Racist Israeli graffiti ‘death to Arab’

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EXTREMIST Israeli settlers on Sunday spray-painted racist anti-Arab graffiti on the walls of a Jewish synagogue in Safed, in northern Israel, according to local witnesses.

Israeli police said in a statement that racist graffiti, including ‘death to Arab’, were found on the walls of the synagogue. According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, ‘Israeli civilians have perpetrated various forms of violence against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, damaging their lands, their persons and their property.’

It explained, ‘In recent years, settlers have carried out violent acts under the slogan “price tag.” These are acts of violence aimed at the Palestinian population and Israeli security forces.’ B’Tselem has documented many such acts including the blocking of roads, throwing stones at cars and houses, making incursions into Palestinian villages and land, torching fields, uprooting trees, and other damage to property.

Six Israeli bulldozers escorted by Israeli military vehicles made an incursion on Sunday into the Shujaiya suburb in eastern Gaza City to level lands, locals said. The bulldozers entered the border area, crossing several metres into Palestinian lands in the northern Gaza Strip after setting out from the Nahal Oz Israeli military station. The bulldozers razed a large tract of land, eyewitnesses said.

No exchange of gunfire was reported during the incursion, local officials added. Local officials said that Israeli forces have made daily incursions into the al-Nahda area of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip over the last five days, levelling lands. Israel maintains a ‘security buffer zone’ along Gaza’s land and sea border and frequently levels land inside and close to this zone.

Israeli forces made at least 56 military incursions into the Gaza Strip last year, according to documentation by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Overnight on Sunday, Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including a journalist, during raids across the West Bank districts and in Jerusalem city, according to local and security sources.

In Jerusalem, Israeli police detained 25-year-old Samah Dweikat, a journalist, after raiding her house in Ras al-Amoud neighbourhood district in the city. In the meantime, Israeli troops stormed the town of Dora and al-Arroub refugee camp, in Hebron district, where they detained Muneer Shadid, 20, Tamer Abu Ghazi, 17, and Husam Mesk.

The army also handed summon notices to three other Palestinians in Dora town and in Hebron city to appear for interrogation. Meanwhile, Israeli army stormed the village of Silwad, to the east of Ramallah, and detained Saif Hammad, 19, Belal Hamed, 17, and Subhi Hamed, 17.

The army also stormed the house of Taleb Hamed, a Palestinian from Silwad, in search of his son, Tareq, who was not present at his family house at the time of the raid. Forces also broke into Deir Jarir village, nearby, and detained 19-year-old Bahaa Shujaeya, after raiding his house. Army further broke into the village of az-Zawiya, in central West Bank, and detained Muataz Shaqoura, 23.

The family of a 17-year-old Palestinian shot dead by an Israeli border police officer outside of Ofer prison in 2014 has been attempting to garner support in preparation for the first court hearing on their son’s death. The family of Nadim Nuwara on Saturday called for lawyers, journalists, and supporters to appear at the court session in an effort to pressure the Israeli authorities to hold accountable the officer believed to be responsible for Nuwara’s death.

‘We want to give the Israeli occupation a message that the case is still alive and that our people do not forget the blood of their martyrs,’ the family said on Saturday, requesting the attendance of those concerned about the case to stage a sit-in in front of the court house. The hearing was expected to take place on Monday at the Israeli Central Court on occupied East Jerusalem’s Salah al-Din street.

Nadim Nuwara was shot and killed along with Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, 15, in 2014 during a rally marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba outside of Ofer detention centre near Ramallah. Video footage of the incident sparked international criticism as no clashes appeared to be taking place at the moment the teenagers were gunned down.

Israeli security sources initially denied responsibility for the teens’ deaths on the grounds that live fire wasn’t used during the demonstration, despite eyewitnesses and video evidence of the incident. An autopsy of Nuwara’s body later showed the youth had been hit by Israeli forces, and a border police officer was charged in connection to the fatal shootings months after they took place.

The indictment against the officer said he had switched rubber-coated bullets with regular bullets on an M-16 while he was present at the protest, and shot Nuwara in the chest after he allegedly threw a stone. The first hearing into Nuwara’s death comes amid a high profile investigation into an Israeli soldier who was captured on camera shooting a Palestinian who already lay wounded on the ground in Hebron late last month.

A military tribunal ruled that the soldier would be tried on charges of manslaughter, and not, as had been widely expected, those of murder. Palestinians and human rights workers charge Israeli forces with excessive and often fatal use of force on a regular basis, and incidents documented on video have in the past been disregarded by Israeli investigations as lone-wolf incidents.

The Israeli court system has gained international criticism for a longstanding policy of immunity for Israeli forces, while Palestinians hold widespread distrust for the system.

A joint investigation by B’Tselem and Hamoked earlier this year reported that Israel’s court system routinely postpones or slows down investigations regarding violations against Palestinians with the intention of pushing families or individuals to eventually drop their case.

• Israeli forces on Friday evening released three fishermen who had been detained earlier on Friday, before naval forces opened fire on Gaza fishermen on Saturday morning off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. Three of the four fisherman Israeli forces detained off the coast of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip Friday were released.

A spokesman for the Gaza fishermen’s union, Nizar Ayyash, said that the fourth fisherman was expected to be released later on Friday night. Ayyash highlighted that the fourth fisherman was injured after Israeli naval boats opened fire at two fishing boats, which were also seized by Israeli forces. Witnesses said the incident took place within the designated nine nautical mile fishing zone.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) released a statement on Sunday claiming the three fishermen sailed as far as 13.5 nautical miles off the coast. News of their release comes as Israeli naval forces opened fire on Gaza fishermen on Saturday off the coast in the northern Gaza Strip, locals said.

Gaza fishermen are detained and fired on by Israeli naval forces almost on a daily basis under the pretext that they sail beyond the designated fishing zone. The fishing zone was extended last week to nine nautical miles from six nautical miles off some parts of the Gaza Strip coast, in spite of the fact that the fishing zone was technically set to 20 nautical miles according to the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the early 1990s.

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