As Unicef announced this week that 232 Palestinian children had either been seriously injured or killed at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) between January and September 2020 and as the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reveals that by the end of September Israel had imprisoned more than 4,184 Palestinians, including 157 children, we learn that the Labour Party is banning CLPs from even discussing motions in support of a charity bike ride for Palestinian children, so we thought it was high time for another Spotlight update from Palestine. Worth pointing out that almost every event we’ve listed in this report happened over just the last 2 weeks…
- 15yr old Ali Abu Aalya was shot and killed by an IDF soldier on his birthday on Friday 4th December. It’s understood the soldier, who was using live rounds, shot Ali as he was taking part in demonstrations against Israel’s policies in the West Bank and the Israeli authority’s support of settler violence.
- Also this week, The Israeli Justice Ministry claimed there were “insufficient grounds” for prosecution after an Israeli police officer shot an 8yr old Palestinian boy, Malik Eissa, in the eye. Malik had just got off the school bus and was crossing the road to go to a shop when he was shot. Malik lost his left eye as a result. Aviv Tartasky, a researcher at Ir Amim Rights Group, explained that the Israeli police do not discriminate, “they are targeting anyone that is out in the street, or in the school, or in the shop”
- Two young Palestinians, aged 15 and 18, were shot in the knee during an Israeli military raid into the Shuwekeh neighborhood to the north of the West Bank district of Tulkarem today.
- Earlier this month, Israeli soldiers burst into a refugee camp in the dead of night and abducted 16yr old Basel al-Badawi. They then held him for a full day, with no food. Basel’s 22yr old older brother, Omar, was shot and killed by IDF soldiers only a year earlier. Omar was shot at close range but IDF soldiers insisted that a towel that he was holding in his hands (which he was using to try and put out a fire at his house) looked like a Molotov cocktail. Video footage of the shooting, posted by the Haaretz newspaper would suggest otherwise…
Below is footage of Basel’s abduction on 2nd December. At one point you hear a women screaming as an IDF soldier instructs a colleague to put his weapon to Basel’s head and then tells the screaming woman to “shut up, shut your mouth!”
Oh and, incase you’re wondering how IDF soldier’s treat detainees once they’ve been abducted, here’s some footage of IDF soldiers getting their jollies by hitting, slapping and taunting two Palestinians they have bound and blindfolded and sitting on the floor of a military vehicle…
- Israeli settlers, from the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Yair, set fire to 400 full grown olive trees belonging to a local Palestinian family in Khallet Ad-Dabi‘ area in Hebron today. Israeli settlers also attacked Palestinian homes near the town of Sa’ir, in the northeast of Hebron. The attackers shouted profanities, threatened to murder residents and burn to burn down their homes.
- Last Thursday, an Israeli tribunal court gave an IDF soldier a community service order for killing 22-year-old Ahmad Manasra and shooting Alaa Ghayadah at a junction near the West Bank town of Bethlehem in March 2019. According to Al Jazeera, shootings of Palestinians rarely result in convictions as the military justice system protects Israeli soldiers.
- Last week, IDF soldiers hospitalised a 16yr old Palestinian refugee after a severe attack that left him with a broken jaw, missing teeth, plus cuts and bruises all over his body. The boy, Mohammad Moqbel, reports that a soldier hit him in the face with the butt of his rifle and then he was set apon by a number of IDF soldiers who kicked him while he was on the ground.
- The Jerusalem post reports that ‘Undercover Border Police officers’ and unarmed Palestinians were injured in clashes in the West Bank village of Kalandiya last Monday. Four Palestinians were reported to have been shot, three of whom sustained serious injuries to the chest, stomach and one took a bullet to a main artery in his leg. All three had to be rushed to Ramallah hospital.
- On the 4th December, Unicef reported that a 15yr old Palestinian child had been killed and four other’s, ranging between the ages of 15 and 16, had been severely injured in the West Bank over the previous 2 weeks, having sustained injuries to the chest, the eye and the head.
- On Monday, another unarmed Palestinian man was shot, this time twice, by Israeli guards at the Qalandia checkpoint on the crossing between the West Bank city of Ramallah, east Jerusalem
- Also last week, Israeli settlers, backed up by IDF soliders, took 50 acres of land from the Palestinian City of Salfit. Deeb Nassif, one of the Palestinian landowners, described how “The settlers took over the land, and put on it sheds for sheep. They put up electricity poles and prevented us from reaching our land and every time we try to reach it, they, protected by the army, attack us,”
- Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta, in the south of the West Bank, have been given notice by Israeli occupation authorities that a number of Palestinian homes, water wells and agricultural buildings will be demolished. Local activists explain that this is part of a plan to empty the area of its Palestinian residents ahead of Israeli settlement expansion.
- Israeli authorities, backed by IDF soldiers, invaded an area south east of Gaza City with military tanks and bulldozers last Wednesday. They razed large areas of Palestinian farmland as IDF soldiers intermittently opened fire on residents.
- Israeli authorities and IDF soldiers also raided the town of Sebastia, north of the West Bank city of Nablus, on Wednesday. According to reports, IDF soldiers drove bulldozers through the town, whilst firing tear gas canisters at residents. It’s understood that Israeli authorities plan to clear the site of Palestinians in order to make way for illegal Israeli settlements and to gain access to the towns archaeological site.
- Israeli forces also raided Jaba‘ town (south of Jenin city) in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Soldiers armed with rubber tipped steel bullets and tear gas canisters opened fire on residents, ransacked a number of homes and interrogating a number of individuals. Six Palestinian youngsters were injured in the raid and a number of them were rushed to hospital in Jenin.
- Israeli settlers carrying guns tried to get onto private Palestinian land in Jerusalem on Monday and were confronted by the Palestinian landowners.
- Day’s after the pro-Palestine activist Rachel Corrie was posthumously awarded the ‘Freedom Star’ by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, another video has emerged of IDF soldiers brutally attacking Palestine solidarity activists, for coming to show support for residents of a Palestinian village whose lands had been threatened of expropriation by the Israeli authorities. For those of you who don’t know, Rachel Corrie, was a vocal advocate for the Palestinian cause. She exposed numerous Israeli human rights violations until she was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16th 2003, while she was trying to stop the Israeli authorities from demolishing a Palestinian home in Gaza. Despite Rachel’s parents bringing charges against the Israeli authorities of the intentional killing of their daughter, Israeli courts dismissed the killing as ‘an accident’ and declared that Israel was not responsible for her death.
- Last week, the Middle East Eye broke a story about an Israeli ‘anti-terrorism’ lawyer who had previously been convicted and jailed for attacks on Palestinians. Aviel Leitner, who had links to far-right Kach party, was involved in at least 6 attacks on Palestinians in East Jerusalem and West Bank in 1980s, including one incident where he was involved in a shooting on a bus load of Palestinian labourers near Ramallah in which six people were injured. Other attacks included throwing Molotov cocktails at Palestinian homes and vehicles in East Jerusalem and Hebron. Despite this, Leitner has somehow managed to nurture connections to senior Israeli officials, such as Israeli Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana and Noam Katz, the deputy director-general and head of public diplomacy for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Equally surprising is the fact that Leitner works for Shurat HaDin, an organisation that supposedly fights terrorism globally, (along with his wife Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Shurat HaDin’s founder) and that this organisation primarily attacks pro-Palestinian groups who expose Israeli abuse of international law. In fact, the Shurat HaDin organisation describes itself as being “at the forefront of fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide… dedicated to protecting the State of Israel…” working with “Western intelligence agencies, law enforcement branches and court systems around the world to go on the offensive against Israel’s enemies”.
- And finally, it seems that Israeli settlers do not discriminate between Muslim and Christian Palestinians, in fact they’re happy to terrorize anyone who isn’t Jewish. One Israeli settler even hatched a plan to try and set fire to Gethsemane Church in Jerusalem recently (the church where Jesus is thought to have prayed before he was arrested), by setting fire to the church’s wooden benches. Luckily, a group of Palestinians managed to put out the fire and apprehended the man.