstration. Every Friday, just after the prayer, the residents demonstrate against the expansion of the illegal settlement of Halamish which has continuously confiscated Palestinian land as well as the only water source of the village: ‘Ain al-Qaws.
During the Friday march towards the expropriated lands the residents were stopped by Israeli forces using excessive brutality, shooting tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets, live ammunition and sound grenades against civilians. Additionally, demonstrators are often arrested and beaten up.
On the 28th of August, in the course of the demonstration I, as a foreigner, was arrested by Israeli forces together with the 19-year old Palestinian Mahmoud Tamimi.
Both of us have been brutally beaten by the soldiers with punches, kicks and the butts of their guns. Both of us were arrested and secluded for 6 hours, kept blindfolded and handcuffed in a small room in a military base.
Afterwards, we were taken to the police station based in the illegal settlement of Ben Yamin and, at that point, our paths were divided: he was brought to the military prison of Ofer and I was brought to “Ramle” near Tel Aviv.
Within a few days, my predicament was positively solved: I was acquitted from the charges of throwing stones and other objects, and returned to be a free citizen. Regarding Mahmoud, although the charges were exactly the same, because he’s Palestinian, the situation is completely different: in fact Mahmoud is still under arrest in Ofer military prison and is waiting to attend his first hearing, to be held on the 28th of October, that is 60 days after his arrest. In my case, the first hearing took place the day after my arrest.
Israeli soldier arresting Mahmoud
Mahmoud is now under threat of a penalty of a minimum of 7 months which, under the practice of military law and consequently administrative detention used on the Palestinians of the West Bank, this sentence can be arbitrarily renewed for additional 6 month periods of imprisonment.
The absolute asymmetry of treatment endured by me and Mahmoud is a blatant demonstration of the discriminatory laws applied by Israel for over 40 years towards the Palestinians. According to the International law, the application of military laws in occupied territories is completely illegitimate.
Israeli soldiers use brutal force on Mahmoud
Mahmoud will be accused by military personnel covering the role of persecutors and will be judged by some other military personnel covering also the role of judges. He doesn’t have the right to be tried in front of a civilian court, although Mahmoud is a civilian – and not a soldier. All of this because he’s a Palestinian.
Even if the evidence does not indicate his guilt, just the fact that he’s in a military court with both the prosecutor and the judge from the military, will most likely result in a guilty verdict. The procedures in military court are not about establishing the truth, the possibility of establishing a defense is extremely slim, justice simply isn’t done in a military court. It’s about punishment, punishment to weaken the Palestinian resistance to an illegal occupation, even if this resistance is non-violent.
Mahmoud in court
Within this system, it must be said, settlers from illegal settlements in the West Bank are judged in front of civilian courts, not military courts – just because they have a different status: they are not Palestinians.
In my case, hard evidence would be required to bring charges against me, for Mahmoud in contrast, as a Palestinian, no evidence is required at all. All the trial is only based on the statement of 18-year old soldiers.
Of course, when an international is unjustly beaten and arrested the media reacts with utter disapproval attracting the medias’ attention and causing the civil society’s indignation. When it’s a Palestinian receiving the exact same treatment, however, the reaction is quite different. Mahmoud‘s case seems to be totally forgotten. Currently he is still rotting in a prison cell in Ofer military prison, while being entirely ignored by the media and the international community.
Mahmoud Tamimi is only 19 years old, he has 2 brothers and a sister. His uncle is Rushdie Tamimi, one of Nabi Saleh’s martyrs killed by the Israeli forces 3 years ago on the 19th of November. He died following an intense shooting during which he was inured in the thigh and the stomach. Rushdie is already the second martyr in a village which counts only 500 inhabitants. Considering the dimension of the village, they are indeed suffering from significant losses. However, we must keep in mind that in the Occupied Palestinian Territories the violence and the killings are daily and are perceived by the so called civilized world as casualties of a 60 year old conflict.
Mahmoud at al-Aqsa mosque
Let’s take a stand and spread Mahmoud’s story, let’s not forget him. We should show the world that the treatment a Palestinian youth receives – and thus the live of a Palestinian – is not less worth reporting about in the media and has to receive as much attention and result in an outcry as that of an Italian citizen. Let this not be about the rare case of an international being maltreated by Israeli forces, but about the every-day harassment, violence, illegal detentions and arrests of Palestinians.
BETHLEHEM – Three Palestinian youth were injured by live Israeli fire during clashes that erupted in the town of Tuqu in southeastern Bethlehem on Friday.
Locals told Ma’an that Israeli military forces arrived to the town and were deployed onto the rooftops of resident’s homes, targeting youth with bullets and tear-gas.
Clashes had erupted between the youth and Israeli forces around the town’s municipality building when Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, injuring the three youth in the legs with live fire, locals said.
The youth received aid at the town’s medical clinic before being taken to the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital by Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances.
Their injuries were reported as moderate.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that clashes with the forces began after “about 30 rioters” started throwing rocks near the main road outside the town.
The clashes then moved inside of the town and Israeli forces responded to the youth throwing rocks with “riot dispersal means,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson had no reports of Israeli soldiers entering private homes and deploying on rooftops.
Earlier Friday, the chief of police in the Nablus district and his three-year-old daughter were injured after being shot by Israeli forces with rubber-coated bullets during a raid in the village of Kafr Qaddum in Qalqiliya.
A weekly average of 39 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since the start of 2015. The majority of injuries sustained by Palestinians occur during unarmed demonstrations.
Rights organizations have argued that methods of crowd control used by Israeli forces often result in excessive and sometimes fatal use of force.