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Taking the Pulse: Palestine Weekly News Check-Up. Monday 18 February 2019.

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)

9.02.19 Israel Kills Two Children at Gaza Friday Protest

Israeli forces shot dead two protestors in Gaza on Friday (8th February), both children. Hasan Iyad Abd al-Fattah Shalabi, 14, was shot in the chest 60 metres from the boundary fence in Khan Younis. Hamza Muhammad Rushdi Ishtaiwi, 17, was shot in the neck 50 metres from the boundary fence also in Khan Younis.

According to Al Mezan human rights group, Israeli forces injured more than 100 Palestinians, including 43 children, five women and a paramedic.

11.02.19  IOF Open Fire at Palestinian Shepherds in Khan Younis

Witnesses reported to Ma’an news that Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian shepherds from a watch tower in Khan Younis in southern besieged Gaza Strip. No injuries reported.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

13.02.19 Palestinian Boy, 17, Succumbs to Wounds

Palestinian teen Hasan Nabeel Nofal succumbed to his wounds late Tuesday, having been hit by a tear-gas bomb in the head. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 266 Palestinians, more than 45 children, have been killed by Israeli forces since March 2018.

17.02.19 Israeli Naval Forces Open Fire at Gaza Fishermen

Despite locals insisting they were fishing within the permitted zone, Israeli naval forces repeatedly opened heavy fire towards several fishing boats, forcing them back to shore.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

Settlers and Settlements 

17.02.19 Israeli Police Evict Palestinian Family from Jerusalem Home

Rania Abu Assab stood weeping outside her family home as settlers raised the Israeli flag on the roof. Palestinian sources say the Abu Assab family had lived in the home for three generations since 1952. After being forced to leave behind all furniture and belongings, Rania’s husband Hatem and son Mehdi were arrested by Israeli forces after being physically assaulted, according to witnesses.

Read more: Al Jazeera

18.02.19 Palestinian Activists Protecting Al-Khalil (Hebron) from Settler Violence

Palestinian volunteers have set up a group of ‘human rights observers’ seeking to ameliorate the effects of the absence caused by Netanyahu’s expulsion of the Temporary International Presence in Al-Khalil (Hebron) (TIPH). On 10th February, Palestinian volunteers in blue vests were escorting children on their way to Qurtuba school 100 metres away when they were harassed and kicked by settlers whilst letting the children pass.

Read more: +972 Magazine

Boycott Divestment Sanctions

18.02.19 Pressure in UK to Boycott Eurovision Builds

Brian Eno: ‘Israel must not be allowed to use Eurovision as a propaganda tool’.

The rock star made a compelling case in the Guardian this week for boycotting Eurovision held this year in Israel, “Eurovision, says the European Broadcasting Union, is a “non-political” event. It’s impossible to reconcile what the EBU is saying with reality. Israel is a state that sees culture as a political instrument: its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, praised Netta Barzilai, Israel’s 2018 Eurovision winner, as someone who has done “exceptional foreign relations work”.

Read more: The Guardian

Domestic Affairs

8.02.19: Palestinian Cancer Patient Denied Gaza Exit for Vital Treatment

20-year-old Ahlam Abu Musa was diagnosed with bone cancer last May but has been denied an exit permit on all four attempts by Israel for vital treatment. Gaza’s hospitals are crippled by the 12-year siege with huge queues and gruelling wait times. According to Dr. Jamal Abu Hilal, the cancer is spreading rapidly and the medical equipment required to conduct the surgery is not available in Gaza. Despite having secured enough funds via donation for the procedure to be carried out Jordan, Israel has denied her exit from Gaza.

Read more: +972 Magazine

11.02.19 Two Palestinians Suffocated to Death at Gaza-Egypt Border

39-year-old Abdelhami al-Akar and Sabhy Abu Qarushayn, 28, were suffocated ‘due to inhalation of toxic gases’. According to witnesses, Egypt pumped gas into the tunnel, a tactic Egyptian military has reportedly used before to stop use of tunnels along the border. The two Palestinians were attempting to rescue three workers who had called for help.

Read more: Al Jazeera

14.02.19 Slow Death for Gaza Cancer Patients

Israel’s 12-year siege of the Gaza Strip has made receiving effective cancer treatment difficult, sometimes impossible, for patients needing urgent care.  Electronic Intifada follows the case of Al-Najjar who was turned away by hospitals in Gaza due to severe drug shortages. According to the World Health Organisation, 57% of essential primary healthcare drugs were at zero stock levels in November.

Foreign Affairs

9.02.19 Palestinians Reject Invitation to US Middle East Meeting in Poland

Palestinian officials have rejected an invitation to a US conference on the Middle East hosted in Poland in which Jared Kushner would discuss plans for peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat quickly rejected the invitation by Tweeting “Regarding statements that we have been invited, we can say that only today there was some contact from the Polish side. Our position remains clear: We are not going to attend this conference and reiterate that we have not mandated anyone to talk on behalf of Palestine.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called on the US to reverse its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cuts in aid to Palestinians.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

11.02.19 Ilhan Omar Draws Attention to AIPAC Lobbyists in US Politics

Omar apologised after using antisemitic tropes in her tweet which criticised pro-Israel lobbyist group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), but reaffirmed her case against the problem of lobbyists in US politics. AIPAC is a pro-Israel lobbying group which is involved with the all-expense paid trips to Israel for US politicians and encourages its 100,000+ members to donate to political candidates.

Read more: The Guardian

17.02.19 US to Unveil ‘Deal of the Century’ After Israeli Elections

According to Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and son-in-law to the President, the US administration will unveil its so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ after Israeli legislative elections are held on April 9th.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle


17.02.19 Israel to Withhold Millions of Dollars in Funds from Palestinians

Israel announced on Sunday that it will withhold $138 in tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority over payments given to Palestinians involved in attacks against Israel. The money comes from taxes Israel collects on behalf of the PA after which it regularly transfers this money to the PA as outlined by a 1994 economic agreement. The money effectively acts as welfare support for families who have lost a breadwinner to Israel’s prisons.

Read more: Al Jazeera

Legal Affairs

9.02.19 Second in Three Days: Palestinian Prisoner Dies in Israeli Prison

36-year-old Palestinian prisoner, Yasser Hamid Ishtea, was pronounced dead by the Israeli Prison Services yesterday (8th February). According to Israel’s Channel 7, he was found dead in ‘ambiguous circumstances’ inside his cell in Eshel Prison, outside Be’er Sheba. On Wednesday another Palestinian, 51-year-old Faris Baroud, died in Israeli prison.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

10.02.19 Netherlands Recognises Gaza and West Bank as Official Palestinian Birthplaces

Currently the Netherlands offers Palestinians only two options when specifying their birthplace, ‘Israel’ or ‘unknown’. This is due to change as the Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops told the House of Representatives in the Hague it will now recognise the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as official Palestinian birthplaces for Palestinians born after May 15 1948.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

12.02.19 Israeli Firms Operating Over Green Line to Feature on UN Blacklist

The United Nations is expected to release a blacklist of Israeli and international companies in March which operate over the Green Line in the Israeli settlements. Companies threatened with inclusion include Bezeq telecommunications, Teva Pharmaceutical industries and Coca Cola.

Read more: Al Jazeera

Arts, Culture and Sport

17.02.19 John Legend Defends Human Rights of Palestinians

During an interview on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ on HBO, Legend defended Ilhan Omar and called for wider support of Palestinian human rights. He said, ‘as progressives, we should always speak up for human rights of Palestinians, and for too long I think it has been out of balance for progressives to talk about rights of Palestinians.’

Read more: TeleSur