Israel subsidizes West Bank housing, breaking promise to US
11 Jan — Revelation comes as PM Netanyahu announces plan to build 277 housing units in Efrat settlement as part of series of reprisals for the PA’s admission to UNESCO in October.
Israel ‘confiscates PA tent delivery’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Israel on Tuesday confiscated 75 tents belonging to the Palestinian Authority and detained drivers delivering the tents, ministers said. Israeli forces confiscated five vehicles delivering the tents to residents of Khan al-Ahmar near Jericho, the PA cabinet said in a statement. The drivers of the vehicle and employees of the company contracted to deliver the tents were detained and taken to Beit El military camp … Israel is planning to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin community near Maale Adumin settlement, and forces have already destroyed homes in the camp. Settlers have filed a petition for the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar’s school.
Bedouin village of Umm Al Kheer under demolition threat, South Hebron Hills
Operation Dove 10 Jan — On January 8th, the DCO delivered stop working orders to 8 infrastructures in the Palestinian village of Umm Al Kheer. In the morning the Israeli Civil Administration, escorted by an Israeli army jeep, entered the Palestinian village of Umm Al Kheer. After examining different buildings, the officers registered the identity of the owners of eight structures and then issued stop working orders. Among the identified structures, there is also the fencing of the football field built on December 30th by Palestinians in cooperation with an Israeli group. At that time Israeli authorities gave a verbal permission to the construction. The deadline to appeal to Israeli High Court is fixed on January 22nd. In case of failure of any appeal, the stop working orders will be followed by demolition orders. The inhabitants of Umm Al Kheer said that 12 more structures in the village are under demolition orders (eight of which are dwellings) for a total of 20 structures. That means that most of the village risks to be eliminated in the next future.
Professor of hate: Israeli scholar urges ethnic cleansing of Bedouins / Ali Abunimah
EI blog 11 Jan — A prominent Israeli professor at the University of Haifa, Arnon Sofer, is urging the government to act fast to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Bedouins lest Israel be “destroyed” by them. Israel has mobilized all its resources to complete the ethnic cleansing of Bedouins – Palestinian indigenous people – and the “judaization” of their land. Already much of their land has been taken, and the few places they’ve found refuge are under threat.
Israeli forces bulldoze road near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Israeli forces on Tuesday closed a road leading to Khirbet al-Deir southeast of Bethlehem, witnesses said. The military bulldozed the road and sealed it with earth mounds, locals told Ma‘an. Residents of Khirbet al-Deir said it was the only road leading to the area and they could no longer reach their homes by car. [End]
Israel moves to build East Jerusalem park despite pending final approval
11 Jan — The Jerusalem municipality and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority have begun work on a planned national park, even though the project still needs final approval. Residents of the Arab village of Isawiyah say the earthworks in East Jerusalem are designed to prevent them from reaching their agricultural land. Last month, the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee approved the park, to be located on a slope of Mount Scopus. It would include land belonging to the Arab villages of Isawiyah and A-Tur, pending objections that can be submitted until next month.
AFEH: 70 Zionist attacks on holy shrines in 2011
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 11 Jan — The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage (AFEH) has said that 70 Zionist attacks on Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Palestine were recorded in 2011. AFEH said in its annual report published on Tuesday that the Zionist attacks included burning eight mosques and attempting to torch one and desecrating and destroying 120 Islamic graves in Mamanullah cemetery in occupied Jerusalem. It said that the Zionist attacks also include storming and closing mosques and court orders for their demolition or closure. The Zionist establishment, whether the government, courts, army, or settlers, took part in the attacks, the report said, adding that attacks on the Aqsa mosque were not included and would be published in a separate report.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Silwan school without electricity for 20 days
JPost 11 Jan — Seven hundred students at the largest elementary school in east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood are staying at home until at least Thursday because the school has no electricity and it is simply too cold to learn, the head of the Silwan Parents’ Committee said on Tuesday … A municipality spokeswoman said the city had dealt with the problem previously but that it had recurred over winter break. She added that the city was “working intensively” to find a permanent solution … Like many other east Jerusalem neighborhoods, Silwan suffers from a severe shortage of classrooms. The classrooms that do exist have serious infrastructure problems, including exposed wires, broken and cracked courtyards, and areas filled with trash. East Jerusalem lacks an estimated 1,000 classrooms. This year, the municipality is building 42 classrooms in Arab neighborhoods.
West Jerusalem councilman denies relation to Gandhi statue
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 11 Jan – West Jerusalem councilman Meir Margalit from the leftist Meretz party denied reports that he proposed to build a statue for the late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi on an East Jerusalem plot to be seized by the government, according to a statement he published in the local Palestinian papers on Wednesday. Margalit stressed that he did not initiate and had nothing whatsoever to do with the project, indicating that he only suggested naming a street in East Jerusalem after Gandhi as part of a street-naming plan.
In West Bank, buying land isn’t always what it seems / Amira Hass
10 Jan — Having built their homes on privately owned Palestinian lands, residents of the outposts employ subterfuge to camouflage their nonexistent land purchases.
Settlers / Right-wing extremists
Suspected ‘price tag’ in West Bank village
Ynet 11 Jan — Three cars were torched and a mosque wall was spray painted with the sentence “price tag Gal Arye Yosef” in the village of Dir Istiya near Ariel in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The sentence refers to the name of an illegal outpost that was evacuated in the last few days … Salaman added that at first the residents called the Palestinian DCO to report the incident, later Israeli police along with IDF troops arrived due to the fact that Dir Istiya is in Area C … He noted that this was the second time that village property was vandalized. “The first time was in September when the Palestinian Authority launched their UN bid, and then settlers came and unsuccessfully tried to set the mosque on fire.”
Extremist Jews storm area south of Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 10 Jan – A group of extremist Jewish settlers Tuesday stormed al Hafira area south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, under a full protection of the Israeli army, according to security sources. They said that dozens of settlers stormed the area, causing damage and photographed the area amid chanting of racist slogans.
Medics: Toddler hit by settler car
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — A Palestinian toddler was injured Tuesday after she was hit by a car driven by an Israeli settler east of Hebron, medics said. Three-year-old Sarah Jabari was taken to the Ahli Hospital in Hebron, Red Crescent medic Nasser Qabajeh told Ma‘an. She was hit on a road near Kiryat Arba settlement, he added.
Settlers ‘attack PA security commander’
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — Israeli settlers on Wednesday attacked cars carrying a senior Palestinian Authority security official and injured an officer in the northern West Bank, the security commander said. Major General Ibrahim Hneihin told Ma’an that his vehicle and another car were driving on the road between Ramallah and Tulkarem near Shilo settlement when local settlers started shooting at them and pelted the cars with stones. The security commander for the Tulkarem district said one of his entourage Suleiman Abed Rabbo was injured and taken to hospital.
ISM volunteers encounter settler attack and sexual harassment in Hebron
ISM 10 Jan, by Emma and Meriam — Around midnight on January 10th two international, female activists were attacked by a middle aged settler woman living in the occupied area of Hebron. After entering Shuhada Street, which is closed to Palestinians, the two women encountered a settler woman who threw a large rock at them unprovoked. When they turned to see their attacker, the woman kicked them and tried to choke them by their kuffiyehs, Palestinian scarves worn in solidarity. Both internationals called for help and screamed, but the Israeli soldier on duty some 30 meters away did not intervene. The settler woman once again picked up a rock to renew her attack. Knowing that if they were to defend themselves they would face assault charges, the two activists chose to flee their attacker instead ... When the police finally arrived, the same soldier translated since the police officer refused to bring along an English speaker. The police and soldiers took advantage of the situation to make fun of, cat call, and attempt to flirt with the international women..
IDF soldier: Burn all leftists, Arabs
Ynet 11 Jan – Amihy Zoaretz, a soldier from the Paratroopers Brigade’s 890th Battalion was arrested by Military Police earlier this week on suspicion he disclosed information to right-wing activists who were charged with organizing last month’s raid on the Ephraim Territorial Brigade base in the West Bank. The investigation against Zoaretz is still ongoing. The soldier is not cooperating with investigators and, according to his attorney, has denied the allegations. However, his Facebook page reveals his radical views.
Army invades two areas in Gaza
IMEMC 11 Jan — Israeli troops conducted, late on Tuesday evening, a limited invasion targeting Dir Al Balah and the Al Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Resistance fighters exchanged fire with the invading forces, and fired a number of mortars at them. Local sources reported that several armored vehicles and military bulldozers invaded the two areas and leveled some lands while military choppers were clearly noticed overhead.
PA health ministry sends dialysis supplies to Gaza
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — The PA ministry of health transferred five truckloads of medicines for kidney dialysis to the International Red Cross for delivery to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the ministry said. Gaza, which is under an Israeli blockade, is suffering a critical shortage of medical supplies and a Palestinian human rights group had accused the Ramallah-based ministry of holding up delivery of dialysis supplies for political reasons. Dialysis for all renal failure patients in the blockaded strip, which include 15 children, had been stopped, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said.
On Tuesday Ministry official Omar al-Nasr accused his Gaza counterparts of damaging the health system, due to “practices by certain groups within Hamas,” pointing to the blocking of Gaza medics from attending a conference in Jerusalem in December. The Ramallah health ministry has invited UN, WHO and Red Cross representatives to an urgent meeting with health minister Fathi Abu Moghli to discuss the medical situation in Gaza, officials said.
Jordanian convoy readies to send aid to Gaza
IMEMC 10 Jan — Head of the Artery of Life Committee, Engineer, Wael Al-Saqqa, stated that Jordanian figures and popular institutions are ongoing with the preparations for the “Ansar 2” convoy to break the Israeli siege on Gaza, and deliver urgently needed humanitarian and medical supplies.
OIC ships 6,000 hemodialysis filters to Gaza
Kuala Lumpur (Bernama) 11 Jan — The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has sent 6,000 filters for hemodialysis machines to the Gaza Strip following an appeal by the OIC secretary-general, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu … The 6,000 filters were provided by Islamic Relief in the United Kingdom, the OIC said in a statement.
Israel ‘holding 2,400 new cars’ bought by Gaza dealers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Israeli authorities are delaying the entry of 2,400 new cars into the Gaza Strip, the head of the union of car dealers in Gaza said on Tuesday. The vehicles purchased by local car dealers that are pending entry approval are worth $100 million, Ismail Nakhala said in a statement. Hundreds of cars have accumulated in Israeli harbors, while some dealers have transferred their purchases for storage in the West Bank to save costs, he said. Traders complain that Israel charges businesses excessively to store goods while it holds up their transferal to Palestinian territories.
Hamas sentences Palestinian to death
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 11 Jan — A Hamas official in Gaza says the militant group has sentenced a local Palestinian to death for collaborating with Israel. The official said the man was sentenced Wednesday to death by firing squad at a military court in Gaza. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak with reporters. Palestinians who collaborate with Israeli intelligence are widely loathed within Palestinian society. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights’ says Hamas has issued 36 death sentences since it seized Gaza from the rival Fatah party in 2007. About 15 executions have actually been carried out.
How my uncle in Gaza filled me with hope of return / Fidaa Elaydi
Maghazi refugee camp (EI) 10 Jan — The date is 21 December 2011, a day that will live within me for the rest of my life. As I went through the Rafah crossing, my eyes scanned the faces of every man before me; I was searching for my uncle, Hazem Elaydi. I had not seen him in more than twenty years, since before he was illegally imprisoned by Israel during the first intifada. I traveled across the world to see him after his release during the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas in October … Everyone in my family asked me what I did when I first saw my uncle. Did I cry like my older brother? Did I pass out from shock like my cousin? My reaction included neither tears nor the loss of consciousness. Although it’s not as exciting a story, my reaction to seeing him came in small, nearly overwhelming doses of sudden awareness.
Remembering the ‘Cast Lead’ assault on Gaza
11 January 2009: The Hamouda family
PCHR 11 Jan 2012 — “I cannot even pick up another child in my arms, I had a new grandchild, he is six months old, but I have yet to take him in my arms, I feel that place belongs to Fares” — In the early morning of 11 January 2009, the home of Intissar Hamouda, 41, in Tal Al-Hawa. Gaza City, came under attack from Israeli forces. Israeli tank fire resulted in the death of her son, Fares Hamouda, who was two years old at the time of the attack, and her step son Muhammed who she cared for with her husband Talat, 54, Muhammed’s father. Fares died immediately in Intissar’s arms, while Muhammed bled to death as medical crews were unable to reach them … Throughout their brief time together the brothers remained close. “Fares would refuse to go to sleep until Muhammed came home from school. On the day of the attack Fares was sick, but he refused to take medicine from me, he wanted it from Muhammed,” says Intissar.
Political detention / Court actions
Military court approves illegal interrogation of a minor
PSCC 10 Jan — Major Sharon Rivlin, a judge at the Ofer Military Court, accepted as admissible the testimony of a 14 year-old Palestinian boy who was unlawfully arrested in the dead of night, questioned without being allowed sleep, denied his right to legal counsel and not told of his right to remain silent … the military judge determined that the boy’s confession should not be ruled inadmissiblesaying that “In my opinion, the infringement on the defendant’s rights in this concrete case, did not amount to a violation of his right in a way that will sufficiently endanger his right to a fair trial […].” The decision was made despite a psychiatric expert opinion handed to the court which determined that a boy of 14 undergoing such an interrogation could not be considered to have given a statement of his own free will.
9 activists arrested, others injured during Israeli forces’ suppression of Al Walaja demonstration
Bethlehem – Najib Farraj (PNN) 11 Jan — The Israeli forces arrested 9 foreigner activists including 4 Israeli peace activists, in the process of suppressing of a demonstration in al-Walaja village to the north west of Bethlehem. Tens of Palestinian activists and foreigners had organized an unexpected demonstration that started in the early hours of the morning. It went from the village towards the apartheid wall, where Israeli bulldozers have been working for several months to build the wall and isolate thousands of acres from the village; to take over and later build huge settlement projects on. The activists sat in front of these bulldozers to stop them from working, which went on for over 2 hours. Then reinforcement came, from policemen to soldiers to border guards, all armed with guns and sticks. They attacked the protesters and beat them up with the sticks and the bottom sides of their guns, which led to injuring 3 protesters at least, who had to be treated on field.
Four Palestinians detained in Nablus and Hebron
IMEMC 11 Jan — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday, four Palestinians, including two 17-year-olds, in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Hebron, the Ma‘an News Agency reported [Arabic version?]. Troops invaded the village of Yitma, in the southern part of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped Ra’fat Soner, 20, after breaking into his home and violently searching it, causing damage to the furniture. The army invaded a Palestinian village south of Nablus, and drove in its streets in a provocative manner, no arrests were reported. Also, the Israeli army invaded Beit Ummar town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped detained three residents after breaking into and searching their homes … Ayyad added that Israeli soldiers kidnapped ten Palestinians, including five children, since the beginning of 2012 (11 days ago).
Israel arrests 10 Palestinians in West Bank
WEST BANK (WAFA) 11 Jan – Israeli forces Wednesday arrested 10 Palestinians from across the West Bank, according to security sources. In Jenin, Israeli forces arrested two Palestinians from Jenin refugee camp after raiding their houses, searching them and tampering with their contents, according to the sources. They also raided a garage and confiscated four cars. Forces also raided several Palestinian houses in Battir, a village west of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, searched them thoroughly and arrested three Palestinians, including a 16-year-old boy.
Islamic Jihad prisoners protest Negev jail removal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — Prisoners affiliated to Islamic Jihad are protesting their removal from a southern Israeli jail, which will split the group into different prisons throughout Israel. Detainees told Ma‘an on Tuesday that the Islamic Jihad prisoners are demanding to remain housed as a group in whichever jail they are transferred to after the tented facility housing 730 prisoners at Israel’s Negev jail is closed.
Political developments / Diplomacy
Reconciliation committee to start work ‘immediately’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — The committee tasked with implementing the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah has finalized all administrative preparations and will begin work immediately, committee head Rabah Mhannah said Wednesday. Speaking to reporters after a committee meeting in Gaza City, Mhannah said members were allocated aspects of the agreement to work on. The cross-party committee is tasked with hammering out a number of tenets of the unity deal signed in May, including the release of political prisoners, the reopening of closed institutions, travel bans and freedom of political expression. PLO official and committee member Yasser al-Wadiyeh told Ma’an the committee’s structure had been agreed on Wednesday.
Haniyeh returns to Gaza after international tour
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh returned to the coastal enclave on Tuesday evening after completing a regional tour. Crowds of people and Hamas officials welcomed Haniyeh home after an international tour which included visits to Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia. Haniyeh left Gaza on Dec. 25 for his first tour since Israel imposed a crippling blockade on the coastal strip in 2007. He met with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi and Muslim Brotherhood chairman Muhammad Badie. The Hamas leader told reporters in Gaza that he had made important agreements during the tour to support the Palestinian cause and was ready to visit other Arab and Islamic countries.
Hamas popularity up but Farah still ahead: poll
AFP 11 Jan — Hamas’s popularity rose among the Palestinian public after a prisoner swap deal with Israel but its Fatah rival remains favourite to win the next elections, a poll has shown. And the public is divided over whether the two rival factions will make good on a landmark reconciliation deal they signed last May, with 50 percent expressing optimism and 46 percent saying it would fail. The findings were laid out in a quarterly survey carried out by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) that was released late on Tuesday.
Israel-Palestinian talks ‘absurd’: Jordan Islamists
AFP 11 Jan — Jordan’s powerful opposition Islamists urged Palestinians on Wednesday to quit “absurd” negotiations with Israel, two days after Amman hosted the second round of informal talks between the two sides. “We demand the Palestinian Authority leave the dark tunnel of absurd negotiations with Israel that only serves Zionist and American interests,” the Islamic Action Front (IAF) said in a statement on its website. “Going back to negotiations in light of increasing settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem means neglecting Palestinian rights.”
Ashrawi: Amman talks were fruitless due to Israeli intransigence
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 Jan – PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrwai Tuesday stated that the Palestinian-Israeli talks that took place in Jordan were fruitless due to the Israeli intransigence opposing the peace process. She said, during a press conference in Ramallah, that the Palestinians will not resume negotiations with the Israel unless it approves freezing settlement activities in the West Bank and establishing a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
Italy accepts credentials of first Palestinian ambassador
ROME (WAFA) 11 Jan – Italian President Giorgio Napolitano accepted the credentials of the first Palestinian ambassador to Italy, Tuesday said sources at the Palestinian delegation in Rome
Italy upgrades status of Palestinian mission
IMEMC 10 Jan — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano accepted on Tuesday the official documents of Palestinian Ambassador, Sabri Atiyya, as part of the Italian decision to upgrade the status of the Palestinian mission in the country.
Hundreds protest Barak’s visit to Greece
IMEMC 11 Jan — Hundreds of Greeks, Palestinian and Arabs held a protest in front of the Greek Parliament to protest the visiting Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and demanding his arrest for war crimes against the Palestinian people. Several leftist political groups and coalitions also participated in the protest that was held in front of the parliament despite the cold weather conditions.
Abbas meets Kerry in Amman
IMEMC 10 Jan — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met in Amman on Tuesday the head of the U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, and discussed the latest developments in the Middle East, the official Palestinian & Info Agency, WAFA, reported.
UK minister ends West Bank visit
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Jan — UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt on Tuesday ended his visit to the West Bank after meeting Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and PLO official Saeb Erekat. Burt conveyed Britain’s support for “a negotiated solution to this dispute” the UK consulate in Jerusalem said in a statement.
Al-Tirawi: Hamas counting on Muslim Brotherhood victory
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — Hamas is avoiding reconciliation with Fatah because it believes it will be strengthened by a Muslim Brotherhood victory in Egyptian elections, senior Fatah official Tawfiq al-Tirawi said Wednesday.
Another Israeli extrajudicial killing?
Report: Tehran car bomb kills Iranian nuclear scientist
Haaretz 11 Jan — Semi-official Fars news agency reports that Ahmadi Roshan, 32, supervised department at Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan; Tehran official blames Israel for bombing — Iranian media reported Wednesday that a nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran … Deputy Governor Safarali Baratloo blamed Israel for the bombing, saying it was similar to ones targeting nuclear scientists a year ago. “The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists, and is the work of the Zionists [Israelis]” Fars quoted Baratloo as saying. The attack coincided with the second anniversary of a explosion that killed senior Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari.
TIMELINE / Mysterious blasts and deaths linked to Iran’s nuclear program
Haaretz 11 Jan — A timeline of explosions that killed Iranian scientists and blasts that rocked Iranian nuclear facilities from January 12, 2010 to January 11, 2012.
US denies role in killing of Iranian nuclear scientist
AP 11 Jan — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. played no role in the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist and said the U.S. is looking for an international understanding with Iran that ends its uranium enrichment program. Clinton categorically denied any U.S. involvement in Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s death.
Israeli source: Assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist joint Mossad-MEK operation / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 11 Jan — …France’s right-wing Le Figaro newspaper offers (this is an English language report on the story) a window into the types of training and recruitment the Mossad engages in to prepare for such sabotage missions. It reports that Israeli agents identify Iranian Kurdish recruits who are living in exile in Iraqi Kurdistan. There they train them in “spycraft and sabotage:” “The Iranian assets are being prepared for conducting operations inside [Iran] as part of Israel’s undercover intelligence war against Iran’s nuclear energy program. The Baghdad source told the French daily that part of Israel’s sabotage program against sensitive Iranian nuclear facilities, which includes targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear experts, is directed out of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, “where [Mossad] agents have stepped up their penetration.” For this, “the Israelis are using Kurdish oppositionists to the regime in Iran, who are living as refugees in the Kurdish regions of Iraq”, the source told Le Figaro.
Israel uses risky ‘hits’ in shadow war
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 11 Jan — If Mossad assassins were behind the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist on Wednesday, it would be the latest chapter in a long history of Israeli covert action against foes best not confronted with full force. As always, Israeli officials declined any comment on the death of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, who was blown up in his car, while Iran itself immediately pinned the blame on Israel. Cold-eyed calculus guides what Israeli officials call “precision thwarting,” a euphemism that strives to focus blame on those marked for death while conveying reluctance to escalate the shadow war. Critics condemn all such attacks on moral grounds, and also question the long-term efficiency of targeted killings, but Israeli officials, drawing on years of experience in the murky practice, believe they play a vital role in defending the state.
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Bill: Citizens who didn’t complete Army service can’t be MKs
Ynet 11 Jan — Ynet learned that Knesset Member Moshe Matalon submitted the proposal on Tuesday. According to the bill, Israelis who did not serve in the IDF or complete the National Service program will not be able to run for Knesset. If passed, the bill would essentially mean that the haredi and Arab parties would be dissolved. Yisrael Beiteinu realizes it will be difficult to pass the bill into law … The proposal falls into the category of the controversial “citizenship-loyalty bills” promoted by Yisrael Beiteinu.
Israel’s High Court rejects petitions against ‘citizenship law’
Haaretz 11 Jan — Israel’s High Court rejected on Wednesday petitions against the Citizenship Law, which prevents Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs from receiving Israeli citizenship or residency. Six judges voted to reject the petitions, while five voted to accept them.
New law jails asylum seekers for longest in West
Haaretz 11 Jan — Amnesty International says no other country in the world has a detention center of the size Israel plans to build to enforce the law, which will have room for 10,000 inmates — A new law passed by the Knesset Monday night will make Israel the developed country that detains illegal immigrants without trial for the longest period, according to data collected by Amnesty International’s Israel office. The law allows people who enter Israel illegally to be incarcerated for up to three years … “When you compare the Israeli law to laws in Western countries, you can see that three years is extraordinary,” said Sara Robinson, refugee rights coordinator for Amnesty International Israel.
Knesset puts up scant resistance to anti-asylum bill
11 Jan — The Knesset approved a law late Monday night that allows illegal infiltrators to be jailed for up to three years even if they haven’t been convicted of any crime. Though the law aroused much controversy, it ultimately passed easily, by a vote of 37-8, because the vast majority of opposition MKs didn’t bother to stay to the end of the lengthy debate to attend the vote. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/knesset-puts-up-scant-resistance-to-anti-asylum-bill-1.406613
Hundreds of Ethiopian demonstrators protest against racism in Israel
10 Jan — Ethiopians claim Kiryat Malachi housing committees refuse to sell them apartments; hundreds of protesters include various groups who feel weak in Israeli society.
Israel police open probe into alleged racism against Ethiopian immigrants
11 Jan — Attorney General: A democratic society cannot tolerate discrimination; Immigration Absorption Minister said on Wednesday that Ethiopian immigrants should be grateful to Israel.
Israel to deport Japanese researcher over fear he will ‘settle down’ after studies
11 Jan — More than 300 lecturers and doctoral students sent on Tuesday letters to Israel’s President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar to protest the Immigration Authority’s decision not to extend a foreign student’s visa. In its decision, the Immigration Authority said it feared the student – who asked to extend his visa so he can finish his doctorate, might “strike down roots” in Israel.
State denies entry to Israeli’s Nigerian husband for being ‘just a sperm donor’
11 Jan — Yifat Zohar married Goodluck Ayemo in Nigeria and applied for permission for him to come to Israel to start the naturalization process as her spouse, but the ministry refused to let him into the country.
Livnat, Beit Shemesh mayor butt heads over ‘women’s chatter’ sign
Ynet 11 Jan – Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) and Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul got into a heated argument Wednesday during a discussion on the exclusion of women from the public sphere. During a meeting of an inter-ministerial taskforce that was set up to deal with the phenomenon, Abutbul explained that a sign placed near a synagogue in his city, which instructs women to walk on the opposite sidewalk, also contains a “gracious” request that women refrain from “chattering” as men leave the prayer session.
Israeli air force rabbi quits in sex-segregation flap
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 11 Jan — A top Israeli military rabbi resigned on Tuesday after making comments that appeared to condone allowing ultra-Orthodox troops to avoid contact with women, which stirred debate over the sway of religion in Israel.
Thousands of US troops to arrive in Israel this week
IMEMC 10 Jan — Accompanied by a US aircraft carrier, 9,000 US troops including airmen, missile interceptor teams, marines, technicians and intelligence officers are scheduled to land in Israel in the coming weeks. Many will stay up to the end of the year as part of the US-Israeli Army deployment in readiness for a military engagement with Iran, aiming at a synchronized military front against Iran. US Third Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc commented in his visit two weeks ago that the coming action is more a “deployment” than an “exercise,”. The joint force will now be in place ready for a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear installations or any combat emergency.
EU donates €11 million to PA
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Jan — The European Union on Wednesday donated around $14 million to the Palestinian Authority to promote economic growth, an EU statement said. The €11 million donation will support agricultural businesses in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, the EU said. It will also be used to improve the internal capacities of businesses in Gaza.
Israel says to take in Syrian refugees if Assad falls
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 10 Jan — Israel is making preparations to house refugees from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s minority Alawite sect should his government fall, Israel’s military chief told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday. “On the day that the regime falls, it is expected to result in a blow to the Alawite sect. We are preparing to take in Alawite refugees on the Golan Heights,” a committee spokesman quoted Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz as saying. [The Golan Heights IS Syria, of course]
Israel drops ‘unknown object’ on Lebanon
PressTV 11 Jan — Israeli warplanes have dropped an “unidentified object” in a valley between the towns of Houla and Tallouse in southern Lebanon. Lebanese officials said the army had difficulties to search for the object because unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Israel during its war against the resistance movement of Hezbollah in 2006 still remain in the area. Israel also fired 75 shells during a Tuesday military exercise into the occupied Lebanese territory of Sheba‘a Farms.
Israel moves to outlaw use of Nazi symbols
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 11 Jan — Israel’s parliament gave initial approval on Wednesday to laws to curb public use of Nazi symbols after ultra-Orthodox protesters caused outrage by calling police Nazis and wearing concentration camp garb. Four bills swiftly passed one of five rounds of voting needed to become law, even though a spectrum of critics denounced them as a violation of free speech. The laws call for up to a year in jail and stiff fines for anyone convicted of visually or verbally misusing symbols such as swastikas, the term Nazi or epithets related to the killing of six million Jews before and during World War Two. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved the bills before they went to parliament, seizing on public outrage at devout Jews who dressed last month as Holocaust victims to show they felt persecuted by objections to their efforts to achieve gender segregation in public.
Ohio charity accused by US of Hamas ties disbands
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) 9 Jan – A charity that the government suspected of having ties to the militant Islamic group Hamas has shut down but is still negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Department of the Treasury over its frozen assets. The filing made last week comes nearly six years after the Treasury Department essentially closed the charity’s operation when it ordered U.S. banks to freeze the group’s assets, saying it was funneling money to a terrorist organization. The leaders of KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development in Toledo denied being connected to any terrorist group and sued the government after it refused to say why the charity’s money was frozen.
Guantánamo ten years on
Guantánamo turns ten / Jonathan Hafetz
11 Jan — Guantánamo’s life as the flagship prison in the war on terror may be divided into three stages. While these stages overlap, they provide a useful way of examining how US policy has changed – and failed to change – over time. The prison outside the law Guantánamo’s early and defining years were marked by the Bush administration’s overriding goal of creating a prison beyond the law. Guantánamo seemed suited for this purpose: an enclave over which the United States exercised total jurisdiction and control but lacked formal sovereignty (Guantánamo still nominally belongs to Cuba under a 1903 treaty and subsequent lease agreements). Seizing on the legal fiction that Guantánamo was not part of the United States, the Bush administration argued that prisoners held there were necessarily outside the protection of the US Constitution and court system. Further, the Bush administration invented a label – “enemy combatant” – as a way of denying detainees any protections under the Geneva Conventions. The result, as noted British jurist Johan Steyn explained, was the establishment of a “legal black hole”.
The shame of Guantánamo Bay / Anthony D. Romero, Exec. Dir. of the ACLU
New York, New York – This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the first prisoner arriving at Guantánamo Bay, making it the longest-standing war prison in US history. Guantanamo has been a catastrophic failure on every front. It has long been past the time for this shameful episode in American history to be brought to a close. President Obama has failed to shutter Guantánamo, even though on his second day in office he signed an executive order to close the prison and restore “core constitutional values”. In fact, the 2012 National Defence Authorization Act that Obama signed on New Year’s Eve contains a sweeping provision that makes indefinite military detention, including of people captured far from any battlefield, a permanent part of American law for the first time in this country’s history. This is not just unconstitutional – it’s just plain wrong. Guantánamo was fashioned as an “island outside the law” where terrorism suspects could be held without charge and interrogated without restraint. Almost 800 men have passed through its cells. Today, 171 remain.
Guantánamo case profiles / Amnesty International
11 Jan — Abu Zubaydah, Stateless Palestinian: Subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment, and now in indefinite military custody without charge or criminal trial … Musa’ab Omar Al Madhwani: Yemeni: No accountability despite judicial finding of abuse; held without charge or trial; unsuccessful habeas corpus petition. Seeking Supreme Court review … Mohamedou Ould Slahi: Mauritanian: Subjected to torture or other ill-treatment in Guantánamo, indefinite detention without charge or trial, won habeas ruling, reversed on appeal