Poll: 46% in favor of ‘price tag’
Ynet 28 Mar — Ynet-Gesher survey conducted after Itamar massacre shows nearly half of Jewish public believes extreme rightists’ actions against Palestinians are justified … While most seculars oppose “price tag” activities (36% in favor, 57% against), most traditional, national-religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews believe these actions are justified (55%, 70% and 71%, respectively) … About 76% of the seculars and 66% of the traditional Jews believe the rabbis have the power to prevent the “price tag” activities, while the national-religious and haredim say the rabbis are incapable of doing so.
46% of Jewish Israelis support settler “price tag” terror, Congress blames Palestinians for incitement / Max Blumenthal
The one-two punch of settler “price tag” attacks carried out under the watch of the army and with the encouragement of state-funded religious nationalist rabbis is common all over the West Bank. Most Jewish Israelis view the army with reverence, and are reluctant to criticize its conduct under any circumstance. And though settler violence is considered a matter of controversy in Israeli society, a new poll shows that a staggering number of Israelis support the pogroms meted out by fanatical settlers against defenseless Palestinians.
And more news from Today in Palestine:
Settler vandalism, harassment reported in south
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Villagers said ultra-orthodox settlers chopped down dozens of fruit trees in fields belonging to a Palestinian farmer from the southern West Bank village of Husan, in the latest incident of apparent settler vandalism. Jabir Taha Hamamra told Ma‘an that he was surprised Monday morning when he walked into his fields to discover several trees had been chopped down … Destroyed by the vandals, Hamamra said, were 25 olive trees, two almond trees, one fig tree, and four walnut trees.
In Yatta, a collection of towns in the southern West Bank, dozens of settlers were reported to have assaulted a group of shepherds east of the population center. Israeli military patrols were seen nearby the group, which gathered in the Al-Bweib agricultural area.
Settler car strikes child near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — For the third time in the past month, an Israeli settler driving in the West Bank struck a Palestinian south of Hebron, but [this time] did not drive away. Though the first two incidents were hit-and-runs, Monday’s accident saw the settler remain in the area until police arrived and initiated an investigation. The incident occurred near Tarama village west of Hebron early in the morning, as the as yet unidentified young girl was on her way to school.
Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Beit Ummar to be fenced in from south
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Mar 22:04 — For a third day in a row, Israeli forces appeared in large numbers around the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar, installing road gates and fence posts in a move residents fear will close them in and stifle the population center. Local activist Mohammad Ayyad Awad … said the installations were part of Israeli military preparations to fence the town in, and prevent residents from accessing the surrounding areas … According to his observations, Awwad said the fence would stretch 150 meters along the town’s southern flank, closing it off from the Bethlehem-Hebron road, and would have a height of at least seven meters. Metal gates, he added, were being installed on the street leading from the town to the cemetery. Last week a settler opened fire on Beit Ummar residents at a funeral procession as they walked to the cemetery, injuring two, one critically.
Arrest raid targets Beit Ummar, 14 detained
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Mar 16:30 — Israeli forces detained 14 Palestinians overnight from the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar, as construction of military road blocks and a fence surrounding one side of the residential area continue. Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad estimated that 150 Israeli soldiers entered the town during the campaign, which began at 2:30 a.m., as soldiers entered homes with sniffer dogs and took residents. Twelve of the 14 taken were identified, seven of them under the age of 18, one of whom was only 15 years old … In the early morning hours, as workers tried to leave the town via the bus and service taxi station at the southeastern entrance of the area, Awwad said, confrontations erupted. The activist said Israeli forces were preventing buses and taxis from collecting passengers, stranding workers in the town.
Day after evacuation, Bedouin get demolition notes
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — A third set of warnings was delivered to the Bedouin of ‘Ein Al-Hilwa on Monday morning, notifying residents that their tent homes and animal shelters would be demolished. The herding community lives next to Al-Malih, a village whose nearest neighbor is a site declared as an Israeli military training ground, in the northern Jordan Valley. The entire valley-area has recently included in a list of areas where control would not be handed over if a Palestinian state were created in the West Bank and Gaza.
3 demolition orders issued in Samra
28 Mar 06:49 — Early this morning, the occupational Civil Administration came to Samra community, in the Northern Jordan Valley, to give 3 Bedouin families demolition orders. Abed Awad Daraghmeh, Mayoub Mohamad Amer and Fozi Abed Awad Daraghmeh were given only three days to remove their houses and leave the area, after what the army will come to destroy the houses. Samra is a small community located between Hadidiya and ‘Ein Il Hilwe, two villages that receive constant occupation aggression and displacement.
Military jeep set alight with Molotov in ‘Ein Aluza
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 28 Mar 01:07 — Eyewitnesses have reported that a Molotov cocktail was hurled at a military jeep in the ‘Ein Aluza district of Silwan tonight, with Israeli forces responding with heavy barrages of gas and sound bombs. Residents in the area also claim to have heard the sound of live ammunition. No injuries have been reported as yet.
Clashes in ‘Ein Silwan Street
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 28 Mar 18:15 — Clashes have erupted in ‘Ein Silwan Street between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces stationed at settler-occupied properties on the edge of Wadi Hilweh district. Israeli forces have fired tear gas grenades at the youth, who have responded by throwing stones and shouted messages against the settlement and demolition policies in Silwan.
Druze keep tabs on Syria unrest
Ynet 28 Mar — The residents of the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights became Israeli residents overnight. Ever since that moment, 44 years ago, many have dreamt of the day they would go back to living under Syrian sovereignty. The recent whirlwind sweeping through Syria – and the biggest challenge Bashar Assad has had to face since taking power 11 years ago – has raised many speculations among family members living on the other side of the border.
Israel builds town to ensure the Arabs won’t rear their heads / Roi Maor
28 Mar — The State of Israel is building a town in the country’s north. Its purpose: to make sure “the Arabs won’t rear their heads” and to “put them in proportion.” Anybody objecting to this goal should “go live with the Palestinians” and is “harming Israel’s security.”
Interview: Mapping the disappearance of a nation / Adri Nieuwhof
28 Mar — Malkit Shoshan’s The Atlas of the Conflict — Israel-Palestine won the annual book design competition in the “Best Books from all over the World” category at the Leipzig Book Fair in Germany on 18 March. To produce the book, Shoshan, an Israeli architect and designer who was brought up in a Zionist context, painstakingly mapped the creation of Israel, which erased Palestine in the process. The atlas is the result of her determination to understand the full scale of the creation of one nation and the disappearance of another.
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
VIDEO: Is Nuri El Okbi a Bedouin version of Australia’s indigenous land rights campaigner Eddie Mabo? / Amos Roberts
28 Mar — Professor John Sheehan, an Australian authority on native title compensation, certainly thinks he could be. [‘terra nullius’ (‘nobody’s land’), mentioned in the article, is the doctrine which allowed the whites to claim what is now Australia] He’s currently helping Nuri in his struggle to reclaim land taken from his family by the Israeli authorities 60 years ago. Despite living in the Negev Desert for hundreds of years, long before modern-day Israel was even formed, Bedouin who want to live on their ancestral land are being accused by Israel of ‘trespassing’ … The Israeli government says the Bedouin do not qualify as indigenous people, and it’s just enforcing laws it inherited from the British and the Ottomans WATCH
[You might also want to watch the Aboriginal group Yothu Yindi and their video “Treaty Now” about their land rights struggle, which was partly successful. Their lead singer was Australian of the Year in 1993, and the song ‘Treaty Now’ hit #1. So success can happen… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7cbkxn4G8U ]
Mighty Israel and its quest to quash Palestinian popular protest / Amira Hass
Haaretz 28 Mar — The military has delegated its best soldiers, investigators and judges to safeguarding Israel against the organizer of Nabi Saleh’s popular uprising … We met several times in the past two weeks – in Ramallah, not in Nabi Saleh. Facing the suppression of that village’s weekly demonstrations is a challenge best reserved for the experienced. Huge quantities of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets flying between buildings, gas canisters with (illegally) extended ranges, beatings, shovings and home invasions – this is what the Israel Defense Forces employs against the small village of 500. Since the demonstrations began in 2009, 155 of the residents have been injured, 40 percent of whom are children. Thirty-five houses have been damaged in the process of dispersing demonstrations, and seven caught fire.
16 Israeli activists detained in south Hebron hills
[with photo] AIC 28 Mar — Recent weeks have been characterized by ever increasing cooperation between Israeli settlers and the army. This cooperation was forged in order to conduct an ongoing attack on Palestinians throughout the entire West Bank using violence, shooting, vandalism and the sowing of fear … In response to this situation, activists from Ta’ayush and Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah conducted a protest and solidarity action in the south Hebron Hills this past Saturday, 26 March … Almost immediately the soldiers began detentions, detaining 16 activists, both women and men. The detentions were forceful and violent, and some of the detainees were beaten while all were handcuffed. http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/hebron/3461-16-israeli-activists-detained-in-south-hebron-hills-protest-
On Land Day, 30 March 2011, join international efforts to stop the Jewish National Fund
IOA 29 Mar – The Palestinian BDS National Committee has called for a Global Day of Action to commemorate Palestinian Land Day. Palestinian Land Day is the annual commemoration of the 1976 general strike and marches against massive land expropriation by Israel in which six Palestinians were killed and hundreds of others were jailed and wounded. Since then it has been a day to recall many decades of Palestinian resistance to historic and on-going displacement and dispossession. A key pillar of the colonization of Palestine — from the founding of the State of Israel to the present — has been the … Jewish National Fund (JNF). The JNF enjoys charity status in over 50 countries. This is despite its role in the on-going displacement of indigenous Palestinians from their land, the theft of their property, the funding of historic and present-day colonies, and the destruction of the natural environment. (Download the Stop the JNF Campaign fact sheet)
Join new campaign to boycott Israeli diamonds
AIC 27 Mar — Global Palestine Solidarity has launched a petition urging the Kimberley Process to widen its definition of conflict diamonds to include all diamonds that fund human rights violations. Israeli economist Shir Hever: “Diamond industry funds Israel’s war machine with some US $1 billion yearly.”
Swiss rights group to protest Peres visit to the country
GENEVA, (PIC) 28 Mar — More than 20 human rights groups in Switzerland will gather in Geneva on Monday to protest a visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres to the country. They have been working to prosecute Peres over war crimes he committed in the 2008-2009 war on Gaza.
Israeli forces enter Nablus overnight
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — Despite a total security hand-over to Palestinian Authority forces in early 2010, an Israeli military patrol entered Nablus Monday morning, making a tour of the center and Old City. Palestinian sources in the city said no detentions were reported.
Soldier suspected of humiliating Palestinian kids
Ynet 28 Mar — Videos found in staff-sergeant’s phone show Palestinian children being ordered to act out movements to popular Israeli children’s song, army says. Additional photos show soldier pointing rifle at blindfolded man’s head — Military Police are holding a criminal investigation against a soldier suspected of recording Palestinians in humiliating situations, Ynet learned Monday … An indictment against R. is forthcoming. Military Police say they have succeeded in finding the Palestinian man shown in the photos and that they would soon question him, but that the children in the videos have not yet been found.
One-day-old Palestinian baby inspected at checkpoint
JENIN, 27 Mar (WAFA) – A Palestinian one-day old baby was inspected and forced through X-ray search by Israeli forces stationed in a checkpoint at Barta‘a al-Sharqiya, a village northwest of Jenin, north of the West Bank. Mohammad Omrah, the baby’s father, was escorting his wife and newborn back from the hospital one day after the birth in his car, but they were held back for over an hour under the rain at the checkpoint … He continued “after putting the baby through the X-ray device, they held us outdoors in the cold and rain. My wife was forced to leave the car for inspection, although she had had a caesarean operation the day before. She was also held for half an hour before we were allowed to pass.”
Bombing of Khuza‘a facilities
[with photos] ISM 26 Mar — Khuza‘a is a village located in the southern Gaza Strip, in the Khan Younis governorate, near the border with Israel. It is a quiet place inhabited mainly by farmers. On the night of March 21st a warehouse used by the local authority to maintain vehicles and materials needed to provide essential services to citizens was bombed and destroyed … The house of the family of Samir an-Najjar is adjacent to the bombed site. The bomb destroyed the shack where they kept four sheep killing them all, it also created cracks in some of the columns and supporting walls, and destroyed the septic tank. Half a day after being destroyed by the bomb the septic tank was filled with earth to create a passage in the midst of the debris to one of six children, shot in the head by a bullet during the Israeli attack Operation Cast Lead and confined to a wheelchair. During the night of the bombing the family needed to go to hospital where sedatives were administered to the daughter in shock. The night after the bombing the children were crying in their sleep and waking up with horrible nightmares.
Israel warns Palestinians against rocket attacks
JERUSALEM (AP) 28 Mar — Israel’s prime minister is warning Gaza militants of a military retaliation if they resume firing rockets at southern Israeli communities. Benjamin Netanyahu says it must be clear that Israel will not tolerate “a drizzle of rockets and missiles” on its cities.
‘Israel’s response to rocket fire too soft’
Ynet 28 Mar — IDF officers avoid criticizing government but claim Israel may pay the price for the way it chose to respond to the firing of rockets from Gaza. Hamas has emerged stronger from the recent conflict, some officers say … “After Operation Cast Lead a very clear equation was created whereby the IDF responds disproportionately to any violation of the state of calm. This was the way and the message was conveyed to the other side,” one officer said. “Ever so often there were attempts to test us but a harsh response together with deterrence achieved by the operation had sent the message until the next time.”
Iron Dome system deployed in south but might not stay
Haaretz 28 Mar — The army deployed its Iron Dome anti-missile defense system for the first time yesterday, temporarily positioning one battery north of Be’er Sheva just as the Negev had its first day free of rocket or mortar fire in more than a week. The Israel Defense Forces is planning on keeping its two anti-missile batteries mobile for now, leaving open the possibility of stationing them on the northern border as well as in the south.
OPT: UNRWA hobbled by unwieldy customs procedures on Gaza border
RAMALLAH, 28 Mar (IRIN) – Israeli trucker Nazar Zarro hoists himself up into the cab of his articulated lorry loaded with emergency flour supplies bound for UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) food distribution centres in the Gaza Strip. Zarro makes the 100km trip from Israel’s Ashdod port to Kerem Shalom crossing – where the borders of Gaza, Israel and Egypt meet – five days a week. The emergency flour rations will be loaded and unloaded eight times – part of a complex system of Israeli security procedures – until they reach food insecure families in Gaza.
US surgeons land in the Gaza Strip for charity work
GAZA, (PIC) 28 Mar — The Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital in Gaza has received a delegation of American surgical specialists from the University of California in a bid to cover some of the medical deficit in the besieged Gaza Strip. The urologists are scheduled to remain in the Strip to carry out advanced surgical operations over the next five days and have already taken necessary tests ahead of the operations.
GAZA (Ma‘an) — Israel informed Palestinian liaison officers at the last operating Gaza crossing that 210-220 truckloads of goods would be permitted into the coastal enclave on Monday … UN monitors have said the current import level is at some 40 percent of what imports were before Israel imposed its siege on Gaza.
Knesset merges 4 bills pertaining to Hamas prisoners’ rights
The Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee has decided to merge four bills dealing with Hamas prisoners rights in order to advance the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. During the meeting, the soldier’s grandfather, Zvi Shalit, asked MK Danny Danon not to dub the bill “the Shalit bill” and asked it only be implemented after Gilad’s release.
IPS refuses to remove Palestinian prisoner’s tumor
GAZA, (PIC) 27 Mar — The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has refused to remove a cancerous growth from a Palestinian man held in the Gilboa prison, the Tadhamon international rights group has reported. Tariq al-Aasi from the Balata refugee camp east of Nablus was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago and has since suffered from a lack of hemoglobin and weight loss, Tadhamon researcher Ahmed al-Beitawi said.
Militias loyal to Abbas detain municipality chief
NABLUS, (PIC) 28 Mar — Security militias loyal to de facto Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas detained Omar Eshtiye, the head of the municipal council of Til village in Nablus, locals reported. They said that Eshtiye was summoned for interrogation but was taken into custody when he showed up.
Call for action: April 17th Palestinian Prisoners Day
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Gaza calls for a global day of action to draw attention to Palestinian political prisoners who are illegally detained in Israel. April 17th marks the Palestinian Prisoners Day, a day in commemoration of the 5834 Palestinians who are currently (as of February 1st, 2011) held in Israeli prisons. No less than 221 of them are children and 798 of them are serving life sentences. We call upon you to organize events on April 17th or during that week in your countries to oppose Israel’s numerous violations of human rights and international law concerning Palestinian prisoners.
Occupied Palestine from A to Z: Canaan of Palestine / Reham Alhelsi
27 Mar — “Ya Abu Nidal, lahhiq ibnak, lahhiq darak, hurry up, the soldiers are raiding your home and want to take your son Nidal.” A neighbour came running to tell Canaan who was ploughing the land and tending the olive and almond trees. In a matter of seconds, Abu Nidal was running all the way down the hill towards the village and his home. Neighbours, relatives and other villagers were standing outside his home, some trying to talk to the Israeli occupation soldiers
Majority of Palestinian voices still being ignored / Rich Wiles
27 Mar — At the heart of Palestine’s struggle is the refugee case, which remains almost a taboo subject in many forums including in the seemingly endless and fruitless ‘Peace Process’, which seems on the verge of what one can only hope is a final collapse. Time and again, in speeches and in op-eds around the world, ‘pro-Palestinian’ commentators speak of ‘over 40 years of Occupation’ as if the unjust colonial appropriation of 78% of Palestinian land pre-1967 were somehow morally different from the occupation of the remainder of Palestine. Similarly, the estimated three quarters of a million Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from their homes during al-Nakba and the 7 million or so Palestinians who were born as refugees following these events are treated as political lepers whose insistence upon their rights, including the Right of Return,is regarded as quixotic and even malicious.
Racism / Discrimination / Repression of dissent
New bill takes aim at leftist groups
Ynet 28 Mar — Likud MKs propose that any group petitioning High Court must present list of donors from past three years. ‘Judges can now be sure hostile groups won’t make their way into court under guise of public-interest,’ they write
Hebrew University to discipline students for screening Jenin, Jenin film
AIC 27 Mar — The board of Hebrew University summoned representatives of the university’s Hadash Party to a hearing before the Dean of Students last week. The hearing was for Hadash’s screening of the film Jenin, Jenin, and is yet another act by Hebrew University in actively collaborating in Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people.
Zuabi: Revoking my parliamentary privileges is political persecution
Haaretz 28 Mar — Knesset voted to revoke Arab MK Hanin Zuabi’s privileges after she participated in Gaza aid flotilla last year; High Court debates petition submitted by Zuabi to have her privileges reinstated.
Israel, right or wrong / Paul Balles
26 Mar — A staunch defender of anything Israel does, the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen feeds Jewish paranoia, distorts Palestinian history and attacks Israel’s critics.
Politics / International
Abbas would give up US aid for Palestinian unity
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 28 Mar — An aide to the Palestinian president says Mahmoud Abbas is making a heavy push for reconciliation with Hamas and is willing to give up hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid if that’s what it takes to forge a Palestinian unity deal. [and the large amount in EU aid?]
Fatah: Abbas awaiting Hamas response
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — There has yet to be a response from Hamas following a meeting between party members and President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, member of the Fatah central committee Nabil Sha‘th told Ma‘an … Abbas, who leads the Fatah party, met with Hamas officials to discuss a proposed trip to Gaza and efforts to mend internal Palestinian division by way of the formation of a unity government.
Abbas moves on PLO constitution amendments
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — President Mahmoud Abbas asked the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization to convene the body’s Constitution Committee, government news agency WAFA reported. He advised the committee that it should draw up amendments to the PLO charter by the end of September.
Report: Turkey brokering Hamas-Israel truce
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — An Israeli news site quoted official sources saying that Turkey has been brokering a limited truce between Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel, in a bid to put an end to recent border escalations. Israeli news website Inyan Merkazi said the Turkish Prime Minister himself was heading the negotiations, saying a meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Gaza resistance leaders and Israeli officials was held on Saturday.
Israel questions Argentina over Buenos Aires attacks
BBC 27 Mar — Israel has demanded an explanation from Argentina over reports it proposed to Iran it would stop investigating two bombings if trade ties improved. Argentina, Israel and the US have blamed Iran for the bombings of the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in the 1990s. Iran has denied involvement in the bombings
Swiss president announces plan to break Gaza siege
GAZA, (PIC) 23 Mar — Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey has announced her country is developing a project to open up all crossings to the Gaza Strip, which has been suffocating for the last five years from an Israeli blockade. She also said if Egypt would agree to open the Rafah crossing to bring in building materials and commodities, her country would be ready to restore it. The statements came Monday during a meeting with several high-profile politicians in Europe staged by the European-Palestinian relations council. [have not seen this story confirmed independently of the Hamas site PIC]
Sunday: 11 Iraqis killed, 18 wounded
At least 11 Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded in attacks across the country. In Baghdad, a bomb exploded near a food ration warehouse in Iskan, wounding nine people. One person was killed and three others were wounded in a blast in Yarmouk. A person was wounded during a blast in Jihad. A sticky bomb wounded four in Qadisiya. In Mosul, seven people were killed in a home invasion. Gunmen killed a man during a drive-by shooting. One policeman was wounded in a grenade attack. Police liberated two children and arrested their kidnappers. Gunmen killed a police colonel late last night in Ramadi. In Kut, the body of a policeman was found. Two al-Qaeda cells were captured in Babel province.
“A story about lost and broken things”: Mohammad Jawad, a child in Guantánamo, and the lawyer who fought for him / Andy Worthington
27 Mar — Every now and then, someone in the mainstream media cuts through the general — and shameful — indifference about Guantánamo, publishing a powerful story that should change hearts and minds. This is the case with a feature in the latest issue of GQ by Michael Paterniti about one of the more notorious cases of cruelty at Guantánamo — that of the teenage prisoner Mohammed Jawad, released in August 2009 — although it will probably do no more than awaken a few more people to the gross injustices perpetrated at Guantánamo, and elsewhere in the “War on Terror,” by the Bush administration.