Eye on Palestine:
It has been an eventful few weeks in the Palestinian Territories, last week seeing the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem for the first time in 14 years. The site was closed after a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli police. He was suspected of trying to kill a Jewish activist the previous night. After the shooting, Israeli security forces were called into the Old City and the mosque complex was closed in a move called by President Mahmoud Abbas ‘tantamount to a declaration of war’. The area was re-opened last week before the Friday call of prayer but entry for Muslim men was restricted to those over 50 years old.
In Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) news, SodaStream has decided to close its factory located in a West Bank settlement. Although the company denies the decision is a response to the BDS campaign, it has been seen a victory for Palestinian activists who have campaigned against the company and the factory’s location. Read more here.
The recent Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai has announced that she will donate her World’s Children Prize money of $50,000 to the rebuilding of Gaza schools destroyed in Israel’s 50 war against Gaza this summer. She said ‘This funding will help rebuild the 65 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long.’ Read more of her statement here.
Last month the UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon visited Gaza and called the destruction caused by Israel’s Operation Protective edge ‘beyond description’. He also said of the children who died in the war ‘What did they do wrong? Being born in Gaza is not a crime.’
In the West Bank last month, a 5 year old Palestinian girl was killed after being run over by an Israeli settler, and a 13 year old boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers. Following these deaths during a time of so-called ceasefire, Palestine Solidarity Campaign asks ‘When did Israel Cease Fire?’ – you can read it here.
The Israeli government has revealed plans for 1000 settler housing units to be built in Jerusalem. The units will take up an area that should be included in any future Palestinian state. American officials had previously warned that further construction would ‘poison the atmosphere’ and the move is likely to damage US-Israeli relations further. More on this story here.