Students at Khan al Ahmar school, photo from Unicef
and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Activist: Expansion of apartheid wall near Qalqilya will separate towns
QALQILYA (WAFA) 9 Jan – An Israeli decision to seize vast areas of Palestinian land east of the West Bank city of Qalqilya in order to expand the Apartheid Wall will separate two Arab towns, a local activist said Monday. Coordinator of the National Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Qalqilya, Rafiq Mara‘ba, told Voice of Palestine radio that route of the apartheid wall, which will separate Ma’ale Shomron and Alfei Menashe settlements from Palestinian villages in the area, will also separate Kafr Thulth and Azzoun, towns east of Qalqilya.
Jerusalem group says Gandhi statue a pretext for land grab
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 8 Jan – An Israeli plan to build a statue for the late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi on an East Jerusalem plot is actually a pretext to seize Palestinian land, the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) said in a statement Sunday. It denounced the project proposed by Jerusalem city councilman Meir Margalit of Meretz, which it said contradicts with the councilman’s party’s opposition to Israeli government seizure of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem … The Israeli occupation authority is the last to celebrate the human rights activist Gandhi, added the statement.
MKs slam J’lem for illegal building in E. J’lem
JPost 9 Jan — The Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee slammed the Jerusalem municipality for “losing control” of illegal building in east Jerusalem, especially in areas that are part of Jerusalem but are located on the West Bank side of the separation fence, in a special committee hearing on Monday. According to Regavim, a right-wing activist group which filed a petition in the High Court of Justice regarding lack of enforcement of demolition orders, said that Jerusalem building inspectors haven’t been into Jerusalem areas on the other side of the barrier since 2005. Without inspections, the municipality cannot issue demolition orders.
Israeli soldiers in uniform storm, stroll inside Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 8 Jan — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the holy Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem and strolled in its plazas in the first such incident, the Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage (AFEH) said. It said that ten soldiers broke into the holy site on Sunday morning in the company of an intelligence agent under tight security measures. AFEH said in a press release that the suspicious tour was a “serious precedent”, warning that it carried bad omen for the Aqsa mosque. The foundation said that the tour started in the Maghareba gate and included all areas of the compound before returning through the same gate, which the occupation authority has confiscated its keys.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Israel to demolish seven homes near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 8 Jan – The Israeli authorities Sunday informed seven Palestinian families in Umm al-Khair locale, south of Hebron, of its intention to demolish their homes under the pretext they were built without permit, according to local sources. They told WAFA that Israeli soldiers raided the locale adjacent to the settlement of Karmiel, and handed the seven families, from the Hathalin Bedouins, demolishing orders. If demolished, 60 people will become homeless.
IOA targets confiscation of 85% of Salfit village
SALFIT (PIC) 8 Jan — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is planning to confiscate 85% of Kufr Al-Dik village, Salfit province, land, the village’s municipality chief Jamal Khader said. He told Quds Press on Sunday that the municipality received a new draft scheme from the IOA envisaging the expropriation of more than 2000 dunums of land to the southwest of the village. He said that if implemented the plan would confiscate 85% of the land owned by the village inhabitants. Khader quoted the IOA as claiming that those land lots were “state land” since they were not cultivated for the past three years and were owned by the IOA.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
IOA confiscates land in Yatta
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 9 Jan — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has confiscated a land lot in the midst of Tawana village near Yatta town, south of Al-Khalil, and threatened anyone approaching it with a heavy fine, locals reported. They said that the Israeli occupation forces threatened citizens of 10,000-dollar fines if they approached the confiscated land lot. The citizens warned that the confiscation was a preliminary step toward expelling the village inhabitants. The citizens also complained of the repeated Jewish settlers’ attacks that included throwing stones and empty bottles on their homes. They said that the settlers had intensified their attacks over the past two weeks and assaulted students, tearing their schoolbooks and throwing stones and eggs on them.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Israel closes down road leading to school in West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Jan – Israeli authorities closed the only road leading to Khan al-Ahmar elementary school, dubbed school of tires, northeast of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Ministry of Education said in a statement Monday. Israeli forces warned the Bedouin residents of the area from heading to school and put up cement blocks and a fence higher than 150 cm to prevent students and vehicles from reaching it, said the statement. It condemned the closure and said it falls under the continuous Israeli assaults against the school, including raids, vandalism, as well as demolition and eviction notices that terrorize around 100 Palestinian children attending the school. Residents built the school of used tires to teach the children after Israel had refused to allow them to build a regular school.
Israel destroys farmland near Bethlehem
MEMO 9 Jan — Israel’s occupation authorities have destroyed agricultural land and uprooted trees in Al-Khodar, south of Bethlehem on the occupied West Bank. A warning of the destruction was given to the owner of the land. Hassan Sabih, a local municipality official, told Quds Press that the Israelis have destroyed around a square kilometre planted with figs, olives and almonds owned by Daud Mohammed Khedr Salah. The land is near an illegal settlement called Itamar. Sabih pointed out that although the Israelis gave notice, they bulldozed the crops before the expiry of the notice period. This meant that the owner was unable to appeal to the local out to stop the destruction.
Negev Bedouin town left without water after repeated thefts of central pump
9 Jan — Residents of a Bedouin town in the Negev are complaining that the region’s water company has only been supplying them with water one to two hours a day for the past two weeks. Alsanaa Mar’i, a resident of Lakiya, said that water comes only at night, forcing residents to hoard water for use during the day…. Mar’i, who said he was told about the theft of the town’s central pump, added that it had been decided not to purchase another pump. If that was indeed the case, he said, the police were at fault for not providing proper guarding of the pump.
Lieberman: Redraw maps to oust Arabs
Al Akhbar 9 Jan — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his call on Monday for some Arabs to be stripped of their Israeli citizenship and moved to a new Palestinian state as part of a final peace deal. Speaking to reporters, Lieberman said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires a modification of Israel’s borders and placing Arab communities under Palestinian rule. In return, Israel would receive West Bank territory with current Jewish settlements. “It’s time to say these things clearly,” Lieberman said.
Not even the word of Israeli soldiers is enough to confirm Palestinian territory / Amira Hass
Haaretz 9 Jan — On my way home from Tel Aviv last Wednesday, at midnight, I turned right on Route 443, just where a yellow sign warns: “Israeli, beware, if you’ve arrived here you made a mistake.” I hadn’t made a mistake. That’s where I was headed, to the road that squeezes its way through villages and unpopulated mountain peaks and leads to Ramallah, and is classified as a “fabric of life” road – one of several thin threads linking the Palestinian enclaves, whose access roads to the main highways of the West Bank have been blocked. It was paved as compensation for Route 443, which, for the Palestinians, evaporated along with the corridor created from east of Modiin to Jerusalem, and the funnel created by the settlements of Givat Ze’ev and Givon. The Israel Defense Forces made a mockery of the High Court of Justice order to open the highway to Palestinian vehicles, in response to a petition by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel. My writing talents are inadequate to describe how the mockery is translated on the ground, and how, in IDF Newspeak, “to open” means “to block.” This can be understood only if you travel on the highway.
Settlers / Right-wing extremists
Settlers attack house, burn car east of Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 9 Jan – Dozens of Jewish settlers attacked early Monday a Palestinian house and burnt a car in al-Baqa‘a area, east of Hebron in the southern West Bank, according to witnesses. Atta Jaber, a resident in the area, told WAFA that dozens of settlers attacked the house of Jodi Abdul Jawad, throwing stones at it, and set fire to his car, completely burning it. He added that the settlers were divided into two groups; one set Abdul Jawad’s car on fire and the other attacked the house with stones to prevent Abdul Jawad from coming out to defend his property.
Settlers attack two children in Hebron
IMEMC 9 Jan — A group of fundamentalist Israeli settlers attacked on Sunday two Palestinian children in Tel Romeida neighborhood, in the center of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Resident Mohammad Abu Aisha stated that a number of extremist settlers violently attacked, kicked and punched his sons Ibrahim, 12, and Waleed, 11, while Israeli soldiers in the area did not even attempt to intervene. Abu Aisha added that one of the settlers even pulled a pocket knife and waved it in front of the children. He said that the settlers are trying to scare the residents out of their homes so that they can occupy more homes and property in the area and annex it to the illegal settlements and outposts.
Israeli forces dismantle outpost in north West Bank
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Israeli forces took down four trailers at an illegal settlement outpost in the northern West Bank on early Monday, with Palestinian officials warning of potential revenge acts against locals. Troops removed the structures at Givat Gal Yoseph outpost near the government-sanctioned Shilo settlement, which lies on the main passageway between Ramallah and Nablus, settler-affiliated website Arutz Sheva reported. Hundreds of Israeli settlers gathered at the Beit El military base near Ramallah late Sunday to protest the take-down, witnesses told Ma‘an. Ghassan Doughlas, the PA official monitoring settlements in the northern West Bank, urged Palestinians to take care on the Ramallah-Nablus highway, warning of revenge acts.
Second Israeli MK admits to having given settlers information on IDF movements
Haaretz 8 Jan — National Union’s Uri Ariel says ‘if a person who transfers information about IDF movements is a spy, then I am a spy’; Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin was found to having given right-wing activists information on IDF earlier Sunday … Earlier in the day five right-wing extremists were charged by Jerusalem’s District Prosecutor’s Office with tracking Israel Defense Forces operations in the West Bank in an attempt to disrupt attempts to evacuate illegal outposts. The five allegedly formed an intelligence hub based on telephone communications, utilizing 30 different sources, including active IDF service members.
Three settler MKs expose IDF movements to settler rioters who assaulted West Bank army base / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 8 Jan — It is so common for Israeli Palestinian MKs to be charged with treason, aiding the enemy, spying, etc. that Israeli Jews not only take it for granted, but accept that the charges are true without any offer of proof. But it’s a relatively new phenomenon for Israeli Jewish MKs not just to be accused, but to boast that they gave away classified information to settler hoodlums that was used as part of an assault against a West Bank army base in which two senior officers were wounded by bricks and rocks. Because of the assault. the IDF was prevented from demolishing an illegal outpost, which was the original goal of the settlers. In most other democratic countries this would be considered akin to sedition. In Israel, not so much.
Mizrahi Jew, settler among Supreme Court appointees
JPost 9 Jan — Four new justices are appointed to Israel’s top court; settler leader says Sohlberg appointment brings much-needed “balance.” ... On Friday, Israeli-Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) called Sohlberg’s appointment “a dark day for justice and equality” and added that “even a settler who is a judge is still a settler, living off land stolen from Palestinians.”.
Former IDF officer slams Netanyahu’s plan to court-martial right-wing extremists
8 Jan — Avichai Mendelblit: No one wants to see dead children, Palestinian or Lebanese…it is very sad, but we do not need to initiate an investigation into everything … Speaking at the Israel Air Force Center in Herzliya, Mendelblit said: “If this is assigned to the army, it will be terrible. I do not think it is correct for the IDF to deal with civilians.”
Israeli forces arrest Palestinian, raid village near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 9 Jan – Israeli forces Thursday arrested a Palestinian from Qabatia, a town south of Jenin, raided Zaboba, a village west of Jenin, and spread their reinforcements on the entrance of Ya‘bad, a town west of Jenin, according to security sources. They told WAFA that that Israeli soldiers arrested Palestinian Ahmad Saba’neh, 23, after raiding his house, in Qabatia, and tampering with its contents. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers raided the village of Zaboba, roamed their vehicles in the village’s alleys and streets amid firing sound bombs. Sources added that Palestinians responded by throwing stones and empty bottles at the soldiers.
Israel seals Jenin village for second day
JENIN (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Israeli forces set up a temporary checkpoint sealing a Jenin-district village for several hours on Monday morning, the second day the village has been closed. Forces blocked the eastern entrance to Ya‘bad village around 5.30 a.m., preventing some residents from reaching their homes and searching vehicles, locals said. Israel permanently closed the western entrance to the village during the second intifada, erecting a large steel gate to periodically allow residents passage. Brief clashes broke out between villagers and the soldiers, who fired tear gas towards them, villagers told Ma’an. No injuries were recorded.
Israel releases 4 Gaza fishermen ‘detained at sea’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — Israeli forces released four Palestinian fishermen early Sunday, after they were detained off the coast of the Gaza Strip a day earlier. Israeli forces fired at their fishing boat off Rafah shores in southern Gaza, and forced the men to swim to an Israeli gunboat on Saturday morning, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported. The men were released to Gaza at 3.30 a.m. on Sunday, but Israel kept their boat and fishing equipment in custody, president of the Palestinian association for fishing and marine sports Mahfouth al-Kbarity told Ma‘an.
Gaza crossing to close Wednesday for Egypt vote
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza’s interior ministry said that Egypt will close the Rafah crossing out of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday during the final round of voting in the country’s parliamentary elections. The terminal, Gaza’s only link to the outside world due to Israel’s closure, will be reopened on Thursday, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The Gaza Music School: a composition in defiance and harmony
Independent 9 Jan — by Donald Macintyre. It was damaged by an Israeli bomb – but the Gaza Music School is quickly becoming a symbol of resilience — It is late afternoon and in a room darkening by the minute because of an all-too-familiar power cut, Shaden Shabwan, just 10 and a study in concentration, plays a Czech folk tune on an upright Yamaha piano as her teacher wills her to avoid mistakes. It is test day for piano students at the Gaza Music School, where Shaden is in her second year. Across the corridor, her classmate Abdel Aziz Sharek, also 10, is just as focused. Accompanied on ouds and tabla, he dexterously picks out a mesmerising classical longa on the qanun, the zither-like instrument that has been central to Arab music for a millennium or more.
Gaza’s smuggling tunnels into an underground metro?
8 Jan — A small handful of Bedouin families living in the Gaza Strip ran thousands of smuggling tunnels beneath the Egypt-Gaza Strip separation barrier. In part to transport weapons between Rafah in Egypt and the Rafah Palestinian refugee camp and in part to import every day goods, some of the tunnels are well built and include decent infrastructure, while others are at risk of deadly sewage leaks. The inspired work of Palestinian artist Mohamed Abusal, a photo exhibit at the French Cultural Center depicts what Gaza City would look like if these subterranean spaces were converted into an underground metro facility.
In Gaza: The olive fights the occupation / Eva Bartlett
GAZA CITY, Jan 8, 2012 (IPS) – *(this blog version longer than published version) “During hard times, we have survived off olive oil,” says Ahmed Sourani from the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee. “Including during the last war,” says Sourani, referring to the 23 day war Israel waged on Gaza three years ago. “Many people who couldn’t leave their homes had only bread and olive oil to sustain them for long periods.” Even during the first Intifadah (Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation), olives and olive oil were vital to survival. “They enabled many thousands of very poor Palestinian families to survive,” recalls Sourani. “When the Israeli army imposes curfews on us, preventing us from leaving our homes, it is our main food source. Most students take za‘atar (wild thyme) and olive oil sandwiches to school for their lunch.”
Remembering the Israeli assault on Gaza, 2008-09
Gaza family struggles to fight fear after Cast lead losses
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 8 Jan — Fear stalks the daily life of a family struggling with debt and the loss of their daughter in an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip three years ago during Operation Cast Lead. “‘We wish to die like Dima’ is what the children sometimes say to me because of all the stress and our poor living conditions,” their mother Nisreen al-Rahel told the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, who have submitted a criminal complaint to Israeli authorities over the airstrike. Dima al-Rahel, 5, was injured when four missiles hit the family home in Beit Lahiya on Jan. 8, 2009, along with two other relatives. She died of her injuries two months later. The rest of the family took refuge in an UNRWA school in the town, until it was hit by the Israeli army using white phosphorus shells ten days later. Another of their daughters, Ansam, 13, suffered severe head injuries in the blast, losing parts of her skull. “At school she loses consciousness when she is active,” Nisreen said.
8 January 2009: The Al Rahel family
PCHR — On 8 January 2009, at approximately 11:00, four missiles were fired at the house of Juma’a al-Rahel (45) in Beit Lahiya, injuring 3 members of the extended al-Rahel family: Basma (3), Dima (5), and Faten (41). Many of the extended family were inside the house at the time of the attack, as six of the al-Rahel brothers and their wives and children live nearby. Immediately after the attack, the families fled the area and sought refuge in Beit Lahiya’s UNRWA school. On 17 January 2009 the school was targeted with white phosphorus bombs, leaving Dima’s sister, Ansam al-Rahel (13), severely injured. After six weeks of fighting for her life 5-year old Dima eventually died of her wounds in an Egyptian hospital on 1 March 2009 … When Nisreen and her remaining children moved back to their house after the offensive they found it badly damaged and their livelihood destroyed. “Shortly before the war I bought cattle. We had 2 oxen, 17 goats and dozens of rabbits. I kept them next to our house. I took out loans to buy them,” explains Saeed. “When our family returned to our house after the war they found all the animals killed by shrapnel.
6 January 2009: Al-Dayah family
PCHR 6 Jan — “The bodies of nine of those killed were not found, including the bodies of my wife and my children. I tried my best with the civil defense personnel to find their bodies. All we found were pieces of flesh that were unidentifiable.” On 6 January 2009, at approximately 05:45, an Israeli aircraft bombed the al-Dayah family in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. 22 people, including 12 children and a pregnant woman, were killed. Only one of the family members inside the house at the time of the attack, Amer al-Dayah (31), survived.
9 January 2009: The Abu Oda family
PCHR — “The Israeli military say they are the most moral army in the world, but they killed my daughter, they didn’t respect her right to live” On 9 January 2009, the Abu Oda household in the Al Amal neighbourhood of Beit Hanoun came under sustained fire from Israeli positions close to the Gaza-Israeli border 2 kilometres away. Nariman Abu Oda, 16, was hit in the right side of her body by Israeli fire as she was walking from the hallway, where the family were taking cover, to the kitchen. Medics were unable to reach the family and Nariman died before she could receive medical attention. The pockmarked concrete walls of the Abu Oda household tell a good deal of the story of Nariman’s death. Despite the best efforts of father Ahmed Abdel Kareem Muhammad, 57, and mother, I’tidal Abd al Aziz, 53, to plaster over the patch work of holes and indentations in the walls, ceiling, floors and doors, the house remains riddled with bullet holes. As I’tidal explains “it is clear the shooting was completely indiscriminate.”
In Gaza: targeting medics / Eva Bartlett
[photos, videos, links to similar events] Today, three years ago, an Israeli sniper shot this man, shooting at both he and his colleague, as well as towards the ambulance I was in. When Hassan and Jamal approached a body in the road, it was during the first day of Israeli-declared “cease-fire hours”, supposed humanitarian hours when civilians were to be allowed to move about without fear of Israeli bombing, shelling or shooting. Hassan, a Palestinian Red Crescent medic, was uniformed, as was Jamal a volunteer with the Red Crescent. The ambulance I was in was flashing its lights and siren. The stretcher the two men carried was flat, blood-stained from other martyrs, but quite obviously just a stretcher. And when Hassan and Jamal walked from the Dawar Zimmo intersection of eastern Jabaliya towards our ambulance, sides to their sniper predator, their hands were full with the dead body they carried.
January 4 anniversary of Arafa’s murder / Eva Bartlett
[with photos] In Gaza 5 Jan — Memories have a way of overpowering. And Arafa Abd el Dayem’s death should do so. Three years on and his murder is no less painful, his loss no less present. Arafa, when shredded to death by an Israeli-soldier-fired dart bomb (a dart bomb is a shell filled with between 5000-8000 dart-shaped metal nails, designed to bore into their targets and split apart upon impact, ensuring maximum damage), was a long-term medic with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, as well as a high-school teacher and father. We had just spent a night searching for the martyred body of a teenage night-watchman at the American High School, bombed by Israeli warplanes… returning in the morning for the charred corpse of the young Bedouin boy. I’d left Arafa and his colleagues, all genial, joking through the madness, compassionate… to return to Gaza City to write up some notes, share the reality with those outside Gaza. And he was killed. In a flash: on duty, retrieving injured and martyred; loading the casualties into his flashing ambulance when the Israeli-fired flechette bomb bored through his ambulance and his body, shredding him.
Political detention / Court actions
Interrogator at civil protester’s trial says questioning minor was a joke
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Jan – An Israeli interrogator speaking at the trial of civil protester Bassem Tamimi on Sunday said his questioning of a minor to get a confession from him that would convict Tamimi was a joke, according to a press release by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. Police officer Jalal Aweida [a Druse?] interrogated 14-year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub about Tamimi’s role in the weekly protests that take place in the village of Nabi Saleh … When asked by the prosecutor what can he say about the fact that Dar Ayyoub told the court “I was afraid of Jalal; he banged on the table and signaled with his hands, which scared me,” Aweida answered, “If I banged on the table it was not in order to intimidate him. I’m sure it was done as a joke and while considering his age.” Aweida even laughed at the evidence shown by Tamimi’s lawyer, Labib Habib, who presented the court with a recording of the interrogation.
8 arrested from Beit Ommar over the last week as Israeli night raids continue
PSP 9 Jan — Over the course of the past week, the Israeli army has arrested eight Palestinians from their homes in Beit Ommar, a village in the southern West Bank. Israeli Forces raid the village almost every night, often making arrests and ransacking homes. The raids have often targeted Palestinian minors, and activists and organizers involved in popular resistance initiatives against the Israeli occupation. The arrested from this week include two children under the age of 18. During one of the raids this past week, the soldiers broke into several residences at 3am. The Palestinians were taken from their homes without any explanation given as to why they were being arrested. They were taken away in jeeps to the Gush Etzion settlement which houses a jail and interrogation center.
IOF kidnap 10 Palestinians in night raids
WEST BANK (PIC) 9 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) carried out at dawn Monday a wide detention campaign in different West Bank areas where many Palestinians were reportedly kidnapped. Israeli military sources affirmed that 10 Palestinians were kidnapped and referred to interrogation centers. The sources did not say the names of the Palestinian detainees or the areas they were kidnapped from. Palestinian security sources said the IOF stormed at dawn many West Bank villages and cities, and intimidated and forced families out in the cold before they started to ransack their houses.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Israel ‘charges 7 Palestinians for bypass road attacks’
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Israeli authorities have charged seven Palestinians from the West Bank with attacking an Israeli-only road that cuts past their village, Israeli media reported on Monday. The group, from Ramallah-district village Kharbatha al-Misbah, admitted throwing rocks and fire bombs onto Road 443 which cuts into the West Bank and is off limits to Palestinians, according to settler-affiliated news site Arutz Sheva … They will face charges of carrying and possessing weapons, and producing and throwing a flammable object, at Israel’s Yehuda Military Court, the site said.
Palestinian female prisoners threaten hunger strike
RAMALLAH (PIC) 9 Jan — The Palestinian female prisoners in the Israeli occupation jails have threatened to go on hunger strike if the Israeli Hasharon prison administration insisted on its decision to move them to the ward of Israeli convicts. The Palestinian prisoner’s association said in a statement on Sunday that the prison administration was pondering the move, noting that the Israeli convicts were mostly held for murder, robbery, and drug-related crimes.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Activism / Solidarity
Video interview: A report of Ni‘lin village, Palestine
Three years and a half has passed since the non-violent resistance against the apartheid wall began in the west bank village of Ni‘lin. Five people were brutally murdered, hundreds got critically injured and hundreds were brutally arrested, but the people continued their struggle with a strong will and determination to dismantle this illegal wall from their lands despite the so much future challenges for their struggle. ”I want to tell the international community that there are only two choices. to decide weather you are for it or against it, being silence with it is like being for it, so the entire world must do something to help us ending this racist occupation”, Saeed Amireh said. Here’s an interview with Saeed Amireh, 20 year old guy, a member of Ni‘lin popular committee against the apartheid wall presenting the situation of his village during his European Speaker’s Tour 2011 .
VIDEO: Israelis arrested in Nabi Saleh subjected to ‘Palestinian’ treatment by occupation soldiers / Ali Abunimah
EI 8 Jan — The kidnap, detention and torture of Palestinians, especially children, at the hands of Israeli occupation forces is a routine practice in the West Bank. It is more rare for Israelis – who enjoy racial privileges under Israel’s apartheid system – to be given the “Palestinian” treatment. Yet a video and written account provides an example of two Israelis, “Shai” and “Doron,” being subjected to the kind of abuse by Israeli soldiers more usually reserved for Palestinians. The incident occurred on 23 December at a protest in the village of Nabi Saleh, commemorating Mustafa Tamimi, who was murdered there by an Israeli soldier in cold blood two weeks before.
Japan funds building, equipment of health center
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Jan – Japan will fund the construction of and equipping a new health center in the Ramallah area village of Kobar for an amount exceeding $100,000, a press release by the Representative Office of Japan said Monday … ccording to the contract, the project aims to facilitate access of almost 5,000 residents of nearby areas to primary health care service at the new project.
Racism / Discrimination / Repression
Arabs in Israel win one for the home team
6 Jan — The two top scorers in Israeli soccer this season are Arabs, which is a source of great prestige, but they are still not about to be players on the national team … Amashe is unlikely to consider playing for Beitar Jerusalem, which has never signed an Arab player before and is known for its very anti-Arab fans. But Saba’a would have no problem with it. “I’d be happy to play for Beitar if they were to make me an offer,” he says, smiling. “Beitar is a major, challenging team. I wouldn’t mind being the first Arab there. But I’ve never received an offer from them. So for the time being, I have to play against them.” http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/arabs-in-israel-win-one-for-the-home-team-1.405802
WATCH: Right-wing Knesset member pours water on Arab colleague / Ami Kaufman
972mag 9 Jan — Just when you thought things couldn’t get much lower in the Knesset lawmaking-wise, in comes Yisrael Beitenu MK Anastasia Michaeli and throws us into the abyss of violence. Here’s how she behaved towards Arab Labor MK Ghaleb Majadele during a hearing about the principal who decided to take his students to a human rights march in the Arab town of Arara in the Galilee.
J’lem man indicted for calling woman ‘whore’
JPost 8 Jan — The Jerusalem District Court charged Ze’ev Frank with sexual harassment on Sunday, after he was arrested on Thursday for calling a pedestrian a “whore” and spitting on her. He is also being charged with assaulting the officers who arrested him while physically resisting arrest.
WATCH: Beit Shemesh women in flash mob against segregation / Ami Kaufman
972mag 8 Jan — Ever since an ultra-Orthodox Jew spat on 8-year-old Naama Margolese for dressing “immodestly”, Beit Shemesh can’t seem to get out of the news.Yet some women of Beit Shemesh, as the JPost reported two days ago, decided to dance the bad vibes away with a flash mob:… The video came out today, and I find it particularly heart-warming. Religious and secular women, all “immodestly” dressed according to the ultra-Orthodox, showing them who wears the pants in this town.
Cabinet backs bill banning use of Nazi, Holocaust terms
Ynet 9 Jan — Ministerial Legislation Committee approves yet another law that seems to infringe on freedom of expression as bill proposed by MK Uri Ariel seeking to ban use of word Nazi, Holocaust terms and symbols receives their backing
Knesset backs “suspects’ names” bill
Ynet 9 Jan — Amendment to Courts Act saying suspects names must remain under embargo for 48 hours passes second, third House readings … The new law joins other Justice Ministry initiatives, such as the “concealment bill,” which aims to restrict media access to ongoing police investigations by placing them under a comprehensive gag order.
Jordan refuses visas for Jihad delegation to PLO talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — The head of the PLO parliament informed Islamic Jihad on Monday that their delegation to talks on the future of the body has been denied entry to Jordan, Ma‘an has learned … Officials said last week that the PNC, the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, will stage its first elections next year in order to allow Hamas and smaller Islamist faction Islamic Jihad to join the body as part of the reconciliation deal between Palestinian political groups. The committee tasked with overseeing elections was to start work on Jan. 15, with the participation of the two younger but influential factions, which were previously excluded from the umbrella group.
PFLP: Israeli, Palestinian talks ‘poison’ reconciliation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine warned on Monday that PLO meetings with Israeli envoys were set to harm reconciliation between Palestinian factions, as Hamas reiterated its opposition to the talks. PLO delegates are due to meet representatives of the Israeli government in the Jordanian capital later on Monday, in the second such talks since last week, called by the international Quartet. But the leftist PFLP, long opposed to negotiations based on the two-state solution, has called the meetings a “grave political mistake,” and called on Monday for President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from talks to focus on the fraying reconciliation deal between political rivals Fatah and Hamas.
Hamas leader warns PA against pursuing peace with Israel instead of Palestinian unity
9 Jan — The coming rise of Islamism in the Arab world will strengthen support for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which will not give up its armed confrontation with Israel, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said on Monday. If Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas bets on peace talks with Israel rather than reconciling his Fatah movement with Hamas, he will lose out, Zahar said in an interview with Reuters in his Gaza office.
Lieberman dismisses Palestinian motives in Amman talks
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 9 Jan — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman dismissed newly rekindled diplomatic contacts with Palestinian officials on Monday, accusing them of poor faith in peacemaking. Lieberman, a hardline coalition partner to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is often sidelined in statecraft, told lawmakers in Jerusalem that Palestinians only agreed to resume contacts after being “dragged against their will” to Amman. “They are preparing a groundwork of excuses to shift responsibility for the talks’ failure to Israel,” Lieberman said, according to an official transcript of the parliamentary briefing.
Youth gather for global meet on PLO elections
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Youth activists in at least eight countries will take part in a global meeting via live media on Tuesday, to call for elections to the PLO parliament. Palestinians meeting in Ramallah, Beirut, Rome, London, Madrid, Stockholm, Santiago and across the US will connect online to assert their right to a voice in the umbrella body that is the legal representative of Palestinians on the world stage, a release from organizers said.
Palestinian PM pledges cuts over budget shortfall
AFP 8 Jan — The Palestinians face a budget deficit of more than a billion dollars and are considering forcing bureaucrats to take early retirement, according to Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad. At a roundtable with journalists on Sunday evening, Fayyad said his government in the West Bank continues to face enormous shortfalls … Last year, Fayyad repeatedly warned that his government faces a financial crisis because foreign aid pledges have not been delivered on time — or in full.
Fayyad: Govt raises tax, cutting costs to plug deficit
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Jan — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is cutting spending and raising taxes in an attempt to plug the $1.1 billion deficit in the public budget, he told reporters in Ramallah on Sunday evening. Fayyad’s government aims to knock $350 million off the budget deficit through new measures to cut costs and increase revenues, including an income tax increase now in effect, the premier said.
Fatah leader concludes Gaza visit
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Jan — Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath concluded his visit to the Gaza Strip on Sunday, amid a row between his party and Gaza rulers Hamas that threatened to derail the reconciliation deal between them … After four Fatah officials said they were barred from entering Gaza on Friday, the parties accused each other on Sunday of using the row as a pretext to back out of the May 2011 deal to end fighting between the divided governments.
Hamas denies intentions to move office from Syria to Tunisiat
IMEMC 9 Jan — …Member of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Salah Bardaweel, stated Saturday that the movement did not hold talks with any Arab country regarding moving its office out of Syria. His statements came after several media outlets claimed that Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyya, currently visiting Tunisia, discussed with the Tunisian leadership the possibility of moving the Hamas bureau to the country due to the situation in Syria.
Jordan seizes assets of Palestinian ex-security chief
AFP 9 Jan — Jordan has ordered the seizure of the assets of former Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan who is under investigation for corruption and murder in the West Bank, a judicial official said on Monday. “Jordan’s seizure of Dahlan’s fixed and liquid assets came after a Palestinian Authority request, in line with a bilateral judicial cooperation agreement,” the official, who did not want to be named, told AFP, without elaborating. The government-owned Al-Rai daily quoted a source at Jordan Central Bank on Monday as saying that the seizure on Sunday also included assets belonging to Dahlan’s brother and another person.
Israeli hackers: We’ve obtained Saudi credit card info
Ynet 9 Jan — A group of hackers from Israel, abroad claim to have obtained details of thousands of Saudi credit cards; threaten to expose the data should cyber attacks on Israel continue
Video: Watch Egyptian-Turkish naval exercise
Ynet 8 Jan — Dozens of vessels, as well as F-16 jets and choppers, take part in one of biggest military maneuvers held in region in recent months … Dozens of Turkish and Egyptian vessels took part in the exercise, as well as F-16 jets and helicopters.
‘Overcrowded IDF jails turn defectors away’
9 Jan — The IDF’s jails are so overcrowded they have started turning away defectors, Ynet learned Monday. A soldier who decided to desert the ranks of his unit but later changed his mind said that he made eight attempts over the course of six weeks to turn himself over to Prison 4 (military confinement base 394) but was told the facility was at full capacity. Two weeks ago an inmate was finally released, allowing the soldier to begin serving his sentence.
Shots fired at car belonging to Holyland affair witness
Ynet 9 Jan — Bullet casings found near Audi belonging to Attorney Avi Drexler, a witness for the prosecution in real estate scandal involving former PM Olmert
Gold diggers ravage archaeological site
Ynet 9 Jan — Two Bedouins from Dimona destroy 2,000-year-old well in search for tall tale buried treasure
Analysis / Opinion
High Court ruling on Nakba bill reveals its waning power / Fady Khoury
972mag 7 Jan — The decision by Israel’s Supreme Court to keep the Nakba bill intact demonstrates its capitulation to rightwing pressure and increasing struggle to survive as an independent body … This law authorizes the Minister of Finance to financially penalize government-funded bodies that engage in activities that amount to “rejecting the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state” or “commemorating Independence Day or the day of the establishment of the state as a day of mourning”.
Vindictive States of America: After cutting funds to Palestinian Sesame Street, US officials make public visit to Israeli version / Ali Abunimah
EI 9 Jan — It seems the Obama administration will pass up no opportunity to demonstrate its favoritism for Israel and its petty vindictiveness and hostility towards Palestinians. Today, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv tweeted, “PD [Public Diplomacy] staff met with Israel’s Sesame St. Muppet characters during a behind-the-scenes visit at the Sesame Workshop and Hop TV recording studios.” That might seem innocent enough under normal circumstances, but the visit came just days after it was widely reported that the US government had cut off funding to the Palestinian edition of the popular children’s program Sesame Street as part of its retribution against the Palestinian Authority for being insufficiently subservient to Israel and American diktats.The PA’s crime, of course, was proceeding with its symbolic and shambolic bid for UN statehood late last year.
PA security agency harasses nonconformist journalist / Khalid Amayreh
9 Jan — This is not the first time I’m subjected to harassment and abuse at the hands of Palestinian Authority (PA) security operatives. On several occasions, I had been abused, imprisoned and humiliated by the security agencies. In one episode in 2009, I was made to sleep in a rancid cell after reporting that PA police were preventing and brutally suppressing demonstrations against Israel in protest against Israel ‘s 2008-09 genocidal blitzkrieg against the Gaza Strip. I thought the Arab Spring would convince the PA security apparatus to abandon or at least alleviate their police-state tactics against dissent and show more respect for human rights and civil liberties. However, it seems that that the PA, as far as its treatment of its people, remains largely unchanged. Old habits die hard, after all.
Link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Army uses secret evidence to convict Palestinians on secret charges / Satri Bashi
982mag 9 Jan — Instead of presenting evidence, the Israeli army uses administrative measures against Palestinians such as deportation or breaking up families, based on evidence that never sees the light of day, and cannot be refuted, for crimes the public – and the accused – will never know. – You can’t sell Bakr Haffi’s case to the mainstream media, and you can’t win it in the Israeli High Court of Justice. The 38-year-old Palestinian man, a bee keeper by trade, has not seen his wife and two daughters for two years. It all began when he was arrested in his home in Tulkarem in the northern West Bank on suspicion of being a Hamas activist. After a month of interrogation that yielded no results, a military judge ordered his release. But instead of releasing him back to his home and family in Tulkarem, the military removed him to the Gaza Strip, which is listed as his place of residence in the Israeli-administered Palestinian population registry.
The Stolen War / Uri Avnery
7 Jan — …But along comes the supreme Hamas leader, Khaled Mash’al, and declares that Hamas has given up all violent action. From now on it will concentrate on non-violent mass demonstrations, in the spirit of the Arab Spring. When Hamas forswears terrorism, there is no pretext for an attack on Gaza. But is a pretext needed? Our army will not let itself be thwarted by the likes of Mash’al. When the army wants a war, it will have a war. This was proved in 1982, when Ariel Sharon attacked Lebanon, despite the fact that the Lebanese border had been absolutely quiet for 11 months. (After the war, the myth was born that it was preceded by daily shooting. Today, almost every Israeli can “remember” the shooting – an astonishing example of the power of suggestion. Why does the Chief of Staff want to attack?
New book explores Jewish opposition to Israel’s occupation / Jimmy Johnson
EI 9 Jan — David Landy’s illuminating new book, Jewish Identity & Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel, examines how diaspora Jews can articulate solidarity with Palestinian liberation and opposition to Israeli policies as Jews, and how their efforts interact with the broader Palestine solidarity movement and Palestinians … This is one of Landy’s key concerns. To what degree is diaspora Jewish opposition to Israel complicit in silencing Palestinian voices, even while fiercely opposing Israeli actions? … Landy begins the investigation with one such case, the 2010 Jewish Boat to Gaza.