OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY: T√úRK CONDEMNS OVER 500 WEST BANK KILLINGS, CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY


UN Human Rights Chief Volker Trk today issued a renewed call for an end to the sharp rise in deadly violence in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, and urged accountability for the killing of over 500 Palestinians by Israeli Security Forces (ISF) and settlers.

On Saturday, 1 June, Israeli forces shot dead 16-year-old Ahmed Ashraf Hamidat and critically wounded 17-year-old Mohammed Musa Al Bitar near Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, Jericho. Al Bitar died the following day. Their deaths, along with the killings of four more Palestinians by the ISF on Monday, took the Palestinian toll since 7 October to 505 dead, according to information assessed by the UN Human Rights Office.

In the same period, 24 Israelis, of whom eight were ISF members, were killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes or alleged attacks by Palestinians from the West Bank.

‘As if the tragic events in Israel and then Gaza over the past eight months were not enough, the people of the occupied West Bank are also being subjected to day-after-
day of unprecedented bloodshed. It is unfathomable that so many lives have been taken in such a wanton fashion,’ the High Commissioner said.

‘The killing, destruction and widespread human rights violations are unacceptable, and must cease immediately. Israel must not only adopt but enforce rules of engagement that are fully in line with applicable human rights norms and standards. Any allegation of unlawful killings must be thoroughly and independently investigated and those responsible held to account.

‘Pervasive impunity for such crimes has been commonplace for far too long in the occupied West Bank. Such impunity has created an enabling environment for more and more unlawful killings by the ISF. International law must be respected and enforced, and accountability must be ensured.’

The two boys killed at the weekend were shot at a distance of about 70 metres while running away after throwing stones and/or Molotov cocktails towards a military post outside a settlement near Aqabat Jaber, CCTV footage shows
.

The ISF has often used lethal force as a first resort against Palestinian protesters throwing stones, incendiary bottles, and firecrackers at ISF armoured vehicles, in cases where those shot clearly did not represent an imminent threat to life. The prevalence of Palestinians who died after being shot in the upper part of the body, along with a pattern of the denial of medical assistance to those injured, suggests intent to kill in violation of the right to life, rather than a graduated application of force and an attempt to de-escalate tense situations.

‘Fatality verification and in-depth monitoring of over 80 cases by the UN Human Rights Office indicates consistent violations of international human rights law on the use of force by the ISF through unnecessary and disproportionate use of lethal force and an increase in apparently planned targeted killings,’ said Trk. ‘They also show the systematic denial or delaying of medical assistance to those critically injured.

‘The violence by the ISF and Israeli s
ettlers, against the backdrop of the scale of killing and destruction continuing in Gaza, have instilled fear and insecurity among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.’

The killing of Palestinians by the ISF, which had already reached a record high in the first nine months of 2023, rose sharply after the horrific attacks by Palestinian armed groups on Israel last October. Since the start of 2024, almost 200 Palestinians have been killed by the ISF, compared with 113 and 50 killed in the same periods in 2023 and 2022 respectively.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon

AUB’S GOOD GOVERNANCE AND CITIZENSHIP OBSERVATORY AND CIVIC INFLUENCE HUB FORGE PARTNERSHIP TO CHAMPION GOVERNANCE AND CITIZENSHIP IN LEBANON


The American University of Beirut (AUB)’s Good Governance and Citizenship Observatory (GGCO) at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Civic Influence Hub (CIH) on June 4, 2024. This significant event marks a collaborative effort aimed at providing comprehensive insight and actionable solutions to pressing governance and citizenship related issues facing Lebanon today.

The MoU signing ceremony was held at AUB and was attended by AUB President Fadlo Khuri, AUB Provost Zaher Dawy, Founding Director of the Good Governance and Citizenship Observatory at AUB Simon Kachar, and Director of the Asfari Institute at AUB Lina Abou Habib. Representing the Civic Influence Hub were CIH President Faysal El Khalil, Vice President Abdel Salam Hasbini, Executive Director Ziad El Sayegh, and board members. The ceremony was also attended by senior administrators and academics from the university, as well as CIH team members.

Valid for three years, the MoU esta
blishes a partnership that entails hosting four workshops, each accompanied by a policy paper. These workshops will address topics crucial to Lebanon’s development, including the transition towards a citizenship state, challenges and pathways to good governance, the role of civil society and academia in constitutional reform, and strategies for collaboration between residents and the diaspora.

Commenting on the event, Dr. Fadlo Khuri stated, “The American University of Beirut is Lebanon’s oldest, most prestigious, and most internationally respected institution. As we enter our 159th year in this country, it is critical that we assume more responsibility for its well-being, in collaboration with civil society and other academic institutions, as well as critical governmental institutions. We have seen the erosion of the sense of civic responsibility and citizenship over the last several decades and it is incumbent upon us to work with like-minded allies to ensure that this is not only reversed, but that major
steps forward are undertaken. It is in this spirit that we are pleased to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Civic Influence Hub.”

Khuri added, “Through our Good Governance and Citizenship Observatory, an initiative housed at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut, we are dedicated to exploring the notion of citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa region and its interrelation with the process of good governance. Working together as Lebanon enters its second century, we can ensure more engaged and committed citizens who will build a better nation for all.”

President of Civic Influence Hub Faysal El Khalil said, “In this historical moment, as Lebanon faces identity threats, constitutional paralysis, and control by a non-state actor, the Civic Influence Hub is committed to this strategic partnership with AUB. Together, we will strive to build a free, independent, sovereign, and just citizenship state. This strategic partnership will pave the
way for a dynamic new era of change. The Civic Influence Hub is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the American University of Beirut. This collaboration aims to jointly develop research materials that promote inclusive citizenship and good governance. By fostering greater collaboration between academia and civil society, CIH and the American University of Beirut aspire to make significant strides in these important areas.”

The partnership will focus on a range of topics that cover key areas such as Lebanon’s transition towards a citizenship state, addressing complications and developing roadmaps for good governance, exploring the role of civil society and academia in constitutional paralysis and reform, and strategizing for effective collaboration between Lebanon’s residents and its diaspora.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon

Israeli army bombs southern Lebanon

The Israeli army expanded its air strikes and artillery shelling on southern Lebanese areas on Tuesday evening.

A Lebanese security source told the Jordan News Agency’s (Petra) correspondent in Beirut that members of the Lebanese army center in the town of Bastra in Kafr Shuba survived direct artillery shelling, and the damage was limited to material damage.

“Members of the Civil Defense also survived direct Israeli shelling while trying to extinguish fires on the outskirts of Kafr Shuba.”

The source said Israeli artillery shelled facilities, tanks and offices of the Litani project implemented by the Council for Development and Reconstruction in the town of Markaba and caused a fire in the project.

Israeli warplanes also violated the sound barrier over the villages of Tyre and Bint Jbeil districts and dropped thermal balloons, the source concluded.

Source: Jordan News Agency

TEENAGER KILLED IN OVERNIGHT CLASHES AT BEDDAWI REFUGEE CAMP IN TRIPOLI


17-year-old Kassem Bilal Al-Hassan Shehade has been killed by stray gunfire during clashes between two families in Beddawi refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon. The violence erupted over the placement of a shipping container to be used as a cafe, with both sides using heavy weapons, grenades, and rockets, causing damage to vehicles, homes, and businesses in the camp.

The victim was rushed to Tripoli Governmental Hospital but succumbed to his injuries. Three others were wounded and transported to local hospitals for treatment.

The Joint Security Force intervened to calm the situation and halt the fighting after deploying personnel throughout the camp’s streets and alleys to restore order.

Schools and kindergartens in the camp announced their closure today in protest and due to the tense security situation in the region.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon

OVER 15,000 CHILDREN, INCLUDING SCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS, KILLED IN GAZA, SAYS MINISTRY OF EDUCATION


The Ministry of Education said that more than 15,000 Palestinian children have been killed since the start of the Israeli occupation’s aggression against the Gaza Strip, the majority of them school and kindergarten students, in addition to 64 students from schools in the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

The Ministry added in a statement, on the occasion of the International Day of Innocent Child Victims of Aggression, which falls June 4, that the most prominent title of this occasion is ‘The Children of Gaza,’ as they are the biggest victims of the ongoing occupation aggression since the October7.

It further indicated that the occupation destroyed schools and kindergartens and specifically targeted civilians with children, killing them, forcibly abandoning them, arresting them, depriving them of food and health services, and other serious violations, which represent crimes that exceeded norms, charters, and the human rights system.

The Ministry pointed out that since the start of the aggression on the Gaza
Strip, 620,000 students have been deprived of going to their schools, and 88,000 students have been deprived of going to their universities, while most of them suffer from psychological trauma and difficult health conditions.

The Ministry of Education called on international organizations and institutions defending children and the right to education to put an end to the escalating violations and stop the crimes committed by the occupation against children students.

It also called for the need to intervene urgently and immediately to stop this aggression against Gaza, and the attacks of the occupation army and colonists in the West Bank.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon