VIDEO: Bedouin community near settlement faces expulsion
B’Tselem 11 Jan — Israel’s Civil Administration is planning to relocate some 27,000 Bedouins living in Area C in the West Bank. At first, some 2,300 people will be expelled from their homes near the Ma’ale Adummim settlement and relocated to a site next to the Abu Dis garbage dump, east of Jerusalem. Members of the Khan al-Ahmar community explain how the move will affect them.
Threatened Bedouin refugee village in the shadows of settlements
Wadi Abu Hindi, West Bank (ReliefWeb) 12 Jan — …Samira Al Waled* lives in a small Bedouin community of 36 families beneath the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, in Area C of the West Bank. The community became refugees in 1948 and eventually settled in Wadi Abu Hindi in the 1970s. Samira’s large family includes two children under the age of five, and an ailing grandparent. However, the families of Wadi Abu Hindi currently have neither a sufficient standard of living, nor adequate housing . The community cannot build a new structure, even a small room to use as a kindergarten, for fear of all 36 families’ homes being demolished. The Israeli authorities have issued a demolition order for every structure in the community, amounting to 99 demolition orders in total. The demolition orders apply not only to residential structures, but also include a primary school that serves around 150 students between first and eighth grades from the community and surrounding villages.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israel demolishes houses, agricultural facilities in Jordan Valley
NABLUS (WAFA) 12 Jan – Israeli forces Thursday demolished several farmers’ residences and agricultural facilities in the Jordan Valley area, according to local residents … Suliman Abdullah, a resident in the area, told WAFA that Israeli bulldozers demolished his house and a number of barracks used as animal barns completely destroying his property.He said this was the second time Israeli forces had demolished his barn.
Forces also demolished several farmers’ residences in the area of Froosh Beit Dajan, north of the Jordan Valley, the same area where forces in the past several years had demolished several houses, water wells and agricultural springs.
Demolition in Khirbet Humsa
JVS 12 Jan — Animals are left without shelter after the Israeli army demolished an animal farm of 5 structures in Khirbet Humsa in the Jordan Valley on Thursday, January 12, 2012. The demolition affected 3 Palestinian families of 14 people, who were worried that the sheep would not survive the night in the cold winter night without shelter. Photos here
Army to demolish a mosque near Hebron
IMEMC 12 Jan — Israeli soldiers handed a military order on Thursday afternoon aimed at the destruction of a mosque in Al-Mafqara area, south east of Yatta town, near the West Bank city of Hebron. Local sources reported that the order states that the mosque will be demolished within three days. The sources added that an argument took place with the officer who handed the order, and the soldiers hurled a gas bomb at the residents to force them away from the mosque. The mosque was demolished approximately two months ago, and the residents rebuilt it, now Israel wants to demolish it again under the pretext of it being built without a permit.
EU on verge of abandoning hope for a viable Palestinian state / Donald Macintyre
Independent 12 Jan — The Palestinian presence in the largest part of the occupied West Bank has been, “continuously undermined” by Israel in ways that are “closing the window” on a two-state solution, according to an internal EU report seen by The Independent. The report, approved by top Brussels officials, argues that EU support, including for a wide range of building projects, is now needed to protect the rights of “ever more isolated” Palestinians in “Area C”, a sector that includes all 124 Jewish settlements – illegal in international law – and which is under direct Israeli control. It comprises 62 per cent of the West Bank, including the “most fertile and resource rich land”.
Israeli government takes key step to ease pressure on overcrowded Arab town
Haaretz 9 Jan — Jewish neighbors threaten to ‘desert their homes’ if necessary — The government has moved a step closer to rerouting part of the coastal highway – a decision that would add land to an overcrowded Arab town and move it closer to Jewish communities. On Thursday the transportation and interior ministries agreed to readjust a two-kilometer stretch of the highway, which would add 800 dunams for construction to the Arab town of Jisr al-Zarqa.
Settlers / Right-wing extremists
Jewish settlers uproot very old olive trees near Salfit
SALFIT (PIC) 12 Jan — Jewish settlers on Friday destroyed 100 very old olive trees, amongst them olive trees that locals believe to have existed since Roman times, between the villages of Jamma‘in and Yasuf, causing rage amongst the local population. Local sources said that settlers from Taffouh settlement cut down olive trees in the Mafqa’a neighbourhood near Yasuf.
The sources said that one of the settlers of Taffouh who owns more than a hundred heads of sheep and who is known in the area as the shepherd of Taffouh is a constant source of aggression against olive trees in the area and he is thought to have incited other settlers to destroy those trees.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Palestinians suffer as bad driving epidemic grips Israeli settlers / Dr. Hanan Chehata
MEMO 13 Jan — A strange affliction seems to be affecting settlers in the West Bank. It seems that as soon as they are granted settler status (a badge of dishonour in the eyes of the rest of the world considering the illegal nature of all settlements) these individuals lose all ability to drive in a calm and reasonable manner and instead become lethal menaces on the road. You may laugh at the thought that bad driving could be some sort of medical condition but it if you look at news reports coming out of the Occupied Palestinian Territories over the last few months you too might find yourselves scrambling for ideas as to why there seems to be a disproportionately high number of stories like this … A trend seems to have emerged whereby settlers are making a habit of careening down roads in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) and knocking over Palestinian pedestrians like bowling pins. What possible explanation can there be to explain the number of Palestinians injured by settlers on such a regular basis? It seems that without being overdramatic or cynical, there is only one answer and that is that there is some sort of sick trend spreading throughout the settler colonies whereby it has become fashionable or somehow commendable to target and run over Palestinian civilians.
Hundreds of settlers raid Al-Khalil and perform religious rites
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 13 Jan — Around three hundred Jewish settlers under the protection of Israeli occupation troops at an early hour Friday entered the part of city of al-Khalil which is under PA control and carried out Talmodic rites. Eyewitnesses told PIC: “Settlers stormed the area near Bab al-Zaweyah under heavy army protection from the direction of the IOF roadblock at the entrance of Shuhada’ Road, then they walked to the so called Otni’el Ben Kenaz tomb and carried out religious rituals for hours before leaving the area.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Four Israelis indicted for unauthorized visits to Joseph’s Tomb in West Bank
Haaretz 13 Jan — For the first time, Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan has filed charges against Jews who make unauthorized visits to Joseph’s Tomb on the outskirts of Nablus. Four young men have been indicted at the Kfar Sava Magistrate’s Court. The move comes a month after a rampage by settlers at an Israel Defense Forces base in the West Bank. The police say they’ve been told to get tougher in seeking indictments. IDF officers have repeatedly complained about weak law enforcement against infiltrations into the Joseph’s Tomb compound by Jews. They say the courts are forgiving toward young men who enter the tomb and need to be chased out – endangering both themselves and Israeli soldiers.
Military court orders release of IDF soldier suspected of passing info to rightists
Haaretz 12 Jan — IDF paratrooper Amichai Zoaretz was arrested earlier this week and questioned by military police; Zoaretz expressed strong anti-Arab and anti-leftist sentiments on Facebook — A military court in Jaffa on Thursday ordered the release from detention of an Israel Defense Forces paratrooper suspected of passing military information to right-wing activists in the West Bank … On Wednesday, an IDF soldier from the Golani Brigade was detained over similar suspicions.
WATCH outpost evacuation: ‘Barak created next price tag generation’
Ynet 12 Jan — Mitzpe Avichai settlers recount ‘humiliating’ early morning eviction by security forces. ‘People take pity on migrants, but not on Jews,’ one of them says … Civil Administration inspectors accompanied by security forces arrived at the outpost in the early hours of the morning and demolished 10 illegal structures, nine of which were inhabited.
IDF demolishes third illegal West Bank outpost this week
Haaretz 12 Jan — Dismantling of structures in Mitzpe Avichai follows razing of Givat Arye and Gal Yossef; restraining order slapped against leader of outpost, banning him from West Bank … All three of this week’s outpost evictions have gone without incident. An official in the security forces said this was due to deterrence produced by increased enforcement against right-wing extremists in the past month.
PCHR Weekly Report: 4 civilians wounded, 29 abducted by Israeli force this week [5-11 Jan]
…Israeli forces conducted 68 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West this week, during which they abducted 20 Palestinians. In addition, Israeli soldiers abducted 6 Palestinian civilians, including two children, at various checkpoints in the West Bank. On 05 January 2012, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Eizariya village, east of occupied Jerusalem. They demolished a 100-square-meter workshop of stone cutting belonging to Sameer Mohammed Taqatqa. They destroyed stones whose value is 30,000 ILS, and confiscated stones whose value is 95,000 ILS…. Full Report
IOF troops raid towns in the northern and southern West Bank
JENIN (PIC) 13 Jan — IOF troops raided a number of towns and villages in the northern West Bank and set up military roadblocks near the southern West Bank cities of Bethlehem and al-Khalil. Locals reported that IOF troops raided villages to the west of Jenin including Zboba and Rummana, and setup a roadblock on the Haifa-Jenin road resulting in clashes between residents and occupation forces, especially in Zbooba. They also said that IOF troops carried out combing operations and intelligence officers who accompanied the occupation troops interrogated people. The locals also reported that the IOF troops fired stun grenades and live rounds, to which Palestinian youth responded by hurling stones and empty bottles.
Palestinian security sources said that the IOF arrested Anas Ibrahim Halaika (22 years) while he was returning from university to his home in Shayyokh village at a roadblock near the town of Halhoul to the north of al-Khalil. Halaika is an engineering student at the Jerusalem University in Abu Deis.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
IDF says paratroopers ‘ march through Muslim Quarter a ‘provocation’
Ynet 12 Jan – Ninety Paratroopers Brigade recruits marched with the IDF unit’s banners through the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem‘s Old City Thursday evening. The group of soldiers, which was lead by Rabbi Matti Dan, head of the Ateret Cohanim movement, waved Paratroopers Brigade banners on the roof of a building in the quarter and chanted “Am Yisrael chai (Nation of Israel lives)” and “We can trust no one but our father in heaven.” …The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said, “Unfortunately a group of civilians chose to take advantage of this dignified event (swear-in ceremony) to create a provocation intended for the media. The fact that media outlets were invited to cover the event proves this was a planned provocation.” The army said soldiers should be left out of the political debate. The Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, which was founded in the Old City in 1983, operates in a number of Jewish-owned buildings situated at the heart of the Muslim Quarter.
Soldiers in uniform now allowed on Temple Mount
JPost 13 Jan — For the first time in a decade, soldiers in uniform will be allowed to access the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. Due to the sensitive nature of the area, which also holds the Dome of the Rock and al-Aksa Mosque, soldiers had been prohibited from entering the area in uniform.
Israeli forces detain 3 in Nabi Saleh
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Israeli forces raided Nabi Saleh village in the central West Bank early Friday, detaining three Palestinians, officials and residents said. Dozens of soldiers closed the entrance to the village, declaring it a closed military zone, and raided several houses using police dogs, witnesses told Ma‘an. The forces damaged a number of homes and harmed residents in the raids, locals told Ma‘an.
Israeli forces ‘detain man’ at Bethlehem checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — Israeli forces detained a man at a checkpoint near Bethlehem on Thursday evening, Palestinian security sources said. PA security officers told Ma‘an Maath Abu Aker from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem was detained at the container checkpoint and taken to an unknown destination.
Detention / Court actions
‘Naksa Day’ rioter gets six months
JPost 13 Jan – The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday sentenced a 39-year-old resident of the Golan Druse town of Majdal Shams to six months in prison, after convicting him of disorderly conduct and aggravated assault of a public servant during the “Naksa Day” protests in June 2011. Assad Abu Salah, who was convicted under a plea bargain, admitted that he took part in rioting and that he threw rocks at security forces.
Israeli court acquits Sheikh Raed in the ‘Hilwani Rooftop’ case
MEMO 12 Jan — On Thursday, an Israeli court in Jerusalem issued a decision to acquit the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, of the charge of non-compliance with a legal order in August 2007. In a statement to al-Quds Press, Sheikh Raed Salah’s lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, said that “The decision issued by the magistrate’s court refers to the incident which occurred in October 2007 when Israeli agents attacked Sheikh Raed and his companions as they took part in a charity dinner on the roof of Al-Hilwai [a building in the Wadi Juz neighbourhood of Silwan] claiming that the dinner was a meeting of the Hamas Movement.”
IOF soldiers disguised as Arabs kidnap a number of Silwan residentst
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 13 Jan — IOF soldiers disguised as Arabs entered the Jerusalem suburb of Silwan and kidnapped a number of Palestinian youth. Local sources in Silwan said that a group of IOF soldiers disguised as Arabs on Friday morning lay in wait for a number of youth from Bustan road, then they arrested them with the help of other IOF soldiers. The sources said that amongst the youth who were kidnapped are: Abed Al-Qumeiri (18), Fuad al-Qadi (20), Abed Qa’qour (19), Abed Ateyyah (20), all of them from Silwan. The IOF has a special unit of soldiers who can speak Arabic with Palestinian accent and who disguise themselves as Arabs to make their mission of penetrating Palestinian neighbourhoods easy.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Two children released after long interrogation
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWAIC) posted 13 Jan – (Tuesday, 10 January 2012) the Israeli police released Muhammad Saleh Al Reshiq, 11 , and Othman Abu Madi, 10, both from the neighborhood of Ras Al Amood, after detaining them for many hours in the Salah Al Deen Central Police Station in Jerusalem. The families of the children stated that the boys were arrested while playing in front of their houses in Ras Al Amood in the company of their friends when a black Golf vehicle stopped suddenly and the vehicle’s passengers jumped out and abducted the children … The mothers of both children were prohibited from entering the police station and were forced to wait for their children outside the station from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm at which time the children were release after a long interrogation.
Youth arrested in the Al Abbaseyah neighborhood in Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 13 Jan — On Wednesday, 11 January 2012 Israeli Forces stormed the neighborhood of Al Abassyeh to arrest Ahmad Awad Allah, 21, with no clear accusations against him.
Five children arrested from Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) posted 13 Jan — ( Silwan, Wednesday January 11, 2012 ) Israeli forces arrested five children without cause and extended their detention until tomorrow morning. One of the children was recognized as Mousa Edrees from the neighborhood of Al Abbaseyah. Mousa’s family said that Israeli Forces stormed their house during the afternoon of 11 January and dragged Mousa and another four children to be interrogated and then took them later to the Russian Compound where the Judge of the Magistrate Court extended their detention to tomorrow morning.
The District Court issues 17-month prison sentence to youth
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) posted 13 Jan – On January 11, 2012 the District Court issued a 17-month prison sentence to Basel Harbi Al Abbasi, 20, from the neighborhood of Kroom Qamar in Silwan. Basel was accused of throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail during the violent confrontations that took place in Silwan due to increased tensions over settlement and demolition activities that ignited the neighbourhood. Basel has been arrested more than seven times and he was under house arrest sentence when he was arrested three months ago.
Medics: Israeli fire injures two in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Israeli forces fired on the central Gaza Strip early Friday injuring two people, medics said. Medical services spokesman in Gaza Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma‘an that two people were moderately injured after forces shelled east of al-Bureij refugee camp shortly after midnight. The injured were transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, he said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said forces opened fire after they “saw a number of suspects approach the security fence and tamper with the ground suspiciously.” Later Friday morning, a projectile fired from Gaza landed in the southern Eshkol region, without causing damage or injuries, she said. [End]
Witnesses: Shells fired at northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Israeli military forces fired shells at northern Gaza on Friday. Witnesses told Ma‘an that three loud explosions were heard in the al-Ghoul area of Beit Lahiya on Friday evening. No injuries were reported.
Haniyeh: Gaza ‘will not break’ under Israeli attack
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)13 Jan — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has warned that a new military operation on the coastal strip “will be no picnic” for Israel and vowed the territory could stand up to any aggression. Recently returned from his first tour of the region since 2007, Haniyeh told reporters on Thursday that the positions of Arab countries towards Gaza and Israel have changed.
PA: Israel allows aggregate into Gaza after 7-year wait
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — Israel has agreed to allow 22,000 tons of aggregate into the Gaza Strip after a 7-year delay, a Palestinian Authority official said Friday. Head of the PA borders committee Nathni Mhannah told Ma‘an the decision followed talks between the committee, European officials and Palestinian unions. Mhannah said the building materials have been held at the Karni crossing on Gaza’s border with Israel since 2005.
EU contributes $1.4 million to rebuild Gaza businesses
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — The European Union on Friday contributed $1.4 million to a program to reconstruct Gaza’s private sector. The EU said the payment was part of a €22 million ($28.2 million) project established to support Gaza businesses destroyed in Israel’s 3-week bombardment of the coastal enclave in 2008. “It targets businesses of all sizes in almost all sectors of activity, which need to restore destroyed or damaged assets necessary for their activities. The ultimate objective is to revitalize the economic activity in Gaza and provide for sustainable livelihoods for its people,” an EU statement said.
We remember: Tom Hurndall
ISM 13 Jan — Tom was 21 years old when he was shot. A photography student, he had left the UK to volunteer as a ‘human shield’ in Iraq. Here he heard about the ISM, one of whose volunteers, Rachel Corrie, had just been killed by a bulldozer whilst protesting house demolitions in Rafah. He headed there himself, arriving on the 6th April. On the day of his shooting, Tom was with other ISM activists walking through Rafah when Israeli sniper fire started. Almost everyone ran for safety, but Tom noticed that three children, aged between four and seven, had remained motionless, paralysed with fear. Tom went back for them. He got the little boy to safety, and then went back for the two girls. He was wearing a fluorescent vest, and was clearly unarmed. An Israeli sniper shot him in the head … The soldier who shot him, Taysir Hayb, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eleven and a half years in prison [He was a Bedouin, would this have happened to a Jew?]. A British inquest into the killing found that the killing was intentional – in other words, murder..
12 January 2009: The Ayad family
PCHR 12 Jan 2012 — If there is another war I won’t be moving, even if we die there, I don’t want to go through that again” On 12 January 2009, the Ayad family home in the Zaytoon area of Gaza City was bulldozed by Israeli forces. Rezeq Ayad, 60, his wife Yusra, 58, and their four sons Mustafa, 16, Muhammed, 20, Abdel Kareem 26, and Khalil, 29, and Khalil’s two daughters were left homeless as a result of the attack. The family had left the area a few days prior to the destruction of their home, as a result of the intense Israeli bombardment of the area … Now back in the family home – which they started rebuilding in May 2010 and moved into in October 2010 – the two are glad and thankful that the family are now safe and relatively secure once again. “I remember that time and I just thank God we are all still alive,” says Rezeq. “We had left the house with nothing but the clothes we were wearing and a few blankets and mattresses,” explains Abdel Kareem, “we lost everything with the house when it was bulldozed.”
13 January 2009: Hibba al-Najjar
PCHR 13 Jan 2012 — “The first two years I could manage but this year I have been suffering a lot from the loss of my mother. When I see girls from my school with their mother or talking about their mother, I miss my mother even more. I need to have her with me.” In the early morning of 13 January 2009, following two days of home demolitions, the Israeli army started to shell the village of Khuza‘a and its surroundings, using high explosive and white phosphorous artillery shells. Israeli bulldozers, tanks and snipers were located on the edge of the village … “I can still hear the bullet hit my mother in the head. I was standing right beside her when the soldier stepped into the doorway of the house ahead and shot her. I could see him,” says Rawhiya’s 17 year old daughter Hibba as she depicts the situation with her arms. “I keep wondering why they killed my mother while she was carrying a white cloth in the street, but why I was not killed when I was on the roof of our house earlier that morning.”
Racism / Discrimination
Law leaves thousands of divided families in limbo
Haaretz 13 Jan — High Court of Justice upheld the law banning Palestinians from permanently living in Israel with their Israeli spouses; couples to be dependent on good graces of Interior Ministry clerks to renew residency permits — ,,,One such couple is Falastin and Samir Ajaji, who have been married for 31 years. She is an Israeli citizen, from the village of Kaukab al-Hija in the Lower Galilee. He is from Sida, a village in the Tul Karm area of the West Bank. The Ajajis have two sons and two daughters, ages 10, 8, 6 and 2. Until three months ago, Samir received a permit to enter Israel for one week every three months. Recently, the situation improved and he was allowed to visit his family for one week every month … Falastin said they have been submitting forms for family unification for 13 years.
Israeli-Palestinian couples on Citizenship Law: Supreme Court guided by Israeli racism
Haaretz 12 Jan — Thousands of families of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have been waiting for years for a Supreme Court decision rejecting Israel’s Citizenship Law. Wednesday’s ruling to uphold the law puts an end to their hope of obtaining citizenship for their spouses and receiving permanent status in Israel.
A glimpse into the life of an Israeli-Palestinian couple / Amira Hass
Haaretz 13 Jan — …Israelis who live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip lose their state social benefits – but not the Israeli Jews who live in the settlements. “Mixed” Palestinian couples live under a constant cloud of uncertainty and fear of the future.What if Israel goes back to barring Israelis from Palestinian Authority territory? What if the trend of anti-Arab legislation continues and the state decides to strip their children, or them, of their citizenship?
Daughter of US immigrants wages legal battle against mikveh ban
Haaretz 13 Jan — Plia Oryah, a Modi’in native, is among several parties to a December 29 petition asking Israel’s Supreme Court to compel religious authorities to reverse official directives to municipal and regional ritual bath operators … The rabbinic prohibitions against single women immersing themselves generally stem from a concern that some women may utilize their “ritually pure status” as a pretext for engaging in forbidden pre-marital relations.
Draft law will protect soldiers who refuse to hear women sing
Haaretz 13 Jan — The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will decide on Sunday whether a bill that would protect soldiers who refuse to attend ceremonies at which women sing will be backed by the coalition.
Israeli economist fired after attacking ‘Ashkenazi establishment’
Haaretz 12 Jan — The chief economist of the Excellence Nessuah brokerage firm was unceremoniously ousted on Wednesday after launching a blistering attack on “the Ashkenazi establishment” that included calling Bank Leumi “the whites’ bank.”
Shas: Ethnic discrimination still alive and kicking
Ynet 12 Jan — The Shas faction expressed sympathy Thursday for the sentiments voiced by Shlomo Maoz, an economist fired over controversial remarks criticizing the “Ashkenazi élite.” … In a statement, Shas said it “isn’t surprised by the incident because it has been pointing out the discrimination against Mizrahim for years.”
Political developments / Diplomacy
Jordan allows Islamic Jihad to join PLO meet in Amman
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — Jordan has agreed to allow an Islamic Jihad delegation to join talks in Amman to discuss the future of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the movement said Thursday. In December, Jordan denied Islamic Jihad delegates visas to attend a meeting in Amman of the PLO’s “interim leadership” committee, which will handle restructuring of the PLO.
Israeli, Palestinian delegates to meet for third round of direct talks
Reuters 13 Jan — Negotiators to hold meetings in Amman under the auspices of Jordan’s King Abdullah, who will visit U.S. President Barack Obama next week to review developments — Israelis and Palestinians will hold their third round of face-to-face meetings this year on Saturday in what diplomats hope might lead to the resumption of full peace talks, sources on each side said on Friday.
West Bank: ‘Nothing new offered by Israelis in talks, Abbas says
AP 12 Jan — Israel has made no new proposals in meetings with Palestinians about the possibility of resuming formal peace talks, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said Thursday. The sides have met twice in Jordan, and plan two more meetings.
PA: We’ll end talks if no progress within 2 weeks
JPost 12 Jan — Abbas says Palestinians won’t renew negotiations unless Israel stops settlement construction, agrees to 2-state solution — The Palestinian Authority threatened Thursday to pull out from the Jordanian-sponsored talks with Israel if no progress is achieved by January 26.
Palestinian youth ‘fed up with illegitimate representation’ to protest negotiations / Alison Deger
13 Jan — Opposing the “negotiations to return to negotiations,” a group known as “Palestinians for Dignity,” yesterday released a statement against the meetings between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The call is for a silent demonstration on January 14, in Ramallah, protesting the political leadership and demanding Palestinian national council elections (in which exiled Palestinians also vote). The statement follows another, earlier this month, from Leila Khaled and other Arab intellectuals opposing the “hostile framework” of the talks:
Haniyeh to host reconciliation talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Jan — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will host Hamas and Fatah leaders at his home in Gaza City on Saturday for reconciliation talks, his foreign minister said. Muhammad Awad told Ma‘an the Hamas premier would encourage the delegations to work faster to implement the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo last May. Haniyeh will also update the party leaders on his recent regional tour, which included visits to Turkey, Sudan, Egypt and Tunisia, Awad added.
Egyptians consider Palestine visit to aid reconciliation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — The Palestinian Authority ambassador to Cairo said Friday that Egyptian officials were considering a visit to the Palestinian territories in order to boost reconciliation talks. Yasser Othman told Ma‘an that Egypt was pushing forward efforts to implement unity between Hamas and Fatah and closely following the work of the Palestinian reconciliation committee. The ambassador said obstacles to political reconciliation were to be expected given the years of division, but Egypt would continue to support the work of the reconciliation committee.
Abbas tells diaspora groups reconciliation on track
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that national reconciliation talks have made concrete achievements despite obstacles along the way. Abbas made the comments during a meeting with Palestinian delegations from refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The president added that Fatah and Hamas are determined to implement the deal signed on May 1.
Hamas, Fatah see differing causes for reconciliation delay
AFP 12 Jan — Gaza’s Hamas leader on Thursday blamed Israeli interference and unspecified “external pressures” for a delay in implementing reconciliation with the rival Fatah movement. But a senior Fatah official said the real cause of the hold-up was internal divisions within Hamas itself. “Palestinian reconciliation is confronted by external pressures and by Israeli interference meant to block it and delay its implementation on the ground,” Ismail Haniya, premier in Hamas-ruled Gaza, told a public meeting with MPs and delegates of other Palestinian factions in Gaza City.
Abbas on diplomacy tour of Europe
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Britain, Germany and Russia next week, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said on Thursday. Abbas will meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the tour, Rdainah told official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa. Rdainah emphasized that the three countries are members of the UN Security Council, indicating that diplomacy around the stalled bid for UN membership may be ongoing.
Turkey dropping Marmara lawsuits
Ynet 13 Jan — Sources in the US State Department said that the Turkish attorney general has ordered that all legal proceedings against Israeli elements involved in the IDF raid on the Marmara ship in May 2010 to be halted, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday. The State Department said that this decision is linked to US efforts to defuse tensions between Israel and Turkey. This includes attempts by Israeli envoy to Turkey David Meidan to find a formula which will allow the sides to end hostility.
Turkey denies Israeli report that Mavi Marmara lawsuits dropped
EI 13 Jan — Turkey’s Anatolia News Agency carried this report, which has been translated for The Electronic Intifada: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the news report on Mavi Marmara published in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronot newspaper ANKARA – MFA Spokesperson Selçuk Ünal denied claims that Turkey suspended cases that were opened against Israelis connected to the attack on the Mavi Marmara flotilla. In his statement to the Anatolian Agency, Spokesperson Ünal said “the claims in this report do not reflect the reality.”
UN chief: Attacks on scientists ‘not acceptable’
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) 13 Jan — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday any killing like that of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran earlier this week was to be condemned, a UN spokesman said … “Any terrorist action or assassination of any people, whether scientist or civilian, is to be condemned. It is not acceptable. Human rights must be protected,” UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey quoted Ban as saying.
Peres: Israel wasn’t involved in Tehran hit
Ynet 13 Jan — In interview with CNN Spanish President says Israel wasn’t involved in murder of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan to the best of his knowledge
Obama, Netanyahu talk diplomacy
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 12 Jan – US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday discussed a recent round of Israeli-Palestinian talks and the international community’s response to Iran, the White House said.
Egypt grants citizenship to children of Palestinian fathers
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 13 Jan — The Egyptian Ministry of Interior has granted citizenship to 651 children with non-Egyptian fathers, local media reported. Minister of Interior Muhammad Ibrahim said the decision would affect 603 children with Palestinian fathers and Egyptian mothers, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
Minister: World Bank pledges $76 million to PA
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 Jan –The World Bank on Thursday pledged to grant $76 million to the Palestinian Authority in 2012, the PA Minister of Planning said.
Palestinians hack into Israeli Fire Services website
Ynet 13 Jan — Gaza Hackers Team takes over website’s homepage, publishes message stating ‘ We hack into your websites, and will continue to do so until you suffer’
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
Ultra-orthodox a reflection of Israeli politics / Michael Marder
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain 12 Jan - Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox community, like the government, believes they are exempt from having to justify their behaviour — Since late 2011, the conflict between the secular and the ultra-religious segments of Israeli society has reached a boiling point over the issue of women’s rights … Critical responses to these events either explicitly state or simply assume that religious fanatics are nothing but fringe elements far outside the mainstream of the Israeli society, elements attempting to “highjack” the public sphere and “corrupt” its democratic core. One adherent of this approach is the Israeli President, Shimon Peres, who, last month, called upon Israeli citizens to protest en masse against the growing influence of Haredi extremists and to reclaim their civic freedoms. Yet, given the overall political context, within which the concerted ultra-Orthodox onslaught is taking place, it is doubtful, to say the least, that this radicalisation is an aberration, a mere exception to the rule of peaceful coexistence. I would argue that in its belligerent, uncompromising stance on women, the conduct of the ultra-religious faction actually reflects the unadorned image of the Israeli politics and society as a whole.
Israel has a promising summer of protests, but then came the fall / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 13 Jan — Prices are rising, the cottage-cheese discounts are over, the rich are recovering from the blow, the defense budget has grown, the settlements thrive and Daphni Leef is once again looking for an apartment … It was the most intoxicating summer in our history (not including the deceptive intoxication of the summer of 1967), but perhaps it was also the most misleading one.
This week in Haaretz, 1997: Prime minister’s gift omits Muslim holy sites, inflaming passions
As the new year of 1997 dawned, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Haifa to visit the head of the Greek Catholic Church in Israel, Archbishop Maximos Salloum. Netanyahu gave the archbishop a silver engraving of the Old City of Jerusalem and wished him a happy new year. Soon, a rumor spread that the gift lacked several key elements. Haaretz reporter Joseph Algazi called the archbishop, who acknowledged that the Muslim holy places, the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, did not appear on the engraving. Instead there was “an approximation of the Second Temple,” a Jewish holy site.
They still don’t get it.
Comprehending the incomprehensible – Part 1 / Martin Sherman
JPost 13 Jan — Into The Fray: The first of a two-part analysis of why Israel is losing the international battle for hearts and minds … Without wishing to diminish the significance of innate hostility towards Israel and the Jews from many sources in the international system, the present dismal and untenable situation has arisen in large measure because of the abysmal job the Israeli leadership has done in conducting – or more accurately, misconducting – its public diplomacy…
distant landscapes / Ellie Armon Azoulay
The Walid Abu Shakra retrospective – being held simultaneously at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and in Umm al-Fahm – reflects the London-based artist’s longings for his childhood and shows how far Palestinian art has come.