Israeli official on Gaza attack: ‘In a sense, this was a mini-drill for Iran’

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Israelis see Iran ‘mini-drill’ in Gaza escalation
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 14 Mar — Israel has emerged from the past few days of fighting with Palestinians in Gaza more confident that its advanced missile shield and civil defences can perform well in any war with Iran. “In a sense, this was a mini-drill” for Iran, an Israeli official said Tuesday after an Egyptian-brokered truce took hold, leaving 25 dead in the Gaza Strip and three people wounded in Israel. “There are significant differences, of course, but the basic principles regarding the ‘day after’ scenarios are similar,” the official said, alluding to Iran’s threat to respond to any “pre-emptive strike” on its nuclear facilities by firing ballistic missiles at Israel.

Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement

Study: Israeli ‘state land’ illegally taken from West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Israel has designated some 900,000 dunams of the occupied West Bank as Israeli state land, using procedures that break local and international laws, an Israeli human rights group said Wednesday. “Large swaths of land have been classified state land and designated for use by settlements, despite the fact that they belong to Palestinian individuals or communities,” according to a
new report [with map] by B’Tselem. The study says Palestinian land “was taken from their lawful owners by legal manipulation and in breach of local law and international law alike.” … Israel’s legal stance increased state land in the West Bank from 527,000 dunums prior to Israel’s occupation, to more than 1.427 million dunams, an expansion of more than 170 percent, the report says. Under international law, state land does not belong to Israel, and should be used to benefit Palestinians while the West Bank is under military occupation, B’Tselem adds. “Despite this obligation, the percentage of state land that Israel has designated for Palestinians is negligible. Virtually all state land has been designated for exclusive use by the settlements,” the report notes.

Israeli government asks Supreme Court to postpone uprooting unauthorized settler outpost
JERUSALEM (AP) 14 Mar — The Israeli government asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to postpone the dismantling of a rogue West Bank settler enclave until 2015 — a move that will likely deepen Palestinian concerns that dozens such unsanctioned outposts will be allowed to remain despite Israel’s long-standing pledge to remove them.The request was submitted even though the top court had ordered that Migron, one of the largest West Bank outposts, to be evacuated by the end of March, saying it was built on private Palestinian land … Formally, the government is not sidestepping the court’s ruling because it is asking for its approval to delay the evacuation, said legal analyst Moshe Negbi. But negotiating with lawbreakers is not conduct appropriate for a democracy, he said, adding that “it’s clearly the bankruptcy of the rule of law.”,0,7187627.story?track=rss

Palestinian solar power: why Israel may turn out the lights
CS Monitor 11 Mar — As peace negotiations remain stalled, a project to bring rural electrification to Palestinian communities in the West Bank faces demolition by Israel
Over the last several months, tent dwellers in this hamlet on a rocky hillside south of Hebron have been brought out of the dark ages by Comet-Middle East, a German-funded project headed by two Israelis that affords them electricity for the first time through solar panels and wind turbines … But the gains are now jeopardized by a larger fight over the future of the West Bank, captured by Israel in 1967. The struggle pits Israeli authorities, whom critics say are preventing Palestinian growth and favoring Jewish settlers, against the European Union. The latter wants to expand aid projects for Palestinians in rural areas of the West Bank, known as Area C, in order to preserve chances for a viable Palestinian state in the future.

Comet-ME call to action
1-minute video — Israel is threatening to demolish solar and wind power systems in six rural communities in the West Bank. More than 500 people depend exclusively on these systems for light, refrigeration, communication and agriculture. Tell Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, and put an end to the demolition threat Help stop the demolitions by by making a donation Comet-ME on Facebook

New house demolitions in al-Jiftlik
JVS 14 Mar — Today, Wednesday, March 14th, between 4 and 6 pm the Israeli Occupation Forces raided the village of Jiftlik and demolished three houses making 22 people homeless … The first house, a three room structure, was located in Abu al-Ajaj (al-Jiftlik) and belonged to Ayman Meteb Mahoud Ideas. He, his wife and his 5 children were given just 30 minutes to remove their belongings from the house but, as the owner of the house explained, ‘we didn’t have time to take all your properties, we left inside our kitchen and all the kitchenware and now they lie under the ruins of my house’. Three months ago the family received a demolition order. The second house was located in al-Jiftlik, near the main road and belonged to Yousef Bsharat. The army demolished his house without leaving his family the time to take their belongings.

More home demolitions in Fasayil al-Wusta
JVS 13 Mar — At 8.30am on 13th March 2012, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished 3 homes and 5 animal shelters in Fasayil al-Wusta. 9 military and police jeeps, 1 bulldozer and 2 civil administration jeeps arrived and surrounded the family declaring their homes a closed military zone. Residents were given 15 minutes to remove their clothes or other belongings before their homes were demolished. The homes belonged to Abed Yasim Rashaydeh Abu Nahar and his brothers Hassan Yasim Rashaydeh and Hador Mohammed. In total 30 family members live in the tents including 21 children … Abu Nahar said, “…the young children especially, are always afraid the soldiers will come and attack our homes.” It is the 3rd time IOF has demolished their homes in less than 1 year.

Settlers expand Hebron settlement
IMEMC 13 Mar — A group of extremist Israeli settlers expanded, Tuesday, the illegal Negahot settlement outpost on the expense of privately owned Palestinian lands in Doura city, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Local sources reported that, a few days ago, the settles brought several trucks loaded with cement and construction materials. The settlers then started the construction of several units in the western side of the illegal settlement while the army was heavily deployed in the area. Some settlers even illegally took over privately owned Palestinian lands in the area, fenced them, and hooked the area with running water

Army uproots farmlands near Hebron
IMEMC 13 Mar — Israeli soldiers uprooted, on Tuesday, Palestinian farmlands that belong to local residents of the Al-Majnouna area, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. Resident Mohammad Amro told the Palestinian information center that army bulldozers uprooted trees and farmlands in order to expand a military base located at the top of Musharraf Mountain, south of Hebron.  Amro added that the army illegally confiscated the private Palestinian lands, installed a monitoring tower, and launched a surveillance balloon to monitor the area from the sky.
Earlier, the army destroyed pools built dozens of years ago in order to collect rain water to be used in agriculture in the area, known of its fertile soil. The army claimed that the pools “jeopardize the security of the soldiers based at a nearby military camp.”

IOA refuses to allow travel for treatment for MP Beitawi
NABLUS (PIC) 14 Mar — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has refused to allow the travel of MP Hamed Al-Beitawi to Jordan for badly needed medical treatment, local sources said. The sources told the PIC reporter that Beitawi, 70, was in need of urgent open heart surgery and could not do it in the West Bank due to his diabetic status. They said that the IOA categorically rejected his travel despite the intervention of human rights groups in view of his rapidly deteriorating health condition.
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IOA to close Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims on Passover days
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 13 Mar — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) decided to close the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil [Hebron] city and prevent Muslim worshipers from entering it on April 19 at the pretext of the Jewish passover celebrations that would be held under tight security measures … The Palestinians in Al-Khalil city are exposed to ongoing religious suppression by the Jewish settlers and troops and they cannot perform their prayers regularly and properly in their Ibrahimi Mosque. The doors of the Ibrahimi Mosque are repeatedly closed by the IOF, the Adhan for prayers from the Mosque are sometimes prohibited for several days, and Palestinian worshipers are not allowed to go in without being checked and searched, not to mention the physical assaults they are exposed to on a daily basis by Jewish settlers inside and outside the Mosque.
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Attacks on Gaza

Israeli warplanes bomb north Gaza, no injuries
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Israeli warplanes bombed the northern Gaza Strip early Wednesday, causing damage but no injuries, casting uncertainty over a truce deal agreed 24 hours earlier [1 a.m. local time (2300 GMT) Tuesday morning]. Israeli airstrikes hit an open area west of Gaza City, sparking a large fire that burned down a wood warehouse and damaged nearby homes, a Ma‘an correspondent said. Palestinian Civil Defense forces said firefighters spent two and a half hours putting out the blaze. An Israeli army statement said the strike “targeted two terror activity sites … in response to the rockets fired at Israel over the past day.” Eight rockets hit southern Gaza [Israel] on Tuesday, injuring an Israeli and damaging cars, a military spokesman said.

Israeli artillery shelling targets central Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 14 Mar — The Israeli occupation forces on Tuesday night fired a number of artillery shells into the central Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported, according to local sources. The PIC correspondent said that occupation tanks fired a number of artillery shells and opened machinegun fire towards the eastern parts of the central Gaza Strip causing a state of panic and terror amongst the local population. At the same time occupation aircraft were present all the time in the skies of the Strip.
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Haniyeh confirms ceasefire, says Israel agreed to stop assassinations
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — The prime minister in Gaza said Tuesday that an agreement had been reached to stop Israel’s military campaign against the Gaza Strip and an end to its assassination policy. Ismail Haniyeh told a visiting delegation that Egyptian efforts resolved the deadly escalation, as “the people and the government will not accept flimsy excuses for assassinations.” …
He also said Egypt had increased the amounts of electricity it was allowing to enter Gaza to 27 megawatts. During the next month and a half, this amount will increase, he said.

Top official: Israel gave no guarantee in exchange for Gaza truce
Haaretz 14 Mar — …Gilad told Haaretz yesterday that the understandings reached were “very simple – quiet in exchange for quiet.” He said the understandings were not spelled out in a signed document, and the only Israeli commitment was that if the Palestinian organizations refrained from launching attacks on Israel, the IDF would also hold its fire. At first, at the Palestinians’ request, the Egyptians also attempted to obtain an Israeli commitment to refrain from targeted killings of senior figures in the various terrorist organizations. But Israeli officials said this effort was shelved in the face of Israeli opposition. “There were no guarantees and no other promises,” said Gilad, denying Islamic Jihad’s claim that Israel did in fact promise to refrain from targeted killings of the organization’s operatives.

Islamic Jihad, PRC say committed to truce with Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — Islamic Jihad said on Tuesday it would adhere to its commitments under a truce deal brokered by Egypt to end four days of fighting with Israel that killed 25 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Jihad leader Daoud Shihab told Ma‘an the deal was reached after many meetings and discussions with Egypt. The movement stressed it demanded that Israel halt assassinations of political leaders, Shihab said. The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees said later it would also hold to the deal, at a press conference in Gaza.

Burying Nayif Qarmout
[photos] ISM 13 Mar by Nathan Stuckey — Nayif Qarmout was killed by an Israeli missile today at 9:30 A.M.  He was 14 years old.  Five other teenagers with him were injured, Tamer Azzam, 16, Mu’ayyad al-Qanou’, 18, Hani al-Qanou’, 16,  Salih Qarmout, 14; and Sa’eed al-Attar, 14. The boys were reportedly playing football in a playground when the missile struck.  Nayif was buried today in Jabalia. The same mosque that yesterday hosted the funeral of twelve year old Ayoub Useila today was the site of the funeral of Nayif.  Hundreds of people gathered for noon prayers before the funeral.  The street outside of the mosque was full of people … Nayif Qarmout, who this morning had been playing football with his friends, who had still been alive, was now, a bloody body on a stretcher.

Um Muhammad buries her third son after Israeli missile strike
Gaza (Al Akhbar) 14 Mar — Um Muhammad Asilah (48) never imagined that Israeli airstrikes would take yet another one of her sons. This time, it was her 12-year-old son Ayoub’s turn to join his two brothers who were killed after Israeli war planes bombed the surroundings of the Asilah family house east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza strip. As before, the attack was carried out under the pretext of targeting resistance fighters firing rockets at southern Israeli towns. The mourning mother could not control her grief when Ayoub’s coffin arrived at the house for the last farewell before his body was laid to rest. She broke into frantic hysteria, unable to believe her young child would never again return to her.

Child dies from injuries sustained amid Gaza violence
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — A 7-year-old boy died Wednesday from injuries sustained days earlier amid escalation between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, medics said. Medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said Baraka al-Mughrabi was seriously wounded in an explosion that killed a 15-year-old schoolboy in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday … The Associated Press reported that al-Mughrabi was injured by a stray bullet … Twenty-five Palestinians have died and 80 were wounded since Friday, medics say.

Egyptian military intelligence official dies in car accident
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — The head of Egyptian military intelligence in Rafah died Tuesday in a car accident near the Israeli border, Egyptian security officials said … Al-Suoud was conducting searches for Palestinian victims of Israel’s latest offensive on the Gaza Strip at the time of the accident, security officials said. In his last statements, he said that Egyptian guards were coordinating with Palestinian officials to search for missing, injured or killed Palestinians inside tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border that were targeted by Israeli shelling on Monday.

Israeli minister: Gaza campaign should have been stronger
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — The latest military campaign in Gaza should have been stronger, the country’s internal security minister said Tuesday after a ceasefire with Palestinian armed groups. Yitzhak Aharonovich said that “This round was too long, unnecessarily so, and we should have increased our response. We need to learn our lessons so that next time the response will be harder and more painful”.

Arab Knesset member: Jewish blood no purer
Ynet 12 Mar 23:18 — Emotions run high as Arab Knesset members accuse Israel of instigating Gaza fighting — Speaking at a heated Knesset discussion, MK Jamal Zahalka directly addressed Minister for Home Front Defense Matan Vilnai, slamming Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip. “Your army is killing in Gaza. There is no difference between Israeli or Palestinian blood. Israeli blood is no purer than Palestinian blood,” he said. “You’re pouring oil on the fire…those who sow hatred reap violence. You’re missing the goal of achieving peace and quiet, and you’re at fault for it.”,7340,L-4202018,00.html

Hamas walked fine line in Gaza conflict: analysts
AFP 14 Mar — The latest conflict in Gaza put Hamas in a delicate position, forcing it to weather criticism from other groups as it sought a quick truce to avoid a full-blown war, analysts said … throughout the conflict, which ended early on Tuesday with a ceasefire after claiming 25 Palestinian lives, Hamas officials said they were working to restore a tacit truce. And it also kept its fighters out of the battle, despite criticism from other factions. “Hamas is now in power, and governing involves more rationality and responsibility,” said Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a political science professor at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University. … But the latest confrontation put Hamas in the awkward position of trying to rein in the “resistance” it has long espoused, political analyst Akram Atallah said.

Netanyahu: Iran behind recent Palestinian-Israeli violence
Gaza City/Jerusalem (dpa) 14 Mar – The Gaza Strip has become an Iranian outpost, Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu said Wednesday, directly blaming Tehran for the most recent escalation between Israel and Palestinian militias in the salient. Iran, he told a special session of parliament, provided the Palestinian militant groups with missiles, funding, training, infrastructure, and often, gave the orders. “Gaza is a forward outpost for Iran,” he said, adding that Gaza‘s Islamist militant groups, as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon, “sheltered under an Iranian umbrella.” “And imagine what would happen if this umbrella went nuclear? If behind these groups stood a country which calls for Israel‘s destruction, and is armed with a nuclear bomb?” he added.

Other Gaza news

Power authority: We transferred $S2 million to Egypt but no power arrived
GAZA (PIC) 14 Mar — The power and natural resources authority in Gaza Strip said on Wednesday that it had transferred the sum of two million dollars to Egypt as a payment in advance in return for fuel supplies but nothing arrived in the Strip yet. It said in a press release that the sole electricity generation station in the Strip was still out of work because of the lack of fuel. The authority hoped that Egypt would soon start sending fuel supplies and in enough amounts to re-operate the station. The authority asked the media outlets to be accurate in carrying information and to get it from its original source from the authority and not to publish unauthenticated reports especially about electricity and energy in the Strip.
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France supports Gaza water desalination plant
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — France has pledged 10 million euros ($13.1 million) to the building of a water desalination plant in the Gaza Strip, a press statement said Tuesday. Only 5 percent of water in Gaza is suitable for consumption, the statement from the French consulate in Jerusalem said. The project will also allow restoration of the coastal aquifer, tackling sea pollution, it added.

West Bank: Settlers and soldiers against Palestinians

Mapping a pattern of Israeli violence in Burin
ISM 13 Mar — The pattern of settler and military invasion of Burin, a village near Nablus, is what locals and internationals are mapping to brace themselves for more property damage, violence, and threats by nearby illegal settlements and hardcore adherents to the volatile ‘Price Tag Campaign’. If the pattern continues, the next attack will be settlers, according to local ISM coordinator, Lydia. “Within a few days after that, Burin should be due a visit from the soldiers.”
According to notes and statistics prepared by Lydia, a British volunteer stationed in Burin, it is predicted that soldiers will enter the village with approximately 8 to 12 jeeps, which has been the range of jeeps the military bring to raid the village in a three week span. This comes following today’s settler attack and military incursion into the village, which resulted in the confirmed arrest of 2 16 year old boys …
Ghassan Najjar, Director of the Bilal Najjar Youth Center, named after the martyr, stated that despite the patterns, “We know in the village that from 9 PM until the early morning that the village is no longer ours, it is the military playground.”

Settlers attack and injure a Palestinian near Jenin
IMEMC 14 Mar — Group of Israeli settlers attacked, on Wednesday, a Palestinian man from the village of Ya‘bod near the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Local sources said that Suliman Al Kilani, 26, was driving his car towards Jenin when Israeli settlers forced him to stop at a checkpoint they installed at the main road. Al Kilani then was beaten up by the settlers and was left on the street bleeding before he was moved to hospital by a Palestinian ambulance. Medics took Al Kilani to Rafidia hospital in the nearby Nablus city for treatment. Doctors said that he sustained moderate wounds.

Israeli settlers cut down 150 olive and grape trees in Wad Abu Reesh
PSP 13 Mar — On Monday, March 12, 2012, at about 6am, Israeli settlers from Bat Ayin settlements cut down around 150 olive and grape trees, owned by Hamad Alsalaby in Wad Abu Reesh, while soldiers provided security to the settlers. The Bat Ayin settlement was established in 1989, and is well-known for its violent attacks against Palestinians. Palestinians don’t like to walk alone through the land because there’s a chance the settlers will shoot at them. Most of the settlers are opposed to any sort of fence separating the Palestinian land from the settlement because they consider all of the land as belonging to them

Jewish settlers steal 250 olive trees
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 13 Mar — Jewish settlers uprooted and stole 250 olive saplings in Sa‘eer village in Al-Khalil province on Tuesday, local sources said. The land research center in Al-Khalil said in a press release that the settlers robbed the olive and almond seedlings in Seer area to the east of the village. The center quoted Mohammed Shalalde, one of the landowners, as saying that the settlers uprooted all 250 seedlings, which were planted only last Thursday, in addition to 150 others, which the Israeli occupation forces had forced them to leave on the land.
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Witnesses: Israeli forces demolish Bethlehem car wash
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Israeli forces demolished a car wash facility in a Bethlehem village on Wednesday, witnesses said. Car wash owner Sabri Shosha told Ma‘an that troops surrounded Husan village while bulldozers tore down his business. The facility had been demolished by Israeli forces previously, Shosha said, adding that he had never received a demolition order from Israeli authorities.

Israelis prevent volunteers from working on land near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 13 Mar — Israeli forces detained six Palestinian volunteers from the city of Hebron, south of the West Bank, and prevented them from cleaning a piece of land adjacent to the Israeli Tel Rumeida colony in center of Hebron, local sources said on Tuesday. They said volunteers from the agricultural department and the Hebron municipality were attacked by a settler who tried to prevent them from continuing their work on a land that belongs to Abu Haikal family, near the colony. Jalal Ibeido, a volunteer from the Ministry of Agriculture, said the settler was protected by Israeli forces who ended up detaining the volunteers.

Israeli police escort Harvard tour from Bethlehem village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — Israeli forces stopped a group of 55 Harvard University students touring Bethlehem village al-Walaja on Tuesday, witnesses told Ma‘an. Security guards manning bulldozers that are building Israel’s separation wall surrounding the village stopped the bus of students as they drove along the planned route of the wall, al-Walaja popular committee member Shireen Al-Araj said. “The students came to learn about the wall and the settlements around al-Walaja … to see the facts of the ground,” she said. Police arrived to escort the bus to the Israeli military checkpoint outside the village, while briefly detaining Al-Araj in Atarot police station, she told Ma‘an. Forces warned her she will be fine 5,000 shekels if she fails to follow orders again, she added.

Activism / Solidarity

Official release: ‘The New Black’ by The Mavrix
[includes video] Palestine Solidarity Alliance and PACBI 13 Mar — In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, the South African band, The Mavrix, and the Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called ‘The New Black’. The song is taken from The Mavrix’ upcoming album,”Pura Vida”, due for release in June 2012.  Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book Mornings in Jenin, authored by Susan Abulhawa.

Support for OCHA employee Khulood Badawi
AIC 14 Mar — …Khulood Badawi is a field worker with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), documenting  human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. No one has ever questioned the professionalism of Badawi’s work in OCHA. Khulood Badawi was also a political activist, dedicated to the defense of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, as well as a feminist. Due to her work in OCHA, she has carefully refrained from any public political activity, a choice that definitely was not easy for her. For several days now, Khulood is the target of an organized campaign aimed at pushing her out of OCHA, as well as delegitimizing all Palestinian employees in the UN agencies. The pretext for this campaign against Khulood Badawi is a blog on Israel’s recent aggression against the Gaza Strip that she published on her private Facebook page.

Attorney for activist calls for dismissing minors’ testimony
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 Mar — The defense attorney for Bassem Tamimi, the Palestinian activist from the Ramallah area village of Nabi Saleh, Wednesday urged the Israeli military court hearing Tamimi’s case to dismiss testimonies of two Palestinian minors aimed at incriminating the activist, according to the script of the court hearing. The trial of Tamimi, arrested a year ago and charged of organizing protests and inciting to violence, was held at Ofer military camp near Ramallah and was attended by a large number of diplomats. The European Union considers Tamimi a human rights defender and Amnesty International had recently pronounced him a prisoner of conscience.

Parents of US activist hurt in West Bank protest ask Israel to reopen case
Haaretz 13 Mar — The parents of an American activist wounded during a West Bank protest in 2009 appealed the High Court of Justice on Tuesday against the decision to close the case against Israeli security forces. Tristan Anderson, 38, of Oakland, California, was hit by a tear gas canister and left comatose during a violent 2009 demonstration in the West Bank village of Naalin.

US students have little success applying civil rights law to anti-Semitic, anti-Israel activity
Haaretz 13 Mar — A year and a half after the federal government extended a landmark civil rights law to cover Jewish students, Jewish groups have yet to succeed in using this law against what they see as anti-Semitic anti-Israel activity on campus.

Hanaa’ al-Shalabi and other hunger strikers

IPS: We won’t end prisoner’s hunger strike
Ynet 14 Mar — Prison Ethics Committee decided against force-feeding Palestinian prisoner Hana Shalabi, who has been on hunger strike for 28 days,7340,L-4203119,00.html

Shalabi on 28th day of hunger strike
JENIN (PIC) 14 Mar — Hunger striker detainee Hana’s Shalabi has addressed an appeal to administrative detainees in Israeli jails to reject the policy of administrative custody, without trial or charge. Lawyer Ra‘ed Mahamid, who met Shalabi Wednesday in Hasharon jail, quoted her as urging those detainees to revolt against the policy, describing it as ‘illegal’. Mahamid said that the health condition of Shalabi is very serious as she is suffering from slow heartbeat, low sugar, and kidney problems that led to breathing difficulty and blurred vision.
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Amnesty: Shalabi’s health declining
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — Palestinian hunger-striker Hana Shalabi’s health is deteriorating, Amnesty International said Tuesday. In a petition urging Israel to charge or release the hunger striker, Amnesty quoted a doctor from Phsyicians for Human Rights saying Shalabi’s health is growing weaker by the day. Her muscles have begun to atrophy and that she is suffering from spells of dizziness and loss of consciousness, according to the release. The rights group is circulating a petition calling on the Israeli authorities to release Shalabi and other Palestinians held in administrative detention immediately, unless they are promptly charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence and brought to trial in full conformity with international fair trial standards.

MP Al-Haj Ali starts open hunger strike
GAZA (PIC) 14 Mar — The international Tadamun (solidarity) society for human rights said Palestinian lawmaker Ahmed Al-Haj Ali, 72, started an open hunger strike in protest at his detention administratively in Megiddo prison. Tadamun society noted that Al-Haj Ali, the oldest in age among the other administrative detainees, decided to go on hunger strike, despite the health problems he suffers, to protest his detention without any guilt.
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300 captives in Nafha desert prison on hunger strike for second day
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 14 Mar — …According to the sources the open-ended strike started on Tuesday and is lead by 300 Palestinian captives to protest the solitary confinement of many captives for long months and in some cases for years. According to the same sources the striking prisoners demanded that 15 captives be taken out of solitary confinement and refuse to talk to the prison administration before this demand is carried out. The sources said that the prison authority is preparing for raiding prison wards to force them to end their hunger strike.
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Political detention

Adalah center calls for closing section 4 of Nafha prison
RAMALLAH (PIC) 14 Mar — Adalah-The legal center for Arab minority rights demanded the Israeli prison authority (Shabas) and the internal security ministry to close section 4 in Nafha jail and move its prisoners to a healthier and cleaner place inside the same prison. According to Adalah, the rooms of this section are saturated with moisture and mold, and very poorly-ventilated as well as these rooms are replete with bugs and the mattresses are dirty and smell awful. The space of every room is 25 square meters and each is crowded with 10 prisoners
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Elite Israeli sniper squad raids Palestinians in prison, injure 11 / Alison Deger
Mondoweiss 14 Mar — Early Monday morning an elite
“control and restraint” unit and a massive number of soldiers raided Palestinians in an Israeli prison with tear gas and rubber bullets, leaving 11 injured. The raid took place just one week after a group of Palestinian women submitted affidavits charging Israeli security officials with torture. The 5 am attack began when 200 soldiers and the Masada, a special forces unit trained in “sniper marksmanship,” flooded Israel’s Ashkelon prison. According to one of the inmates, the prison system’s special forces unit stormed the facility “on the pretext of searching for cell phones and messed up the inmates’ holdings forcing them to strip naked during the inspection.”

Group says 5 brothers detained in Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — Israeli forces arrested released detainee Muhammad Masalha, 29, from the Hajja village east of Qalqiliya in the West Bank and four of his brothers during a village raid, a rights group said Tuesday … The society added in a statement that soldiers fired tear gas during the raids, and forces struck Muhammad before detaining him. He was evacuated on a stretcher and carried away by medics, it said.

Court extends four youths’ detention, one sentenced to house arrest
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 14 Mar — The Israeli Magistrate Court has extended the detention of four Silwan youths arrested this week. Muhammad Abd Al-Munem Awar (13), Shadad Awar (14), Suhaib Awar (14) and Elyas Awar (16) are accused of throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli forces and settlers, and have had their detention extended by a further 72 hours. A fifth boy, Ahmad Salah, has been sentenced to house arrest on a bail of 800 NIS following negotiations by his lawyer, Muhammad Mahmoud,

Israeli forces arrest schoolteacher
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 14 Mar — Israeli forces arrested a Silwan school teacher on the morning of 12 March. Salah Mahaisen, 43, was taken by troops inside the school grounds, despite management’s protest, whereupon he was taken to the Russian Compound. Mahaisen faces charges of protecting a child accused of throwing stones at Israeli forces. He will remain under house arrest until he stands trial on 15 March.

Israeli forces ‘detain car dealer’ at Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — Israeli forces on Wednesday detained a Palestinian car dealer at the Erez crossing on the Gaza-Israel border, his family told Ma‘an. Ahmad Subhi al-Kahlout’s relatives say they were informed that he is being held at al-Majdal prison in southern Israel. It is unclear why he was detained.

Lawyer: Wounded teen ‘mistreated’ in Israeli hospital
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Mar  — A Palestinian teenager shot in a clash with Israeli forces near Hebron last week is being poorly treated in an Israeli hospital, a lawyer for the PA detainees ministry said on Wednesday. Muhammad Rashid, 16, was detained on Thursday when forces surrounded the home of a released prisoner in Yatta. An Israeli soldier was stabbed and a 22-year-old Palestinian killed in the ensuing clash. Lawyer Rami Al-Alami said Rashid is suffering severe pain, and has not received sufficient medical care at an Israeli hospital in Beersheba.

Group: PA release 4 Hamas detainees
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — Palestinian Authority intelligence services on Tuesday freed four Hamas affiliates whose release had previously been ordered in PA courts, the Independent Commission for Human Rights said … The body called for the immediate release of all detainees who are held despite court orders mandating their release.

Islamic Jihad: 2 members detained by PA
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — The Islamic Jihad movement on Wednesday accused security forces in the West Bank of detaining two of their members. Palestinian Authority security forces arrested two Islamic Jihad members in Hebron on the basis that they were planning a demonstration against the recent Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, the movement said in a statement.

Political news

PLO official: Abbas will not threaten to dismantle PA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — PLO Executive Committee member Ghassan al-Shaka told Ma‘an late Tuesday President Mahmoud Abbas will not threaten to dismantle the Palestinian Authority in a forthcoming communiqué to Israel. Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday that Abbas will warn if Israel does not stop settlement building, release Palestinian prisoners, and recognize two states on 1967 borders, the PA will demand international law be applied in the West Bank, implying handing control to Israel.

Erekat: Abbas to send Netanyahu letter
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 Mar — President Mahmoud Abbas will send a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to set the foundations for a Palestinian state, PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday. The long-awaited missive was first announced several weeks ago. PLO officials said it will repeat the leadership’s demand that Israel stop building illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. The same demand has been repeatedly refused by Netanyahu and led to the breakdown of the last round of negotiations in September 2010.

Quartet meets on stalled peace talks
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Mar — The Quartet of Middle East negotiators met Monday to discussed stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestine. A statement released after the meeting said the group — the United States, Russia, the United Nations and European Union — remains committed to a October statement calling for talks between the sides.

Israeli racism / discrimination

MK Hasson to Arab MKs: You’re the devil
Ynet 14 Mar — The Knesset plenum convened Wednesday for a special session titled “the political, economical and social failures of Netanyahu’s government.” The session was called after 40 Knesset members signed a bill mandating the prime minister to face the House. MK
Hanin Zoabi (Balad) took the podium as the session began, and was met with heated calls from her colleagues. Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat shouted at her “You shouldn’t even be here!” and MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) added, “You have some nerve.” MK Zion Fanian (Likud) urges Zoabi to “go and join the Syrian parliament.”,7340,L-4202991,00.html

Jerusalem eatery cuts back on female help to meet kashrut restraints
Haaretz 14 Mar — Haredi-owned restaurant to stop employing waitresses on nights when yeshiva boys patronize it; owner blames jealous competitors for kashrut supervisors’ strictness — Waitresses at the restaurant, which serves Eastern European specialties to a variety of people, are modestly dressed, although some of them are not Orthodox … Be Free Israel, a group that advocates religious freedom and pluralism, called for a boycott of the restaurant, and says it plans to demonstrate in front of it tomorrow night.

Israel’s ‘Shabbes goy’ cemetery is running out of space
Haaretz 13 Mar — Demolition is ordered for 33-meter-long, four-level hillside structure for burial in the civil cemetery in Givat Brenner, as it was built without a permit — …By law, the state pays for burial plots for all citizens in or near their community and burial according to their faith, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim. But people without a declared religion, or whose Jewish status is uncertain according to the Orthodox establishment, cannot be buried in an ordinary cemetery. The state therefore designated several cemeteries, including Menuha Mehubedet, as “civil” cemeteries to meet the burial needs of this group.

Analysis / Opinion

The ‘Arabwashers’ of apartheid / Abir Kopty
7 Mar  …This year, the Israeli Hasbara (propaganda machinery) sent to the world its 100 students’ delegation, to counter the IAW. They are trained, armed with arguments and marketing skills, and their task is to protect the ‘image’ of Israel as a ‘democracy’. At least two members of this delegation are Arab women, citizens of Israel, Bushra Khalaileh, from Deir Hana, a village in the north and Ranin Khouri, from Nazareth. One Muslim, one Christian, the Muslim was sent to South Africa, the Christian, to Europe. Khalaileh said to
Maariv news website that she “as Arab Israeli, loves her state and believes it seeks peace and it respects all of its citizens”. Her status, as an Arab woman in Israel is much better than the status of other Arab women in other countries, she says. That is, in fact, typical to Israeli propaganda: exploiting women’s right to whitewash the racial discrimination. She, like her masters, avoids the real and relevant comparison that needs to be done: and that is with Jewish women within her own state.

The myth of Israel’s favorable treatment of Palestinian Christians / Fida Jiryis
Amb. Michael Oren’s article, ‘Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians,’ presents Israel as a tolerant, dove-like, and peaceful democracy.  This is belied by the facts. I am one of those Palestinian Christians living inside Israel to whom Oren refers. At no time in my life have I ever felt the ‘respect and appreciation’ by the Jewish state, which Oren so glowingly references. Israel’s Christian minority is marginalized in much the same manner as its Muslim one or, at best, quietly tolerated. We suffer the same discrimination when we try to find a job, when we go to hospitals, when we apply for bank loans, and when we get on the bus — in the same way as Palestinian Muslims … Oren’s  statement that ‘The extinction of the Middle East’s Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude’ is outright shocking to anyone familiar with even the basic history of how Israel was founded. I would like to remind him and others that this founding expelled thousands of Palestinian Christians from their homes in 1948 and displaced them, either forcing them to flee across the border or making them internal refugees.

A Palestinian Christian response to Michael Oren / Faysal Hijazeen
As the parish priest of Ramallah, an op-ed by Israel’s envoy to the US gave me pause for thought. Michael Oren’s
article spoke volumes of Israel’s unending misrepresentation of Palestinian daily life. The presence of our 13 Latin Patriarchate Schools throughout the West Bank and Gaza, for over 150 years, is a living witness to the coexistence of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. We have never faced in our schools or society the supposed persecution of Christians by Muslims to which Mr Oren referred in “Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians,” published Friday in the Wall Street Journal. Contrary to Oren’s statements, the persecution of Christians here is caused mainly by the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory. This occupation humiliates us, destroys our economy, causes demographic changes and deprives millions of the freedom of movement and their right to decent lives, in addition to the confiscation of land.

Palestinian and Palestine solidarity activists issue critique and condemnation of Gilad Atzmon / Adam Horowitz
Mondoweiss 14 Mar — In the past two weeks Palestinian and Palestine-solidarity activists have issued two separate statements regarding Gilad Atzmon. I posted one in the Mondoweiss comment section
here, and it generated quite a bit of discussion. Yesterday, a second statement was issued by Palestinian activists. Both are posted below in full. [from the second statement:] “Attempting to latch onto the just, vital, and growing movement in support of the Palestinian national liberation struggle, Gilad Atzmon is one of a very small and unrepresentative group of writers who have argued (in agreement with many Zionists) that there is no meaningful distinction to be made between Jews in general and Israeli atrocities. According to Atzmon, the latter are simply a manifestation of Jews’ historic relationship to gentiles, an authentic expression of an essentially racist, immoral, and anti-human ‘Jewish ideology’….”

Bridging the gap between the West Bank and Gaza with a dream
Haaretz 13 Mar — Jewish architect Marc Mimram has come up with a radical plan to link the Palestinian Authority areas. The Frenchman believes his 37 kilometer bridge could benefit everyone, including Israel. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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One Response

  1. DICKERSON3870
    March 15, 2012, 12:03 pm

    RE: “Israeli official on Gaza attack: ‘In a sense, this was a mini-drill for Iran’ ” ~ Kate

    ALSO SEE: Rafael hopes Iron Dome success will up int’l sales, by Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, 3/12/12

    (excerpt) Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is hoping that the Iron Dome’s high interception success rate over the past few days will lead to an increase in international sales. Since Friday, when the hostilities began, the three Iron Dome batteries deployed outside Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon have successfully intercepted around 60 rockets and Air Force officers said that the success rate was close to 90%…


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