Alerts and Reports 

No involvement of medical teams in torture!

Samer Arbid is currently treated at Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital. He was arrested on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 and taken for ISA interrogation at the Russian Compound detention facility in Jerusalem.

The ISA received approval from a legal official to use “special measures” to interrogate Arbid. On Friday, September 27, 2019, Arbid was taken to hospital in life-threatening condition. According to information current on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, Arbid was intubated and in a coma.

The possibility of violence against him during the arrest itself cannot be ruled out, and inquiries should be made as to whether he was medically examined prior to reaching the detention facility. According to Israel Prison Service (IPS) procedures, any person arriving at a detention facility must be examined by a physician within 48 hours of arrival, and according to need thereafter. Given that according to the accounts of Arbid’s lawyers and relatives, he was in good health prior to his arrest, it can be inferred that the violence used against him during his arrest and/or interrogation was the cause of the downturn in his condition, to the point of his life being at risk.

After Arbid was taken to hospital, his lawyers and family contacted the hospital several times to receive an update on his condition. These attempts included his wife arriving in person at the ICU on Wednesday October 1, 2019 and personal communications with the staff. All of these requests were denied.

PHRI also contacted the hospital twice (on September 29 and October 1, 2019), copying the Ministry of Health, the Israel Medical Association, and the Civil Administration Health Coordinator with a demand that Arbid’s family be notified of his condition, that any signs of violence be documented according to the provisions of the Declaration of Tokyo and the Istanbul Protocol, and that the Committee for Physician Reports on Interrogatee Abuse, which was established within the Ministry of Health in 2011, be informed.

The response we received from the director of Hadassah Mount Scopus on October 2, 2019, stated that “information regarding hospital patients is privileged, in keeping with our obligation to maintain medical confidentiality. Inquiries concerning detainees should be addressed to the security agencies”. Reporters who have had contact with the hospital told PHRI the hospital informed them the case has been reported to the Ministry of Health.

Following the hospital’s response, PHRI contacted the legal department of the Israel Medical Association by telephone, asking they take action to have the hospital provide Arbid’s wife with an update. The Israel Medical Association responded that Ethics Committee Chair, Dr. Tami Karni, was currently abroad, and that per inquiries with the Israel Medical Association legal department, they were unable to do anything at the moment.

During a hearing of a motion filed by Arbid’s lawyers to have him released given his medical state, Military Judge Major Merav Hershkwitz Yitzhaki stated: “The suspect’s medical state is gradually improving and his interrogation may resume in the coming days”. Arbid’s lawyers received an update on his medical condition according to a decision issued by the military judge. ICRC representatives visited Arbid at the hospital on October 2, 2019 and gave his wife an update about his condition.

Following this statement, members of the boards of directors of PHRI and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, as well as members of PHRI’s ethics committee, contacted the hospital, the Israel Medical Association, the Ministry of Health and the IPS, demanding that the medical staff at Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital safeguard Samer Arbid’s life and health and adhere to medical ethics. The letter stressed that the medical staff must actively prevent his return to an interrogation in which the use of special measures amounting to torture has reportedly been approved, and that the hospital must prevent any use of its premises for interrogation purposes.

In its last communication, PHRI repeated the main provisions of the Declaration of Tokyo and the Istanbul Protocol, which have been adopted by the Israel Medical Association and relate to the conduct of medical crews with respect to suspected torture. PHRI took out an ad displaying the provisions of the Declaration of Tokyo in Haaretz daily newspaper this morning.

We will continue our advocacy work with the relevant institutions and the medical community both in Israel and abroad to ensure all those involved adhere to medical ethics.

We repeat our request that you join us and take whatever action you can in order to remind your colleagues of the need to adhere to ethical rules and keep patients safe from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Following Samer Arbid’s hospitalization in critical condition after his arrest and interrogation by the Israel Security Agency (ISA), PHRI recalls, again, that medical professionals are absolutely prohibited from taking part in torture in any way and have an obligation to take measures to protect patients who may have been or later could be subjected to torture. Given the silence of medical institutions regarding Arbid’s case so far, we ask members of PHRI’s medical teams to take action and contact the relevant medical institutions and staff and urge them to follow the ethical guidelines as enunciated in the Declaration of Tokyo and the Istanbul Protocol.

Sincerely, Anat Litvin Director of the Prisoners and Detainees Department Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI)


We Are Ending Netanyahu’s Grip on Israel

The following article published in the New York Times by Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties, is important enough to be reproduced here in full.

The Gush Shalom Team


JERUSALEM — The Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel have chosen to reject Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his politics of fear and hate, and the inequality and division he advanced for the past decade.

Last summer, Mr. Netanyahu declared that Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population, were to be second-class citizens, officially. “Israel is not a state of all its citizens,” Mr. Netanyahu wrote on Instagram (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/10/benjamin-netanyahu-says- israel-is-not-a-state-of-all-its-citizens) after passing the Nation-State law (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/world/middleeast/israel-law-jews- arabic.html?module=inline). “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people — and only it.”

The Israeli government has done everything in its power to reject those of us who are Arab Palestinian citizens, but our influence has only grown. We will be the cornerstone of democracy. Arab Palestinian citizens cannot change the course of Israel alone, but change is impossible without us.

I have argued earlier (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/08/opinion/israel- election.html?module=inline) that if the center-left parties of Israel believe that Arab Palestinian citizens have a place in this country, they must accept that we have a place in its politics.

Today, those parties no longer have a choice. At least 60 percent of the Arab Palestinian citizens (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/18/world/middleeast/israel-arabs-political- parties-election.html?module=inline) have voted in the recent elections, and the Joint List, our coalition representing Arab and Arab-Jewish parties, has won 13 seats and become the third-largest list in the Knesset. We will decide who will be the next prime minister of Israel.

On behalf of the Joint List, I am recommending that Israel’s president choose Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White party, to be the next prime minister. This will be the most significant step toward helping create the majority needed to prevent another term for Mr. Netanyahu - and it should be the end of his political career.

My colleagues and I have made this decision not as an endorsement of Mr. Gantz and his policy proposals for the country. We are aware that Mr. Gantz has refused to commit to our legitimate political demands for a shared future, and because of that we will not join his government.

Our demands for a shared, more equal future are clear: We seek resources to address violent crime plaguing Arab cities and towns, housing and planning laws that afford people in Arab municipalities the same rights as their Jewish neighbors and greater access for people in Arab municipalities to hospitals. We demand raising pensions for all in Israel so that our elders can live with dignity, and creating and funding a plan to prevent violence against women.

We seek the legal incorporation of unrecognized — mostly Palestinian Arab — villages and towns that don’t have access to electricity or water. And we insist on resuming direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace treaty that ends the occupation and establishes an independent Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders. We call for repealing the nation-state law that declared me, my family and one-fifth of the population to be second-class citizens. It is because over the decades candidates for prime minister have refused to support an agenda for equality that no Arab or Arab-Jewish party has recommended a prime minister since 1992.

Yet this time, we are making a different choice. We have decided to demonstrate that Arab Palestinian citizens can no longer be rejected or ignored. Our decision to recommend Mr. Gantz as the next prime minister without joining his expected national unity coalition government is a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Arab Palestinian citizens.

The morning after the exclusionary “nation-state” law was passed, I drove my children to school and thought about raising them in a country that has repeatedly rejected Arab Palestinian children. Israeli governments have made this rejection clear time and again, from the years of military rule imposed on Arabs in Israel from the founding of the state until 1966, to the longstanding attempts to suppress Palestinian culture** **and the continuing decision to occupy the lands and lives of our sisters and brothers in the West Bank and Gaza.

System Message: WARNING/2 (<string>, line 112); backlink

Inline strong start-string without end-string.

Every time I take my youngest daughter, Sham, to her school, I see a passage written on the wall from the Book of Psalms: “The stone that the builders rejected became a cornerstone.”

By choosing to recommend Mr. Gantz, we have proven that cooperation between people, Arab and Jewish, is the only principled political strategy that will lead to a better future for us all. Countless people in Israel and around the world will be grateful to see an end to Mr. Netanyahu’s long reign of corruption, lies and fear.

We will continue our work toward a better, equal future, and our struggle for civil rights, rooted in our national identity as Palestinians. There is room enough for all of us in our shared homeland, room enough for the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and the stories of our grandparents, room enough for all of us to raise our families in equality and peace.


A declaration of war on the two-state solution

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared war on the two-state solution. His plan, which he promised to implement if he is reelected, would annex between 30-40% of the West Bank, including all of the Jewish settlements, in the blocks and isolated around Palestinians communities, and the entire Jordan Valley. There is not a single Palestinian alive who would agree to a mini-fragmented Palestinian state under those conditions. Netanyahu declared that he will negotiate with President Trump to gain his agreement for these territorial conquests. He never mentioned, even in passing the need to negotiate with the Palestinians.

For Netanyahu, the Palestinians don’t exist, the Palestinians don’t have rights, and their aspirations for independence and statehood can simply be ignored. He only needs Trump’s support. Trump claimed to remove Jerusalem from the agenda. Trump also claimed to remove the refugee issue from the agenda. Now he can claim to remove the issue of Palestinian statehood from agenda as well. Netanyahu has declared that if he wins the elections on April 17 and he implements his declaration, he will be construct the wall of Israel’s eastern border. The wall that he is building is the one that he is pushing the Palestinians against, and they will resist.

Palestinian resistance is likely to include a new round of violence. That is not a threat, it is an assessment. Furthermore, we should expect Egypt and Jordan to recall their ambassadors and to launch a process that will likely lead to freezing the peace treaties with Israel’s two Arab neighbors, or even withdrawing from the entirely. This is simply a step too far for the Arab world to accept.

The Palestinian Authority is likely to collapse either through Palestinian public opposition to continuing to exist or through a voluntary act of “returning the keys to the occupier.” It is doubtful that even without this move the two-state solution retains a majority support among the Palestinians. Among the young generation of Palestinians there is no doubt that a majority no longer support the two-state solution. The call for democracy and a one-state solution will sweep over the Palestinian public like a tsunami. The international community, after protesting the Israeli move for annexation, will within a short number of years fall in line behind the Palestinians and support democracy, one person one vote, and the de-Zionification of the State of Israel.

For those Israelis who see the dangers of Netanyahu’s declaration of war on the two-state solution, this must be the call to us all of us to vote en masse on September 17. For those Israelis who continue to believe that partition is probably the only road to peace with the Palestinian people, and to the Palestinian citizens of Israel who must understand that they hold the keys to defeating Netanyahu, full participation in the election that must dump Netanyahu is the only avenue for saving us and the State of Israel.

Netanyahu must be defeated for the sake of Israel, and for the sake of the Palestinian people as well. The permanent removal of the two-state solution as a viable option for ending the Israeli Palestinian conflict leaves us with a one-state non-democratic, non-Jewish reality under which the Palestinians have no option other than to demand democracy in a non-ethnic, non-nation state of Israelis and Palestinians.

I USED to tell Palestinians who supported the so-called one-state solution that the best road to one state was through a peaceful two-state solution in which the two peoples live in peace, and eventually borders and national identities might come down. But I was wrong. Now it turns out that the fastest route to a one-state option is by erasing the possibility of a two-state solution. Palestinians would have to be insane to continue the charade of Oslo and two states after Netanyahu will annex vast parts of what they believe should be their state.

When Netanyahu made his famous Bar-Ilan speech in 2009, in which he supported the two-state solution, his father responded, “I know my son. He didn’t mean it.” Now it is more than clear that Netanyahu lied to the public in Israel and to the world, and that his father told the truth. When Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister, and was asked if he wouldn’t negotiate with the PLO because they were a terrorist organization, he responded that he wouldn’t negotiate with the PLO because there is nothing to negotiate with them about except a Palestinian state, and we would never do that.

Shamir was correct then and refused to play what has become known as the Oslo game. Netanyahu played the game, but now he has turned the board upside-down. In past years, I brought messages from Mahmoud Abbas to Netanyahu three times to open direct secret negotiations on ending the occupation, creating the two-state solution and making peace. Netanyahu turned down those proposals all of the three times and continued to blame Abbas saying that he was not a partner.

Yes, Mr. Netanyahu, Abbas and every other Palestinian leader is not a partner to continue the occupation. The Palestinians will never be partners to Israeli annexation. No Arab will ever be a partner to Israeli apartheid, a state in which Jews are superior, have full political rights and in which the majority of Palestinians are denied citizenship, political rights and equality.

Mr. Netanyahu, your annexation plan is shooting the first shot of a third intifada. You have declared war on the chances of living in peace for the foreseeable future. With you at the helm, the Palestinians never had a partner in Israel. They have been saying that for years, and you have now proven that without a shadow of doubt. You can try to negotiate a peace deal, a “Deal of the Century” with your buddy Donald Trump. Let’s see how far that takes you in the Middle East.

Mr. Netanyahu, you have now cast your final role in history – in the history of the State of Israel and the history of the Jewish people. You have done what some of our enemies have tried to do for decades: You have put an end to the Zionist enterprise. No, Mr. Netanyahu, Israel that annexes huge parts of the West Bank is no longer the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people. It cannot be the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people because the human make-up of the totality of the population between the river and the sea is at least 50% Palestinian, and they certainly do not enjoy Israel’s democracy. They also reject your annexation of their land and the end of the possibility of their independent state next to Israel.

Those of us in Israel who have supported and struggled to bring about a two-state solution are now forced to accept the new reality that you will create, and we will have to join the ranks of the Palestinian people who will fight for democracy and equality in a non-nation-non-ethnic-secular state.

By Ayman Odeh

Mr. Odeh leads the Joint List, the third-largest bloc in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and is chairman of the Hadash Party.

Sept. 22, 2019


Declaration of War on the Two-State Solution

By Gershon Baskin Originally published in the Jerusalem Post September 12, 2019

The writer is a political and social entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to the State of Israel and to peace between Israel and her neighbors. His latest book, In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine, was published by Vanderbilt University Press and is now available in Israel and Palestine.

https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/A-declaration-of-war-on-the-two-state-solution-601399?fbclid=IwAR0aATOu8hnJToD_PHKQhPBw-gp3ty_avqMYXQ5jJ75FYSRZZsxE5zd6Vvg


“I hope my decision to refuse military service and go to prison will contribute, in however small a way"

A conscientious objector was released from prison and another was imprisoned for the first time on Wednesday, August 21

After twenty five days of imprisonment the IDF’s Conscience Committee granted conscientious objector Maya Brand-Feigenbaum a release from military service

"I believe that refusing to serve in the military is the best and most effective way for me to promote anti-war principles and contribute to ending the occupation", she said

Concurrently, Yasmin Ricci-Yahav, age 18 from Mevasseret Zion, declared for the first time her refusal to enlist, at the IDF recruitment office, and was sent to an initial ten days' detention in Military Prison 6, likely to be extended again and again if she persists in her refusal.

“I hope my decision will contribute, in however small a way, to a gradual change of consciousness. And that this change will lead in turn to a search for a solution based on justice and equality for Israelis and Palestinians,” she wrote in her refusal declaration

Maya Brand-Feigenbaum, age 18 from Kiryat Tivon, first declared her refusal to enlist on July 14 and was sent to prison, where she spent 25 days - after which she appeared before the Conscience Committee which decided to discharge her from the army.

Upon leaving prison she said: “The decision to refuse military service is one I will never regret because I was true to myself, and yet all along I continued to ask myself questions and examine my stand. I experienced moments of great fear because the hatred people spread is poisonous. This is something I was exposed to in prison and which saddened me: hatred toward entire groups and disrespect that is borne out of fear. I faced comments like ‘all Arabs should die, and if you are on their side you should die too.’ I wish the girls who spoke in this way understood that in fact we are all on the same side.”

In her refusal declaration, published before she refused to enlist, Brand-Feigenbaum wrote:

“Decades of dominating another people is compromising the security of the State of Israel. As a woman who loves this country, whose landscape and people are a part of me, I cannot take part in the preservation of this situation. I am aware that our reality requires having a military that will act to protect us against real threats. However, at the same time, we also need people who will act to promote a war-free reality. Anti-war activity serves the best interests of the state of Israel and the world, and will result in long-term security. Taking action to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ending the Occupation is in the best interest of all residents of this land – Jews, Muslims and Christians alike".

Concurrently, Yasmin Ricci-Yahav, age 18 from Mevasseret Zion, arrived at the army’s recruitment office, declared her refusal to enlist and was sent to the standard initial ten days of detention. In her refusal declaration she wrote:

“I do not question Israel’s right to have and use an army in order to defend itself. I do not wish to detract from the respect and admiration owed to those who came before me and did everything in their power to protect a state that offered a home to millions who needed a safe haven. But the Israeli army nowadays does not function only as a defence force, but as a main tool in the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people.”

“We have all experienced,” Ricci-Yahav continued, “a childhood marred by war and hatred, and we have all grown up in a world where we have been taught to fear and to distance ourselves from the other side. But I believe there is another way to face the complex reality in which we live. This requires a conversation about alternatives, mutual respect and a desire for change. In addition, I believe that it is the young generation in Israel that is responsible for advancing change. I hope that my refusal will contribute to the struggle to bring about not only a more secure future for Israel, but also a future that inspires pride and is characterised by tolerance and compassion.”

Maya & Yasmin is accompanied by Mesarvot – A political refusing network that writes letters and initiates refusing groups from the last few years to joint action. The network supports conscientious objectors that choose to not enlist in the occupation army, while knowingly acknowledging the gender aspects that the compulsory enlistment brings to Israeli society. The network works in cooperation and assistant from Yesh Gvul Movement.

More details >>

Dror Mizrahi Media | Strategy | PR

Cell: +972-50-7248688 Email: dror@dror-mizrahi.org

TEL AVIV-JAFFA, ISRAEL


End Police Violence! Protest in Issawiya and in Sheikh Jarrakh - today Fri, 23.8

As a result of widespread police violence and harrassment in Issawiya and increasing violence towards peaceful demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrakh, we will go out to the streets to protest in Issawiya and in Sheikh Jarrakh TODAY (FRIDAY).

We will meet at 12:30PM in the entrance to Issawiya near the gas station in the French Hill. In Issawiya we will stand together with the residents in solidarity for a public Friday prayer and protest.

From Issawiya we will then continue together to protest in Sheikh Jarrakh. The protest in Sheikh Jarrakh will begin at 3PM.

Our presence is critical - join us in declaring to the police: We see your violence and we will not allow it to continue! We stand with the residents of Issawiya and of Sheikh Jarrakh in their struggle, until the end of the Occupation!

For more details please check the EVENT - join us and share with you friends!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/%D7%93%D7%9C%D7%A7+%D7%94%D7%92%D7%91%D7%A2%D7%94+%D7%94%D7%A6%D7%A8%D7%A4%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%AA%E2%80%AD/@31.8003078,35.2424833,17.75z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x7544be081a04d708!8m2!3d31.8005274!4d35.2417194?shorturl=1)

The hands that build walls can also tear them down. Freedom for one- freedom for all!


Protest vigil today: No more destruction of Palestinian Homes!

PROTEST VIGIL TODAY (THUR. JULY 25) 8.00 PM AT PRIME MINISTER'S RESIDENCE, JERUSALEM: NO MORE DESTRUCTION OF PALESTINIAN HOMES! Initiator: Standing Together, Jewish-Arab action groups

The demolitions in Wadi al-Humos: The excuse – security, The strategy – a Jewish demographic majority.

This morning, Monday, July 22, 2019, the Israeli authorities began demolishing buildings in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Humos, the eastern extension of Zur Baher in East Jerusalem. The move came after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the residents’ appeal and ruled there was no legal barrier to the demolitions.

Israel intends to demolish a total of 13 buildings, including at least 14 apartments, the vast majority of which are in various stages of construction. Until this morning, the buildings were home to two families including 17 people, of which 11 are minors.

Some of them were built in Area A, with building permits issued by the Palestinian Authority, which holds planning powers in those areas. Wadi al-Humos is outside of Jerusalem’s municipal boundary and constitutes the main land reserve for the development of Zur Baher. The Zur Baher committee estimates that 6,000 people currently live in that neighborhood – a quarter of the total population of Zur Baher.

In 2003 the Zur Baher committee petitioned the Supreme Court against the route of the separation fence, which was set unilaterally by Israel to serve its interests. The route was supposed to run near Jerusalem's municipal boundary and thereby disconnect all of the homes of the Wadi al-Humos neighborhood from Zur Baher.

Following the petition the State agreed to reroute the fence a few hundred meters eastward into West Bank territory. In 2004 and 2005 a “light” version of the separation fence was erected:. Instead of a concrete wall, as in most of the route of the fence in East Jerusalem, Israel built a two-lane patrol road with wide shoulders and another fence.

The fence surrounds the neighborhood of Wadi al-Humos, which may not have been cut off from Zur Baher, but which was cut off from the rest of the West Bank by the fence, even though the land on which it was built was never annexed to Jerusalem's municipal territory.

The Wadi al-Humos neighborhood is not considered part of Jerusalem, and therefore the Jerusalem Municipality does not provide the neighborhood with services, except for garbage collection. The Palestinian Authority does not have access to the neighborhood and therefore cannot provide it with any services, except for planning and providing construction permits. The neighborhood's residents built its infrastructures themselves, including roads and water pipes from Zur Baher and Beit Sahur.

On the southeastern edges of the enclave, which were defined by the Oslo Accords as areas A and B, the Palestinian Authority has planning and building jurisdiction. But most of it is defined as Area C, where the Civil Administration is responsible for the planning, and where, just like in the rest of the West Bank, it refrains from drawing up outline plans that would allow the residents to build legally.

This Israeli policy, which completely limits Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem, causes a severe housing shortage for the city's Palestinian residents, who are forced to build without permits.

In December 2011, about six years after the separation fence was erected in the area, the Israeli Military issued an order forbidding construction in a strip measuring 100-300 meters on either side of the fence. The Military argued such an order was necessary in order to create an “open barrier area” it needed for its operations, because the Wadi al-Humos area is a “weak point of illegal entry” from the West Bank into Jerusalem.

According to the Military's figures, at the time the order was issued, 134 buildings already stood on the land designated as a no-building zone. Since then dozens of additional buildings were built, and by mid-2019 there were already 231 buildings in the zone, including high-risers built only dozens of meters from the fence, and distributed between areas designated as A, B and C.

In November 2015 the Military announced it intended to demolish 15 buildings in Wadi al-Humos. About one year later, in December 2016, the Military demolished three other buildings in the neighborhood. In 2017 the owners and tenants of the 15 buildings under the threat of demolition petitioned the Supreme Court through the Society of St. Yves – Catholic Center for Human Rights.

The petition argued, among other things, that most of the buildings had been built after receiving building permits from the Palestinian Authority, and that the owners and tenants were not even aware of the order prohibiting construction.

During the hearings on the petition, the Military agreed to cancel the demolition orders against two of the buildings. As for the 13 other buildings, the Military announced that for four of them the demolition would be partial. On June 11, 2019 the Supreme Court accepted the State’s position and ruled that there was no legal barrier to demolishing the buildings.

The Supreme Court ruling, written by Justice Meni Mazuz, fully accepted the State's framing of the issue as one of purely security matter. It thereby completely ignored Israel's policy of limiting Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem, and the planning chaos in the Wadi al-Humos enclave that allowed the massive construction in the area – of which the Israeli authorities were fully aware.

Like in many past cases, the judges did not discuss in their ruling the Israeli policy almost completely preventing Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem, with the purpose of forcing a Jewish demographic majority in the city – a policy that forces the residents to build without permits. The severe building shortage in East Jerusalem, including in Zur Baher, was at the basis of the village's demand to reroute the separation fence eastwards. Instead, the judges ruled that the home demolitions were necessary for security considerations, because construction near the fence “can provide hiding for terrorists or illegal aliens” and enable “arms smuggling."

The judgment also clarifies the extent to which the “transfer of powers” to the Palestinian Authority in areas A and B as part of the interim agreements has no practical meaning – except for the need to promote Israeli propaganda. When it serves its own convenience, Israel relies on that “transfer of powers” to cultivate the illusion that most of the residents of the West Bank do not really live under occupation, and that actually, the occupation is almost over. Whereas when it is not convenient for Israel, like in this case, it sets aside the appearance of “self-government,” raises “security arguments,” and realizes its full control of the entire territory and all of its residents.

The judges rejected, almost flippantly, the argument by the petitioners that they did not know of the existence of the order forbidding them to build, and that they built after they relied on permits they received from the Palestinian Authority, and ruled that the residents “took the law into their own hands." According to the court, the residents should have known about the order. The judges relied for this point on the provisions of the order requiring that its contents be brought “as much as possible” to the knowledge of the residents, among other ways by hanging it, along with low-resolution, difficult-to-understand maps, in the District Coordination Office, as well as on the State representatives' arguments before them.

In doing so, the judges completely ignored the relevant facts: that the Military took no action to bring the order to the knowledge of the residents before November 2015, that the order was issued years after the construction of the fence and the construction of the buildings, and even then – nothing was done for the first years to enforce it, and no real effort was made to ensure that the residents knew about the existence of the order – not even as obvious and simple an action such as pasting it to the residents' walls.

This Supreme Court ruling may have far-reaching implications. In various places in East Jerusalem (such as Dahiat al-Barid, Kafr Aqab, and the Shuafat Refugee Camp) and other parts of the West Bank (such as a-Ram, Qalqiliyah, Tulkarm, and Qalandia al-Balad), numerous residential homes were built near the separation fence. Furthermore, as a result of the Israeli planning policy that prevents Palestinians from receiving building permits, many other buildings were built without permits, there being no other choice.

The latest ruling gives Israel legal authorization to demolish all of the these houses, while hiding behind “security arguments” in order to carry out its illegal policy.

For additional information: Roy Yellin, +972-54-354332§, ryellin@btselem.org

Our mailing address is

B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

P.O. Box 53132, Jerusalem 9153002


Forwarded message from: Palestinian Center for Human Rights To: pchrgaza-e@pchrgaza. ps

Hundreds Lose Shelter as Israeli Forces Destroy Dozens of Housing Units in Sour Baher in occupied East Jerusalem

On Monday morning, 22 July 2019, Israeli military forces launched a large-scale destruction operation against civilian property in Wadi al-Humus neighborhood, in Sour Baher in the southern part of occupied East Jerusalem. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers and machinery carried out the destructions that resulted in hundreds of civilians losing their shelter. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this crime against civilians and considers it on par for ethnic cleansing, and holds the Israeli government accountable for escalating the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

PCHR calls upon the international community to hold its legal and moral responsibility and intervene effectively to stop Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians and to provide necessary protection.

According to PCHR’s documentation, at approximately 2:00 on Monday, 22 July 2019, hundreds of Israeli soldiers moved into Sour Baher village with dozens of construction vehicles. They stationed in Wadi al-Humus neighborhood, closed its entrances and cut all power supplies. Israeli soldiers then forcefully vacated buildings in the neighborhood, used physical violence against them and banned them from taking any of their belongings with them. At approximately 06:00, destruction machinery took to work and preliminary numbers assert that at least 8 houses and buildings were destroyed, and explosives were planted in a 10-story building in order to destroy it. The destroyed houses include:

  1. Isma'il 'Ebeidiyah: a 2-sotry house built on 250 square meters and sheltering a 7-member family, including 5 children;
  2. Ghaleb Hawan and his son Monther: a 2-story house built on 210 square meters and sheltering a 10-member family, including 6 children;
  3. Belal al-Kiswani: a 1-story house sheltering a 5-member family, including 3 children;
  4. 'Alaa' 'Amirah: a 2-story house built on 400 square meters (uninhabited)
  5. Mohammed Idris Abu Teir: a 7-story building comprised of 40 residential apartments (under-construction)
  6. Ja'afar Abu Hamed: a 1-story house (under-construction);
  7. Mohammed Salem al-Atrash: a 4-sotry building (under-construction); and
  8. 'Ali Khalil Hamadah: a 4-sotry building (under-construction)

It should be mentioned that on 13 June 2019, the Israeli High Court approved the Israeli military’s decision to demolish 16 residential buildings comprised of 100 apartments in Wadi al-Humus neighborhood under the pretext of being near the annexation wall which was established on the village's lands. On 20 June 2019, the Israeli forces handed tens of residents notices to self-demolish their property by 18 July or the Israeli forces will later do so. On 21 July 2019, the Israeli High Court rejected the appeal filed by the residents to freeze the demolition orders, and within hours the Israeli forces stormed the neighborhood and started the demolitions.

Wadi al-Humus neighborhood (area: 3,000 dunums; population: 6000) is located on the edge of Sour Baher, south of occupied East Jerusalem. The neighbourhood is not within Jerusalem's municipal boundaries and most of its lands are classified in Area A that is under full control of the Palestinian Authority according to the Oslo Accords; thus, the buildings’ owners obtained construction licences from the Palestinian Ministry of Local Governance.

Following the construction of the annexation wall in 2003, the neighbourhood was split as some houses ended up in the Israeli side but not under jurisdiction of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem.

PCHR deeply condemns the Israeli forces' violations against Wadi al-Humus neighbourhood and affirms that:

First: the international community's silence towards the Israeli violations, especially the destruction of an entire neighbourhood and displacement of its residents, reflects the inability of international bodies to protect international humanitarian law, as well as hundreds of United Nations resolutions issued over the past seven decades relevant to the Palestinian cause.

Second: PCHR reiterates that the Israeli judicial system, including the High Court, acts in support of the occupation and legitimizes its violations of IHL when the issues concern Palestinian victims.

Third: PCHR stresses that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory, and all measures taken by Israel since 1967 do not change its legal status as an occupied territory.

Fourth: Article (49) of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention prohibited the Individual or mass forcible transfer or deportation of persons from their places of residence, unless it was for their own interest, such as protecting them from the dangers of armed conflicts. Article 7.1.d of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court stipulates that Deportation or forcible transfer of population be considered a crime against humanity when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. This is also emphasized in articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute.

PCHR calls upon the international community and UN bodies to intervene to stop Israel’s crimes and violations of Palestinians’ human rights, and to provide them with protection.


---------- Forwarded message --------- From: Norwegian Refugee Council

Demolitions in Sur Baher set dangerous precedent for Palestinian communities

Jerusalem, 22 July 2019 — The demolition of 10 buildings by Israeli forces in the Sur Baher neighborhood in East Jerusalem today, totaling around 70 apartments, is a grave breach of international humanitarian law and sets a dangerous precedent, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said today.

The majority of the structures are located in Areas A and B, which fall under Palestinian civil control, including for planning and building matters, as designated by the Oslo Accords.

“Israel’s security arguments to justify these demolitions sets a dangerous precedent that leaves thousands at heightened risk,” said NRC’s Palestine Country Director, Kate O’Rourke. “The commission of grave breaches of international humanitarian law must be challenged by the international community.”

An Israeli military order issued in 2011 designated a buffer zone of 100 to 300 meters on both sides of the separation barrier in Sur Baher and prohibited construction in the Wadi al-Hummus area of the neighborhood as a security measure. While the number of structures facing similar risk is difficult to estimate, local residents say that roughly 100 additional buildings could be at heightened risk of demolition in Sur Baher alone.

Sur Baher land in Area A, B, and C remain part of the West Bank, but the route of Israel’s separation barrier left them on the Israeli side, preventing the Palestinian Authority from accessing or delivering services to these areas. Nonetheless, the Palestinian Authority still issues building permits to the residents as permitted under the Oslo Accords.

Residents, represented by attorney Saher Ali and the Society of St. Yves, a Jerusalem-based human rights organization and local NRC partner, petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to request the cancellation of the military order prohibiting construction or, alternatively, a reprieve from demolishing the structures. On 11 June, the court dismissed their petitions.

The developments in Sur Baher come amid renewed momentum to further entrench and tighten Israeli control over key locations across East Jerusalem. Since the beginning of the year, Israeli authorities have demolished 140 Palestinian-owned structures in the city, according to OCHA. Together with an increase in eviction cases, these demolitions point toward an intent to accelerate forcible transfer of Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem and alter the demographic composition of the city.

Israel’s destruction of property in Sur Baher breaches its obligations under international humanitarian law and other peremptory norms of international law, including the duty to maintain territorial integrity and the prohibition on acquisition of territory by force.

Background

On 11 June 2019, the court dismissed the petition by residents of Sur Baher, citing a “military-security justification to restrict the construction.” The ruling canceled two orders, reduced four to partial demolition, and upheld six for complete destruction. The court also confirmed stop work orders against three landowners with prepared foundations for construction. According to OCHA, “the demolitions would displace three households, comprising 17 people, including nine children, and would otherwise affect an estimated 350 people.”

On Sunday, 21 July, the High Court of Justice denied all requests to delay the demolitions. Israeli authorities declared Sur Baher a closed military zone effective from 22 to 24 July.

The Fourth Geneva Convention outlines the protection of property in occupied territory, prohibiting any destruction of real or personal property, except when military operations render such destruction absolutely necessary. Unlawful and wanton destruction of property amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

An advisory opinion in 2004 on the separation barrier, issued by the International Court of Justice, stated that the course Israel has chosen for the barrier was unnecessary to attain its security objectives. International law requires third states to take measures to ensure Israel ceases the wrongful conduct, makes full reparation for the loss, and guarantees non-repetition.

For interviews or more information, please contact:

NRC's media hotline: info@nrc.no, +47 90562329


Latest victim of reckless open-fire orders: a 9-year old

Contrary to military statement: ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, was shot in the head with live ammunition

B`Tselem investigation published today proves a soldier fired live ammunition, hitting ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, in the head. A-Shteiwi was injured last week while playing in the entrance to a home in Kafr Qadum during the weekly demonstration in the village. Now hospitalized in critical condition, he is the latest victim of the reckless open-fire policy that allows soldiers to use live fire even when neither they nor anyone else is in any danger.

‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi. Photo courtesy of the family. At about 1:30 PM on Friday, 12 July 2019, the regular weekly demonstration against the closure of the main access road from Kafr Qadum to the regional capital Nablus took place. The military blocked the road in the early 2000s, following the expansion of the adjacent settlement of Kadum. Since then, residents have been forced to use a bypass road that lengthens the journey by about half an hour.

During the demonstration, a few dozen youths threw stones at a number of soldiers deployed along the ridge on the outskirts of the village, several dozen meters from the demonstrators. The soldiers fired rubber coated metal bullets at the protestors, but, in a departure from previous practice in Kadum protests, this time, they also fired a large number of live rounds in the air.

At a distance of about 200 meters from the main protest, about ten protestors threw stones at four soldiers who were a few dozen meters away from them, on another hill on the same ridge. About 100 meters away from this group, further down the road, a resident of Kafr Qadum was sitting under an olive tree with his two 10-year-old children. Opposite them, about 10 meters away, ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, 9, was sitting at the entrance of one of the homes on the edge of the village playing with a piece of wood.

At about 2:20 PM, as the main demonstration, some 200 meters away from ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi, began to disperse, a soldier fired a live bullet. It hit boy’s head and he immediately fell to the ground. The resident who was sitting nearby and a young man who was in the area evacuated the boy to an ambulance waiting some 50 meters away down the road. ‘Abd a-Rahman was taken unconscious to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus and underwent head surgery. Two days later, on 14 July 2019, sedated and ventilated, he was transferred to the intensive care unit at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.

In its statements to the media, the military denied that soldiers used live fire, and even rejected any responsibility for the incident. A response the military released claimed that the soldiers had used “various crowd-control methods” and that “a report was received of an injured boy aged around ten.” However, 9-year-old A-Shteiwi’s injury is a direct result of the open-fire policy implemented by the military in the Occupied Territories. This policy illegally and without any justification permits the use of live fire against Palestinians who are not endangering anyone. The policy remains in force despite the fact that it has resulted in hundreds of Palestinian deaths and thousands of injuries.

The military prides itself on regulations restricting the circumstances in which live fire may be used, while at the same time claiming that the law enforcement system will take action against soldiers who violate the regulations. However, these statements are hollow and meaningless. In many cases, the open-fire regulations are completely disregarded. Meanwhile, the law enforcement system is actually a whitewashing system intended to create the illusion of investigations. A-Shteiwi is the latest victim of this policy, but unless it is changed, it is only a matter of time before the next victim is added to the list.

By Amit Gilutz - B`Tselem


Volunteers needed for protective presence in Isaawiya

Update from Issawiya (East Jerusalem) and call for volunteer shifts

Following the large police operation in Issawiya last night during the funeral procession and the arrest of three residents, residents of Issawiya have requested international and Israeli activist presence within Issawiya for the evenings of the rest of the week, starting tonight.

Our presence last night was noted by residents and police, and we would like to continue monitoring police interactions with residents. This is also a great way to build relationships with !the comm