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Palestinian/ Israeli update 1/2/2016..Israel hands over 23 Palestinian bodies for burial

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Israeli forces abduct 9 Palestinians in West Bank

Israel hands over 23 Palestinian bodies for burial

Palestinians Mourn 14 Killed in Recent Violence

Thousands of mourners flooded the streets of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron to attend the joint funeral of 14 Palestinians whose bodies were returned by Israel the night before.

The bodies were among 23 handed over by Israeli authorities on Friday night, in line with a decision made by Israeli officials to withhold the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out alleged attacks on Israelis.

The bodies were carried on the shoulders of their families to the al-Hussein Ibn Ali mosque in city center, where funeral prayers took place. Thousands collectively performed the prayer inside the adjacent al-Hussein football stadium and across city streets, locals told Ma’an.

The procession then marched through Ein Sarah street before reaching the al-Shuhahda (Martyrs) Cemetery, where the 14 were laid to rest.

Elderly participants present told Ma’an they had never before attended a funeral for such a large number of slain Palestinians.

The thousands of mourners attending the funeral shouted slogans as the bodies were carried through the streets, condemning Israel’s conditional releases of the bodies of Palestinians.

Israeli authorities began holding the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israeli military or civilians in October.

The practice has not been used with such frequency since the Second Intifada, according to rights group Hamoked, with the bodies of over 80 Palestinians held for various periods of time since the October decision.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Nov. 5 that bodies would be handed over conditionally, with Israeli authorities often demanding that the bodies be buried immediately following their handover and that funerals be limited in attendance.

While the decision to withhold bodies was initially made to prevent mass funerals that “incite” violence against Israel, Yaalon said on Nov. 5. that the policy was not effective in deterring future attacks.

The policy of withholding bodies has sparked outrage among Palestinian communities who view the measure as collective punishment and a violation of their ability to abide by religious tradition. Some families also fear the move could prevent autopsies from being carried out on their relative’s body.

Palestinian leadership has encouraged autopsies be carried out on all Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the event that the reports could be used to file cases against Israeli authorities at the International Criminal Court.

The bodies of the Hebron-area Palestinians returned Friday underwent autopsy following their handover, according to Hebron’s District Attorney.

They were among over 140 Palestinians to be killed since Oct. 1 by Israeli forces and settlers. The majority were killed while carrying out attacks, the circumstances of many of which are still disputed.

Twenty-one Israelis have been killed in individual Palestinian attacks during the same time period.

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Israeli forces kill Palestinian mother, disabled man | The Electronic Intifada

As its forces killed several more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank this week – including a child and a disabled man – Israel released the bodies of more than a dozen people slain weeks earlier in what it said were attacks on civilians and soldiers.

But investigations find that Israeli forces are using lethal force when alleged Palestinian attackers do not pose an immediate threat, as part of what human rights groups have previously called a “shoot to kill policy.”

In some cases, Palestinians were slain when there was no attack attempt, despite police and army claims.

Mahdia Hammad, a 40-year-old mother of four, appears to be one such victim.

Israeli Border Police riddled her body with more than a dozen bullets in the town of Silwad, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on the afternoon of 25 December.

The Border Police claimed that she had tried to run them over.

But Hammad’s husband said that his wife was rushing home from visiting her sister in order to feed their baby when she encountered the Israeli forces soon after the town’s regular Friday protests.

The Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz, along with fieldworkers with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the human rights group B’Tselem, collected testimonies from witnesses of the incident which cast doubt on Israel’s claims.

“Border Policemen signaled her to stop, but she continued to drive, slowly. Then they sprayed her car with bullets,” according to Haaretz.

“When the car came to a halt, another policeman emerged from the perpendicular street, thrust his rifle into the bullet-riddled car and fired another volley into [Hammad’s] head, even though she was certainly dead by then,” Haaretz adds.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ findings also indicate that Hammad was executed and that she had attempted no attack on the Israeli forces when they opened fire on her.

The group says that the Border Police prevented an ambulance from reaching Hammad and she was left to bleed without receiving first aid.

Her body was taken to an unknown destination before being transferred later that evening and her family was able to bury her.

Dozens of Palestinian families have not yet had that opportunity.

Bodies returned “in poor condition”

Israel has withheld the bodies of at least 80 Palestinians, including several children, slain since the beginning of October.

The policy to withhold bodies is part of a series of repressive measures approved by the Israeli government in mid-October after two weeks of increased violence and protest.

The head of a Palestinian forensic institute said on Thursday that Israel is preventing autopsies from being carried out on the bodies of Palestinians killed by its forces.

Israel has stipulated that returned bodies be buried at night immediately after the transfer of the remains.

Several families of slain Palestinians issued a joint letter on Wednesday rejecting the conditions, saying Israel is preventing them from burying their relatives according to tradition and is prohibiting them from requesting an official autopsy.

Israel’s treatment of the bodies effectively makes it impossible for Palestinians to properly examine them.

Sabir al-Aloul of the Al-Quds University Institute for Forensic Medicine told the Ma’an News Agency that “Israel freezes the bodies of the Palestinian martyrs in mortuaries held at -35 degrees which prevents autopsy for 24 to 48 hours.”

“The freezing prevents autopsy results that document the crime, which means a loss of important information for bringing Israel in front of the International Criminal Court,” al-Aloul said.

Israel is rumored to have removed organs from bodies of Palestinians withheld from their families, and al-Aloul said that the conditions in which Israel is transferring the remains prevents investigation of those accusations.

“The coroner also reported that a number of the bodies he has received from Israeli custody appeared to be returned in poor condition,” Ma’an stated.

Al-Aloul said that many of the bodies he had examined were “shot in the head and the chest many times from a very close distance.”

“Some bodies also showed the use of expanding bullets – also known as ‘dum dum’ bullets – the use of which is illegal under international law,” Ma’an added.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority’s prisoners affairs chief said that the body of Mamoun Khatib, a 16-year-old shot dead on 1 December, was returned bearing marks of torture.


At least 135 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli settlers and soldiers in the past three months. Around 20 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians or by unintentional police fire during attacks in that same period.

Genady Kofman, a 41-year-old Israeli settler, died on Wednesday from wounds he sustained during a stabbing in the West Bank city of Hebron on 7 December. The alleged Palestinian attacker, Ihab Miswadeh, was shot and left to bleed to death in the street.

A Palestinian who was shot by Israeli forces earlier in the month died of his wounds on Thursday.

Shadi al-Ghabeesh, 38, was hit in the pelvis by an expanding bullet during a protest in Jalazone refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah on 4 December.

After nearly two weeks in hospital, al-Ghabeesh was released. But his health took a turn for the worse on Thursday. The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah said that medical examinations showed that his death was caused by complications from his injuries.

The Palestinian online news publication Quds identified al-Ghabeesh as the same man who had been savagely beaten by Israeli soldiers in a separate incident last June, after he told them to stop firing tear gas that was causing suffering to his family, including his children, in Jalazone refugee camp.

A video of that incident shows half a dozen Israeli soldiers screaming obscenities at al-Ghabeesh, kicking and beating him, even as he lay on the ground with his head bleeding. One soldier can be seen smashing him on the head with a rifle.

Huwwara slayings

Three Palestinians were shot and killed in the area near Huwwara checkpoint outside the West Bank city of Nablus in the past week.

On Thursday, 22-year-old Hassan Bazur was shot dead by the Israeli army, which claimed that he had driven his car into a group of soldiers stationed on Highway 60 near the checkpoint.

An Israeli soldier was reported to have been moderately injured in the incident.

As noted by the Ma’an News Agency, “Highway 60 is a major thoroughfare for Palestinians as well as Israelis living in illegal settlements, and the Huwwara area that lies on the route has been site to frequent confrontation between local Palestinians and Israeli military and settlers in recent months.”…more here

Israeli Desecration of Al-Aqsa

by Stephen Lendman

Fascists running Israel want Islam’s third holiest site replaced by new Jewish temple – giving them control over sacred Al Aqsa ground.

Longstanding policy permits Jewish prayer only at the adjacent Western Wall. Israeli forces regularly storm Al-Aqsa, attacking Muslim worshipers, restricting or prohibiting entry for others, letting extremist Jews pray where they don’t belong – desecrating Islam’s third holiest site in the process.

A report prepared by the media center for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa indicated over 14,000 radicalized Israeli settlers, security forces and intelligence operatives conducted break-ins at the site during 2015 – perhaps prelude for greater extremism ahead.

Most trespassers were and continue to be supporters constructing a third Jewish temple on holy Islamic ground.

Data showed about 12,250 settlers stormed Al-Aqsa last year – along with 1,056 Israeli intelligence operatives, 445 soldiers under the pretext of providing “military guidance and exploration tours,” as well as 307 Israel Antiquity Authority officers and staff.

Incursions are most common during Jewish holidays – especially the Rosh Hashanah new year, Yom Kippur day of atonement and Passover periods.

Total trespassing violations roughly equalled 2014 intrusions. Surprisingly, what distinguished 2015 was the lower number of Israeli ministers involved – perhaps preoccupied with brutalizing Palestinians daily, notably since October 1, with likely far harsher measures to come, perhaps another Gaza war more ruthless than in summer 2014.

Intermittent Israeli bombings suggest something bigger perhaps planned. The new year showed no letup.

Overnight Friday, Israeli warplanes launched multiple strikes on the Strip, high crimes based on phony pretexts.

Hamas training grounds were targeted along with areas east of Rafah and central Gaza. No casualties were reported as this is written. Considerable damage was done.

Israel always blames Hamas unjustly for occasional lone wolf rocket firings, harming no one and doing no damage in Israel. Ordinary Gazans suffer most under suffocating siege and constant threat of aerial and ground attacks.

Hizb al-Tahrir is an international pan-Islamic political organization. Its senior Palestine branch official Musab Abu Arqub believes ongoing resistance alone “isn’t enough to achieve the needed liberation.”

Only the power of “Muslim armies” can end occupation along with establishing a unified Islamic caliphate, he believes. Liberating Palestine requires jihad.

The group urges Palestinian unity toward a common goal. Israel banned it from the Al Aqsa compound on grounds of creating tension and violence at the holy site.

Anyone involved in organizing, financing or participating in its activities risks criminal prosecution.

Its activities are largely political, notably criticizing the PA for serving Israel at the expense of its own people along with fostering rivalry with Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

It rejects meaningless negotiations with Israel, saying they “give occupation legitimacy,” wanting Palestine entirely liberated, not territory within pre-June 1967 borders alone.

Palestinian deaths, injuries and arrests keep mounting. On Saturday, thousands assembled in Hebron for funeral ceremonies for 17 Palestinians extrajudicially executed – their bodies returned the night before.

Forensic Palestinian examinations showed all 17 were executed, denied medical treatment after being shot. A general Hebron strike was called in solidarity with aggrieved families and to encourage turnout.

Israel reluctantly returns bodies of Palestinians it murdered, wanting its viciousness concealed, opposing large-scale funeral commemorations, against public displays of justifiable anger.

It wants war on Palestine continue unobstructed – with full US-led Western support and encouragement.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at


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