and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
70,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites to be reclassified as West Bank citizens
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 26 Dec – Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat has announced that the city Municipality will now classify 70,000 citizens of Jerusalem as non-residents, furthering the right wing Israeli campaign to achieve a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. Seventy thousand Palestinian residents already cut off from the rest of Jerusalem by Israel’s Apartheid Wall will now be cast out on paper as well, with their affairs turned over from the Municipality to the Israeli military’s West Bank civil administration.
Arabic place names erased in Municipality’s campaign to Hebrew-ize Jerusalem
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 24 Dec — The Jerusalem Municipality has ramped up its on-going campaign to alter the identity of Jerusalem and its place names, changing many Arabic street names in East Jerusalem to Hebrew ones. Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan has been officially named “the City of David” by the Municipality, while Al-Bustan has become “the Park of the King”; Wadi Rababa “the Valley of Ben Hinoum”; and Al-Thouri “Giva’t Hannanyah”. Wadi Hilweh main street has been renamed “Ma’lout Ir David”; Cemetery Street “Ofel”; Al-Mister Street “Malki Tsadik; Dung Gate Hill “Malout Hashaloum”; and Wadi Hilweh Park “Givate Park”, in reference to the Givate unit of the Israeli Military Forces.
Army radio instructed to call West Bank ‘Judea and Samaria’ / Mairav Zonszein
25 Dec According to a report in Israel National News, the commander of Israel Army Radio, the national radio station in Israel operated by the Israel Defense Forces, has determined that all the station’s reporters should refer to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria.” The report states the decision was made as a result of complaints made by Israel Media Watch that the radio station’s referral to the area as the “West Bank” gives the impression to listeners that the territory does not in fact belong to Israel. Israel Army Radio is a popular mainstream station in Israel listened to by people from across the political spectrum. It is thus significant that it is now being directed to use the same terminology used by the settler movement when invoking the Biblical, divine notion of “Greater Israel” that is completely detached from reality, diplomacy and human rights. [Dorothy Naor's comment: "This is odd, because the news on other stations have been referring to the WB by their biblical names for some time (years) as though they are an integral part of Israel. And this is the case not only on the news, but also Israeli weather reports report temperatures, etc for Judea and Samaria (often shortened to 'Yosh'). Well, this is nothing new. The Occupation is, after all, psychological as well as physical."]
High Court rejects petition to freeze all Israeli mining in West Bank
Ynet 26 Dec — Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and justices Miriam Naor and Esther Hayut have rejected a petition aiming to stop Israeli companies from mining in the West Bank. The petition was filed by the Yesh Din organization. The judges claimed that the group has asked the court to intervene in an agreement formed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which the High Court of Justice cannot do. [End]
The Israeli occupation the world forgot: the Golan Heights / Mya Guarnieri
26 Dec — While the mainstream media commonly refers to the West Bank and Gaza as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it often incorrectly calls the Golan Heights part of Israel. How has the occupation impacted the Golan? And why has the world forgotten it? … Earlier this month, The Atlantic published “2011: The Year in Photos.” It included a picture of Palestinian protesters climbing the fence that separates, according to The Atlantic, the “Israel-Syria border… near Majdal Shams.” The caption explained that Majdal Shams is located in “northern Israel.” … It is this kind of blind repetition of the Israeli government line that has caused both Israeli citizens and the world to forget that the Golan Heights is occupied territory, not unlike East Jerusalem.
Restriction of movement
Euromed: IOA barred travel of 4,000 Palestinians in 2011
RAMALLAH (PIC) 25 Dec — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has banned 4000 Palestinian citizens from travel through the West Bank into Jordan in 2011, a European human rights report has said. The Euromed for human rights said in a detailed report that the travel ban was at an average of 83 cases weekly. The report said that in two thirds of those cases the Palestinians were subjected to humiliating treatment such as strip searches, intelligence interrogation, in addition to holding them for hours in crammed rooms. It said in a 30-page report that the travel ban was imposed on sick people, students, women, old people, MPs, activists, journalists, and even employees with international agencies….
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Video: A slice of life at an Israeli checkpoint
by Machson [Checkpoint] Watch — As you watch this video keep in mind that the Qalandia checkpoint is not a border crossing between Israel and the West Bank. Like most Israeli checkpoints in the occupied territories, Qalandia is located squarely in Palestinian territory and prevents Palestinians from traveling freely between one Palestinian area to another.
Settlers / Israeli right-wing extremists
Settlers disrupt Palestinian wedding, five injured and four arrested
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 24 Dec — Israeli forces assaulted a group of Palestinian youth in Al-Wad district of Jerusalem’s Old City during a wedding procession on 21 December, injuring 5 and arresting 4. Jerusalem prisoner support association chairman Naser Qaus stated that a group of Israeli settlers caused a disturbance at the marriage celebrations of local bridegroom Mu’ath al-A’jlooni. Israeli soldiers and police intervened when clashes between the two flared, physically assaulting many young Palestinians, including al-A’jlooni. Five youth were injured by Israeli forces, including bridegroom Mu’ath al-A’jlooni and Tahseen Tarhooni sustained bruising, and Ala Bader Aghayer (16) whose nose was broken. Four others were arrested, including the injured Ala’ Zghayer, and 15-year old Wisam Jawahan. Qaus added that police shot live ammunition when on-lookers attempted to prevent Israeli forces from arrested the bleeding Ala’ Zghayer.
Jewish settlers detain shepherd, threaten to kill anti-settlement activist
JORDAN VALLEY (PIC) 25 Dec — Jewish settlers detained a Palestinian shepherd for three hours under gunpoint in the northern Jordan Valley and warned him against allowing his sheep to graze in the area. Local sources said that the settlers ambushed the shepherd, Mohammed Awad, while rearing his sheep in Wadi Maleh in the northern Jordan Valley. They said that the settlers were escorted by Israeli occupation forces who also threatened the shepherd and told him not to graze in the mountains near the settlement of Maskiot.
Meanwhile, Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in northern West Bank areas, said that Jewish settlers threatened to kill him during a demonstration for them on Friday. He told Quds Press that the settlers hoisted photos of him while threatening to liquidate him at the Beit Leed roadblock between Tulkarem and Nablus.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Settlers attack Palestinian customs office in Hebron
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Dec – A group of Jewish settlers attacked the Palestinian Customs Office and Public Safety Commission in Hebron on Sunday, destroyed their vehicles, and battered the staff, Monday said a press release by the Ministry of National Economy. The ministry condemned the attack on its employees while they were confiscating chicken supplies smuggled illegally from Carmel settlement southeast of Hebron to the Palestinian market. Custom officers monitor and control any illegal entrance of settlements’ products and services to the Palestinian market as part of the ministry’s campaign to keep the Palestinian market free of settlements’ goods.
Extremist Jewish groups break into Al-Aqsa Mosque yard
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 26 Dec – Groups of Jewish extremists Monday broke into al-Aqsa mosque through Bab El-Magharbeh (Dung Gate) bridge, roaming its yard under the protection of Israeli police, according to witnesses. Senior Jewish rabbis, last week, called on their supporters to storm Al-Aqsa mosque for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah to perform religious Talmudic rituals in the mosque’s yard.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Jewish settlers, under the protection of Israeli soldiers and police late Sunday night, roamed the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem in a provocative march amid drumming and chanting of racist slogans against Arabs and Palestinians, aiming to disturb Palestinian Jerusalemites.
Barak admires PA security forces for protecting settlers
NAZARETH (PIC) 24 Dec — Israeli war minister Ehud Barak hailed the Palestinian authority security forces for its role in protecting Jewish settlers and preventing any attacks on them in the West Bank. Barak told a Hebrew radio that Israel should continue to pump money to the Palestinian authority (PA) despite its reconciliation talks with Hamas because this helps finance its security forces that work for Israelis. He added there is a state of security and stability in the West Bank and Israelis are content with this calm resulting from the cooperation between the Israeli army, the Shin Bet and the PA security forces.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Rights group calls for stop of Israeli shooting of activists
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Dec – The Palestinian rights group, Stop the Wall, has sent an urgent complaint to UN Special Rapporteurs and diplomatic missions urging them to investigate Israeli targeted shooting of activists, according to a press release issued Sunday. The complaint came following the shooting of a 20-year-old protester in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, exactly two weeks after the killing of Mustafa Tamimi in the same village when hit directly in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers. It quoted eyewitnesses from the village as saying that they noticed two soldiers advancing alone towards the protesting crowd, one staying behind the other, and when they were between 10 to 15 meters from the protesters the soldier in the back took out a pistol, aimed it at the 20-year-old youth and shot him in the leg … It said the Israeli army actions “are premeditated and targeted. They are by no means aimed at crowd control but at targeting the most active human rights defenders and depriving individuals and entire communities from their fundamental civil and human rights, including their right to life.”
Israeli forces confiscate ID cards of four Silwan residents
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 26 Dec – Israeli troops swarmed Al-Abbaseyah neighborhood of Silwan on 22 December, confiscating the identity cards of four young residents. Rajaee Ahmad al-Abbasi (24), Muhammad Hasan al-Abbasi (19), Muhammad Mahmoud al-Abbasi (17) and another unidentified boy were accosted by uniformed and plainclothes officers that afternoon, who took their ID cards and instructed them to come to Ras al-Amoud cemetery. When the boys decided to go to Salah al-Din Street police station instead to try to recover their ID cards, they were instructed to come back the next day. When one of the boys’ fathers returned the following day, he was told that an elite intelligence unit had taken possession of the ID cards and that he would do better to go to the Interior Ministry to get new ID cards.
Confiscation of Palestinians’ ID cards by Israeli forces is a common and deliberate misdeed. Many whose cards have been taken never get them back, and are forced to undergo the long and complicated bureaucratic procedures to obtain new ones.
Israeli forces raid houses near Qalqilia
QALQILIA (WAFA) 24 Dec – Israeli forces Saturday raided Azzun village, east of Qalqilia, after closing down its northern and western entrances, and prevented its residents from getting in and out, according to local sources. Head of Azzun village council, Ahmad Imran, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers raided Palestinian houses and tampered with their contents.
Detention / Prisoner swaps
3312 arrests of Palestinians documented in 2011
GAZA (WAFA) 26 Dec – A total of 3312 cases of arrest among Palestinians was documented in 2011, from which 113 prisoners were released in the Gilad Shalit swap deal, according to a report published on Monday. Abdul Nasser Ferwaneh, a researcher specialized in prisoners’ affairs, said the average number of arrests in 2011 were 276 cases per month, an average of nine cases per day. He added that the arrest cases included all segments of the Palestinian community, including different ages, and was not limited to males but also affected women, the sick and the disabled as well as lawmakers and political leaders. He said the total number of arrest cases witnessed a gradual decrease from 7612 in 2007 to reach its lowest rate in 2011.
Report: Half of released prisoners had less than three years left
GAZA (WAFA) 24 Dec – A total of 370 Palestinian prisoners released in the two stages of the Gilad Shalit swap deal would have finished their original sentence by the end of 2011 and by 2012, while 47.4% had less than three years of their sentence left, according to a report published on Saturday. Abdul Nasser Ferwaneh, a researcher specialized in prisoners’ affairs, said that Israel expelled 205 of the overall prisoners – 163 prisoners from Jerusalem and the West Bank were released to Gaza and 42 were sent into exile and hosted by Turkey, Qatar and Syria. Fifty-two prisoners were released under strict security measures, as they have to check in with the local police or the civil administration once or three times a month, added the report. It said that following the Shalit deal, 122 Palestinians who were arrested before the 1994 Oslo accords; including 52 who served more than 20 years and 23 prisoners who served more than 25 years, remain in prison. Moreover, a total of 532 Palestinians serving life sentences remain in Israeli jails.
Mediator: Political detainees free by end of month
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Dec — Nablus billionaire and political independent Munib al-Masri said Saturday in the Gaza Strip that political prisoners both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip would be released by the end of this month, following unity talks in Cairo. “By the end of the year, all political detainees will be realsed except those who wish to remain in custody for special reasons related to their security both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip,” al-Masri told reporters in Gaza City.
Hamas charges PA Security with arresting seven of its supporters
RAMALLAH (PIC) 26 Dec — Hamas movement charged the PA security apparatuses in the West Bank with escalating arrest campaign in line of it supporters. The movement, in a press release on Monday, said that seven of its supporters were rounded up by those apparatuses in Salfit and Qalqilia over the past 24 hours. It said that the spate of arrests refutes the Fatah leaders’ statements about ending political detention and falls at a time reconciliation was nearer than ever to conclusion. Hamas said that the PA preventive security apparatus detained two brothers in a Qalqilia village and five youths in Salfit including two 15-year-old boys.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
IOF soldiers detained 51 Palestinians in one week including 11 minors
RAMALLAH (PIC) 24 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained 51 Palestinian citizens over the past week including a woman and 11 minors, a report by Hamas in the West Bank said on Saturday. It pointed out that Sheikh Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad leader, was among the detainees who also included nine from occupied Jerusalem. The report said that 11 minors in the age category 14-18 were picked up in the past week mostly from Jerusalem. The report also noted that Israel extended the administrative detention of a number of Hamas detainees and an MP in the same period.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
IOF troops round up 7 Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH (PIC) 26 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up seven Palestinian citizens in the West Bank provinces of Al-Khalil, Ramallah, and Qalqilia on Monday. The arrests followed storming of dozens of Palestinian homes in those provinces and forcing their occupants out in the cold weather while the search was in progress.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
IOF troops shell Gaza areas
GAZA (PIC) 24 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired a number of artillery shells at eastern Gaza areas on Saturday morning but no casualties were reported, local sources said. Eyewitnesses said that the artillery shells slammed into eastern Gaza city and Shujaia suburb in particular. They said that the shelling spread fears of an imminent incursion since it was intensive and violent.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
APU to send new aid convoy to Gaza
CAIRO (PIC) 25 Dec — The Arab parliamentary union has announced on Sunday that it would send a new humanitarian aid convoy to the Gaza Strip by February 2012. It said in a press release that the convoy would mostly carry aid to orphans, widows, children, and special needs. The APU said that its delegation would announce during the visit a set of new projects financed by the union in the Strip to reconstruct schools and educational institutions that were destroyed in the Israeli war on the coastal enclave.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
IOF soldiers detain five Gazans near security fence
GAZA (PIC) 26 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained five Palestinians after charging them with crossing the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip on Sunday night. Hebrew media claimed that the five Palestinians were detected after crossing the security fence surrounding Gaza, adding that the IOF soldiers combed the area and fired flare bombs along with indiscriminate machinegun fire. IOF troops closed the entire area and ordered Israeli settlers to remain indoors during which the unarmed five Gazans were detained for interrogation.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Russian delegation visits Gaza
26 Dec — EXCLUSIVE PICTURES A Russian delegation headed by Shamil Sultanov began a three-day visit to the Gaza Strip on 25 December. The purpose is to examine the health sector in the blockaded territory and relay the needs of its inhabitants to the Russian people. The visitors began their tour with a visit to the Shifa Hospital where they were received by its director, Dr Midhat Abbas. Abbas informed the delegation of the multiple problems which patients encounter when they attempt to seek treatment in Israel. Very often, they are pressured to serve as informers in order to enter the country, or return to Gaza without treatment. The visitors were also updated on the many difficulties caused by the daily electricity blackouts, which last for eight to twelve hours.
Rockets fired at south; no injuries
24 Dec — A rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip exploded in an open field in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council on Saturday. A short while later a mortar shell hit an open field in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported in either incident.
No jail time for IDF officer who stole weapons
24 Dec — The Kastina Military Court on Thursday convicted an IDF officer who served as a commander in an elite unit for the theft of 19 military objects during Operation Cast Lead … The court accepted a plea bargain the parties had reached and sentenced the officer to a month and a half of army community service and two months of probation. He was also demoted to second lieutenant … The judge said he had considered the defendant’s extensive operational activity behind enemy lines as part of life-endangering operations in his decision. Fellow officers from the defendant’s unit praised him in their testimonies and noted his many achievements in Operation Cast Lead. The officer had been up for promotion and was to undergo a company commanders’ training course. He was part of the 2012 raid on the Marmara ship and the Victoria arms vessel.
Merry Christmas from Gaza / Shahd Abusalama
25 Dec — …Being a Muslim, I never celebrated Christmas myself, but having lots of Christian friends inside and outside Palestine has connected me to this day. I’ve always shared it with them one way or another, since I believe that religion shouldn’t stand as a barrier between human beings. Religion is to call for love, compassion, and tolerance. It should unite people, not divide them. Sadly, not all that is said is done. Three years ago, people around the world welcomed Christmas and the New Year happily with lights, colorful balloons and fireworks while Gaza received it with white phosphorous lighting the dark sky and rivers of blood spilled by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Even though I am Muslim, I’ve always appreciated the beauty of Christmas trees, lights, gatherings, meals and religious songs that I see Christians perform in the Christmas movies I watched. On this rainy and windy day, which I knew was Christmas, I wished that Gaza’s sky would snow so that it would be a typical Christmas day like movies made me picture.
Christmas in Gaza / Ruqaya Izzidien
24 Dec — This Christmas marks the third anniversary of the 2008-2009 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip; a winter in which 19-year-old Ramy El Jelda saw his home bombed just two days after Christmas. He returned to the site a couple of days later to find his Christmas decorations scattered across the road. “The baubles and bells were on the floor. The tree had been blown out of the house and was in the street. We cried. That is how we celebrated Christmas in 2008.” Today the small number of Christmas trees that grace Gaza are primarily plastic and limited to Christian households, hotel lobbies and uptown restaurants. The Israeli blockade leaves Christmas tree fairy lights in a ghostly darkness during the daily eight-hour rolling blackouts. For Ramy and the 3,000-strong Christian community in Gaza, festive Christmas celebrations go hand-in-hand with isolation and travel restrictions to Bethlehem, despite Israeli public claims to the contrary.
Activism / Solidarity
Kufr Qaddoum: Demonstrators photograph illegal occupation despite military weapons and cameras
ISM 23 Dec by Amal — The demand in Kufr Qaddoum for their main road to be reopened continues. Today’s demonstration exceeded the number of participants in the past few protests. Approximately 200 people joined together against this illegal street closure. Many of the supporters came from different parts of Palestine and the international community, from Bilin residents to an activist all the way from Norway. Kufr Qaddoum is finally starting to receive the exposure it needs in order to get its story out to the public and the world.
Unfortunately, this did not stop the Israeli Occupation Soldiers from their pattern of increased violence during demonstrations. The majority of the tear gas canisters used today were aimed either directly into crowds or at specific individuals. It is illegal to use tear gas as a fatal weapon rather than for dispersion … Besides shooting tear gas canisters directly at protesters, the soldiers spent a lot of time taking pictures of the participants. Pictures taken by soldiers have been used many times to imprison participates of these unarmed protests.
Kufr Qaddoum: Israeli military fulfills its promise to make arrests
ISM 26 Dec by Amal –As reported a few days ago, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have fulfilled the expectation that they would arrest residents from Kufr Qaddoum. Two young men were arrested: one on Christmas Eve and one Christmas day. A “flying” checkpoint, that is, one that is mobile and spontaneous, was set up by the Israeli military on both days at the entrance of the village. Nael Jomaa was arrested on Saturday around 4:30 in the afternoon, and his cousin, Muhammad Jomaa, was arrested the following day at approximately the same time. There is still no information as to why they were arrested or when their court hearing will be held. Many things are not clear, but the residents believe that these arrests will continue. Six people have been arrested this month from Kufr Qaddoum. Most, if not all, still do not know why they are being held and have not been charged officially. Due to the unjust Israeli judicial system, these men expect to spend at least three months in prison with high fines.
Troops attack Bil‘in weekly protest: dozens injured
IMEMC 24 Dec — Israeli soldiers attacked on Friday the weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and settlements, in Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Dozens of local residents, Israeli and international peace activists, and a Japanese delegation, participated in this week’s protest. The week’s protest focused on the Occasion of Christmas and honored Palestine’s Christian population … The protesters raised Palestinian flags while two participants, dressed like Santa, rang small bells they carried and spread the wishes of liberation and independence for the Palestinian people. As the protesters arrived at the Abu Lemon natural reserve, some managed to break through the barbed wire, surrounded it, and remove some of the wires. Soldiers stationed behind the concrete Wall fired rubber-coated metal bullets, stun grenades and teargas; dozens were injured and were treated by field medics.
Arab League condemns racist Israeli laws
CAIRO (WAFA) 25 Dec – The Arab League Sunday condemned a series of Israeli laws which discriminate against Palestinians living inside Israel. The report specifically mentioned draft laws that ban mosques in Arab towns inside Israel from calling for prayer, prevent human rights organizations from receiving international funding, allows funding for museums in West Bank settlements, and condition obtaining an Israeli passport or ID card on declaring loyalty to the state of Israel. Other laws strongly opposed by Palestinians in Israel and human rights organizations include a ban on calling for boycott of settlements, which is punishable with arrest or fine, and fining any institution that celebrates the Palestinian 1948 Nakba Day.
Secret paper reveals EU broadside over plight if Israel’s Arabs / Donald Macintyre
Independent 27 Dec — A growing gulf between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities is highlighted in a critical EU paper which breaks new ground by suggesting that the international community has a role in ensuring “genuinely equal treatment” for the country’s Arab minority. The confidential 27-page draft prepared by European diplomats and seen by The Independent charts a wide range of indicators showing that Israeli Arabs suffer “economic disparities … unequal access to land and housing … discriminatory draft legislation and a political climate in which discriminatory rhetoric and practice go unsanctioned.”
PLO: Withdrawing recognition of Israel not an option unless all possible means fail
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec — Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee said that taking a Palestinian decision to withdraw recognition of Israel will be the last option in case all other possible means fail. Ashrawi told Voice of Palestine that the PLO’s decision to withdraw recognition of Israel has not been discussed. She said that prosecuting Israel is the first step in response to the Israeli racist projects, including announcing Jerusalem as a capital of the Jewish people and escalating settlement activities.
Abbas discusses Cairo talks with Hamas lawmakers
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – President Mahmoud Abbas discussed Monday with a delegation of Hamas lawmakers and officials results of the recent reconciliation talks held in Cairo. The delegation, headed by the president of the Palestinian parliament, Aziz Dweik, listened to a briefing from Abbas on the issues discussed in Cairo, particularly restructuring the PLO to include Hamas and other organizations not already members and elections for the Palestinian National Council … The lawmakers said they ware satisfied with the results of the Cairo talks, expressing support for Abbas’ diplomatic efforts to win recognition for Palestine as member of the United Nations.
Freedoms reconciliation committee holds its first meeting
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – The freedoms committee established out of the reconciliation talks held in Cairo held its first meeting in Ramallah on Monday and discussed the agenda for its work. The committee will meet again on Wednesday to continue deliberations on rebuilding trust through resolving issues that have to do with release of detainees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, issuing passports for Gaza residents, freedom of movement and travel, reopening closed institutions and freedom of political activity. One committee was formed for the West Bank and another for the Gaza Strip comprised of representatives of the various political factions.
Haneyya leaves Gaza on tour starting with Egypt
GAZA (PIC) 25 Dec — Palestinian premier in Gaza Ismail Haneyya left the Strip via the Rafah border terminal at the outset of a tour that would take him to a number of Arab countries starting with Egypt. Haneyya said that his tour would start with the “heart of the Arab revolutions”, adding that he would attend an international conference on Jerusalem to be held in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. He affirmed that Jerusalem would remain the eternal capital of Palestine regardless of the Israeli occupation’s attempts to Judaize it. Haneyya prayed for the stability of all Arab countries, stressing that his government and Hamas were against violence regardless of its source.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Shaath: Next year will be a year for diplomatic pressure on Israel
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – Nabil Shaath, member of Fatah Central Committee, said Monday that the Palestinian Authority will embark on major diplomatic effort next year to increase pressure on Israel. He told Voice of Palestine radio that this effort, which will have international backing, will be similar to the campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Fayyad condemns deliberations on bill declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Monday condemned the Israeli deliberations on a bill submitted to the Knesset for declaring Jerusalem, including West and the East Jerusalem, to be the capital of Israel and the Jewish people … “There will never be a solution unless Jerusalem becomes the eternal capital of the Palestinian state,” said Fayyad, adding that the Israeli government, Knesset or any Israeli political party cannot deliberate on the Palestinian inalienable right to self-determination.
Netanyahu: Israel to refuse talks if Hamas joins PA
Ynet 25 Dec — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Sunday that if Hamas joins the Palestinian government, Israel will not enter into negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. “I will not allow a Palestinian state to turn into…Gaza and Lebanon,” he said, referring to Hamas and Hezbollah’s missile arsenals.
Lieberman: Israeli-Palestinian peace will not be achieved within the next decade
25 Dec — …Speaking at a conference before Israeli ambassadors on Sunday, Lieberman said the Palestinians are not working toward peace but rather trying to determine the facts on the ground and internationalize the conflict. Therefore, Lieberman suggested, Israel must work to manage the conflict and not solve it.
Hamas wishes Palestinian Christians happy holiday
DAMASCUS (PIC) 25 Dec …”On the occasion of rejoicing the birth of Prophet Jesus peace of God be upon him, the Islamic Movement of Hamas extends its sincere wishes to all our fellow Christians in their homeland Palestine, the cradle of prophecies and the land of divine messages, as well as to the Palestinian Christians in the Arab and Islamic countries and the whole world,” Hamas said in a press release on Saturday. Hamas wished this occasion to be an opportunity for uniting the Palestinian people and pooling the efforts of the world’s free people to support the Palestinian cause and protect the Islamic and Christian holy sites.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Number of Palestinians in world is 11.22 million, says PCBS
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Dec – The projected number of Palestinians in the world increased to reach 11.22 million at the end of 2011, Monday said a report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). There are 4.23 million Palestinians in the Palestinian Territory (around 2.6 million in the West Bank and 1.6 million in the Gaza Strip), 1.37 million in Israel, 4.99 million in Arab countries and around 636,000 in other countries, said the report. PCBS said that of every 100 persons in the Palestinian Territory, about 44 are refugees: 42 per 100 in the West Bank and 58 per 100 in the Gaza Strip … CBS said the crude birth rate is 32.8 births for every 1000 of population: 30.1 in the West Bank compared to 37.1 in Gaza Strip. The rate is expected to decline to 31.9 in 2015….
Bereaved Israeli, Palestinian families’ meetings nixed
Ynet 25 Dec — Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar instructs to halt reconciliation gatherings between relatives of deceased Palestinian terrorists, families of terror victims; claims meetings ‘legitimize terrorism’
Israeli Druze MK indicted for meeting with PFLP leader in Syria
26 Dec — The Northern District Prosecution filed two indictments on Monday against Balad Knesset member Said Nafaa and 16 other Druze sheikhs, for visiting Syria and Lebanon in 2007 and 2010. The prosecution accuses them of illegally entering an enemy state, and contacting a foreign agent. The latter indictment comes after Nafaa, during his visit to Syria, met with a senior official in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The Druze sheikhs visited Syria to tour holy sites and to meet with senior religious officials in the country.
Report: Egypt indicts two Israelis for weapons smuggling
An Egyptian newspaper reported Monday that Egypt’s Public Prosecution Office indicted two Israeli Arabs and one Ukrainian for smuggling weapons from Israel into Egypt.
Report: Israel bombed Sudan targets
25 Dec — Sudanese paper claims Israel’s Air Force bombed vehicles which may have smuggled weapons twice this month. Sudanese officials deny report. Foreign media linked Israel to two similar previous attacks
Report: Israeli troops roamed freely in Sudan
26 Dec — Sudanese media brimming with conspiracy theories on alleged Israeli strike against arms smuggling convoys. One report claims Sudan asked Egypt’s help in detecting Israeli invasion of its airspace … If indeed the reports of an Israeli strike are true, it would have been carried out several days prior to the visit of South Sudan President Salva Kirr in Israel. On that same day IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz announced the establishment of a Depth Corps.
Israel – toward a theocracy?
Watch: Ultra-Orthodox spit on ‘immodest’ 8-year-old girl in Beit Shemesh / Ami Kaufman
25 Dec — Naama Margolis, an 8-year-old from Bet Shemesh, is the most famous girl in Israel today. In fact, nobody can stop talking about her. And why is that? Well, on Friday evening, Naama told her story on the most watched news show in the country. Interviewed by Channel 2’s Shai Gal, Naama told how she was afraid to go to school, just a few hundred meters from her house in Bet Shemesh, because Haredim cursed and spit on her for being dressed “immodestly.” The report, translated in full below, has sent Israeli public discourse on relations between secular and religious into a frenzy …But guess who hasn’t said anything? That’s right: the rabbis. Apparently, they don’t care. And why should they? It’s not like they recognize the state or anything. And guess what else: They don’t have to. Because the invalid who spoke from inside his car at the end of the item is actually right. Out of all the ignorance he spewed, he managed to say one correct thing at the end: “All of Israel will be Haredi, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” He’s right. The numbers speak for themselves.
Haredim riot in Beit Shemesh after segregation signs removed
Ynet 26 Dec — Dozens of haredim riot, hurl stones as officers, municipal inspectors remove signs calling for women’s exclusion; some signs already put back up; municipality to install hundreds of security cameras —
On Friday Channel 2 reported that a haredi resident of Beit Shemesh spat on eight-year-old Naama Margolis because she was not dressed “modestly” enough in his eyes. “I am no longer afraid. My mother is more afraid than I am. I just want the fanatics to leave Beit Shemesh,” the girl said Sunday. Her mother added: “The exclusion of women from the public sphere makes my blood boil. They (haredim) are trying to take us back to dark eras; this is a grave injustice.”
President Shimon Peres also addressed the issue. Speaking at an IDF candle-lighting ceremony in Latrun, the president said “the people’s army is an army which calls on all girls and boys to serve. All male and female soldiers share equal rights and duties, with no preferences or discrimination.”
Video: Haredim riot in Beit Shemesh
Ynet 26 Dec — Hundreds of haredim riot over crackdown following women’s exclusion in city. Crowd mobs TV crews, stone security forces – Tempers in Beit Shemesh ran high Monday, following the growing demand to crack down on radical religious elements that are demanding stricter enforcement of segregation between the sexes in the city. The City of Beit Shemesh and the local police force announced that they will install 300-400 security cameras throughout the city in an attempt to fight radical religious individuals who are harassing women and girls.
Court frees haredi who spat on woman
Ynet 25 Dec — The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered the release on bail of Beit Shemesh resident Meir David Eisenbach on Sunday. The 27-year-old haredi man was caught on camera spitting on a woman who passed by him. Judge Avital Chen banned him from the city for seven days … The defense attorney mentioned a similar case last week in which the court was quick to release a different haredi man who spat on a woman … Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said during a government meeting on the exclusion of women that 21 people have been arrested recently for suspected hostility towards women. Nine have been charged.
Non-military rabbi gives Torah lesson to reluctant soldiers
25 Dec — Low-level commanders authorize rabbi to meet with Golani Brigade soldiers at Galilee base; troops not certain if meeting optional or mandatory … “These are excellent soldiers who did not how to act in this situation. The rabbi took advantage of this,” a relative of one of the soldiers told Ynet on Sunday. “Not all of them (soldiers) are religious. They felt uncomfortable because they were being forced to listen to a religious lecture. How can a rabbi, who is not even in the army, be allowed to enter military base and order soldiers around? It was important for them – because of their desire to succeed in an elite unit – not to make a fuss,” the relative said.
Analysis / Opinion
World must interfere in Israel’s internal affairs / Gideon Levy
25 Dec — Of all of Israel’s complaints against the world, one is especially brazen: Goodness gracious, the world is meddling in the Jewish state’s internal affairs … Israel may be the last country on earth with the right to be outraged over foreign interference. Since its founding, Israel has not ceased working around the world to bring Jews here; it has clandestinely carried out underground subversive activity among shady regimes; it has openly preached abroad for Jews to leave their native lands and immigrate here, or at least send financial support; and Israel has moved heaven and earth against manifestations of anti-Semitism and supports parallel alternative Jewish and Zionist educational systems around the world. It is also a country that simultaneously calls on the world to maintain the blockade of Gaza because of Hamas’ rise to power there. Israel has acted in Lebanon and elsewhere in support of one communal faction against another. It has not ceased to meddle in the internal affairs of foreign countries and entities, so of all countries, it should not be heard to complain about foreign interference.
The real ‘invented’ people / MJ Rosenberg
24 Dec — Newt Gingrich’s controversial statement begs the question: Who invented a nationality? The Palestinians or the Israelis? It is hard to believe that anyone who defends Israel’s legitimacy as a state would buy into former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s argument that Palestine is an “invented nation” … If the ultimate definition of authentic nationhood is continuous residence in a land for thousands of years, the Palestinian claim to nationhood is ironclad. They never left Palestine (except for those who either emigrated or became refugees after the establishment of Israel). Those who deny that Palestinians have a nation base their case on two arguments, both of which are logically incoherent. The first is that Palestinians never exercised self-determination in Palestine; they were always governed by others from ancient times to the present day. The answer to this is: So what? … The second argument is that Palestinians never thought of themselves as Palestinians until Jews started moving into their territory, that Palestinian nationalism is a response to Zionism. Again, so what? When European Jews docked in Jaffa, Palestine in the early immigration waves of the late 19th century, there were Arabs waiting at the port. When the Jews purchased land, it was Arabs who had to move out. And if those Arabs didn’t call themselves Palestinians until the Zionist movement began, neither did the Jews call themselves Israelis. Until 1948, they were just Jews. But each of the two peoples knew who they were and who the other was.
Israel’s new house rules: deepening authoritarianism / Jonathan Cook
Nazareth 23 Dec — As the Arab world rids itself of autocrats one after the other, a series of legal and political moves by Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightwing government to stifle criticism of its policies have prompted warnings that Israel is rapidly heading towards a system of authoritarian rule. In recent weeks, the Israeli government has put forward measures to muzzle the media, shut down human rights groups, and seize control of appointments to the supreme court to fill it with rightwing judges.
Helen Thomas: Israel should get that Hamas was chosen democratically
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 24 Dec — Noted US journalist Helen Thomas told a Hebrew newspaper that she wonders why Israel cannot absorb the idea that the Palestinian people elected Hamas Movement democratically. “I do not know why it is difficult for Israel to believe that the Palestinian people elected Hamas,” she told Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. Replying to a claim during the interview that Hamas was a terrorist group, she said that she is against violence, but she understands Hamas’s desire to restore what was taken from the Palestinians.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Professor appeals ruling on lawsuit over NCSU job
RALEIGH (AP) 26 Dec — A professor who says her remarks about a Palestinian film cost her a job at North Carolina State University wants the state Supreme Court to review her case. Lawyers for Terri Ginsberg filed an appeal this month of a ruling by the state Court of Appeals, which dismissed her lawsuit. Ginsberg says her remarks in support of a Palestinian filmmaker at a public screening of his movie left her frozen out of consideration for a tenure-track job.