Monday, December 09, 2019 Last Update: 4:25 PM GMT

Israeli Warplanes Attack Posts in Gaza, No Casualties (VIDEO)

Israeli warplanes attack targets in Gaza. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli warplanes attacked early this morning a post in the north of Gaza Strip causing damage but no casualties, reported WAFA correspondent.

The warplanes fired three missiles at the post causing fire and damage to the post and nearby property.

This is the second attack on the besieged Gaza Strip following the bombing late last night of another post east of Gaza City, also without causing any bodily harm.

Israel claims the attacks came after a projectile was fired yesterday from Gaza into southern Israel, which fell in open space and did not cause any damage or injuries.

The firing of the projectile apparently came after Israeli soldiers shot and killed yesterday a 16-year-old Palestinian boy on the Gaza border with Israel.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Teen in Southern Gaza Strip

Fahd al Astal, 16, was shot dead by Israeli forces in southern Gaza. (Photo: via Social Media)

A Palestinian teenager has been killed and five others wounded by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.

According to Gaza’s ministry of health, 16-year-old Fahd al-Astal died after he was shot in the stomach by the Israeli army east of Khan Younis.

Weekly border protests along the Israeli frontier were officially canceled this Friday.

But local residents said a small number of mostly young Palestinians still approached the fence, an area in which Israel’s military enforces a “no go” zone.

At least 348 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since weekly protests began in March 2018, more than half during the demonstrations.

The protesters are calling for Israel to ease its blockade of the coastal area and for Palestinians to be allowed to return to their ancestral homes now inside Israel.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Authorities Advance Settlement Plans in Occupied East Jerusalem

Illegal Israeli settlement in Jerusalem. (Photo: File)

Israeli authorities have recently advanced a number of settlement plans across occupied East Jerusalem, according to an update issued yesterday by NGO Ir Amim.

The most significant development, as reported this week, was the start of construction for a major expansion of Nof Tzion settlement, in the heart of Palestinian neighborhood Jabal Mukabber.

According to Ir Amim, the outline plan includes a total of 395 housing units, “of which 91 units have already been built and populated”. The new construction will add 182 new units.

Ir Amim commented:

“Establishing and expanding state-backed settler enclaves like Nof Tzion within Palestinian neighborhoods not only erodes the fabric of these communities but further reinforces Israeli control of East Jerusalem”.

Meanwhile, in the south of occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities approved on 19 November an outline plan for 290 housing units in Gilo settlement.

In advancing the plan, the District Planning Committee “rejected objections submitted by a Palestinian family who claimed ownership of the land in question and currently resides in a home on a portion of the property.”

In fact, Ir Amim described, “the committee refused to discuss the dispute over land ownership, citing that it was beyond its purview and authority which deals with planning issues alone.”

In a further development, according to media reports cited by Ir Amim, the Israeli construction ministry announced it was preparing a plan for 11,000 housing units in Atarot settlement, in the north of occupied East Jerusalem. No actual plans have yet to be formally advanced.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Bulldozers Raze Farmlands near Bethlehem

Israeli vehicles razing Palestinian farmland. (Photo: File)

Israeli bulldozers today razed large swathes of Palestinian farmlands to the west of Husan village, located near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to a local official.

Hassan Breijeh, head of the local anti-wall and settlement committee, said Israeli forces escorted a bulldozer to the al-Sillam area, west of Husan, where the heavy machinery razed vast tracts of cultivated lands belonging to the villagers of Husan.

He slammed the step as intended to lay the groundwork for the expansion of illegal Israeli colonial settlements and fully erase the Palestinian presence.

Soldiers in the Civil Administration determine where Palestinians may live, where and when they may travel, whether they can build or expand homes on their own land, whether they own that land at all, whether an Israeli settler can takeover that land among others.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

Jordan Demands Israel to Hand over Body of Sami Abu Diak (VIDEO)

Political prisoner Sami Abu Diak is serving a life sentence for resisting the Israeli occupation. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Jordanian authorities have asked Israel to release the body of Palestinian prisoner Sami Abu Diak, 37, who died in prison on Tuesday after three years of battling cancer and alleged medical negligence, Quds Press reported on Wednesday.

The Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv apparently filed an application for the Israeli authorities to hand over Abu Dayyak’s body to his family in Jordan for burial. Israeli radio reports also said that the embassy asked for more details about the circumstances of Abu Dayyak’s death.

Abu Dayyak died after suffering from intestinal cancer for three years. He was arrested by Israel in 2002 and sentenced to three life terms plus 30 years. Several operations in prison resulted in kidney and lung failure, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Commission explained.

According to human rights groups, there are around 5,700 Palestinians prisoners being held by Israel, including 230 children, 48 women, 500 under administrative detention with neither charge nor trial, and 700 suffering from serious illnesses.

Since the start of this year, five prisoners have died behind bars in Israel. Abu Dayyak’s death raised the total number of Palestinian prisoners who have died in Israeli jails since 1967 to 222.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israel: Lieberman to Reject Giving Immunity to Netanyahu

Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman (L) and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

Head of Yisrael Beiteinu party Avigdor Lieberman stressed on Monday that he would reject holding a Knesset committee meeting to discuss providing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity, Quds Press reported.

This came just one day after he said that he would support Netanyahu’s efforts to form the House Committee in the Knesset in order to discuss his claim for immunity regarding the corruption cases against him.

“The prime minister said he doesn’t need immunity,” Haaretz quoted Lieberman saying, arguing that a court decision would be “the only thing that would be accepted by all citizens”.

Lieberman said:

“To set up the committee 15 days before the dissolving [of parliament], it is clear that it will be a personal committee that will deal with only one subject or one person. We will need to wait until there is a new government, [then] the House Committee will be set up and debate it.”

Granting Netanyahu immunity “would harm the public’s trust”, he continued.

Netanyahu cannot be protected from prosecution without the support of the Knesset House Committee or the support of the 120 members of the Knesset.

Charges can only be filed in court after the committee rejects the bid for immunity meaning the process could drag on for several months after a government is formed or a new election is held.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Government to Expand Global Arms Exports in 2020

According to Amnesty International, over the past 20 years, Israeli military exports went to at least eight countries that have been known for serious violations of human rights,. (Photo: via MEMO)

The Israeli government is aiming to increase the volume of Israel’s defense exports, reported Globes, which has revealed the main points of the plan for the first time.

The project, being overseen by the Defence Ministry’s International Defence Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) led by Brigadier General (Res.) Yair Kulas, will begin to be rolled out in early 2020.

According to Globes, the plan is based on “focused seminars for senior commanders in foreign armies”, Israeli military “assistance for promoting sales of Israeli weapons”, and “subsidizing small and medium-sized defense companies seeking to sell arms around the world”.

Speaking this week, Kulas said that SIBAT favors a major expansion of agreements between countries, resulting in significant deals for the large defense companies, especially Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.

As reported by Globes, Israel’s defense exports totaled $7.5 billion in 2018, with 46 percent of them being to Asia, 26 percent to European countries, 20 percent to North America, six percent to Latin America and two percent to Africa.

The new focus includes “Asian countries with which Israel’s ties have hitherto been kept on a low media profile”, although specific names have not been mentioned publicly.

“As a matter of policy,” Globes explained, “the Ministry of Defence does not disclose the names of the countries to which arms from Israel are exported.”

In addition, the report added, the Defence Ministry “will pay the most attention in the coming years” with respect to arms exports to European countries.

A mapping conducted by the ministry in recent months cited 41 countries around the world considered important targets for Israeli arms firms, with half of those target countries in Europe.

One country cited by Globes is Finland, believed to be one of the Israeli arms industry’s targets. In recent years, Helsinki has purchases drones from Israeli company Aeronautics, and also “signed a deal in excess of €190 million [$209 million] for the purchase of ship-to-ship Gabriel missiles from IAI”.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Police Escalate Arrest Raids in Issawiya

Israeli occupation forces in Issawiya, East Jerusalem. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli occupation forces have escalated their arrest raids in Issawiya, occupied East Jerusalem, in the face of continued protests at months of violence and harassment, reported Haaretz

Yesterday, the paper reported, Israeli police officers arrested 12 Palestinian residents, including children, during a pre-dawn raid that followed on from a similar operation last week, which saw 15 arrested – all of whom were subsequently released.

Sources in Issawiya say that some 600 people have been arrested in total since Israeli forces escalated their raids in the community around six months ago. Yet only a tiny number of those detained have been indicted for offenses like stone-throwing; just 20 so far, or three percent.

“We’re fed up with arrests based on intelligence tips,” said lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud, who has represented many of the detainees.

“Last week, many people were arrested and released. It’s a lottery system.”

On Sunday, Israeli forces raided the heart of Issawiya “just as students were leaving school”, in violation of “an understanding reached two weeks ago with school principals”.

On Saturday, meanwhile, dozens of Jewish Israelis demonstrated near the home of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon “to protest his failure to intervene in the confrontation”.

Some city council members have also urged action from the authorities.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

New Poll: Blue and White Opens up Lead ahead of Likud

Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Benny Gantz. (Photo: File)

The Blue and White party has opened up a significant lead over Likud, according to a new poll published today, right-wing news outlet Arutz Sheva reported.

According to the poll, commissioned by Channel 12, the Benny Gantz-led list would top a new election with 37 Knesset seats, four more than it won in September’s election.

Likud, meanwhile, consumed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legal woes, would only win 30 seats, down two from its showing in September. The seven-seat lead is the largest such gap of any poll since the last elections.

Amongst the smaller parties on both the right and center, the poll showed some small movement.

Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu was down one seat from eight to seven, while the Joint List was also down one, from 13 seats to 12, according to the new poll. Two other parties dropped a seat – Labor-Gesher alliance (five down from six) and Meretz (four down from five).

The Jewish Home-National Union remained stable on four seats, while the New Right doubled its seats from three to six Knesset seats. United Torah Judaism retained its seven seats, while Shas fell from nine to eight seats.

The poll also quizzed respondents on the fallout to Netanyahu’s indictments, with 56 percent saying the long-time Likud leader should not continue as prime minister, and 37 percent saying he could continue in office.

Among Likud voters, 88 percent would choose Netanyahu as their candidate in the scheduled party primary, with Nir Barkat and Gideon Sa’ar lagging a long way behind.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

His Last Wish Unfulfilled: Sami Abu Diak Dies in Israeli Prison (VIDEO)

Palestinian prisoner Sami Abu Diak has died in an Israeli prison. (Photo: via Social Medi)

Palestinian prisoner Sami Abu Diak, who was suffering from cancer, has died in prison this morning, according to prisoners advocacy groups.

Israel has rejected several appeals to release him on humanitarian grounds so that he can get proper treatment for cancer outside prison.

The tension was high throughout Israeli prisons this morning following the announcement of Abu Diak’s death, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners Affairs Commission.

Abu Diak, 37, from Silat al-Dahr village in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, died in the Israeli hospital Asaf Harofeh as a result of what the Commission said was “the policy of deliberate and systematic clinical killings by the (Israel) Prison Services.”

With the death of Abu Diak, the number of Palestinian prisoners who died as a result of medical negligence has reached 222 since 1967, more than a third of them while in custody.

Abu Diak was detained on July 17, 2002, and was sentenced to triple life terms plus 30 years, of which he spent 17 years behind bars before his death. He was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in September 2015 and his condition began to deteriorate as a result of medical mistakes by the Israeli Soroka hospital in the south of Israel where he underwent surgery to remove 83 cm of his large intestine.

He was then transferred to Ramlah prison clinic where his health deteriorated due to the dismal and unhygienic conditions of the prison. He was then transferred to Assaf Harofeh, and then returned to Ramlah prison.

Abu Diak was unable to walk and would move only in a wheelchair. He underwent four operations to remove tumors from the intestine, and during one of the operations, he went into a coma for one month.

Many petitions were submitted for the early release of Abu Diak in light of the serious and critical deterioration of his health, but the occupation authorities rejected all appeals, said the Commission.

This was Abu Diak’s last message from the prison:

“To every person with a conscience, I live my last hours and days. I want to be in my last days and hours beside my mother and my loved ones, and I want to die in her arms. I do not want to die while I my hands and feet are cuffed and in front of a jailer who loves death and nurtures and delights by our pains and sufferings.”

The Prisoners’ Commission held the occupation authorities fully responsible for the death of Abu Diak due to what it said was its racist crimes against Palestinians, such as physical and psychological torture, medical negligence of prisoners and other violations and procedures of torture against them, which come at the expense of the life of the Palestinian prisoner.

It called for investigations into cases of violations against prisoners and to force Israel to abide by international law regarding prisoners.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)