Israeli forces have levelled large areas of farmland in the Gaza Strip after infiltrating the border fence between the besieged enclave and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported on Monday that ten Israeli bulldozers and military vehicles advanced towards the Shaj’iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City, and razed a large tract of farmland along the border.
Israeli forces routinely level Palestinian-owned lands in the occupied territories to build settlements.
The Gaza Strip, home to some two million people, has been under a blockade imposed by Israel since June 2007.
In recent years, the enclave has been receiving its bare essentials through the Kerem Shalom crossing as well as two others, including one with Egypt, which is being strictly controlled by the government in Cairo.
The latest development comes as farmers, traders and exporters of agricultural crops have faced new restrictions imposed by Israel on the export of Palestinian agricultural products.
Israeli border closures have caused huge damage to the Gaza Strip’s agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, farmers, traders and exporters of agricultural crops held a demonstration in front of the United Nations headquarter in Gaza on Monday.
Palestinian farmers are facing serious financial losses due to the Israeli border closures. This is viewed in Gaza as part of a larger plan by Israel to completely destroy the Palestinian economy.
Israel has also launched three major wars on Gaza since 2008.
In the latest Israeli bombardment campaign, more than 250 Palestinians, including over 60 children, were killed in a time span of 11 days that began on May 10.
The Gaza-based resistance movements retaliated. Well over 4,000 rockets were fired into the occupied territories, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and even Haifa and Nazareth to the north.
The regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.
Meanwhile on Sunday, an Israeli District Court sentenced Yasmine Jaber, a resident of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, to 30 months in prison (starting August 4th), 12 months of probation and a 5,000-shekel ($1,500) fine after accusing her of being in communication with Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah.
According to the charge sheet, Jaber was in contact with Hezbollah members during her visits to Lebanon and Turkey between 2015 and 2018 and continued to communicate with them on social media platforms.
She was allegedly instructed to ‘recruit additional activists inside Israel with a focus on Arab Israelis and in particular women’.
Jaber’s family deny the allegations.
She was arrested last August and interrogated 20 hours a day for weeks at a time.
Her sentence follows weeks of Israeli harassment of Palestinians in Jerusalem in attempts to seize the land in Sheikh Jarrah and evict the Palestinian families there to make way for a Zionist settlement.
More than 7,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, hundreds under the practice of administrative detention, which allows Palestinians to be held in Israeli prisons without trial or charge.
The length of their incarceration can be extended indefinitely and some Palestinian prisoners have even been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces have summoned a nine-year-old Palestinian child from the occupied Old City of Jerusalem for interrogation, as the Tel Aviv regime launches more crackdowns on Palestinians protesting against the forced expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in favour of hardline Israeli settler groups.
Amjad Abu Asab, head of the Jerusalemite Detainees and Prisoners’ Families Committee, said several Israeli intelligence forces broke into Uday al-Haddad’s home on Sunday afternoon, and handed him a summons to attend the al-Qashla police station, Palestinian Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.
Palestinian activists and social media users soon took to the internet, and published a picture of the smiling nine-years-old Uday holding up his official summons.
They slammed the Israeli move as typical of the regime’s repressive acts and said the Israeli authorities are deliberately taking such steps in order to tighten the noose around Palestinians living in Jerusalem.
‘A child scares them, an incendiary balloon scares them,’ a user named Hamza Abu Omar tweeted.
Another user, Rezvan al-Akhras, posted a photo of the nine-year-old, writing, ‘The child’s name is Uday al-Haddad. Occupation forces went to his house in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds today to give him a summons.’
Another user called the Palestinian child a hero, and prayed that the smile stays stuck to his face.
Back on July 31, 2019, Israeli forces summoned an eight-year-old girl from the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil for interrogation.
Palestinian security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Palestine’s official WAFA news agency that Israeli soldiers raided the home of Shadi Sadr at the time, and handed him a summons for his daughter, Malak, eight, to appear at an interrogation centre for allegedly harassing the heavily-guarded Israeli settlers in the occupied part of the city.
Israeli forces had earlier summoned two other Palestinian children from the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds neighbourhood of al-Issawiya after charging them with throwing stones at Israeli military vehicles.
On July 29 the same year, a large number of police forces stormed the neighbourhood in order to capture Mohammad Rabiaa Elayyan.
They chased the child and when members from his family showed up, they were handed a warrant ordering them to bring him to the Israeli police station on Salaheddine Street for interrogation.
Mohammad and his father Rabiaa went to the police station the following day, accompanied by fellow residents of Issawiya, who came to protest against the interrogation warrant.
WAFA news agency reported back then that Rabiaa was briefly interrogated by Israeli police, and released shortly after.
Additionally, Israeli police summoned Palestinian child Qais Firas Obaid and his father – also residents of Issawiya – for interrogation, claiming that the young boy had thrown stones at Israeli soldiers. They both appeared in an Israeli police station for interrogation.
- The Arab league has warned the Tel Aviv regime against ‘dangerous repercussions’ of violating the very basic rights of hunger-striking prisoners and other Palestinian inmates languishing behind Israeli bars.
In a statement released on Sunday, Saeed Abu Ali, the bloc’s assistant secretary-general for Palestine and the occupied Arab territories, denounced the Israeli regime for constantly disregarding ‘the right to life and humanitarian legal standards’ for Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails.
Israel must end unlawful and cruel policies such as ‘slow-death policy’ towards Palestinian prisoners, the statement read.
Abu Ali called on international rights organisations ‘to exert more pressure on the Israeli authorities to comply with the provisions of international law.’
He also said that human rights groups are closely monitoring the health condition of two hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, Ghadanfar Abu Atwan and Iyad Harbiyat.
The duo stopped eating meals weeks ago and the organisations are seriously concerned about their deteriorating health.
The Arab League statement also holds the Israeli authorities fully responsible for their lives.
Abu Atwan’s health condition has seriously deteriorated and he is at risk of dying from malnutrition after 61 days on hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention without charge or trial.
Harbiyat, who was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to life imprisonment, has suffered a major deterioration in his health.
The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) keeps Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions without proper hygienic standards.
Israel prevents Palestinian inmates from making phone calls but allows Israeli criminals to have regular access to the telephone.
Prisoners’ rights groups assert that the Israeli IPS maintains a systematic policy of medical negligence toward Palestinian detainees, who regularly stage hunger strikes in protest against both the administrative detention policy and harsh prison conditions.
Administrative inmates in Israeli jails say going on hunger strike is one of their few options to make their voice heard and force Tel Aviv to end this illegal policy.
The Israeli parliament, Knesset, has already approved a law allowing Israel’s prison officials to force-feed hunger strikers if their condition becomes life-threatening.