More than 2 million Muslim pilgrims attend Hajj in Mecca

MECCA, More than two million Muslim pilgrims gathered in Mount Arafat in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, to perform the holiest rite of the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage that takes the faithful along a path traversed by the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) some 1,400 years ago.

The more than two million pilgrims stand shoulder to shoulder for an emotional day of repentance and supplication at Mount Arafat, an area about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Makkah, for the peak of the annual Hajj.

The Saudi General Authority for Statistics said the total number of pilgrims who arrived in Mecca reached 2,487,160 at 9am on Saturday.

At least 6,300 regular Palestinian pilgrims are attending this year’s Hajj.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Rights group: Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes amounts to ethnic cleansing

GENEVA, The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and HUMENA for Human Rights and Civil Participation said in a statement today that the systematic destruction of Palestinian homes and property in occupied East Jerusalem amount to ethnic cleansing and is approved by the US administration, which legalized these crimes by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel amid international silence that amounts to complicity.

In a report that monitored human rights violations in Jerusalem during July 2019, Euro-Med and HUMENA said that Israeli authorities have stepped up their arbitrary violations against Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem. Last month witnessed the largest mass destruction in a single day since 1967 as Israeli authorities demolished 11 residential buildings (72 apartments) in a crime amounting to ethnic cleansing.

The report, entitled “Wadi al-Hummus in Jerusalem; facing Israeli ethnic cleansing,” said that the destruction of Palestinian buildings resulted in the displacement of 22 people, including 14 children, and deprived more than 70 families from their apartments, most of which were still under construction.

The report added that since the beginning of 2019, Israeli authorities destroyed more than 59 houses in East Jerusalem until mid-2019, while 2018 witnessed 215 demolitions.

In addition to Wadi al- Hummus neighborhood, Israeli occupation forces destroyed a car park, a garage, a warehouse, a car wash and five shops in the last month.

Euro-Med and HUMENA monitored five complex violations as part of crimes of settlement expansion and Judaization of the occupied city, most notably the seizure of a Palestinian house and a building evacuation by force in order to hand both over to Israeli settlers. Moreover, at the same time of the demolition of Palestinian homes, Israeli occupation authorities approved the establishment of 216 new housing units in the Gilo settlement.

Several parties, including the Israeli government, municipal authorities of Jerusalem or judicial authorities, collude to carry out systematic demolitions aimed to forcefully displace Palestinians, which falls within the occupation’s efforts to change the demographic reality in the occupied city.

This systematic policy pursued by Israel takes place without any regards to the principles of international law, which reflects Israel’s pursuit of demographic change in East Jerusalem by employing all its government, political and security arms, said the two rights organization.

On the other hand, the two organizations documented two incidents that signify the Israeli occupation’s disregard for Palestinian childhood; such as the summoning of 4-year-old Mohammed Rabi Illian, and the 6-year-old Qais Firas Obeid, under the pretext of throwing stones at their forces.

The report also documented 43 Israeli raids on different towns and neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem; which entailed the arrest of 102 civilians, including 19 children, a woman, a girl and a female journalist.

For instance, in five raids that included shooting and direct assault in the neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces injured seven civilians, including a child, a journalist and an elderly.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and HUMENA called on the international community to break their silence and undertake serious actions to re-tribute the crimes of the occupation and its serious violations of the international law and the international humanitarian law.

The report warned that the silence of the international community after said home demolitions in Wadi al-Hummus which amounts to a war crime of ethnic cleansing would essentially encourage the Israeli occupation to continue and escalate the policy of house demolitions and forceful displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

The Israeli policy of handing notifications of imminent demolition to Palestinians in the city continues, especially amidst rumors of Israeli plans to destroy more than 25 Palestinian houses under the pretext of lacking permits, which Israel rarely grants to any Palestinian properties in the city.

The report also called on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards protecting East Jerusalem and its Palestinian population as inhabitants of an occupied territory, in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, particularly resolution 181.

The two organizations stressed the need for ending the policy of racial discrimination between Palestinians and Israelis through advancing necessary investigations, prosecution and trial procedures to put an end to such violations. They finally called on international organizations concerned with childhood to urgently intervene to protect Palestinian children in East Jerusalem from Israeli arbitrary arrests, summons and house arrests.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency

Israeli forces detain four, confiscate vehicle near Hebron

HEBRON, Israeli forces on Saturday early morning detained four Palestinians, including a young woman, and confiscated the vehicle of one of them after raiding the town of Beit Kahil, north of Hebron in the West Bank, local sources said.

Forces broke into the town and detained four from the Asafrah family, including the young woman who was identified as Enas Asafrah, 26 years old.

The forces also confiscated a private vehicle belonging to one of the detainees, Qasem Asafrah.

During the raid, the soldiers assaulted and beat up two Palestinians in the town, who were later moved to hospital for medical treatment.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency

Israeli artillery bombs two locations at Gaza border

GAZA, Israeli artillery bombed two locations at the border of the Gaza Strip, east of Deir el-Balah town in the center of the enclave, amid unconfirmed reports of a number of Palestinian casualties in the area bombed.

Israeli military claimed that they had targeted four Palestinians who approached the border fence east of Deir el-Balah, but their fate was mysterious until the moment.

Medical sources at Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir el-Balah told WAFA that they had been unable to move to the targeted area to check whether there were any casualties, since the area was too close to the Gaza-Israel security barrier.

Israeli forces routinely open gunfire at Palestinians whenever they attempt to reach the unilaterally imposed security zone along Gaza border.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency

Wounded among four Palestinians detained in Al-Issawiya

JERUSALEM, At least four Palestinians were detained last night by Israeli occupation forces during a detention campaign in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-Issawiya, one of them had sustained wounds during earlier clashes with the forces, local sources said.

Clashes erupted with stone-throwing Palestinian protesters after Israeli police raided the neighborhood in middle of the night. The latter fired rubber-coated rounds to disperse the protesters, injuring one of them in his foot before detaining him.

The police also detained three Palestinians after raiding their homes in the neighborhood during the campaign.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency

Weather forecast: Moderate to warm conditions

RAMALLAH, Weather on Saturday is partially cloudy and moderate, especially in the morning hours, and relatively warm later in the day, said the Palestinian Meteorological Department (PMD).

Mild conditions are expected in mountainous districts and relatively warm conditions in other districts in nighttime. Wind is southwesterly to northwesterly and light to moderate with occasional gusts. Sea waves are low.

Temperature in Jerusalem and Bethlehem is expected to reach a high of 29C and a low of 19C and in Ramallah and Hebron, a high of 27C and a low of 18C. In Jericho, the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley, temperature is expected to reach a high of 39C and a low of 25C, while it is expected to reach a high of 30C and a low of 24C in Gaza and the coastal areas.

Temperature is likely to slightly rise on Monday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, and approaches 3C above the seasonal average. Therefore, warm conditions are expected in mountainous districts and very warm conditions in the Jordan Valley in daytime.

Similar weather conditions are expected for Tuesday.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency