Friday, February 28, 2020 Last Update: 5:47 PM GMT

Israel Demolishes Palestinian Property near Bethlehem

Israeli occupation forces demolish Palestinian property near Bethlehem. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli forces yesterday demolished a house and a garage near the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, under the pretext that it was built without the nearly impossible to obtain building permits.

Local sources said that Israeli army forces accompanied by a bulldozer and military vehicles stormed the village of Al-Walaja, north-west of Bethlehem, and demolished a one-story home, owned by Abdel-Qader Abu Hammad, and a garage, owned by another Palestinian named Saleh Khalifa.

The village of Al-Walaja has been subjected to repeated harassment by Israeli authorities, including arrests and demolitions of homes, destruction of retaining walls and roads to displace its residents.

According to the human rights group B’tselem, “over the years, Israel has demolished hundreds of houses as part of this policy, leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless”.

This policy was widely condemned by human rights groups as “a collective punishment”, which is prohibited and violates binding provisions of international law.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

70 Palestinians Injured as Israeli Forces Storm Jabal al-‘Arma Mountain

A Palestinian elderly faces Israeli troops at Jabal al-‘Arma mountain, near Nablus. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli forces on Friday opened fire on Palestinians defending a mountain against settlers’ illegal colonial expansion near the West Bank city of Nablus, according to WAFA correspondent.

Israeli forces stormed Jabal al-‘Arma mountain, on the outskirts of Beita village, and opened fire on Palestinian protesters, injuring at least 70 people.

Scores of villagers barricaded themselves in the mountain overnight to prevent illegal Jewish settlers from encroaching upon it to establish a new colonial outpost.

Palestinian medics confirmed that several villagers suffered from fractures and bruises for being beaten by soldiers and were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Medics also confirmed that a 16-year-old teen was evacuated to hospital for treatment after being hit in the back with a bullet shot by Israeli troops.

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Palestinian Properties, Vehicles Targeted in Suspected Settler Attack near Nablus

Jewish settlers routinely vandalize Palestinian cars and properties in the West Bank. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli police said Wednesday that some vehicles were damaged and Anti-Arab slogans were spray-painted in a Palestinian village in the West Bank in an apparent hate crime by extremist Jewish settlers.

The incident took place before dawn in the village of Yasuf, southwest of Nablus city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Khaled Abeya, head of the village council, said that the perpetrators had entered the area before dawn, adding that “They slashed 14 cars and wrote a number of very serious slogans.”

Jewish extremists have been known to perpetrate such attacks against Palestinians and their property, including olive trees, mosques, churches, and cemeteries. Thousands of these attacks have been reported over the past years, mostly in the West Bank.

Two weeks ago, 170 vehicles were vandalized and hate graffiti was spray-painted on the walls of a mosque in the Arab town of Jish in northern Israel.

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

“Jewish settler violence should not be analyzed separately from the violence meted out by the Israeli army, but seen within the larger context of the violent Zionist ideology that governs Israeli society entirely,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud.

“Settler violence has long since become part of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation,” according to the Human Rights Group B’tselem. “Israeli security forces enable these actions, which result in Palestinians casualties – injuries and fatalities – as well as damage to land and property. In some cases, they even serve as an armed escort, or even join in the attacks.”

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.

(Palestine Chronicle, TeleSur, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Arrest PA Officials in Jerusalem (VIDEOS)

Israeli police arrest Director of Arab Studies Khalil Tafakji. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israeli police yesterday arrested two senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials in occupied Jerusalem after raiding their homes and searching them, Quds Press reported.

Israeli police arrested the Director of Arab Studies Society Khalil Tafakji from the Juz neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Israeli police also arrested Head of the Chamber of Commerce Kamal Obeidat from his house in Beit Hanina in the occupied holy city.

Israeli occupation forces have been escalating their assaults on Palestinian activists and PA officials in order to undermine any national activity in the holy city since the announcement of the US ‘deal of the century’.

Zionist occupation soldiers storming home of the Palestinian lawyer Kamal Obeidat, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in Beit Hanina, in occupied Jerusalem, an hour ago and kidnapped him, occupied Palestine, 26 February 2020.#RecognizePalestine #DownDealOfTheCentury

Posted by Younes Arar on Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Last week, occupation authorities banned the PA’s governor of occupied Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith from entering the West Bank for six months and from communicating with the Palestinian Authority.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian Boy Shot by Israeli Policeman Loses his Eye

Malek Issa was shot in the face while returning home from school in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Issawiya. (Photo: via Twitter)

An 8-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot in the face by an Israeli police officer has lost his left eye.

On February 15, Malek Issa was returning home from school when he was shot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by an Israeli police officer.

His father Wael told Palestinian News Agency Safa that the boy was transferred to Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital, where the doctors realized that he was suffering from a brain hemorrhage, sustained fractures to his skull, and extensive damage to his left eye.

Despite doctors’ attempts to save his eye, they were forced to operate on it on Sunday, in order to stop inflammation from reaching his right eye and brain, Wael explained.

Although official regulations forbid the use of rubber-coated steel bullets against Palestinian children, Israeli forces make extensive use of them as one of several ‘crowd control weapons’.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

Israel Reopens Gaza Crossings following Ceasefire with Palestinian Resistance

Beit Hanoun (Erez) border crossing between Gaza and Israel. (Photo: File)

Israeli authorities yesterday reopened crossings with the besieged Gaza Strip, but kept the fishing zone closed, according to Israeli media.

“After evaluation of the situation, all the crossings in the peripheries of Gaza were reopened and train service from Sderot [Israeli town 1.6 kilometers from Gaza] to Ashkelon resumed,” said the spokesperson for the Israeli army, according to Israeli news website Ynet News.

However, fishing in Gaza continues to be banned, with the navy opening fire at fisherman this morning who were at a distance of just three miles from the coast.

All crossings into Gaza had been closed on Monday after Palestinians reacted to the brutal killing of a man at the fence separating Gaza from Israel.

Israeli forces then used a bulldozer to drag the lifeless body of 27-year-old Mohammed al-Naem away, confiscating it and not allowing his family to bury him.

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

Sanders May Relocate US Embassy to Tel Aviv if Elected (VIDEO)

US Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential debate. (Photo: Video Grab)

US Senator Bernie Sanders, who is currently leading in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, said he would consider moving the US embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv if elected president. 

Sanders’s comments about revisiting US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision in 2018 to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem came during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate.

When asked whether he would move the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem, Sanders replied that “it’s something we need to take into consideration,” before calling Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an ally of Trump, a “racist”.  

Sanders went on to say that while he was proud of his Jewish heritage, he stood against Netanyahu’s policies.

“I am very proud of being Jewish. I actually lived in Israel for some months,” said Sanders.

“But what I happen to believe is that right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country.”

Sanders added although he supports Israeli sovereignty, there should be a greater focus on Palestinians and their rights.

Trump announced his intention to move the US embassy to Jerusalem in December 2017, a move that sparked international outrage.

The embassy opened on May 14, 2018, triggering mass demonstrations in which around 60 Palestinian protesters were killed and nearly 3,000 were injured by Israeli forces.

Previous US presidents, as well as nearly every other country, refrained from opening embassies in Jerusalem, arguing that the city’s final status should first be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. 

(Palestine Chronicle, AJE, Social Media)

Netanyahu Renews Annexation Pledge as Country’s Air Force Seeks to Ban him

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

Less than a week before Israelis return to the polls, right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has renewed his pledge to annex large parts of the occupied Palestinian territories into Israel, as soon as he is elected a Prime Minister.

The March 2 elections will be the third time in less than a year that Israelis vote in a general election.

The embattled Israeli Prime Minister is hoping to stay in his post, especially as he faces a trial on March 17, for serious corruption charges.

Desperate to clinch a victory, which would allow him to bargain for immunity at the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), Netanyahu has been wooing Israeli voters to vote for him.

Much of Netanyahu’s campaigning efforts have focused on the country’s right-wing constituency, especially the illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, over 500 former Israeli Air Force officers appealed to the country’s President, Reuven Rivlin, to prevent Netanyahu from forming the next government, Israel’s daily Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

“In the State of Israel it is impossible for a situation to exist in which a man who is indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust will form a government,” the pilots appealed to Rivlin.

They also asserted that a Prime Minister cannot “send the army to operations and wars, unless he is cleared of any wrong-doing by the court.”

Among those who signed the letter, are mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, and the former head of the Israeli Air Force, Avihu Ben-Nun.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Israel Threatens Widescale Military Operation in Gaza

Israeli Minister Gilad Erdan threatened a widescale military operation in Gaza. (Photo: File)

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said yesterday that Israel is close to carrying out a widescale military operation in Gaza, Israeli media reported.

Erdan told the Israeli Public Broadcaster Kan that the Israeli government is “closer than ever to a decision to launch a large-scale operation” in the Gaza Strip.

“It is not interesting to take such a decision one week before the elections, but it must be approved by the cabinet and the prime minister as soon as possible,” he added.

His remarks came amidst tension between Israel and Palestinian resistance forces in Gaza after Israeli occupation forces killed and then used a bulldozer to drag away the body of a Palestinian man.

Meanwhile, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told a local radio station that the “preparations for a war with Gaza were already completed during the last six months of the last year.”

Gaza, with a population of 2 million, has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2006, when the Palestinian group Hamas won the democratic legislative elections in occupied Palestine. Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, that resulted in the death of thousands of people. 

(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)

WHO: Zero Cases of Coronavirus in Palestinian Occupied Territories, but Risk is High

Children in Gaza take part in a vigil in solidarity with Chinese children. (Photo: via Social Media)

The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that there are zero cases of COVID-19, the official name of coronavirus in the occupied Palestinian territories; the risk, nevertheless, remains high.

In an update on the disease in the region, WHO said that 87 cases of coronavirus were reported in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: 61 cases in Iran (including 12 deaths), 13 cases in UAE, 5 in Kuwait, 2 in Bahrain, 2 in Oman, 1 in Afghanistan, 1 in Lebanon, 1 in Iraq, 1 in Egypt, and 2 in Israel.

So far, no confirmed cases of COVID-19 were registered in the occupied Palestinian territory, as reported by the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH).

A coordination meeting between the MoH, International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Palestine Red Crescent Society facilitated by WHO was held yesterday in Ramallah.

The parties agreed on strengthening coordination efforts in management and transportation of potential cases and of those who are placed in quarantine; they also agreed on working jointly to improve public awareness on COVID-19.

WHO Head of the office, Gerald Rockenschaub, also co-chaired an inter-agency Covid-19 preparedness meeting with the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Health Mai Al-Kaila in Ramallah on Sunday to discuss the level of preparedness measures, and agreed on a set of additional priority preparedness actions for the West Bank and Gaza, said the report.

Regarding Gaza, WHO declared that it is coordinating with local authorities in order to review preparedness measures. 

(Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)