Gilo (white buildings) towers
over confiscated Palestinian lands
and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
Israel orders demolition of Jerusalem homes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Israeli forces and municipality officials raided a number of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem to deliver warrants for their demolition, locals said on Wednesday. Soldiers escorted the officials to order the destruction of homes in Sala‘a, Wadi Yasul and Ein Al-Louza districts of Silwan, local committee for defense of Silwan land Abdul-Kareem Abu Sneina said … Spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees Chris Gunness told Ma’an the demolitions were illegal under international law … “The UN is monitoring each demolition. And as well as bringing assistance to those affected, we will continue to press for full accountability against those individuals responsible for breaking the law,” Gunness said.
Israel demands Palestinian pay rent for owned house
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Dec – Israeli authorities Tuesday handed a Palestinian elderly woman a notice demanding her to pay rent for the house she owns in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in Jerusalem, according to a WAFA correspondent. He said that Refqa al-Kord, 85, has been getting notices for a while demanding her to pay rent for the past seven years for the benefit of settlements’ associations. The notice included a warning that if the rent was not paid, al-Kord has to evacuate her house immediately. Several extremist Jewish groups took over part of al-Kord’s house a year ago and turned it into a settlement outpost, aiming to harass her into leaving the house under the pretext of the Jews owning the house. This was refuted with documents by residents as well as local and official institutions.
Silwan residents blame right wing-group for collapse of tunnel near mosque
28 Dec — A channel dug for archaeological excavations in Silwan partially collapsed on Monday near the village’s mosque. Residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood place the responsibility for the collapse on the Elad nonprofit organization and accuse Elad of endangering the mosque and nearby homes. Elad manages the City of David National Park, which is in Silwan, and funds many of the archaeological excavations carried out in the area by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Waking up stateless in Jerusalem / Danielle C. Jefferis
27 Dec — At least twelve million people wake up stateless every morning — unable to travel, obtain identity cards, work legally, own property, register their children’s births, attend school, apply for public benefits, access healthcare, and receive state protection. Stateless persons exist at the periphery of society — both outside the law and at the mercy of the law. In occupied East Jerusalem, thousands of Palestinians — Christians and Muslims alike — have lost their permanent residency rights — their only legal bond to the city of their birth — due to a number of Israeli laws and now wake up to this paradoxical reality every day — stateless in their own homeland.
Jerusalem approves 130 new housing units beyond Green Line
28 Dec — The Jerusalem municipality approved Tuesday a plan to build 130 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood in the southern part of Jerusalem beyond the Green Line. The plan, which originally called for building a tourist area on the border of the village of Beit Safafa, was eventually changed in favor of resident housing. Beit Safafa residents opposed the plan, saying that it hurt the village’s ability to develop.
High Court says Israel can take advantage of West Bank resources
28 Dec — The High Court of Justice has authorized Israel to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for its own economic needs by rejecting a petition against the operation of Israeli-owned quarries in the territory. In its ruling, issued on Monday, the court adopted the state’s position: that no new Israeli-owned quarries should be established in the West Bank, but existing ones should be allowed to continue operating … Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, who wrote the ruling, began by accepting the state’s view that the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement permits the quarries to operate in their present manner until a final-status agreement is signed.
Video: Israeli tree campaign ‘Judaizes’ expropriated land
26 Dec — Jewish National Fund’s practice of selling and leasing land exclusively to Jewish owners is met with growing opposition — Transcript: Lia Tarachansky, TRNN: Al-Araqeeb is a Bedouin village in the Negev Desert in southern Israel. Since 2010 it’s been demolished more than 30 times, as the Jewish National Fund uprooted hundreds of the village’s trees and dozens of homes to begin planting its own forest. Aziz Sayah Alturi is the son of the sheikh of Al-Araqeeb. Aziz Sayah Alturi, Al-Araqeeb Bedouin village (English): This we make oils. This is our job. We had here 4,500 [incompr.] olive trees. It’s a good business. Alturi (subtitled transl.): Everything you see here, this whole hill here, it was all trees. There was my house, here the house of Jum’a and others, beside him the house of Ismael, and the house of Sayah, and of Salim. If we were Jews, the government would have honored us for making the desert bloom. But we are Arabs. What can we do?
Dangerous collapse at the City of David
26 Dec — The Jerusalem Municipality closed the Mosque in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan today. No, it is not because of political reasons; it is because of a serious concern for the public’s safety. There was a dangerous collapse at an archaeological site underneath the building, and the Municipality wanted to make sure that nobody would get hurt. The works surrounding the collapse might take a few days before the mosque and the kindergarten (in it) will be reopened. The Israeli Antiquities Authority has been conducting large scale excavations in Silwan, and has opened tunnels underneath the houses and the roads of Silwan.
IOA turns Grand Mosque of Beersheba into museum
UMM AL-FAHM (PIC) 28 Dec — Al-Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage said the Israeli government and its executive authority turned the Grand Mosque in the Negev city of Beersheba, south of the 1948 occupied lands, into a Jewish museum … According to the report, a delegation from the Aqsa foundation made a field visit to check on the Mosque and report about what the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) had done against this house of worship. Farhoud Assayed, a representative of the foundation in the Negev region, said it was shocking what he saw inside the Grand Mosque of Beersheba which became a gallery of outrageous photos and sculptures hurting the feelings of Muslims … The Grand Mosque of Beersheba was built in 1906 by the Ottomans in cooperation with the people of the Negev at the time.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
IOF troops raze home in Jenin, threaten to demolish 5 others in Silwan
JENIN (PIC) 28 Dec — Israeli bulldozers razed a Palestinian building and affiliated animal pens in Barta‘a village to the west of Jenin on Wednesday morning, local sources said. They said that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) encircled the area and refused to allow inhabitants to get out their belongings and knocked down the building on the furniture. The sources said that the building and the animal pens were owned by two brothers, adding that they suffered thousands of dollars in losses. They said that the Israeli organization and construction committee, which oversaw the demolition, warned the citizens against rebuilding the demolished home and pens or else face heavy fines.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Israeli forces close main entrance of school, trap students in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 28 Dec – Israeli forces Wednesday closed the main entrance of Susiya School, east of Yatta in the northern West Bank city of Hebron, trapping the teachers and students inside the school, according to an activist. Ratib al-Jabour, coordinator of the popular committee against the Wall and settlements in East Hebron, told WAFA that Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by soldiers and officers in the civil administration, closed the main entrance of the school with piles of dirt, trapping students, teachers and their vehicles inside. To be noted, the Israeli civil administration stormed Susiya school about a month ago and handed its principal notices to demolish the school, a water well and three greenhouses near the school. Susiya school, which is built of brick and tin, has 36 students, seven teachers and the principal. Israeli authorities demolished the school a year ago.
Israeli forces storm area south of Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 27 Dec – Israeli forces Tuesday stormed al-Tour, an area south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus and tightened its procedures at checkpoints stationed at the vicinity of Nablus, according to security sources. They told WAFA that Israeli forces stormed al-Tour area after a number of Jewish settlers broke into a building under construction in the area. They added that forces also closed the checkpoint stationed at the entrance of the town of Beit Fourik, preventing Palestinian residents from leaving and entering the town.
Al Jab‘a: If the judge is your enemy, who are you going to complain to?
ISM West Bank 28 Dec – At first sight Al Jab‘a appears as an idyllic Palestinian village, and sitting in a lovely garden under big olive trees, this seems like a perfect escape to the countryside: white houses, friendly people, nice nature, and a splendid view until you glance just 500 meters from the village’s border. Al Jab‘a is surrounded by illegal settlements, a soldier camp, one major checkpoint, the construction of the separation wall as well as one permanent roadblock which blocks access to Jab‘a’s land and the neighboring village of Surif. Since Al Jab‘a only has about 1000 inhabitants and lacks a hospital, markets, and high school, the restriction on movements mean that everyone has to go two to three kilometers by foot in order to do their basic shopping and to reach school, work and healthcare. Sometimes even that is impossible. “When my wife was pregnant and was about to give birth, they didn’t let us cross the checkpoint. They forced us to go back and my wife had to give birth at home,” Naser, a senior of the village, said.
Israeli construction in E1 is slap in the face to US / Alex Kane
28 Dec — The big news that Mondoweiss recently highlighted (here by Allison Deger and here by Annie Robbins) is that construction in the controversial “E1″ area in Jerusalem has restarted again, according to a Haaretz report. Completion of illegal settlement infrastructure and homes in the area would bisect the West Bank. But what the move also represents is a big, giant slap in the face to the United States. As Nir Hasson explains in Haaretz , it was “American pressure” from the Bush administration that “forced all work in the area halted in 2007.”
Gaza three years on
Airstrikes kill 1, injure 10 in the Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Reuters) 27 Dec — An Israeli airstrike killed one person in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday as the coastal enclave marked the third anniversary of the Gaza war. Abdallah Telbani died and two other Palestinians were wounded by a blast that ripped through a tuk-tuk, or motorized rickshaw, in Gaza City, hospital officials said. A Ma‘an correspondent said eight Palestinians were injured in a second strike which targeted a jeep in the center of Gaza City. The victims were transferred to Shifa hospital where medics said two were critically injured. Telbani was supposedly linked to Islamist militants sworn to fighting Israel, and who have at times chafed against Hamas ceasefire efforts. A Hamas official said the tuk-tuk was attacked from the air.
The Gaza-based Ayman Judah unit of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade said it fired a projectile into Israel on Tuesday evening in retaliation for Telbani’s death. Gaza militants had fired two short-range rockets into Israel on Sunday and Monday, causing no damage. No factions claimed responsibility for those attacks.
Israeli navy attacks international observers, injures Palestinian on monitoring boat in Gaza waters
Civil Peace Service Gaza 28 Dec — At 10:55 am, an Israeli naval warship attacked the international observers and Palestinian captain of the Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGAZA) boat Oliva, injuring its captain in an apparent attempt to capsize it. “The Israeli navy passed near us and the fishermen, and started to go around us, creating waves,” said Rosa Schiano, one of the international observers. “The fishermen escaped, but we couldn’t because of a problem with our engine. We couldn’t move, and they went around us very quickly. The Israelis saw that we couldn’t move, and that the captain was trying to fix the engine, but they didn’t stop. We told them, ‘Please stop! Please stop!’ But they didn’t.” When the warship was two meters away from the Oliva, one of the waves it had created nearly capsized the small boat, filling it with water and causing the Palestinian captain to fall out, injuring his left leg. [photos included]
Israel shells northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — An Israeli tank fired on northern Gaza on Wednesday, without causing damage or injuries. Forces launched an artillery shell which landed in an open area in the north of the coastal strip, a Ma‘an reporter said. An Israeli army spokesman said he was not familiar with the incident.
Army: 2 rockets fired into southern Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Militants in Gaza fired two projectiles into southern Israel on Wednesday evening, causing no damage or injuries, the Israeli army said. An Israeli military spokesman said the rockets landed in the Eshkol regional council.
No faction in Gaza claimed the launch, but on Wednesday morning the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said its fighters had fired at an Israeli soldier. The Abu Ali Mustapha brigades said in a statement that militants fired at forces trying to enter the coastal enclave. An Israeli army spokesman was not familiar with the incident.
Palestinians hoping to leave Gaza Strip asked to collaborate with Israel
28 Dec — Palestinian patients and business people hoping to leave the Gaza Strip are being asked to collaborate with Israel in exchange for an exit permit, a leading Israeli human rights organisation claims. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) say that 172 people, mostly men aged 18 to 40, were called for interrogation by the Shabak, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, last month. Some who attended interviews were granted exit permits. Three years on from Operation Cast Lead, Israeli informers play a critical role in monitoring militant cells in the Gaza Strip. Senior sources within the Israeli Defence Forces say a ground operation is more likely now than at any point since the December 2008 offensive. As tensions simmer, collaborators are an invaluable resource.
Tunisian aid convoy arrives in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 28 Dec — The Tunisian medical aid convoy “Ahrar” arrived in the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border terminal on Tuesday night after four days delay. Sources at the crossing said that the convoy, which was supposed to enter Gaza last Friday, was accompanied by 11 solidarity activists. The convoy, which left the Carthage airport for Cairo last Thursday, is carrying four tons of medical supplies and medicine to be distributed on Gaza hospitals.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
UNRWA: Israel is legally responsible for rebuilding Gaza
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Dec – UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, Adnan Abu Hasna Wednesday said to Voice of Palestine radio that Israel is legally and morally responsible of rebuilding the Gaza Strip. Abu Hasna, speaking on the third anniversary of the Israeli Operation Cast Lead against Gaza in December, 2008 and January, 2011 , said the ongoing Israeli blockade on the Strip hinders any possibility to rebuild it … He said that there is one crossing – Karm Abu Salem– through which the building materials enter Gaza, which is not sufficient, demanding Israel to open the rest of the crossings.
3 years later, Palestinians still exist / Waleed al-Meadana
[appalling photo of so many tiny children in their shrouds before burial] 27 Dec — … Long time ago, the Israelis believed that they could eradicate the Palestinian people, change the landmarks of the land and manipulate history, yet they failed. As long as a Palestinian child knows how to pronounce “Palestine,” they will keep failing over and over. And another war would be with no avail. The first day of the war ended. Another day began, and the Israeli thirst for war grew. More were to be slaughtered on their altar. Please, be lost. And another war is approaching!
Gaza will not kneel
Palestine’s Youth – Local Initiative – the Popular Resistance Activists, Gaza 27 Dec –Three years have passed since what the Israeli entity called “Operation Cast Lead” began on December 27, 2008. The IOF claimed that they were targeting “Hamas”, but this wasn’t true. Most of the targets were civilians in their own homes. We, as a Palestinian people, assert that Hamas is an integral part of the national Palestinian liberation movement and that they are not terrorists as the Israeli propaganda depicts them. We think that each political or popular party has the right to resist the occupation with all available means. Operation Cast Lead left more than 1500 Gazan dead; most of these victims were women, children, and elderly. Three years have passed, justice is still absent.
Open letter from Gaza; Three years after the massacre
27 Dec — We, Palestinians of Gaza, 3 years on from the 22-day long massacre in Israel’s operation ‘Cast Lead’, are calling on international civil society to make 2012 the year when solidarity with us in Palestine captures the spark of the revolutions around the Arab world and never looks back. On this anniversary we demand an international liberation movement that eventually leads to just that, liberation for us Palestinians from 63 years of brutal military occupation and ethnic cleansing that pours shame on any organisation or government claiming to endorse universal human rights.
In Gaza: Hands apart the length [of] an infant
27 Dec — Formalities are exchanged first. Where am I going? How is life in the Strip? Do I know Jaber and Leila from Faraheen? We chat. He is friendly, a distant cousin of Jaber’s, ready to help me if I need anything. Offhandedly, hardly expecting me to notice, he mentions his house was destroyed, in May 2010…I suspect he is Jaber and Leila’s western neighbor and that I’d seen the ruins of their home post-Israeli military bulldozers and tanks, the day after their destruction. He is benevolent smiles and confirmations: yes, that was our house. I remember the wreckage trail, from Leila and Jaber’s bulldozed vegetable crops and chicken/storage barn, to the dark brown, freshly –ravaged earth of his bulldozed land and home, he and his wife stoically standing in front of their ruins, Jaber and Leila beyond stoically sobbing at their third consecutive year of Israeli army invasion and destruction. Now, a year but little change later he chats nonchalantly with me about his many losses. “During the war (2008-2009 Israeli war on Gaza), our house was bombed. My son,” he says, hands apart the length of an infant, “he was killed in their bombing.”
IDF chief: Gaza war against Hamas was an excellent operation
28 Dec — Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz marked the three-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead on Tuesday by hailing it “an excellent operation that achieved deterrence for Israel vis-à-vis Hamas.” However, he warned, cracks have emerged in that deterrence over time, and a second round of fighting in the Gaza Strip is not a matter of choice for Israel. Such a round must be initiated by Israel and must be “swift and painful,” he said, adding, “I do not advise Hamas to test our mettle.”
Abu Zuhri: Israeli war threats don’t terrorize us
GAZA (PIC) 27 Dec — Israeli war threats against the Gaza Strip don’t terrorize the Palestinian people or the Hamas movement, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, describing such threats as psychological warfare. He told a press conference in Gaza on Tuesday on the third anniversary of the Israeli war on Gaza that the world should deal with Israel as a “terrorist entity”, describing the war on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009 as genocide.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Arab League reiterates calls to prosecute Israeli war criminals
CAIRO (WAFA) 27 Dec – The Arab League reiterated calls to prosecute Israeli war criminals, who committed heinous massacres against Palestinians during the Cast Lead Operation in Gaza between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009, Tuesday said a press release by Arab League. It said, “Today [Tuesday] marks the third anniversary of the Cast Lead Operation in Gaza, in which Israeli forces killed over 1,400 Palestinians, injured around 5,300 and destroyed the city’s infrastructure, institutions and farms. The Gaza strip and its people are still suffering from the consequences of the Israeli assault till this very day, it said.
Haifa Uni bans ‘Gaza massacre’ event
28 Dec – Haifa University has announced its decision to call off a conference marking the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, which was planned by the Hadash faction for Wednesday. Organizers wrote in the invitation to the event that Israel had committed a massacre as part of a “fascist operation”.
Gaza – three years ago today / Barbara Lubin
27 Dec — (WASHINGTON D.C.) – Three years ago today people around the world watched in horror as bombs began falling on Gaza. Today, I’m asking you to once again remember the children of Gaza by making a tax-deductible year-end gift to the Middle East Children’s Alliance. When the Israeli army withdrew three weeks later, I was allowed to enter for four days. To this day, I am haunted by what I saw. I will never forget the children I met who sat where their homes used to be and stared blankly into space or searched through rubble for a cherished toy. Horrific images of white phosphorous burns on tiny bodies, and limbs torn off by DIME weapons will stay with me forever.
28 December 2008: The Abu Taima family
PCHR 28 Dec – “Living under occupation means that whatever hopes we have, it will fall apart one day. For example, you bring up your child and put all of your hopes in him or her, but then they come and kill your child and all your hopes are destroyed.” In the early morning of 28 December 2008 Mahmoud Abu Taima, his wife Manal, and their two oldest sons, Khalil and Nabil were collecting zucchini from their lands in Khuza‘a village, east of Khan Younis. After a few hours the two brothers went to their uncle’s farmland a few hundred meters further west. At around 8:30 the Israeli army fired a shell from the border fence which landed between the two boys. Nabil (16) was killed and Khalil was critically injured. “You must understand, the area was very calm. Many farmers were working on their lands. It is an open area. I saw a projectile coming from the border fence towards the farm lands. Then I heard the explosion.”
Video: Samouni Street / Max Ajl
My friend Tilde de Wandel worked with the Samouni children to make this video of what happened to them three years ago during the Cast Lead massacre.
Testimonies: Farmers near Israel-Gaza border forced to risk their lives to make a living, September 2011
B’Tselem 26 Dec — I am married and have nine children, the eldest is 16 and the youngest is one year old. We live about 900 meters east of the village Wadi a-Salqa, north of the Kissufim encampment. I used to work in agriculture in Israel and earned a good salary. From 2003, the Israelis didn’t allow laborers to work in Israel, and I lost my income. I began to work on 70 dunams (70,000 sq m) of land belonging to my family that is very close to the border, about 300 meters north of the Kissufim army post. I grew almonds, olives, and dates on the land. I rented out the olive orchard for 8,000 Jordanian Dinars a year and made income from working the rest of the land. Our financial situation was stable. In 2005, army bulldozers cleared my land, uprooting all the trees, without giving me any prior notice. I don’t know why they did it. From 2005 to 2007, I couldn’t get to my land at all. Whenever I tried, the army fired at me … Since 2007, I’ve been able to get to some of my land and work it, a total of seven dunams (7,000 sq m). I grow seasonal crops – cucumbers, eggplant, and squash. I planted about 60 olive trees. The rest of the land, about 60 dunams (60,000 sq m), is not under cultivation because it runs along the border. The 400 meters by the border I can’t get to at all because the army fires at me when I approach.
Letter from Gaza: Breakerz in the house
28 Dec – Marc Thayer, formerly a member of the staff of the St. Louis Symphony, helps musicians in crisis situations continue to work on their art. I haven’t written much about the Camps Breakerz Dance Crew in Gaza. Mohammed “Moh” Ghraiz founded this hip-hop group in 2004 … Soon Moh motioned for me to come into the station office and said that everything was fine. I went to a corner office with two desks and three guys working who must have been under age 30. They looked like the angry Palestinians officers we see in silly Hollywood movies but acted nothing like them. They were friendly and tried speaking English, staring at me out of curiosity. One said “Welcome to Palestine, how did you find it here?” I said I liked it, lots of great people. Other guys came up to me and said “You speak English?” while shaking my hand. Others just stared and smiled. After he used my passport to fill out another document by hand, he gave it to one of the other bearded fellows using a computer. I have no idea why I needed an official exit document to go through an unofficial border tunnel, but it seemed to make them happy.
Israel detains journalist in Nablus overnight
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Israeli forces detained a journalist from his Nablus home early Wednesday, one of at least 12 Palestinians seized in overnight raids across the West Bank. Amin Abu Wardeh, 46, was seized shortly after 1 a.m. when forces stormed his house in the northern West Bank city, his wife told Ma‘an. The soldiers moved his wife and children to a separate room before questioning and detaining Abu Wardeh, who works for the Palestinian News Network and a number of Gulf newspapers, she said. Palestinian media freedom group MADA slammed the arrest
Demanding release of Yousef Abdul Haq, lawyer
The lawyer Yousef Abdul Haq (Abu Shaddad), professor at the An Najah National University, and coordinator, former President of the Governing Council of the Tanweer Forum, was arrested Wednesday 7/12/2011 at three o’clock in the morning. We in the Palestinian Cultural Enlightenment Forum consider the continued detention of our colleague Dr. Youssef a war crime against international law, and we demand his immediate release especially because he was suffering from physical illness and takes medication continuously, in addition to the difficult prison health conditions.
Gaza PM arrives in Sudanese capital
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Dec …Haniyeh told reporters in Khartoum that his visit aimed to highlight the risks to the Palestinian character of Jerusalem at the International Jerusalem Forum in the African capital. The city, annexed by Israel after a 1967 war, faces a “fierce attack by Israel’s occupation and its systematic plans to Judaize the city, which has always and will remain an Arab and Islamic city,” Haniyeh said at the press conference.
PNC elections committee to start work
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — A committee responsible for Palestinian National Council elections will begin work on Jan. 15, PNC head Bilal Al Shakhshir said Wednesday. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed to participate in the committee, Al-Shakhshir told Voice of Palestine radio, adding that this was considered to signal that the Islamist movements would join the council itself. PNC director Salim al-Zanoun will head the committee, al-Shakhshir added.
Palestinians offer to renew Israel peace talks without settlement freeze, official says
28 Dec — PA reportedly submits new Quartet offer to restart negotiations, demand Israel releases 100 Palestinian prisoners; Israel rejects offer fearing renewal of only low-grade talks.
Mashaal: Unity government needed to end division
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — Hamas chief in exile Khalid Mashaal said Monday that a unity government must be formed to end the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Speaking to Palestine TV, Mashaal said that Palestinian factions had agreed to a political program to which Hamas would adhere, albeit with amendments. The program includes the creation of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. The right of return for refugees must be guaranteed, and Hamas should not be asked to recognize Israel, Mashaal said.
Abed Rabbo dismisses reports of feud with Abbas
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Yasser Abed Rabbo on Tuesday hit back at media reports that he will be deposed as secretary-general of the PLO by President Mahmoud Abbas amid squabbles between the Fatah leaders. The chief of the Palestinian Liberation Organization — the political grouping currently facing reform as part of the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah — said a “source” was briefing several media organizations on his clash with Abbas in order to test his reaction and provoke debate on his role.
Abed Rabbo dismissed as Secretary of the PLOt
MEMO 28 Dec — Sources in Ramallah have revealed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as the head of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee, has dismissed Yasser Abed Rabbo from his position as the PLO Secretary. A number of differences have opened up between the two senior Palestinian figures. President Abbas announced his decision to appoint a new secretary to the organisation during a meeting of Palestinian factions in Cairo. Despite this, the Media Centre at the PA declined to comment, telling Quds Press that a presidential decree will be issued to confirm or deny Abed Rabbo’s dismissal from his post.
Senior PLO member Dr Hanan Ashrawi, however, said that the President has not dismissed the long-term holder of the PLO Secretariat position: “The media reports are pure speculation,” she added. “Abbas has not informed anyone in the Executive Committee of an intention to dismiss Abed Rabbo.”
PCHR: Hamas detaining Fatah affiliates in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Dec — Hamas security forces in Gaza summoned dozens of Fatah members in December despite ongoing reconciliation talks between the parties’ leaders, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said Wednesday. On Monday and Tuesday, some 50 Fatah affiliates were summoned for interrogation and questioned about their participation in ceremonies to celebrate the release of prisoners from Israeli jails, PCHR said in a statement.
Fatah: Hamas to ban 47th anniversary celebrations
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Dec — Hamas have banned celebrations in the Gaza Strip to commemorate Fatah’s 47th anniversary. Fatah spokesman Fayiz Abu Aitah told Ma‘an that security services in Gaza informed him that any celebrations to commemorate the movements founding will be canceled. The anniversary of the secular, nationalist movement is usually celebrated on January 1.
Israel detains ultra-Orthodox man in bus row with soldier
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 28 Dec — Israel detained an ultra-Orthodox man on Wednesday on suspicion of calling a woman soldier a “whore” on a public bus for refusing his appeals that she move to the back of the vehicle, a police spokesman said. The incident came days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to crack down on acts of harassment by religious zealots, with the publicity surrounding these cases risking upsetting his political alliances with ultra-Orthodox parties.
Israel police: Jerusalem yeshiva students linked to attack on West Bank base
28 Dec — Shin Bet recommends at least three right-wing extremists be put in administrative detention in response to escalation in attacks on Palestinians and IDF.
Other news / Opinion
Court recognizes Palestinians hurt while laboring in Israel as work accident victims
27 Dec — 2005 Qassam attack kills three employees but unlike their Chinese colleague, the two Palestinians were not recognized by NII as victims of an act of hostility.
For the first time in history Arab farmers hatch official Israel egg license
28 Dec — Arab farmers will be granted egg production quotas for the first time in the history of the State of Israel. The cabinet decided to grant such quotas a year ago based on a recommendation from the Agriculture Ministry in a bid to prevent intervention from the High Court of Justice. Six Arab farmers who met the ministry’s quality standards have now been chosen. However, other Arab farmers are complaining that the conditions set for receiving an egg quota make it financially not worthwhile.
Jerusalem peddlers buckle as municipality targets Old City vendors
28 Dec — For 25 years, Ihsan Knaan, a resident of Silwan, has been selling the elongated bread known as baygele, accompanied by falafel and a pinch of the herb za‘atar inside a twist of newspaper from a cart at Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. He says he has tried to obtain a license from the municipality since he began, and never managed to do so … His colleagues in this line of work suffer from repeated fines barely covered by their daily take. Another peddler from Jaffa Gate, Zaki Sabah, served a year in jail because of his inability to pay fines. Today, his debt stands at NIS 330,000 … In recent weeks, the municipality says it has begun issuing licenses and 15 peddlers have had their licenses renewed.
Proselytes are hard for Ishmael / Salman Masalha
28 Dec — Associating part of the muezzin’s call with Arabs is a Zionist invention intended to demonize all Arabs — The people who gathered among the “pictures of medal-bedecked Russian heroes” at the community center in Lod were waiting for MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu ), who has presented a bill to silence the muezzins. One of those present termed the muezzin’s call a “tool of terror,” and said that muezzins use the words itbakh al-Yahud [“kill the Jews”] (as reported by Roy Arad in the Hebrew edition of Haaretz on December 20 ). We will return below to the source of the call to “kill the Jews.” [astonishing to me, this idea of ‘kill the Jews’ in the call to prayer. The call is standard and well known, and certainly has nothing like this in it whatever]