In the month just ended, one that also marked the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the Palestinian people continued their struggle to survive under Israel’s profitable and cynically-imposed regime of population-control. November in Palestine should also be remembered for two other anniversaries. November 20 saw the anniversary of Universal Children’s Day that marks the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. November 29 is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (UN resolution 32/40 B).
Israeli Occupation Military Order 101
Palestinians living under belligerent Israeli military Occupation are forbidden to peacefully resist the Occupation and are prohibited from attending or organising any assembly, vigil or public protest of a political nature involving more than ten people. Military Order 101 was passed 50 years ago and applies to both public and private gatherings. Punishment for breaching the order can result in up to ten years imprisonment, with additional heavy fines. This November, the Israeli Army, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas, suppressed 12 peaceful demonstrations in Palestinian towns, villages and UN refugee camps. Protesters were wounded and hospitalised, and many became tear gas casualties.
Denial of freedom of movement – flying checkpoints
In addition to its permanent military checkpoints, Israeli Occupation forces deploy, by both day and night, what are called flying checkpoints. They severely disrupt movement, with devastating consequences for the population’s health, economy and other essentials, including education. In November alone, there were at least 428 such curtailments of freedom. Every type of vehicle, including ambulances and other emergency vehicles, are subject to hold-ups, which can last for hours. Besides flying checkpoints, the Israeli Army closes Palestinian roads, using concrete blocks or mounds of rubble and earth. Agricultural produce held up in such manner must be unloaded and then reloaded onto another vehicle that can continue the journey from the other side of the obstacle. Such delays can prove ruinous, to both Palestinian farmers and the economy.
On the anniversary of Universal Children’s Day, international NGO Save the Children released a statement highlighting Israeli violations of the rights of Palestinian children in Occupied Palestine. Jennifer Moorhead, the country director of Save the Children, called for greater protection of schools and children’s right to education, saying that “children’s most fundamental right to education is being eroded”. Moorhead highlighted the cases of 55 Palestinian schools in Area C, the more than 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control, that are under threat of demolition by Israeli forces. “Distance, risky roads, the presence of settlers or of military checkpoints had presented insurmountable challenges for many children to reach the nearest schools,” Moorhead said, adding: “School demolitions, threats of violence and harassment, military presence in and around school premises and lack of adequate resources are all undermining children’s basic right to education.”
Statistical summary for November
Gaza ceasefire violations:
With regard to Gaza, while, unfortunately, there were no situation reports available for seven days of that month, those covering the remaining 23 are revealing.
Palestinian ceasefire violations:
There were two Palestinian ceasefire violations reported.
1. Resistance fighters opened fire on Israeli Army vehicles to the east of Khan Yunis. This single attack on a military target was hugely outnumbered by Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians.
2. 12 missiles fired towards Israel from north Beit Hanun.
Israeli ceasefire violations:
The Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats on 24 occasions, with one fishing vessel hijacked and a fisherman wounded. The terrorising of Palestinian fishing crews is causing a massive decline in the productivity of the industry.
The Israeli Army opened fire on Palestinian farms on 20 occasions. On two other days, the Israeli Army made incursions onto Gaza farmland, opening fire and bulldozing crops. On 29 November, Israel carried out chemical weapon air strikes on Palestinian farm workers. These constant attacks on Gaza’s agriculture are contributing to the crises in both health and the economy there.
While there were but two Palestinian ceasefire violations reported for the entire month of November, Israeli forces on land, at sea and in the air, committed at least 64 violations.
West Bank and Jerusalem:
Abductions of minors: 39 (aged from 9 to 17)
Night peace disruption and/or home invasions: 29 in UN refugee camps and 199 in towns and villages.
Israel’s Daily Toll on the West Bank and Gaza:
(Excerpts from) In Occupied Palestine daily newsletters
Israel’s human rights abuses and destruction inflicted in the Occupied West Bank and Jerusalem are too numerous to recount here, so what follows is a selection of just one per day of the dozens that daily typify the atmosphere of Occupation and Israeli malevolence towards a captive population. Due to mainstream news media complicity, these violations remain largely unreported. Even an Israeli chemical weapons strike on Gaza at the end of November was ignored. Here is a brief daily summary (one event selected from the many others for each day) of the Palestinian people’s experience of just one month of Israeli military subjugation.
6 children wounded in Israeli Army home invasions in UN refugee camp. Jerusalem – 12:00, Israeli forces, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas, injured six unidentified children during a raid on the Shuafat UN refugee camp. Several homes and shops were invaded and one resident was taken prisoner.
Israeli Army destroys Palestinian family home. Hebron – 11:10, Israeli forces destroyed a Palestinian family home in the al-Bas district.
Armed Israeli settler terrorists attack Palestinian farmers. Tubas – 13:00, armed settler terrorists from the Migola Israeli Occupation settlement stormed the Ein al-Sakut area in the North Jordan Valley, opening fire and attacking Palestinian farmers. The settlers also beat up and hospitalised one farmer, Hafith Zamal Abdel-Raziq, and forced others off the land.
Israeli Army home invasions – 2 youngsters abducted from refugee camp. Jerusalem – dawn, Israeli forces raided the Shuafat UN refugee camp and abducted two minors: Omar Abu Al-Sa’ed (15) and Ahmad Kamal Abu Zanid (16).
Ceasefire violation – Israeli Navy attack – wounding – economic sabotage: Khan Yunis – 14:00, an unidentified fisherman was wounded when Israeli gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off Khan Yunis.
Occupation settler violence – plunder – agricultural sabotage: Tubas – morning, Israeli Occupation settler militants raided the al-Sakkut area in the North Jordan Valley and cut 400 metres off an irrigation pipeline to Palestinian farms. The Zionists then stole the severed section of pipeline and threatened violence against any Palestinian farmers, in order to keep them off the land.
Raid – stun grenades and tear gas – children terrorised – abduction: Nablus –13:40-15:30, Israeli soldiers, firing stun grenades and tear gas, raided al-Labban al-Sharqiya village, terrorising schoolchildren and abducting a 16-year-old youth, Mansour Mo’ayad Awies.
Occupation settler violence – hospitalisations – Israeli Army complicity – agricultural sabotage: Nablus – 11:10, Israeli forces, in east Urif village, fired stun grenades and tear gas at a couple of Palestinian olive harvesters who were trying to defend themselves from an attack by fanatics from the Yitzhar Israeli Occupation settlement. Taysir Mahmoud Sabah and his wife were both hospitalised in the settler violence.
Israeli Army – 12-year-old child terrorised: Bethlehem – 13:00, Israeli soldiers in North Bethlehem seized, and held captive for a time, a 12-year-old child, Ahmad Muhammad Harb Al-Azat.
Israeli Army – child wounded – rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters: Ramallah – 16:40, Israeli forces, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas in the al-Jalazoun UN refugee camp, wounded a child, Hani Mahna Jum’a Hamidat (13).
Raid – property stolen – agricultural sabotage: Nablus – Israeli forces raided Khirbeit Tana village, seizing a tractor being used for ploughing, and taking prisoner the driver, Bassam Mohammad Ayish Malitat.
Home invasion and abduction: Jerusalem – dawn, Israeli forces abducted a 13-year-old boy, Qusay Husam Zaytoun, in the Silwan neighbourhood.
Home invasions – robbery: Ramallah – dawn, Israeli forces raided Deir Abu Masha’al, searched several homes, took prisoner one person and robbed him of 5000 NIS (US$1287), which had been collected for the rebuilding of a home destroyed by the Israeli Army.
Israeli Army abductions: Jerusalem – dawn, Israeli troops in the al-Tur neighbourhood abducted seven children: Uday Fadi Abu Jumaa (14), Sufian Firas Abu al-Hawa (14), Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Sbitan (14), Khaled Raja’i Abu Sbitan (14), Mahdi Nabil Abu al-Hawa (16), Danail Zuheir Abu Sarat (16) and Adnan Yousef al-Hadra (17).
Home invasion and destruction: Jerusalem – the Israeli Army destroyed a home in al-Eisawiya village.
Israeli Army destruction – agricultural sabotage: Tubas – 09:00, Israeli forces destroyed a 700-metre-long pipeline that supplies water to 62 acres (25 hectares) of Palestinian farmland.
Occupation settler violence – children pepper-sprayed – stoning: Hebron – a mob from the Kiryat Arba Israeli Occupation settlement stoned Palestinian homes and pepper-sprayed the faces of two children.
Raid – land seizure: Tulkarem – Israeli forces raided Shufa village and issued an order for Israeli Army seizure of approximately 60 acres (24.5 hectares) of residential land in Shufa. The land theft is for the benefit of the Avni Havits Israeli Occupation settlement to provide a football field and public park for illegal settlers.
Israeli Army – child beaten and hospitalised: Ramallah – 17:50, Israeli soldiers beat up, and hospitalised with head injuries, a 14-year-old boy, Abdallah Nasser Abu Aliya, outside al-Mugheir village.
Home invasions – jewellery shop plundered – rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters: Ramallah – 02:40-06:10, Israeli forces, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas, raided Ramallah, searched an apartment building and a jewellery shop and plundered all the jewellery from the main safe: approximately 4kg gold, plus cash.
Home invasion and abduction: Hebron – 01:05, Israeli forces raided Hebron and abducted a nine-year-old child: Mohammad Ammar Da’na.
Israeli Army child abduction: Jerusalem – dawn, Israeli soldiers in the Silwan neighbourhood abducted a 13-year-old child: Husam Zaytoun.
Israeli police extortion and oppression of Palestinian youngsters: Jerusalem – 16:00, the Israeli Occupation in Jerusalem City placed two children and a 16-year-old youth – Mehdi Qarayeen (14), Uday Al-Rajabi (14) and Amran Al-Khadour (16) – under house arrest for three days and extorted 2000 NIS (US$500) from each of them to buy their release.
Occupation settler violence: Hebron – 19:00, Israeli settlers near the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque compound assaulted Palestinian youngsters, beating up and hospitalising two children, one of them, Wadi’ Karam Masaud, aged nine. The other child was identified as Islam Ibrahim Al-Fakhouri.
Home invasions with 4 children abducted (aged 13 to 15): Bethlehem – 12:05, and again at dawn, Israeli forces raided al-Khadr, searched several homes and abducted four children: Yazen Abdel Rahim Al-Masri (aged 13), Ahmed Mahmoud Saleh Mousa (aged 13), Mohammed Saoud Sbeih (aged 15) and Muhammad Mahmoud Saleh Mousa (aged 15).
Ceasefire violation – Israeli Army attack – agricultural sabotage: Rafah – 21:30, Israeli forces, positioned behind the Green Line, opened fire on agricultural land in east Rafah.
Home invasions and abduction in UN refugee camp: Hebron – 02:00, Israeli forces raided the al-Arub UN refugee camp and abducted a 13-year-old child: Ammar Mohammad Mahmoud Jibril.
Israeli chemical weapon strikes on Gaza farm workers: Israeli forces sprayed toxic chemicals from the air onto Gaza farmland, injuring three Palestinian agricultural workers. Medical sources in Gaza said the Palestinians suffered chemical burns and severe shortening of breath during the attack and now exhibit symptoms of allergy. Samples of the toxins are being prepared for analysis.
Israeli settler terrorism – agricultural sabotage: Nablus – 11:00, armed settler terrorists stormed Palestinian farmland in the Ras al-Nakhil area, opening fire and killing one person: Mahmoud Ahmad Za’al Odah.
That last day in November was, for the Palestinian people, the worst for that month. These were the day’s headlines:
Palestinian ceasefire violation:
12 missiles fired towards Israel border
11 Israeli ceasefire violations:
7 Israeli air strikes – dozens of missiles
hit Gaza communities
Israeli Navy twice opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats
Israeli tanks shell Beit Hanun – 8 strikes recorded
Israeli Army position opens fire on UN refugee camp farmland
Israeli Army position opens fire on Gaza farms
Armed settler terrorists attack Palestinian farmland –
1 person shot dead
Joint settler/Israeli Army assault on Palestinian farmers
Israeli Army invades and destroys Palestinian family home
Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in 2 refugee camps
and 6 towns and villages
1 Palestinian ceasefire violation
11 Israeli ceasefire violations
11 raids including home invasions
1 dead – 6 injured
6 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage
A 2013 report published by the US Department of State – Israel and the Occupied Territories found that Israeli security services abuse, to the extent of actually torturing, Palestinian minors in order to coerce confessions of stone-throwing. A Palestinian journalist and peace activist, Issa Amro, says he has himself heard children under interrogation being asked things like “Do you want to see your mother? Confess to throwing rocks and we will let you see your mother right away.” President Obama last year approved a budget of $3.8 billion a year in military aid to Israel over the next ten years. Israel considered it a right – as well as confirmation of US approval of its conduct. Because, in practice, the US is a huge, and largely uncritical contributor to the Israeli military’s coffers, civil society in America reacted in November by presenting a Bill in the US House of Representatives that would “require the Secretary of State to certify each year to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees that none of the funds the US provided during the previous fiscal year were used, in violation of international law, to subject Palestinian children to physical violence, such as restraint in stress positions, blindfolding and hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats, solitary confinement, detention without charge or trial, lack of access to parents or legal counsel and illegally coerced confessions.”
Solidarity and Resistance
With the majority of Israelis under the thrall of Zionist ideology, the introduction of this Bill in front of the House of Representatives sets an example for us all – to civil society, globally. When the outrage over President Trump’s behaviour regarding Jerusalem dies down – we must not cease to remind the world of Israel’s lawless inhumanities. At times when Zionism finds itself losing the argument, it looks for the resumption of the silence that so often reflects political and news media acquiescence in Israel’s daily war crimes. Our duty is to break that silence – every day. We owe that to the Palestinian people and all who oppose Zionism’s inhumanities, including those vilified Israelis who fight for justice and truth. It means calling on our lawmakers to demand justice for Palestine by building on the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2334. New Zealand’s achievement at the Security Council should herald a new era of solidarity and resistance that values justice and human rights over expediency.