NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers filled up an ancient agricultural well in the West Bank village of Deir Istiya west of Salfit on Saturday, local farmers told Ma’an.Witnesses said that the settlers filled the well with earth and rocks using “primitive” tools.Khalid Maali, a researcher on settlement affairs, said that filling up the well is part of a larger plan to forcibly move people from Wadi Qana to clear the way for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.Several illegal Israeli settlements surround Deir Istiya, the closest of which are Revava and YaqirI.About 17 percent of Deir Istiya’s village territory is classified as Area B, according to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, with the remaining 83 percent Area C, giving Israel full civil and military authority.ARIJ said in a 2013 report that Deir Istiya “has been subjected to numerous Israeli confiscations for the benefit of various Israeli objectives,” including the construction of settlements, outposts, checkpoints, bypass roads and the Israeli separation wall.The report said that Israeli settlers living on the village’s land “have had a significant impact on Palestinian residents and their properties.”Settler attacks have contributed to the loss of Palestinian lands and landowners have been barred from their plots, which have been fenced in with barbed wire and planted with trees, the report said.It added: “Israeli settlers have also carried out a series of attacks against Palestinian landowners in an attempt to intimidate them and deter them from returning to their lands.”
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian woman was injured Saturday evening when right-wing extremists threw stones at Palestinian vehicles in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the incident took place near “the Tomb of Simeon the Just,” a Jewish site of worship in occupied East Jerusalem near Sheikh Jarrah. She confirmed that a Palestinian woman sustained injuries. Palestinian youths afterward gathered and clashed with the group of right-wingers.Police officers arrested a young Palestinian man and two Israelis and held them for questioning.Saturday’s incidents come amid heightened tensions in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank over the past weeks.In the West Bank, attacks have been carried out by Israeli settlers and military as well as by Palestinian locals.On Friday, a group of Israeli settlers from the illegal Yitzhar settlement in southern Nablus smashed several Palestinian vehicles with stones, days after three Israeli settlers were injured and one killed in a shooting by a Palestinian local in the same area.
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Attacks continued in the occupied West Bank overnight Tuesday when Israeli settlers attacked and moderately injured a 60-year-old man from the central West Bank village of Ras Karkar west of Ramallah, relatives say.Mahmoud Salih Nofal was surrounded by a “mob of settlers” who assaulted him with pepper spray before violently beating him with rods, causing bruises over his body, the man’s nephew Muhammad Nofal told Ma’an. The attack, he added, took place at 7 p.m. near the main entrance of the village.The settlers allegedly left Nofal bleeding in a field and fled the scene. When he regained consciousness, the man walked to the nearest main road where locals saw him and immediately evacuated him to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.The incident comes amid a rise in violent incidents over the past week in the area.
Yesh Din report details failures of training and enforcement, as well as ‘culture set by commanders that denies army’s policing duties.’
A recent report by the human rights organization Yesh Din claims that the Israel Defense Forces does not do enough to protect Palestinians in the West Bank. The study focused on the practice of what it terms “standing idly by,” of Israeli soldiers not moving to protect civilians from violence by Jewish settlers.
Over a period of 18 months Yesh Din, together with Breaking the Silence, another rights group, collected statements from soldiers as well as 65 questionnaires about the practice, and also analyzed relevant protocols and instructions that were distributed to soldiers.
According to the report, the picture that emerges from these materials is of a tone set by commanding officers that “denies the army’s obligation,” including under international law, “to carry out the routine and daily policing and law enforcement activities that are among the main duties of an army that has held occupied territory for nearly five decades.”
The researchers found that the IDF conducts limited training in handling violence by Israeli citizens, passing responsibility for this to the Israel Police. Their report quotes a captain in the Kfir Brigade as saying: “During basic training, a soldier is taught to fight, to attack… The only time he is taught to deal with the civilian population is in the last week of training. How much time does he spend on it ultimately? Five or six days?
“That’s a problem since he ends up doing tasks the police should be doing. Preventing a demonstration isn’t a military mission, no matter how you view it,” the captain said.
While the officer stressed that training emphasizes that the protocols of warfare, for opening fire or for arresting suspects, are identical for Jews and Arabs, a Nahal Brigade soldier who was asked in January 2014 what he would do if he saw a knife-wielding settler running toward a Palestinian said he didn’t know the protocol for such a situation. “I certainly wouldn’t shoot” the settler, he said.
The officer said an entire chapter of the 70-page regulations is devoted to circumstances designated as “a red line” that, if crossed by settlers, should lead to a response: causing bodily harm to Palestinians or damaging their property, hurling stones at Israeli security forces, verbal or physical violence directed at them, damaging IDF or police property.
The report notes that “standing by” is not a violation of military law and no soldier has ever been prosecuted for this or for related inappropriate behavior. Of 30 complaints filed by Yesh Din, 17 were investigated but no one was prosecuted. Yesh Din wants the practice defined as criminal behavior.
In a response, the IDF said that after examining the report, it appears to be “tendentious” and its analysis of the facts “biased.”
“The report ignores numerous and significant steps that the IDF has taken in this regard over the years. The authors provided selected facts, while ignoring official statements by the army taking responsibility for law and order in the West Bank, the statement said. “The IDF has updated procedures and regulations, established teams including military and civilian representatives who strive to synchronize the activities of all relevant bodies, along with measures against ideological offenders.”
TABARIYA, June 21, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli extremists Sunday sprayed anti-Arab graffiti on the walls running along a street in Tabariya, while settlers residing in illegal settlements in central Hebron attacked Palestinians with rocks, according to WAFA correspondent.
Israeli extremists sprayed racist graffiti on the walls running along a street in Tabariya, inside the 1948 borders, such as ‘Death to Arabs.’
This incident came only a few days after Israeli extremists set fire to the church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in Galilee on Thursday, which led to the injury of two people, including a monk, and caused considerable damage to valuable property estimated at several million shekels.
Meanwhile in Hebron, settlers from a number of illegal settlements built illegally on land belonging to Palestinians in central Hebron hurled rocks at Palestinians in the old town of Hebron, while Israeli soldiers provided settlers with protection.
The attack caused damage to a roadside toys stand belonging to Tha’er Jaber. There were no injuries reported.
Settlements are illegal under international law as they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory.
Al-Haq human right organization stated that, “Attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank against members of the Palestinian population and their property are an extensive, long-term, and worsening phenomenon.”
It said that, “Since the beginning of January 2015, the Palestine Centre recorded a total of 152 settler assaults on Palestinians; These assaults target Palestinian civilians, including children, and vary between hit-and-run attacks, the use of gunfire, kidnapping attempts, attacks against places of worship, and destruction of Palestinian property.”
Al-Haq said that, “The illegal Israeli settlement policy of transferring Israeli civilians into occupied territory is directly responsible for creating a hostile environment that puts civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian, in harm’s way.”
Meanwhile, B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, said that, “As the occupying force, Israel must protect the Palestinians in the West Bank. However, the Israeli authorities neglect to fulfill this responsibility and do not do enough to prevent Israeli civilians from attacking Palestinians, their property and their lands.”
“The undeclared policy of the Israeli authorities in response to these attacks is lenient and conciliatory. Perpetrators are rarely tried, and many cases are not investigated at all or are closed with no operative conclusions,” it added.
Yehoshuah Elizor from Itamar settlement suspected of shooting Palestinian man in West Bank in 2004
Brazil police announced Thursday that, in coordination with Interpol, they had arrested a Jewish Israeli settler in connection with the murder of a Palestinian in 2004.
After more than a decade of searching, the suspect, 44-year-old Yehoshuah Elizor, was detained in Sao Paulo, according to local media reports.
Federal courts in Sao Paulo were expected to discuss his extradition in alignment with an extradition agreement signed with Israel in 2009.
In 2004, Elizor, who was a resident of the northern West Bank settlement of Itamar, shot and killed a Palestinian man.
Elizor saw the Palestinian’s van and signaled for him to stop near the Elon Moreh settlement.
When the Palestinian showed no signs of stopping, Elizor fired the M-16 rifle he was carrying at the vehicle, killing the Palestinian.
Elizor claimed that he was acting in self-defense because the Palestinian was attempting to run him over.
He was placed under house arrest and before the courts announced his sentence of 20 years in prison, he managed to escape to Germany where he had immigrated from.
Brazilian media reported that Elizor entered the country with fake documents and that he had been in hiding there for over a decade.
A group of Israeli settlers last night have deliberately burned the wheat crops of Rafiq Jbara from Kafr Al-Lebed village near Tulkarem, stretching in vast land areas.
The Mayor of Kafr Al- Lebed, Ziad Jab’iti said that the wheat was deliberately and completely burnt down by the settlers.
The people then had to call military coordination and civil defense to put out the fire.
Villagers following the attack voiced the need for defense against such incidents. They added that it was not the first time where settlers burn agricultural lands, which are the the only source of income for the villagers. In addition, they demanded compensation for the losses out of this violation.
HEBRON, June 13, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers last week attempted, but failed, to attack a mosque during the dawn prayers in the city of Hebron, revealed local sources.
Sources told WAFA that two masked settlers attempted to carry out an attack against the mosque during the dawn prayers, however, the attack attempt failed and settlers fled the scene and were seen running toward the illegal settlement of Ramat Yishai.
The attack attempt was caught on surveillance cameras placed in the area.
Moreover, one of the residents living near the mosque reported his daughter as seeing the two armed settlers from her window at dawn, stating that the presence of a taxi cab that stopped in front of the mosque to drop off one of the worshipers to attend the dawn prayers, prevented them from resuming with their attack plan and forced them to flee the scene.
Residents chased after them, however, they did not manage to catch them.
In an analysis conducted by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) on Israeli settlers’ attacks in the occupied Palestinian territory during the year 2014, ARIJ recorded 763 Israeli settler groups’ attacks against civilians, lands, properties, livestock, and agriculture. These attacks inflicted huge losses and suffering among Palestinians.
ARIJ also recorded a total of 226 attacks that were committed by settlers against mosques, includingAl-Aqsa Mosque, and churches and monasteries through spray-paiting racist slogans against Palestinians (Christians and Muslims alike), setting mosques ablaze, attacking worshipers, which showed the feelings of hatred and extremism these settlers hold for Palestinians, reported POICA.
It said that most of the violations that have been recorded during the year 2014 were in the vicinity of Israeli settlements and outposts.
According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Israeli security forces do not always deploy in advance to protect Palestinians from settler violence, even when such violence could be anticipated. “In some cases, rather than restricting violent settlers, Israeli security forces impose restrictions on the Palestinians.”
“As the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel is obligated to maintain public order and ensure the safety of the Palestinians in the West Bank, who are classified a protected population in international law,” says B’Tselem.
“The establishment of settlements on the West Bank violates international humanitarian law, which establishes the principles applying during war and occupation. Moreover, the settlements lead to the infringement of international human rights law,” stated B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
The center added that, “International humanitarian law prohibits the occupying power to transfer citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Fourth Geneva Convention, article 49).”
“The Hague Regulations prohibit the occupying power to undertake permanent changes in the occupied area, unless these are due to military needs in the narrow sense of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the benefit of the local population,” added the center.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Swedish officials have condemned the sale of a West Bank church compound to an Israeli settler organization that apparently used a Swedish company to conceal their identity, the Palestinian ambassador to Sweden told Ma’an on Monday.
Ambassador Hala Husni Fariz said that Swedish officials viewed the sale as a “crime” and the Swedish government remains completely opposed to Israeli settlement activity across the occupied Palestinian territories.The 38 dunam church compound, known as Beit al-Baraka, is located to the north of al-Arrub refugee camp between Bethlehem and Hebron.It has been in the spotlight since an investigative report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz last month alleged that an American millionaire, Irving Moskowitz, purchased the site through a Swedish company in 2012 with the intention of turning it into a settlement outpost.
She said that legal procedures ought to be taken against the Swedish company and those responsible for transferring the compound to the settlers. She said that Palestinian officials and legal specialists should prepare a complete report and file a case, so that the Palestinian embassy in Sweden can follow it up with Swedish officials. A Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, Basil Ghattas, told Ma’an that he had sent a letter to the Swedish government via the Swedish embassy in Tel Aviv demanding that Sweden investigate the church compound’s transfer.
Ghattas said that he had not yet received a response from the Swedish ambassador.Last month, Haaretz reported that a Swedish company established in 2007 — Scandinavian Seamen Holy Land Enterprises — had been used to cover up the sale and transfer of Beit al-Baraka in 2012 to a settler organization funded by American millionaire Irving Moskowitz.Pastor Keith Coleman, who headed the church that previously owned the compound, told Haaretz he thought it had been sold to a Swedish organization that would revive its use as a church.However, Haaretz discovered that, “the Swedish group was established in Stockholm in 2007, and seems to have been used as a cover for transferring the ownership of the compound to the settlers.
The group does not seem to have any offices.”After registering the purchase with the Israeli Civil Administration in 2012, the Swedish company was then dissolved, with ownership handed over to an American nonprofit organization, American Friends of the Everest Foundation, funded by Irving Moskowitz.The Everest foundation, which works towards the “Judaization” of occupied East Jerusalem, owns several properties in East Jerusalem totaling a value of $12 million, according to Ha’aretz.The church lies in a sensitive location, which when settled, will see Israeli settlements stretch all the way from the Gush Etzion settler bloc south of Jerusalem to the cluster of settlements around Hebron.Beit al-Baraka used to be owned by the Baraka Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem, although they split decades ago.