and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israel plans hundreds more settler homes
Reuters 18 July — Israel announced plans on Monday to build another 294 homes in two Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and the Palestinians said the move hardened their resolve to seek statehood recognition from the United Nations. Israel’s Housing Ministry linked the new construction to a nationwide plan to lower housing prices, which have skyrocketed in recent years, and appease protesters demanding affordable living space.
Tenders published for six West Bank factories
JPost 17 July — The Lands Authority last week published tenders for six factories in the Mishor Adumim Industrial Park located near [no, in] the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement in the West Bank, according to Peace Now. It said that five of those tenders were first issued in 2008 when Ehud Olmert was the prime minister, but that the projects had not gotten off the ground.
Palestinian Silwan family fined $10,000, face home demolition
IMEMC 18 July — The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported Monday that an Israeli court fined a Palestinian family $10,000 for building its Silwan home without a permit. Widad Tawil, the owner of the home, has been given until October to get a permit for the house from the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem. In the event they cannot do so she and her eight children will face demolition of their family home. Palestinians complain that is impossible to obtain permission to build housing from the Israeli authorities. Many face no choice but to build without official permission opening themselves up to the risk of a large fine, demolition as well as the bill for the demolition.
Police question youths at Jerusalem summer camp
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 July — Israeli police stormed a summer camp for children in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied east Jerusalem on Monday and interrogated campers, a Fatah official said. Munir Al-Jaghoub, spokesman for Fatah recruitment, says the camp is run by the Sheikh Jarrah Women’s Forum. About 50 children aged 12-17 joined the camp, called “Sheikh Jarrah will remain steadfast,” he added.
Police: Settlers stab Palestinian farmers
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 July — A group of Israeli settlers attacked three Palestinian shepherds near Jerusalem on Monday, police said. The shepherds were tending to their sheep on a hillside near Mikhmas east of Jerusalem when they came under a “brutal” attack by the ultra-Orthodox settlers who beat and stabbed them, Palestinian police said in a statement. They were evacuated to hospital where medics said two victims sustained serious wounds, police said. The statement did not elaborate on their identities or say at which hospital they received treatment.
3 settlers detained on suspicion of attacking Palestinians
JPost 18 July — Three settlers from the Ramat Migron area have been detained and questioned over an incident earlier on Monday in which three Palestinians were assaulted, Judea and Samaria police said. In the attack, one person was seriously injured and another moderately injured. They were taken to the Ramallah hospital by the Red Crescent, police added. “We have launched an investigation and detained an adult and two minors,” a police spokeswoman said. “The circumstances of the incident are being examined,” she added.
Jewish settlers bulldoze Palestinian land
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 18 July — Jewish settlers bulldozed Palestinian land in Sa‘eer village, north of Al-Khalil city, on Sunday under protection of Israeli occupation forces, local sources said. The city’s research center said in a statement on Monday that settlers from a nearby settlement bulldozed a large area of agricultural land. It said that the bulldozing took place without prior notice, quoting owner of the land as saying that the settlers withdrew from the area when citizens started to gather near them. He urged the media and human rights groups to be present in the event the settlers returned as expected on Monday morning.
Israeli forces raid village near Nablus
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 July — Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank village of Qaryut south of Nablus on Sunday firing gunshots into the air as well as stun grenades and tear gas canisters. The village was under curfew until late into the night. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that the invading troops shouted through loudspeakers using foul language and threatening to continue raiding the village for three days. “Israeli forces ransacked several homes beating its residents. A woman and a disabled man sustained bruises,” a local said. A minor, Ubada Mahmoud Hussein, 13, was detained after he was beaten by the soldiers. Israeli authorities have recently confiscated about 200,000 square meters of the village’s agricultural land to expand an illegal settlement outpost in the area.
Two Qassam members wounded in Israeli air raid
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 18 July — Two members of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, were wounded at dawn Monday in an Israeli air strike on Khuza‘a to the east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip. Spokesman for medical services Adham Abu Salmiya told the PIC reporter that one of the injured was in a serious condition, and that both were taken to the European Hospital in Khan Younis city. Local sources told the PIC reporter that an Israeli drone plane bombed an advanced observation post for the Qassam fighters wounding two of them. Three Palestinians were killed and more than 20 were wounded in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip over the past few days.
Gaza paper: IDF scattered warning flyers
Ynet 18 July — Flyers said to caution residents to keep away from security fence, request info on tunnel smugglers
Gaza power authority accuses Fayyad of withholding NIS 80m in entitlements
GAZA (PIC) 18 July — Gaza Energy Authority head Kanaan Obeid has accused Abbas-appointed prime minister Salam Fayyad of withholding an estimated NIS 80 million (US $23.25 million) in funds that should have been used to pay off the debts of the Gaza electricity distribution company.
Gaza exports stopped at the border / Eva Bartlett
[photos] GAZA CITY (IPS) 16 July — Waddah Bsaiso is ready to export, if the Israeli-imposed siege would allow him. He has the experience, the contacts, and the products, but is prevented by Israel’s strict ban on virtually all Gazan exports, save a token amount of flowers periodically allowed out of the Strip. “We started a furniture factory in 1996 and over the years exported to different European markets, as well as to Arab nations and the occupied West Bank,” Bsaiso says. Sitting at one of his tables, a dark wood dining table with a natural finish, Bsaiso says that his business, Bsaiso and Alami Company limited, formerly netted two million dollars per year. “Now we are lucky if we can earn 400,000 dollars per year,” he says … Despite Israel’s declared ‘easing’ in June 2010 of the total siege on Gaza, in June 2011 the World Food Programme (WFP) reported that “only 5% of the pre-blockade export volume was reached from November 2010 to April 2011.”
Palestine – ‘Occupation incorporated’ / Tim Marshall
Sky News blog 18 July — An African UN worker in the West Bank recently remarked to a mutual friend ‘When people see me coming they see a walking ATM machine’ … The Palestinian Authority likes to boast about the West Bank’ s 8% economic growth, so does the Israeli government, which uses it to suggest that a prosperous Palestine would make an easier negotiating partner. They also know the Palestinians have more lose if a 3rd Intifada breaks out. What they fail to remind us is that there are well over 200 NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza, and 30% of the GDP here comes from international aid. Palestinians are among the most foreign aid funded people in the world and the place is awash with money … No Palestinian business can compete with NGOs which routinely triple what a local firm would pay. Many NGOs fork out ‘danger money’ and even ‘hardship payments’ to both local and international staff which further undermines the local private businesses. So the NGOs get the brightest and the highest paid, and the private firms get the rest but without the tax exemptions.
Freedom Flotilla II
French flotilla boat en route to Gaza
AFP 18 July — Pro-Palestinian activists on a French yacht which sailed from a Greek island over the weekend are expected to reach the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, organizers said … “We hope to arrive between 12 and 2, we don’t want to go during the night,” he told AFP, adding that the yacht was carrying a “symbolic message of peace and hope and love.” Israel on Monday vowed to block any attempt to reach Gaza by sea. “If this boat is on its way to Gaza, which is a breach of international maritime law, and tries a provocative act, yes, we shall intercept it,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told reporters in Jerusalem. “But I assure you we shall try our best to make those on board very comfortable.” On board are 16 people, including three crew members and three journalists, among them Amira Hass, a veteran columnist with the left-leaning newspaper Haaretz.
New film investigates Israel’s military justice system in the West Bank / Joseph Dana
[with video excerpt, 12:31] 972mag 18 July — According to the press release for the film, “The Law in These Parts explores the four-decade-old military legal system in the Occupied Territories. Since Israel conquered the territories in the 1967 War, the Israeli Defense Forces legal corps have created and implemented thousands of military orders and laws, established military courts, sentenced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. This complex system which is invisible to most Israelis is very present in Palestinian daily life and is unique in the entire world. Till today, the IDF legal professionals face judicial and moral dilemmas as they develop and uphold a system of long-term ‘rule by law’ of an occupied population by an occupying army, all under the supervision of the Israeli High Court of Justice. Using interviews, archival footage and deep historical research, this film explores the formal legal mechanisms of Israel’s forty-year military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
UK court releases Raed Salah as government case flounders / Asa Winstanley
EI 18 July — After nearly three weeks in British jails, influential Palestinian activist and religious leader Sheikh Raed Salah was conditionally released today. He had been granted bail in the High Court on Friday, where The Electronic Intifada watched as the British government’s case against him floundered. Leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Salah had been on a speaking tour in the UK when he was abruptly arrested on the way back to his London hotel on the night of 28 June. The full legal case against a government order banning him from the country is likely to be heard in September … In a press release, Daud Abdullah, director of the Middle East Monitor (MEMO), who had invited Salah to Britain to give talks to politicians and academics, said: “We are confident that the release of Sheikh Raed will be the beginning of a successful attempt to exonerate him from the character slurs and allegations that have appeared in some sections of the media.“
Video: Palestinian minors jailed for throwing stones
Al Jazeera’s Tom Ackerman reports from the occupied West Bank. Time: 2:14
Israeli court extends administrative detention of Palestinian man for 4th time
NABLUS (PIC) 18 July — An Israeli court extended the period of administrative detention of Palestinian prisoner Ihab al-Qawasimi for four more months for the fifth time since he was first arrested. Qawasimi was detained while trying to cross borders to Jordan in August 2009 as he wanted to attend his uncle’s funeral. The arrest comes amid an Israeli campaign to detain Palestinians after failing to pin an indictment on them. The Ahrar prisoner studies center said the number of Palestinians with extended periods of administrative detention is increasing by the month.
Israel ‘detains Egyptian children’ in Beersheba
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 18 July — An Israeli court has ordered the detention of three Egyptian children no older than 14 in Beersheba prison after they allegedly crossed into Israel illegally, an attorney said Sunday. Lawyer Asmahan Abed Al-Hadi’s request to free one of the children was turned down, she said. The children were detained near the border with Egypt, Al-Hadi explained. She said Israel enforces a 1954 law in such matters involving infiltrators from “enemy states”, but has not amended the law after the peace agreement with Egypt in 1978. On the other hand, when the Egyptians seize Israeli infiltrators on the Egyptian side near the border, they usually just send them back to the Israeli side, Al-Hadi added.
Jawwal employee seized at checkpoint
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 18 July — Israeli forces detained on Monday morning a young man at a military checkpoint while he was on his way from his hometown of Nablus to work in Ramallah, relatives said. Ghassan Shatawi, 25, was detained en route to the Jawwal telecommunications company in Ramallah, where he works. He was taken to an unknown destination, his family said. This is Shatawi’s fifth arrest, his relatives say.
Detainee Mona on hunger strike to protest isolation
JENIN (PIC) 18 July — Palestinian detainee Mona Qa‘dan has been on hunger strike for the past week to protest her isolation since her arrest on 31/5/2011 in Israeli occupation jails. Her relatives told the PIC reporter on Sunday that Mona, a senior official in the Islamic Jihad movement, was on her sixth day of hunger strike after being held in isolation for the past 50 days in Talmond jail for women. They said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) promised during her hearing on 11/7 to take her out of isolation but did not live up to its promise. The Israeli court in Salem charged Qa‘dan with membership in an outlawed movement and chairmanship of an outlawed society. Qa‘dan is the chairwoman of Bara‘a society for Muslim women in Jenin, which was closed by the IOA on the same day she was detained. Qa‘dan was previously held in Israeli custody for three years on six separate occasions.
Political / Diplomatic / International news
Syria recognizes Palestinian state
DAMASCUS (AFP) 18 July — The Syrian foreign ministry said Monday that Damascus recognizes a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital within the borders in effect prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.
Norway backs Palestinian path to UN vote
OSLO (Reuters) 18 July — Norway, host of the 1993 Palestinian-Israeli peace accords, said on Monday it was “perfectly legitimate” for Palestinians to take their case for statehood to the United Nations for voting in September. “We will consider very carefully the proposed text that’s to be put forward by the Palestinians in the coming weeks,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas beside him at a press conference.
EU presses Israel, Palestinians ahead of UN vote
BRUSSELS (AFP) 18 July — European foreign ministers pressed Israel and the Palestinians on Monday to return to the negotiating table before a UN vote on recognising a Palestinian state, which could reveal divisions within the EU. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton sought to play down the risks involved in any UN resolution on a Palestinian state which is expected to be presented at the United Nations in September.
Israeli minister says Palestinians losing UN bid
JERUSALEM (AP) 18 July — International support for a planned Palestinian declaration of independence at the U.N. in September is waning, in large part because of intense Israeli lobbying against the initiative, a senior Israeli diplomat claimed Monday. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who has personally led Israel’s lobbying effort, said he does not expect to prevent a pro-Palestinian resolution from passing in the U.N. General Assembly, where it would have little more than symbolic value. But he believes a “moral majority” of Western countries will not support the Palestinians, further limiting the impact of any resolution.
Report: Israel to get 6th submarine from Germany
Ynet 18 July — German defense minister authorized transfer of advanced vessel able to carry, launch nuclear weapons after years of delays, Der Spiegel reports
Arab MK stripped of further parliamentary privileges for role in Gaza flotilla
Haaretz 18 July — Balad MK Hanin Zuabi will no longer be allowed to address Knesset or vote in committee debates; last year, she lost her diplomatic passport, entitlement to aid for legal assistance, and right to visit countries without ties to Israel.
Lieberman blasts PM, Likud for refusing to probe left-wing groups
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud ministers for their opposition to a bill calling for parliamentary investigations into left-wing organizations. Speaking during Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Lieberman said the bodies slated for investigation were not left-wing groups but terror organizations … Lieberman enumerated the organizations he wanted to see investigated. They included the Arab legal-aid center, Adalah, the Yesh Din human rights group, Breaking the Silence, a group established by Israel Defense Force veterans to provide testimony about military service in the occupied territories, and the conscientious objectors’ group, New Profile.
Leftist groups to sue Lieberman
Ynet 18 July — Adalah, Yesh Din, and Breaking the Silence say they will sue foreign minister for libel after he called them ‘terror groups and terror supporters’. ‘Comments constitute mendacious, wild, and thuggish incitement,’ groups say
‘Hollywood producer was an Israeli nuclear agent’
Haaretz 18 July — According to a new biography, Arnon Milchan, close friend of Israeli prime ministers and Hollywood stars, was recruited by Shimon Peres to purchase equipment for Israel’s alleged nuclear program … One of the major sources for the book was Israeli President Shimon Peres, a close friend of Milchan. “I am the one who recruited him,” Peres is quoted as saying.
Analysis / Opinion / Interviews
‘EU must do more than pay lip service’: Nariman Tamimi interviewed
Linah Alsaafin Nabi Saleh 18 July — The first time I went to Nabi Saleh someone pointed out Nariman Tamimi to me. I had already figured out she was the imprisoned grassroots activist Bassem Tamimi’s wife, and as we politely exchanged greetings I blurted out, “Your face is so familiar, like I know I’ve seen you before.”“ “Probably at one of the protests in Ramallah or Qalandiya, I’m always demonstrating,” came the nonchalant reply … There’s a running joke in the village that Nariman unofficially adopts female activists as her daughters. Now as we sit at her kitchen table, chatting like old friends, it’s clear that she must not be characterized as just Bassem’s wife. She’s a mother of four studying international law and she’s been instrumental in documenting every Friday protest. At one point during the interview, Nariman looks straight at me with her clear blue eyes and declares, “I, Nariman Tamimi, was injured, arrested, had my son injured, a demolition order placed on my house and my husband arrested. But despite all of that I believe that having inculcated peace in my children, the kind that stems from the inside, it will give away to fruitful results. I can’t shout that I’m for peace while holding up a gun.”
A Palestinian East Jerusalemite’s view of the joint march / Jalal Abukhater
972mag 17 July — The writer, a resident of East Jerusalem, does not favor a two-state solution, but the joint demonstration did leave him hopeful that Palestinians and Israelis can work together for a better future … I decided to attend this demonstration as an observer because I believed in the goodness of their short-term goals standing in solidarity with Palestinians living in threatened East Jerusalem neighborhoods like Shekh Jarrah, Silwan, Ras al-Amoud, A-Tur, and others and of course against illegal West Bank settlements. I decided to overlook the actual purpose they decided to march through the streets of Jerusalem. I simply despised the idea that many people there carried posters saying “Two People, Two States, One Future” That is an oxymoron. Three quarters of the Palestinian citizens in Gaza are refugees expelled from their homes back in 1948, and similar is the case in the West Bank. How would two separated peoples each living on a side of a border holding hostility to each other would have one future? If they reconcile they’d live together, or the idea of one future would be out of reach.