- Israeli military forces demolished most of Humsa Al Bqai’a, a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank.
- As international attention focused on the U.S. presidential election, the Israeli operation rendered more than 70 (including 41 children) homeless.
- Despite being in violation of international law, nearly 700 Palestinian structures have been destroyed to date in 2020, resulting in homelessness for 869 Palestinians.
West Bank witnesses largest demolition in years (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs | November 2020)
“Israel razes most of Palestinian Bedouin village in West Bank on U.S. election day” (Reuters | November 2020)
“Israel Demolishes Tents, Shacks Housing 74 Palestinians, Drawing International Rebuke” (Haaretz | November 2020)
“Israel makes 41 Palestinian children homeless as world watches US election” (Middle East Eye | November 2020)
Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World
Source: Al Jazeera YouTube
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas
U.N. Security Council passes resolution condemning Israeli settlements in West Bank following U.S. abstention
- The 15-member council passed the resolution 14-0-1 after it was taken up by members from four countries following its withdrawal by Egypt under pressure from U.S. President-elect Trump and Israel.
- Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, on the increase in recent years under the conservative government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, have involved the expropriation of land from Palestinians and the demolition of Palestinian villages.
- Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., defied pressure from Trump, U.S. legislators, and conservative Israeli lobbyists in abstaining, paving the way for a united international declaration of the settlements as in violation of international law.
“U.N. Security Council demands end to Israeli settlements, U.S. abstains” (Reuters)
“Israeli settlements: UN Security Council calls for an end” (BBC)
“U.S. Abstains as U.N. Security Council Votes to Condemn Israeli Settlements” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
Israel revokes travel permits for tens of thousands of Palestinians following Tel Aviv killings
- Four Israelis were killed and six wounded after two Palestinian gunmen opened fire in a Tel Aviv market.
- In response, the government cancelled entry permits for some 83,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza for three days, revoked work permits for more than 200 of the attackers’ relatives, and increased its security presence in the occupied West Bank.
- Following a condemnation of the homicides, the U.N. warned Israel that their response could be classified as collective punishment, illegal under the Geneva Conventions.
“Tel Aviv Terror: What We Know So Far About the Sarona Shooting” (Haaretz)
“Palestinian Gunmen Open Fire in Tel Aviv, Leaving Four Dead” (The New York Times)
“Palestinians barred from entering Israel after Tel Aviv killings” (The Guardian)
“U.N. says Israeli move on Palestinian permits may be collective punishment” (Reuters)
(Image Credit: Tomer Appelbaum/Haaretz)
Israel triples rate of demolition of Palestinian and Bedouin structures in the West Bank
- Since the beginning of 2016, the average monthly demolition rate has increased to 165 a month, a dramatic increase from the 50-per-month of 2012-2015.
- The coordinator of Israel’s activities in the West Bank indicated the increased rate is an attempt to get through the 11,000 outstanding demolition orders.
- Palestinian and Bedouin structures are deemed illegal in the West Bank if built without difficult-to-get permits, in a designated (but often seldom-used) firing range, or in violation of colonial-era planning and zoning restrictions.
“With demolitions, Israel tightens squeeze on West Bank Palestinians” (Reuters)
“UNRWA Condemns Ongoing Israeli Demolitions of Palestinian Homes” (teleSUR English)
“35 Palestinians left homeless due to massive demolitions by the IOF, Wednesday” (Palestine News Network)
(Image Credit: Abed Omar Qusini/Reuters)
Palestinian teen dead, Israeli teen wounded as violence grows in Jerusalem and the West Bank
- A Palestinian teenager was killed as Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces during a police operation in the West Bank town of Tulkarm.
- Following the murder of two Israeli men in Jerusalem, a follow-up stabbing by another Palestinian wounded an Israeli teenager.
- As Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the knife attack, PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced the homes of attackers would be destroyed and access to the Old City in Jerusalem limited.
“Violence intensifies in Jerusalem, West Bank, raising security concerns” (Reuters)
“Jewish Teen Moderately Wounded in Latest Jerusalem Stabbing Attack” (Haaretz)
“Israel bans Palestinians from Jerusalem’s Old City after knife attacks” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Atef Safadi/EPA, via The Guardian)
Four Israelis dead following dual attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem
- An Israeli couple was killed in the West Bank near the Israeli settlement of Itamar while their three children remained unharmed in the backseat.
- The murder was followed by another attack on an Israeli family in East Jerusalem, leaving two men dead and a woman and child injured in violence claimed by the Islamic Jihad organization.
- Riots by Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank followed, with outraged Israeli officials condemning Palestinian authorities for lack of response.
“2 Israeli men killed in Jerusalem attack were Nehemia Lavi, Aharon Benet” (The Times of Israel)
“Palestinian Gunmen Kill Israeli Parents of 4 in West Bank” (The New York Times)
“Thousands attend funeral of murdered Israelis as tensions flare in W. Bank” (i24 News)
“Israéliens tués: des colons réclament vengeance” (Radio France Internationale, in French)
(Image Credit: via The Times of Israel)
Israeli army arrests five Palestinian children in latest controversial detention of minors
- The children were detained for allegedly throwing stones at soldiers, punishable by up to 20 years, before being released.
- Rights groups estimate around 700 Palestinian minors are prosecuted each year in military courts.
- Video of a small Palestinian boy with a broken arm being violently handled by Israeli officers went viral last month as the army’s aggressive police tactics drew international condemnation.
View the Al Jazeera America video on YouTube.
West Bank arson attack suspected to be work of Jewish extremists leaves Palestinian infant dead and family critically injured
- Witnesses reported Israeli settlers firebombed two homes in the town of Duma around 2 a.m., leading to the infant’s death and the serious injury of his parents and 4-year-old brother.
- The government was swift to condemn the violence as “an act of terrorism in every respect,” but Palestinian leaders called for the Israeli government to be held responsible as it continues to green-light Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.
- The act was the latest in a string of violent acts traded between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, where mosques have been burned and an Israeli man murdered in the last month.
“Your soul cries out and cannot find solace — the murder of a child by Jews and the burning of a house is the murder of Abu Khdeir all over again.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.
(Image Credit: Alaa Badarneh/European Pressphoto Agency, via The New York Times)
Gender equality advocates campaign to remove marital status from Palestinian ID cards in the West Bank
- Women testify to facing harassment and discrimination when presenting their cards, including intrusive questioning from landlords while searching for housing rentals.
- Members of women’s rights groups launched a campaign in April petitioning for the removal of the status, with Sharia judges and other officials indicating openness to the change.
- The Ministry of the Interior has expressed support for the idea, but deflected responsibility for change to the Palestinian Legislative Council, which would have to create legislation for the removal to take effect.
“I experienced difficulty in finding a home to rent as a divorced woman. Landlords kept telling me, ‘You’re a woman, where are we supposed to find you to collect the rent?’”
(Image Credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters, via Al-Monitor)
Palestinian man kills one Israeli man and wounds another in attack near Jewish settlement in the West Bank
- Waving the Israelis down, the gunman asked for directions to the nearby spring before pulling out a pistol and shooting them.
- The deceased was 25-year-old Danny Gonen, a student from Lod.
- Hamas praised the act, but authorities have yet to determine whether the gunman acted as a part of a larger organization.
“We will not accept a situation in which a young hiker has his life taken from him in the land of Israel because he is Jewish. … The murderous attack that occurred today is another step in the quiet and serious escalation in acts of terrorism we have witnessed in recent months.”
Read the full story at the New York Times.