Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians for being in WhatsApp group
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Mar — Israeli forces have detained 18 Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank for being in a WhatsApp group with a Palestinian who was killed by Israeli forces on Monday [near the Lion’s Gate to the Al-Aqsa Mosque] after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement on Sunday that the detained were all members of a group called “Road to heaven” on the messaging application, which she said was used to share religious messages. Al-Samri implied in her statement that Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar, the slain Jerusalemite youth, had been influenced by the WhatsApp group to carry out the alleged attack, and added that 10 of the 18 had their detention extended to Monday. However, Matar’s family has insisted that the 25-year-old blacksmith was “executed in cold blood” and was not committing an attack at the time of his death.
Israeli settler hits elderly Palestinian woman with car in northern West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Mar — An Israeli vehicle hit and injured an elderly Palestinian woman on Monday evening in the northern occupied West Bank. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Hilweh Abu Ras, 70, was hit by an Israeli settler driving near the village of al-Sawiya in the Nablus district. Abu Ras was evacuated to al-Najah hospital in Nablus, where doctors said she sustained moderate to serious wounds. The settler fled the scene in the direction of an Israeli military checkpoint near the village of Zaatara, Daghlas said. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that they were aware of the incident, but that it fell under the jurisdiction of Israeli police. An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. Incidents involving Israeli settlers hitting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are a relatively regular occurrence, and are usually treated by Israeli security forces as accidents, even in cases when witnesses claim the car rammings were deliberate.
Palestinian amputee, 14, recalls detention by Israeli forces: ‘I wasn’t afraid of being hit’
Haaretz 17 Mar by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Issa tells Haaretz how soldiers and police beat him, dislodging his prosthetic leg — He’s no longer a boy. It’s hard to believe he’s just 14. Not by his appearance, not by his speech, certainly not by what he’s undergone in the past two years. He tells his story in a dry, businesslike manner, as though he’s talking about someone else. Without tears, without pain (visible, at least), without self-pity; a boy acquainted with suffering, and beyond fear. Terrifyingly tough, hardly smiling. Where do you get your strength from, I ask him. “When I was shot,” he replies, “I felt that my leg was exploding. After that, do you think I’d be afraid of being hit by an interrogator?” In September 2015, Issa al-Mouati was shot and wounded by soldiers who suspected him of throwing a firebomb. Five live rounds slammed into him. After two and half months in the Ein Karem branch of Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, he had his right leg amputated below the knee. During the first month, he was officially under arrest and was handcuffed to his bed. He was 13 at the time. Following his release from detention and discharge from hospital, he was sent to a hospital in Detroit, Michigan – expenses paid by a charitable organization – to have a prosthetic leg fitted. At age 13, he was in the United States alone for a month … Early this month, during a routine night raid by the Israel Defense Forces in Deheisheh refugee camp, a raid that was met with violent resistance by local youngsters, Issa, the boy amputee, was arrested. He was sleeping over in the home of his ailing grandmother, whom he and his mother look after every few nights in rotation with other family members … Issa denies throwing stones at the soldiers. He says he was holding the bag with the pitas before he was arrested and that he was on his way back to his grandmother’s house … He was dragged to a military vehicle parked a few hundred meters away, the soldiers constantly urging him on, fearing volleys of stones. When they reached the vehicle, Issa tripped and fell. A soldier pulled him in and made him lie on the floor, face down … On the way, he says, a soldier poured water on him, adding that the soldiers cursed his mother and hurled other obscenities and stepped on him. An amputee boy of 14….
US State Dept. reports grave violations against Palestinian kids
RAMALLAH (DCI-Palestine) 17 Mar — A U.S. government human rights report released this month highlights grave violations against Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation. The annual country reports on human rights practices, which include a specific section covering the situation of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), raises a number of issues related to ill-treatment of Palestinian child prisoners and denial of fair trial rights in Israeli military courts. It notes other grave violations against Palestinian children, including unlawful killing and excessive use of force against Palestinian children by Israeli forces. A senior U.S. official released the annual report and answered questions by phone on condition of anonymity. The report noted a “significant increase in detentions of minors” in 2016, and that “Israeli authorities continued to use confessions signed by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew.” It also highlighted the renewed use of administrative detention against Palestinians, including children. “The U.S. government is well aware of ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian child detainees as well as unlawful killings,” said Khaled Quzmar, Defense for Children International – Palestine’s general director. “Until the U.S. government demands Israeli authorities comply with international law, U.S. authorities are simply enabling abuse and perpetuating injustice against Palestinian children.” The report highlights the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Mahmoud Rafat Badran near the West Bank village of Beit Ur Al-Tahta on June 21, 2016. Six teenage cousins and a driver were in a car heading home around 1:30 a.m. after a night of family fun at a swimming pool in the nearby West Bank village of Beit Sira. Israeli soldiers opened fire on them as they drove through an underpass beneath Route 443. Mahmoud Rafat Badran died at the scene. Two of his cousins and the driver were injured….
Israeli Supreme Court to hold session over release of slain Palestinians’ bodies
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Mar — The Israeli Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday to discuss an appeal submitted for the release the bodies of slain Palestinians still being held by Israel, amid an ongoing legal battle by the families of the deceased Palestinians fighting for the right to bury their sons. Lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Muhammad Mahmoud highlighted in a statement Monday that the appeal included a demand for the release of the bodies of Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour and Misbah Abu Sbeih, who were both killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis … In February, the Israeli Supreme Court agreed to a demand by the Israeli government to postpone a ruling regarding the return of the bodies of six Palestinians who died while committing or allegedly committing attacks on Israelis. The Israeli state also demanded that the court back down from a decision made in June that initially agreed release the body of Abu Srour. In January, Israel’s security cabinet said that the body of Abu Srour, along with those of two other slain Palestinians — Muhammad Tarayra and Muhammad al-Faqih — would not be returned to their families due to their alleged affiliation with the Hamas movement, and that they would instead be buried inside Israel in a “graveyard for enemy dead.” Israel considers the bodies to be a bargaining chip that could be used in a future exchange deal with Hamas, the de facto rulers of the besieged Gaza Strip, where the bodies of two Israeli soldiers are believed to be held….
Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians in West Bank raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Mar — Israeli forces detained at least 13 Palestinians during predawn raids Monday in multiple areas across the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces raided the central occupied West Bank town of Birzeit before dawn, detaining student and former member of Birzeit University’s student council Istabraq al-Tamimi after breaking into her dormitory, locals sources said, adding that several other houses were raided in the area. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that Israeli forces detained four Palestinians from the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, without providing further details.
In al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, Israeli forces detained brothers Muhammad, 19, and Ibrahim, 21. According to an Israeli army spokesperson, a total of three Palestinians were detained in al-Jalazun.
In the Jericho district, PPS said that Israeli forces detained 18-year-old Wadi Issa Jibril Manasra in Ein as-Sultan refugee camp, as well as 23-year-old Saleh Ibrahim Nimr Sawarka in the village of Marj al-Najah. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed both detentions.
Israeli forces also detained Uday Samir Abu Haniyeh in the village of ‘Azzun in the northern Qalqiliya district, according to PPS, which was confirmed by an Israeli army spokesperson who claimed he was a Hamas operative.
Israeli forces also detained former prisoner Ayyad al-Hreimi, who was recently released from Israeli prison after conducting 48-day hunger strike against administrative detention, the PPS statement said, without specifying the location of the detention.
An Israeli army spokesperson added that two Palestinians were detained in the southern occupied West Bank — one in the city of Bethlehem and one in the Hebron-area village of Idhna.
Prisoners / Court actions
Group: 500 Palestinian prisoners now serving life sentences in Israeli custody
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Mar — A Palestinian was sentenced to life in prison on Sunday, making him the 500th Palestinian currently serving a life sentence in Israeli custody, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPCS) said on Monday. PPCS spokesman Riyad al-Ashqar said that the Israeli military Ofer court had sentenced Muhammad Abd al-Basit Hroub, a 23-year-old resident of the Hebron-area village of Deir Samit, to four life sentences and a 750,000-shekel ($206,900) fine for his involvement in a shooting attack in November 2015 which killed an Israeli settler, an American, and a Palestinian bystander. Hroub’s home was punitively demolished by Israeli forces in February 2016. Al-Ashqar said that Hroub was the fifth Palestinian to have been handed a life sentence since the beginning of the year, adding that Israeli law defined life sentences as lasting 99 years….
Film review: The eternal jail: Palestinians bring trauma of Israeli prisons to the screen
+972 Blog 17 Mar by Anat Matar — A new documentary shows how the degradation and physical abuse suffered by Palestinians in Israeli jails means that even after their release, they haven’t escaped prison — A month ago, on January 29, Abdallah Moubarak was released from a year-long administrative detention. Three weeks later, the film he acted in a short time before his detention — “Ghost Hunting,” directed by Raed Andoni — won best documentary at the Berlin Film Festival. Why was Moubarak arrested? Why was he released a year later? Those are questions I have learned, over the years, are useless to ask. Not because there isn’t an answer; actually, there is. Rather, because the answer isn’t related to anything specific that Moubarak, or anyone else, did. The mistake is in searching for a reason, rather than a target. Abdallah Moubarak, Raed Andoni, Mohammed Khattab, Ramzi Maqdisi, Aatef Al-Akhras, Adnan Al-Hatab: these men and their friends, who we meet in this movie, were detained so that their spirit would break, so that every bud of resistance to occupation would be erased. Merely insisting on remembering that the human spirit is free is a crime, even while in reality the bodies and spirits of the Palestinians have been subjected to decades of oppression. This insight isn’t explicitly and clearly expressed in “Ghost Hunting.” We also aren’t told that the movie, which interestingly and originally documents a fraction of the experiences of detained and imprisoned Palestinians in the occupation’s prisons and detentions centers, uses the prisoners as a parable for the Palestinian population as a whole. Don’t let the under-stated, quiet nature of the film fool you — it is a major contribution. From the film ‘Ghost Hunting”: [1-minute clip] Andoni, 50, born in Ramallah, was stopped, tortured, interrogated and detained for a year when he was 18. Now, in interviews, he returns to the fact that a fifth of the population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip personally knows what it’s like to be detained or imprisoned by Israel … There isn’t a Palestinian family which doesn’t have a prisoner — and yet this disturbing statistic can be understood in an even larger sense. The Palestinians trapped under the occupation, even those who have never been locked up, are also prisoners.
– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/03/palestinian-whatsapp-religious/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=ae4d8359a5-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-ae4d8359a5-398536869&mc_cid=ae4d8359a5&mc_eid=189b366097#sthash.RfQXlT5e.dpuf