With the World’s Eyes on Gaza, Attacks Are on the Rise in the West Bank, Which Faces its Own War 

Bashar al-Qaryoute, a Palestinian Red Crescent medic, displays bullet casings that he says he has collected from attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers on his ambulance in the village of Qaryout in the northern West Bank, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP)
Bashar al-Qaryoute, a Palestinian Red Crescent medic, displays bullet casings that he says he has collected from attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers on his ambulance in the village of Qaryout in the northern West Bank, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP)
TT

With the World’s Eyes on Gaza, Attacks Are on the Rise in the West Bank, Which Faces its Own War 

Bashar al-Qaryoute, a Palestinian Red Crescent medic, displays bullet casings that he says he has collected from attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers on his ambulance in the village of Qaryout in the northern West Bank, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP)
Bashar al-Qaryoute, a Palestinian Red Crescent medic, displays bullet casings that he says he has collected from attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers on his ambulance in the village of Qaryout in the northern West Bank, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP)

When Israeli warplanes swooped over the Gaza Strip following Hamas militants’ deadly attack on southern Israel, Palestinians say a different kind of war took hold in the occupied West Bank.

Overnight, the territory was closed off. Towns were raided, curfews imposed, teenagers arrested, detainees beaten, and villages stormed by Jewish vigilantes.

With the world’s attention on Gaza and the humanitarian crisis there, the violence of war has also erupted in the West Bank. Israeli settler attacks have surged at an unprecedented rate, according to the United Nations. The escalation has spread fear, deepened despair, and robbed Palestinians of their livelihoods, their homes and, in some cases, their lives.

“Our lives are hell,” said Sabri Boum, a 52-year-old farmer who fortified his windows with metal grills last week to protect his children from settlers he said threw stun grenades in Qaryout, a northern village. “It's like I'm in a prison.”

In six weeks, settlers have killed nine Palestinians, said Palestinian health authorities. They've destroyed 3,000-plus olive trees during the crucial harvest season, said Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Daghlas, wiping out what for some were inheritances passed through generations. And they've harassed herding communities, forcing over 900 people to abandon 15 hamlets they long called home, the UN said.

When asked about settler attacks, the Israeli army said only that it aims to defuse conflict and troops “are required to act” if Israel citizens violate the law. The army didn't respond to requests for comment on specific incidents.

US President Biden and other administration officials have repeatedly condemned settler violence, even as they defended the Israeli campaign in Gaza.

“It has to stop,” Biden said last month. “They have to be held accountable.”

That hasn't happened, according to Israeli rights group Yesh Din. Since Oct. 7, one settler has been arrested — over an olive farmer's death — and was released five days later, the group said. Two other settlers were placed in preventive detention without charge, it said.

Naomi Kahn, of advocacy group Regavim, which lobbies for settler interests, argued that settler attacks weren't nearly as widespread as rights groups report because it's a broad category including self-defense, anti-Palestinian graffiti and other nonviolent provocations.

“The entire Israeli system works not only to stamp out this violence but to prevent it,” she said.

Before the Hamas assault, 2023 already was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in over two decades, with 250 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire, most during military operations.

Over these six weeks of war, Israeli security forces have killed another 206 Palestinians, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the result of a rise in army raids backed by airstrikes and Palestinian militant attacks. In the deadliest West Bank raid since the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, of the 2000s, Israeli forces killed 14 Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp Nov. 9, most of them militants.

While for years settlers enjoyed the support of the Israeli government, they now have vocal proponents at the highest levels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition. This month, Netanyahu appointed Zvi Sukkot, a settler temporarily banned from the West Bank in 2012 over alleged assaults targeting Palestinians and Israeli forces, to lead the subcommittee on West Bank issues in parliament.

Palestinians who've endured hardships of Israeli military rule, in its 57th year, say this war has left them more vulnerable than ever.

“We’ve become scared of tomorrow,” said Abdelazim Wadi, 50, whose brother and nephew were fatally shot by settlers, according to health authorities.

Conflict has long been part of daily life here, but Palestinians say the war has unleashed a new wave of provocations, disrupting even their grim routine.

THE SETTLERS IN FATIGUES Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Mideast war. Settlers claim the West Bank as their biblical birthright. Most of the international community considers the settlements, home to 700,000 Israelis, illegal. Israel considers the West Bank disputed land, and says the settlements' fate should be decided in negotiations. International law says the military, as the occupying power, must protect Palestinian civilians.

Palestinians say that in nearly six decades of occupation, Israeli soldiers often failed to protect them from settler attacks or even joined in.

Since the war's start, the line between settlers and soldiers has blurred further.

Israel’s wartime mobilization of 300,000-plus reservists included the call-up of settlers for duty and put many in charge of policing their own communities. The military said in some cases, reservists who live in settlements replaced regular West Bank battalions deployed in the war.

Tom Kleiner, a reservist guarding Beit El, a religious settlement near the Palestinian city of Ramallah, said the Oct. 7 Hamas attack's brutality cemented his conviction that Palestinians are determined to “murder us.”

“We don’t kill Arabs without any reason,” he said. “We kill them because they’re trying to kill us.”

Rights groups say uniforms and assault rifles have inflated settlers' sense of impunity.

“Imagine that the military supposed to protect you is now made of settlers committing violence against you,” said Ori Givati, of Breaking the Silence, a whistleblower group of former Israeli soldiers.

Bashar al-Qaryoute, a medic from the Palestinian village of Qaryout, said residents from the nearby settlement Shilo, now wearing fatigues, have blocked all but one road out. He said they smashed Qaryout’s water pipeline, forcing residents to truck in water at triple the price.

“They were the ones always burning olive trees and creating problems,” al-Qaryoute said. “Now they're in charge.”

THE CURFEW “Close it!” a soldier barked at Imad Abu Shamsiyya when he met the young man's eyes through his open window. Then, he pointed his rifle.

Over 52 years, Abu Shamsiyya has witnessed crises strike the heart of Hebron, the only place in which Jewish settlers live amid local residents, not in separate communities.

He thought life in the maze of barbed wire and security cameras couldn't get worse. Then came the war.

“This terror, these pressures,” he said, “are unlike before.”

The Israeli military has barred 750 families in Hebron's Old City — where some 700 radical Jewish settlers live among 34,000 Palestinians under heavy military protection — from stepping outside except for one hour in the morning and one in the evening on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursday, said residents and Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

Schools have closed. Work has stopped. Sick people have moved in with relatives in the Palestinian-controlled part of town. Israeli settlers often roam at night, taunting Palestinians trapped indoors, according to footage published by B'Tselem.

Checkpoints instill dread. Soldiers who in the past just glanced at Abu Shamsiyya’s ID now search his phone and social media. They pat him down, he said, gawking and cursing.

“Hebron is a blatant microcosm of how Israel is exerting control over the Palestinians population,” said Dror Sadot, of B'Tselem.

The Israeli military didn't respond to a request for comment on the curfew.

THE SETTLER RAID The grinding of a bulldozer's gears. The crack of a gun. With a glance, parents let each other know the drill: Grab the children, lock the doors, keep away from windows.

Palestinians say settlers storm the northern village of Qusra almost daily, covering olive orchards in cement and dousing cars and homes in gasoline.

On Oct. 11, settlers tore through dusty streets, shooting at families in their homes. Within minutes, three Palestinian men were dead.

Israeli forces sent to disperse armed settlers and Palestinian stone-throwers fired into the crowd, killing a fourth villager, Palestinian officials said.

The next day, settlers heeded social-media calls to ambush a funeral procession the village coordinated with the army. They cut off roads and sprayed bullets at mourners who sprang from cars and sprinted through fields, attendees said.

Ibrahim Wadi, a 62-year-old chemist, and his 26-year-old son Ahmed, a lawyer, were killed. The funeral for four became one for six.

Settlers’ online posts rejoicing at the deaths, shared with The Associated Press, stung Ibrahim's brother, Abdelazim, almost as much as the loss.

“The mind breaks down, it stops comprehending,” he said.

THE GHOST TOWN Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said Israel should “wipe out” Palestinian town Hawara after a gunman killed two Israeli brothers in February, sending hundreds of settlers on a deadly rampage.

Another far-right religious lawmaker, Zvika Fogel, said he wanted to see the commercial hub “closed, incinerated."

Today, Hawara resembles a ghost town.

The army shuttered shops “to maintain public order” after Palestinian militant attacks, it said. Abandoned dogs roam among vandalized storefronts. Posters with a Talmudic justification for killing Palestinians adorn road blocks: “Rise and kill first.”

From the war's start, much of the West Bank's main north-south highway has been closed to Palestinians, said anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now. Commutes that took 10 to 20 minutes now take hourslong detours on dangerous dirt roads.

The restrictions, said Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti, “have divided the West Bank into 224 ghettos separated by closed checkpoints.”

The 160,000 Palestinian laborers who passed those checkpoints to work in Israel and Israeli settlements before Oct. 7 lost their coveted permits overnight, said Israel's defense agency overseeing Palestinian civil matters. The agency allowed 8,000 essential workers to return to factories and hospitals earlier this month. There's no word on when the rest can.

“My grandfather relies on me, and now I have nothing,” said Ahmed, a 27-year-old from Hebron who lost his barista job in Haifa, Israel. He declined to give his last name for fear of reprisals.

“The pressure is building. We expect the West Bank to explode if nothing changes.”

THE OLIVE HARVEST Palestinians wait all year for the autumn moment that olives turn from green to black. The two-month harvest is a beloved ritual and income boost.

Violence has marred the season. Soldiers and settlers blocked villagers from reaching orchards and used bulldozers to remove gnarled roots of centuries-old trees, they say.

Hafeeda al-Khatib, an 80-year-old farmer in Qaryout, said soldiers shot in the air and dragged her from her land when they caught her picking olives last week. It's the first year she can remember not having enough to make oil.

In a letter to Netanyahu this month, Smotrich called for a ban on Palestinians harvesting olives near Israeli settlements to reduce friction.

Palestinians say settlers' efforts have done the opposite.

“They've declared war on me,” said Mahmoud Hassan, a 63-year-old farmer in Khirbet Sara, a northern community. He said reservist settlers have surrounded it. If he ventures 100 meters (yards) to his grove, he said, soldiers standing sentry scream or fire into the air. He needs permission to leave home and return.

“There is no room anymore for talking to them or negotiating,” he said.

The military said it “thoroughly reviewed” reports of violence against Palestinians and their property. “Disciplinary actions are implemented accordingly,” it said, without elaborating.

THE EVACUATION Rights groups say the goal of settler violence is to clear Palestinians from land they claim for a future state, making room for Jewish settlements to expand.

The Bedouin hamlet of Wadi al-Seeq was pushed to its breaking point by three detained Palestinians' ordeal over nine hours Oct. 12. The harrowing accounts were first reported by Israel’s Haaretz daily.

Weeks of vigilante violence had already forced 10 families to flee when masked settlers in army uniforms barreled through that day, slamming a Bedouin resident and two Palestinian activists onto the ground and shoving them into pickups, villagers said.

One of the activists, 46-year-old Mohammed Matar, told AP they were bound, beaten, blindfolded, stripped to their underwear and burned by cigarettes.

Matar said reservist settlers urinated on him, penetrated him anally with a stick, and screamed at him to leave and go to Jordan.

When released, Matar left. So did Wadi al-Seeq’s 30 remaining families. They took their sheep to the creases of the hills east of Ramallah and abandoned everything else.

The Israeli military said it fired the commander in charge and was investigating.

Matar said that to move on, he needs Israel to hold someone accountable.

“I'd be satisfied with the bare minimum,” he said, “the tiniest shred of justice.”



Yemeni Antiquities: Ongoing Hemorrhage through Global Auctions

Yemeni Antiquities: Ongoing Hemorrhage through Global Auctions
Yemeni Antiquities: Ongoing Hemorrhage through Global Auctions
TT

Yemeni Antiquities: Ongoing Hemorrhage through Global Auctions

Yemeni Antiquities: Ongoing Hemorrhage through Global Auctions
Yemeni Antiquities: Ongoing Hemorrhage through Global Auctions

A Yemeni archaeology expert has revealed that several Yemeni artifacts have been put up for public auctions in Western countries over the past two weeks.

Abdullah Mohsen, a Yemeni specialist in tracking and monitoring smuggled antiquities, has confirmed that a range of artifacts was put up for sale in international auctions on Nov. 15-27.

Among the showcased items were a bronze high-relief dating back to the 5th century BCE, a rare female figurine with inscriptions in cursive script, and a rare 1st-century BCE artifact.

Additionally, a collection of artifacts, sculptures, and antiquities estimated to be around 5,000 years old was featured.

According to Mohsen, an “archaeological tomb” was also relocated from Al-Jawf governorate to Shabwa governorate, and subsequently, it was flown to France.

Mohsen emphasized that this incident serves as a genuine illustration of the ease with which antiquities can be smuggled out of Yemen.

This reinforces speculations around the sale of these artifacts occuring wholesale from their discovery sites rather than through retail transactions.

Mohsen, through a series of Facebook posts, sheds light on the sale of a rare headstone in Toronto, Canada, on Nov. 17.

In the posts, Mohsen explains that the artifact dates back to the prehistoric period and is part of Yemen’s antiquities from Saba or Qataban.

The headstone was presented for sale in an auction after being acquired from an exhibition in New York on May 15, 2008, for approximately $40,000.

This revelation comes at a time when multiple sources confirm the ongoing looting and random excavation in several archaeological sites scattered across Houthi-run areas in Yemen.

These activities are driven by gangs and antiquities mafias supported by key Houthi leaders.

Nearly 12 out of 20 museums, as reported by a former official from the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums in Sanaa, have fallen victim to systematic looting, destruction, and devastation orchestrated by Houthis.


Makeshift Bakery Turns Out Scarce Bread in Gaza City

Makeshift bread ovens like this one in the central Gaza Strip have proliferated across the territory as Israel's punishing air and ground offensive has forced bakeries to close - AFP
Makeshift bread ovens like this one in the central Gaza Strip have proliferated across the territory as Israel's punishing air and ground offensive has forced bakeries to close - AFP
TT

Makeshift Bakery Turns Out Scarce Bread in Gaza City

Makeshift bread ovens like this one in the central Gaza Strip have proliferated across the territory as Israel's punishing air and ground offensive has forced bakeries to close - AFP
Makeshift bread ovens like this one in the central Gaza Strip have proliferated across the territory as Israel's punishing air and ground offensive has forced bakeries to close - AFP

With a metal box for an oven, planks of wood for fuel and a folded strip of cardboard for a makeshift potholder, a baker on a Gaza City street turned out tray after steaming tray of flat bread on Saturday.

A staple food before the war, bread has become rarer and rarer in the Gaza Strip, with bakeries shut across the heavily bombed north and flour in short supply after mills and storage warehouses were damaged in fighting between Israel and Hamas.

To Abu Abdullah Muhaysa, the volunteer who came up with the idea to bake bread for remaining residents of the devastated city, the improvised kitchen is a "response to the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip".

"We crafted this by hand with iron sheets to provide bread for people and their children, to help them survive and fulfil their needs after all basic necessities were cut off," he told AFP.

Patrons are asked to pay just a token amount to cover the cost of gathering firewood.

"Our efforts and manpower are solely dedicated to the sake of God and our community," Muhaysa said.

Since Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel sparked an Israeli pledge to crush the Palestinian militant group, a humanitarian disaster has been unfolding in Gaza.

The World Food Program has warned that the population faces a "high risk of famine", and only a trickle of aid has made it into the territory.

Earlier this month, one of Gaza's last grain warehouses was hit by Israeli strikes, and at least two of its five flour mills have been damaged.

Azmi Abu Assira was among those who turned out for bread in Gaza City on Saturday, the second day of renewed Israeli bombardment after a week-long truce fell apart.

"We were compelled to come here as there are no bakeries available," he said, adding that the price of a 20-kilogramme (44-pound) bag of flour had shot up to between 300 and 400 shekels (between $80 and $100).

"The people are suffering, as you can see," he added, calling for "a ceasefire to relieve us from the hardship".

Muhaysa, for his part, urged the international community "not to apply double standards, but to grant Palestinians their right to a normal life".

"We seek attention for our cause so that Palestinian children can smile like children everywhere else in the world," he said.


Nowhere to Go, Say Gazans in South under Israeli Bombardment

Palestinians inspect the damage in the rubble of a building destroyed during Israeli bombardment in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip, on December 2, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)
Palestinians inspect the damage in the rubble of a building destroyed during Israeli bombardment in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip, on December 2, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)
TT

Nowhere to Go, Say Gazans in South under Israeli Bombardment

Palestinians inspect the damage in the rubble of a building destroyed during Israeli bombardment in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip, on December 2, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)
Palestinians inspect the damage in the rubble of a building destroyed during Israeli bombardment in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip, on December 2, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)

Under aerial bombardment from Israel, people sheltering in the south of the Gaza Strip after fleeing their homes earlier in the war said on Saturday they had nowhere safe to go now.

The city of Khan Younis is the focus of Israeli air strikes and artillery fire after fighting resumed on Friday following the collapse of a week-long truce. Its population has swelled in recent weeks as several hundred thousand people from the northern Gaza Strip have fled south.

Some are camping in tents, others in schools. Some are sleeping in stairwells or outside the few hospitals operating in the city. A World Health Organization official said on Friday that one of the hospitals was "like a horror movie" as hundreds of wounded children and adults waited for treatment.

Abu Wael Nasrallah, 80, scoffed at the Israeli army's latest order to move further south to Rafah, bordering Egypt. Children were injured in Israeli strikes in the town on Friday.

The message was delivered via leaflets dropped from the sky over several districts in Khan Younis.

"This is nonsense," Nasrallah told Reuters. He had heeded Israeli evacuation orders and moved from the northern Gaza Strip earlier in the war that broke out on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants crossed into Israel and killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Some 193 Palestinians had been killed since the truce expired, the Gaza health ministry said on Saturday, adding to the death toll of more than 15,000 Gazans announced by Palestinian health authorities.

Israel says it is making efforts to prevent civilian casualties as the fighting moves south. Addressing reporters in Tel Aviv on Saturday, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said humanitarian groups were informed of what he described the "safer areas".

"We've not asked the whole population of the south to relocate, we've not even asked the whole population of Khan Younis to relocate. But those neighborhoods, those specific areas where we know there is going to be heavy combat, we've asked people there to relocate," Mark Regev said.

'Night of horror'

Nasrallah said he and his family would stay put because they had already lost everything.

"There is nothing left to fear. Our homes are gone, our property is gone, our money is gone, our sons have been killed, some are handicapped. What is left to cry for?"

A mother of four, who gave her name as Samira, said she had fled south from Gaza City with her children after Israel began bombing there last month. They now shelter with friends in a home west of Khan Younis.

She said Friday night had been one of the most terrifying since she arrived: "A night of horror."

She and other residents said they feared the intensity of the bombing in Khan Younis and the nearby city of Deir al-Balah meant Israel's ground invasion of the south was imminent.

Another man, who gave his name as Yamen, said he and his wife and six children had fled the north weeks ago and were sleeping in a school.

"Where to after Deir al Abalah, after Khan Younis?" he said. "I don't know where to take my family."

The UN estimates that up to 1.8 million people in the Gaza Strip - or nearly 80% of the population - have been forced to flee during Israel's devastating bombing campaign.

Israel has sworn to annihilate Gaza-based Hamas in response to the Oct. 7 attack.


A World Away from the West Bank, Vermont Shooting Victims Face New Grief and Fear

In this Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023, photo provided by family attorney Abed Ayoub, three college students, from the left, Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Hisham Awartani, stand together for a photograph. (Rich Price via AP, File)
In this Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023, photo provided by family attorney Abed Ayoub, three college students, from the left, Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Hisham Awartani, stand together for a photograph. (Rich Price via AP, File)
TT

A World Away from the West Bank, Vermont Shooting Victims Face New Grief and Fear

In this Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023, photo provided by family attorney Abed Ayoub, three college students, from the left, Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Hisham Awartani, stand together for a photograph. (Rich Price via AP, File)
In this Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023, photo provided by family attorney Abed Ayoub, three college students, from the left, Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Hisham Awartani, stand together for a photograph. (Rich Price via AP, File)

Nearly a week after three college students of Palestinian descent were shot and seriously wounded while taking an evening walk, relatives of two of the victims have arrived in Vermont from the war-torn West Bank, grappling with a new reality that has shattered their lives and a place they thought was a safe haven.

Elizabeth Price and her husband Ali Awartani flew in Wednesday just as their son, Hisham Awartani, underwent surgery. After the Israel-Hamas war erupted in early October, they decided it would be safer for Hisham to stay in the United States instead of coming home for the holidays.

Now they don't know if he will ever walk again.

"When my nephew came to this country to pursue his studies and when he came to stay with me for Thanksgiving in Burlington, Vermont, it never occurred to me that he may be victim to this type of violence," Awartani's uncle Rich Price said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday. "And so, I feel a sense of shame, I feel a sense of outrage, and it’s been a really difficult awakening to the fact that even here — even in this country, even in this town — that many of the risks that exist for my nephew and his friends in Palestine exist for them here."

Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ali Ahmad, all aged 20 and attending colleges in the eastern US, were visiting Price and his family for the holiday break. The three have been friends since first grade at Ramallah Friends School, a private school in the West Bank. While they were out for a walk Saturday evening after a family birthday party, a man approached them and shot them without saying a word, they told police.

The young men were speaking in a mix of English and Arabic and two of them were also wearing the black-and-white Palestinian keffiyeh scarves when they were shot, Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said.

Abdalhamid ran when the man started shooting and jumped over a fence. He hid in a backyard for a minute shaking, fearing the man was after him and that his friends were dead, before going to a house that had lights on and urging them to call 911, he told the AP on Friday. He learned at the University of Vermont Medical Center that his friends were alive but more seriously injured and asked to be placed in the intensive care room with them, he said.

"Palestinians in general and in the US are suffering from hate. I don't think any race or ethnicity should be targeted like that," Abdalhamid said in the hotel where he’s staying with his mother, Tamara Tamimi, after being released from the hospital earlier in the week.

Tamimi arrived in Vermont Wednesday from Jerusalem. After she and her husband got the 3 a.m. phone call that her son and his two friends were shot, she said she was relieved to talk to Kinnan from the emergency room — that he was alive. But she later fell apart, she said.

"I remember the overwhelming feeling was enough. It's just enough. It's enough pain for Palestinians. We're already grieving. We're already carrying so much grief," she said.

She said her son has been upset about what's happening in Gaza. "We've all been in so much pain and to have this happen, I really just fell apart and started throwing things around with so much anger saying, 'There's nowhere safe for us. There's nowhere safe for Palestinians. Where are we supposed to go?'"

Ahmad’s parents are expected to arrive in Vermont on Saturday.

Carmen Abdelhadi, the middle school librarian at the Ramallah Friends School, remembers meeting the three as fourth graders. When she heard about the shooting, she and others in their community were shocked and "outraged" because "we know them."

"Whenever I read something about them, I cry. It could have happened to any of our sons. My son is wearing the same scarf," she said. "It’s devastating. It’s devastating on top of everything that we are going through."

Awartani, she recalled, could always be found with a book while Abdalhamid "didn’t have a bad bone" in his body and was loved by everyone, she said. And Ahmad, she said, was the sensible one who found a love of poetry early on and went on to show an aptitude in science and tech.

"I see my son in every one of them," Abdelhadi said.

Awartani suffered a spinal injury in the shooting. A bullet that is still lodged in his spine is unlikely to be removed and he is currently paralyzed from the chest down, Rich Price said. "We don't know what the long-term prognosis is," he said.

Still, Awartani's uncle said he has the will and resilience for the recovery.

"He was concerned for his friends, who were with him, their well-being and recovery. And he was also deeply concerned that so much attention was being brought to him and he's thinking about the thousands of people that are dead, the now 80 percent of Gazans who have been displaced from their homes," Price said, wearing a keffiyeh in solidarity with the three young men. "There are dozens of Hishams that are in the list of the dead in Gaza, and he's saying, 'I'm the Hisham that you know. What about the Hishams you don't know?'"

The shooting last weekend came as threats against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities have increased across the US in the weeks since the war began.

The suspected gunman, Jason J. Eaton, 48, was arrested Sunday at his apartment, where he answered the door with his hands raised and told federal agents he had been waiting for them. Eaton has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder and is currently being held without bail.

Authorities are investigating the shooting as a possible a hate crime.


Gaza Truce Is Not Enough, Say Residents of Bombed-Out Neighborhood

Palestinian children walk among the houses destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid the temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, at Khan Younis refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, November 29, 2023. (Reuters)
Palestinian children walk among the houses destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid the temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, at Khan Younis refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, November 29, 2023. (Reuters)
TT

Gaza Truce Is Not Enough, Say Residents of Bombed-Out Neighborhood

Palestinian children walk among the houses destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid the temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, at Khan Younis refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, November 29, 2023. (Reuters)
Palestinian children walk among the houses destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid the temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, at Khan Younis refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, November 29, 2023. (Reuters)

Returning home to find their neighborhood wrecked by bombs, residents of Abu Ta'imah on the outskirts of Gaza's Khan Younis said the Palestinian territory needed a permanent ceasefire, not just an extension of the truce between Israel and Hamas.

Local people fled the area on the eastern edge of the city at the start of the war and did not return until the truce, which was in its sixth day on Wednesday.

"We were shocked to see this destruction. We were shocked to see our homes, our streets, our lands, our yards and everything demolished," said Gihad Nabil, who was recently married and had been living in Abu Ta'imah with his wife.

Standing on a roof with a view of ruined buildings and mounds of rubble as far as the eye could see, he said the area had been home to about 5,000 or 6,000 people before the war. He asked where they would go.

"My house is completely destroyed. My brother's home, my uncle's my neighbor's, all of them destroyed. We don't need this truce, we need a complete ceasefire," he said, likening what he was seeing to an earthquake zone.

As Nabil and another man sat on the roof, talking and smoking a shisha pipe, a group of children down below sat around a small fire built on a pile of rubble and warmed up bread, which they shared.

Three of the children climbed onto the carcass of a car whose pockmarked blue metalwork looked like crumpled paper and posed for a Reuters camera, framed by twisted cables and jagged chunks of concrete.

Militants from Hamas, the group that runs Gaza, triggered the war on Oct. 7 when they rampaged through southern Israel, killing 1,200 people including babies and children and taking 240 hostages of all ages, according to Israel's tally.

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas and launched an assault on Gaza that has killed more than 15,000 people, four in 10 of them children, according to health officials there.

Gone in a moment

The war has displaced 80% of Gazans from their homes, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who on Wednesday described the situation as an epic humanitarian catastrophe.

Abdelrahman Abu Ta'imah, a member of the clan that gave the area its name, searched through his bombed-out apartment, pulling clothes and a pink mattress from the debris.

"I have been struggling and working for 30 years in this country," he said, adding that even before the war life was hard because of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt since 2007, when Hamas took control of the enclave.

"Money doesn't come easy, then all of a sudden, all the work and effort of 30 years disappeared in a moment. One rocket makes all this go away. Why is that?" he asked.

From the start of its attack, Israel told Palestinians living in northern Gaza to move to the southern part of the strip, which includes Khan Younis and its environs.

However, Israeli forces have also pounded the south, though less intensively than the north. Israel says it targets Hamas infrastructure, and accuses Hamas of putting civilians in harm's way by using them as human shields.

Diplomatic efforts were underway on Wednesday to prolong the truce, which has allowed more aid trucks to enter Gaza and some Israeli and foreign hostages to be released, as well as some Palestinian detainees to be freed from Israeli prisons.

But Abu Ta'imah said a short truce was not enough and he longed for a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Ever since we were born, we've been enduring wars and destruction. Every time we rebuild, there comes a fiercer war than the one before," he said.


From the Israel-Gaza War to the Moon Race: Events that Defined 2023

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 25, 2023, shows smoke ascending over the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP
A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 25, 2023, shows smoke ascending over the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP
TT

From the Israel-Gaza War to the Moon Race: Events that Defined 2023

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 25, 2023, shows smoke ascending over the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP
A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 25, 2023, shows smoke ascending over the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP

From Hamas's brutal attacks in Israel, and the fierce retribution it provoked, to the kiss that caused a revolt in Spanish football, here are 10 events that marked a tumultuous 2023:
Israel-Gaza war
On October 7, hundreds of Hamas gunmen pour across the border from Gaza, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 240 people hostage in the worst attack in Israel's history, traumatizing the country and stunning the world.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows to "destroy" Hamas and Israel launches air bombardments followed by a ground offensive that reduces entire neighborhoods in the densely packed Palestinian territory to rubble.
As Gaza's destruction and death toll mount, international pressure grows on Israel to pause it's offensive.
Seven weeks into the war, the two sides agreed to a four-day truce. Gaza's Hamas-run government estimates around 13,000 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians and including thousands of children.
Hamas releases 50 women and child hostages in return for 150 Palestinian prisoners, all women and minors, leading to emotional reunions.
On November 27, the two sides agreed to extend the ceasefire by two days.
Ukraine's labored fightback
Sixteen months after Russia invaded its neighbor, Kyiv launches a highly anticipated counteroffensive after amassing billions in powerful Western-made weapons and training new recruits.
But the pushback fails to make much of a dent in Russia's deep defensive lines.
In late November, Ukraine announced it has made inroads along the Russian-held left bank of the Dnipro River, its first major success in months.
But as winter sets in, both sides still appear largely dug in.
Devastating quakes
In the early hours of February 6, one of the deadliest earthquakes in a century flattened entire cities in southeast Turkey, killing at least 56,000 people, with nearly 6,000 others killed across the border in Syria.
Two images come to define the devastating 7.8-magnitude tremor: that of a father holding the hand of his dead 15-year-old daughter, protruding from under a collapsed building in Kahramanmaras, the epicenter, and that of a newborn baby rescued from the rubble while still umbilically attached to her dead mother.
Seven months later, on September 8, Morocco suffered the deadliest quake in its history, centered on the Atlas mountains. Nearly 3,000 people are killed.
- More coups in Africa -
The spate of coups that have marked a brutal democratic backsliding in francophone Africa continues in 2023, with Niger and Gabon the latest countries to overthrow an elected president.
An unpopular France is forced to withdraw both its ambassador and counter-terrorism troops from Niger -- the third time its forces are sent packing by a former African colony in under two years.
In August, meanwhile, Gabon's president Ali Bongo Ondimba, heir to a dynasty that ruled for 55 years, is deposed after a presidential election which the army and opposition declared fraudulent.
- Hollywood on strike -
The existential dread caused by generative AI in the creative economy spreads to Hollywood in 2023, where writers go on strike in May to demand curbs on the use of the technology in films as well as a pay rise.
Hollywood actors join the biggest work stoppage in Tinseltown since the 1960s in July, saying that it has become almost impossible to earn a decent living for non A-listers and fear AI could be used to clone their voices and likenesses.
The strike cripples the entertainment industry and delays hundreds of popular shows and films before the studios and actors agree a deal in November, two months after the writers went back to work.
- Deadly fires -
The year goes out with a sizzle, with the European Union's climate monitor predicting 2023 will be the hottest on record.
Drought made worse by climate change was cited as one of several factors behind the deadliest wildfire in the US in a century that claimed at least 115 lives on the Hawaiian island of Maui in August.
Tourists and residents also fled huge fires on the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu but the worst-affected country, in terms of area consumed by fire, was Canada, with over 18 million hectares of forest going up in smoke.
- Moon, the new frontier -
The space race heats up in 2023, with rising star India becoming the first nation to successfully land an unmanned craft on the Moon's south pole in August, just days after a Russian lunar vehicle crashed into its surface.
Over half a century after US astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, several countries are jostling to return humans to the celestial body.
NASA is aiming for a crewed mission by 2025, China for 2030 and India for 2040.
Forced Spanish kiss
Spain's victory over England in the women's football World Cup final in Sydney on August 20 triggers scenes of wild rejoicing at home.
But the euphoria quickly gives way to outrage when Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales is caught planting a kiss on the lips of captain Jenni Hermoso minutes after the game -- a kiss she says later she saw as "an assault".
A defiant Rubiales insists the kiss was consensual but faced with a huge outcry, he eventually resigns.
Caucasus exodus
The breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh winds up its three-decade push for independence in September after being recaptured by Azerbaijan in a lightning offensive that empties the mountainous region of most of its ethnic Armenian population.
Karabakh residents flee to Armenia, fearing violence and not wanting to be ruled by Turkic-speaking Azerbaijanis with whom ethnic Armenian separatists fought two wars over the territory since the 1990s.
- Argentina lurches right -
In November, Argentina lurches to the right with the election of libertarian wild card candidate, Javier Milei, on a promise to "blow up" the central bank, dollarize the economy, privatize health and education and hold a vote on repealing abortion laws.
The economist and TV pundit known for his foul-mouthed rants against the political "caste" rides a wave of fury over decades of economic decline and double-digit inflation under the long-dominant Peronist (center-left) coalition.
His vow to return Argentina to its "golden age" at the dawn of the 20th century draws comparisons with former US president Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.


Sudanese Grave Digger: War Adds Strain

 Babakr Hamidah Al-Tayeb (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Babakr Hamidah Al-Tayeb (Asharq Al-Awsat)
TT

Sudanese Grave Digger: War Adds Strain

 Babakr Hamidah Al-Tayeb (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Babakr Hamidah Al-Tayeb (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Sudanese Babakr Hamidah Al-Tayeb, 73, dedicated his life thirty years ago to volunteering in washing and burying the dead.

He spent his days between hospitals in the city of Wad Madani, approximately 200 kilometers southeast of Khartoum, and its cemeteries.

However, the outbreak of war seven months ago has burdened and increased his responsibilities.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Tayeb says that burying decomposed bodies has intensified his suffering and exhaustion.

He adds that over three decades of burying the dead, he has become immune to the smell of corpses to the extent that he “never wears a mask.”

Since the outbreak of the war in Sudan between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, Al-Tayeb’s responsibilities have increased.

His city has become overcrowded with thousands of displaced people, including a significant percentage of elderly individuals or those suffering from chronic diseases.

In the absence of medication and medical care, the number of deaths among the displaced has risen.

The displaced in Wad Madani face harsh conditions.

According to Al-Tayeb, when someone dies in hospitals or shelters, their relatives struggle with how to bury them. Many cannot even afford the cost of a shroud.

Faced with this dilemma, they are advised to contact Al-Tayeb to take charge, especially since some of the displaced are unaware of burial arrangements due to their young age or the trauma of war.

Millions of Sudanese have fled Khartoum to escape death under the rain of bullets, but many have died either from chronic diseases and the lack of medication or as a result of epidemics stemming from deteriorating living and humanitarian conditions.

“I wash the dead in hospitals, in cemeteries, or even in my home at any time, and my children assist me with this task after obtaining permission from the deceased's relatives,” Al-Tayeb told Asharq Al-Awsat.

There are no companies or entities in Sudan that handle burial services. Typically, the burial task falls on the people of the village, neighborhood, or region, considering it a religious ritual.


Palestinian Family in Lebanon Grieves for Dead Gaza Relatives

Fatima al-Ashwah, 61, a Palestinian refugee living at the Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut’s southern suburbs, shows on November 24, 2023 a picture of six-year-old Nour al-Moqayyed, who was killed in Gaza together with her mother Sanaa Abu Zeid and sisters in Israeli bombing earlier this month. (AFP)
Fatima al-Ashwah, 61, a Palestinian refugee living at the Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut’s southern suburbs, shows on November 24, 2023 a picture of six-year-old Nour al-Moqayyed, who was killed in Gaza together with her mother Sanaa Abu Zeid and sisters in Israeli bombing earlier this month. (AFP)
TT

Palestinian Family in Lebanon Grieves for Dead Gaza Relatives

Fatima al-Ashwah, 61, a Palestinian refugee living at the Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut’s southern suburbs, shows on November 24, 2023 a picture of six-year-old Nour al-Moqayyed, who was killed in Gaza together with her mother Sanaa Abu Zeid and sisters in Israeli bombing earlier this month. (AFP)
Fatima al-Ashwah, 61, a Palestinian refugee living at the Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut’s southern suburbs, shows on November 24, 2023 a picture of six-year-old Nour al-Moqayyed, who was killed in Gaza together with her mother Sanaa Abu Zeid and sisters in Israeli bombing earlier this month. (AFP)

From Lebanon, Palestinian Fatima al-Ashwah has been praying for relatives in Gaza, but received grim news that Israeli bombing killed around 12 of them days before a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas.

"They bombed their house," leaving some of them "in pieces," said Ashwah, drained by weeks of anguish and days of grief.

She is among an estimated 250,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, most of them in poverty, according to the United Nations.

When AFP first spoke with Ashwah, 61, earlier this month from southern Beirut's Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp, she had expressed grave fear for the safety of about 70 extended family members in the Gaza Strip whom she had visited in July.

She was later told that Israeli bombardment had killed her cousin's daughter Sanaa Abu Zeid, 30, along with Abu Zeid's daughters aged 12, eight and six, and other relatives who were in the same building.

"Around a dozen people were killed," she said.

The Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, when fighters from Palestinian militant group Hamas broke through Gaza's militarized border and attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians and taking around 240 hostage, according to Israeli authorities.

It was the worst attack in the 75-year history of Israel which retaliated with air, artillery and naval bombardments alongside a ground offensive. Nearly 15,000 people, also mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian territory's Hamas government.

'Under the bombs'

Abu Zeid and her family had taken refuge in a school in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip.

But they returned to their home in northern Gaza -- still standing, unlike those of some other family members -- because the children weren't coping at the shelter, Ashwah said.

Abu Zeid's husband and their three other children survived because they had been wounded in bombing the day before, one losing a leg, and were in hospital when the house was hit, Ashwah said.

"They buried them together in a mass grave," Ashwah said, with Abu Zeid's devastated mother unable to pay her final respects.

Ashwah showed photos and video taken before the bombing of smiling members of the family, including Abu Zeid's daughter Nour al-Moqayyed, aged six, dancing.

Abu Zeid's husband and the surviving children fled back to Rafah "under the bombs" to reunite with Abu Zeid's mother, Ashwah said, and were staying in a garage.

Beirut's Burj al-Barajneh camp and others like it in Lebanon were set up after what Palestinians call the Nakba, or "catastrophe", when more than 760,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes by the 1948 war over Israel's creation.

A fragile four-day truce between Hamas and Israel was renewed for two more days on Tuesday, the day it was set to expire. Ashwah expressed hope that it would last, saying the family "can't take it anymore."

"We've seen wars, but like this? My God, not like this."


Disease Stalks Somali District Ravaged by Floods

This aerial view shows a general view of the Ladan IDP Camp in the outskirts of Dolow on November 25, 2023, where hundreds of families are temporarily living after being displaced by devastating floods. (AFP)
This aerial view shows a general view of the Ladan IDP Camp in the outskirts of Dolow on November 25, 2023, where hundreds of families are temporarily living after being displaced by devastating floods. (AFP)
TT

Disease Stalks Somali District Ravaged by Floods

This aerial view shows a general view of the Ladan IDP Camp in the outskirts of Dolow on November 25, 2023, where hundreds of families are temporarily living after being displaced by devastating floods. (AFP)
This aerial view shows a general view of the Ladan IDP Camp in the outskirts of Dolow on November 25, 2023, where hundreds of families are temporarily living after being displaced by devastating floods. (AFP)

The floodwaters in the southwestern Somali district of Dolow may have started to recede -- for now -- but distraught families who have lost their homes, their livelihoods in the muddy deluge are now at risk of potentially fatal disease.

Shukri Abdi Osman, a 34-year-old mother of three, is sheltering in a camp for the displaced in Dolow with her children, among around 700 families forced to flee as flash floods engulfed many parts of town.

"I have never seen such devastating floods before, everything happened quickly. When we realized the water was coming it was too late to collect all our belongings. We left our houses at midnight and all we were able to grab was our children," she told AFP.

As the family breadwinner, Osman said she thought she had a bright future, with plans to expand her flourishing fruit and vegetable kiosk in the Garbolow neighborhood of Dolow, which lies on the Juba River near the Ethiopia border.

"But I ended up here in this IDP settlement hopelessly waiting for the situation to change. My business is gone, my property is destroyed, and my house engulfed in water," she said, as she struggled to light firewood to cook a meal for her children.

'Leaking septic tanks'

And now disease is posing a threat to her family.

"The toilets were destroyed and even the tap water is now mixed with the dirty flood water which includes leaking septic tanks," she said.

"The situation is very tough now in this camp with my daughter feeling unwell, she might have already contracted malaria and typhoid."

Somalia's government has declared a state of emergency over what the United Nations has called "once-in-a-century" flooding, with almost 100 lives lost across the country and 700,000 people made homeless.

Torrential rains linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon have lashed the Horn of Africa on the heels of the worst drought in 40 years that drove millions to the brink of famine in Somalia.

It is considered one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, locked in a vicious cycle of drought and floods.

But is particularly ill-equipped to cope with the crisis as it battles deep poverty and a deadly extremist insurgency.

In one of the worst El Nino episodes, in late 1997 and early 1998, at least 1,800 people died in Somalia alone when the Juba River burst its banks.

The latest floods have washed away homes, schools, farmland, roads and bridges, leaving many without shelter, food or clean drinking water.

'Children covered in mosquito bites'

Mohamed Dahir, water and sanitation officer with US charity Mercy Corps, told AFP that humanitarian agencies are now concerned about those vulnerable to disease.

"The possibility for malaria outbreak is high due to the mosquitos, and there are also concerns about watery diarrhea breaking out due to the possible contamination of the water system."

"We still don't know exactly the level of contamination but what we have seen is the leaked septic tanks and destroyed toilets of the affected neighborhood which contaminate the water wells."

The UN humanitarian agency OCHA said in an update last week that 33 districts of Somalia had been deluged, with a significant increase in cases of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) or cholera and a rise in malaria cases.

It said there were concerns that contaminated stagnant water around schools poses a "serious risk" of waterborne diseases for school children.

Sadia Sharif Hassan, a 40-year-old mother of seven, sits in a makeshift shelter in a Dolow IDP camp, begging her neighbor for a container so she can fetch water.

"The most important thing is to save the lives of our children," she told AFP, saying the family barely had enough food to eat each day.

"The mosquitos are relentless and several of my children are already feeling unwell, they are suffering from fever... all their bodies are covered with bites now."

'Ran away with our lives'

In Garboolow, 70-year-old Owliyo Mohamed Abdirahman almost slipped and fell in the mud as she tried to rescue belongings from her damaged corrugated metal home but found everything had been swept away.

"This is what is left of my house in which I lived with my son who is sick now, his children and his wife," she said in despair. "We ran away with our lives and carried nothing else."

She and her family are having to rely on the kindness of well-wishers who have provided food and clothing.

Somalia has been locked in an endless cycle of drought and floods.

In one of the worst El Nino episodes, in late 1997 and early 1998, at least 1,800 people died when the Juba River burst its banks.

Garboolow commissioner Mursal Mohamed Adan said the authorities are waiting anxiously for help from aid agencies.

"God knows better what is next, but we are still concerned if rains continue to cause more flooding it will only make the situation worse."


Released Palestinians Reveal Conditions in Israeli Prisons after Oct. 7

Raghad Al-Fanni (center) was released from Israeli prison during an exchange deal with the Hamas movement. (AFP)
Raghad Al-Fanni (center) was released from Israeli prison during an exchange deal with the Hamas movement. (AFP)
TT

Released Palestinians Reveal Conditions in Israeli Prisons after Oct. 7

Raghad Al-Fanni (center) was released from Israeli prison during an exchange deal with the Hamas movement. (AFP)
Raghad Al-Fanni (center) was released from Israeli prison during an exchange deal with the Hamas movement. (AFP)

Raghad Al-Fanni did not expect to be among the liberated Palestinian women, as part of the first phase of the exchange deal between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 24.

The 25-year-old woman from the city of Tulkarm was arrested by the Israeli authorities in Oct. 2022 on her way to Ramallah at the Tayyara checkpoint, according to Arab World Press.

She remained under detention without charges, in Damoun prison, for 13 months.

Raghad said the conditions of detention changed drastically after Oct. 7. She told Arab World Press that Palestinian female prisoners were subjected to oppression, isolation, and beatings.

She added: “They sprayed us with gas, beat many female prisoners, and held many in solitary confinement.”

The freed detainee went on to say that the prison administration prevented female prisoners from buying food from the “cafeteria,” and took away all their belongings. She continued: “We were deprived of clean drinking water,” and it was clear that the prison administration was “taking revenge on us.”

Raghad does not know to this day why she was arrested: “All I know is that my arrest is based on a secret file.” She added that administrative detention is renewed without charge or trial, and is a “precautionary measure due to certain suspicions.”

At 8.30 a.m. on Friday, Raghad Al-Fanni was released from prison in a hurry without being allowed to take any of her belongings. She said: “I could not say goodbye to the female prisoners who remained in the detention center. They took us out and searched us thoroughly, and took our fingerprints and DNA samples.”

Before their release, Palestinian female prisoners were threatened by the Israeli authorities with re-arrest if they participate in any festive ceremonies or speak to the media.

Qusay Taqatqa, from the city of Bethlehem, was arrested last year when he was 16 and sentenced to 20 months in prison.

He told the Arab World Press that the inmates heard about the Oct. 7 operation on the news, after which the prison administration removed television and radio equipment from inside the cells.

“The treatment of the prison administration has been barbaric for 50 days. They took all our belongings and visits or even communication with the family were prohibited,” he recounted.

Qaddoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners and Ex-Detainees Authority, described what has been happening in Israeli detention centers since Oct. 7 as “war crimes as part of an act of revenge.”

“The repeated brutal attacks against prisoners led to the death of six of them and the injury to hundreds,” he noted, adding: “Collective punishment is practiced against detainees in the occupation prisons, and a meal sufficient for two people is served to ten.”