۱۳۹۴ مرداد ۱۱, یکشنبه
Israel arrested a prominent Palestinian Christian leader on Saturday during a demonstration in the Hebron area of the occupied West Bank.
Atallah Hanna, activist and Archbishop of the Orthodox Patriarchate at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre inJerusalem, was detained and interrogated by Israeli occupation forces as dozens of Palestinian and foreign activists had gathered to protest the takeover of a Palestinian church compound by Israeli settlers, according to an Arabic-language report in al-Araby al-Jadeed.
“[Israeli] occupation forces prevented the activists from reaching the building,” Hassan Barajiya, an activist from the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, told al-Araby al-Jadeed. “They managed to arrest Archbishop Atallah Hanna, who was close to the soldiers, and take him to the side.”
Archbishop Hanna was subsequently transferred to the Etzion detention center in a nearby Israeli settlement, where he was issued a summons to return for interrogation before eventually being released.
Beit al-Baraka, the church compound where the protest was staged, is situated between the al-Aroub refugee camp and Hebron, a Palestinian city in the southern West Bank.
The compound was secretly purchased three years ago, through a Swedish organization, by Aryeh King, founder of the Israel Land Fund, a right-wing settlement organization that aims to push Palestinians off their land and replace them with Jewish Israelis, according to a recent investigation by the Israeli daily Haaretz.
King, who is known for buying Palestinian homes or properties through proxies, was funded by Irving Moskowitz, an American millionaire with a long history of funding Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem.
In recent months, settler organizations have been preparing the site to house 20 settler families. Establishing an outpost there would, according to Haaretz, “also allow the settlers to spread out from the site” into adjacent lands.
Earlier in June, Israeli occupation forces forcibly prevented a similar march to Beit al-Baraka, assaulting and injuring protestors, according to Ma’an News Agency, and declaring the area a “closed military zone.”
Protest organizer Yousef Abu Maria told Ma’an that Palestinians feared the new settlement would threaten not only the refugee camp, but also a nearby Palestinian college and school. Israel already has plans to build a road for settlers in the area.
Archbishop Hanna’s arrest came just days after Israeli occupation forces arrested Daoud al-Ghoul, a Palestinian activist and tour guide from East Jerusalem.
In December 2014, Israel banned al-Ghoul and other local activists from entering Jerusalem for “security reasons” for four months, as reported by The Electronic Intifada at the time.
After relocating to Ramallah, al-Ghoul received another military order informing him that he was also banned from being in the West Bank and had to move to Haifa, a coastal city in northern present-day Israel.
Although al-Ghoul has not been accused of or charged with any crimes, Israeli authorities barred him from international travel until October 2015 and renewed the ban on his ability to visit Jerusalem or the West Bank twice since April.
After being summoned for questioning to the Russian Compound – an Israeli interrogation center in Jerusalem – al-Ghoul was arrested on 25 June.
Meanwhile, more than 60 Palestinian administrative detainees – held on “secret evidence” without charge or trial – are boycotting Israeli military courts to protest their detention, according to Addameer, a Ramallah-based group that monitors Israel’s arrests and detentions of Palestinians.
Addameer has documented at least 401 Palestinians presently being held as administrative detainees, including six lawmakers from the Palestinian Legislative Council. Among those is Khalida Jarrar, a prominent left-wing lawmaker who Israel has hit with a dozen charges related to her prisoner solidarity work and activism.
Israel has issued more than 50,000 administrative detention orders against Palestinians since 1967, when its military occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
“The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has been fighting against the policy of administrative detention for decades, which includes boycotting military courts and hunger strikes on the individual and collective levels,” Addameer reports in its press release. “Between 2011 and 2015, dozens of administrative detainees launched an open hunger strike against the policy of administrative detention.”
Earlier this week, Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan ended a 55-day hunger strike against his being held in administrative detention. In exchange for ending the strike, Israel has agreed to release him on 12 July.
“Thank God that my husband is coming back to us victorious,” his wife Randa said at a press conference about her husband’s release.
Israel kills dad as he tries to help injured son
Israeli forces have killed two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since Wednesday.
Falah Abu Maria, 52, was fatally shot during a house raid in Beit Ommar, a Hebron-area village in the southern West Bank, at dawn on Thursday.
After breaking into the family home, a large squad of Israeli soldiers forced Ahmad, Falah’s eldest son, to identify his siblings for them. Upon saying his 22-year-old brother Muhammad’s name, a soldier shot Muhammad in the pelvis, according to an Arabic-language report at the news website Quds.
Alarmed at seeing Muhammad shot, Ahmad and his father tried to defend him from the soldiers who began firing indiscriminately.
“One of the soldiers pointed his rifle at the martyr Falah and shot him four times directly” in the neck and chest as he attempted to help his son, Falah’s brother, also called Muhammad, told Quds.
The soldiers pulled out after the shooting, leaving the horror they had caused behind, Muhammad said. It was left to the family to seek help, but by the time ambulances arrived it was too late for Falah. Falah’s son Muhammad underwent surgery and is in stable condition.
Falah’s wife told the Jordanian TV station Roya that Israeli forces had raided the family home repeatedly. Beit Ommar is a frequent target of army attacks because of regular protests villagers hold against the theft of their land for nearby Israeli settlements.
“We are the ones who are dead, my father, and you are alive with your Lord,” Haidar Abu Maria, another of Falah’s sons, told Roya reflecting the family’s anguish.
Later in the day, Israeli troops used rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas to attack Palestinian mourners who came out for Abu Maria’s funeral. At least eight attendees were injured and a Palestinian ambulance’s window was shattered by an Israeli rubber-coated steel bullet, Ma’an News Agency reported.
With three killings already this month, the number of Palestinians slain by Israeli forces in 2015 has reached 17, Ma’an noted.
Just a day earlier Muhammad Alawneh, 22, died in hospital shortly after being shot in the chest by Israeli Border Police in Burqin, a village near Jenin in the northern West Bank.
Israel occupation officials claimed he was picking up a stone to throw at the heavily-armed soldiers during protests against an armed Israeli incursion into the village. Though an Israeli military spokesperson said that the killing is being investigated, such probes almost never find soldiers culpable for killing Palestinians.
Dr. Nader Irsheid, director of the hospital where Alawneh was treated, told the Palestinian newspaperAlquds that efforts to save the youth’s life had failed due to the severity of the injury to his chest.
Thousands joined a funeral procession that started at the hospital in Jenin and ended in Burqin.
Killed “in broad daylight”
Earlier this month, an Israeli colonel shot dead Muhammad al-Kasbeh, 17, near the Qalandiya checkpointbetween occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.
Although Israel initially claimed that the colonel fired his weapon because he was facing “mortal danger,” those claims were debunked by a video and medical evidence that al-Kasbeh was shot in the back as he attempted to flee after throwing a single stone at an Israeli military vehicle.
“The Israeli military has a poor record of bringing soldiers to justice for such acts,” a subsequent Human Rights Watch report observed.
“The military and senior politicians rushed to support [the colonel] before considering all the evidence,” Sarah Leah Whitson, the director of the group’s Middle East and North Africa program, said. “Even if the new video pushes the IDF [Israeli army] advocate-general to prosecute, it underscores the need, in any credible investigation, to collect and weigh all evidence, including, wherever possible, Palestinian eyewitness accounts.”
Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights watchdogs regularly decry Israel’s widespread human rights violations in areas across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the besieged Gaza Strip.
Israeli soldiers and settlers who attack or kill Palestinians enjoy systematic impunity. Only 1.4 percent of complaints issued to Israeli military authorities between 2010 and 2013 resulted in an indictment, according to the Israeli rights group Yesh Din. Of these, very few result in more than symbolic punishment.
Among those given a free pass last year were the soldiers who lay in ambush and then killed 14-year-old Yousef al-Shawamreh in the village of Deir al-Asal al-Fawqa in March 2014, as The Electronic Intifada recently reported.
Although Whatsapp messages showed the soldiers knew al-Shawamreh was a child, they killed the boy nonetheless. The Israeli military closed the investigation into the child’s killing four months later without any indictments.
The child was killed “in broad daylight, although he posed no danger,” Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said, adding that the evidence “attest[s] to command responsibility for the unlawful shooting of al-Shawamreh.”
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