SELECTED NEWS OF THE DAY
| ISRAEL DEMOLISHES HOME IN JERUSALEM – 143 DEMOLISHED IN 2018
Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned house in Qalandiya north of occupied East Jerusalem in the central West Bank, on Wednesday morning. ___Owner Hamzeh al-Mughrabi told Ma’an that Israeli police forces escorted municipality staff into Qalandiya, where they surrounded the house, emptied and evacuated residents before starting the demolition. ___Al-Mughrabi added that the Shweiki family of 6 members, including a man with disability, live in the 100-square meter house. More . . .
~~ Jerusalem mayor plans to reduce the sound of mosque loudspeakers More . . .
| WEEKLY REPORT ON ISRAELI HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY (20–26 DECEMBER 2018)
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip. ___4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and a person with mobility impairment were killed. 142 civilians, including 30 children, 2 women, 2 journalists, and a paramedic, were wounded; the injury of 2 of them was reported serious. ___A child was killed and 5 civilians were wounded, including a Journalist, in the West Bank. ___Israeli forces conducted 66 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited incursions into the northern Gaza Strip. More . . .
~~ Scores of Palestinians injured by Israeli bullet fire More . . .
~~ Civilians kidnapped, homes ransacked by Israeli army More . . .
| ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES FORMALLY QUIT UNESCO
More than a year after announcing their withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Israel and the United States’ decision officially went into effect at the last second of December 31, 2018. ___UNESCO was the first UN body to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011, which led the Obama administration to stop paying its annual contributions. In 2017, the UN heritage agency passed a resolution designating the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site. The decision was opposed by the Jewish community because of the holy cave’s significance in Judaism. More . . .
COMMENTARY AND OPINION
| NOT WELCOME IN HEBRON: ITS ORIGINAL RESIDENTS AND BREAKING THE SILENCE
Ido Even-Paz switched on his body camera as his tour group decamped from the bus in Hebron. The former Israeli soldier wanted to document any trouble we might encounter in this, the largest Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank. ___It was not Hebron’s Palestinian residents who concerned him, however. He was worried about fellow Israelis—Jewish religious extremists and the soldiers there to guard them—who have seized control of much of the city center [. . . .] ___For more than 15 years, Israel has forbidden entry for Palestinians to what was once Hebron’s main throroughfare and central shopping area along Shuhada Street. Now it has been rebranded in Hebrew as King David Street, and declared what the army terms a “sterilized area.” The closure severs the main transport routes for Palestinians between north and south Hebron. ___Most of the Palestinian inhabitants have been driven from the city center by endless harassment and attacks by settlers, bolstered by arrests and night raids conducted by the army, says Even-Paz. More . . .
~~ Gaza march leader to conscientious objectors: ‘Turn your words into weapons’ More . . .
POEM FOR THE DAY
“STORY OF A CITY,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM
There was a blue city
that dreamt of foreigners wandering
Around and spending their money
day after day.
But it became a black city
with their rifles’ muzzles
making the rounds of its cafés.