This photograph of the unnamed boy who lost his hands and was badly burned in an Israeli airstrike while playing football about a week ago is via Julie Webb-Pullman at Scoop… Her videos are also at the link.
And here is the rest of the digest:
Israel OK’s expansion of building in Hebron
JERUSALEM (AP) 26 Aug — Israel is allowing Jewish settlers to expand a building in Hebron, one of the West Bank’s most volatile cities. Palestinians object to Jewish construction in areas they envision for their future state. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s office said Friday he gave the building permit to house a kindergarten in Beit Romano, a structure built in the late 1800s by a Jewish merchant. Today it houses a religious seminary. Hagit Ofran of settlement watchdog Peace Now says Barak has become a “tool of the most radical settlers.” Hebron is holy to Muslims and Jews. Today, more than 600 Jews live there in fortified enclaves amid 170,000 Palestinians.
Official: Palestinian hurt in clash with settlers
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — A Palestinian man from Nablus was injured in clashes with Israeli settlers and soldiers on Friday, an official said. Jamal Jerawy, 22, from Qasra village, was hospitalized for injuries sustained in the incident, according to Ghassan Doughlas, a Fatah official monitoring settlement activity in the northern West Bank. Doughlas said clashes erupted as settlers uprooted olive trees near the Majdolin settlement. [End]
PCHR Weekly Report 18-24 August: 17 killed, including 2 children; 14 injured by Israeli forces
IMEMC 26 Aug — In its Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 18– 24 Aug. 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights found that Israeli forces killed 17 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 5 of the victims are civilians, including two children and a physician. In addition, 3 workers went missing when Israeli warplanes bombarded a tunnel in Rafah. A Palestinian resistance fighter died of a previous wound in Gaza City. 14 Palestinians, including 5 children and two women, were wounded by Israeli forces the Gaza Strip [details follow] … Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Israeli forces conducted 27 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Two Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli forces in Hebron and Bethlehem. Israeli forces abducted 77 Palestinians, including a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, two journalists, academics and social figures. Full text of the report
How Israel takes its revenge on boys who throw stones / Catrina Stewart
[3 photos] The Independent 16 Aug — Video seen by Catrina Stewart reveals the brutal interrogation of young Palestinians — The boy, small and frail, is struggling to stay awake. His head lolls to the side, at one point slumping on to his chest. “Lift up your head! Lift it up!” shouts one of his interrogators, slapping him. But the boy by now is past caring, for he has been awake for at least 12 hours since he was separated at gunpoint from his parents at two that morning. “I wish you’d let me go,” the boy whimpers, “just so I can get some sleep.” During the nearly six-hour video, 14-year-old Palestinian Islam Tamimi, exhausted and scared, is steadily broken to the point where he starts to incriminate men from his village and weave fantastic tales that he believes his tormentors want to hear. This rarely seen footage seen by The Independent offers a glimpse into an Israeli interrogation, almost a rite of passage that hundreds of Palestinian children accused of throwing stones undergo every year.
Child detention figures
7,000 [Figure corrected, with apologies for earlier production error.] The estimated number of Palestinian children detained and prosecuted in Israeli military courts since 2000, shows a report by Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP).
87% The percentage of children subjected to some form of physical violence while in custody. About 91 per cent are also believed to be blindfolded at some point during their detention.
12 The minimum age of criminal responsibility, as stipulated in the Military Order 1651.
62% The percentage of children arrested between 12am and 5am.
Israeli forces surround Jenin Freedom Theatre for second time in a month; abduct 3
IMEMC 25 Aug — A squadron of Israeli armored vehicles and soldiers entered Jenin refugee camp at around 2 am on Tuesday morning, surrounded the Jenin Freedom Theatre, beat the security guard before abducting him and two others. This is the second time this month that Israeli troops have surrounded the theatre and abducted staff members. The first time, three staff were abducted and investigated as part of the murder of theatre co-director Juliano Mer-Khamis. On Monday, an Israeli military court outside Jenin ruled that the three had nothing to do with the attack, and should be released by the end of this week. But after the ruling, Israeli forces again invaded the camp and surrounded the theatre … In Tuesday’s attack, Israeli soldiers forced the Theatre’s Acting General Manager, Jacob Gough, to strip at gunpoint on the street in front of the theatre. When he tried to explain who he was, one of the soldiers told him to “shut up or you will get a proper beating”. They then abducted Gough and took him to an unknown location.
Police deploy in force in Jerusalem’s Old City
JERUSALEM (AFP) 26 Aug — Israeli police deployed in large numbers in Jerusalem’s Old City Friday in a bid to head off incidents on the last weekly day of prayer before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “Policemen and border guards have been deployed in Jerusalem, and a state of alert has been maintained throughout the country,” following recent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, a police spokeswoman said. She did not mention any specific state of alert over possible disorder, though police have stepped up security checks for fear of attacks in the holy city.
Islamic Jihad: Ceasefire with Israel agreed at dawn
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Senior Islamic Jihad officials said the faction had agreed a ceasefire with Israel at dawn Friday, after mediation by Egypt. Two members of Islamic Jihad’s military wing were killed in an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip around 9 p.m. Thursday, prompting outraged calls to reject a truce from the Islamic faction and another group, the Popular Resistance Committees.
PFLP Brigades claim rocket fired into Ashkelon
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 26 Aug 21:12 — A leftist armed group said its forces fired a rocket from Gaza into southern Israel on Friday, hours after a dawn ceasefire deal was announced by Gaza factions. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s armed wing said it fired a Grad rocket at Ashkelon. The attack caused no damage or injuries, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades said it fired the rocket in response to “Israeli crimes.”
The group was the only armed faction in the Gaza Strip to reject a short-lived ceasefire deal agreed Sunday by Hamas and others.
Second rocket hits Israel after renewal of Gaza cease-fire
Haaretz 26 Aug 19:23 — A Qassam rocket fell in Sdot Negev Regional Council hours after a Grad rocket landed near Ashkelon in an open field Friday afternoon, despite an Egypt mediated cease-fire between Gaza militants and Israel. No damage or injuries were reported in either hit.
Elderly farmer murdered in Israeli airstrike in Bureij
ISM Gaza 26 Aug — Ismail Nimr Ammoum worked his whole life as a farm laborer. He did not have land of his own, he worked for others, planting, watering, weeding, whatever needed done. He was a strong man, and he loved to work, work did not bother him. He kept working because he loved to work, what else would he do? He lived with his sister in Bureij, but often spent the nights sleeping wherever he was working. On Wednesday, August 24, 2011 Ismail was working for the Al-Khaldi family. He had spent the previous several days living in a small wood hut on the land. At five A.M. neighbors heard the explosion of an Israeli missile strike, but they thought that the land there was empty, they did not realize that Ismail had stayed the night in the hut. That afternoon, the owner of the land came to check up on things. When he arrived he noticed that everything things weren’t right, he opened the gate and then he saw the hut. He saw Ismail’s shattered body lying in the rubble. He had been killed in the missile strike. Ismail’s father was from Lod. He was a refugee; his family was expelled from his home by Israeli soldiers in 1948.
Two killed in bombing of al-Salama sport club in Beit Lahiya
ISM Gaza 25 Aug — At about 1:30 A.M. on August 25, 2011 Israeli warplanes bombed the Salama Sports Club in Beit Lahia. The building was empty at the time. The sports club, however, is in the middle of a residential area. Two people from a neighboring house were killed in the bombing, Salama Abdul Rahman al-Masri, 18, the son of the house’s owner, who died immediately; and Alaa ‘Adnan Mohammed al-Jakhbeer, 22, from Jabalya. Twenty-five other people were injured in the bombing, including eleven children and seven women. The bombing also caused heavy damage to the Dar Al Huda School and several surrounding buildings. Salama was sitting with seven friends of his in the back yard of his family’s house. After evening prayers they often sat there.
VIDEOS: Gaza: Why? is the question my son asks me - Dr Ayman Al-Sahbani / Julie Web-Pullman
Dr Ayman Al-Sahbani describes how medical supplies are running out at his critical care unit in Gaza. Dr Ayman came close to tears several times as he showed me around the emergency department and the critical care unit. “We want the world to know what is happening here in Gaza,” he said. “We need to know what these weapons are. We have twenty children in here, with injuries we have never encountered before, even in Operation Cast Lead when we first saw phosphorous burns. These weapons are even worse, they cause terrible burns, they sever feet and legs, and hands, they fill the bodies with hundreds of small pieces of metal.” Dr Ayman pulled back a curtain, “Here is a 13-year-old boy who was playing football with his friends when they were struck by an Israeli rocket, both his hands were blown off and his legs badly injured as well, and he has terrible burns, and shrapnel all over his body.”
Global actions target Egyptian embassies to break Israel’s closure of Gaza
ICORB 26 Aug — Fed up with the closure of Gaza that has kept more than a million and a half Palestinians locked in to the strip’s tight borders, a beacon call is coming from Gaza and resonating across to Egypt, to break Israel’s siege and re-open the border with Egypt immediately. Activists from South Africa, to youth leaders of the Egyptian revolution, to European, North and South American, and Asian supporters will present signatures to their respective Egyptian Consulates starting Friday August 26th to demand the permanent re-opening of the Rafah Crossing with Egypt without conditions. Despite promises by the Egyptian government to open it, approximately 35,000 people wait daily to cross the border.
Palestinians rally in Gaza City for al-Quds day
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Palestinians rallied in Gaza City on Friday to mark Al-Quds Day, marching from the As-Saraya mosque to Ash-Shawwa tower after Friday prayers. PFLP-General Command politburo member Adel Al-Hakim addressed the protesters lauding Muslim unity in the cause of freedom. Jerusalem will remain the legacy of the Muslim and Arab people, Al-Hakim said, despite Israeli efforts to Judaize the city.
Gaza militant group pledges resistance to Jewish Jerusalem
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — A little-known militant group in Gaza said Friday it would continue “resistance to liberate Palestine and its capital Jerusalem.” The Al-Aqsa Brigades — Imad Mughniyeh Martyrs said in a statement marking Al-Quds Day that all factions and Jerusalem organizations should work to oppose Israel’s attempt to impose a Jewish identity on Jerusalem. Al-Quds Day is marked across the world by Palestine solidarity activists on the last Friday of Ramadan. State-sponsored rallies are also held in Iran. The Imad Mughniyeh Martyrs, named after a Hizbullah leader killed in 2008, have been variously tied to the Lebanon-based group, Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and militants who left Fatah-affiliated Al-Alqsa Brigades. [End]
South Africa activists visit Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) — A solidarity group from South Africa arrived in Gaza Thursday evening, for a four-day visit they have called “Freedom for detainees.” The 36 activists will meet with figures who work on the issue of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jail, a Ma‘an correspondent said. The group brought 10 trucks of medical and humanitarian supplies, entering through the southern Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. [End]
Barak: We’ll allow helicopters, more troops into Sinai
Ynet 26 Aug — Defense Minister Ehud Barak told The Economist on Thursday that Israel will allow Egypt to deploy thousands of troops in the Sinai Peninsula, even though the 1979 Peace Treaty forbids it. Barak said that the forces will have helicopters and armored vehicles, but no tanks beyond the one battalion stationed there.
Golani soldier killed by friendly fire
Deadly Mistake – Staff Sergeant Moshe Naftali, a Golani Reconnaissance unit combatant who died during Thursday’s terror attack in southern Israel, was killed by friendly fire, an initial military investigation into the incident revealed.
WikiLeaks: Lieberman wanted Egypt to give land to Gaza
Ynet 26 Aug — A new document posted on the WikiLeaks website reveals that prior to becoming the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman suggested that Egypt should give Gaza Strip some of its territory. According to protocols from a 2006 meeting between Lieberman and then-United States Ambassador Richard Jones, the foreign minister-to be suggested to demarcate the border with the Palestinians in a way that would include Egypt.
West Bank: Olive Revolution seeks free access to East Jerusalem
[photos] LA Times blog 26 Aug by Maher Abukhater in Ramallah, West Bank — When Israeli police and soldiers manning Qalandia checkpoint prevented West Bank Muslims under the age of 50 from crossing into Jerusalem to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the last Friday of Ramadan prayer, the dozens left behind decided to pray at the checkpoint. When they finished, they, along with Israeli and international supporters from a movement called Olive Revolution, gathered facing Israeli police and soldiers separated only by cement blocks. They chanted anti-occupation slogans and demanded access to East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since June 1967.
Olive Revolution in pictures: Palestinians march on Jerusalem
Pal.Tel. 26 Aug – 25 photos
Israeli occupation detains lawmaker Anwar Zaboun
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 26 Aug — IOF troops detained, Friday at dawn, Anwar Zaboun (45 years), member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, after raiding his home in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. Local sources in the Bethlehem district said that a number of IOF troops aboard a number of military vehicles entered Bethlehem, they encircled the home of Anwar Zaboun, raided it and took the lawmaker away.
Occupation renews administrative detention of Palestinian lawmaker
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 26 Aug — The Israeli occupation authority on Thursday extended the administrative detention (without charge or trial) of Jamal al-Natshe, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, representing al-Khalil district … He was kept in prison after end of his detention term and his family was expecting his release especially that his health has deteriorated, but the occupation authority decided to keep him in jail and renewed his administrative detention at a military court on Thursday. Natshe is jailed in the Askalan prison and has been denied visits since his arrest in January. The Change and Reform Party, to which Natshe is affiliated, said that his detention is illegal and goes against international laws and conventions.
PA intelligence summons journalist Ali Qaraqe‘
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 26 Aug — The PA General Intelligence (the Mukhabarat) has summoned Palestinian journalist and political activist Ali Qaraqe‘ for questioning. GI officers handed Qaraqe‘ a summons for questioning without explaining the reason for the summons … This the second time in less than a month that the PA security in the West Bank summons young journalists; the preventive security summoned Majdoleen Hassouna early Aughust and arrested two of her brothers to pressure her to attend at their headquarters.
PA arrests professor who criticized Nablus University
JPost 26 Aug — Abdel Sattar Qassem is a well-known critic of the PA leadership: in the past he declared his intention to run in the presidential election. A prominent Palestinian professor who wrote an article criticizing the university administration where he works was arrested on Thursday by Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank. Palestinian sources said that Abdel Sattar Qassem, who works at An-Najah University in Nablus, was ordered to be held in custody for 48 hours following a complaint from the university president, Rami Hamdallah.
Prisoners offer assistance to Lebanese students
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Fatah prisoners at the Ramon prison in Israel said Thursday they were donating their salaries to help benefit Palestinian students in Lebanon, after a suggestion from the president. Mahmoud Abbas’ call for support to Palestinian in Lebanese refugee camps netted about 100,000 shekels, according to a letter from the prisoners circulated by the detainees ministry on Thursday. Representative of prisoners in the Ramon jail Jamal Al-Rajoub said the program was a successful so far, while detainees minister Issa Qaraqe applauded the prisoners for their “generous spirit.” [End]
US envoy: We will stop aid to Palestinians if UN bid proceeds
dpa 26 Aug — The United States will stop all financial aid to the Palestinian Authority if they proceed with plans to ask the United Nations for recognition of an independent state in September, a U.S. official warned Friday … “If the Palestinian Authority insists on going to the Security Council, the U.S. will use the veto,” he told Erekat during a meeting in the West Bank city of Jericho, according to a statement issued by Erekat’s office. “And in case the Palestinian Authority seeks to upgrade its position at the UN through the General Assembly, the U.S. Congress will take punitive measures against it, including a cut in U.S. aid,” he said.
PA: Honduras recognizes Palestinian state
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Honduras has recognized the State of Palestine, the official Palestinian Authority news agency reported Friday. The announcement came in a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas that Honduras recognized the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders and would back efforts to seek membership in the UN, WAFA reported.
El Salvador recognizes Palestine as independent state
SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) 25 Aug — El Salvador on Thursday recognized Palestine as an independent state in the midst of a drive by the Arab League to upgrade it to full membership status in the United Nations … About 120 countries have recognized the state of Palestine to date.
Ashrawi: UN statehood bid no threat to PLO
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi said Thursday that the plan to join the United Nations as a state would not threaten the PLO’s rights in the world body. Ashrawi, a senior PLO member, disputed arguments by international law expert Guy Goodwin-Gill, who has informed the Palestinian team that the initiative could terminate the legal status held by the PLO in the UN.
Other political / international news
Arab League chief: Egypt-Israel peace treaty not as sacred as the Koran
Haaretz 26 Aug — Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, says the 1979 peace treaty is ‘not sacred,’ and is subject to annulment or amendment if breached by either side.
PA cabinet: Eid begins Tuesday
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — The Palestinian Authority cabinet on Tuesday announced the West Bank and Gaza will revert to summer time at the start of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday on August 30. At the weekly Ramallah-based government meeting, ministers also assured civil servants that their salaries would be paid on Thursday despite the ongoing financial crisis, a statement released Friday said. The holy month of Ramadan concludes with three days of festivities, the date set by the lunar schedule. Eid Al-Fitr holidays will begin Tuesday, the ministers said, and time would revert to +3 hours GMT, after clocks were were pushed back an hour in the West Bank and Gaza during Ramadan.
Palestinian, Jew give both sides on joint Jerusalem tours
CNN 26 Aug — As a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, Kobi Skolnick once fired shots at Aziz Abu Sarah’s aunt’s house in the West Bank town of Hebron. Ten years later, Skolnick, a former Israeli settler, who grew up in an ultra-orthodox household, and Abu Sarah, once a Palestinian militant, work together explaining both sides of the Middle East conflict to tourists. They discovered the uncomfortable coincidence during a tour in Hebron for Mejdi, a “dual-narrative” tour company co-owned by Abu Sarah, where every tour is jointly led by Jewish and Palestinian guides … Mejdi guides explain landmarks and historic sites from their personal experiences and those of their communities. One of the tour groups from an American synagogue even spent several days on home-stays in a Palestinian refugee camp.
The fastest women in the West Bank
Glober&Mail 26 Aug — Marah Zahalka was 11 years old when she first got behind the wheel of her family’s Volkswagen Golf in the small, conservative city of Jenin, in the West Bank. Her mother, a driving instructor, had gotten sick of listening to her daughter begging to drive and so, carefully, she helped Zahalka adjust the front seat, start the engine and slowly lower her foot onto the gas. As it turned out, the kid was a natural, and shortly after getting her licence at age 17, she began competing regularly in racing events held throughout the Palestinian territory. “I want to go to Formula One,” she says.
In Pictures: The West Bank’s girl racers
Globe&Mail 26 Aug — Young Palestinian women are tearing up stereotypes as they compete with men on the race track.
Teaching the piano to sing in Nablus / Noam Ben Zeev
NABLUS (Haaretz) 22 Aug – An improvised road block. An armored jeep to the right. An armed soldier making circles in the air with his finger. These were the first sights that greeted the conductor, pianist and world-renowned musicologist Joshua Rifkin on his sortie to the West Bank last Shabbat … Nablus is more besieged than any other city in the West Bank and suffers terribly. “Before the Israeli occupation, we were the cultural and commercial capital of the West Bank. Now we are nothing,” says Hammad, “so a few friends and I decided to do something. This is part of our opposition: Israel’s goal is to destroy traditions and culture – essentially our identity. You can put a man in jail, but you cannot imprison his spirit, so we will nourish this spirit.” International support has also passed over Nablus, which is an overwhelmingly Muslim city. “I call them the holy trinity – Ramallah-Jerusalem-Bethlehem,” jokes Hammad. “The guests who come to this region visit those [cities], and Nablus is left out in the cold. But how much history does Ramallah have? 100 years. We have 9,000!”
WikiLeaks cables: US embassy believed Netanyahu would advance peace in 2009
Among the thousands of U.S. embassy cables published by Wikileaks on Thursday, those from the Tel Aviv embassy shed light on the administration’s views on senior Israeli politicians.
Israel’s education minister wants social protests taught in schools
Haaretz 27 Aug — Gideon Sa’ar asks his staff to develop lessons on public protests to be incorporated in the curriculum, leading The Association for Civil Rights to propose the ministry adopt lesson plans already developed by the organization … The Association for Civil Rights in Israel developed a four-part curriculum on the right to housing, medical care, freedom of expression through protest, and issues involving public activism. The housing unit features a trivia game on the subject of housing discrimination, posing questions such as: How much has the Arab population grown since 1948? How much has the land held by the Arab population grown during that period? (The answer provided is that the population has grown by a factor of eight but the amount of land held by Israeli Arabs has been cut in half. ) The answer to another question states that more than 600 new Jewish locales have been established since the founding of the state, but no Arab locales have been established during that period.
Analysis / Opinion
Egypt-Israel-Palestine: an awkward three-way dance / Khaled Diab
Guardian 26 Aug — Relations between Israel and post-revolution Egypt are proving tetchy – but ordinary people hold the keys to peace — … Though military tensions seem to have subsided, an escalating war of words is brewing between Egypt and Israel. In Israel, in addition to anger, grief and a desire for vengeance, allegations are flying that Egypt has “lost control” of Sinai. For its part, Egypt counters that the Israeli security apparatus was pretty much caught with its pants down in its failure to protect its borders. There is also a widespread foreboding that this is just a taste of things to come in post-revolution Egypt. Egypt has also been gripped by anger, grief and calls for vengeance.
Israeli game over / Emad Gad
al-Ahram 25 Aug — Tel Aviv can no longer demand that Egypt’s hands be tied in controlling its border, while then complaining that Egypt is failing to provide security
Lebensraum as a justification for Israeli settlements / Yossi Sarid
Haaretz 26 Aug — Until now Israel had supported the occupation of the territories with two pillars: history and security – its right to inherit the land and its obligation to defend it. In recent weeks a third pillar was added, which all these years was hidden under straw and stubble. And maybe it’s not a pillar but a snake, whose head must be crushed while it’s still small … And now, in the middle of the summer, when the social protest is putting the housing shortage at the top of the agenda for a moment, the third school of thought is developing and taking hold … Suddenly we are short of space here in Israel, which has become full to capacity and needs lebensraum. Every cultured person knows that this is a despicable German concept, banned from use because of the associations it brings up. Still, people are starting to use it, if not outright then with a clear implication: We are short of land, we are short of air, let us breathe in this country.
Social justice also means ending the occupation / Zeev Sternhell
Haaretz 26 Aug — Justice is not merely the right to decent housing for Jews, it is also the right to freedom of a nation under occupation — Be the internal ills of Israeli society as they may, and they are too numerous to count, most of them can be treated and even cured; but the occupation and colonialism are terminal illnesses. Therefore anyone who refuses to understand – as did Shelly Yachimovich in her interview with Haaretz’s weekend magazine – that the socialism of masters, and on behalf of masters, is no less ruthless and despicable than the neoliberalism of the rich on behalf of the rich, is not worthy of seeking the leadership of a party that has pretensions of charting the future.
Haaretz editorial: The extreme Israeli right’s alliance with lunatics
25 Aug — In recent years, the extreme Israeli right has developed an alliance with heads of the evangelical movement, who define themselves as Christian Zionists, some of whom believe that another Holocaust of the Jews will ensure the resurrection of Jesus.