HOWEVER BAD YOU THINK IT IS

for Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, the reality is worse.

You will not find these stories of abuse, torture, land theft, murder, vandalism, state sponsored terrorism reported in the mainstream media with the possible exception of: the murder of Eyad Hallaq because of the parallels with the killing of George Floyd a few days earlier; and the eviction of the Sumarin family which was the subject of an Early Day Motion in Parliament.

6 May 2020. The Israeli Civil Administration — the arm of Israel’s military government that governs the occupied West Bank — gives the illegal settlement of Efrat the green light to expand its area, permitting it to build 7,000 housing units on land near al-Nahla. This is land that Palestinian farmers have been working for generations.

Annexation by degrees.

This settlement expansion will cut off 14 West Bank villages from their natural connection to Bethlehem and cut off Bethlehem itself from the southern West Bank.

Bethlehem, already encircled by the Apartheid Wall and illegal settlements, will effectively become a prison.

Abu Swai, who will lose his plot of land in the development, is reported as saying: “You see all the settlers. You don’t know where they all come from. They take all the natural resources, all the beautiful view. You see their life of luxury while we, the local Palestinians, are surrounded by military roads and more confiscation of land. There is no space for a public garden for my three-year old son but on the other side you see the settlers with pools, private gardens and public gardens.”

30 May. Eyad Hallaq, a 32 year old autistic Palestinian is shot by Israeli border police. He is walking to his special needs school in the Old City of Jerusalem when he is stopped by Israeli border police. He doesn’t understand checkpoints and is frightened of strangers so he runs. The police chase after him. His carer explains to the police that he is autistic, he is disabled but they shoot, wounding him, and chase him into a garbage room. His carer screams at them in Hebrew and Arabic to check his ID, he is disabled, but a policeman fires three bullets into him. He is executed.

The policeman who shot him is released the next day.

The Police Investigation Unit say there is no video footage of what happened because the cameras were not working at the time of the incident.

In the last decade, 2,690 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli forces, 798 of them children. There is no accountability.

4 June. Samah Jaradat is freed from prison. She was abducted from her home in Al-Bireh on 7 September by Israeli occupation forces, 3 days after obtaining her sociology degree from Birzeit University and subjected to 22 days of torture at the notorious Moskobiyeh interrogation centre in Jerusalem: blindfolded, handcuffed, strip searched, held in isolation, deprived of sleep, interrogated for 17 consecutive hours under disorientating bright lights, taken to a room where loudspeakers broadcast screams and cries of pain, which, she was told, were the cries of pain of her friends being tortured, faced with threats to keep her in prison for the rest of her life and to arrest her family if she did not confess to acts that she had not committed. During these 22 days she was not allowed access to a lawyer. This is normal procedure for Palestinians living under military rule.

She was then illegally held under Administrative Detention for the statutory 9 months with no charge or trial in Damon women’s prison near Haifa in a cell infested with insects and rats with no natural light, running water or toilet facilities.

8 June. Layan Kayed another student at Bir Zeit university, is abducted at the Zaatara roadblock. She, too, faces 22 days of torture and interrogation and 9 months in an Israeli jail with no charge or trial.

Hundreds of Palestinian youth are routinely arrested, tortured, illegally incarcerated in Israeli jails.The aim is to terrorise them into compliance.

In all, there are around 4,500 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including 39 women, 160 children, 6 legislators and 360 held without charge or trial under Administrative Detention. The latter must be released after 9 months but some are then re-arrested and held for a further 9 months. One man has been in prison for 5 years under this system. No charge, no trial.

9 June. Palestinian schoolgirl, Majd Barbar, is beaten and arrested by Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem during a protest condemning the killing of Eyad Hallaq.

11 June. Settlers set fire to the car of the Hanash family in Zeita, Nablus District. They also spray Am Israel Chai (Israel lives) on one of their walls.

12 June. Dozens of settlers armed with stones invade the Wadi al-Hasin neighbourhood in Central Hebron.

15 June. Settlers set fire to the fields of Palestinian farmers from the village of Kafr Malik. Israeli security forces and firefighters watch while the fields burn.

22 June. Settlers uproot 150 olive trees on farmland belonging to Ihab and Amjad Sultan in Haris, Salfit.

30 June. An Israeli court rules that the Sumarin family home in Silwan, East Jerusalem, which the family built in the 1950s and have lived in ever since, and to which they have the title deeds, does not belong to them but is the property of Himanuta, a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund. The family are told to leave their house by 16 August or be forcibly evicted.

This decision is based on the notorious Absentee Property Law of 1950 which allows Israel to confiscate the property of Palestinians who are ‘in an enemy country’ i.e. those Palestinians who fled or who were forced out during and following the Naqba. Some of the Palestinians who fled their homes remained in Israel and are called Present Absentees. They are now, in effect, internal refugees, Israeli citizens who still cannot return to their homes.

It is called the Judaising of Jerusalem.

The EDM condemning the JNF for trying to evict the Sumarin’s extended family was signed by 69 MPs: 32 SNP, 24 Labour, 7 Lib Dem, 2 Plaid Cymru, 2 Conservatives, 1 Independent and Caroline Lucas for the Greens.

9 July. 34 year old Palestinian, Ibrahim Mustafa Abu-Yaaqoub, is shot and critically injured by occupation forces in Kifl Haris, near Salfit. He dies in Salfit hospital. Eyewitnesses say that Mustafa was out walking with a friends when the soldiers targeted him and shot him without any cause or justification.

16 July. Imad Barghouti, Professor of Physics at Al Quds University, is arrested. He is being held under Administrative Detention in Ofer prison camp near Ramallah.

20 July. Israeli forces uproot over 200 olive trees in the Palestinian village of Deir Istiya, near Salfit.

21 July. Israeli forces demolish a COVID 19 testing clinic in Hebron. Raed Maswadeh, the landowner who built the testing centre, said: “My family donated our land and put in hundreds of thousands of shekels of our own money to build this clinic. This was our way of honouring my grandfather’s memory (he died of Covid 19 complications) and helping our community. But Israel does not care about that and they clearly don’t care about Palestinians dying of the coronavirus.”

Remnants of the Covid 19 clinic in Hebron

26 July. A group of armed Israeli settlers invade land belonging to Battir, an agricultural village south of Jerusalem, famous for its eggplants. They have been doing this for the past month. One of the settlers undresses and climbs into a water cistern for a swim. This is the cistern Ghassan Alyan uses for his drinking water.

One of Battir’s residents explains that they want to take this area because of its elevation. It overlooks the region. In addition, settling there would create a wedge between two Palestinian villages. And it would create geographical continuity between the settlement of Har Homa and Jerusalem.

Ethnic cleansing by degrees.

27 July. Settlers set fire to a mosque in Birah, in the Ramallah District. They spray on the outer wall of the mosque: Siege on the Arabs, not on the Jews! The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people!

28 July. Near Jericho, in the occupied Jordan Valley, a group of settlers spray poison on the pastures where Ahmad al-Zawahra’s cattle graze. Over 60 of his livestock are found dead.

30 July. In the middle of the night, Israeli soldiers storm the home of Mahmoud Nawajaa, his wife and 3 children. He is the General Coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee. He is handcuffed and blindfolded and taken, illegally, to Jalameh interrogation centre without access to lawyers.

3 August. Israelis soldiers hand out military orders for the demolition of 36 homes, water wells and other structures.

5 August. A 15 year old Palestinian boy in an Israeli prison tests positive for the corona virus.

6 August. At dawn, Israeli soldiers abduct 23 Palestinian civilians, including children, from several parts of the occupied West Bank.

7 August. Dalya Samhoudi, a 23 year old mother of three, is shot by Israeli soldiers during an army raid on Jenin’s al-Jabriyath neighbourhood. She was preparing to breastfeed her baby and went to close the window to block out the tear gas when she was hit by a bullet to the chest. She died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

10 August. Israeli soldiers demolish four Palestinian family homes and a 250 cubic/meter water reservoir serving the entire village of Farasin in the northern West Bank.

Another three family homes are demolished in southern Jerusalem, the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, and the Khirbit Beit Iskarya villages.

Israeli settlers attack 30 year old Mustafa al-Masri while he is working his own land to the north of Huwwara. He is left with bruises and fractures and requires hospital care.

Israeli soldiers uproot over 100 olive grove saplings in a 2.5 acre Palestinian orchard near Wad Rahhal village, south of Bethlehem.

And it goes on. And on. And on.

Meanwhile in Gaza, the misery continues .…

Saturday, August 22, 2020. Israeli artillery shelled locations in the besieged Gaza Strip and its navy opened fire at fishermen’s boats in the northern Gaza coast, reported WAFA correspondent.
He said two shells were fired at a location east of the town of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, destroying the site and causing fire but no human casualties.
Three shells were also fired at a location east of Rafah city, also in the south of the Strip, destroying it in total.
Meanwhile, Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats while they were at the pier in the north of the Gaza Strip, damaging some.
Israel has tightened last week its 13-year-old blockade on Gaza by totally closing the fishing area therefore denying thousands of Gazans a chance to make a daily living, closing the only commercial land crossing between Israel and Gaza thus preventing entry of badly needed supplies including fuel, which led the power generators supplying parts of Gaza with electricity to stop operating and affecting work at Gaza hospitals.

This is Israel. This is the Zionist state. This is the state that Sir Keir Starmer supports ‘without qualification’.
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Sources: +972, WAFA (Palestine News Agency), B’Tselem (Israeli Human Rights Centre), Palestine Chronicle, Middle East Eye, International Middle East Media Centre, Spotlight Newspaper.

Singer/songwriter, children’s author. Here you will find provocative musings on songwriting, politics and life’s little ironies. http://leonrosselson.co.uk