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Taking the Pulse: Palestine Weekly News Check-Up. Monday 25 February 2019.

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)

21.02.19 Israeli Soldiers Assault Blind Man at Home in Bethlehem

Monther Mezher told WAFA News Agency that soldiers stormed his home, disruptively searched his property and beat him on his head, shoulders and other areas. Mezher is blind and suffers from diabetes and kidney disease requiring dialysis.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

21.02.19 Al-Khalil (Hebron): 30 Palestinian Students Suffocate by Israeli Tear-Gas

On Thursday morning Israeli forces and settlers attacked students of an elementary school in the Old City of Al-Khalil (Hebron) in the occupied West Bank. 30 children were suffocated, with medical sources from Ma’an stating one student was in a difficult condition and had been transferred to hospital for treatment.

Some 800 settlers, renowned for their hostility and aggression, live under protection of Israeli Occupation Forces in the Old City of Al-Khalil (Hebron), among more than 30,000 Palestinians.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

22.02.19 Six Palestinians Injured During Night Protest

Six Palestinians were injured as Israeli forces suppressed protests east of Rafah on Thursday night. The protesters were struck with live fire including a child who sustained critical injuries. Another child was injured with a tear-gas canister.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

22.02.19 Israeli Forces Shoot Palestinian Child in Chest at Great Return March

On Friday 22nd February, the 48th Week of the Great Return March protests against the twelve-year siege of Gaza, Israeli Occupation Forces shot dead 15-year-old Yousef Saeed Dayeh in the chest. A further 41 injuries were sustained, a majority from live ammunition.

25.02.19: Israeli Bulldozers Raze to the Ground 300 Olive and Almond Trees

On Monday morning Israeli bulldozers levelled 28 dunums of land belonging to Jamal Sharif Amarneh and uprooted 300 olive and almond trees in Barta’a village southwest of Jenin, according to WAFA news.

Read more:


Settlers and Settlements 

24.02.19 Israeli Ministers Pledge to Settle ‘2 Million Jews’ in West Bank Through 1000s More Settlement Units

Israel have approved some 4,000 new settlement units as part of a huge settlement project spanning across occupied East Jerusalem and into West Jerusalem, Mondoweiss reports via Israeli media. The project was approved earlier this week by Jerusalem’s planning and construction committee earlier this week, paving the way for 4,416 new housing units in the city.

“We will increase housing units and bring back the youth to the their home. This is the beginning, and soon Jerusalem’s sky will be filled with cranes,” Jerusalem’s mayor Moshe Lion said.

There are currently over 600,000 settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law.

Read more: Mondoweiss

Boycott Divestment Sanctions

21.02.19 Co-Sign Our Open Letter Calling on Graham Norton to ‘Pull the Lever’ on Israel’s Eurovision Cultural Whitewash

We wrote to Graham Norton on 12th February calling on him to turn down commentating BBC Eurovision hosted in Israel this year. After no response we have decided to launch the letter publicly.

“Dear Graham…

We gather you are about to be handed a hot potato, a very hot potato; commentating Eurovision 2019 in Israel.

By projecting your voice to millions from Israel, in the state which forcibly silences Palestinians, you will help to mask their suffering, sustain their pain and help to whitewash the crimes committed against them…

Rather than have your voice speak to millions in their living rooms from Israel on May 18th, instead, why not choose to speak for the suffering by not speaking at all…?”

Join our campaign calling on Graham to #PulltheLever on Israel’s Eurovision cultural whitewash.

Signed by Roger Waters, Ken Loach, Lowkey and 20+ student Palestine societies, national and regional Palestine advocacy groups.

Sign here:

21.02.19 Manchester Students Protest University’s Complicity in Israeli Apartheid

Students at the University of Manchester in the UK on Wednesday crashed a board meeting to demand governors divest from Caterpillar, a company involved in Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

In this viral video, which has already had almost 14,000 views, the protestors object to their tuition fees being invested in the firm.

Caterpillar supplies many of the bulldozers the Israeli army frequently uses to demolish Palestinian homes, both in the West Bank and in present-day Israel.

In the video one of the activists says they have been asking the board to divest from Caterpillar for three years: “they are responsible for the demolition of Palestinian homes,” she says.

She asks the board if they will immediately commit to divestment.

22.02.19 Mississippi, with History of Punishing Civil Rights Boycotts, Moves Against BDS

A bill seeking to punish supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights passed the Mississippi state House of Representatives earlier this month.

The measure would compel the state to create a blacklist of companies accused of boycotting Israel, and would bar the state’s retirement system, treasury or other government entities from investing in those firms.

If the bill passes the state senate, Mississippi would become the 27th US state to adopt an anti-BDS measure.

23.02.19 US Lawmakers Try to Intimidate Ireland over move to Ban Israel’s Settlement Goods

A grouping of US politicians has threatened Ireland with economic repercussions if it bans goods from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Both houses in the Irish parliament, the Oireachtas, have approved a bill to outlaw Israel’s settlement exports during the past few months. Ten US lawmakers have reacted to the moves by warning that a ban could have “potentially severe implications” for the country.

In a letter to Irish political leaders, the 10 members of Congress suggested that some corporations investing in Ireland would be violating US export regulations if the Dublin authorities enforced a ban on Israel’s settlement goods.

That appears to be a reference to rules introduced by the US during the 1970s in response to the Arab League boycott of Israel. Under these rules, US companies may not take part in boycott activities unless they have been approved by the federal government.

26.02.19 ANC Youth League Affirms Support for BDS

The African National Congress Youth League has affirmed its support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Speaking to Middle East Monitor on Monday, the Secretary-General of South Africa’s ruling party, Njabulo Nzuza, stressed that its National Executive Committee (NEC) even took a decision to work together with BDS South Africa (BDS SA).

Over the weekend, a Youth League member, Thembi Siweya, sparked controversy when she published an article titled “BDS SA, undermining South Africa” wherein she criticized the BDS movement. In particular, Siweya made clear that she is against any opposition to an Israeli company’s intended takeover of South Africa’s largest dairy producer, Clover.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

Domestic Affairs

22.02.19 Hundreds Protest Segregation in Al-Khalil’s (Hebron) Shehuda Street

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators marched along Shuhada Street in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday to protest against segregation in the city and against the expansion of Israeli settlements.

This week marks 25 years to the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, in which Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinian worshipers in the city. After the attack, Israeli forces closed off Shuhada Street to Palestinian residents. Some 900 Jewish Israeli settlers who live among the tens of thousands of Palestinians in the city can walk and drive along the street as they wish.

Read more: +972 Mag

22.02.19: Palestinians Pray in Long-Closed Part of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem

For the first time in 16 years, Palestinians on Friday prayed at an area by the Al-Rahma gate, located inside occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

The Israeli authorities closed the area in 2003. In 2017, an Israeli court upheld the closure order. But on Friday, the Religious Endowments Authority, a Jordan-run agency mandated with overseeing East Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites, announced the reopening of the mosque after a 16-year hiatus.

Sign here: Al Jazeera 

24.02.19 Gaza Protesters Call on Mahmoud Abbas to Quit

Thousands of protesters gathered in the Gaza Strip on Sunday to call for Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to resign after his attempts to pressure Hamas with financial cuts in the impoverished enclave.

The crowd gathered at al-Sarya square yelled for the long-serving leader to “leave” and called on the PA to pay the full salaries of public sector employees in Gaza.

They also demonstrated against Israel’s more than a decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Read more: Al Jazeera

Foreign Affairs

18.02.19 Yemen: Thousands Demonstrate Against Israel Normalisation

Thousands of Yemenis yesterday participated in rallies across the country, including the capital Sana’a, to reject normalisation with Israel and attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

The participants rejected what they called “suspicious meetings” and steps towards normalisation by Foreign Minister Khalid Yamani at the Warsaw Conference which took place in the Polish capital last week. They also stressed that the steps do not represent the Yemeni peoples’ view, who are known longstanding support of the Palestinian people.

Read more: Middle East Monitor

18.02.19 Kuwait Reiterates Rejection of Israel Normalisation

Kuwait has reiterated its rejection of Arab countries’ normalisation with Israel, slamming those ministers who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at last week’s Warsaw Conference.

In a press statement yesterday, the Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim affirmed Kuwait’s “principled and firm position” against normalisation with Israel, stressing it was one of few Arab countries that had not acquiesced to building ties with Israel.

Read more: Middle East Monitor

19.02.19 After Israeli Anchor Calls Out Brutality of the Occupation, Political Leaders Land Hard on Her

This is a big story in Israel. On Saturday, Channel 13 anchorwoman Oshrat Kotler commented on a case of sadistic Israeli soldier beatings of a Palestinian father and son in occupied territory, saying:

They send children to the army, to the territories, and get them back human animals. That’s the result of the occupation.

The response was immediate. Thousands of expressions of rage streamed in from audiences, and many leaders on the right were condemnatory. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted:

Proud of IDF soldiers and love them very much. Oshrat Kotler’s words should be roundly condemned.

Read more: Mondoweiss

20.02.19 Jordan MPs Demand Expulsion of Israeli Envoy over Al-Aqsa Dispute

A committee within in Jordan’s parliament called for the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador from the country in response to the latest measures taken by the Israeli army in occupied East Jerusalem.

Read more: Al Jazeera

21.02.19: Netanyahu Forges Election Alliance with Far-Right Party

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged an election alliance with a far-right party on Wednesday that could give followers of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane, a stronger voice in Israeli politics, says Reuters.

The deal, announced by Netanyahu’s Likud and the ultranationalist Jewish Home party, was aimed at solidifying a potential right-wing coalition after the April 9 parliamentary election.

Opinion polls predict Netanyahu’s Likud will win the most parliamentary seats and will be in a position to form a governing coalition of rightist and religious parties similar to the one he now heads.

But the surveys also show that a possible alliance between two of his strongest centrist opponents, former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who leads the Resilience Party, and ex-finance minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid faction, could spark an upset.

Gantz and Lapid met on Wednesday, with speculation high they could strike a deal.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

22.02.19 EU Issues Weak Statement After Israel Withholds PA Tax Revenues

The European Union (EU) issued a weak statement yesterday in response to the Israeli government’s decision to withhold Palestinian Authority (PA) tax revenues.

Israel’s decision to withhold some of the tax revenue funds was followed by an announcement from the PA “that it would no longer accept any tax revenues unless transferred in full,” the EU noted.

24.02.19 Jared Kushner Heads to Middle East to Promote Peace Plan

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, is on his way to the Middle East to promote the economic portion of a long-awaited US plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected the plan, with President Mohammed Abbas saying he will not negotiate with the United States in the wake of Trump’s controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017.

Read more: Al Jazeera

25.02.19 Pro-Israel US Group Condemns Netanyahu Pact with Extremists

Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to enter an electoral pact with a party of ultranationalist extremists has drawn rare criticism from an influential pro-Israel group in the US.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has generally given unflinching support to the Israeli leader during his 13 years in power, called the Jewish Power party “racist and reprehensible”.

Read more: The Guardian

Legal Affairs

 20.02.19 Israeli Pharmaceutical Firms Test Medicines on Palestinian Prisoners

Israeli Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian claimed on Tuesday that Israeli authorities issue permit to large pharmaceutical firms to carry out tests on Palestinian and Arab prisoners, reported.

The Hebrew University lecturer also claimed that the Israeli military firms are testing weapons on Palestinian children and carry out these tests in the Palestinian neighbourhoods of occupied Jerusalem.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

21.02.19 UNESCO to Send Mission to Document Israeli Violations in Jerusalem

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) may send a mission to document Israeli violations in occupied Jerusalem, according to Al-Wattan Voice.

Mounir Anastas, representative of the Palestinian Authority to the U.N. organisation said, “Israel continues to prevent international UNESCO experts from documenting Israeli violations against holy and archaeological sites in Jerusalem, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel has failed to annex East Jerusalem using legal approaches” and now attempts to alter the “historical and archaeological identity of the city.”

Read more: TeleSur

21.02.19 Israel Holds Mother of al-Barghouthi Brothers in Solitary Confinement

Israeli Prison’s Services (IPS) is holding Suheir al-Barghouthi whose husband and three sons are currently held in Israeli prisons while her fourth son was shot and killed by Israeli forces, in October, under harsh conditions in solitary confinement in the HaSharon Israeli prison.

Lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said, in a statement on Wednesday, that al-Barghouthi is held in a cell empty of everything but a bed; al-Barghouthi was deprived of having her belongings with her, suffering from cold prevented from any sort of heating.

Israel accuses al-Barghouthi’s son Assem of carrying out an attack killing two Israeli soldiers near Ramallah on December 13, one day after his brother, Saleh, was reportedly shot and killed by Israeli soldiers north of Ramallah.

Read more: Palestine Chronicle

24.02.19 Israeli Police Detain Head of Islamic Authority in Jerusalem

Sheikh Abdelazeem Salhab, appointed to head the Waqf (the Islamic authority which oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem) by neighbouring Jordan, the head, was briefly detained by Israeli police. He has since been released and prohibited from entering the site for a week.

Read more: Al Jazeera

Arts, Culture and Sport

24.02.19 Remembering the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre

On 25 February 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an American born Israeli settler, open fired on a large group of Palestinian Muslims praying inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.

29 people were killed, including several as young as twelve, and 125 wounded. The incident led to protests and retaliation attacks, in which a further 26 Palestinians and 9 Israelis were killed. We condemn all the violence and are thinking of all those killed in this violent way.

The response to these incidents led to extreme restriction of movement of Palestinian residents of the city and the dystopian segregation you see in place there today.

Middle East Eye looked back on the tragic day on the twenty-five year anniversary of the attack, sharing some harrowing recounts from survivors.

Read more: Middle East Eye

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