The number of people displaced and affected by demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of 2011. Displaced means people whose homes have been demolished. Affected is when a demolition has had an impact in other ways such as on people’s livelihoods or on basic services and utilities. (Source: UNRWA)
UNRWA: Demolition watch
The Israeli practice of demolishing homes, basic infrastructure and sources of livelihoods continues to devastate Palestinian families and communities in East Jerusalem and the 60 per cent of the West Bank controlled by Israel, known as Area C. Demolition = Dispossession: Many of the people affected already live in poverty, and demolitions are a leading cause of their ongoing displacement and dispossession in the West Bank. The impact of home demolitions on children can be particularly devastating. Many children affected by demolitions show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Their academic achievement often suffers … The stats:The table and graph above shows the number of people displaced and affected by demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of 2011.
Bedouin children hope their West Bank school will be spared Israel’s bulldozers / Harriet Sherwood
Guardian 12 June — Each morning, they scrabble through a drainage pipe under a busy main road slicing through the unforgiving landscape between Jerusalem and Jericho, where hard-baked stony hills roll down to the Dead Sea. At the end of the school day, they clamber back down to the drainage pipe to pass beneath the thundering traffic on their way home. But, after today, the last school day in the academic year, the pupils of Khan al-Ahmar primary in the West Bank cannot be certain their school will still be standing come September. Head teacher Hanan Awad fears that if the building is left empty, bulldozers will rumble up the hill from the main road to tear down the illegal two-year-old structure built out of old car tyres and mud. So she and her team of nine women teachers are planning a programme of children’s summer activities to keep the building occupied.
And more from Today in Palestine:
Absent military escort endangers Palestinian children of Tuba and Maghayir Al-Abeed
Operation Dove 11 June — At-Tuwani – On the morning of Saturday June 11th, the military escort which accompanies the Palestinian schoolchildren of the village of Tuba and Maghayir Al-Abeed to their school in At-Tuwani did not arrive. The children had to walk to school alone, thereby risking attack by settlers from the Ma’on settlement and the Havat Ma’on outpost. Usually there is no school on Saturday, but today was the last day of final exams, therefore the schoolchildren of Tuba and Maghayir Al-Abeed had a normal school day, which was known by the military escort … For further information about the trend of the military escort during the school year 2009/2010, the report “The Dangerous Road to Education. Palestinian Students Suffer Under Settler Violence and Military Negligence” is available at the URL: http://goo.gl/CXfi9
Poll: Most Israelis don’t know Jordan Valley is occupied / Dimi Reider
972mag 12 June – A poll conducted by our esteemed Dahlia Scheindlin (for ACRI’s Action a Day campaign) indicates a sweeping majority of Israelis – 63.5%, to be exact – think the Jordan valley is part of Israel; in other words, not part of the West Bank; or, in plain words, don’t understand why or how Israeli presence there is being called into question. The special status of the valley in the Israeli collective consciousness is nothing new. Partly thanks to a highly successful campaign of displacement, Palestinian residents of this occupied territory — as occupied as Jenin or East Jerusalem — are rarely heard about in the Israeli media, and Palestinian political violence of the kind that makes Israelis notice Palestinians has been negligible in the valley through both Intifadas. The Palestinians of the valley are so invisible to most Israelis that the poll indicates 34.5% thought Israelis formed an overwhelming majority in the valley, while in fact it’s the other way around, with Palestinians outnumbering Israelis 6 to 1.
Israel to demolish three buildings in illegal Migron outpost
Haaretz 12 June — State Attorney’s Office informs High Court that Ministry of Defense ‘will not put up with construction of new buildings in the outpost,’ and will be demolished within 45 days … The outpost was erected on private Palestinian land. In 2006, the Peace Now movement filed a petition on behalf of the land owners, demanding the outpost be evacuated and the land returned to its owners. After lengthy proceedings, the state reached a compromise with the Yesha Council, permitting it to build a neighborhood for the Migron residents in the Geva Binyamin settlement. The compromise was rejected by the residents … Barak’s order reflects a current trend in the Palestinian territories, whereby the Civil Administration demolishes buildings in outposts that are not backed by the Yesha Council [price-tag attack on some village to follow, no doubt]
Settler ‘price tag’ pogroms against Palestinians go under the radar / Yossi Gurvitz
972mag 11 June — With violence against Palestinians becoming commonplace and essentially condoned, it begins vanishing from the media and becomes a non-issue — When a post mortem on Israeli democracy takes place, there’s a good chance that the “Ha’Kol Ha’Yehudi” will be considered akin to Radio Rwanda, which encouraged and led the murderers to the victims during that country’s genocide … Ha’Kol Hayehudi reports steadily and enthusiastically about the pogroms carried out by settlers, under the code name of ‘price tag’ — referring to acts carried out against Palestinian in revenge of government actions harming the settler enterprise.
From: Interior Ministry Re: Ruth the Moabite
978mag 12 June — Last week, Israel celebrated Shavuot, the holiday on which we read the Book of Ruth. The following is a take on how correspondence between Anat Hoffman of the Israel Religious Action Center and the Ministry of Interior would look like if the Biblical Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David and Judaism’s first convert, were to be seeking legal status in Israel today. Chag sameach! [Happy Holiday!]
Israeli army, police
OCHA report: IOF injured 88 Palestinians June 1-7
RAMALLAH (PIC) 11 June — A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories says that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) injured 88 Palestinians during the first week of June 2011 most of them Naksa Day protesters. The alarmingly high number brings the count to 787 injuries this year, the OCHA report says, a 17 percent increase from the equivalent period in 2010. The majority of this week’s injuries (76) took place during June 5 protests at the Qalandiya checkpoint in East Jerusalem as the IOF fired gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at protesters.
The official report also marks an increase in violence by Jewish settlers that week, with 15 attacks that caused six injuries on Palestinians and the torching of a mosque in Al-Mughayyir village near Ramallah.
Israel kills Palestinian at Golan border
PressTV 12 June — Israeli military forces have opened fire on a group of Palestinian refugees in Syria’s Golan Heights, killing at least one and injuring five others, a Syrian state TV report says. According to the report, a number of Palestinian youth were targeted by Israeli forces after they approached the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights border line.
Bil‘in residents say regular incursions are intimidation tactic
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 June — The day after anti-wall protests in Bil‘in, Israeli forces enter the village causing anger amongst residents, leading to the throwing of rocks and glass bottles at patrol cars. The coordinator of the local popular committee against the wall, Ratib Abu Rahma, told Ma‘an that several military vehicles and infantrymen entered the village and started firing live ammunition, tear gas, and stun grenades at the young men. Abu Rahma condemned what he called a “provocation,” saying there was no reason for the troops to be in the village, and accusing the soldiers of attempting to intimidate villagers and keep them away from the weekly demonstrations against the wall.
Cop guilty of sex crime against Palestinian
Ynet 12 June — Within the framework of a plea bargain, the Kfar Saba Magistrates Court convicted Khader Eldin, a police officer from the Druze town of Daliat el-Carmel, of committing indecent acts against a Palestinian woman who requested an Israeli ID in order to be united with her husband. [and would he have been indicted if he’d been Jewish instead of Druze?]
Israel army detains 3 Palestinians in southern West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 June — Israeli armed forces detained two Palestinians from Bethlehem Sunday morning and officially summoned a third to the intelligence office for interrogation. According to witnesses, seven military jeeps invaded Al-Khas village east of Bethlehem and detained 21-year-old Ahmad Naji Salman after ransacking his home.
In a separate incident, Israeli forces also raided the As-Saff neighborhood of Bethlehem and detained 23-year-old Tamer Mahmoud Hamoud.
In Hebron, Israeli forces detained 22-year-old Saddam Abdul-Aziz from Beit Ummar in the north.
Israeli troops also stormed Al-Azza refugee camp near Bethlehem and delivered a warrant to a young man asking him to appear before the Etzion intelligence office.
Palestinian woman detained at Jenin checkpoint
JENIN (Ma‘an) 12 June — Israeli forces on Sunday detained a Palestinian woman at a checkpoint near Jenin in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security sources said. Kifah Imad Zeid, a university student, was trying to cross Umm Ar-Rayhan checkpoint into Israel with her father. Soldiers detained her and said the ID card and entry permit she presented did not belong to her, security officials told Ma‘an.
Meanwhile, three Israeli military jeeps stormed Zububa village in the northern West Bank, witnesses said. No injuries or detentions were reported.
Activism / Solidarity
Video: Nabi Saleh attempts to peacefully protest for its water rights and against the occupation / Jenny Levin
My first taste of ‘fire’ today, 10 June 2011, in solidarity with the pastoral Palestinian village of Nebi Saleh. Like everyone else, first-timers and seasoned demonstrators, I was shocked at the violence used by the soldiers against non-violent protesters – men, women and children, Palestinians, Israelis, and foreigners alike! I can confirm that there was absolutely no provocation on the part of the demonstrators. We’d hardly taken our first steps through this sleepy village when tear gas canisters started falling all around us, the air became filled with the acrid smoke, and our eyes, mouths and skin took the impact of the tear gas. Is this not chemical warfare? Personally, I can’t think of any other description that fits.
Fear and tear gas in Nabi Saleh: a coward’s story / Shoshana London Sappir
11 June — Today I had a small taste of confronting the Israeli occupation from the Palestinian side, and I confess that even my brief exposure was traumatic. Heeding the invitation of my friend Gershon Baskin for Israelis to join him at the weekly non-violent protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, in the hope of mitigating the brutal force the Israeli army exerts against the protesters, I set out early Friday morning with most of the things on the list Gershon sent me — food, water, sunscreen, a towel against tear gas – in my backpack, and a sense of foreboding in my heart … Gershon told us that at first a lot of Israelis had signed up for this action, but as the week went on they started cancelling out of fear. He said he didn’t blame them.
Flash mob – We will boycott Israel – Brisbane Australia 3 June 2011
Brisbane BDS Campaign activists surprise shoppers by performing “we will boycott Israel” to the tune of a popular music anthem in the Myer centre food court below the Seacret Dead Sea Cosmetics stall.[no dancing in this one – clapping while seated]
Forced to fish in swimming waters
[with photos] GAZA CITY (IPS) 12 June – In Gaza’s main port, beyond the newly-built memorial to the Freedom Flotilla martyrs, Gaza’s fishermen prepare to go out trawling at shallow depths in Palestinian waters. Other fishers stay on land to mend nets and fix boats damaged or destroyed by Israeli navy gunfire, shelling, water cannoning and even ramming. Such moves as the opening of Rafah have done nothing for Gaza’s fishermen. [at the end of the story, 5 links to other articles, with photos, about the plight of Gaza fishermen]
Despite paralysis, he works in wheelchair to support his poor family
Gaza (Alresalah.ps) 9 June — When ”hope of [for?] pain”‘ team visited Abo Alabed , a 50-year-old paralyzed man, received us with big smile, which reflected his happiness and hope of help by our visit that he still believes in. In spite of being disabled, Abo Alabed gets out every day in the early morning on his wheelchair, moving between markets and alleys to sell local newspapers. He has no work except this to feed his 11-member poor family. Abo Alabed, who got wounded in 2006 in Israeli shelling that targeted civilians including him, has been working in selling newspapers since 18 years, whereas he gets 30 shekels (some 8 dollars) every week which does not meet the minimum limit of his family’s basic life needs. [contains interview video (in Arabic) which shows his home]
Israel to allow limited goods into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 June — Israeli authorities will allow limited deliveries of goods and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, Palestinian officials said. Liaison officer Raed Fattouh told Ma‘an that Israeli officials decided to allow 230 truckloads of supplies to enter Gaza through the southernmost Kerem Shalom crossing.
Suppression of dissent
Israeli rights groups that cooperated with Goldstone may no longer get National Service volunteers
Haaretz 12 June — Association for Civil Rights, Amnesty, Public Committee Against Torture and Physicians for Human Rights could lose eligibility under new proposed criteria … Behind the initiative is MK Israel Hasson (Kadima) … Hasson accused the organizations of slandering the IDF and its officers … The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) was not surprised by the new initiative. According to Hagai El-Ad, Executive Director, “Hasson’s initiative joins in with Yisrael Beitenu’s Parliamentary Inquiry Committees and other recent legislative initiatives, in a similar spirit. Several MKs have chosen the persecution of human rights NGOs as a goal — just because these organizations fulfill their societal roles — to criticize government policy when it harms human rights.”
Volunteers protest National Service bill
Ynet 12 June – Israeli organizations which contributed to the Goldstone Report criticized a proposal by MK Israel Hasson (Kadima) to revoke their right to use National Service volunteers on Sunday. Some claimed a deliberate witch hunt is being held against them. “I feel persecuted,” says Dr. Yishai Menuchin, director of the Public Committee Against Torture. “The rightist MKs continue to persecute human rights groups. They want to prevent us from being heard.”
Political / Diplomatic / International news
Fatah wants Fayyad to stay Palestinian PM
RAMALLAH (AFP) 12 June — Fatah will seek to keep on prime minister Salam Fayyad to head a Palestinian unity government, an official said on Sunday, in a nomination immediately rejected by Hamas. The central committee of Fatah, headed by president Mahmud Abbas, agreed at a Saturday night meeting to throw their support behind Fayyad, a committee member told AFP on condition of anonymity … And on Sunday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri downplayed the nomination, warning that his movement had made its opposition clear. “Hamas informed Fatah during the last meeting of its rejection of the choice of Salam Fayyad to head the new government,” Zuhri told AFP.
Hamas: No role for Fayyad in unity govt
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 June …”Hamas will not agree on Salam Fayyad as a prime minister, or even a minister in the upcoming unity government,” Al-Bardawil said in a statement … “Hamas’ activists and leaders have had enough suffering, enough torture during the four years Fayyad served as prime minister. He is also responsible for accumulated debts the Palestinian people have.” He said the nomination of Fayyad crossed a “red line” and that his “presence provokes and hurts the Palestinians.” Fatah and Hamas are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Tuesday, as the two groups try to agree the make-up of a transitional government mandated by a unity deal they inked last month.
Palestinian Fatah movement removes once-powerful official, charging corruption
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 12 June — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has booted a once-powerful official from his Fatah movement. Abbas announced Sunday that Fatah’s central committee has dismissed Mohammed Dahlan. The statement referred to “criminal, financial and other charges” made against Dahlan by an investigative committee. The move marks another stage in the fall of Dahlan, once the powerful security chief in Gaza, a Western darling and a potential successor to Abbas.Dahlan lost Gaza to Hamas forces in 2007 [if you’ve never seen Hamas’s 2007 ‘Lion King’ video starring Dahlan as the Chief Rat, see it here]
Erekat to diplomats: Peace talks, UN move not exclusive
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 12 June — In a series of meetings with UN, US and French officials, PLO leader Saeb Erekat stressed the centrality of the 1967 borders in both continued efforts toward peace talks and a simultaneous move to garner UN support. “Settlement construction must end and a two-state solution must be based on the 1967 borders,” Erekat insisted during meetings with UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry, US General Consul Daniel Rubenstein and French Consul General Frederic Desagneaux.
Palestinian PM supports Israel’s Stanley Fischer for IMF top job
Haaretz 12 June — Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer has a new and unexpected supporter in his bid to head the International Monetary Fund: the Palestinian prime minister. Salam Fayyad says Stanley Fischer would make a “great managing director” for the world financial body and is a “superb human being.”
European Jewish Congress lobbies against unilateral Palestinian state
JTA 12 June — The European Jewish Congress has contacted leaders on the continent in a bid to prevent recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state in the United Nations. Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, wrote a letter to all European heads of state, foreign affairs ministers and EU leaders explaining the problems with recognizing a Palestinian state when the issue comes before the United Nations in September.
Egypt detains Israeli man on suspicion of spying
Reuters 12 June — State news agency reports that the man will be detained for 15 days on suspicion of trying to recruit Egyptian youth to act against the authorities … MENA said the man worked for Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.
Shas members meet Palestinian officials
Ynet 11 June – Minister of Religious Affairs Yakov Margi, of the Shas Party, took part in a two-day seminar recently attended by other party members and a number of former Palestinian officials. The seminar, which was organized by the Geneva Initiative, included a tour of the future separation fence near Jerusalem. “We didn’t change the world, but it is definitely important to talk,” said former Palestinian negotiator Sufian Abu Zaida.
US investing $9 million in Israeli alternative fuels start-up companies
Haaretz 12 June — A joint Israeli-American venture developing alternative fuels from cellulosic feedstocks has scored a $9 million investment by the U.S. Department of Energy … The investment by the Energy Department is part of the Obama administration’s plan to reduce America’s dependence on oil.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood attends Gaza funeral of Hamas leader
12 June — Representing the brotherhood were former legislator Hazem Faruq and a member of the group’s policy office, Sa’d Al-Huseini.
Red Crescent medics treat settler woman after crash
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 June — Medical staff with the Palestinian Red Crescent treated a settler woman Sunday afternoon when she was injured in a car accident near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem … After receiving primary care from Palestinian medics, who were called onto the scene by residents who witnessed the car crash, an Israeli medical team was called in to transfer her to hospital.
Analysis / Opinion
The quiet corner of the Mideast (Surprise)
WASHINGTON (NYTimes) 11 June — Helene Cooper — In the Arab democracy movement, there is a dog that has not yet barked. And whether or not it does — and how loudly — is causing a lot of heartburn among American policy makers. Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans and Syrians gathered in their respective city squares and neighborhood streets to demand democratic rights, and the Western world cheered, if with varying degrees of diplomatic or military support. But by and large, so far, the Palestinians in the West Bank, who see Israel as the source of their grievances, have not. Yet. … “If you’re looking for a game-changer, that would be it,” says Robert Malley, the program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group. “At a time when the entire world, including President Obama, is applauding nonviolent popular protests from Cairo to Tehran, it would put Israel in an acute dilemma about how to react if tens of thousands of Palestinians started organizing protests in the West Bank, or marching on Israeli settlements or on Jerusalem demanding an end to the Israeli military occupation.”
Is the Palestinian Authority doing enough to stop honor killings? / Amira Hass
Haaretz 12 June — Mahmoud Abbas recently announced his intent to crack down on those who murder women to preserve ‘family honor.’ But women’s advocacy groups say the legal changes he proposes are too little and too late … Women’s advocacy groups have found that men exploit the “family honor” clause in order to murder women in their families over disagreements involving inheritance or the desire of a woman to marry someone of her own free choice, as well as to conceal acts of rape or incest. The Israel Defense Forces, which in a series of military orders changed various articles in the Jordanian and Mandatory laws that were in force in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, left in place those laws that discriminate against women.
US TV: CBS ’60 minutes’: Jerusalem, City of David
5 June — Lesley Stahl reports from under the city of Jerusalem from a controversial archaeological dig that has become a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [Sam Bahour adds: If you are interested in knowing more about this settler organization, ELAD, see this excellent documentary: http://www.eastsidestory.ps/ ]
Film trailer: A Third Way – Settlers and Palestinians as Neighbors
10 June — A feature documentary in-progress: about courageous Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank, who decide, whatever the future holds, they need to get to know the strangers who live so close to them. Please support us finishing this film by contributing here: http://goo.gl/0qJcq