Palestinian Food Aid cut while Israeli onslaught continues!

Children at the front of a protest in Ramallah against the cut in aid to UNRWA
Children at the front of a protest in Ramallah against the cut in aid to UNRWA

AT LEAST 27 Palestinians were injured, including 14 with Israeli forces’ live fire, while others sustained rubber-coated steel bullets and suffered tear-gas suffocation as Israeli forces suppressed the 21st weekly shoreline march in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday afternoon.

Palestinian protesters gathered at the northern borders of the Gaza Strip to take part in protests in an attempt to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. Israeli war boats directly opened live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs at Palestinian boats taking part in the protest.

Many attempts have been made throughout the years to draw the public’s attention to and break the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip whether via ships attempting to sail into Gaza or ships attempting to sail from Gaza. Several Palestinians were shot and injured with live ammunition as Israeli navy attacked demonstrators offshore of the northwestern Strip.

They were transferred to the Indonesian and Dar al-Shifa Hospitals, in the northern Gaza Strip and to the west of Gaza city, respectively. Several others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.

Three Palestinians were also shot and injured with live ammunition; one to the east of Gaza city and two to the east of Khan Younis city, in the southern Strip, as Israeli forces attacked the demonstration that took place along the eastern borders between Israel and Gaza.

They were taken to Dar al-Shifa and Nasser hospitals for medical treatment.

Israeli forces detained two Palestinian students from Beituniya village, in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, during a raid to the city on Monday morning.

Beituniya’s mayor, Ribhi Dawla, said that Israel is deliberately raiding the village, chasing students and detaining them.

Israeli forces had briefly detained four other students, on Sunday morning, and released them later. A number of Palestinians were shot and injured and others suffocated as Israeli forces attacked hundreds of Palestinians who joined peaceful demonstrations as part of the ‘Great March of Return’ protests in the Gaza Strip.

Several Palestinians were suffocated by tear gas as Israeli forces suppressed Palestinians who gathered in front of the Israeli Ofer prison in solidarity with prominent Palestinian human rights activist Abdullah Abu Rahmeh.

Abu Rahmeh was sentenced to four months in prison, a suspended sentence for three years and a $545 fine based on charges from 2016. The Israeli court sentence was based on his detention on May 13, 2016 during his participation in a cycling marathon that started from Ramallah and ended at the apartheid wall at his Bil’in village, west of Ramallah. Abu Rahmeh was arrested several times in the past for his activism.

Israeli forces briefly detained and assaulted Palestinian minister of agricultural, Sufian Sultan, as he was heading to Hebron from Ramallah. The ministry of agriculture said in a statement that Israeli forces stopped the minister’s car and forced him out of it at gunpoint while deliberately assaulting him, before proceeding to thoroughly search his vehicle. Forces also seized the car’s alarm system.

The ministry condemned this Israeli act against the minister, noting that such a measure violates international humanitarian law and comes in the context of Israel’s escalated attacks against the Palestinian people.

Israeli forces on Monday detained 16 Palestinians from several districts of the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces detained three Palestinians after storming their families’ houses in al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem. They also detained two others during a raid into the southern West Bank town of Tuqu, east of Bethlehem.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron city, detaining two Palestinians and ransacking several houses. The raid came as soldiers sealed the entrances of Palestine Technical College, preventing students and educational staff’s entry to the college at the time of final exams.

In Jerusalem, two Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces from Hizma and al-Ram towns, northeast and north of Jerusalem respectively. In Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli military police physically assaulted and detained one of the Waqf-appointed guards of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

In Ramallah district, Israeli military vehicles raided al-Jalazon refugee camp, north of Ramallah, where soldiers detained three Palestinians. Soldiers also detained two Palestinian students from the vicinity of a school in Beituniya town, west of Ramallah.

In the meantime, an Israeli military raid was conducted in the northern West Bank city of Qalqiliya, resulting in the detention of a former prisoner. Israeli forces frequently conduct large-scale overnight detention raids almost on a daily basis across the West Bank on the pretext of searching for ‘wanted’ Palestinians, triggering clashes with residents.

Clashes often erupt between Palestinian youth who attempt to block soldiers’ passage, throwing stones and empty bottles and are met with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal, injuries. According to Palestinian figures, some 6,500 Palestinians continue to languish in Israeli detention facilities, including scores of women and hundreds of minors.

• International farmers’ and peasants’ organisations have condemned the decision of the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut aid to Palestine. The WFP estimates that food insecurity affects one third of the Palestinian population, and 70 per cent of citizens in the Gaza Strip.

The farmers’ peasants’ and landless movement La Via Campesina Palestine and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) urged the Palestinian government, the Palestinian civil society and the private sector to draw lessons from the World Food Programme’s (WFP) decision to cut aid for the Palestinian Territories starting next year, due to lack of funding.

Approximately 193,000 citizens from the most disadvantaged groups in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be adversely affected from this decision. In a joint statement, UAWC and La Via Campesina Palestine stressed the detrimental consequences of this decision, as cuts in aid will result in further deterioration of food security in the Palestinian territories.

Moreover, La Via Campesina Palestine and UAWC called on the Palestinian government to draw lessons from the decision through the adoption and implementation of development policies that seek to promote a productive economy and foster resilience.

Such policies should deviate from the Paris Economic Protocol, which fortified the Palestinian economy’s dependence on Israel’s economy, placed the Palestinian Territories as a market for Israel similar to Pre-Oslo times, and provided the Israeli economy with favourable market security.

In their statement, La Via Campesina Palestine and UAWC underlined that the approach to enhancing food security based on international aid will not result in tangible political and economic outcomes that strengthen the resilience of Palestinian people in the face of the occupation.

On the other hand, sovereignty of the Palestinian people over their natural and food resources constitutes a crucial pathway towards liberation and freedom from occupation. A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released earlier this year on the Palestinians’ material loss since 1967, outlines that if growth trends in the Palestinian territories were to proceed as prior to the signing of the Oslo agreement, the real GDP would have been twice that of today. In addition, the report highlights that Israeli control over area ‘C’ costs the Palestinian economy 35% of its total size (about $4,700 billion).

The statement also includes a response to the announcement by the Israeli Minister of Agriculture to stop the import of fruits and vegetables from Palestinian producers. As such, the reasoning behind this decision lies in protecting local agricultural products by blocking Palestinian fruits and vegetables from entering the Israeli market, thereby supporting the input of agricultural production as well as agriculture that promotes food security and food sovereignty in Israel, and represents a suitable alternative to agricultural exports.