and other news from today in Palestine:
VIDEO: Soldiers raiding Palestinian homes: ‘We want peace’
972mag 28 Feb by Haggai Matar– A new video from Nabi Saleh shows a night-time raid on the home of activist Bilal Tamimi, during which soldiers claim they just want peace – as they take all the children out from their beds … The video documentation of these raids, taken on by the villagers themselves, gives a unique look into the way soldiers think and work while parading through civilians homes in large groups, armed from head to toe. In the latest video, shot by Bilal Tamimi in his own home during a raid that took place between Sunday and Monday night, the soldiers are seen entering the house and asking that all residents be concentrated in one room. When asked why they are doing this, the officer leading the operation gives the amazing answer: “Of course. Because we want peace, and you are always throwing stones on our roads,” and later adds that they just came “for a visit.” As the recording proceeds the soldiers enter the house, ask to wake all the children up and put them all in one room. Confronted with the fact that some of the children are but 5 years old, the officer insists they are all to stay in one place.
Fatah: Chief Justice dies after raid on home
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Feb — The chief justice of the Palestinian high religious court died Tuesday of a heart attack two days after soldiers raided his home, the Fatah movement said. Sheikh Fahmi Asaad Jaradat died after soldiers occupied his home in the northern West Bank village of Zabuba, near Jenin, and took up positions on his roof, the movement said. Fatah said it held Israel responsible for the justice’s death.
Israel raids Ramallah TV stations
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 29 Feb — Israeli forces raided two Palestinian television networks early Wednesday in Ramallah [Area A, note] and briefly detained four employees, journalists said. Soldiers confiscated computers used by editors and reporters in Watan TV’s newsroom and general offices as well as administrative and financial files, the network said. Troops also raided Al-Quds Educational TV in Al-Bireh and confiscated its broadcasting equipment, the head of its TV department Haroun Abu Irreh told Ma‘an. “This attack is nothing but piracy under a policy of systematic attack targeting Palestinian media organizations and journalists,” Watan TV said in a statement.
PA: Israel seizing broadcast frequencies
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Feb – The Palestinian Authority is describing Wednesday’s raids on TV networks in the occupied West Bank as the possible beginning of a “frequency war” over limited broadcasting space. The confiscation of equipment from Watan TV and Al-Quds Educational TV deprives Palestinians of their right to have frequencies for building modern wireless communication networks, the PA says.
IOF soldiers break into home of liberated prisoner
NABLUS (PIC) 27 Feb — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) broke into the home of a liberated prisoner in Nablus at dawn Monday and searched it, relatives said. They said that the IOF soldiers stormed the house of Nidal Subhi without prior notice and forced his father out of his bed before searching his room then headed to Nidal and his brother’s rooms and ransacked them. The father charged that the IOF practice is a clear revenge on ex-prisoners, who were released in the exchange deal between Hamas and Israel late last year, in a bid to terrorize them. He affirmed that there is no justification for the IOF practice.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Settlers attack Palestinian shepherds near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 28 Feb — Israeli settlers from Havat Maon, an illegal settlement south of Hebron, Tuesday attacked Palestinian shepherds and injured one, according to a local activist. Rateb Jabour, from the local Popular Committee against the Settlements, told WAFA that dozens of settlers, protected by Israeli soldiers, attacked shepherds who were grazing their sheep in the fields and injured a 45-year-old shepherd. Area residents intervened to protect the shepherds while the Israeli soldiers did not attempt to stop the settlers’ assault, added Jabour.
Jewish settlers offer rituals in Yatta
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 29 Feb — Jewish settlers arrived in buses to an area to the east of Yatta, in Al-Khalil province, on Tuesday night and performed Talmudic rituals, local sources said. They said that the settlers offered prayers at a 100 dunums area of land where they claim contain Jewish relics. This is the first time they arrive in this area for that purpose.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Settlers perform Jewish rituals in Hebron area mosque
HEBRON (WAFA) 28 Feb — A large group of Jewish settlers Tuesday conducted religious rituals in a mosque in the town of Halhoul, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to a local activist. Mohammad Awad, from the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, said a group of settlers entered the mosque under Israeli army protection and performed Jewish rituals, provoking Palestinian residents to clash with the Israeli forces. The army closed off the area and combed it looking for the Palestinian protesters.
Jewish settlers attack Israeli peace activists
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 27 Feb — Jewish settlers attacked peace activists of the leftist Israeli party Meretz during their visit to Al-Khalil Old Town and the Ibrahimi mosque. The activists were protesting the tours organized by the Israeli education ministry for Jewish students to acquaint them with ancient relics in Al-Khalil. Hebrew media said that the settlers told the Meretz party members, “We will teach you what is real democracy.” Members of the leftist organization “Breaking the Silence” accompanied the party officials and explained to them the miserable living conditions of the Palestinians in the visited areas.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Palestinians set fire to structure in West Bank outpost
Haaretz 28 Feb — Palestinians burned a house in the West Bank settlement outpost of Havat Gilad on Tuesday. Eyewitnesses said that they saw figures arriving from the nearby village of Far‘ata. They arrived at a non-permanent structure at the edge of the outpost, lit it on fire, and fled … The incident took place one day after the settlers of the Migron outpost rejected a government plan to relocate.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israel’s ‘new West Bank’
Real News 28 Feb — New plan reveals gov’t relocating Bedouins in Negev Desert to create Jewish contiguity south of the West Bank — In recent years, the government has adopted the so-called Prawer Plan, reversing several earlier decisions to recognize unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev Desert. The new plan, explained by Association for Civil Rights in Israel lawyer Rawia Abu Rabia, will relocate 40,000 Bedouins in southern Israel for the establishment of 10 Jewish villages in their place. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky speaks with Haia Noach, Executive Director of the Forum for Co-existence in the Negev, and Salim Abu Kian, from Umm el Hiran, one of two villages (along with A Tir) slated for evacuation.
Israeli soldiers demolish Palestinian shack in Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 29 Feb — Israeli forces early Wednesday morning demolished a Palestinian shack used for agricultural purposes in Zibda, a village southwest of the Northern West Bank city of Jenin, according to local sources.
Silwan school in danger of collapse, says activist
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 29 Feb — Silwan elementary school has shut down its bathrooms in what appears to be a step toward closing down the entire school under the pretext [because of the fear that?] it may collapse, Fakhri Abu Diab, a Silwan activist, said Wednesday. He said the school, located in an area of the ancient village the Jewish settlement group Elad is trying to turn into a biblical garden, is in danger of collapse due to Israeli excavations below it.
Watch: Heated argument draws TV attention
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Feb — While heading to his daughter’s school to attend an awards ceremony, Rajih Abu al-Sukkar was notified that Israeli forces uprooted dozens of olive trees in lands belonging to his village Turmus‘ayya near Ramallah. He immediately rushed to the land along with other residents. “Are you leaving my ceremony?” his daughter asked. “The celebration isn’t more important than the olive trees,” replied the father. It never crossed his mind that the heated argument he had with Israeli soldiers would make him a local celebrity. However, footage of the argument drew thousands of viewers on YouTube and television.
Israeli forces ‘place blocks’ around property in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Feb — Israeli forces have put cement blocks around the land of Thabet Abu Ekhdeir, which is 4 dunums in Surif, allegedly for containing mines since the Jordanian era. Muhammad Awad, the spokesman of the popular committee against settlements in Beit Ummar, told Ma’an that in 2000 Israeli forces removed landmines due to concern they would be used in bombs.
Israel ups demolitions in controversial Palestinian territory / Mya Guarnieri
972mag 28 Feb — Less than two months into 2012, the pace of Israeli demolitions and displacements of Palestinians is already outstripping the same period in 2011. Israel seems to be taking advantage of the American election cycle to push settlement expansion in the E1 territory, which even the former Bush Administration halted due to threat it poses to two-state solution.
Response to Scheindlin on Abbas speech on erasing Palestinian history
972mag 29 Feb by Omar Rahman — I am going to have to totally disagree with my colleague Dahlia Scheindlin on her piece, Response to Abbas: we’ll be together in Jerusalem forever. … It is foolhardy to say that despite efforts at ‘Judaization’ in Jerusalem, there will always be strong Muslim and Christian links to the city. What about the 500 plus villages and towns that were wiped off the map in what is now Israel, and whose memory has been pretty much erased from history? We don’t only want a historical legacy, we want a living memory. It is always best to show instead of tell, so I will give an example. A friend of mine, originally from Nazareth, related a story to me a few years back from when she was a college student in the United States studying archaeology. She went home for a summer and was working on a dig in Israel. Her name is one of those ambiguous ones that could superficially pass as Jewish and she said that everyone assumed she was. At one point she was in the office of the head of the dig, who was examining a beautiful piece of Ottoman glasswork that had been dug up the day before. He turned to her and said: “Do you see this? This is not history,” at which point he tossed it over his shoulder into a pile of rubbish. Today, Palestinian artifacts sit in Israeli museums and private homes. Books taken during the 1948 war are in Israeli libraries, while we have a resurgence of the “there is no such thing as a Palestinian” in public Western discourse.
Activism / Solidarity
Video: Hebron funeral becomes target of ‘skunk’ weapon
Ynet 28 Feb — …The B’Tselem video clearly shows the mourners surrounding the body of the deceased on a stretcher. Several mourners proceeded towards the forces with the stretcher in order to reach the cemetery only to be showered with the foul-smelling substance. The video shows that the deceased also got doused. According to Fanoun, the family eventually returned home with the body to clean it and only later headed back for burial at the cemetery. Video: Moussa Abu Heshash, B’Tselem
Video: We are with Hana Shalabi and Al Aqsa: Demonstration in the No Go Zone in Beit Hanoun
ISM Gaza 29 Feb — As we gathered on the road beside the half destroyed Beit Hanoun Agricultural College the wind blew fiercely. The flags did not wave in the breeze, they were held stretched out in full. Those that did not have flags had posters of Al Aqsa. Music played over the megaphone. We marched quietly and quickly down the road to the no go zone … We marched to the ditch that bisects the no go zone, we stopped … Soon, the Israeli shooting began. The first bullet I thought was perhaps the crack of a flag in the wind; there was no mistaking the bullets after that. We retreated a bit, then the young men stopped and rallied. The flag we had been standing by now had a hole in it. We walked back toward the wall; soldiers appeared on top of the concrete tower from which they had so recently shot at us. The soldiers started to fire tear gas at us. The fierce wind carried it away too quickly for it to be really effective. They started to shoot at us again. The bullets whistled over our heads. We were unarmed demonstrators
Video: Open Shuhada Street — Hebron
Today the 24th of Feb 2012, the IOF ( Israeli Occupation Forces) quelled the peaceful demonstration (reopen shuhada street), they used the hot chemical dirty water against them, and they also targeted the press and the photographers
Fadi Quran is freed / Robert Wright
Atlantic 29 Feb — Fadi Quran, the Palestinian activist whose arrest I’ve followed in recent days, was released from jail last night. But he wasn’t released because Israeli authorities have admitted that the charges against him are false (though they certainly seem to be). He’s been released on bail, and an investigation continues that could still result in an indictment. I hope to have further word on his situation before long, but meanwhile let me explain what he was protesting about when arrested in the Palestinian city of Hebron.
Video: Open Shuhada Street — Covent Garden
25 Feb — Protest held in Covent Garden, Central London, on 25th February 2012 calling for the reopening of Shuhada Street in Al-Khalil (Hebron). This protest was organised on the 18th anniversary of the Baruch Goldstein massacre, during which a Jewish extremist murdered 29 Palestinian worshippers and injured 125 more during morning prayers at Al-Khalil’s al-Ibrahimi mosque.
Press release: Israeli apartheid week – Gaza
ODSG 24 Feb — The One Democratic State Group (ODSG), The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) and BDS Campaign in Gaza are pleased to announce the launch of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) in Gaza for the third time March 12-25, 2012 along with more than 90 cities around the world. Since it was first launched in 2005, IAW has grown to become one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. It includes lectures, film screenings, round- table discussion and workshops in response to the call of Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
Hunger strikers / Administrative detention
Israeli military court postpones Shalabi hearing
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Feb — The Ofer military court has decided to postpone the hearing of Hana Shalabi, a prisoner on hunger strike, until the judge examines secret evidence with the intelligence services on March 3. Prisoners society lawyer Jawad Boulos said the court Israeli officials claimed that the reason for the administrative detention was because Shalabi is considered a threat to Israel’s security and safety of its people. They also claimed that she planned military actions right after she was released.
Another hunger striker challenges a policy unchanged: Hana Shalabi on Day 14 of hunger strike in protest of her ill-treatment and administrative detention
Ramallah, 29 February 2012 – Addameer demands the immediate release of Hana Shalabi, a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike currently held without charge or trial by Israel. Today, 29 February, Hana entered her 14th day of hunger strike in protest of the inhuman and degrading treatment she was subjected to during and following her arrest … For more information about Hana’s case, you can read her profile here.
Hunger-striking detainee moved back to security detainees facility
IMEMC 29 Feb — The Israeli Prison Administration moved, on Tuesday, hunger-striking female detainee, Hana’ Ash-Shalabi, to the security prisoners branch of the Ha-Sharon Israeli prison, after she was previously moved to the section where prisoners held on criminal charges are held. Omar Ash-Shalabi, the brother of Hana’ told the Palestinian WAFA news agency that the International Red Cross managed to visit her on Tuesday, and that she informed the Red Cross that she was moved back to the section in question. He said that she believes that measure was taken in an attempt to force her to end the hunger-strike she started more than 13 days ago.
Sit-in in support of striking prisoner
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Feb — Dozens of Palestinians Tuesday participated in a sit-in in front of the Red Cross office in Ramallah in support of Hana Shalabi, a prisoner held in administrative detention in Israel who is on an open-ended hunger strike since February 16. Supporters held signs calling for the liberation of Shalabi, from the Jenin area, who had previously served 25 months in administrative detention and [was] released in October in the Shalit prisoners swap. They also called for abolishing administrative detention Israel heavily uses against Palestinians.
IOA renews administrative detention of MP for fourth time
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 29 Feb — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has renewed the administrative detention of MP Azzam Salhab for four months for the fourth time running, his family in Al-Khalil said. The family quoted its lawyer as saying that Ofer military court would sit on 5th March to endorse the renewal of the custody. The Israeli higher court refused the lawyer’s appeal against the previous administrative verdict.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Other political detention
IOF soldiers round up 20 Palestinians
RAMALLAH (PIC) 289 Feb — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched a large-scale search and arrest campaign in various West Bank areas at dawn Wednesday and rounded up 20 Palestinians. Eyewitnesses told the PIC that intelligence officers accompanied the IOF troops in their campaign. They said that the soldiers deliberately forced children and women out of their homes during the search in the cold, rainy weather.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
IOF soldiers arrest 290 Palestinians in February
RAMALLAH (PIC) 28 Feb — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested 390 Palestinians in February from various West Bank areas [plus the 20 from today], a Palestinian human rights group said on Tuesday. Ansar Al-Asra said in a statistics report that the detainees included old men, women, minors, liberated prisoners, journalists, and others. It noted that the IOF soldiers savagely stormed homes in the detention process and wreaked havoc on them. The group noted that the search campaigns focused on the provinces of Al-Khalil, Nablus, and Jerusalem. It said that the soldiers and intelligence officers regularly break into homes of ex-prisoners who were freed in the prisoners’ exchange deal between Hamas and Israel late last year and interrogate and threaten them.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Prison authority imposes heavy fines on prisoners, says ministry
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Feb — The Israeli Prison Administration has imposed thousands of dollars in fines on Palestinian prisoners for the most trivial reason, the Ministry of Prisoners said Wednesday. It said one prisoner, Mohammad Abed Rabbo, who is serving a 17-year prison sentence since 2004, was fined over $3600 that the prison authority automatically deducts from his prison bank account as a punishment for whatever act of protest he carries out. Families of prisoners normally deposit money in a special prison account for their sons that would allow them to buy food or other stuff from the prison canteen.
Change and Reform: PA arrest of MP son violates reconciliation
GAZA (PIC) 27 Feb — The Hamas-affiliated change and reform parliamentary bloc has lashed out at the PA security in the West Bank for arresting the son of Hamas MP Omar Abdalrazek, who is held in Israeli administrative custody. The bloc said in a statement on Monday that the policy of breaking into the homes of MPs and kidnapping their relatives displayed the disunity of Fatah’s position regarding the national reconciliation.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Egypt thwarts attempt to smuggle fuel into Gaza Strip
EL-ARISH (Ma‘an) 28 Feb — Egyptian security forces on Tuesday thwarted an attempt to smuggle large quantities of diesel fuel into the Gaza Strip via underground tunnels, Ma‘an’s correspondent said. Egyptian military and police forces stopped four trucks containing more than 7,000 liters of diesel fuel bound for the Gaza Strip … Egypt wants to stop the use of underground tunnels for delivery of Egyptian fuel purchased by Palestinian authorities, and has severely reduced supply through the tunnel network, prompting an energy crisis in the coastal enclave.
Video: Israel, Gaza, blockade, economy
PressTV 29 Feb — Egypt’s crackdown on people using tunnels between its border and the Gaza Strip has deteriorated the already battered economy of the blockaded coastal enclave.
Fatah armed wing claims Ashkelon attack
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Feb — The military wing of Fatah said Tuesday that its operatives fired a locally made projectile at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. The Al-Aqsa brigades said in a statement that the rocket was fired at 8:30 p.m. in response to Israeli attacks on Jerusalem. Israel’s Ynet news site reported that a rocket landed in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. No injuries were reported, it said.
EU Heads of Mission call for end to blockade on Gaza
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 29 Feb — European Union Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah Wednesday called on Israel to end its blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2006 and allow free movement of goods and people to and from Gaza … “The EU reiterates again its calls for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza,” said the statement … Denmark, Belgium and Sweden signed a lease agreement for a joint EU consular office in Gaza.
Then came ‘Cast Lead’ in Gaza / Yitzhak Laor
Haaretz 29 Feb — The occupation has turned into one long string of blood-curdling stories, but most don’t ever come close enough for Israelis to hear the cry in the dark — …Shlomi Eldar’s “Precious Life” beautifully documented the wonderful dedication of the doctors, who treat sick children from the Gaza Strip just as they treat sick children from Israel … But Eldar didn’t mention that for decades, Israel systematically prevented construction of a medical system in the occupied territories, nor did he mention that Israel bars the transfer of medical equipment to Gaza that would enable sick children to be treated there. The result is that treating patients from the occupied territories has become a highly profitable industry for Israeli hospitals. Payment is immediate and there are no discounts … What does all this have to do with the mini-scandal reported by Chaim Levinson (Haaretz, February 20)? Israelis’ shock at hearing this embarrassing story is almost as bad as the story itself. For that wounded Palestinian was thrown out of hospital, and a police patrol car, to die in the dark months before Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008.
Israeli lawmakers slam ultra-Orthodox radio station for keeping women off the air
Haaretz 29 Feb — Kol Barama radio station tells Knesset’s Committee on the Status of Women that keeping females voices off the airwaves was strictly a business decision.
Israeli police pose as drunks, prostitutes to entice African refugees to steal
Haaretz 29 Feb — Undercover Tel Aviv police, posing as drunks and prostitutes, have begun arresting refugees and asylum seekers by luring them to steal wallets and other items. Dozens of undercover police officers operated last weekend around the central bus station, where many of the refugees who entered the country illegally live.
Asylum seekers denied discounted bus pass due to technicality
972mag 28 Feb by Mara Getz Sheftel– An asylum seeker from Eritrea has been living and working legally in Israel – but is continuously denied a discounted electronic bus pass because she has no passport or formal identification card. The Transportation Ministry refuses to recognize her government-issued visa and claims this ‘technical difficulty’ is of limited urgency.
Foreign ministry names first Israeli of Ethiopian origin as ambassador
Haaretz 28 Feb — Belaynesh Zevadia will serve as the Israeli diplomat to Addis Ababa, the capital of the country where she was born and lived in before moving to Israel. [but would they send her to any other country?]
PA: No decision on security coordination
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Feb — The the Palestinian Authority’s minister of civil affairs, denied on Tuesday that the government had decided to end security coordination with Israel. Hussein al-Sheikh told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio that all options were under consideration, but decisions will wait until the president returns from abroad. The minister was responding to reports that the PA is planning to reconsider its security, political and economic agreements with Israel in the coming days, as a PLO official said Sunday.
PA wants Security Council to visit Palestine
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Feb — The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday called upon the UN Security Council to send representatives to visit the occupied territory including Jerusalem as soon as possible to see firsthand the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people. Palestinian envoy to the United Nations Riyad Mansour said he had sent a letter to the UN Security Council body urging for the visit as soon as possible. The council is currently discussing future trips but diplomats said the demand was part of a Palestinian campaign to draw international attention back on the Middle East conflict.
Cairo envoy: Reconciliation, energy crisis ‘need more time’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Feb — Egypt’s Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority said Monday that both Fatah and Hamas need more time to implement a reconciliation deal, and called for further meetings. Amb. Yasser Othman also said an electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip which has caused long blackouts will be solved within two years, as the deal includes multiple stages to improve delivery of power from Egypt.
Hamas: PA must stop violations against West Bank members
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Feb — Hamas called on the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday to stop the harassment of Hamas members in the West Bank by security forces. A statement from the group said that violations “would leave a negative impact on reconciliation efforts.”
Delegate: Factions bypassing freedoms committee
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Feb — A member of the public freedoms committee set up to implement a reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah said Monday that the factions are bypassing the group on the issue of political prisoners … The public freedoms committee was set to supervise the release of political affiliates on both sides, as well as improvements in political freedoms, ending newspaper bans, and reopening charities and other bodies closed during more than four years political division between governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Frustration has increased as the committee has been unable to show much for its work, despite several premature announcements that newspapers would begin circulating and detainees be released.
Abbas arrives in Ankara for official talks
ANKARA (WAFA) 28 Feb — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday arrived in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, for diplomatic talks with top Turkish officials. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu hosted a dinner in honor of Abbas where they exchanged views on the bilateral relations, Middle East peace process and Palestinian internal reconciliation process.
PLC delegation leaves Gaza on Arab tour
GAZA (PIC) 28 Feb — A delegation of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC) led by first deputy speaker Dr. Ahmed Bahar left the Gaza Strip on Tuesday on an Arab tour. A press release for the PLC in Gaza said that the delegation would visit Tunisia and Morocco. The delegates are expected to meet with parliamentary and government officials in both countries
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Arab justice’s refusal to sing Israel’s national anthem sparks furor among right-wing MKs
Haaretz 29 Feb — Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran refused to sing ‘Hatikva’ at retirement ceremony of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, prompting calls for his removal … Many Arab citizens refuse to sing the national anthem because it only alludes to Jews and the yearning of the Jewish soul for the Holy Land. Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On defended Joubran, saying that to “put a Supreme Court Justice through Kahana’s and Liberman’s loyalty tests is meant to undermine democracy, a regime that has more respect for people than for symbols.”
Official calls to overturn fatwa on visiting Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Feb — Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Mahmoud Habbash Tuesday called on the Islamic scholar and theologian Yusuf Qaradawi to overturn a religious ruling (fatwa) he had earlier issued prohibiting non-Palestinians from visiting Jerusalem as long as it is occupied by Israel. Habbash stressed in a statement that Qaradawi’s fatwa contradicts Islamic teachings and provides a free service to the Israeli occupation that aims to isolate Jerusalem from its Arab and Islamic surroundings … Habbash’s call came after President Mahmoud Abbas had urged at the Doha conference on Jerusalem, which ended Monday, Muslims and Christians everywhere to visit Jerusalem in order to see for themselves the Israeli violations in the holy city and to affirm its Arab Muslim and Christian heritage and ties.
Netherlands to donate scanner to Allenby Crossing to boost Palestinian trade
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Feb — The Government of Netherlands will donate a state-of-the-art gantry cargo scanner to the Palestinian Authority which will be installed for operation at the Allenby crossing, Tuesday said a communiqué by the office of the quartet representative (OQR). It said the Dutch are also willing to donate a second scanner, the location of which is still under discussion. The scanners will boost the transit of Palestinian goods in and out of the Palestinian Authority (PA), by reducing transit costs for businesses and increasing the volume and range of goods allowed through the crossings.
SCOTUSblog: Mohamad vs. Palestinian Authority
Supreme Court of the U.S. blog 29 Feb — Yesterday the Court heard oral arguments in two cases. In Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority, the Court is considering whether entities can be held liable under the Torture Victim Protection Act … Azzam Rahim was born in the West Bank village of Ein Yabroud, near Ramallah, and immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. He subsequently married in this country and had six U.S.-citizen children. Rahim also became an American citizen and was a successful businessman in the Dallas area … [In 1995] Rahim returned to the West Bank for an extended visit to his boyhood village. About a month after his arrival, a group of men later identified as PA/PLO security police arrested Rahim at a coffee shop and forced him into an unmarked car. Two days later, an ambulance delivered Rahim’s body to his family. The corpse was badly bruised, burned with cigarettes, and bore other marks of torture, including several broken bones.