Taking the Pulse of Palestine: Weekly News Check-Up. Friday 18 January 2019.
Stories from the Week:
11.01.19: Palestinian Woman Killed by Israeli Sniper in Gaza
12.01.19: Israel Arrests Settlers Accused of Killing Palestinian Woman with Stone
13.01.19: The World Food Programme Cuts Aid for Palestinians
14.01.19: Palestinian Mother Claims She Was Tortured in Palestinian Authority Prison
15.01.19: Palestine to Launch Bid to Become a Full Member of UN
16.01.19: Besieged Gaza Fuel Crisis Reaching Critical Levels for Hospitals
17.01.19: Palestine Eliminated from 2019 AFC Asian Cup
Read more on each story below.
11 January: Palestinian Woman Killed by Israeli Sniper in Gaza
Amal al-Taramsi, a 43-year-old woman from Gaza, was shot in the head as she stood 150 metres away from the fence of the open-air prison. In addition, Israel’s military stated it performed two airstrikes on positions in Gaza.
Al-Taramsi ‘took a flag from a youth and before she moved, three gunshots rang out…she fell down’ a witness said at Gaza’s al-Shifaa hospital. Over 10,000 Gazans have been injured in the Great Return March which began in March 2018 and calls for an immediate end to the illegal siege Israel initiated in 2007.
12 January: Israel Arrests Settlers Accused of Killing Palestinian Woman with Stone
Five Israeli settlers, all students at a religious school, were arrested in connection with the killing of a Palestinian woman three months ago. Aisha Rabi died after rocks were thrown through her car window. Violent crimes committed by settlers against Palestinians have risen by 175% since 2016 in the West Bank.
Settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law yet settlers are protected by the Israeli military and Israeli civil law. Under this regime of apartheid, Palestinians are conversely subjected to Israeli military law where stone throwing may be punishable with up to 20 years in prison.
13 January: The World Food Programme Cuts Aid for Palestinians
Some 27,000 Palestinians are no longer receiving aid through the United Nations World Food Programme in the West Bank as of January 1st 2019. In addition another 165,000, including 110,000 Gazans, are receiving 80% of the usual amount. The cuts were decided after huge US slashes of over $500m in Palestinian aid and a gradual reduction in donations.
Palestinians in the West Bank are systematically denied the right to work, travel and build under Israel’s illegal occupation. In addition, Gaza sits among the world’s highest unemployment rates, making such aid in both places a vital necessity. Through a regime of apartheid Palestinians’ everyday lives are hyperregulated under 5000 Israeli military laws and edicts whilst illegal Israeli settlers enjoy the liberties and protection of Israeli civil law privileged to them through their superior legal status as Israeli citizens and Jewish Nationals.
14 January: Palestinian Mother Claims She Was Tortured in Palestinian Authority Prison
27-year-old Suha Jabara, mother of three, has recalled how she was severely tortured by Palestinian Authority security agencies after being accused of collecting money illegally: ‘I been through harsh torture, banned using restrooms, stripped down to be naked body searched, I was sprayed with freezing cold water in my face, I was forced to read filthy words about me’.
Having recently been released, she alleged during her 67 days in Jericho Prison investigators threated to rape her and her sisters, that she was blinded folded and handcuffed all the time and that security personnel performed a degrading pregnancy test on her, all with the intention to make her sign papers of which she did not know the content. She later went on hunger strike for 27 days before her release.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki announced Palestine will launch a bid to become a full member of the UN despite knowing too well that the US will veto. In 2011 a request was made for Palestine’s full UN membership but the application did not reach the United Nations Security Council.
Palestine’s status was elevated from a non-member observer entity to a non-member observer state. Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is currently serving as chair for ‘Group of 77’, the largest UN bloc of developing countries.
16 January: Besieged Gaza Fuel Crisis Reaching Critical Levels for Hospitals
Ahsraf Al-Qudra, a Ministry spokesman, stated the fuel stock will only be enough to keep power on in hospitals for between two and five days. The UN grant has ran out which provides Gaza’s hospitals with vital power when Israel cuts it off for 8-16 hours every day. Gaza has only 13 functioning government hospitals and 53 health centres which have survived Israel’s frequent bombardment and siege, which require 300,000 litres of fuel every month to operate their generators.
Hospitals there are facing an epidemic of patients with gunshot wounds after Israel’s brutal sniper campaign against protestors seeking freedom from their open-air imprisonment injured 10,000 people. Gaza has been under illegal Israeli siege since 2007.
17 January: Palestine Eliminated from 2019 AFC Asian Cup
Palestine’s football dreams were dashed as they were eliminated from the group stages of the 2019 Asian Cup. After drawing 0-0 with Syria and Jordan and losing 3-0 to Australia, Palestine were unable to qualify. Despite not scoring in group stages, Palestine fought valiantly to draw against Syria and Jordan, although it could have been different had Palestinian striker Mahmoud Wadi connected with the attempted scissor kick against Jordan in the 89th minute.