Wednesday, June 23, 2021 Last Update: 3:54 PM GMT

Health Conditions of Palestinian Prisoner in Hunger Strike Deteriorate

Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, 28, is one of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, in protest of their administrative detention. (Photo: via Social Media)

The health condition of a Palestinian prisoner has seriously deteriorated as he entered his 49th day of hunger strike in Israeli detention facilities, according to the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission.

The commission spokesman, Hassan Abed-Rabbu, said in a press release that urgent medical intervention is required to save the life of Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, who has been on a hunger strike for 49 days in a row to protest his administrative detention.

Abu Atwan’s health condition has seriously deteriorated due to the lack of body fluids, which endangers the heart and kidneys.

In an interview with Voice of Palestine, Abed-Rabbu cautioned against the serious health deterioration of Eyad Hreibat and Ali al-Hroub, both residents of Dura town, near Hebron (Al-Khalil), due to the Israeli Prison Service’s (IPS) policy of deliberate medical negligence, as he held IPS fully responsible for their fate.

He stressed the need to hold rallies in support of the hunger-striking prisoners and spare no effort on the legal arena to secure the release of Abu Atwan and all 550 prisoners held in administrative detention.

On June 10, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected for the second time a petition by Abu Atwan concerning the abolition of his administrative detention. Abu Atwan is boycotting the medical examination and treatment.

Israel’s widely condemned practice of administrative detention allows the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable intervals ranging between three and six months based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Jewish Settlers Storm Sheikh Jarrah, Threaten Palestinian Families

Israeli Border Police officers look on during a protest against the eviction of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah. (Photo: Oren Ziv, via ActiveStills.org)

Jewish settlers, backed by Israeli police and accompanied by member of the Knesset Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionism) stormed the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and threatened three Palestinian families that they will be forcibly expelled from their homes within one month.

Settlers stormed the neighborhood in a provocative manner and attempted to raid three houses belonging to the Diab, al-Kurd, and Qassim families, threatening to forcibly expel them from their homes within one month.

Palestinians fended off the settlers, provoking a scuffle.

Dozens of Palestinian families in Shaikh Jarrah are facing the imminent threat of forcible expulsion of their homes for the benefit of Jewish settlers.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Gantz: Israel Will Not Ease Gaza Siege

Despite the siege and the COVID-19 pandemic, the people of Gaza remain committed to their love for life. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz pledged on Monday that the besieged Gaza Strip, the tiny enclave that is home to more than 2 million Palestinians, will not be “economically rehabilitated” without the return of the Israelis held captive “and without security stability”, AP has reported.

Gantz was referring to the Israeli soldiers captured by the Palestinian resistance during the 2014 Israeli military offensive against Gaza. The Israeli government believes that the men are dead and wants their remains to be returned.

The Palestinian resistance, though, has not revealed any details about their condition but has hinted several times that they could be alive.

On Monday, the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, said that a meeting with UN Peace Process Envoy Tor Wennesland had produced no indication that there were intentions to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the Strip.

Israel, said Sinwar, is “blackmailing” Hamas to hand over the captives in exchange for the lifting of the siege. He insisted that this will not succeed.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Yair Lapid to Make First State Visit to UAE

Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid. (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons)

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next week, in the first such trip by a top Israeli diplomat to the Gulf state since the countries agreed to normalize ties late last year.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced today that Lapid will visit the UAE from June 29-30 and inaugurate an Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai.

“Israel-UAE ties are an important relationship whose fruits are enjoyed not only by the citizens of the two countries but of the entire Middle East,” it said in a statement.

Lapid was the driving force behind a new Israeli government sworn in just over a week ago that ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year run as prime minister.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted a message of support after Lapid’s announcement.

“This is an important historic event,” Bennett wrote. “Israeli-Emirates relations are an important part of Israel’s foreign policy and we will work to deepen them.”

Last year’s normalization deals signed by the UAE and Bahrain, followed by Sudan and Morocco, were denounced by Palestinians who claimed the states had abandoned a unified position under which Arab countries would make peace only after a two-state solution, negotiations for which have been deadlocked for years.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Injure Palestinian Workers near Apartheid Wall

Palestinian workers try to cross Israeli apartheid wall. (Photo: via ActiveStills.org)

Israeli forces today injured two Palestinian workers near Israel’s apartheid wall, in the West Bank village of Anin, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Security sources told WAFA that Israeli forces opened fire towards a 32-year-old Palestinian worker near a gate as he was attempting to cross the wall to reach his workplace inside Israel, injuring him in the foot.

The soldiers also chased after a 56-year-old worker near the section of the apartheid wall, causing him to fall and sustain bruises and fractures. The worker was identified as a resident of Jalameh village, northeast of Jenin.

Both workers were handcuffed and detained.

Hundreds of Palestinians work in Israel without a permit and often police chase them and detain them.

A large number of Palestinians, especially construction workers, pass the checkpoint every day, facing extreme overcrowding and often waiting for hours in line due to inspection procedures as every person must pass through metal turnstiles one at a time.

Israeli severely restricts Palestinians’ freedom of movement through a complex combination of approximately 100 fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, settler-only roads, and various other physical obstructions.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh Heads to Mauritania after Morocco Visit

Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh (Photo: Mohammed Asad, via MEMO)

A high-level delegation from the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, led by the chief of the movement’s political bureau Ismail MaurMauritania

A Hamas statement confirmed the delegation’s arrival in the West African nation without adding further details.

After the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain, and Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel in 2020, Mauritania was tipped as another Arab country that could possibly follow suit.

Mauritania had previously recognized Israel in 1999 and established diplomatic ties, before breaking them off in 2009 when Israel launched a war on the Gaza Strip which killed thousands of Palestinians.

The idea of normalizing ties with Israel again has been met with strong resistance in the country. In February, 200 Mauritanian imams and religious scholars signed a religious edict prohibiting normalisation.

Following last month’s deadly Israeli assault on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which killed over 250 Palestinians, the Mauritanian parliament urged the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel for “genocide”.

During Haniyeh’s visit to Morocco, he met with Prime Minister Saadeddine Othman and other officials from the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), which leads the Moroccan government.

The party had previously tried to distance itself from Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s December 2020 decision to normalize ties with Israel. The administration of former US President Donald Trump agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region in return for the normalization deal.

Haniyeh also attended a banquet hosted by the king and visited the Jerusalem Treasury Agency, a body set up by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to provide financial assistance to Palestinians in Jerusalem, which is chaired by King Mohammed VI.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

Hamas: Marwan Barghouti is Top of Prisoner Exchange List

Imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti. (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons)

Hamas has said that it will prioritize the release of senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti in any prisoner exchange deal with Israel. This was revealed after a meeting between the head of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement’s political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, and Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of the 62-year-old who is entering his 20th year in an Israeli prison.

Haniyeh spoke with Barghouti’s wife in the presence of several prominent leaders of the movement earlier this month in Cairo. A senior Hamas source who was present at the meeting told Al-Monitor that Haniyeh has prioritized Barghouti’s release. Fadwa Barghouti received assurances that her husband will be at the top of the list in any future prisoner exchange deal with Israel.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Haniyeh and Egyptian officials discussed the possibility of a new deal with Israel. The Egyptian mediators believe that the time is not yet ripe to make progress in talks with the Israelis and suggested postponing the issue until the new government gets to work.

It’s not at all clear, however, if the government led by far-right nationalist Naftali Bennett will be open to a prisoner swap. He is even more extreme than his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hamas claims that it holds four Israeli soldiers who were captured during the 2014 Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip during which over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, and over 17,000 were wounded. Israel, however, questions that figure. It also continues to hold 4,500 Palestinians in its prisons.

Barghouti is seen as a natural successor to 85-year-old Mahmoud Abbas and the ideal person to unite the Palestinian political factions. According to recent polls, he is the most popular Palestinian leader, which means that he would stand a good chance of winning a presidential election.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Gaza’s Pepsi Factory Forced to Halt Operations Due to Israeli Siege

Pepsi Gaza’s factory has operated continuously since 1961. (Photo: via Pepsi Gaza FB Page)

Gaza’s Pepsi bottling company was forced to halt operations this week due to Israeli import restrictions that were tightened during its 11-day assault on the Strip, Reuters reported the company’s owners saying.

A ceasefire was agreed on May 20 and came into effect in the early hours of the following day. Though Israel has carried out airstrikes against Gaza a number of times since then, resistance factions have not responded with fire.

Occupation authorities have also kept in place tightened measures on raw material imports, including carbon dioxide gas and syrup that the bottling company’s factory needs to produce Pepsi, 7UP, and Mirinda soda, said Pepsi Gaza’s Hamam Al-Yazeji.

“Yesterday, we completely ran out of raw materials, and unfortunately we had to shut down the factory, sending home 250 workers,” Al-Yazeji said. Before the May fighting, he said, Pepsi Gaza was generally allowed to import needed materials.

Israeli occupation officials did not immediately provide comments on the tightened restrictions.

Shutdowns could also occur in other Gaza factories if Israeli restrictions are kept up, analysts say. Manufacturing makes up around ten percent of Gaza’s service sector-dominated economy, according to UN data.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Jewish Settler Pepper-Sprays Four Palestinian Girls in Sheikh Jarrah

Four girls were attacked with pepper spray in Sheikh Jarrah. (Photo: via Shehab Agency)

Four Palestinian minors, ranging in ages from 12 to 14 years, sustained injuries after being pepper-sprayed in the face by a Jewish settler in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Local sources told WAFA that four teenage girls were training to perform dabkeh dance during an artistic event held in the neighborhood when a Jewish settler pepper-sprayed them, causing them burns on their faces.

The settler chased after the four girls after pepper spraying them and then filed a complaint with Israeli police. The police detained two Palestinian youth after the attack and did nothing to the settler.

Dozens of families in Sheikh Jarrah have been facing the imminent risk of forced expulsion from their homes for the benefit of Jewish settlers.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

PA FM: New Israeli Government has ‘Emboldened’ Jewish Settlers

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki. (Photo: via EU website)

Illegal Jewish settlers have stepped up their violence against Palestinians since the new government headed by Naftali Bennett was sworn in last weekend, the Palestinian Authority said on Sunday.

“There is a noticeable increase in crimes by settlers against the Palestinians,” said the PA Foreign Ministry. “It seems that the settlers are emboldened by the composition of the new Israeli government and the well-known extremist positions of its prime minister.”

In all of the attacks on the Palestinians, said the ministry, Jewish settlers are protected by Israeli security forces. According to the PA, this signals the “deliberate and intentional indifference” toward the rights of the Palestinians and international reactions.

“This means that the new Israeli government has so far shown that it is a government of escalation in its dealings with the Palestinians.”

PA foreign ministry mentioned several examples of Israeli aggression against the residents of the occupied Palestinian territories. The planned settlers’ demonstrations, for example, to protest against “illegal” Palestinian construction in Area C of the occupied West Bank. “Such demonstrations are an act of large-scale incitement and an extension of the war waged by the occupation and its settlers against Palestinian presence in that area.”

The UN, the US, and other international parties, it added, refrain from exerting pressure on the Israeli government “to stop its aggression and settlement” policies.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)