Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

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Palestinian Foreign Minister Delivers Evidence Against Israel To ICC

THE HAGUE (AFP) — The Palestinian Authority on Thursday presented the first batch of evidence to the International Criminal Court in support of its campaign to have Israel investigated for alleged war crimes.”The state of Palestine has pledged to cooperate with the court including by providing it with relevant information and it is fulfilling its pledge today,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki told journalists after leaving the court.”The information provided by the state of Palestine make a compelling case for the prompt opening of an investigation,” Malki added.ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in January launched a preliminary probe to see whether there was enough evidence for a full-blown war crimes investigation into last year’s conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.The documents handed over on Thursday consist of two files: one about alleged Israeli crimes committed in Gaza during the 50-day war in July and August last year that killed over 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 Israelis, mostly soldiers.The other file deals with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including “information about the issue of Palestinian prisoners,” the Palestinian mission in The Hague said. “Achieving justice is essential for the Palestinian victims, dead and alive,” said Malki. “Palestine has chosen to seek justice not vengeance, this is why we are here today.”

The Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Riyad al-Maliki, leaves the International Criminal Court in The Hague, on June 25, 2015. ANP/AFP/Robin Van Lonkhuijsen)

The move is part of an increased focus on diplomatic maneuvering by the Palestinian leadership, who has grown frustrated with consecutive failures to end the nearly fifty-year Israeli occupation and creating their own independent state.Bensouda warned in May that both sides could face war crimes charges in the case, which has been vehemently opposed by Israel. Israel is not a signatory of the statute that established the court. Palestine ratified the ICC’s statutes in January.The PA’s submission of evidence comes three days after the UN Commission of Inquiry announced it had gathered “credible allegations” that both sides had committed war crimes during the conflict, which killed more than 2,140 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

The report decried the “huge firepower” used in Gaza, with Israel launching more than 6,000 airstrikes and firing 50,000 artillery shells during the 51-day operation.
It also criticized the “indiscriminate” firing of thousands of rockets and mortar rounds at Israel, which it said appeared to be have been intended to “spread terror” among Israeli civilians.Earlier this year, as the Palestinians were putting their accession to the ICC in motion, president Mahmoud Abbas sent documents to the court authorizing the prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories since June 13, 2014.Among the more controversial events of the Gaza war was Israel’s bombing of UN schools being used as shelters for the displaced.Israel said it was forced to carry out the strikes, claiming Hamas used them to store weapons or fire rockets at Israel.The ICC, set up in 2002, is the world’s only permanent independent body to try the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

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Headlines From Palestine: June 22, 2015

UN Report: ‘War crimes’ Likely By both Sides In 2014 War On Gaza

Both Israel and Palestinian militants may have committed war crimes during last year’s Gaza war, a widely anticipated United Nations report said Monday, decrying “unprecedented” devastation and human suffering.The Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict announced it had gathered “substantial information pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups.”

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Powerful Article: In Israel, We Walk Amongst Killers And Torturers

The harassment of the Al-Midan Theater stems from envy of our subjects’ ability to overcome oppression, to think and create, in defiance of our image of them as inferior.

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Israeli Rights Group Blasts Occupation Army For Failing To Protect Palestinians From Extremist War Crime ‘Settlers’

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.

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Israeli Occupation Blasts French Peace Initiative

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked the French government’s initiative to promote a United Nations Security Council resolution attempting to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reported the Israeli daily Haartez.

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Third Freedom Flotilla To Try Breaking Siege Sails To Gaza

Freedom Flotilla III, a third initiative organized by international pro-Palestine activists to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip for eight years, is expected to set off from Greece to the coastal enclave within hours, said Isam Yousef, coordinator of the Miles of Smiles convoys.

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Israeli Extremists Spray Racist Graffiti And Attack Palestinians

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.

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Palestinians Rip Up Israeli Permits: “I do not need your permission to enter my own land”

Following the overwhelming operative in Jerusalem Sunday where a Palestinian teenager was shot after stabbing Israeli border guard, Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled permissions to enter “Israel” for the people of Si’ir village near Hebron and 500 others.

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Headlines From Palestine: June 20, 2015

Alarming Accounts Of Human Rights Violations Of Palestinians Living Under Occupation – UN expert

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, on Friday expressed deep concern about the human rights situation of Palestinians living under the 48-year-long Israeli occupation.

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Brazil Arrests Israeli Terrorist Wanted For Murder Of Palestinian

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.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Arrest Two Palestinians In Hebron

Israeli forces Saturday arrested two Palestinians, including a minor, from the district of Hebron in the southern West Bank, according to security sources.

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Palestine TV Chairman To Appeal Israeli Occupation Decision To Shut Down New Channel

Chairman of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation’s Board of Trustees Riyad Al-Hassan stated Thursday that he would appeal the Israeli decision to shut a new Arab TV Satellite Channel specifically targeting the Palestinian audience in Israel.

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PLO Should Retract Recognition Until Israel Reciprocates

The PLO’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, on Thursday issued a 56-page report on Palestinian-Israeli relations, calling for a comprehensive review of the current status quo.

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Alarming Accounts Of Human Rights Violations Of Palestinians Living Under Occupation – UN expert


The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, on Friday expressed deep concern about the human rights situation of Palestinians living under the 48-year-long Israeli occupation.

“Accounts show that occupation policies constrain Palestinian life and push Palestinians to leave their land and homes, especially in area C of the West Bank, and East Jerusalem,” said the expert after his second mission to the region.

From 9 to 12 June 2015, Mr. Wibisono visited Amman, Jordan, and met with civil society and Palestinian local community representatives, UN agencies, and Palestinian government officials. He was unable to access the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), as the Israeli Government has not granted him access and has not formally responded to his requests for access to Israel and the OPT.

“The briefings I received reflect a situation that is deeply alarming. The crisis in war-torn Gaza is deepening. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, there are daily infringements of Palestinian rights as land is increasingly lost to illegal settlements,” the human rights expert warned.

“Simply closing our eyes is allowing these practices to continue – the international community must ensure the promise of universal human rights no longer

rings hollow to Palestinians,” he stressed reiterating his call for accountability for violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the OPT.

“Accountability is critical for dealing with past violations as well as preventing future ones,” Mr. Wibisono explained. “This includes accountability for violations in the context of successive Israeli military operations, including the 2014 hostilities in Gaza. It is the only way to move forward.”


The independent expert heard how nine months after the ceasefire, of some 12,600 homes totally destroyed during the 2014 hostilities, not a single one has been rebuilt in Gaza. Multiple factors affect the slow reconstruction in Gaza, including unfulfilled donor pledges.

Mr. Wibisono noted that the blockade, now in its eighth year, imposes severe restrictions on Palestinian movement, imports and exports and has left Gaza dependent on international aid and with soaring unemployment.

“The bottom line remains that, if Gaza is to recover from the damage wrought by multiple rounds of hostility and a shattered economy, the blockade must be lifted. The people deserve help and realisation of their human rights, not collective punishment,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur was also briefed on the lack of access to health care in Gaza, where more than 11,000 Palestinians were left injured after last summer’s escalation of hostilities. “Health services too are affected by the blockade. There are prolonged and chronic shortages of drugs and medical supplies,” he said.

In addition, the expert was briefed on how the extensive damage caused to civilian infrastructure has worsened the provision of essential utility services. “One man described how ‘Gazans wake up every day to wash with salt-water and sleep at the end of the day without electricity’ – People are deprived of the means to help themselves and they cannot leave – this is a very dangerous situation,” he warned.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the independent expert noted the interplay between Israeli control of natural resources, such as land and water, and advancement of Israeli settlements.

The Special Rapporteur was briefed on the scarcity of water for Palestinians, including farmers, while settlements enjoy up to 6-8 times the amount of water. “The impact of untreated sewage and waste from settlements on Palestinian crops and the environment is also concerning,” Mr. Wibisono added.

From Bedouin communities in the West Bank, to Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, families live under the threat of settler violence, home demolitions and forcible transfer.

“I would like to highlight the small village of Susiya. All of its 170 structures located in Area C, from homes to animal shelters, schools and latrines, are now at imminent risk of demolition. This includes structures donated as international humanitarian assistance,” the expert said noting that residents have been subjected to multiple waves of demolitions since an illegal Israeli settlement sprung up nearby the village in the 1980s.

“Occupation policies and practices go beyond control of land – they impact every aspect of life and wear heavily on the social fabric of communities,” he said. “Palestinians are kept apart by movement restrictions: Between Gaza and the West Bank, between the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and within the West Bank, including by the separation wall, which is illegal under international law.”

“The end result is that, if you are Palestinian, family and social life is dictated by the granting or refusal by the Israeli authorities of the right permit,” the Special Rapporteur highlighted.

The human rights expert expressed concern over Palestinian deaths and injuries resulting from excessive use of force by Israeli security forces, including in refugee camps.

“In addition to use of fire arms, there are troubling accounts of how ‘crowd-control’ weapons are used by Israeli security forces. Weapons such as tear-gas, cannot accurately be described as ‘non-lethal’ –they can have serious health effects and in several cases have been used with fatal consequences,” he said.

Regarding detention and imprisonment of Palestinians, including through the practice of administrative detention, the Special Rapporteur described the situation as one of justice turned on its head.

“A high percentage of the Palestinian population, including hundreds of children, are detained by Israel every year and there are serious questions over lack of due process protections afforded under the military justice system,” he stated. “On the other hand, there appears to be little legal consequence for numerous allegations of settler violence or excessive use of force by Israeli security forces against Palestinians.”

Speaking of his meeting with a youth group from the city of Hebron, which is severely affected by military checkpoints and settlements, Wibisono commented: “A young Palestinian human rights defender, who cannot walk freely in the streets due to checkpoints, emphasized that he bore no ill will towards the Israeli people and simply said: ‘The problem is the occupation’.”

The Special Rapporteur will present his next report during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

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Israeli Occupation Extends Apartheid Law Against Palestinians For Another Year

PNN/ Bethlehem/
The Israeli Knesset last night has extended the “family reunification prevention” bill for Palestinian families for another year. 57 MKs have voted in favor of the extension, 20 voted against and 5 abstained.

The bill prevents family reunification between Palestinians living in Israel and their spouses from the West Bank or Gaza. It also prevents them from living in Israel, unless the husband is over 36, and the wife is over 26.

The bid was first presented during the Ariel Sharon cabinet in 2002, in hopes to “protect the Jewishness of the state” and prevent the return of Palestinian refugees from the back door, using a security pretext which divides Palestinians, and Judaizes the capital of Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities have regulated the law starting 2003 as a temporary law for a year. However, It has been extended yearly on a regular basis now upon recommendations by Israeli security forces.

The supreme court has denied numerous appeals presented by human rights organizations to cancel this bid which prevents thousands of Palestinian families from living together under the same roof, tearing families apart for years.

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Israeli Occupation Blocks Visit Of UN Human Rights Envoy

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel has blocked a visit to the Palestinian territories by a UN rights envoy, an official said Monday, just ahead of the publication of a United Nations report on last year’s Gaza war.It was the second time Makarim Wibisono, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, had been barred entry.”We didn’t allow this visit,” which was to take place last week, foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told AFP.”Israel cooperates with all the international commissions and all rapporteurs, except when the mandate handed to them is anti-Israeli and Israel has no chance to make itself heard.”The UN Human Rights Council, to which Wibisono reports, has been conducting an investigation into the actions of both Israel and Palestinian militants during last year’s conflict.Its report is expected to be published in the coming days, and the council is scheduled to debate it on June 29.The UN’s human rights chief, speaking at the opening of the council’s 29th session in Geneva on Monday, confirmed the publication was imminent.”It is my hope the report will pave the way for justice to be done to all civilians who fell victim to the fighting last year, by holding to account those alleged to have committed grave and other serious violations of international humanitarian law,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

The war killed 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians including 500 children, and 73 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.While Wibisono reports to the council, his visit was for a separate, annual assessment in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and east Jerusalem.Israel barred him from entering last year for a similar visit.In a report released Sunday, Israel defended its conduct in the July-August Gaza war against Hamas, calling it both “lawful” and “legitimate.”The UN has said Israel was responsible for the deadly bombing of several UN institutions, including schools, in which displaced Palestinian civilians were sheltering.Israel says that militants’ use of schools to store weapons, and the firing of rockets from the vicinity of the sites, forced it to target those areas.Israel has long had a stormy relationship with the UNHRC and fiercely opposed the Gaza probe from the start.


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Headlines From Palestine: June 13, 2015

Egypt has allowed some building and reconstruction materials into Gaza through Rafah crossing today.

Family Furious As Israel Occupation Probe Clears Military In Gaza Beach Murders

The family of four Palestinian children killed when Israel bombed a beach during last summer’s Gaza war were indignant Friday over the closure of a probe into the incident.

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Israeli Occupation Forces Open Fire At Palestinian Fishing Boats In Gaza

Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, forcing fishermen to flee the area in fear for their lives, a local union said.

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President Abbas Inaugurates New Palestinian Embassy In Serbia

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday inaugurated a new Palestinian embassy in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, reported Ma’an.

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In Two Months Israeli Occupation Forces Have Arrested 24 Students, Wounded 200 Students And Teachers

The Palestinian ministry of higher education on Thursday issued a report on Israeli violations against education in Palestine during the months of  April and may

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5 Injured, 2 Critically As Israeli Occupation Forces Attack And Open Fire On Palestinian March

Five Palestinians were injured, two critically, when Israelis forces opened live fire on the Kafr Qaddum weekly march Friday.A coordinator for the village’s popular resistance committee, Murad Shtewi, said that Muhammad Majid, 20, had been shot in the stomach and chest with live rounds and is in critical condition.

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Norwegian Insurance Giant Divests From Two Companies Doing Business in Israeli War Crime Settlements

The Norwegian insurance giant, KLP Kapitalforvaltning has divested two international building material companies from its investment portfolio because of their operations in the West Bank settlements.

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Family Furious As Israel Occupation Probe Clears Military In Gaza Beach Murders

GAZA CITY (AFP) — The family of four Palestinian children killed when Israel bombed a beach during last summer’s Gaza war were indignant Friday over the closure of a probe into the incident.The Israeli army, which launched the investigation after the 50-day July-August war ended, announced late Thursday that the “tragic” attack witnessed by several foreign journalists had not violated international law, and said it was closing the case.It was one of the most widely covered and controversial incidents of the war, taking place in full view of international media, including AFP correspondents, who were sitting outdoors very close to the beach at the time of the attack.”Israel behaves as if it’s a country above international law,” Zakariya Bakr, the uncle of the children who died, told AFP.”It’s not unusual for the occupation (Israel), which shells houses with their occupants inside them, and kills children, to declare its soldiers innocent.”We urge the international community to act seriously to stop this farce,” he said, referring to several army investigations into alleged misconduct during the conflict between Israel and Palestinian movement Hamas.

On July 16, cousins Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakaria Ahed Bakr, both aged 10, nine-year-old Mohamed Ramez Bakr and 11-year-old Ismail Mohamed Bakr were playing on the beach in Gaza City when they were hit in two separate air strikes.The incident is among those likely to be presented by the Palestinians to the International Criminal Court as evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes.But the army said in its report that it had decided to “close the investigation file, in the absence of a suspicion regarding the commission of a criminal offence by IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers.”The report said the army had targeted an area of the beach that had been used exclusively by militants and separated from civilians.It also said the “attack was aimed at figures who were understood to be militants from Hamas’s naval forces,” and that they were “not identified, at any point during the incident, as children.””Under the circumstances… it would not have been possible for the operational entities involved to have identified these figures, via aerial surveillance, as children,” it added.
‘Clear they were children’Western journalists who witnessed the incident and its aftermath, and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the children had been playing on that area of the beach, which was not clearly separated from civilians.”It was absolutely crystal clear… from the figures running, that they were children,” one journalist said.”They were all very, very small, I thought they were much younger than they were.”At an IDF briefing where probes into Gaza were announced, he said, the army showcased their surveillance capability to distinguish civilians from militants.”There needs to be a question answered, how did they not know they were children?”The army said it based the investigation on testimony by soldiers and officers, media footage and other documents, but was unable to take direct witness testimony from Gazans because witnesses declined to meet.One Western journalist said he had volunteered himself to a senior Israeli army official as a witness, but he was never contacted.The war killed 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians and more than 500 of them children, and 73 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

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Headlines From Palestine: June 10, 2015

Egypt to open Rafah crossing with Gaza for 3 days starting on Saturday, Palestinian official says

Israeli Occupation Forces Murder Palestinian In Jenin Refugee Camp

Israeli forces shot dead a young Palestinian man in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank early Wednesday morning, Palestinian security sources say.

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13-Year-Old Palestinian Detained By Israeli Occupation Forces In East Jerusalem

Israeli forces detained a 13-year-old Palestinian from his home in the al-Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem overnight Tuesday, lawyer says.

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Israeli Occupation Denied UN Human Rights Rapporteur Entry To Palestine

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, in a press statement Tuesday, condemned Israel decision to deny the United Nations Rapporteur on human rights, Makarim Wibisono, entry into the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT).

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Israeli Occupation Tanks And Bulldozers Infiltrate Gaza And Raze Land In The South

Israeli military vehicles this morning entered into civilians’ agricultural lands in the village of al-Qurara north-east of Khan Yunis city in the south of Gaza. Sources reported shots fired.

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Israeli Occupation Demolishes Tent In Hebron, Razes Palestinian Farm In Jerusalem

The Israeli authorities Wednesday demolished a Palestinian-owned residential tent near the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, and razed a farm in Jerusalem’s neighborhood of Issawiya, according to local sources.

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Israeli Occupation Denied UN Human Rights Rapporteur Entry To Palestine

RAMALLAH, June 9, 2015 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, in a press statement Tuesday, condemned Israel decision to deny the United Nations Rapporteur on human rights, Makarim Wibisono, entry into the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT).

Describing it as a continuation of the numerous Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, the ministry said this decision is an attempt to hide the truth behind all crimes committed in the oPT, including Jerusalem.

The ministry affirmed the importance of UN Rapporteurs’ in revealing human rights violations, adding that it has sent an open invitation to all special UN Rapporteurs to act within their jurisdiction and follow up on the humanitarian situation in the oPT.

It further stressed the need for Israel to adhere to the resolutions of international law; and to allow the UN Rapporteur, and other UN missions to enter the oPT to follow up on the situation on the ground.

Calling on the international community to pressure Israel to implement the resolutions of the United Nations, the ministry said the pressure must include an immediate halt of all violations while acknowledging the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and the need to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.

The ministry considered the absence of accountability over Israel’s policies and violations as an encouragement to break the international law.

In November, Israel banned the International Independent Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the offensive launched by Israeli forces on the Gaza Strip, said the Middle East Monitor.

It reported on the Palestinian human rights organizations as saying in a statement that banning the UN official deprives Palestinian women from having their voices heard regarding the violence they suffer.