GENERAL STRIKE IN JERUSALEM! – in protest at security fences

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A GENERAL strike took place on Tuesday in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of al-Issawiya in protest at the latest Israeli ‘security fences’ dividing Palestinian neighbourhoods and communities and which have already been responsible for the death of a sick Palestinian woman.

Schools and businesses were closed and public transportation was brought to a halt in a public outcry over the recent severe movement restrictions that are creating significant problems for the Palestinian community. Israeli security forces began installing a security fence on Sunday night, that now divides the neighbourhood of Issawiya, just northeast of Jerusalem, from the rest of the city.

Israeli forces unloaded large concrete blocks and barbed wire to separate Issawiya from the adjacent Sur Bahir neighbourhood, as well as from the nearby settlement of Armon Hanatziv. As a result of these tightened restrictions, a Palestinian woman from al-Issawiya while being held at a checkpoint at the entrance on her way to hospital died after midnight on Monday.

Huda Darwish died after Israeli police delayed her by about 20 minutes at the checkpoint, which was recently set up at the entrance to the neighbourhood. Hud’s son, Yousef, said when he attempted to persuade the police of his mother’s serious health condition, she was suffering difficulty breathing, the police began firing in the air to express unwillingness to listen to him.

The police then asked Yousef and his mother to get out of the car to search it. Minutes later, Huda was pronounced dead. Palestinians are only allowed access into and out of al-Issawiya on foot. They are stopped and searched in an extremely provocative manner. Overnight on Monday, Israeli armed forces detained at least 35 Palestinians, including a lawmaker, during predawn raids into several West Bank districts, Palestinian local and security sources said.

The Israeli forces organised the house-to-house raids across the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians, including Ramez Ilewi, brother of Raghib Ilewi, whom Israel claim was involved in the shooting of an Israeli settler couple near the Nablus village of Beit Furik earlier this month.

Forces raided Asira Ash-Shamaliya town, north of the city, where they proceeded to detain three Palestinians after breaking into and ransacking their houses. The detainees were identified as Nidal Daghlas, ‘Ala’ Shouli and Ahmad Hamadnah. Forces also detained six other Palestinians during a predawn raid into Beit Furik village, southeast of the city.

The detainees were identified as Iyad Hanani, and Omar Orabi, in addition to four more from the Khatatba family identified as Hamdi, Ahmad Wrad, Ghanim and Ahmad Refa’t. Mohammed Ishtayeh and Montasir Raja were detained from the villages of Salem and Bourin, respectively.

Meanwhile in Hebron district, Israeli forces detained at least seven Palestinians, including a minor and ex-detainee, in multiple predawn raids across the district. Forces raided the Hebron city neighbourhoods of Hadur, al-Bassa and Az-Zeiutun, and Jabal al-Masharef, where they detained at least three Palestinians identified as Ahmad al-Karaki, 17, Mus’ab al-Bakri, 19, and Sadek Sayyaj, 23, who is a university student in Palestine Polytechnic University.

At least three other Palestinians were detained during a predawn raid into the Hebron city neighbourhood of Jabal al-Masharef. The detainees were identified as Mahmoud al-Sharabati, 36, who is an ex-detainee, as well as Muhammad An-Natsha and his brother, Mahmoud. Another Palestinian was detained during a predawn raid into Idhna town, west of the city. The detainee was identified as Ali Tmeizi, 27.

Meanwhile in Bethlehem district, forces detained four young Palestinian men, including three brothers, during a raid into the village of Tuqou, east of the city. The detainees were identified as Lu’ay al-Omour, 16, and his two brothers, Muhammad, 19, and Bilal, 24, as well as Muhammad Ibrahim al-Omour, 21.

Furthermore, Israeli undercover forces, dressed up as Palestinians, nabbed four Palestinian schoolchildren while they were exiting their school in order to take part in a rally organised in Dar Salah village, east of the city, to protest at Israel’s recent escalations against the Palestinian people and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Israeli undercover forces, according to Head of Dar Salah Local Council ‘Issam Mubarak, raided the kindergarten section of a school, occupying its rooftop, before deploying inside it and nabbing five students identified as Ez Eddin Radaydeh, 17, Mustafa Radaydeh, 17, Murad Amyeh, 19, Wa’el Shnayteh, 16, and Majdi Salah, 14.

Meanwhile in Ramallah district, forces detained Hasan Yousef, a Palestinian lawmaker, after breaking into and ransacking his house in Beituniya. In Jenin district, forces detained local Khalil Freihat during a predawn raid into al-Yamoun town, west of the city. Furthermore in Jerusalem district, police re-detained a Palestinian young man after storming his house in the Silwan neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The detainee was identified as Muhammad Rukn.

• Clashes renewed on Tuesday between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, according to security sources. The Israeli army cracked down on a peaceful protest which was organised in support of Al-Aqsa Mosque against the backdrop of Israel’s repeated storming of the historic mosque, provoking clashes with protesters.

Army forces used tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and waste water against protesters. Earlier on Tuesday, a number of Palestinians, including students, were shot and injured, while dozens of others were suffocated by tear gas during clashes that erupted with the Israeli army across the Hebron area.

• The Israeli army at predawn Tuesday destroyed the family apartment of Maher Hashlamoun, a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a stabbing attack that killed an Israeli last year. In Hebron, the Israeli army stormed an apartment building in al-Zaytoun district in the city and raided the family apartment of Hashlamoun, who is currently incarcerated in Israeli jails.

The forces locked the family in one of the apartments and threatened to shoot them if they attempted to leave or open the windows, before they proceeded to destroy Hashlamoun’s apartment, using light equipment, rather than demolishing it entirely since it is part of a building.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, says: ‘The people who bear the brunt of the punitive demolitions are relatives, including women, the elderly, and children – whom Israel does not suspect of involvement in any offence.’

It said that: ‘Since this constitutes deliberate harm to innocents, it is clear that even if house demolition had the desired deterrent effect, it would, nevertheless, remain unlawful.’ Amnesty International, argued that, the Israeli authorities’ claim that such demolitions are effective in dissuading potential attackers ‘is entirely irrelevant in the eyes of International humanitarian law, which places clear limits on the actions which an occupying power may take in the name of security, and the absolute prohibition on collective punishment is one of the most important of these rules.

‘Collective punishment is never permissible under any circumstances.’