Rather than heeding the warnings from the UN to open up Gaza’s blockade and allow vital aid, what we have witnessed over the course of the last decade is a periodic all-out Israeli assault on Gaza’s vital infrastructure.
Palestinian children fill their bottles with water from a UNICEF tap in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: UNICEF
Near the end of last month, Haaretz reported that, according to an expert hydrologist, 97 percent of Gaza’s drinking water has been contaminated by sewage and salt. The UN also confirmed that this was the case early last year, and clearly, the situation has remained unchanged even up until 2018. Robert Piper, the UN’s local coordinator for humanitarian and development activities, has called the situation “really very serious” and stated that “[w]e are falling far behind the demand for clean drinking water for Gazans.”
This kind of mistreatment is part and parcel of an overall package of deprivation that continues to plague the Palestinian people. There are some 2 million residents in Gaza affected by this egregious policy, famously one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Gaza’s water resources are fully controlled by Israel and the division of groundwater is something that was provided for in the Oslo II Accord. However, despite the fact that under the Accord Israel is allocated four times the Palestinian portion of water resources, it has been revealed that Israel has been extracting 80 percent more water from the West Bank than it agreed to. Continue reading →
Palestinian teens protesting the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Photo: Flash 90
Israeli police are officially permitted to use deadly force against stone-throwing Palestinian teenagers, according to updated regulations made public on Tuesday by an Israel-based human rights organization.
The new open-fire regulations, revealed by Adalah, a rights organization and legal center that defends Palestinians living in Israel as well as the occupied territories, state that “an officer is permitted to open fire [with live ammunition] directly on an individual who clearly appears to be throwing or is about to throw a firebomb, or who is shooting or is about to shoot fireworks, in order to prevent endangerment.” Continue reading →
An Israeli tactic deemed “ineffective” at preventing civilian causalities by a United Nations commission has now been adopted by the United States in its fight against ISIS, according to a U.S. military official.
Air Force Maj. Peter Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the U.S.-led coalition, explained at a press briefing Tuesday that the tactic dubbed “knocking on the roof” was, in fact, used during a strike in Mosul, Iraq against a “major distributor of funds to Daesh fighters.” A woman the military had seen come and go with her children from the building died in the strike—”an unfortunality,” as Gersten called it. Continue reading →
The British government’s move to outlaw boycotts, including those aimed at Israel, is being likened by critics to former Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher’s support for apartheid South Africa.
Under the new plan, publicly-funded institutions that refuse to purchase goods and services from “unethical” companies will face “severe penalties,” senior government sources told the Independent. The prohibition protects any company that is signatory to the World Trade Organization government procurement agreement, including those “involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.” Continue reading →
A section of the wall in the West Bank. (Photo: hjl/flickr/cc)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed a plan to encircle his entire country with a fence as protection against “wild beasts,” referring to those in neighboring Arab states.
He made the comments Tuesday while visiting an 18-mile stretch of fence already under construction on the Israel-Jordan border.
“At the end of the day, in the State of Israel as I see it, there will be a fence like this one surrounding its entirety,” he said, according to a statement on the Prime Minister’s website.
“They tell me: Is this what you want to do, defend the villa? The answer is yes. What, are we going to surround the entire State of Israel with a fence, a barrier? The answer is yes, unequivocally. In the environment in which we live we must defend ourselves from the wild beasts.”
He added that it would be a multi-year project, multi-million dollar project.
“Perhaps the most notorious of Israel’s walls built for ‘security purposes’ runs within the occupied West Bank,” as Al Jazeera reports. It was deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
Haaretz columnist Asher Schechter argues that “Israel is already not even trying to function like a democracy,” and writes that Netanyahu’s statement is “a display of everything wrong with Israel under his leadership. Israel circa 2016 is fearful, hateful, and paranoid, self-involved to a degree even Donald Trump would find distasteful, and soon it might have big walls surrounding it from every which way, quarantining it, and a political system where only Jews need apply.
On Wednesday Netanyahu also spoke to the Israeli parliament and referred to the existing fence along the border with Egypt, saying that it prevented Israel from being “overrun” with migrants.
This 13 year old boy is one of six Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza on October 9. Photo via Twitter
Israeli forces on Friday killed six Palestinians, including at least two teenagers, who were taking part in a demonstration along the Gaza border.
Hundreds of protesters were gathered there in solidarity with Palestinians residing in the West Bank, where a spate of violence in recent weeks has added to fears of growing unrest.
An Israeli army spokesperson said there were 200 demonstrators, and that “Forces on the site responded with fire toward the main instigators to prevent their progress and disperse the riot.” According to the army, the protesters were throwing rocks and rolling burning tires toward the military forces. Continue reading →
A Palestinian man holds the hands of his granddaughters near the remnants of the residential towers where the girls used to live, in the city of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. (Photo: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba)
Citing a series of vicious military attacks in recent years coupled with severe shortages of water, medical supplies, and shelter created by an internationally-backed blockade, a new report issued by the United Nations warns that if current trends continue the Gaza Strip will be virtually “uninhabitable” within five years.
Home to approximately 1.8 million people, Gaza is often referred to the largest open-air prison in the world and the latest report, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), is just the latest official assessment (pdf) to paint a devastating picture of life inside the sealed borders of Gaza which has now faced eight years of economic blockade and three large-scale military operations by Israel since 2009.Continue reading →
Children in Rafah collect water from one of the working public taps July 13, 2014. (Photo: Oxfam International/flickr/cc)
Over 150,000 people and dozens of humanitarian organizations say it is time for world leaders to force Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza and allow its residents to recover from last year’s 50-day military onslaught, in what the groups are saying is the largest global appeal of its kind.
Released Wednesday, the anniversary of the formal ceasefire, the call notes: “Not one of the 19,000 homes that were bombed and destroyed has been fully rebuilt.”
A relative of Ali Saad Dawabsha in the family home hours after the attack. Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz
Outrage is rippling across the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and beyond on Friday as news spreads that an 18-month-old infant was killed and his family members severely injured after Israeli settlers allegedly firebombed their home overnight.
The infant, identified in various media outlets as Ali Saad Dawabsha, reportedly died at the scene of the fire while his family members—mother, Reham, father, Saad, and four-year-old brother, Ahmad—were airlifted to an Israeli hospital with serious injuries. The Palestinian family’s home was apparently one of two houses targeted in the village of Duma by still unknown assailants who scribbled the Hebrew word for ‘revenge’ beneath a Star of David on an outside wall. Continue reading →