Tuesday, January 21, 2020 Last Update: 4:52 PM GMT

Israel Places Six Palestinians under Nighttime Curfew, Invoking British Mandate-era Act

Six Palestinians from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya holding Israeli police notificiations. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israel placed six Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya under nighttime curfew for several months.

On December 29, Israeli authorities invoked a British Palestine Mandate-era emergency act to impose a nighttime curfew on six youths from Issawiya for periods ranging from two months to four months.

The youths were identified as Anwar Sami Obeid, Muhammad Elayyan Elayyan, Fayez Muhammad Mheisen, Muhammad Musa Mustafa, Adam Kayed Mahmoud, and Mahmoud Ramadan Obeid.

The six were released on December 24 after being arrested on the basis of “disrupting public order”, and were given 72 hours to reply to the police notification issued by the general prosecutor of the Israeli army.

Raids by Israeli occupation forces in Issawiya have been “disrupting daily life” for residents for several months. 

Last August, Israeli NGO Ir Amir reported that:

“Over the course of the past two and half months, the police have effectively imposed a perpetual state of collective punishment on the entire neighborhood, marked by nightly police raids, severe limitations on movement, and clashes with residents. Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily detained, while an estimated 250 have been injured as a result of the police’s use of excessive force, which already claimed the life of one young man.”

“The operations on the ground intensified,” the NGO added, “severely disrupting daily life and creating intolerable conditions for area residents.

(The Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Netanyahu to Seek Immunity for Corruption Cases (VIDEOS)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu announces that he would seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases he faces. (Photo: Video Grab)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases he faces, a move that could delay criminal proceedings against him for months.

Netanyahu was indicted in November on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust over allegations that he granted state favors worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israeli media barons in return for gifts and favorable coverage.

He denies any wrongdoing, saying he is the victim of a witch-hunt by the media and left to remove a popular right-wing leader.

A trial cannot begin once an immunity request is made, and Netanyahu announced the politically risky move in a speech on live television just four hours before a deadline for an application was to expire.

Normally, a request for immunity would need to be approved by a parliamentary committee and then submitted to a full vote. But the committee charged with handling such matters does not exist because a government was never formed after September’s election.

The attorney general cannot file the indictment until the question of immunity is settled, delaying any court proceedings.

Amid the deep political deadlock, Parliament seems unlikely to decide the issue before Israel’s March 2 election.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Dismantle Residential Tents and Animal Barns in Jordan Valley

Israeli forces routinely dismantle animal barns and residential tents in the Jordan Valley. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli forces raided this afternoon the Atouf area, near the Jordan Valley city of Tubas and dismantled tents and animal barns, according to Atouf village council Abdullah Bisharat.

Bisharat told WAFA that the soldiers dismantled three residential tents and barns owned by Said Abu Daher and seized them.

Abu Daher was also subject to a similar act last week.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

UN Special Rapporteur Praises ICC Investigation

Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories. (Photo: via MEMO)

A formal criminal investigation into war crimes allegations in Palestine is a “momentous step forward in the quest for accountability,” a UN human rights expert said Tuesday of the ICC’s decision, reports Anadolu Agency.

Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Territories Michael Lynk said in a statement:

“Accountability has, until now, been largely missing in action throughout the 52-year-old occupation”.

He said that over the years, the international community adopted hundreds of resolutions through the UN condemning various features of Israel’s entrenched occupation of the Palestinian territory but it rarely combined criticism with consequences for Israel.

“Now, the possibility of accountability is finally on the horizon.”

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on December 20 she was “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine.”

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israel’s Supreme Court Hears Case on Netanyahu’s Political Future

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: File)

Israel‘s Supreme Court has convened to hear a petition on whether an indicted member of parliament can form a new government, a key test case for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to see if he can prolong his political career after elections in March.

If the court decides Netanyahu is ineligible, it could precipitate a constitutional crisis in Israel, and exacerbate the already tenuous ties between the Israeli government and the judiciary.

The court is not expected to hand down an immediate ruling on Tuesday and may ask for a full panel of the court to convene on the matter. Either way, it was wading into uncharted territory.

Israeli law requires Cabinet ministers and mayors to resign if indicted but does not specify so for a sitting prime minister.

There are no restrictions on Netanyahu to run in the March 2 election – the third polls in less than a year – but good governance groups are appealing whether he could be tasked with forming a new government if he emerges victorious.

Given the shaky legal ground, the court could deem the scenario hypothetical and delay the case until that happens.

The hearing comes as Netanyahu appears poised to seek immunity from the corruption charges against him, delaying the prospect of a trial until the elections when he hopes to have a parliamentary majority coalition that will shield him from prosecution.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinian Commuters in West Bank

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank. (Photo: via Social Media)

Jewish settlers today attacked Palestinian vehicles traveling between Nablus and Jenin, hurling stones, injuring some of the passengers and causing damage to several cars, according to Wafa.

Palestinian official Ghassan Daghlas told WAFA that 25 vehicles sustained broken windows and several people were injured from shattered glass.

As Ramzy Baroud, journalist, author, and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, noted:

“Now situated at the center of Israeli politics, Jewish settlers are enjoying the spectacle of being courted by all major political parties. Their increased violence against the indigenous Palestinians in the West Bank is a form of political muscle-flexing, an expression of dominance and a brutish display of political priorities.”

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

(The Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

Joint Report: Israel Arrested over 5500 Palestinians in 2019

Raya Obeid, Fares Baroud’s mother, holding his picture soon before her death. Faris died in prison shortly after the passing of his mother. (Photo: via Social Media)

A joint report released by the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer), the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, and the Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs has documented the dire conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The annual report states that Israel has arrested more than 5500 Palestinians in 2019, including 889 children and 128 women.

The total number of Palestinians prisoners in Israeli jails has reached nearly 5000, including 40 women, 200 children, and 450 administrative detainees.

In 2019, five Palestinian prisoners were killed in the Israeli jails: Fares Baroud, Omar Awni Younes, Nassar Taqatqa, Bassam Sayeh, and Sami Abu Dayak. This has increased the total number of martyrs in Israeli jails to 222 since 1967.

At least 700 Palestinian prisoners suffer from health problems, including at least ten cancer patients. 

In 2019, more than 50 prisoners went on a hunger strike; the majority of them were administrative detainees.

As Ramzy Baroud, journalist, author, and editor of The Palestine Chronicle commented:

“Of the dozens of Palestinian and Arab prisoners I interviewed in recent months, for a soon-to-be published volume on the history of the Palestinian prison experience, every single one of them underwent a prolonged process of torture during the initial interrogation, that often extended for months. If their experiences differed, it was only in the extent and duration of the torture. This applies to administrative detainees as much as it applies to so-called security prisoners”.

(Palestine Chronicle, Quds Press News, Social Media)

New Financial Crisis Looms as Israel Withholds Millions of Palestinian Tax Money

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: via MEMO)

Once more, the Israeli government has decided to withhold tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues, collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to prevent it from supporting families of Palestinians killed or wounded by the Israeli army.

Reuters news agency reported on Monday that the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not hand over nearly $43 million in Palestinian taxes over the PA’s “financial support for the families of slain or wounded Palestinian” activists.

The Israeli government had withheld hundreds of millions of dollars from the Palestinian budget in the past in order for Tel Aviv to force Mahmoud Abbas’ Authority to toe the Israeli line. In February, Tel Aviv confiscated PA funds citing Palestinian government’s support for prisoners and their families.

Under the Oslo agreement, Israel is responsible for collecting taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, the current sum of which, according to Reuters, is estimated at $222 million a month. 

In a meeting with members of his ruling Fatah party, PA President Abbas admitted that the Israeli decision “will cost us a lot.” But we have rights and we will not be afraid,” he added.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Jewish Settlers Storm Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus, Injure Nine Palestinians

Hundreds of Israeli settlers storm Joseph’s Tomb near the West Bank city of Nablus. (Photo: via Twitter)

At least nine Palestinians were injured last night, as hundreds of extremist Jewish settlers, backed by the Israeli army, stormed the West Bank city of Nablus.

Israeli soldiers escorted a convoy of buses and vehicles, carrying hundreds of settlers, who reached the area under the pretext of performing rituals at Joseph’s Tomb.

The Palestinian Red Cresent in Nablus told Wafa that three young men were shot with rubber-coated metal bullets and sent to Rafidia hospital; six others were treated in the field.

As Ramzy Baroud, journalist, author, and editor of The Palestine Chronicle said:

“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.”

Jewish Settlers Storm Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus, Injure 26 Palestinians

Settlers repeatedly break into Joseph’s Tomb, provoking chaos and confrontation with local residents.

(The Palestine Chronicle, Wafa, Social Media)

ICC Prosecutor Rejects Allegation of Anti-Israel Bias

International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda [Photo: via Al Jazeera)

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, has rejected Israeli Israeli allegation that she is siding with the Palestinians with regard to a probe into alleged war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, Al-Watan Voice reported on Sunday.

Bensouda explained:

“The ICC works on the principle of personal responsibility for crimes. It does not deal with conflicts among states.”

The Prosecutor has asked ICC judges for a ruling about jurisdiction in this matter within 120 days. The deadline is flexible either way, she added.

“No accusations have been made yet against any Israeli or Palestinian,” Bensouda pointed out. Nevertheless, both sides are invited to submit evidence and claims.

Rejecting claims that she has come under the influence of anti-Israel officials, the Prosecutor said:

“This is a very big mistake. I am completely independent, objective, just and credible in my work. Any attempts to prove the opposite are, simply, fake and baseless.”

She noted that there have been regular contacts with Israeli and Palestinian officials or representatives during the initial examination process of the status of Palestine.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)