Minor among 13 Palestinians detained from West Bank

JERUSALEM, Israeli forces Wednesday overnight detained at least 13 Palestinians, including a minor, from the West Bank districts of Jerusalem and Hebron.

WAFA correspondent said that Israeli police detained 10 Palestinians after storming their houses in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiyeh.

Among the 10 detainees were Ghadeer ‘Amuri, an employee with the Prisoners’ Affairs Committee, and Yasser Darwish, Secretary-General of the Fatah movement in Issawiyeh.

Police also conducted a raid into the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Zeitoun, resulting in the detention of a Palestinian.

Meanwhile, security sources confirmed that Israeli military vehicles raided al-Arrub refugee camp, north of Hebron city, where soldiers rounded up a 15-year-old Palestinian minor.

Israeli soldiers also detained a Palestinian after assaulting him at Jaber Courter of Hebron.

For the residents of Issawiyeh, a Palestinian village of some 20,000, and other parts of occupied East Jerusalem, military raids and building demolitions are a daily reality.

The village is plagued by poor infrastructure, residents are constantly harassed by the Israeli Border Police and anyone, including children, run the risk of arbitrary arrest.

Israeli forces frequently raid Palestinian houses almost on a daily basis across the West Bank on the pretext of searching for wanted Palestinians, triggering clashes with residents.

These raids, which take place also in areas under the full control of the Palestinian Authority, are conducted with no need for a search warrant, whenever and wherever the military chooses in keeping with its sweeping arbitrary powers.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Ashrawi says refusing her and Palestinian leaders a US entry visa is vindictive and petty policy

RAMALLAH, Rejecting my visa application or delaying and not issuing visas for Palestinian officials, diplomats and human rights activists reflects the petty and vindictive policies of the current US administration, said Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This administration does not seek partnerships or dialogue because it is incapable of accepting disagreements or criticism.

Ashrawi tweeted two days ago that she was denied an entry visa to the US despite the fact that she got her Ph.D. from a US university, has grandchildren and family living there and has travelled there several times in the past where she spoke at conferences and attended many other activities.

It is official! My US visa application has been rejected. No reason given. Choose any of the following: I’m over 70 & a grandmother; I’ve been an activist for Palestine since the late 1960’s; I’ve always been an ardent supporter of nonviolent resistance, wrote Ashrawi in her tweet two days ago.

I’ve met (& even negotiated with) every Sec. of State since Shultz, & every President since George H. W. Bush (present administration excluded), she added. Nevertheless she was denied an entry visa.

Along with its allies in the fundamentalist Israeli rightwing, the (US President Donald) Trump administration treats the Palestinian people with disdain and hostility and insists on exacting punishment from the Palestinian people, who refuse to trade their inalienable rights to freedom and independence for money and the promise of ‘better living conditions’ under the cruel regime of occupation, said Ashrawi in a statement today.

She added: This ideological and practical alliance between the Trump administration and the rightwing in Israel makes the administration complicit in the ongoing injustice against our people as well as the widespread crimes committed against the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation.

The PLO official stressed, Such petty politics, objectionable arrogance, unilateralism, and disdain for international law reaffirm that that this administration is neither qualified nor capable of playing any constructive role in peacemaking in the region, she said.

The Trump administration wrongly believes that launching a political and financial assault on the Palestinian people will force the Palestinian people and leadership to surrender. The Palestinian people will not abandon their just cause for freedom and independence, relinquish their legitimate and historic rights to Jerusalem, or abandon the Palestine refugees and their rights, as stipulated under international law, said Ashrawi, adding, It suffers from the illusion that such irresponsible policies could ensure the success of its so-called plan in the coming weeks.

The PLO official concluded: The Palestinian people will not allow the Trump administration’s hostile policies and illegal actions to obscure or tarnish their longstanding and principled partnerships with human and civil rights advocates in the US, who challenge this administration’s objectionable policies and insist on defending the dignity of all people as a universal value.

The Palestinian people are not alone. We have principled and vocal friends across the United States and the world, who continue to persist in our joint struggle for justice, freedom, and universal human rights.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Israel to demolish buildings, structures in Jerusalem’s Issawiya

JERUSALEM, Staff from the Israeli municipality of west Jerusalem delivered 20 notices for the demolition of buildings and structures in the town of al-Issawiya, in central occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli forces further photographed and measured streets and buildings in al-Issawiya as well as summoned several Palestinians for investigation.

Israeli forces delivered two notices for the demolition of the annex building in the old headquarters of Shu’fat Camp Services Committee and the third floor of Shu’fat Youth Social Centre, citing permitted construction as a pretext.

Head of the Camp’s Popular Committee, Mahmoud Al-Sheikh, said Israeli forces raided the committee’s headquarters in Shu’fat refugee camp, northeast of Jerusalem, and delivered the demolition notices, despite obtaining the necessary permits from UNRWA’s department of engineering and licenses; since the two buildings are located on land belonging to UNRWA and not to the Israeli municipality.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency

PEX report: Stock market index down by 0.51 percent

NABLUS, The ‘Al-Quds Index’ of the Palestine Exchange closed today’s trading at 527.29 points, down by 2.69 points (0.51%) compared to the last trading session, according to the PEX daily report.

A Total of 2,165,008 shares were traded with a value of $1,455,525.594 executed during 104 transactions.

Shares of 21 companies were traded. Share price increased in three companies whereas decreased in eight others.

The gainers: PIBC by (1.85%), ISBK by (1.09%), and APIC by (0.44%).

Top five decliners: GMC by (-4.69%), TNB by (-2.86%), OOREDOO by (-2.15%), NIC by (-1.35%), and QUDS by (-1.18%).

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

Dozens of Palestinians were injured by live bullets fired by Israeli soldiers in Gaza

GAZA, Over 60 Palestinians were shot and injured by live ammunition fired by Israeli soldiers at protesters on the Gaza side of their common borders.

Thousands of Palestinians marched to the border to mark the 71st anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) and to demand their right of return to the homes their families were forced to leave in 1948 when Israel was created.

Israeli soldiers, whose presence at the border was beefed up in anticipation of the anniversary protests, opened fire at the Palestinians injuring 62 people, two were declared by hospitals as in serious condition. Two medics were among the injured.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency

The northern Jordan Valley: A testimony to the ongoing Nakba

THE JORDAN VALLEY, In the early morning hours, the residents of Humsa al-Fawqa village in the northern Jordan Valley carry few supplies as they leave their homes by foot after being ordered to evacuate their tent encampments to make room for Israeli military exercises.

This scene brings to mind the Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, a term used to refer to the tragedy that befell the Palestinian people in 1948 whereby the Palestinian people lost their homeland when Israel was created on their land and in their homes after they were forcibly expelled or fled from their homes and became refugees.

The residents of Humsa al-Fawqa are inflicted with the tragedy of being forced to leave their on a daily basis as a result of the Israeli occupation policies aimed to displace them.

Driving along the road to Humsa al-Fawqa, one would see gun-toting Israeli troops heading to their training sites and hear the sound of shells fired by tanks resonating in the area.

An officer of the so-called Israeli Civil Administration, a name Israel gives to the body administering its military occupation of the West Bank, patrols the area to evacuate all residents who left behind their wheat-cultivated farmlands to be used as a shooting range by the Israeli military. Driving a military vehicle, the officer intercepts and prevents us for proceeding to Humsa, threatening to confiscate our car if we do so.

As the military arrives for drills, 15 families, composed of 98 members, including 57 children, are forced to abandon their homes for several hours and go to nearby mountains and pastures.

Yasser Abu Kbash, a resident who left the area in the early morning hours, said he and his family members left their tent encampment and together with other residents to the open fields forced to stay under the blistering summer sun and heat. The Jordan Valley is one of the hottest areas in the region in the summer.

When we left, we took only very little of the supplies leaving behind our livestock and land planted with wheat and barley, he said, expressing concern that the community which relies on herding and farming for their livelihood would suffer considerable material losses as a result of the military exercises.

Elaborating on his losses two years ago, Abu Kbash points out that Israeli artillery shells hit his 70-dunum wheat fields, setting them ablaze. Besides, a large number of his cattle suffered from a deadly plague and perished after he could not tend to them.

Aref Daraghmeh, a local human rights activist, points out that the areas whose population is at the most risk of displacement as a result of military drills are al-Ras al-Ahmar, Humsa al-Fawqa, Wadi al-Maleh and Khirbet Ibzeiq. Over 120 families have been subject to constant displacement over the past five years, he said.

The residents endure tremendous hardship as a result of remaining outdoors away from their tents for several hours, particularly in the hot climate conditions and having to fast in the Muslim month of Ramadan. Upon their return, families find remnants of unexploded artillery shells which pose a serious threat to them. Over the last four years, fiver residents were killed as a result of these remnants and several others were shot by bullets during the drills.

Daraghmeh explains that Israel utilizes the military drills in the northern Jordan Valley as a pretext to forcefully displace Palestinian families living there as part of ethnic cleansing policy aimed at seizing their lands.

Israeli occupation authorities intentionally conduct trainings during the planting and harvesting seasons, banning Palestinian farmers from planting their crops. In the harvesting season, artillery shells are fired towards wheat-cultivated farmlands, setting them ablaze. Israeli occupation authorities also exploit extreme weather conditions, both in summer and winter, to conduct drills and displace the residents, compounding their hardships, he remarked.

Several days ago, harvesting machines were seen cultivating the crops. However, today, they sit ideally by due to the Israeli measures. Farmers fear their crops will be ruined before they are allowed to harvest them.

Daraghmeh stresses that conducting military drills in residential areas is a contravention of international laws. However, in utter disregard for international laws, Israel conducts military drills in such areas, causing substantial damage to the residents and their property.

The Israeli military has started to systematically designate various farming and residential communities as closed military zones, placing dozens of concrete roadblocks around these communities; a policy Daraghmeh says is used to steal the Palestinian land.

Israel utilizes military drills in addition to other measures taken under the guise of security as a means to seize Palestinian land and build settlements in violation of international law, which establishes that the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

According to Daraghmeh, Israeli occupation authorities have seized thousands of dunums of Palestinian land, particularly along the West Bank’s eastern frontier with Jordan.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency