RAMALLAH: Israeli armed forces’ assaults against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have continued with increasing frequency during Ramadan, Palestinian sources confirmed to Arab News.
On Tuesday, the Israeli army arrested 13 citizens from different parts of the West Bank. At the same time, and for the fourth consecutive day, it continued to tighten its grip on the town of Huwara, south of Nablus.
Kamal Odeh, Fatah secretary in Huwara, said that the Israeli army has deployed intensively on the main street, setting up several barriers and trying to divert citizens’ routes through secondary streets inside the town.
According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli army turned several houses along the main street in the center of Huwara into military barracks.
Amer Hamdan, a human rights activist from Nablus, told Arab News that it usually takes him one hour to drive from Nablus to Ramallah. Today, however, the trip took him two and a half hours due to Israeli military checkpoints in Huwara.
“The security situation around Nablus is ad frightening,” Hamdan told Arab News.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Israeli bulldozers demolished three agricultural facilities in the Al-Sawahra wilderness, east of Jerusalem, and a commercial facility in Deir Ballut, west of Salfit.
Maj. Gen. Abdullah Kamil, the governor of Salfit, said that the policy of demolishing homes and facilities by the Israeli authorities in Salfit is one of the most egregious and inhumane practices and that it serves the occupation’s plans to uproot Palestinian citizens from their lands in order to build more Israeli settlements.
During the past hours, settler militias have launched a large-scale attack on Huwara, south of Nablus.
Sources said that the settlers attacked houses and burned vehicles under the protection of Israeli army forces, who assaulted citizens.
On Tuesday, settlers cut down 14 olive trees in the lands of Husan village, west of Bethlehem, after they had also cut down 50 olive trees in that area about 10 days ago.
Separately, Secretary-General of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions Shaher Saad handed over to the Fact-Finding Committee of the International Labor Organization an annual report on violations against Palestinian workers inside Israel.
The paper included the number of Palestinian workers killed by the Israeli army — 93 in the year 2022, and 31 in the first two and a half months of 2023 — and the risks that workers are exposed to while passing through barriers and openings, in addition to violations related to brokers who deduct approximately $34 million from workers’ salaries per month.
Saad explained to the committee that the Israeli government’s procedures for handing over workers’ money to the Israeli Otaim company threaten their rights and prevent the implementation of social security in Palestine.
The report also included the daily violations that workers face, especially in the absence of occupational health and safety standards, including working hours that extend beyond those legally established.
Some 140,000 Palestinians from the West Bank are working in Israel, 30,000 in Israeli settlements, and 17,000 from the Gaza Strip.
Qadura Faris, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Arab News that since 2021, cases of cancer among Palestinian security prisoners have been increasing, with 24 prisoners currently suffering from the disease.
He confirmed that the prison administration has deliberately pursued a policy of medical negligence toward prisoners, which has led to the death of 75 prisoners out of the 236 who have died in prisons since 1967.
“The policy of medical negligence is the most dangerous policy pursued by the Israeli prison administration,” Faris told Arab News, adding that about 700 sick prisoners diagnosed in Israeli prisons have faced difficult health conditions over the past years, including about 200 who suffer from chronic diseases.
Israel has 4,780 Palestinian security prisoners in its jails.