Wednesday, April 24, 2019 Last Update: 9:50 PM GMT

Israeli Army Opens Investigation into Shooting of Handcuffed Palestinian Teen (VIDEO)

A Palestinian student was shot and injured with Israeli live fire, n Tuqu village, near Bethlehem. (Photo: via Ma’an)

The Israeli army said on Monday it was investigating into an incident in which its soldiers shot a Palestinian teenager while he was blindfolded and handcuffed.

Osama Hajahjeh, 16, said he was trying to run from soldiers when he was shot on Thursday. He said the incident began after a funeral for a school teacher in his village of Tuqu, who had been hit by a car driven by an Israeli while walking at a busy intersection.

Hajahjeh said school was let out early for students to attend the funeral. After the burial, he said he was tackled by a soldier who jumped out of an olive grove and forced him to the ground. He said his hands were cuffed and his eyes covered with a cloth blindfold.

Hajahjeh told AFP news agency by phone from a hospital in the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem:

“They shot me the first time while I was trying to change my sitting position because they sat me on thorns.”

According to the teenager, he was hit in the right thigh the first time.

“I started walking towards the villagers asking for help,” he added, then the soldiers “shot me again and hit my left thigh.”

He said that he had two operations and was in a stable condition.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the incident was the latest in a series of what it called unjustified shootings on Palestinian teens and young men.

It says four Palestinians in their late teens or early twenties have been killed in the occupied West Bank since early March.

The army has challenged the Palestinian witness accounts, but also frequently announces investigations into disputed cases.

Roy Yellin, a spokesman for the group B’Tselem, said:

“Like the previous four cases we investigated, this is an example of Israel’s reckless use of lethal fire and the fact that the human lives of Palestinians count very little in the eyes of the army.”

B’Tselem has long criticized military investigations, saying they rarely result in punishments and alleging they’re used to whitewash abuses by troops.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

Over 20,000 Jewish Settlers Visit Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron

Israeli authorities closed the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshippers for two days, and opened only for Jewish settlers. (Photo: via Social Media)

About 22,000 Israeli settlers took to Hebron (Al-Khalil), in the southern occupied West Bank, to visit the Ibrahimi Mosque compound and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover, on predawn Tuesday.

According to Hebrew-language news outlets, thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Jewish settlers were transported via buses to the Ibrahimi Mosque in successive groups and performed religious Jewish prayers on the occasion of Passover.

Sources confirmed that some 10,000 Israeli settlers performed Jewish prayers in the Cave of the Patriarchs inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Sources added that Israeli forces sealed off the area, banning Muslim worshipers from entry to the mosque.

The Ibrahimi Mosque fell under the Israeli military-controlled H2 zone, which also includes the rest of the ancient Old City and the once thriving al-Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

Israel Rejects France’s Request to Repay Money Deducted from Palestinian Tax Revenues

French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: FIle)

Palestinian Authority (PA) Ambassador to France Salman Al-Harfi yesterday reported that Israel has rejected a France request that it repay money deducted from Palestinian tax revenues, Al-Wattan Voice reported.

Al-Harfi said that the French letter was met by Israel’s rejection, noting this Israeli policy “has become dangerous for the security of the region.”

The ambassador also noted that the 28 EU member states are discussing taking measures in support of the Palestinian issue, rejecting the US peace plan dubbed the “deal of the century” and supporting the Palestinian economy.

He noted that France exerted much political effort with the Israeli occupation in order to retreat from its “violations” and deducting the funds, but Israel refused.

French President Emmanuel Macron sent a letter to Israel last week urging Israel to “change your decision to freeze the transfer of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority”.

On 31 March, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon signed an order to deduct 42 million shekels ($11,578,350) from taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The total annual deduction will amount to $138 million.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

French Ambassador to US Says Israel Becoming an ‘Apartheid State’

French Ambassador to US Gerard Araud. (Photo: FIle)

French Ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, has said that Israel is an apartheid state, in candid comments during an interview with The Atlantic as he prepares to step down from his role in Washington.

The French ambassador, who is about to end his five-year tenure in Washington DC, spoke to the American magazine about US President Donald Trump’s peace plan and the political status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Araud said that Israel has no interest in making concessions in the peace process due to the power imbalance between them and the Palestinian Authority.

If Israel annexes parts of the occupied West Bank, as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised in his recent re-election campaign, then Palestinians would either become “stateless” or “citizens of Israel”.

Araud told The Atlantic:

“They [Israel] won’t make them citizens of Israel. So they will have to make it official, which is we know the situation, which is an apartheid.”

He added:

“There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already.”

The outgoing ambassador said he also believed that the long-awaited Trump peace plan is doomed to fail as the “more powerful [party] is imposing terms on the weaker party”.

Araud said:

“That’s the basis of Jared Kushner’s (peace plan) – it will be a proposal very close to what the Israelis want. Is it doomed to fail? I should say 99 percent yes, but 1 percent, you never forget the 1 percent.”

Araud also told The Atlantic:

“He (Trump) is totally transactional. He is more popular than (Binyamin) Netanyahu in Israel, so the Israelis trust him. That’s the first bet, Kushner told me.”

He added:

“The second is that the Palestinians may consider, it’s their last chance to get limited sovereignty. And the third element is Kushner is going to pour money on the Palestinians. Don’t forget, the Arabs are behind the Americans.”

The Palestinians have refused to talk to the Trump administration since the US president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, with Palestinian officials saying the US peace plan is doomed to fail.

Accusing the US of pro-Israel bias, the Palestinian Authority has said the US should no longer act as the main mediator in stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The Trump administration has since dealt a series of blows to the Palestinian Authority, including cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for the Palestinians.

Last month, Trump officially recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights. The Golan Heights is a territory that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)

Israel Issues 75 Administrative Detention Orders against Palestinian Prisoners

‘Palestinian prisoners have, without question, demonstrated their tenacity and ability to devise ways to resist the Israeli occupier throughout the years.’ – Ramzy Baroud (Photo: via AJE)

Israeli authorities issued 75 administrative detention orders against a number of Palestinian prisoners held in various Israeli prisons, during the month of April.

The Palestinian Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs Committee said, on Monday, that some of the orders are renewed administrative detention orders, while others were orders issued for the first time against Palestinians.

The orders range from two to six renewable months of prison.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,450 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 497 are in administrative detention, and 48 female prisoners, and 205 minors, 32 of whom under 16 years old.

A report by Israeli NGO B’Tselem, which was based on the Israeli Prison Service statistics, read that over the last year, 29 Palestinians were taken into administrative detention every month, on average, and 37 were released.

The report added that in the past decade, the number of detainees held by Israel in a single month never fell below 150.

Rights groups say that Israel’s administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, particularly targeting Palestinian activists, journalists, and politicians.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Forces Detain 10 Palestinians, Including Minors

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian youth. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including minors, across the occupied East Jerusalem, on predawn Monday, Ma’an Agency reports.

According to Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained four Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem. They were identified as Anan Ahmad Rabeh, 18, Yazan Khaled Ayesh, 16, Feras Amer al-Jaadi, 28, and Muad Hassan Oweineh.

In the Shufat refugee camp, in the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, two Palestinian minors were detained. They were identified as Malek Nasser Hushiye, 15, and Salah al-Sharqawi, 15.

In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, one Palestinian was detained and identified as Nouris Muhammad Abu Khateb, 18.

In the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, another Palestinian was detained. He was identified as Qassam Faysal Abu Siriyeh. In the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem, PPS said a Palestinian was detained and identified as Mourad Fathi Mousa, 40.

In the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, Israeli forces detained one Palestinian. He was identified as Abed al-Qader Diab. PPS confirmed that prior to Diab’s detention, he and his family were physically assaulted by Israeli forces, in addition, soldiers seized a large sum of money from his home.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,450 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, including 48 female prisoners, and 205 minors, 32 of whom under 16 years old.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Minister, Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Compound

Uri Ariel, along with at least 170 Israeli settlers, raided the Al-Aqsa compound under armed security by Israeli forces. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, the third day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, along with dozens of Jewish settlers.

Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, said that Ariel, along with at least 170 Jewish settlers, raided the Al-Aqsa compound via the Moroccans Gate under armed security by Israeli forces.

Witnesses reported that several Israeli settlers performed prayers and religious rituals during the raid.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Despite the agreement with Jordan – which is the custodian of Al-Aqsa – Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site, often under armed guard. Such visits are typically made by right-wingers attempting to unsettle the status quo at the site and coincide with restrictions on Palestinian access, including bans on entrance and detentions.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

Arab League Vows $100m per Month to Palestinian Authority

Arab leaders at the 30th annual summit of the Arab League in Tunis. (Photo: via AJE)

The Arab League has pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to make up for funds withheld by Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday as part of a diplomatic effort to rebuff the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, which American officials indicate could be released this summer.

Abbas said,

“The Arabs need to be engaging actively at this critical time.”

Abbas said the Palestinians reject the deal and demand Israel fully withdraw from all occupied territories.

Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Foreign Ministry: All Palestinians in Sri Lanka Are Well

A series of coordinated bombings struck Colombo City on Sunday, targeting mostly churches and hotels. (Photo: via Ma’an)

The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry confirmed, on Sunday, that all Palestinians in Sri Lanka are safe, following a series of bombings in Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo.

The ministry said that the Palestinian ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Palestinian embassy are following up on the situation of the Palestinian community and tourists in Sri Lanka and is in contact with them to check on their safety and find out their whereabouts to facilitate getting in contacts with them.

A series of coordinated bombings struck Colombo City on Sunday, targeting mostly hotels and churches: more than 200 people have been killed and 400 others were injured.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian Students Suffocate from Israeli Tear-Gas in Hebron

Palestinian students are regularly harassed by Israeli forces and settlers in Hebron. (Photo: File)

Dozens of young Palestinian students and school staff suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron (Al-Khalil), on Sunday, after Israeli forces attacked their school.

According to local sources, Israeli forces surrounded the Hebron Elementary School and heavily fired tear-gas bombs towards the students and teachers on their way to school, resulting in dozens suffering from tear-gas inhalation.

Sources confirmed that injured students and staff received first aid on the scene.

Sources added that the young students were forced to run in fear for their lives into the school for safety.

The school is one of nine Palestinian schools located in the H2 area of Hebron, which falls under Israel’s military control, in addition, school children have to pass through military checkpoints in the H2 area to access their schools.

Palestinian students are regularly harassed by Israeli forces and settlers in Hebron City.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)