In West Bank, settler violence seen on the rise
HUWARA, West Bank (Reuters) 14 July – Scorched hillsides and charred olive groves near Nablus pinpoint the latest acts of arson by hardline Jewish settlers against Palestinians who say they are ever more the victims of such attacks in the West Bank. “The olive tree is the only source of income for farmers,” said Mohammad Zeban, a Palestinian farmer, lamenting the damage inflicted on hundreds of olive trees by a recent fire near the village of Huwara. “They want to annihilate us.” Settler-related incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries and damage to property are up by 57 percent this year, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which documents violence in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian officials say that is a worrying sign of deepening hostility which they fear could trigger wider violence as hardline settlers increasingly appear to be a law unto themselves and frustration grows over the evaporating prospects for peace … To Palestinians, the increasing frequency and audacity of settler attacks is an inevitable result of the support their movement enjoys from a right-wing Israeli government whose foreign minister is himself a settler … Palestinians have been injured by settlers this year at double the rate of 2010, he said. So far this year, 178 Palestinians have been stoned, run down or shot at by settlers, compared to a total of 176 for the whole of 2010. Three Palestinians have been killed by settlers this year.
Dramatic spike in settler violence sadly predictable / Yousef Munayyer
For the past 18 months we’ve been working at the Palestine Center to analyze Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians and their property. We’ve put together the most comprehensive database of Israeli settler violence available and continue to add data to our records. In April of this year we presented an analysis covering the period of September 2004-February 2011, and at the time I noted an dramatic trend: “The important news is this. A very strong, noticeable increase in Israeli settler violence over the past five years, and mind you 2011 is on pace to beat 2010. We started with an extremely violent two months of 2011 and it shows no indication of slowing down.” … The troubling part is that, when you study settler violence over time you realize that the most dramatic spike that comes on an annual basis is during the olive harvest season — at the end of October. With a 57% increase in violence by July, the number of violent incidents against Palestinian civilians may well double last year’s numbers.
And more news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israel’s interior minister seeks to extend ban on family unification
Haaretz 14 July — Order stipulates that unification between Israeli citizens and Palestinian partners to be prohibited except in cases where Palestinian male partner is over 36 or Palestinian female is over 26; order significantly limits citizens’ ability to live together with Palestinian spouse — Interior Minister Eli Yishai is expected to ask the government next week for a six month extension of the order banning family unification. This order significantly limits the ability of a citizen to live together with a Palestinian spouse. The order’s practical meaning is the prevention of unification of hundreds of families, particularly Bedouin ones in the Negev. Some Knesset members have called it a draconian order and a threat to civil liberties.
Yovel outpost: Israel retroactively approves theft of private land
[with photos] B’Tselem 14 July — The Yovel outpost, established in 1998, lies west of Qaryut and south of the Eli settlement. The 12 permanent dwellings in the outpost were built without a permit, without an outline plan, and partially on private Palestinian land. The declaration of state land was made in an attempt to approve retroactively the construction and to overcome the claims made in petitions to the High Court of Justice by the Palestinian landowners together with Israeli organizations. In September 2005, Peace Now petitioned the High Court in objection to the illegal construction in the outpost, and in April 2009, Yesh Din petitioned the court regarding the construction of the access road.
House arrest: a Palestinian prison / Meg Walsh
Palestine (Pal Telegraph) 15 July — The Israeli settlement of Givon Ha’hadasha is built alarmingly close to the Palestinian village of Bet Ijza. The settlement is built practically on top of this village because the Jews believe that biblically, this is the site where the sun stood still for Joshua while his enemies were defeated. In this land, too often the beliefs of the past trump the realities of the present. The Ghrayeb family, who refused to leave their home in order for the settlement to be built, even after threats of eviction and demolition, live amidst the Jewish enclave. However, they are separated from it on three sides by a seven meter high metal fence. In the one entry that they have, there are two surveillance cameras — one on the house and the other facing the opposite direction observing anyone coming toward the house. With only one gate, the family is at the mercy of the Israeli army who can close it at any time, for any reason. At one point, they were prisoners inside their home for an entire month.
Issawiya of East Jerusalem resists home demolition
Jerusalem/PNN Exclusive/By SWK 14 July – White plumes of smoke streak across the sky saturating the air with tear gas, a common sight in the East Jerusalem town of Issawiya [Eissawiya, Isawiya, 'Aissawiya, etc. العيسوية ] that has become notorious for resisting home demolitions … Israeli zoning policies allow for Palestinians to build on just 13% of the land in East Jerusalem. This 13% is already densely inhabited and doesn’t leave much room for new infrastructure or expansion for existing residence. The Jerusalem Municipalities website states “The Municipality of Jerusalem demolishes buildings or parts of buildings for reasons of urban planning, not for security matters.” The website also claims that houses are only demolished when not yet inhabited and when built without a permit on land that interferes with public plans for infrastructure like schools, parks and roads. Citizens of East Jerusalem say this is not the case. Issa Nasser, a resident of Issawiya, tells PNN of his cousin’s house situated between preexisting homes that was demolished 3 times. On the third demolition the man threw himself from the top floor resulting in permanent paralysis and is now confined to a wheelchair. “We apply for permits” Nasser states, “But they are not given to us, we have children, what can we do?” … 94% of all housing permits requested are denied. Palestinians are forced to build illegally because they are not granted permits, granting permits would interfere with the plan set out by the Jerusalem Municipality entitled Jerusalem 2000. This long term plan for the city openly intends to keep the Palestinian population in Jerusalem at 30% by 2020, a statistic that seems unlikely at the current growth rate of the Palestinian population.
Palestinian house demolition (Part 1)
Jeff Halper of ICAHD in 2008, using a four times demolished house in Anata, East Jerusalem as an example — very affecting Interview with homeowner Selim: “I have seven kids, and me and my wife – we are nine people living in this house … At 2 o’clock in the afternoon we are eating our lunch, and suddenly I see our room surrounded by soldiers … More than 200 soldiers came to kick up out! … It’s not your house now, you have 15 minutes to take your belongings and family out…” [Excellent explanation by Halper of the 'quiet transfer' going on. Parts 2 and 3 available under YouTube's 'suggestions' at right of video.]
VIDEO: Issawiya home demolition
AIC 13 July 2010 – [there are dozens of videos of demolitions on YouTube, most watched only a few times. But it's necessary to see something like this to understand the human cost, and to see just how coldly and mechanically the destruction is carried out]
VIDEO: Issawiya, a suffocated Palestinian village in East Jerusalem
AIC from 2008 — [shows the geography of the village's problem] From atop the hillside, the crux of Issawiya’s problems becomes evident, its decisive location. Circling around you see the Israeli military base, the tower of Hebrew University, the Jewish settlement of French Hill, and an Israeli military detention center. Next to the detention center is the Ring Road, vast land appropriated from Issawiya to build the E-1 settlement bloc, and in the distance, the imposing Jewish settlement of Maale Adummim. In the middle of all this, cramped and constricted, lies Issawiya.
IOA imposes $900,000 in fines on Jerusalemite children in past 10 months
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 14 July — The Israeli occupation authority has imposed 900,000 dollars in fines on Jerusalemite children in Silwan for throwing stones at Israelis vehicles and settlers over the past ten months. Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the committee for the defense of Silwan real-estate, said in a press release on Wednesday that the Israeli courts blackmail the Silwan inhabitants by imposing heavy fines on their children, because they know the families would be forced to pay the fines to secure the release of their children. He said that many Jerusalemites go in debt to secure the money while others could not and their sons remain in jail.
Report: Israeli opposition leader visits Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 July — Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni visited the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan Friday in an action deemed provocative by local residents. Israeli forces initiated unprecedented closures in the area, blocking streets and entrances across the neighborhood, and maintaining a visible presence locals told Ma‘an.
Tzipi Livni was reportedly visiting the ‘City of David’ before heading to a settlement outpost in the AL-Bustan district. According to witnesses Livni was guided around by a member of the Elad association, an organization actively involved in settlement projects in the Silwan neighborhood.
VIDEO: Soldiers stand by while settlers attack ‘Asira al-Qibliya
B’Tselem 14 July — On 3 July ’11, at midday, settlers attacked the village of ‘Asira al-Qibliya, claiming villagers had started a fire near the Yitzhar settlement. The attackers were armed with sticks and pieces of piping, some had covered their faces, and two carried weapons. They threw stones towards the village and broke some twenty olive trees. They injured one Palestinian by beating him. Villagers came to the spot and responded by throwing stones at the attackers.
Settlers torch Palestinian land near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 15 July — Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Yizhar set fire to Palestinian land on Friday near the village of Burin, south of Nablus. “A group of settlers from Yizhar had set fire to dozens of Dunams in that area,” a member of Burin’s agricultural committee, Belal Eid, told Ma‘an Friday. Residents of Burin and members from the Palestinian civil defense crew are reportedly still trying to extinguish the fire but settlers are preventing them from reaching the land, he added.
Report: Israeli commander warns of conflict between settlers and army
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 July — An Israeli army commander has warned about the risk of armed conflict between settlers and the army in the West Bank, Israeli daily Maariv reported Friday. “It is likely that a settler would open fire on the soldiers while evacuating the outpost of Metzeh Yetzahar, that it will be happen by the end of 2011 is not imagination, and that the danger in the book of the King’s Torah is not only a theoretical discussion,” Netsan Arlen reportedly warned during an army meeting on the situation in the West Bank. Arlen was highly critical of extremist religious texts such as the ‘King’s Torah’ saying that “this book is not theoretical for those people but it’s clear in torching mosques which is an issue that would ignite a huge fire in the region.”
Barak considers emergency laws against rightists
Ynet 14 July — Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday instructed his legal adviser to look into the possibility of using old emergency laws to curb rightist attacks on IDF soldiers … Some 10 days ago, Brigadier General Alon’s vehicle was attacked by several youths at Tapuach Junction in the West Bank. Alon left the scene after right-wing activists encircled his car and began kicking it, while resorting to slurs and chanting “traitor.”
PCHR Weekly Report 7-13 July: Civilian killed, woman, child wounded by Israeli forces
IMEMC 15 July — …Israeli forces conducted 47 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 12 Palestinian civilians, including a child. In addition, Israeli forces abducted 4 Palestinian civilians at military checkpoints in the West Bank … There are approximately 585 permanent roadblocks, and manned and unmanned checkpoints across the West Bank. At least 65% of the main roads that lead to 18 Palestinian communities in the West Bank are closed or fully controlled by Israeli forces. There are approximately 500 kilometers of restricted roads across the West Bank. In addition, approximately one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is inaccessible to Palestinians without permits issued by Israeli forces … Israeli settlement activities:
Israeli forces have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property. [ Complete report, which also contains details of movement of both people and freight through Beit Hanoun (Erez) and Rafah crossings]
Army gas canisters set fire to Palestinian land
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 July — Israeli soldiers fired gas canisters at residents in the town of Qatana, near Jerusalem, on Thursday, causing fires which spread through olive and fig groves, reports say. The fire also damaged vineyards and the electricity grid in the area, a spokesman from the town’s police department Ashraf Shamasneh said, noting that the Israeli army did not contact the fire department at any point. Palestinian firefighters were unable to reach all areas affected by the fire, and several homes in the town were damaged. Local witnesses said that Israeli forces deliberately set fire to properties, some even using their own lighters, as soldiers had threatened to burn property if they were harassed by residents, reports say … This attack is the second within days in which gas canisters were fired on the residents’ homes and agricultural lands.
Israeli military conducts investigation on killing of Ibrahim Sarhan
IMEMC 15 July — The Israeli military will be investigating the killing of twenty-one year old Ibrahim Omar Sarhan on Wednesday July 13, 2011, for alleged wrongdoings. Israeli military sources said that an investigation does not mean the Israeli military were violating the operations rules of engagement, according to the Jerusalem Post … Major General Avichai Mandelblit announced in April that the Israeli Military would launch a new policy where immediate investigations would take place on killings of unarmed Palestinian civilians not suspected in terrorist activities.
Palestinians: Five wounded as IAF jets strike Gaza tunnels
Haaretz 15 July 09:03 — In the last three days, the IAF has carried out six airstrikes in Gaza in response to homemade missiles fired by militants toward southern Israel — Israel Air Force strikes left at least five Palestinians wounded and one missing early Friday in the Gaza Strip, witnesses and officials in the territory said. The witnesses said that IAF fighter jets struck a smuggling tunnel under the border between southern Gaza and Egypt, where five people were wounded … Rescue teams rushed to the scene and sent three people with moderate wounds and two with minor injuries by ambulance to the nearby Rafah hospital, Gaza emergency chief Adham Abu Selmeyeh said. Earlier, IAF jets carried out two airstrikes late Thursday against another smuggling tunnel and an empty area inside Gaza.
Four Palestinians, including two children, wounded in Israeli airstrike
GAZA, (PIC) 15 July 20:14– Israeli occupation aircraft carried out a number of airstrikes late Thursday night against targets in the Gaza Strip wounding four Palestinians, including two children. Spokesman for the emergency services, Adham Abu Selmeyya, told PIC that that two children were wounded when occupation aircraft targeted an open area near Makousi residential towers in Gaza City and two other citizens were wounded as a result of another airstrike that targeted the central Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said that F16’s fired a rocket at a resistance training grounds to the south west of Gaza City, while an Apache fired at another position to the west of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. A third position to the north west of Gaza City was also targeted, but no casualties were reported as a result of these three airstrikes.
Israeli airstrike injures 5 at Rafah border
RAFAH (Ma‘an) 15 July 02:26 — Five Gazans were injured Thursday and a sixth is reported missing after an Israeli warplane attacked a tunnel at the Egyptian-Palestinian border near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The attack took place at dawn, local witness said … Israeli planes were reportedly targeting the transfer of cement and building materials into the Gaza Strip. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that the attack was in response to “the firing of rockets at residents in southern Israel” and terrorist activity at the Rafah border. It is understood that the tunnel was destroyed in the attack.
Unknown military faction fires projectile at Sderot
GAZA (Ma‘an) 14 July 17:49 — A previously unknown armed faction announced Thursday that it had fired a homemade projectile at the Israeli city of Sderot from the Gaza Strip. The faction calls itself “Sarayah Palestine”, a statement received by Ma‘an said. It launched the projectile at 7.00 a.m Thursday. The attack was in response to Israeli aggression and threats against the Palestinian people, the statement added.
6 rockets hit Israel; IDF strikes Gaza
Ynet 15 July 00:29 — Qassams fired from Strip explode in open areas in southern Israel throughout day; no injuries reported. IDF reportedly strikes Hamas targets late Thursday
IDF condemns Hamas for failing to halt Gaza rocket fire
Haaretz 15 July — Israel Defense Forces officials issued a statement Friday, condemning Hamas for not taking action to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, shortly after Chief of Staff Benny Gantz called an emergency meeting to discuss the increased violence in southern Israel
VIDEO: International solidarity boat crew attacked off Gaza coast / Hama Waqum
Mondoweiss/CPSGAZA 14 July — I am writing this exactly twelve hours after I was attacked by an Israeli warship, off the Gaza coast. As a member of the Civil Peace Service, I board the Oliva boat around twice a week to monitor Gazan fishermen’s human rights. But today, it wasn’t just the fishermen who were targeted. We approached a cluster of hasaka fishing boats that were being attacked with water cannons at midday on July 13. As we got closer all I could focus on was the officer manning the machine gun, covered from head to toe with black, which struck me as very medieval, if you know what I mean. Our boat, along with the fishing vessels, was around two miles out to sea, well within the three-mile fishing limit imposed by Israel.
CPS GAZA responds to Israeli naval attacks, death threats
Civil Peace Service Gaza press release, 14 July 3:55 — At approximately 8:15 am, two Israeli gunboats approached the Oliva as it cruised within the three-nautical mile fishing zone unilaterally imposed and enforced by Israeli forces. After circling it several times, they opened fire on it with water cannons, nearly filling it with water in an apparent attempt to sink it. Two United States crew members and the Palestinian captain were rescued from the vessel, in imminent danger of capsizing, by a small fishing boat, which transported them to a nearby trawler. One of the warships then circled the trawler for nearly an hour, firing water cannons at it and taunting its fishing crew over its loudspeaker with cries of, “Where are your fish? Show me your fish!” The warship eventually departed, after an amplified warning that if it returned to the sea, the Israeli navy would shoot both Palestinian fishermen and international human rights observers.
Gaza blockade keeps Saleh away from sea / Rami Almeghari
EI 14 July — For five years now, Saleh has only been able to sail for short distances. Most of the time, it sits idle in a parking lot for boats near a sea port to the west of Gaza City.aleh is the name of a large boat that belongs to Abu Ayman Kabaja, a 56-year-old fisherman and father of five children, all of whom have worked in Gaza’s fishing industry for many years … Saleh is one of about 25 similar boats in the area that used to sail from Gaza before Israel imposed the maritime blockade. These boats are all out of regular use as a result of the siege on Gaza.
Hamas organizes rally to protest UNRWA aid reductions
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 July — The Hamas government in Gaza organized a mass rally on Friday afternoon in protest against a reported decision by UNRWA to reduce the amount of aid given to Palestinian refugees … Protests commenced after Friday afternoon prayers in the An Nuseirat and Al Bureij refugee camps.
UNRWA facing shortages due to Israeli blockade
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — Figures released by UNRWA on Thursday reveal that the organization is facing severe shortages in construction materials needed for ongoing projects in the Gaza Strip. “We been allowed to take in to Gaza a tiny fraction of the construction materials needed,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said. Around 3,291 trucks have been allowed into the Gaza Strip, accounting for under four percent of the overall $660 million UNRWA construction plan to take place over the next three years. “The 3,921 trucks represent just 16 percent of the materials we need for the projects approved so far by the Israeli authorities. To complete these projects we need to get in to Gaza 17,383 trucks. “At this rate, it will take us a year to get in the supplies for our 73 projects approved so far by the Israel authorities. This is woefully inadequate, especially for people who have been waiting a decade to have their homes rebuilt.”
Humanitarian aid cargo arrives safely in Gaza
Bernama 15 July — The humanitarian aid cargo of sewage pipes and joints arrived safely in Gaza via Karem Shalom on Tuesday after departing from El Arish Port on July 10. According to a statement from Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) here today, the 32-tonne cargo was unloaded from the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, the MV Finch, on July 6 into nine trucks, seven carrying sewage pipes and two carrying joint components. The convoy of trucks was then escorted by two Egyptian Army armoured personnel carriers (APC) to El Ouja at the Israeli border before the cargo was transferred to trailers sponsored by the Palestinian Authority and accompanied by the Palestinian Red Crescent, the statement said.
EWASH: One year since Israel announced easing of blockade policy but clean water still not flowing freely
Gaza (PNN) 15 July — The Water Sanitation and Hygiene Group (EWASH) issued a report saying that even though Israel announced last year that it will ease the blockade; Gaza Strip residents still don’t have clean water running from their taps as up to 95 percent of water for domestic supply in the Gaza Strip is still below the minimum World Health Organization (WHO) standard for drinking water and unfit for consumption. “Relaxing restrictions on imports to Gaza to allow in a variety of soda and chips does nothing to help families that can’t drink the water running from their taps,” says Subha Ghannam, EWASH coordinator.
In Gaza: Lucky to have water
[photos] Wet clothes are actually a blessing, for me at least in Gaza. I only wear them indoors, or sometimes underneath outer layers, and they do what non-existent air-con or fans-wanting-electricity can’t: cool me down for a bit … Free Gaza says: “Most family homes have running water for less than six hours a day, and almost a third of homes have no running water at all.” And my Gaza family themselves have to pump water via a series of hoses, pumps and motors (dependent on electricity and town water flow) to their rooftop for family use. [this post goes on to include information about both the depletion and deterioration of Gaza's water and the effect of Israeli border shootings on farmers - well worth reading]
Algerian Red Crescent donates 2.5 million dollars to Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 15 July — The Algerian Red Crescent has donated Thursday 2.5 million dollars to the victims of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in 2009 that left 1500 Palestinian martyrs and nearly 5000 wounded in addition to destroying the Strip’s infrastructure. Haj Hammo Bin Zughair, the president of the Algerian Red Crescent, said that the amount was donated by benevolent Algerian citizens to their Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip, explaining that humanitarian aid extended by his society passed three stages. The first stage, he said, was through dispatching teams of Algerian doctors, medical equipments, foodstuff, and dried blood bags. In the second stage, he added, we dispatched Algerian psychiatrists to Gaza but the deposed regime in Egypt blocked them at Rafah crossing checkpoint and denied them entry…
PFLP leader returns to Gaza after 42 years
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 July — A senior leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Salah Mohammad, returned to Gaza [from Algeria] on Thursday after 42 years of forced absence. Senior leaders of the PFLP received Salah at the Rafah crossing and he is set to receive guests at his home in the Ash-Shate refugee camp.
Palestinian-Israeli leader granted bail in UK
Al Jazeera 15 July — Sheikh Raed Salah, the detained leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, has been granted bail by a court in London. He was detained on June 28 in the UK during a speaking tour, allegedly for entering the country illegally. Ismail Patel, chair of the activist organisation Friends of Al-Aqsa, who was at Friday’s bail hearing, said: “It is a tremendous relief that Sheikh Raed’s bail application was successful.” “We are shocked and horrified that a Palestinian leader can be held like this,” Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told Al Jazeera. “They gave no reason why bail was denied last week.” The arrest of Salah has drawn condemnation from Palestinian leaders across the political spectrum.
Arab League raps pro-Israel Britain
PressTV 15 July — The Arab League has strongly condemned the British government for arresting Sheikh Raed Salah, calling for his immediate and unconditional release, a statement said. The league said in its statement that news of Sheikh Salah’s arrest was received “with considerable shock and surprise”, calling for him to be treated in a manner befitting an internationally-renowned man of faith. Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, was arrested by British authorities in London, irrespective of the fact that there were no legal or legitimate reasons for him to be pursued. His programme of activities in Britain was publicised well in advance; the plan was to speak about the realities of the Palestine-Israel conflict to British politicians, academics and members of the public. The intention was to provide an opportunity for those in Britain to hear the Palestinian narrative for a change.
IOF soldiers detain Palestinian youth in Nablus, storm Al-Khalil
NABLUS (PIC) 14 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested a Palestinian youth in the Nablus village of Til at dawn Thursday after wreaking havoc in his home and other houses in the village. Other IOF soldiers stormed Al-Khalil city, installed roadblocks and search citizens for their IDs. Local sources said that the troops detained a number of young men for field interrogation then released them.
Administrative detention extended against two Palestinian prisoners on Thursday
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 14 July — Israeli occupation authorities have extended the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoner Zawadi Sha‘ban Shalalideh, 48, from Sa‘eer in Al-Khalil province, for an additional four months on Thursday. It was the third time his term in administrative detention was extended since he was first arrested ten months back. Shelaledeh is a father of eight and school teacher who suffers various illnesses. He was arrested several times by Israeli authorities and currently sits in the Ofer prison.
The same day, a military tribunal in the Negev extended the administrative detention period of Hamas leader Raafat Jameel Nasseif, 45, for six months, Nasseif’s family told our correspondent. It marked the sixth time his detention term has been extended. Nasseif has been sitting in the Negev prison since March 2009. He also suffers from health conditions.
Senior prisoner returned to isolation after prison fake-out
NABLUS (PIC) 14 July — Longtime Palestinian prisoner Nael al-Bargouthi, 54, was returned to isolation in the Ramon prison on Tuesday for the second time in a two week timespan. Apparently, the prison administration faked out prisoners by releasing him to quell wide-ranging protests.
Children of Gaza captives send messages to fathers via flying bottles
GAZA, (PIC)– Hundreds of children in Gaza Strip have gathered Thursday at Gaza Sea to send a letter of love to their fathers who are incarcerated in Israeli jails for years now, alarming the entire world that they also have the right to live in peace with their fathers like all children of the world. The activity that was organized by the Waed Society for prisoners and ex-prisoners was attended by officials of the ministry of prisoners and ex-prisoners in Gaza and a delegation from the international solidarity committee where the children wrote message to their detained fathers and put them in bottles and flew them with balloons in hope it could reach the detention cells of their fathers.
Events organized for children of Palestinian detainees
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 July — The Palestinian detainees center in Qalqiliya said Wednesday that they had organized an evening of entertainment for the children of Palestinian prisoners who live in the city. The event was sponsored in cooperation with the Palestinian Woman’s Center, a Christian youth organization and the prisoners’ mothers committee. Head of the detainees center in Qalqiliya Lafi Nasura said that the event shows solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails and sends a message to the world that Palestinians don’t forget their prisoners and will always support them.
PA arrests 13 Islamists in crackdown
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 July — The Hizb ut-Tahrir movement said Friday that the Palestinian Authority is still cracking down on its members, arresting 13 in the last week. A spokesman for the Islamist party said that the arrests occurred after the party had distributed a statement last week in West Bank cities and villages. Nine of those arrested are from the Jenin district, three from Ramallah and one from near Salfit. The party has called for the immediate release of all prisoners and an end to PA suppression of the movement.
Activism / Solidarity
Map: Weekly West Bank protests
Al Jazeera 15 July — Click the icons for more information on protest sites. Due to legal restrictions, Google Maps shows only low resolution imagery and limited place names in Israel and the Palestinian territories. View weekly West Bank protests in a larger map [Source: Media reports] Every Friday, pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest in several West Bank and Jerusalem locations, most notably Bil‘in, Ni‘lin and Sheikh Jarrah.
The regular gatherings focus attention on the route of Israel’s separation barrier, ongoing land confiscation and Israeli settler attacks.
Israeli troops attack anti-wall protesters, injuring one and arresting one
Ramallah (PNN) 15 July — One injured, another arrested, while scores were treated for effects of tear gas inhalation, as Israeli troops attacked on Friday nonviolent protests organized in a number of West Bank communities. Protests were reported in the villages of al-Nabi Salleh, Bil‘in, and Ni‘lin in the central West Bank, as well as al-Ma‘ssara in the south.
Songs tear down fences in Izbat Tabib
ISM 13 July — On July 13th villagers in the small town of Izbat Tabib wanted to protest against the illegal Israeli construction of barbed wire fences outside the village, preventing farmers from tending their lands and olive trees … the villagers and activists from ISM helped each other tear down the fences, this continued for around half an hour, until the arrival of Israeli military jeeps with about 20 soldiers. The cutting of the fences halted, and together the villagers and activists prevented the entry of the soldiers into the village by means of peaceful singing and demands for Palestinian rights to their rightful land.
Photo Essay: East Jerusalem march for Palestinian independence / Dahlia Scheindlin
972mag 15 July — The demonstration today in Jerusalem in support of Palestinian independence was attended by anywhere from 2000 to 4500 people (according to a Facebook post), who marched from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate to Sheikh Jarrah. I was there and organizers announced 3,000 attendees at the end, but Channel 2’s evening news reported “over 1000.” I suppose they’re playing it safe, but after tramping through burning sun on a winding walk through Jerusalem’s famous Friday crush, with people singing, drumming, cheering, dancing and laughing, that conservative estimate has a cynical ring.
Thousands of Israelis and Arabs march in Jerusalem to support Palestinian independence
Haaretz 15 July — Several MKs participate in the ‘March for Independence,’ the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years — Approximately 2,000 Palestinians and Israelis took part in the “March for Independence” Friday, calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state. Although the organizers of the march issued a statement saying the march was carried out peacefully, police had to intervene and separate right-wing and left-wing activists … Several MKs participated in the march, including Zehava Galon of Meretz and Dov Hanin of Hadash. Other prominent public figures took part as well, such as former Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg and former Attorney General Michael Ben Yair. The march took a symbolic route, following the green line that used to divide East and West Jerusalem before the Six Day War in 1967. It began at Jaffa Gate and ended at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the opposite route taken by right-wing activists during Jerusalem Day last month.
Support our friend Rani Burant
ffj-Bil‘in 13 July — Rani Burnat has been wheelchair-bound since being shot in the neck by a sniper in 2000. The shooting occurred during a demonstration in Ramallah on the second day of the second intifada. The injury has left him paralyzed from the chest down, with a head wound from which he is still recovering. Despite the difficulties, Rani — now 30 years old — has since started a family and is the proud father of triplets. In spite of his severe handicap, Rani continues to attend demonstrations against the separation wall in his village of Bil‘in on a regular basis. Over the years of protest Rani has been beaten and shot numerous times by the forces of the occupation, and his wheelchair has sustained repeated damage. Rani’s medical equipment demands constant care and gets worn down quickly.
Expatriate wants Gaza boats confiscated
WASHINGTON (CN) 15 July — A U.S. citizen who lives in Israel, and says he was hurt by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem in 2002, seeks forfeiture of the 13 boats that activists are planning to use to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Alan Bauer, a biologist who lives in Jerusalem, sued the ships in Federal Court, seeking an order to summon all people with interest in the boats to show cause why they shouldn’t forfeit the vessels and their “arms and ammunition and stores”. Bauer says the ships are subject to seizure under 18 U.S.C. § 962, as “employed in the service of any foreign prince … to cruise, or commit hostilities against … people with whom the United States is at peace”.
Israel expands its borders into Europe / Dahr Jamail
AJE 12 July – Recent clampdowns on Palestinian solidarity activists underscore Israel’s ability to outsource its security operations — On July 11, Israel announced it was not interested in having the United Nations become involved as a mediator in its maritime border issues with Lebanon. But when it comes to recruiting other countries to assist in the enforcement of its naval blockade of Gaza, or having international airlines deny entry to passengers destined to the occupied territories from flying, Israel is keen to have other countries help. [includes map showing the approximate location of the flotilla vessels, including descriptions of what happened to each boat]
Boycott law (see also Analysis / Opinion)
PA to boycott companies heeding Boycott Law
Ynet 14 July — Palestinian economic minister threatens to boycott Israeli companies, says Boycott Law is ‘part of the mechanism of the occupation’ … According to Abu Libdah, “The decision made by the Israeli government to approve this law proves Israel is setting the ground for the option of one, bi-national state.”
Meretz party marks settlement goods at Israeli supermarkets
Haaretz 14 July — The New Movement-Meretz’s operations headquarters and youth division made their way through supermarkets across Israel Wednesday, marking products manufactured in the settlements. The move is part of a campaign intended to warn the public against purchasing goods manufactured in the settlements, and comes in response to the boycott law passed in the Knesset this week …P arty Secretary-General Dror Morag said the struggle today is not solely about settlement goods, but the “essence of democracy.”
Dozens of Israeli law professors protest unconstitutional boycott law
Haaretz 14 July — 32 academics sign petition aimed at Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein; Netanyahu maintains that he ‘approved the law’ and is ‘against boycotts’ aimed at Israel.
Political / Diplomatic / International news
Political factions urge Hamas, Fatah to implement unity deal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 July — Palestinian national and religious factions met without Hamas or Fatah in Gaza City on Thursday in an attempt to urge the two parties to implement the reconciliation agreement.
PLO official: Local elections to take place in October
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 July — The Palestinian government in Ramallah is set to approve plans to hold municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in October 2011. PLO executive committee member Ghassan Shaka told Ma‘an Thursday that consultations about the elections were held during a recent PLO Committee meeting and October 22 is understood to be the prescribed date for the elections to take place … The date had been previously agreed upon but consensus must be reached among the Palestinian political factions.
West Bank MPs: Political atmosphere not suitable for municipal elections now
RAMALLAH (PIC) 15 July — Palestinian lawmakers in the West Bank have criticized Thursday the call of the PA leadership in Ramallah to hold municipal elections in October, describing such call as clear violation of what have been agreed upon by all Palestinian factions in Cairo a couple of months ago. All Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, have agreed that elections should be held after achieving the reconciliation and should be made as one bundle in clear and transparent atmosphere to make credible and authentic.
UN: Jerusalem part of occupied Palestinian territories
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 July — …”UNESCO wishes to reiterate that, contrary to recent claims, there has been no change in UNESCO’s position on Jerusalem,” the statement said. “In line with overall UN policy, East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in permanent status negotiations.” …UNESCO had been criticized recently after it emerged that the organizations’ website listed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Haaretz: Russia’s refusal to refer to Israel as a ‘Jewish state” leads to failure of Quartet meeting
MEMO 14 July — According to the online version of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, rejected the inclusion of Israel as a “Jewish state” in the concluding statement of the Quartet meeting. The newspaper added that the meeting, which lasted for more than two hours, failed to achieve its objectives because of the disagreement sparked by the Russian foreign minister, and as such no public statement on the meeting was issued.
Arab League to request full Palestinian membership at UN
Reuters 14 July –Security Council set to hold open debate on Middle East on July 26, but Israel has made it clear that it opposes any unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood.– The Arab League will apply to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status at the United Nations, according to a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar on Thursday. “It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership,” said the communiqué, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
Report: Former German ambassadors urge Merkel to support UN bid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 July — 32 former German ambassadors have reportedly urged the German chancellor Angela Merkel to support the Palestinian UN bid in September. The former government staff members sent a signed letter to Angela Merkel and German foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle Friday, as well as providing a copy to the PLO, expressing their support for the Palestinian UN bid.
Dignitaries visit Israel to fight Palestinian statehood bid
Jerusalem (JTA) 14 July — A group of dignitaries including a former prime minister and a Nobel Peace Prize winner came to Israel to pledge to fight the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations.The group came as part of the Friends of Israel Initiative, which seeks to rally international support for Israel.
Fatah: Israel extorts European countries for UN bid
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — Palestinian movement Fatah accused Israel Thursday of exploiting economic conditions in some European countries in order to persuade them to vote against the Palestinian UN bid for statehood in September. Fatah spokesman Dr. Fayez Abu Eitah told Ma‘an that the decision by Netanyahu to provide preferential treatment to Romanian and Bulgarian laborers amounts to political extortion. It is understood that the Israeli PM has offered Romania and Bulgaria a favorable share in the Israeli labor market and a deal to bring laborers from the two countries to Israel in a bid to win their vote as the Palestinians go to the UN this September.
PLO condemns UNESCO for listing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 14 July — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Thursday condemned listing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on the website of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Identifying Jerusalem as Israel’s unified capital “is a procedure against humanitarian and international legitimacy and the Security Council’s resolutions that consider East Jerusalem as an occupied city,” said the PLO in a statement.
PA recognizes South Sudan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — Palestinian Authority minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Maliki said Thursday that the PA has recognized the new state of South Sudan.
Hezbollah: Lebanon will not let Israel seize its natural gas
Haaretz 14 July — Deputy secretary general of Hezbollah says Lebanon will protect its rights in face of Israeli threats as Israel-Lebanon conflict on their maritime economic border escalates.
Netanyahu opposes parliamentary investigations of Israeli human rights organizations
Haaretz 14 July — After supporting the controversial boycott law, PM announces he will vote against the initiative for a parliamentary inquiry into funding sources of Israeli human rights organizations.
Yisrael Beiteinu vows revenge on Netanyahu for opposition to investigating NGOs
Haaretz 15 July — Cracks appear in the governing coalition after the prime minister announces he will not enforce party discipline when voting on investigative committees bill. Members of Yisrael Beiteinu warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that their ‘revenge was on its way’ after the latter announced that he opposes the establishment of parliamentary committees to investigate human rights organizations. .
Tawjihi results to be announced by end of next week
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 July — The vice-minister for Higher Education in the Hamas government, Dr. Muhammad Abu Shuqair, said Wednesday that he expects the Tawjihi results to be announced by the end of next week … All grading will be completed by next Tuesday and the results will be announced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the end of next week, Shuqair added. Over 89,000 students completed their Tawjihi exams on July 3 in the West Bank and Gaza.
Economy minister criticizes allegations of corruption
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 July — Palestinian Authority minister of economy Hassan Abu Libdeh has criticized reports linking names from his ministry with allegations of corruption. Abu Libdeh told Ma‘an Thursday that he is ready to appear before an anti-corruption committee and answer any questions put forward regarding corruption charges, vowing to defend the work of his ministry.
In Nablus, Palestinians play down possibility of September intifada
Haaretz 15 July — Ex-militants say they won’t take to streets in September, but wish Israel would disappear … On Wednesday a reunion of sorts took place at the restaurant, attended by several leading formerly wanted men from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, coming to speak to Haaretz about the current situation, about the amnesty they received from Israel and about what they expect in the lead up to September’s possible Palestinian bid for recognition of an independent state at the United Nations.
Israeli kindergartners now have to sing the national anthem every week
Haaretz 14 July — From September Jewish nursery and kindergarten teachers to raise Israeli flag and sing ‘Hatikva’ according to new Education Ministry directives; teachers also required to instruct children on state symbols … According to the Education Ministry, the directives will not be implemented in the Arab sector. “We are conducting discussions in the Preschool Department to see how we can adapt [the directives] to this sector,” the ministry said. .
Israel air force pilots head to US to test-fly new military aircraft
Haaretz 14 July — An Israel Air Force delegation recently visited a United States Marine Corps base in North Carolina in order to test out the new V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft … the IAF will have to replace the Sikorsky helicopters sometime toward the end of the decade, and will have to decide between upgrading the Sikorsky or choosing the V-22.
Haredi radio to play women’s voices?
Ynet 14 July — According to compromise reached with Second Authority for Television and Radio, Kol Barama station will broadcast special programs presented by women. But radio official states, ‘We’ll let women speak only under certain conditions and in times of emergency’ — The issue was addressed following complaints filed with the Second Authority against the station’s refusal to have women present programs or call in as listeners. According to a recent Ynet report, the radio station’s special programs for women are presented by men, and female listeners are asked to send in recipes and questions by fax.
Poll: Obama’s ratings plummet in Arab world
Haaretz 13 July — According to the poll, both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and US interference in the region are seen as the biggest obstacle to peace and stability — A new poll shows a sharp decline in support of President Obama’s policies in the Middle East. The poll, which was conducted by the Arab American Institute in six Middle Eastern countries, shows Obama’s ratings at 10% or less
Analysis / Opinion
Where are the Palestinians? / Mairav Zonszein
EI 15 July — From all over the Western world holding up Palestinian flags and chanting “Free Palestine.” We’ve heard from the likes of Americans, like prize-winning author Alice Walker and former CIA official Ray McGovern (both passengers on the US boat to Gaza) about the importance of standing up for Palestinians in Gaza; we’ve heard about hunger strikes by Spanish and American citizens stuck in Greece after their boats were not allowed to sail; and we’ve seen videos of activists landing in Ben Gurion airport, declaring their intention to visit the occupied West Bank, being accosted by an Israeli mob and then detained and deported, all while chanting “Free Palestine.” All these events have enormous significance as symbolic acts … But amid all the sensational scenes of confrontation between Israeli authorities and Western “pro-Palestinian” activists (including Israelis), what became apparent was that Palestinians themselves could not be seen or heard. Even though the “Welcome to Palestine” campaign was organized by Palestinian civil society organizations that invited foreigners to come, the media spectacle was focused on the Western activists and their confrontation with Israel. The Palestinians were largely unseen.
Israel’s McCarthy coalition is on a dangerous power trip / Carlo Strenger
Haaretz blog 13 July — The flood of anti-democratic laws that were proposed, and partially implemented, by the current Knesset, elected in February 2009, constitute one of the darkest chapters in Israeli history. The opening salvo was provided by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party with its Nakba law, that forbids the public commemoration of the expulsion of approximately 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 war. Since then, a growing number of attempts were made to curtail freedom of expression and to make life for human rights groups more difficult. The latest instance is the boycott law that is passed this Monday by the Knesset, even though its legal advisor believes it to be a problematic infringement on freedom of speech.
Why Israelis must fight against the boycott law / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 14 July — With the new boycott law the meager Israeli discourse will become even more threadbare due to the silencing laws; this may be the last call to boycott those who are boycotting Israeli democracy … One doesn’t buy stolen merchandise. Period. We can and must say that out loud, before this disgraceful law was passed and even more so after it was passed. According to the new law of the new Israel, whose image is becoming distorted at alarming speed before our amazed eyes (and the eyes of the world ), it will be forbidden to say that … Now we call not only on those who consider the damage caused by the settlements to be decisive, but also those who fear for the character of the country and the society in which they live – to boycott.To boycott, boycott and boycott. Not only the products of injustice, but the unjust regime as well. This law must now be boycotted.
Boycott law proves Israel’s one-state vision / Mairav Zonszein
972mag 14 July — More than anti-democratic, the boycott law is indicative of Israel’s de facto annexation of the West Bank — Everyone who is up in arms about the passing of the boycott law this week has been emphasizing the severity of its violation of freedom of expression and dialogue. While this is of course true, what is even more alarming about the law, which has gone largely unmentioned in the press or by organizations opposing it, is what it says about the State’s relation to the territory under its control: The boycott law makes no distinction between Israel and the Occupied Territories and thus is in effect a legalization and normalization of the occupation, the total erasure of the Green Line and the moratorium on the two-state solution (in case this was not already clear).
The boycott law is fascist / Alon Idan
Haaretz 14 July — The widely held view that the slew of anti-democratic laws legislated by the 18th Knesset is a slippery slope to Fascism in the future is disingenuous. The Boycott Law is Fascism: it is a categorically anti-democratic law whose goal is to annul any possibility of legitimate protest.
Forward editorial: We can’t say this
We could get in trouble for this. Not in New York City, where this editorial is being written, because legitimate comment is protected under the First Amendment. But our editorials, along with many other stories and columns in the Forward, also appear every Sunday in the English edition of the Haaretz newspaper in Israel. And now, with a new anti-boycott law approved by the Knesset and due to take effect in less than 90 days, the boundaries of free speech and legitimate expression have grown unpredictably and suffocatingly tight. So, for example, if we say something like: We can understand why reasonable people could advocate a boycott of products made in Israeli settlement in the West Bank because those settlements are deemed illegal under international law and because a boycott is a peaceful way of expressing a moral concern — well, if we say something like that, we could be sued and held liable in civil court.