UN announces record number of children displaced by Israel's demolitions
UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) 9 June -- The United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) on Thursday released its latest monthly figures in which it was registered a record number of children displaced by Israel's demolitions in the West Bank. "Demolitions saw 67 children displaced in May, the highest monthly figure so far this year," said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, "64 in Area C and 3 in East Jerusalem." Under the Israeli zoning policy in the occupied territory, Palestinians are allowed to build in only 13 percent of the occupied East Jerusalem and 1 percent in the Area C in the West Bank, which is already heavily built. "Palestinians are refused permits and are forced to build illegally. They then suffer the humiliation either of having the Israeli authorities destroy their homes, or are forced to destroy their homes themselves and foot the bill," added Gunness. The most affected are children who witness with their parents how their homes are demolished.
Jerusalem approves revised plan for contested Museum of Tolerance site
Haaretz 9 June -- The controversial project by the Simon Wiesenthal Center is located on a medieval Muslim cemetery, which opponents say defeats the museum's goal of building tolerance -- After a two-year delay the Jerusalem municipal planning committee approved on Monday the plan to build the Museum of Tolerance in the city center. The controversial project by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, based on a similar museum in Los Angeles, is located on a medieval Muslim cemetery. During the construction work, as Haaretz reported, hundreds of ancient skeletons were evacuated from the area ... The museum is expected to change the entire area.
Aziz Abu Sarah asks readers to help him choose a Jewish name
978mag 7 June -- In continuing efforts to replace what’s left of Jerusalem’s Palestinian identity with a Jewish one, MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) has introduced a Knesset bill that would change the Arabic names of neighborhoods in Jerusalem to Hebrew names. According to the Jerusalem Post, MK Hotovely quoted Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, in her justification of the proposal. "Just as we do not recognize Arab political ownership of our land, we do not recognize their spiritual ownership, and we do not need their names, which give off the Arab scent." According to Ynet news, the proposal has enough support from the coalition and opposition to pass in the Knesset. After extensive soul searching, I understood what the Knesset is trying to do. It is sending a message to the Arab minority that the path to acceptance in the Jewish state of Israel is through ditching our Palestinian identity. We must be willing to adopt a Jewish identity to become equal citizens.
And more news from Today in Palestine:
Activists: Soldiers stop farmers working on land
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 June -- Israeli soldiers on Thursday prevented Palestinian farmers from working on their land near Hebron in the southern West Bank, rights activists said. Israeli soldiers, accompanied by dogs, forced farmers from Beit Ummar to leave their fields near the illegal Bat Ayin settlement, where they were harvesting vine leaves and pears, Palestinian Center for Human Rights official Hesham Sharabati said. In the same area on Thursday afternoon, Israeli soldiers stopped Mohammad Da'dush, 85, from spraying pesticides on his crops and seized his pump, Sharabati said. Sharabati, his colleague Fahmi Shahin and popular committee spokesman Mohammad Awad went to the area to follow up on the complaints. They said four soldiers appeared shortly after their arrival and took their ID cards, claiming the rights workers had entered a closed military zone. Many more soldiers then arrived at the scene and surrounded the area, Sharabati said.
link to www.maannews.net
Settler war against South Hebron Hills shepherd community
AIC 9 June -- In the past week residents of Khirbet Umm al-Khier in the South Hebron Hills have suffered from attacks by settlers from the nearby Karmel settlement, who are preventing them from taking their flocks out to graze. Preventing access to their lands is done with the full cooperation of the Israeli police and army. On Sunday 5 June, a new stage in the struggle of Khirbet Umm al-Khier residents began for their right to live in the face of strangulation attempts by the Carmel settlers and occupation forces. Nabil Tapash, an officer of the Israeli Civil Administration, came to Khirbet Umm al-Hir on Sunday and spoke with a resident of the Eid village. According to the settlers, several olive trees they planted earlier this year were damaged by the herds of Umm el-Khier. Settlers demand compensation of NIS 250, although they provided no evidence of the claimed damage or of the responsibility of Umm el-Khier residents for said damage. Nabil threatened that if compensation was not paid, he would prevent the herds from walking through the pasture, thus obligating the herders to walk on foot via a long bypass route. And indeed, since Monday morning settlers and the army have prevented passage of the herders. A military captain went even further, kicking several of the goats, including one in the head who died several hours later.
Israeli forces still searching for suspects behind West Bank mosque attack
Haaretz 9 June -- The Israeli police in the West Bank have no leads on Tuesday's arson attack on a mosque in the Palestinian village of Mughayar north of Ramallah. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the security forces to use all means possible to find those responsible.
link to www.haaretz.com
Gaza -- under siege for 1,457 days now
Rafah opens for second day
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 June -- Egypt's Rafah border crossing with Gaza opened for a the second day in a row on Thursday, following a four-day closure as officials argued over appropriate crossing regulations. The first day of operations saw 450 Palestinians cross into Egypt, crossing director Ayoub Abu Sha‘ar told Ma‘an, adding that he expected Thursday's number to be higher, at 500. Five-hundred and fifty was set as a cap for the maximum number of travelers crossing at the terminal,
link to www.maannews.net
Action: Samouni Bee Project
Here at the Samouni project we are looking for sustainable, traditional projects to help people help themselves and not rely on handouts. In our newest project we aim to provide the Samouni clan with several beehives and local beekeeping training with a view to export the produce they make from the hives. This will not only help provide work and income for the Samouni project but it will also help pollination of crops in Gaza ... We are looking to bring in the materials to make 10 hives for the Samounis on our 'Samouni Project Convoy' leaving the UK on July 2nd and we are calling in the help of the Zaqzuq family, who have been keeping bees for many years in Gaza. Only $160 needed to reach the goal.
link to www.indiegogo.com
Palestinian youth long for freedom and unity in Gaza
BBC 9 June -- As Arab Spring lengthens into Arab Summer, Newsnight's Tim Whewell travels to Gaza - one of the most enclosed societies on earth - to find out what freedoms and changes revolutions elsewhere in the Middle East have brought to young Palestinians there. In the front room of a house in the tightly-packed concrete slum that is Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp, they are learning to dance. A group of young teenage girls are stepping high in the air, hands on hips, as they practice the debka. Traditionally, it was performed by boys and girls together. But since the Islamist movement Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, mixed dancing has been stopped.
link to news.bbc.co.uk
Israeli forces build sand barrier at Gaza border town
GAZA (PIC) 9 June -- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) mounting army tanks escorted three military bulldozers while building a huge sand barrier at the entrance to Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis to the south of the Gaza Strip, on Thursday. Safa news agency said that the IOF troops fired smoke bombs to cover soldiers who went on foot to escort the workers in building the barrier.
Israeli creates special military unit to fight Gaza tunnels
Ahram 9 June -- Israel's military is training special units to fight in tunnels in Gaza and southern Lebanon, according to the Israeli media. The Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported yesterday that every soldier in these new units is equipped with a 'robot' capable of transmitting high-resolution video images from inside the tunnels, used by the Hamas movement in Gaza to smuggle weapons, food and medicines. The report said the Israeli army has established a training camp for this unit close to the town of Youkanaam in northern Israel.
5 detained overnight, villages raided
QALQILYA (Ma‘an) 9 June -- Five were detained by Israeli forces overnight and at least one village was raided without arrests reported, local officials told Ma‘an. An Israel military statement confirmed that five were "transferred for security questioning." Near Tubas, a man was detained and a second handed an order to appear before Israeli military investigators, both from the village of Tammun in the Tubas region. Palestinian security sources identified Abbad Abdullah At-Tubasi, 25, who is a student at An-Najah national university as the man detained. Ali Muhammad Hamad Bani Odeh, 40, was handed a notification to see Israeli intelligence. Eyewitnesses said soldiers entered the village with seven military. Several home searches were carried out, causing damage to the personal property of nearly 20 individuals.
link to www.maannews.net
Israel raids West Bank towns overnight, abducts men, children
9 June --Israeli soldiers raided the towns of Tammun, Tuqu and Azzun overnight and detained five, damaged property and confiscated the camera of a journalist documenting the raids, according to witnesses. In the village of Taqu four brothers, two of whom were minors, were arrested on charges of throwing stones.
Israel extends detention of Fatah lawmaker
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 9 June -- Israel's Ofer military court extended the detention of Fatah leader Hussam Khader by 72 hours on Thursday, Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Qaraqe said. Khader is a long-time proponent of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, and was taken from his home at 2 a.m. on Thursday one week ago. Witnesses said 50 Israeli military jeeps arrived in the Balata refugee camp, surrounded the home and searched its contents before taking Khader to an unknown location.
link to www.maannews.net
IOA moves detained MP, lecturer to Megiddo jail
NABLUS, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) moved detained Hamas MP Ahmed Al-Haj and Najah University lecture Mustafa Al-Shinar from Hawara detention center to Megiddo jail on Thursday. Ahmed Al-Tobasi, a lawyer with the Tadamun foundation for human rights, recalled that Haj and Shinar were taken from their homes on Tuesday. He said that Haj was frequently detained by the IOA and spent seven years in aggregate in Israeli prisons. Haj, who is in his seventies, suffer from a number of health problems, Tobasi said, adding that Shinar’s health condition was also precarious as he recently underwent a heart operation.
link to occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com
Prison leader released after 4.5 years
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 June -- The detainees center in Gaza City reported Thursday the release from Israeli custody of 45 year-old Ayed Dudin from Durra village in Hebron following the end of a four-and-a-half-year prison term. Dudin has spent a total of 14 years in Israeli prison. He spent at least two years jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. As the spokesman for Palestinian detainees at the Negev prison, the prisoners' center said Israeli officials had attempted to have him released into exile, offering an early release in exchange for the deal. Dudin refused, and was held past his sentence date, the center said.
link to www.maannews.net
Tensions high in Majdal Shams as police arrest Naksa Day stone throwers
Haaretz 9 June -- Police official says special team created to investigate stone throwing during the violent clashes that marked the 44th anniversary of the Six-Day War; Majdal Shams residents threaten escalation if more arrests are made.
2 Druze indicted over 'Naksa Day' riots
Ynet 9 June -- An indictment has been filed with the Safed Magistrates' Court against two residents of the Druze village of Majdal Shams, charging them with aggravated assault of public officials on 'Naksa Day' Sunday ... Yasser Hangar and Biyan Awidat, who are 34 and 20 respectively, have been charged with throwing stones during a riot in which a police officer was hurt ... Two other residents of the village are also being charged similarly, and the court remanded their arrests by three days Thursday.
link to www.ynetnews.com
Palestinian protests divide village on Israel-Syria border
MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights 8 June -- Tucked into a corner of Israel's northernmost border with Syria, the village of Majdal Shams blends easily into the Syrian hills surrounding it. Incorporated into Israeli in 1981, but with an eye toward Syria, which ruled here until the 1967 war, the population of Majdal Shams -- ethnically Druze -- has found itself increasingly caught between the two dueling loyalties. "We were raised being told that our home was Syria, but that we lived in Israel. It is being caught between a rock and a hard place," said 46-year-old Ata Abu Farat, a resident of Majdal Shams ... "I don't think there is this expectation that tomorrow we will be living with the Druze in Syria, but here is a hope that one day our communities will be united. The best thing is if this village were to be given back to Syria, and then left alone," he said.
link to www.mcclatchydc.com
Ex-Mossad chief: Purity of arms eroded
Ynet 9 June -- Zvi Zamir, Israel's Mossad chief in the years 1968-1974 is criticizing the government over its way of handling the 'Naksa Day' events which saw 23 Syrian protesters killed. In an interview with Israel Army Radio, Zamir attacked the decision to open fire at the Syrian protesters who tried to breach the border fence and said: "I'm concerned by the fact that soldiers, my grandchildren, are firing at unarmed people."
link to www.ynetnews.com
Syrian slaughter and Israeli restraint / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 9 June -- We see Bashar Assad's regime slaughtering dozens of unarmed Syrian demonstrators every day, and say he is 'slaughtering his own people.' But when the Israel Defense Forces killed 23 unarmed Syrian demonstrators in one day, we boasted that the IDF 'acted with restraint.'
Politics / Diplomacy / International
Hamas debates future role, considers removing itself from government
AP 9 June -- After four years of turbulent rule in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic militant group Hamas is weighing a new strategy of not directly participating in future governments even if it wins elections -- an approach aimed at avoiding isolation by the world community and allowing for continued economic aid. Hamas officials told The Associated Press the idea has gained favour in recent closed meetings of the secretive movement's leadership in the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt and Syria, and that it helped enable last month's reconciliation agreement with the rival Fatah group of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ... The new approach reflects both the group's rigidity and its pragmatism: On the one hand, Hamas refuses to meet widespread global demands that it accept Israel's right to exist; on the other, its leaders grasp the price Palestinians would pay if the Islamic militants emerged fully in charge of a future government. It also stems from a growing sense that its experiment with direct government in Gaza has cost Hamas popular support among Palestinians.
link to www.brandonsun.com
Hamas to participate in any future Palestinian government, senior official says
dpa 9 June -- Salah al-Bardaweel, a high-ranking Hamas leader in Gaza, refutes press reports that the group may exclude itself from a future government to avoid international isolation ... "This is totally incorrect and totally untrue," said al- Bardaweel, arguing that the reports were intended to isolate Hamas politically and diplomatically..
Palestinians grapple with opposition to UN plan
AP 9 June -- RAMALLAH, West Bank – Faced with opposition from the United States, a number of top Palestinian officials are quietly advising President Mahmoud Abbas to drop plans to seek recognition for a state of Palestine at the United Nations this fall. Top officials say Abbas remains committed to his plan -- a result of the widespread sense among Palestinians that two decades of on-and-off negotiations with Israel have run their course, and that the current Israeli leadership is not a partner for peace. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press Thursday, said Abbas would like to "climb down from the tree" and find a mutually acceptable formula for restarting negotiations, preferably based on ideas presented by President Barack Obama recently.
Palestinian leadership divided over plan to seek UN recognition
by Barak Ravid. Haaretz 9 June -- While PA President Abbas is determined to seek unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state in September, a senior group of Palestinians have said they believe the move could do more harm than good.
Turkey-Israel concert for religious tolerance canceled due to IHH pressure
Haaretz 9 June -- 'Three Religions' concert to be held in Istanbul canceled at last minute after IHH and other Islamic organizations claim Israel participation in event 'unacceptable' and a 'provocation'.
Iran, Indonesia MPs plan Gaza convoy
Press TV 9 June -- Iran and Indonesia plan to organize a multi-national parliamentary mission in an effort to break the Israeli-imposed siege of Palestine's impoverished Gaza Strip since 2007.
link to www.presstv.ir
Hamas: Netanyahu responsible for swap deal delay
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 June -- Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, for what he said was a delay in the release of Israeli and Palestinian prisoners in a swap deal. Citing Netanyahu's "intransigence," the official said the leader bore "full responsibility" for the continued confinement of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as well as thousands of Palestinians considered prisoners of war.
link to www.maannews.net
TA rampage driver charged with murder
Ynet 9 June -- An indictment has been filed against Issa Islam, the truck driver who went on a killing rampage in Tel Aviv on "Nakba Day" which left one person dead and 17 injured. Islam is being charged with murder, seven counts of attempted murder, endangering human lives in a transportation lane, inflicting aggravated injury and aggravated assault with intent to harm ... Meanwhile, Islam's family continues to deny that he went on a deliberate killing rampage. "My son is innocent. His whole life he worked in Tel Aviv. They can say whatever they want – we don't care. Allahu Akbar is not a swear word," Islam's mother said. "The security elements exploited the fact it was Nakba Day to turn this into a deliberate attack. We are certain he had no intent."
link to www.ynetnews.com
A touch of Morocco in the heart of Jerusalem
Haaretz 9 June -- A newly restored center for North African Jewish heritage promises to become one of the capital's most colorful tourist sites. But not everyone is thrilled with the ambitious renovation project ... The center is situated between King David and Agron streets behind the Palace Hotel in Mahaneh Yisrael, one of the first neighborhoods outside the walls of the Old City.
link to www.haaretz.com
Israel rocket victims fail in bid to sue Al Jazeera
Reuters 9 June -- Victims of 2006 rocket strikes on Israel cannot sue Al Jazeera on grounds the broadcaster intentionally helped Hezbollah attack civilians by reporting the sites of explosions, a U.S. judge ruled this week. The Israeli plaintiffs, who were asking for $1.2 billion in damages from Al Jazeera, said the Qatar-based news network helped Hezbollah militants target their rockets more accurately during the 34-day war with Israel. Their lawsuit, filed a year ago, argued that a Manhattan court had jurisdiction over the case because U.S. citizens had been harmed.
link to www.reuters.com
Analysis / Opinion
The conflict's new players
Ynet 9 June -- International Solidarity Movement activists have become a permanent feature in clashes between IDF, Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza Strip. 'We don’t judge the Palestinians for the way they choose to protest,' one activist says ... Foreign solidarity activists can be found in Qalandiya, Bil‘in, Nabi Saleh and virtually any other site where Palestinians and security forces clash. "Our organization, which started as a small group about a decade ago, has become an all-out phenomenon in which solidarity movements from around the world take part," Neta Golan, one of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) says.
link to www.ynetnews.com
Turning peace and justice into worthless commodities / Louis Frankenthaler
978mag 8 June -- It never ceases to amaze me how in everyday life seemingly innocent and benign artifacts actually indicate the insidious. For instance, the simple navigation of the streets of Jerusalem brings one in direct contact with an advert glaring down at you from the back of an Egged Bus (Egged recently won a lucrative public transport contract in Amsterdam). Drive through the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and see all the “for sale” signs posted by international real estate agencies. Occupied territory is up for sale while peace gets put on the auction block for the lowest bidder. Maybe the Americans will buy, maybe the French. What is clear is that there is a price tag on peace and justice and the only ones paying the exorbitant costs are Palestinians.
link to 972mag.com