Dozens of MKs to Netanyahu: Solve Israel crisis by building in West Bank
Haaretz 2 Aug — MKs, cabinet ministers call on Netanyahu to consider all possible options to solve housing crisis, including settling of ‘tens of thousands of citizens in Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem’.
Yesha Council seeks to join social protest
Ynet 2 Aug – Yesha Council Chairman Naftali Bennett visited ‘tent city’ on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard Tuesday in a bid to join the protest against rising housing costs. Bennett met with leaders of the protest and told them, “The 50,000 Israelis living beyond the Green Line in Samaria and the area of the Dead Sea are citizens like all the rest, they pay taxes and live with the same hardships.” However, he explained, the right-wing activists who want to join the movement dislike the fact that “some of the leaders of the struggle are anarchists who oppose the IDF”.
And more news from Today in Palestine:
UNRWA: Clear link between settlement expansion and home demolitions
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The link between Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank and the displacement of Palestinians from their homes is now “abundantly clear,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said Tuesday. “Many displacements are taking place where settlements are expanding and with it we are seeing an upturn in vicious attacks by Jewish settlers. Palestinians are being thrown off their ancestral lands to make way for settlers,” Gunness told Ma‘an. Figures released Tuesday by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees showed a sharp rise in demolitions of Palestinian homes and livelihood structures by Israeli authorities in the West Bank.
IOA banishes Jerusalemite, arrests others
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 Aug — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) banished a Jerusalemite from Silwan and arrested a number of others in a sweep of arrests in occupied Jerusalem on the second day of Ramadan. Local sources said that Ammar Zaitun, who was detained for the past two months, was ordered by an Israeli court to remain under house arrest in Enata away from his hometown in Silwan after he was charged with resisting settlers and soldiers. Meanwhile, Israeli border policemen beat up and insulted an old man and his family in Silwan during a search in his home. Eyewitnesses in Aisawiye said Israeli policemen broke into a number of homes to arrest youths accused of throwing stones at settlers and soldiers, adding that three were arrested in the process.
Jerusalemite youth abort settlers’ attempt to storm Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 Aug — Jerusalemite youths managed on Monday night to abort an attempt by a group of 20 Jewish settlers to storm the holy Aqsa Mosque during Tarawih prayers. One of the mosque’s guards said that the settlers from Kiryat Arba, in Al-Khalil, managed to enter the Aqsa plaza through the Asbat gate while chanting racist slogans including “Death to the Arabs”. He said that the youths repelled the settlers and blocked their entry into the mosque where worshipers were performing the late night prayers in Ramadan known as the Tarawih. The guard said that Israeli police arrived at the scene, arrested five young Jerusalemites, and took the settlers away.
Municipality attempts eviction of Wadi Hilweh tent and surrounding land
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 1 Aug — Jerusalem Municipality officers attempted to evict the Wadi Hilweh protest tent today. Several horses who have grazed on the surrounding land for many years were also ordered off by officials. The Municipality and local Israeli settler groups have a long-running campaign to convert five plots of land belonging to local Palestinian families into parking lots. A detailed report is to follow
Israeli military raids again, man and 10-year-old boy arrested
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 1 Aug — A child and a young man from Ein Eluza district of Silwan were kidnapped by a large unit of Israeli forces this evening. Murad Issa Abbasi, 24, was taken by officers on the pretext of participation of recent clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces. Ten-year-old Mohammed Zaytoun was also taken by an undercover unit on accusation of participation in stone-throwing at Israeli forces.
Palestinians fear for ancient West Bank water source / Tom Perry
RASHAYIDA, West Bank (Reuters) 28 July — Hewn from rock, the cavernous cisterns which dot the desert beyond Bethlehem have for centuries harvested winter rain to provide shepherds and their flocks with water through summer. Under a baking sun, an elderly Bedouin explains how cisterns he remembers from childhood, many of them restored to full working order in the last few years, are once again helping his goat-herding community to survive. That, he concludes, is why the Israeli authorities who control the West Bank have demolished at least three in the area since November.
IDF prevents Israeli activists from escorting Palestinians to their lands in West Bank / Amira Hass
Haaretz 2 Aug — Women from human rights group Yesh Din barred from entering West Bank settlement of Ofra while escorting villagers to their lands in Silwad; villagers’ access to lands blocked by the settlement … The women were escorting five villagers who had been permitted to enter their lands for the first time in about 10 years, during which time the settlement had blocked access to them … The five farmers intended to assess the damage caused to their lands over the past 10 years. The visit was enabled following prolonged litigation by Yesh Din and a petition the group filed in December 2009 to the High Court of Justice against the IDF for confiscating the village’s lands. The settlers are blocking the Palestinians’ access to some 3,100 dunams, constituting about a quarter of Silwad’s lands and including lands belonging to the villages of Taibe, Ein Yabrud and Deir Jarir as well. The petitioners said the settlers had fenced off the area, built roads on it and used dogs as well as physical harassment to prevent the Palestinians from accessing their lands.
Al Khalil (Hebron) Mekerot Water Company disrupts flow of water to Palestinian crops again
CPTnet 1 Aug — The Mekerot Water Company continues to disrupt the flow of water to Palestinian farms in the Beqa‘a Valley. CPTers received a call on 20 July to document further damage to crops when the water company ripped out plastic irrigation pipes, saying that the Palestinians were stealing water. Seleh Jaber, a sixty-seven-year-old farmer, told CPTers that Mekerot also cut strings that support beans and cut pipes in violation of the Geneva conventions. Mekerot has destroyed cisterns and wells on the Jaber property, filling them with rocks, and has issued orders for the demolition of all wells in the valley. Jaber said that the interruption of water to crops damages the Palestinian economy. He also said that since farmers in the Beqa‘a have many children, the denial of water damages families.
Israel: Opportunity gulf between Bedouin in the Negev
TEL AVIV (IRIN) 1 Aug — More than 180,000 Bedouin live in Israel’s Negev desert, but there is a big gap in terms of life opportunities between those Bedouin who live in 35 unrecognized villages, and those luckier ones for whom Israel has created seven towns or who live in seven officially recognized villages, say human rights workers. Those in unrecognized villages face a constant threat of eviction, and are cut off from even basic services … The conditions for women living in unrecognized villages are dramatically worse than for their counterparts in Israeli-built Negev towns, she said. “Today 75 percent of the Bedouin students [largely from recognized Negev towns] in university are women. But in the unrecognized villages the situation is very different – 65 percent of girls are out of school because there are no schools.” … Khadra El Saneh is the director of Sidreh, the only NGO of its kind in Israel working to educate and promote the rights of Bedouin women. A mother of four, El Saneh overcame initial opposition from the traditional elements in her community to set up a weaving centre. The centre now employees 70 local women to make rugs that sell in boutiques across Israel and are exported as far afield as New York and Tokyo.
Israel’s Supreme Court orders state to dismantle largest West Bank outpost
Haaretz 2 Aug — Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an unprecedented ruling ordering the state to dismantle the largest illegal settlement outpost in the West Bank by April 2012. The decision follows a petition filed by the Peace Now movement. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch harshly criticized the Israeli government for failing to dismantle the outpost of Migron, which is home to some 50 families, despite earlier promises it would do so and after it had admitted that it was in fact built on lands belonging to Palestinians. Beinisch said the Supreme Court has tried to show restraint despite the blatant illegality of the outpost. “There is no doubt, that according to Israeli law, no settlements can be built on private lands of Palestinians,” Beinisch said. [how many can you think of that aren't?]
Jewish settlers burn 150 dunums of Palestinian land
NABLUS (PIC) 1 Aug — Jewish settlers set alight tens of dunums in the Palestinian village of Jallud in the Nablus province completely damaging 150 dunums of land lots. [reported yesterday from WAFA]
Meanwhile, dozens of Jewish settlers stormed the village of Awarta, southeast of Nablus, at dawn Monday and performed Talmudic rituals at alleged shrines. The Israeli occupation forces in 15 armored vehicles provided protection for the settlers who offered the rituals at three “shrines” then left the village before dawn prayers. [This statement is quite odd, since the three shrines are supposed to be Islamic and to date to the Mamluk era. See this site, which has photos of the shrines and information about a previous, worse incursion in January, 2010: “The colonizers attacked and destroyed a number of gravestones without regard to the sanctity and dignity of the dead, and dumped bottles of alcohol and some remnants of food on the graves adjacent to the shrine of the Seventy Sheikhs which was, also, partially burned. In addition to this, the attackers wrote some outrageous statements against the Islamic religion and people of the village on the walls of the profaned tombs.”
Palestinian hurt in hit-and-run near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — A Palestinian man sustained injuries in a hit-and-run near Qalqiliya on Sunday, medics said. Rauf Abu Hajla, 37, was walking on the side of a road when a car driven by an Israeli national struck him and sped off. A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance took Abu Hajla to the Darwish Nazzal hospital for treatment of head injuries. [Settler? Maybe not. But some Israeli who doesn't care about Palestinian life.]
Israel slaps restraining orders on 12 settlers
JERUSALEM (AFP) 2 Aug — Twelve Israeli settlers accused of setting fire to Palestinian mosques, property and vehicles have been slapped with restraining orders limiting their movement in the West Bank, the military said on Tuesday. In a statement, the Israeli military said it had signed off on the restraining orders based on recommendations from the Israel Security Agency, the internal security service. The orders range from three months to a year, with six settlers told to stay away from certain communities, three prohibited from entering the Yitzhar settlement south of Nablus, and three more prevented from entering the West Bank at all. “The orders follow the culmination of information recently gathered by the ISA, according to which a group of extreme activists living in the vicinity of Yitzhar have been, for the past two years, involved in leading, directing and executing violent and clandestine activity targeting Palestinian residents,” the statement said. “These activities include igniting a number of mosques, vehicles, and buildings that belong to Palestinians, therefore endangering lives and disrupting public order.”
Military officials warn of ‘arson intifada’
Ynet 2 Aug — Residents of various West Bank settlements have found themselves under a new threat recently — arson. According to a report published by Yedioth Ahronoth Tuesday, more than 20 fires have been maliciously set in West Bank settlements and outposts in the past few weeks. Police investigators determined that all of the fires were the result of arson and evidence in all cases led to surrounding Arab villages. The Judea and Samaria District Police have recently arrested six suspects. [If this is in fact happening, we know where they got the idea....]
Israeli forces – raids, incursions
Report: 6 Palestinians killed, 250 others arrested in July
NABLUS (PIC) 1 Aug — The International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights in Nablus has issued a report detailing the murders, arrests, and raids that Israeli occupation forces carried out in the occupied Palestinian territories in July 2011. The figures presented are in addition to the attacks by the state and Jewish settlers on Palestinians, which at times amount to confiscation of land or home demolitions or vandalism or the tightened siege on the Gaza Strip.
PA: ‘Alarming’ rise in Israel’s attacks on Palestinian children
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — The Palestinian Authority on Sunday warned that Israel’s attacks on Palestinian children were escalating at “an alarming rate” and urged the UN to step in. Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed nine children so far in 2011, and almost 200 children have been injured by settler violence and the Israeli military, a statement by the Government Media Center said. “Hundreds of children are being illegally rounded up monthly by Israeli forces and detained, abused, and imprisoned without due process of law and in direct violation of international, Israeli, and Palestinian laws,” the PA added. The statement referred to a recent event caught on camera in which young Palestinians were kidnapped by masked, armed Israeli forces while playing football.
Soldiers kill 2 in raid on refugee camp
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians during an arrest raid near Ramallah in the central West Bank early Monday, onlookers and medical officials said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that soldiers stormed Qalandiya refugee camp at dawn and as they ransacked homes, confrontations erupted between the army and local residents. The soldiers began to shoot indiscriminately and 22-year-old Mutasim Issa Udwan sustained a gunshot wound to the head. He died immediately. Another young man, Ali Khalifa, was shot in the stomach and died in hospital in Ramallah. A third young man, identified as Maamoon Awwad, suffered a back injury. The two who were killed were Palestinian military intelligence officers, according to locals. Medical sources in Ramallah hospital confirmed two young men were killed, yet they did not give further details. The soldiers eventually detained two men, Wajih Ayman Al-Khatib and Anas Manasrah. [on the first day of Ramadan, no less, though the army has never had any respect for Ramadan - see this Washington Post article from 2002 about their killing of the Ramadan drummer in a refugee camp near Nablus]
Israelis kill 2 as West Bank raid goes awry / Ethan Bronner
NYTimes 1 Aug – ['goes awry'??? But this article is interesting for the following part] “Kalandia, near Ramallah, is part of the West Bank known as Area A, which is policed and secured during the day by Palestinian Authority forces. The Israeli military reserves the right to enter it at night. In a recent interview, a top Israeli military commander said his troops made about half a dozen nightly raids in Area A. “For intelligence dominance and freedom of action, this is the minimum number of entries we have to make per night,” he said. A year or two ago, the number of nightly raids was more like a dozen. To reduce the raids further, he said, would require a political decision that would involve a security risk. He said he favored such a decision but it was not his to make. He added that in recent months the Palestinian Authority forces were arresting fewer suspects, especially those affiliated with Hamas, because of the unity agreement the Palestinian Authority and Hamas were negotiating.”
EU urges inquiry after killings in West Bank refugee camp
BRUSSELS (AFP) 2 Aug — The European Union on Tuesday urged Israel to carry out an inquiry into the killing of two Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the West Bank. “The European Union is saddened and concerned by the killing,” said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. “We call on the Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and thoroughly investigate the incident,” added spokesman Michael Mann. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Robert Serry also urged Israel to investigate. The Israeli army said an inquiry was already under way.
Many arrested in West Bank sweep
NABLUS (PIC) 1 Aug — Israeli occupation forces arrested Monday morning brothers Badr, 25, and Khalid, 21, Abu Namous, from the Ein Beit al-Maa refugee camp in western Nablus, in an arrest sweep in the occupied West Bank. Witnesses said a massive Israeli military force invaded several areas in the camp. The force proceeded to raid and vandalize the Abu Namous residence, also searching the garden before taking the two brothers into custody.
Elsewhere, heated clashes erupted as an Israeli force raided the same morning several neighborhoods in Al-Syoukh in Al-Khalil governorate … The force managed to arrest one man from the town during a similar raid early yesterday. Also arrested was honor student Mohammed Abdu Rabo Halayka alongside his father. The arrest came just hours after he gave a speech at a party that the Fatah party sponsored in the town to honor outstanding students. …
Reports also show that Israeli authorities have arrested a 70-year-old man from Shyoukh as he visited his son who is currently held prisoner in the Israeli Ramon prison.
Israeli soldiers detain Bethlehem teenager
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces detained a teenager from Bethlehem on Monday, witnesses said. Salih Zoul, 17, was taken during a raid on his family’s home in Husan west of Bethlehem. An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers detained six Palestinians overnight. [End]
Israeli forces detain 1 in Hebron village raid
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Israeli forces on Monday detained a Palestinian and beat several others during a raid on the village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, a Ma‘an correspondent reported. Mahmoud Salibi, 21, was detained by Israeli forces in the raid. A spokesman from the villages’ popular committee said soldiers raided the home of Ahmad Abu Hashim and beat some of his family members, leading to the hospitalization of his son Yusuf, 19. Soldiers issued Abu Hashim and two of his sons with arrest warrants, the spokesman added. A witness said that a tear gas canister fired by soldiers had caused a fire in the home of Abu Hashim.
Israeli forces also raided the home of Ibrahim Abu Mariya, 50, and issued him and his sons Firas, 20, and Mutasim, 18, with arrest warrants.
Air strikes hit targets in the Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) — Israeli warplanes struck two targets in the northern and southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, with no casualties reported. Israeli aircraft fired at a target in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip causing material damage but no human casualties, medical sources told Ma‘an’s correspondent. Israeli jets also fired missiles at a smuggling tunnel in the Al Brazil neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza, causing material damage only. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that “the sites were targeted in response to the rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel’s southern communities during the previous day, moderately injuring a woman.” “The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip,” the statement added.
Israeli warplanes raid southern, northern Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 1 Aug — Israeli warplanes launched two air raids on Rafah, in the south of Gaza Strip, and Beit Lahia, in the north of the coastal enclave, at dawn Tuesday causing material damage but no casualties. Local sources told the PIC reporter that Israeli F16 warplanes fired a missile at a tunnel near the Brazil refugee camp in Rafah. Other sources said that the second raid targeted a training camp for the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in Beit Lahia but no casualties were reported in both raids. The raids coincided with Israeli navy gunboats opening machine gun fire at Rafah shores, locals said.
Israel unveils special guided missile used in Lebanon, Gaza
JPost 1 Aug — For years, Israel has been rumored to have classified missiles, but on Monday, for the first time, the IDF unveiled a special guided missile system that has been used successfully in action in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Called Tamuz, the missile is based on the Spike Long-Range Missile developed by Rafael and is operated by Meitar, an elite unit which operates under the Artillery Corps. The missile was opened to foreign exports last year.
Video: Travelers resorting to bribes to exit Gaza
Al Jazeera 1 Aug — Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has announced that from Monday only students, patients and foreign passport holders will be allowed to leave the territory through the Rafah crossing into Egypt. The move is an attempt to clear the huge backlog of travel applications. But as Nicole Johnson reports from Rafah, many people find that bribery is the only way to get out of Gaza.
Woman lightly wounded by Gaza rocket in southern Israel
Haaretz 1 Aug — 50-year-old woman sustains shrapnel wounds to her legs as rocket explodes in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.
Activists pray in Gaza’s buffer zone
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Popular resistance activists held noon prayers on Tuesday in the ‘buffer zone’ in northern Gaza. International solidarity activists joined dozens of Palestinians to pray on lands recently bulldozed by Israel near Beit Hanoun. Israeli forces impose a ‘buffer zone’ 300 meters from the border inside Gaza. Israel’s army says it considers the area a combat zone and frequently fires at Palestinians who enter the area, killing many civilians. In practice, the no-go area extends over a kilometer inside the Gaza Strip in some areas. It encompasses around 20 percent of the coastal enclave, including fertile Palestinian farmland. Activists said they organized prayers in the buffer zone as an act of resistance to Israeli forces who were watching from behind the concrete wall. [End]
Video: Hamas rebuilds ruined Gaza structures
PressTV 2 Aug — The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says it has managed to reconstruct most of the buildings destroyed during the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Gaza launches relief campaign to support the Somali people
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The Arab doctors’ union launched a campaign on Tuesday to assist the Somali people. The campaign is called “From Gaza hand in hand to save the children of Somalia” and will last throughout the holy month of Ramadan … Haddad said cash donations would be transferred to the office of the union in Cairo, which would purchase food and medicine and send it to the victims in Somalia. He added that each individual needed about $10 to save his or her life.
Gaza official denies reports of sharks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Gaza official Mahmoud Kabarati on Tuesday denied media reports that sharks had been spotted on the Gaza Strip’s coastline. According to reports in the Israeli media on Tuesday, sharks had ventured near the Gaza shore because of environmental changes in the Mediterranean. The sharks were attracted by the depth of the water off Gaza’s coast and by the large number of fishing boats, the reports said. Kabarati, who heads Gaza’s federation of fishermen and water sports, said the claims were false.
Gaza’s boat-building tradition dying under siege / Eva Bartlett
InGaza 1 Aug — “My father was a boat-builder and I learned from him, worked on boats all my life. Now there’s no work at all.” Abu Fayez Bakr, 64, is one of two boat-builders in the Gaza Strip, the last of a dying trade, despite Palestinians’ penchant for the sea and its bounty. “My sons learned a little about boat repairs, but not actual building. They were young when I had regular building work, but now that they are older the work has dried up.” In Gaza’s simple harbour, Bakr sits beside a hefty boat he built nearly a decade ago, one of his last projects. “We received funding from Denmark to make this research boat, equipped with special oceanography equipment. I built it about nine years ago, but it isn’t much use now. You need to go out into the sea to use it properly, not just a couple of miles,” he says, referring to the Israeli lethal imposition of a three- mile boundary on Gaza’s sea, despite the Oslo agreements according Palestinian fishermen 20 miles.
Gaza women join carpentry trade
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Women in Gaza are learning carpentry skills at an empowerment center in a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, a Ma‘an correspondent reported. Amaal Abu Raqiq is one of ten Palestinian women trained at the Center for Empowering Women and Society in the An-Nuseirat refugee camp. Abu Raqiq studied frame design and woodwork and her designs have featured in 10 exhibitions in Gaza. Her work has been well-received by the public and is in high demand.
Gazan defies handicap to live life to the fullest / Omar Ghraieb
GAZA CITY, Gaza (Media Line) 2 Aug — Abdul Qader Abu Lubda overcomes birth defect, poverty and social stigma — Abdul Qader Abu Lubda is walking down the street in his n Gaza City neighborhood one afternoon this week. In one hand he has a sheaf of papers perched precariously between his palm and two short fingers. In the other, two stumpy fingers are holding a heavy bag. But Abu Lubda doesn’t look or act like he’s struggling. Along the way he is smiling and greeting neighbors and acquaintances … He is a member of a slew of Arab and international clubs for the disabled athletes and, traveling to Lebanon, Jordan, Dubai, Syria and European countries on a special visa, he has won medals for ping pong in Arab and international competition. He holds a paddle confidently between his two fingers as if he had no handicap at all.
Report: Israel’s new Mossad chief behind assassination of Iran nuclear scientist
Haaretz 2 Aug — German weekly Der Spiegel, quoting an Israeli intelligence source, says last week’s shooting was first ‘public operation’ orchestrated by Tamit Prado. Last week, Dariush Rezaeinejad, a 35-year-old member of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was shot dead by two gunmen firing from motorcycles … This is the fourth attack on an Iranian nuclear scientist in the past year. In the previous cases, Iranian media outlets and spokesmen accused the Mossad, the CIA and MI6 of being behind the strikes.
Report: Beirut blast targeted Nasrallah
Ynet 2 Aug — Kuwaiti paper al-Jarida cites unnamed source as saying Israel set off blast in Hezbollah suburb of Dahiya after learning of leaders’ meeting with group commanders in neighboring building. Report remains unconfirmed … Hezbollah, for its part, published an obscure statement saying the blast was a gas tank explosion in a residential building.
Female detainee marks 2 years in administrative detention
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The Palestinian Center for Detainees reported Tuesday that female detainee Hana Al-Shalabi from Jenin is now the longest serving female prisoner held in Israeli administrative detention. She was detained in 2009 and is currently in Hasharon prison. The Israeli authorities have kept on postponing her trial without providing any justification and the Israeli Shabak refuse to tell her why she is being detained, the ministry said. She is banned from seeing her family. Administrative detention entails being detained without a trial or any charge.
Fogel family murderer convicted
Ynet 2 Aug — Hakim Awad confesses in court to murder of five members of Fogel family, says threatened to commit another murder to get family members to help conceal weapons, clothes — The Samaria District Military Court on Tuesday convicted Hakim Awad, 18, in the murder of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar five months ago. Awad was also convicted in a series weapons-related and security offences. The trial of second defendant Amjad Awad is still ongoing separately as the two are testifying against each other … Awad also said that his relatives were initially outraged to learn of the murders, and even beat him and Amjad before they helped them conceal the weapons. He noted that when their uncle refused to help the two, he threatened to go back to Itamar to commit another murder. Only then did the uncle agree to help conceal their weapons and blood-soaked clothes, Awad said. He did not show any emotion during the arraignment and confession. Despite the confession, the judges decided to examine some of the prosecution’s evidence, primarily forensic evidence such as as fingerprints and DNA, before announcing the conviction, in order to verify that the confession matches the findings.
Daughter of prisoner passes Tawjihi with flying colors
JENIN (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The Minister of Detainees Issa Qaraqe paid a visit to the daughter of a prisoner on Tuesday to congratulate her on passing the recent Tawjihi exams. The daughter of Qahira Al-Saadi from Jenin refugee camp passed the high school exams with flying colors, obtaining grades of 87.2 in her exams. A group of former prisoners and a Jenin official accompanied Qaraqe to the house to congratulate the daughter, praising her for taking care of her brothers while studying for her exams. Qahira is currently serving a life sentence in the Israeli prison of Hasharon.
Video: Ni‘lin village commemorates the 3rd anniversary of the killing of Ahmed Mousa 29.7.2011
Ni‘lin Sons 31 July — It has been three years since the brutal killing of nine year old Ahmad Mousa by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Ahmad was struck by a single bullet from an M16 assault rifle. The bullet entered his forehead and exited the back of his head. Ahmad was part of a peaceful protest demonstrating against the building of the apartheid wall in the West Bank on the land of the village of Ni‘lin in the West Bank. It was 29th July, 2008.
Situation of Palestinian refugees in Iraq the worst
IMEMC 1 Aug — The Palestinian ambassador in Iraq, Daleel Al Qassous, stated that the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Iraq is the worst compared to any other place on earth … Al Qassous stated that the refugees in Iraq are being attacked for being Sunni Muslims, and for allegedly supporting the former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein … “There are only 7,000 refugees in Iraq now, they are living in At-Tweija, Al Za‘faraniyya, Al Doura and the city of Al Hurriyya,” the ambassador stated, “They are living in extreme poverty due to high living costs and the lack of work, the UN provides some services to them but their situation is very miserable.” Dozens of attacks were carried out against the Palestinian refugees since the war on Iraq in 2003 leading to the death, injury and abduction of hundreds of refugees.
Hamas asks Lebanese gov’t not to discuss ban on building in refugee camps
BEIRUT (PIC) 2 Aug — The Hamas movement has asked the Lebanese government to withdraw an item on its agenda for Wednesday’s cabinet session that stipulates banning construction in the Palestinian refugee camps in the country. Ra‘fat Marra, in charge of the movement’s relations with Lebanon, said in a press release that the item, which also includes closing entrances to those camps, ran contrary to the government’s plan of action that stipulated among other things facilitating the life of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and granting them their social and humanitarian rights.
Racism / Discrimination
Israeli Arabs more likely to be convicted of crimes than their Jewish counterparts, study shows
Haaretz 2 Aug — Arab Israelis who have been charged with certain types of crime are more likely than their Jewish counterparts to be convicted, and once convicted they are more likely to be sent to prison, and for a longer time. These disparities were found in a recent statistical study commissioned by Israel’s Courts Administration and the Israel Bar Association. The study found that 48.3 percent of Arabs who were convicted of violence, property crimes or drug or weapons offenses received custodial sentences, compared to 33.6 percent for Jews. The average prison sentence was nine and a half months for Jews and 14 months for Arabs.
Israel’s housing crisis
Ben-Eliezer: Israel headed for disaster
Ynet 1 Aug — Former minister warns Palestinian UN bid will clash with housing crisis to create ‘chaos’, urges Netanyahu to ‘take matters in hand’ by cutting defense budget, transferring funds from settlements to housing within 1967 lines
Stay in your tents / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 31 July –The protest transferred the center of power from the politicians to the public, and that public is speaking now – for perhaps the first time – in terms of individual and society rather than in terms of state and army… Do not trivialize this. The protest has also transferred the focus of strength from domineering minority groups to the previously silent majority. Now the talk is of concern for the majority, not for an extortionist minority.
Netanyahu’s trump card against Israeli protests: Peace / Bradley Burston
Haaretz 1 Aug — As protests over social welfare sweep Israel, the PM has to go the one way no one is looking: Move immediately – and sincerely – for peace negotiations with the Palestinians — Early Monday, when the news broke of the IDF trading fire with the Lebanese army, everyone in this house, and undoubtedly many others in Israel, had the same thought: That’s it. Netanyahu’s decided to solve the protest crisis by going to war … You needn’t look far for precedent. There is ample evidence that Ehud Olmert could have, and certainly should have, avoided the Gaza war as a means of halting rocket fire from the Strip. But, in the wake of his disastrous conduct of the Second Lebanon War and the sewn-on shadow of graft allegations, Olmert had something to prove and much to hide. We went to war because Olmert needed to.
Palestinians’ low salaries also linked to Israeli social struggle / Amira Hass
Haaretz 1 Aug — “A financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority” – that is a convenient description of the situation where, on the eve of Ramadan, the Ramallah government is (again ) unable to pay the full salaries of its 150,000 public sector employees. This is a short, but very inaccurate description, however. The crisis, says economist Raja Khalidi, is in the status quo that Israel has enjoyed since the Oslo Accords: Israel is in control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – and Palestinian society and the donor countries finance the cost of this domination.
Most Israeli municipalities declare general strike in solidarity with housing protests
Haaretz 1 Aug — PM scrambles to quell nationwide protests as he faces a setback in the resignation of Finance Ministry Director General Haim Shani; Moshe Terry, former chairman of Israel Securities Authority, likely to take over treasury — Most municipal authorities have declared a one-day strike scheduled for Monday, in sympathy with popular protests spreading throughout Israel. Municipalities will not be giving services to government offices or holding public office hours today, streets will not be cleaned and garbage will not be collected.
Knesset to take summer break despite growing social protests across Israel
Haaretz 1 Aug — Proposal by Interior Minister Eli Yishai voted down; Speaker Reuven Rivlin: Government should deal with the crisis, not the Knesset.
WATCH: Netanyahu in recent interview: No protests in Israel (+ Remix!) / Noam Sheizaf
+972mag 1 Aug — A common mistake for a leader is to take pride in things which he can’t anticipate or have little control over. This is Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu, in his much publicized YouTube interview, celebrating the absence of popular protest in Israel… Protesters are having lots of fun with this bit lately. Here is a nice mix by former entertainment journalist Noy Alooshe that’s circulating around the net today. The chants in the back say “the people want social justice.” The bit at the End shows Likud MK Miri Regev chased away from the Tel Aviv tent camp.
Peres to leaders of Israeli social protest: It’s time for discussions, not negotiations
Haaretz 1 Aug — Daphni Leef and Stav Shafir, who initiated the protests for affordable housing, meet the president to discuss their demands.
Israeli settlers largely back housing protests but wary of left-wing slant
Haaretz 1 Aug — Settlers agree the burden on the public must be eased, but see current housing protests as an effort by left-wing activists to piggyback on justified grievances in order to promote the broader diplomatic agenda of the left.
Political / Diplomatic / International news
Hamas FM: Unity government must be formed urgently
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — A united Palestinian government must be formed urgently ahead of Palestine’s bid for membership of the United Nations in September, Foreign Minister in Gaza Muhammad Awad said Monday … Attempts to form a unity government have stalled over a leadership row, as Hamas rejected Fatah’s nomination of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to lead the new government.
Resheq: Hamas, Fatah meeting in Cairo next Sunday
DAMASCUS (PIC) 2 Aug — Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq has said that his movement would meet with Fatah faction in Cairo next Sunday to activate the reconciliation agreement. He said on his Twitter page on Tuesday that the Cairo meet would focus on the detainees, the PLO, and other pending issues in the reconciliation agreement away from the government formation.
PA announces schedule for elections in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The Ministry of Local Government on Tuesday announced its schedule for local elections, which will be held in the West Bank on October 22 … The Ministry … said in a statement Tuesday that registration would take place between August 13-17. A 10-day candidacy period would begin on September 6, the ministry added. The electoral campaign is scheduled for October 8-20, and results of the election will be announced 24 hours after voting closes, the statement added. The elections will only be held in the West Bank. The Fatah-led PA blamed Hamas for blocking elections in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians plan mass demonstrations against Israel on eve of UN vote
AP 1 Aug — Palestinian officials said Monday they plan to begin mass marches against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank on September 20, the eve of a largely symbolic UN vote expected to recognize their independence. Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo said leaders hope to attract millions, and the protest will be the first of a prolonged effort. He said the campaign would be called “Palestine 194,” since the Palestinians hope to become the 194th member of the United Nations.
Arab League likely to turn to UN Security Council for Palestinian statehood
Haaretz 1 Aug — UN sources say Arab League due to approve proposal to simultaneously appeal to UN General Assembly and Security Council for recognition of Palestinian state.
Qabaha: UN option should be part of comprehensive strategy
NABLUS (PIC) 2 Aug — Former minister Wasfi Qabaha has said that asking the UN to recognize a Palestinian state should be part of a comprehensive Palestinian strategy in which all components of the society take part. He said in a statement from his Israeli jail that going to the UN while the state of division was not yet resolved would pose as a point of weakness. The US and Israel would exploit the Palestinian division to abort any international attempt to support the Palestinian cause, the ex-minister said.
Shaath: UN membership would improve chance of peace talks
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Fatah central committee member Nabil Shaath said Tuesday that Palestine’s bid for UN membership would improve the chances of negotiations with Israel, official Palestinian Authority media reported. “By seeking recognition, we make negotiations more possible, more equal and more doable,” Shaath said … Shaath said every country had the right to declare independence unilaterally. Recognition followed via bilateral relations, and finally world recognition could be achieved multilaterally, he said…. Shaath insisted that all decision making bodies were committed to seeking membership of the UN regardless of whether negotiations resumed.
President condemns deadly Israeli army raid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned an Israeli army raid that left two Palestinians dead early Monday in the Qalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah, a spokesman said. Nabil Abu Rudeina told government media that the raid amounted to “an Israeli attempt to escalate things ahead of September,” when the PLO plans to seek recognition of statehood from the United Nations. “The Israeli government is responsible for this escalation,” he added. [End]
TV: Israel agrees to negotiate over pre-’67 lines
JERUSALEM (AP) 1 Aug — In a dramatic policy shift, Israel’s prime minister has agreed to negotiate the borders of a Palestinian state based on the cease-fire line that marks off the West Bank, a TV station reported Monday. Up to now, Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to spell out his plan for negotiating the border. A senior Israeli official would not confirm outright that the prime minister was now willing to adopt the cease-fire line as a starting point, but said Israel was willing to try new formulas to restart peace talks based on a proposal made by President Barack Obama.
US, Israel propose new talks to head off Palestinian UN bid
JERUSALEM (AFP) 2 Aug — Israel is willing to begin new Middle East peace talks using the 1967 lines as a basis for negotiations if the Palestinians drop their UN membership bid, an Israeli government official confirmed on Tuesday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel has been working with Washington and members of the international peace-making Quartet to draw up a new framework that could relaunch stalled talks … Palestinians were unimpressed, with negotiator Saeb Erekat urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instead to “announce his position in front of the world and the international media.” Netanyahu should announce “that the 1967 borders are the basis for negotiations and a halt to all building of settlements on Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem,” he told AFP, dismissing the reports as a PR exercise.
Israel plays down report of border deal
JERUSALEM (AP) 2 Aug — An Israeli official is distancing the government from a report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to negotiate the borders of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with the West Bank. Both Israeli and Palestinian officials acknowledged Tuesday they remain far from a breakthrough in efforts to revive peace talks, despite a frantic U.S. push. An Israeli TV station said Monday that Netanyahu had accepted President Barack Obama’s proposal to commit to a near-total withdrawal from the West Bank. The official says Netanyahu is willing to “show some flexibility” on the border issue, but won’t elaborate. He also says Netanyahu expects Palestinian flexibility on other issues. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a sensitive diplomatic matter.
Israel, Lebanon armies exchange fire at border
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — The Israeli and Lebanese armies exchanged gunfire early Monday across their shared border, security officials and media reports said. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said soldiers traded fire in the Mount Dov region on the border … The Israeli military said its troops had been fired upon as they worked on the Israeli side of the Blue Line, the UN-drawn border with Lebanon. But a Lebanese army official said troops opened fire only when Israeli soldiers crossed the border line, which was established in 2000. Both sides have challenged the accuracy of the Blue Line in several locations … The flare-up in violence was the worst clash between the two sides since Israel’s devastating 2006 war in Lebanon against the Shiite Hezbollah militia.
UNIFIL: IDF troops didn’t cross border
Ynet 1 Aug — UN force sides with IDF, says Lebanese army’s fire on troops patrolling border was uncalled for; but Lebanese president slams Israel for aggression, tells troops: Enemy tried to revert to provocations, but you stood guard
Der Speigel probes link between Israel, Norway killer
Ynet 1 Aug — German paper warns Europe’s right-wing Islamophobes have found willing allies in Likud
EU contributes €22.5 million to pay PA salaries
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The European Union announced Tuesday that it would contribute €22.5 million to help the Palestinian Authority pay July salaries and pensions for around 83,000 Palestinian public service workers and pensioners. The EU announced that the money would be channeled through PEGASE, the European mechanism for support to the Palestinians, a statement said … The West Bank government has been warning for months now that it faces an impending financial crunch because of the failure of donors, especially Arab countries, to fulfill their financial commitments.
MK Mofaz: reserves likely to be mobilized in September
Former IDF chief says IDF’s answer to coming September’s potential threats may include calling in the Reserves
Senior Israeli Navy commander: Hamas, Hezbollah threaten our ports and oil rigs
Haaretz 2 Aug — A senior officer in the Israeli Navy said Tuesday that terrorist groups close to Israel are in possession of missiles capable of hitting all Israeli ports and offshore infrastructure such as oil rigs.
IDF chief warns budget cuts may impede Israel’s defense abilities
Haaretz 31 July — Benny Gantz says IDF will agree to cuts in defense budget in favor of increased spending on social services, but warns that it may impede IDF’s ability to counter threats.
Photos: Muslims in the West Bank usher in Ramadan amidst economic crisis
MEMO 2 Aug — On Monday, August 1st, Muslims across the globe ushered in the blessed month of Ramadan with its distinctive atmosphere of festivity, unity and expectation as they went about the business of shopping alongside other preparations.
Photos: Ramadan in Gaza
MEMO 2 Aug — …on the first night of Ramadan, many Gazans gathered in Gaza City’s Kutayyiba Square and lit a large lantern expressing their joy at the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan. Children lit fireworks as an expression of their joy despite the difficult circumstances they live under and the fact that many of them lack the basic necessities of life.
Palestinian police taking to the air
JPost 2 Aug [the airwaves, that is - you didn't really believe the Israelis would let them have helicopters?] The idea of turning to the police to hear the news, catch some of the latest tunes and vent some frustration to a talk show host seems a bit odd, but Palestinians will soon be able to do this with a new radio station being set up by the local police force in the West Bank. The Palestinian Civil Police said they plan to model their new station on the popular ones run by the neighboring Israeli and Jordanian armies. With financial support already pledged from Turkey, senior commanders say they hope to be on air by the end of the year.
MK from Lieberman’s party rapped for threatening colleague over Gaza flotilla
dpa 2 Aug — Last June, MK Anastassia Michaeli forced her way over to Hanin Zoabi, who took part in the flotilla last May, and physically threatened her. Knesset Ethics Committee: behavior is without precedent … Israel accused the activists of an attempted “lynch” of the commandos while the organizers accused Israel of “massacring” civilians. Zoabi, from the Arab town of Nazareth in northern Israel, had been on board the Mavi Marmara, but said she had not been on the deck when Israeli commandos boarded and did not witness the violence. Right-wing Jewish lawmakers accused her of being a “traitor” and a “terrorist,” while an Arab lawmaker shouted at the St Petersburg-born Michaeli, as she was ushered out the plenum: “Go back to Russia.”.
Analysis / Interviews / Human interest
Three lives in the West Bank / Sophie Elmhurst
MEMO 1 Aug — 1. Samer, Jerusalem – If you live in Ramallah and work in Jerusalem, the time your journey will take to the office is an unknown quantity. It could be an hour, it could be three. — 2. Nabil, Sheikh Jarrah – On a wide street in Sheikh Jarrah, the Arab area in east Jerusalem, live Nabil and his family. To enter their house you walk through a gate, through a makeshift tent constructed out of sheets and tarpaulin, and into a back yard, where Nabil sits with his mother and friends drinking coffee and smoking. On the other side of the tent, living at the front of the same house, are Nabil’s neighbours, a group of young Israeli settlers. — 3. Hashem, Hebron – …Hashem, a physiotherapist by training, has lived in Hebron all his life, born in the house he lives in now with his wife Nasreen and four children. He is one of the few Palestinians still living in H2. Their home is perched on a hillside above the deserted market street, and to get there he has to climb over walls and clamber through gaps in hedges – the direct road has been blocked and is used only by the settlers who live further up the hillside.
From East Jerusalem to Ramallah / Kazim Ali
HuffPost 1 Aug — …The Palestinian people have been divided in four and none of the four can meet, create cultural commerce or find political unity as a people. Scattered by war, they are now scattered by “peace.” There are the Palestinian-Israelis who live inside the “green line,” the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel. There are the Palestinians who live, sealed up in Gaza, without adequate construction supplies to repair any damage caused in the siege of Gaza, many of them living without electricity, access to fresh water or medical care. There are the Palestinians who live in the cities and towns of the Occupied West Bank and then of course there are the approximately 4 million members of the Diaspora who have no legal status as Palestinians per se. Though legally some are permitted to travel, the onerous system of checkpoints makes a twenty minute drive turn into a three or four hour journey. [and those in E. Jerusalem]
‘Peace is good business.’ Author and historian Gershom Gorenberg sits down with PNN
PNN 1 Aug — …Gershom, an Israeli-American historian and journalist and himself an Orthodox Jew, has written extensively on the moral failure at the heart of Israel’s settlement enterprise and the threat that it poses not only to Palestinians, but also to Israelis. He sees the settlements as not only a direct assault upon Israeli democracy, but also a threat to the existence of the Israeli state itself … The folly and the danger of the settlement enterprise will be a topic discussed at length in Gershom’s forthcoming book, entitled The Unmaking of Israel and to be published in November by HarperCollins.
Hope springs eternal for veteran Israeli peacenik
JERUSALEM (AFP) 1 Aug — For Uri Avnery, seen by some as the backbone of Israel’s dwindling peace movement, hope for peace with the Palestinians springs eternal, despite stalled talks and the rising power of the Israeli right wing. At 87, he can recount decades of experience pushing his fellow Israelis towards a lasting peace deal with the Palestinians, and has no time for those who say an accord is as far away now as ever.