Netanyahu’s office signs off on plan to relocate 30,000 Bedouin

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Land theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement / Endangerment of Palestinian culture, history

Israel’s contentious Bedouin relocation plan passes PM’s Office panel
Haaretz 28 Mar — A five-year economic development plan for Israeli Bedouin has been approved by a steering committee in the Prime Minister’s Office, as part of operational plans for relocating tens of thousands of Bedouin to officially recognized communities. The proposal calls for the relocation of up to 30,000 Bedouin from areas not recognized by the government as residential locations.

Jerusalem permits for West Bank ambulance drivers canceled
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 27 Mar – The Israeli civil administration, a department in the Israeli West Bank military government, cancelled all permits issued to ambulance drivers from the West Bank who work in Jerusalem, Mohammed Gharableh, head of ambulance services union in occupied East Jerusalem, said on Tuesday. He told WAFA that cancellation of the permits will paralyze the ambulance service in the east section of the city; explaining that 20 ambulances had to stop working because the drivers could not reach their work places in Jerusalem, leaving only two cars in the service. Gharableh said this measure violates the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Demolition orders issued for Silwan residents
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 27 Mar – The West Jerusalem Israeli municipality handed six Palestinian families living in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan home demolition notices under the pretext of building without a permit, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center said Tuesday in a statement. It said municipality staff accompanied by a large police force handed the notices to the residents. One of the homes that received a demolition order was demolished seven years ago. It was later rebuilt. The owner has already received three demolition orders over the last five months.

Tax collectors raid Silwan shops, clash with residents
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Mar – Israeli tax collectors backed by a large police force raided shops in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan Wednesday and seized goods from several stores on the pretext the owners did not pay their taxes, according to a local activist. Fakhri Abu Diab, who heads the Committee for the Defense of Silwan, said residents clashed with police when they confronted the tax collectors, who were confiscating goods from shops and loading them onto trucks.

Jerusalem municipality councilor: Municipality seeks to erase Palestinian presence by fear of being outnumbered
PNN 26 Mar — On 22 March 2012, the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA), an East Jerusalem-based think-tank co-founded and chaired by Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, invited Dr. Meir Margalit, elected member of the Jerusalem Municipality for the Meretz Party, to give a presentation of the “Policies and Practices of the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality towards Palestinians.” During this presentation, Margalit described how the Occupation municipality systematically seeks to erase the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem by fear that current demographic trends challenge Jewish hegemony in the city. Dr. Meir Margalit is one of the founders of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

Israeli excavations continue in Mamilla cemetery despite Wiesenthal Center claims
[with short video]Center for Constitutional Rights 26 Mar –  New evidence of continuing excavations on the “Museum of Tolerance” site suggesting that it still contains archaeological artifacts and human remains, contrary to Simon Wiesenthal Center claims that bedrock has been reached on all portions of the site. Video footage here shows the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) inner closure and excavation pit.

Soldiers in full uniform hold provocative tour of Al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 28 Mar — Around 100 Israeli soldiers in full uniform took a tour of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City Wednesday, which Muslim leaders considered provocative, according to a statement by Al -Aqsa Institute for Waqf and Heritage. It said Jewish settlers have also joined the tour and held provocative religious rituals in an area considered one of Islam’s holiest sites. Non-Muslim visitors of Al-Aqsa Mosque are allowed entry into the Holy Sanctuary through the Magharbe Gate, which is controlled by the Israeli police and which is adjacent to the Western Wall. However, they are not allowed to hold any religious rituals … Muslim leaders are worried that an increase in Jewish tours of the compound with a goal to take it over and destroy the Muslim structures may lead to outbreak of violence in the entire region.

Demolitions in al Hama, al Farasiya, and Khirbet Humsa
JVS 27 Mar — For photos of demolitions on Flickr click here — On Monday March 26, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished 4 homes and 12 animal barracks in the Jordan Valley. At 8am, 4 Israeli military vehicles, 2 civil administration jeeps and 2 bulldozers entered the Palestinian community of al Hama. They declared the area a closed military zone before demolishing the home of Mahmoud Alwad. He lived there with his wife and their 4 children. IOF continued to the home of Abed Rabo Mohammed Abdullah Ben Odi, in the same community….

PSP activists visit Om Al Kheir
[with photos] 27 Mar — On Tuesday, March 27, 2012, PSP activists went to Om Al Kheir in the southern West Bank to meet with the Bedouin living there. They are surrounded by the Karmel settlement, and face daily attacks and injustices from the settlers and the court systems. At night, settlers throw molotov cocktails and stones at the Bedouin’s homes, or shoot into their village, trying to scare them off the land. One man explained that their small tents are their homes, and they have nowhere else to go. Settlers also throw chemicals onto the Palestinian land, which their sheep and goats eat, causing them to die and destroying another source of livelihood. Settlers even flooded their mud-brick oven with water, complaining that the smoke was entering their settlement.

Migron’s Palestinian neighbors waiting to see if they get land back / Amira Hass
Haaretz 27 Mar — High Court rejects compromise between government and settlers – evacuation set for August 1  — Residents of the West Bank village of Burqa are waiting for “real results” before celebrating this week’s High Court of Justice ruling ordering the demolition of the Migron outpost, which Burqa residents say was built on land owned by Palestinians in their village. “It’s not the first time the High Court of Justice has ordered the eviction of settlers from our land,” said Abdel Mun’im Ma’atan, who was one of the petitioners in the court case. “For the time being, everything is on paper, but we want to see real results, on the ground.” .


Hebron teen ‘shot by Israeli settler’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — An Israeli settler shot an 18-year-old Palestinian in Hebron’s Old City on Tuesday morning, leaving him moderately injured, locals said. Medics at Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron said Muhammad Hisham Abu Aker was shot in his right leg and is undergoing surgery.
On Saturday, a Palestinian man was moderately injured when armed settlers stormed Burqa village east of Ramallah and attempted to vandalize property, witnesses said. Hassan Muatan, 40, was shot in the abdomen, they said.

Council: Settlers assault north Jordan Valley village
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — Israeli settlers entered a Palestinian village in the northern Jordan Valley on Tuesday night, taking down tents and assaulting residents, the village council said. Al-Maleh village Hani Foqaha said four Israelis violently searched his house overnight, disrupting his belongings. The village council warned that residents of nearby Israeli settlements regularly tour the mountains of the village, causing violent confrontations.

Settlers break into building in Hebron
PNN On Friday, March 23, an “enormous” group of settlers raided a building in B’ir al-Sabe’ street in Hebron, south of the West Bank. Eyewitnesses said that around 1000 settlers raided a building near the main street in the middle of the city, after the Israeli soldiers completely closed it. The Israeli soldiers hindered the Palestinian citizens’ movement and evacuated the street from the taxi cars that transfer the citizens to and from Hebron villages and city. The settlers call the house “the tomb of Atnaúal bin Gunar” and they consider it a Jewish shrine. This is not the first time they have raided the building, as they always break into it, under the protection of the Israeli army, to perform their religious rituals. Many years ago, settlers seized the building that belonged to one of the Arab families.

Israeli soldiers injure three brothers near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 27 Mar — Israeli soldiers Tuesday opened fire at three Palestinian brothers in the village of Ramon near Ramallah, injuring them, according to a local official. Head of Ramon village council, Abdul Mahmoud Jib’ayeh, told WAFA Israeli soldiers in civilian clothing shot Rashad Shokha, along with his brothers Anwar and Akram in the backyard of their house during a pre-dawn raid of the village. One of the brothers was reported in a critical condition and the other two suffered moderate injuries, added Jib’ayeh. According to the head of the village council, the Shokha brothers heard commotion in the backyard of their house. Thinking the men they saw in civilian clothing were thieves, they attacked them. The disguised soldiers opened fire at the brothers injuring all three. The soldiers refused to allow Palestinian paramedics to treat the wounded or to transfer them to hospital. ib’ayeh refuted Israeli claims that one of the brothers stabbed a soldier, stressing that the Shokha brothers used only sticks to attack who they believed were thieves.

another version:
Israeli forces injure 3 brothers near Ramallah, soldier hurt
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — Three Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were wounded when Israeli forces entered a Ramallah village at dawn Tuesday … Eyewitnesses said one of the brothers stepped out of his house in Rammun village early Tuesday, unaware that Israeli forces were in the village. The soldiers immediately opened fire on the man, injuring him, they said. Another brother was injured when he opened the door to check on the man, and the third brother was injured when he arrived at the scene. An Israeli army spokeswoman said an Israeli soldier “was stabbed during routine activity (…) the soldiers responded to the attackers in self defense, and three were injured.” The circumstances of the incident are being reviewed, she said. Eyewitnesses said forces did not permit a Palestinian ambulance to evacuate the men, and they were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. One man suffered a gunshot wound to the neck, another in the chest, and a third in the thigh, villagers told Ma‘an.

Israel: Molotov attack on army patrol near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Mar – Three Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli military patrol in the al-Khader village south of Bethlehem late Tuesday, Israel’s military reported. There were no reports of injury or damage in the incident near the illegal Beitar Illit settlement. Soldiers were searching the scene for suspects, an army spokesman told Ma‘an. The spokesman also said Palestinians threw rocks that damaged an Israeli vehicle traveling southwest of Nablus in the northern West Bank. There were no reports of injury.


PA, Egypt sign gas deal to end Gaza crisis
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — The Palestine Electricity Company on Tuesday announced a deal with Egypt to provide gas to the Gaza Strip. Palestine Electricity Company director in Gaza Walid Saad Sayil signed the agreement with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation in Cairo on behalf of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority. Sayil told reporters that Egyptian technicians have been instructed to conduct geographical surveys to find the best route for a network of pipelines to transport gas from Sheikh Zweid to the Rafah crossing on Gaza’s border. Meanwhile, technicians in Gaza will prepare to install a 30-kilometer pipeline from Rafah to the power plant in Gaza City, he said.

Oxfam launches new generator safety campaign as power crisis rages, Gaza
PNN-Oxfam 27 Mar — The ongoing power crisis in the Gaza Strip is forcing thousands of families to resort to long periods of generator use, which has caused a spike in serious household accidents. Gaza’s civil protection authorities announced last week that 85 fires related to electricity problems broke out in the strip in the first two months of this year, including generator accidents … Oxfam has therefore re-launched its generators safety campaign originally introduced two years ago at the peak of the first electricity crisis to hit the strip. The campaign has now redesigned an information leaflet and posters that will be distributed across Gaza, together with the Gaza NGO Safety Office.

Egyptian MPs head to Gaza for fuel crisis report
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — An Egyptian parliamentary delegation will arrive in Gaza on Wednesday to meet with Hamas officials over the ongoing fuel crisis in the coastal enclave, an Egyptian security official said. He told Ma‘an 28 officials from the committee of Arab affairs in Egypt’s parliament, including well-known human rights champion Amr Hamzawi, will cross into Gaza via the Rafah border. The delegation will meet with government officials to hear their urgent demands over the two-day visit. It will prepare a report on the situation in Gaza for discussion in the Egyptian parliament

Hamas holds dozens of drivers in Gaza power crisis
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 26 Mar — Police in Hamas-ruled Gaza have detained dozens of taxi drivers for allegedly spreading “rumors” about the territory’s worst power crisis in years, officials said Monday, The detentions, which began over the weekend, signaled that the Islamic militant Hamas is increasingly concerned about the political fallout from crippling shortages of fuel and electricity. Authorities did not explain what got the drivers in trouble, beyond saying the “rumors” had to do with the energy crisis.

Demonstrators protest Gaza buffer zone
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — Dozens of demonstrators rallied in northern Gaza on Tuesday to protest Israel’s confiscation of land inside the border. The Israeli military imposes a no-go buffer zone inside the borders of Gaza, demolishing homes and buildings in the area, capturing valuable agricultural land and firing at Palestinians near the fence. The rights group Al Mezan reports that the depth of the no-go zone is unclear and Israeli soldiers have shot at people as far as two kilometers from the border.

UNRWA denies staff left Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Tuesday denied rumors its staff had vacated the Gaza Strip during Israel’s latest offensive. UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said in a statement that employees did not leave Gaza on Israeli orders or because of escalating tensions earlier in March. UNRWA staff remain in Gaza and will not leave, Abu Hasna said, adding that the agency’s employees were in the enclave to serve the people, particularly in difficult times.

Irish chairman to sign sister city agreement with Gaza City
Councillor and chairman of the [Northern] Irish Moyle District Council Padraig McShane will be arriving in Gaza City on Wednesday to officially sign a historic sister city agreement with the City Council in Gaza, the Gaza TV News reported … Padraig had previously visited the Gaza Strip in October of 2010 when he participated in an aid convoy that donated medical aid and educational supplies estimated to be in the region £30,000 in value. The donation was made on behalf of the residents of the Moyle District who decided to aid the impoverished people living in the Gaza Strip, suffering from the ongoing and illegal Israeli siege imposed for more than five years.

Political detention / Court actions

IOF soldiers serve summonses to all liberated prisoners in Beit Umma
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 Mar — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Beit Ummar village, north of Al-Khalil, in a pre-dawn raid on Wednesday and served summonses to all liberated prisoners, local sources said. Mohammed Awad, a spokesman for the national campaign in the village, said that the soldiers broke into homes of the village and asked for meeting each and every liberated prisoner. The soldiers then handed the summonses personally to each one for interrogation at the intelligence office in Etzion, north of the village, Awad said.

Israeli forces ‘detain released prisoner’
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — Israeli forces detained a 25-year-old in northern West Bank who was released from jail a week earlier, relatives told Ma‘an on Wednesday. Momen Adwan responded to a summons from Israeli intelligence services on Monday morning but never returned, his family said. Residents of his village, Azzun near Qalqiliya, told Ma‘an he was released last week after spending three years in Israeli detention.

Violent Israeli criminals transferred to section of Palestinian female detainees
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 Mar — Muhjat Al-Quds society for prisoners’ rights said the Israeli jailers of Sharon prison transferred last Monday Israeli female criminals to section 2 where all Palestinian female prisoners are detained. In a press release on Tuesday, the society highlighted that the presence of violent Israeli criminals in the same section would expose the Palestinian female detainees to constant harassment and attacks.

Israeli occupying force raids Bethlehem, Hebron and Jenin
PNN 27 Mar — On Tuesday morning, Israeli forces abducted five Palestinians after storming their houses in the Hebron and Bethlehem area. The raids took place before dawn, with soldiers searching the houses and sealing the roads around them before making the arrests. Two of the Palestinians were taken from Husan town, and three were removed from the Hebron area.In a separate incident on Monday night, the Israeli military stormed a house in the village of Aqqaba and abducted one of the residents. A house was also raided in Rommana village, near Jenin.

Elderly social figure arrested in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 27 Mar – Israeli forces Tuesday arrested an elderly Palestinian social figure from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). It said in a statement that a large Israeli force accompanied by a medical crew and an ambulance arrested Hussain Abu Hadeed, 60, after raiding his house while he was unconscious and chained him to a stretcher. Abu Hadeed is suffering from several heart diseases. One of Abu Hadeed’s sons, a member of al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas military wing, was killed by Israeli soldiers in 1994 and another son has been held in administrative detention in Israel since 2010.

Political detainee injured after being attacked by soldiers
IMEMC 28 Mar — Palestinian political prisoner Abbas as-Sayyid was injured after Israeli soldiers of the Nachshon Brigade attacked him in front of his prison cell at the Galboa’ Israeli prison. As-Sayyid was beaten to various parts of his body and suffered injuries to the head, chest and genitals. Hamas media spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri warned Israel of the consequences of the death of As-Sayyid. The movement accused Israel of trying to assassinate as-Sayyid. The latest attack is among numerous and escalating Israeli attacks against Palestinian political prisoners, especially after the detainees held a series of hunger-strikes demanding Israel to stop its violations against them, and to treat them like prisoners of war.

Tadamon for Human Rights: Khaled al-Hajj transferred to Ramleh hospital
RAMALLAH (PIC) 26 Mar — The Israeli Occupation Prison Service transferred ,on Sunday, Khaled al-Hajj, a Hamas leader, from Shatta prison to Ramlah hospital to have an eye operation, according to the International Tadamun Foundation for Human Rights. [humane treatment for a change?]

Hamas: PA detained 8 members
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — Hamas on Tuesday accused the Palestinian Authority of detaining eight party affiliates across the West Bank. PA forces detained eight Hamas members in Tulkarem, Nablus and Jenin, a Hamas statement said. Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement with Fatah, which leads the PA, in May 2011. Under the deal, both parties agreed to stop political detentions.

Fatah: Hamas detained spokesman
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — Fatah on Tuesday accused Hamas of detaining its spokesman in Gaza a day earlier. Hamas forces detained Fayez Abu Eita on Monday, Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmi said in a statement. The detention is a “dangerous escalation” and threatens efforts to reconcile the rival factions, al-Qawasmi said. It is a disappointment for the Palestinian leadership and Egyptian mediators, he added.

PCHR gravely concerned over Internal Security Services summons against Fatah members in the Gaza Strip
PNN-PCHR 28 Mar — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned over summons issued by the Internal Security Service (ISS) against a number of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip in the past few days. PCHR calls for stopping such summons and detention practices under degrading conditions, in order to create an appropriate atmosphere to promote the internal reconciliation process.

Hanaa’ al-Shalabi / Other hunger strikers / Other administrative detainees

Prisoner group files appeal in case of Ash-Shalabi
IMEMC 27 Mar — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) filed an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court demanding the release of female detainee Hana’ ash-Shalabi who has been on hunger strike for 40 days … Head of the Legal Unit at the PPS, Jawad Boulus, stated that he filed the appeal on behalf of Ash-Shalabi after an Israeli Military Court judge rejected an appeal for her release. He added that the PPS will use all legal venues in Israel, as Tel Aviv is responsible for the abducting of Ash-Shalabi, and her well-being as a political prisoner.

Hana al Shalabi’s hunger strike: Listen to Ali Abunimah interview on Flashpoints
EI 28 Mar — Dennis Bernstein spoke to Ali Abunimah on KPFA’s Flashpoints, about Hana al-Shalabi and the struggles of other Palestinian political prisoners against Israel’s systematic abuses. The segment on Hana al-Shalabi begins at exactly 15:00.

Jihad leader launches hunger strike in Israeli jail
JENIN (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — Islamic Jihad announced Tuesday a senior member of the movement who was detained by Israel a week ago has began a hunger strike against his administrative detention. Jafar Ez Al-Din Qadan, 40, was seized by Israeli forces from Arraba village south of Jenin, at dawn on Wednesday. He was transferred to administrative detention — without charge — and immediately began refusing food in protest, the group said.

5 Beit Ommar residents under administrative detention
PSP 27 Mar — More than 300 Palestinians are now in administrative detention. Administrative detention is arrest and detention of individuals by the state without trial. Within the West Bank any local Commander can issue an administrative detention order, it is valid for six months and can be renewed by the appropriate authority. There is no limit to how many times the administrative detention can be renewed. Five boys from the popular committee in Beit Ommar are now under administrative detention. Here is a list of the boys in administrative detention and how many times this has been renewed.
Ayman Hussein Za’Qeeq – Administrative detention renewed 3 times.
Iyad Jameel Almy – Administrative detention renewed 3 times.
Yousef Badr Ikhlayyil – Administrative detention renewed 3 times.
Omar Mahmoud Bregeath – Administrative detention renewed 4 times.
Firas Ibrahim Abu Maria – Administrative detention renewed 3 times.

Press freedom and the PA

Ramallah court extends arrest of Palestinian reporter
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A Palestinian court has extended the remand of a journalist arrested Monday over allegations of slander and defamation, officials in Ramallah said Wednesday. The Palestinian Authority will continue to hold Yousef al-Shayeb, who was arrested Monday, for another 15 days, the court ruled. He has not yet been charged with a crime. The journalist was first questioned in late January over his reporting on allegations against the Palestinian diplomatic delegation in France, the Palestinian National Fund and the foreign minister.

Protest supporting jailed journalist in Ramallah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — Palestinian journalists protested Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah, demanding that the Palestinian Authority release a reporter who was arrested two days earlier. The arrest of Yousef al-Shayeb, a reporter for a Jordanian newspaper, followed a complaint filed by the Palestinian ambassador to France accusing him of slander and defamation, officials said.

Journalists urged to boycott PA press freedom award
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — The Palestinian Authority has launched a prize to recognize exemplary reporting, but Palestinian journalists are calling for a boycott in protest of the government’s treatment of the media.


Palestinians in Iraq appeal to Abbas over discrimination
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Mar  — Palestinian refugees in Iraq say they face widespread discrimination and have appealed to President Mahmoud Abbas to intervene. The Iraqi Palestinian Brothers Association said Tuesday that it sent a letter to Abbas, who is in Baghdad to attend the Arab League summit, detailing their plight. The association said Palestinians have been refused medical care in Iraqi government hospitals and must use fake ID cards to receive treatment. The Palestinian Red Crescent lacks support from the PLO and cannot provide adequate medical care, it added. Meanwhile, some 90 percent of Palestinians in Iraq are unemployed, Palestinians are refused government jobs and young male Palestinians face particular discrimination in finding work, the association said.

UN agency welcomes US contribution of $10 million to help Palestinian refugees
UN News Centre 27 Mar — The head of the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees today welcomed a $10 million contribution from the United States to its funding … Contributions to UNRWA’s so-called General Fund are a critical means of supporting its work with Palestine refugees, particularly youth. Sixty per cent of the General Fund budget is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the over 480,000 children who attend UNRWA schools.

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

Welcome to Palestine campaign April 15th-21st 2012
PNN 2 Mar — Palestinian civil society organizations and peace and human rights defenders and activists call on the international community to join us on April 15th -21st for peace building in Palestine and to challenge the Israeli siege of the occupied territories. Over 1500 people of conscience from over 15 countries are scheduled to arrive for this year’s WTP campaign. The first Welcome to Palestine (WTP) Campaign in December 2010 brought 100 individuals. The second WTP in July 2011 saw hundreds of individuals purchase airline tickets and attempt to board planes to Palestine. Israel sent a “black list” of 342 participants from the ages of 9 to 83 years old to prevent them from boarding planes sparking huge protests in several international airports. The Israeli military also turned the airport near Tel Aviv into a military compound.

Pro-Palestinian activists disrupt meeting with Israeli MKs in US
Haaretz 27 Mar — WATCH: Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine, the same group which interrupted a speech by former minister Avi Dichter in 2011, chanted at the meeting: Knesset is silencing dissent and civil and human rights.

International activist harassed at Ofer military court
PSP 27 Mar — On Sunday, March 25, 2012, four international activists from PSP went to Ofer military court to follow up on the eight Beit Ommar youths who were arrested recently … Going through security, the Israeli security guards asked each person if they spoke Hebrew, then if they spoke Arabic. The first of the internationals to go through was an American woman. She answered the questions, admitting that she spoke no Hebrew, but she did speak Arabic. She explains, “They laughed and said something in Hebrew that I didn’t understand, and I was pointed into another room and told to empty my pockets and take off my belt for a second time. The guard waved the wand over me, then groped me. She claimed she had to check the pockets that were on the front of my shirt, but rather than pull the front of my shirt away from my body, she roughly squeezed my breasts. She then put her hands inside all of my pants pockets, which did not happen to the other internationals, who do not speak Arabic … After the four of them made it through security, they were told the session was already finished.

Israeli interrogated en route back to Israel for her activism in Palestinian cause
972blog 28 Mar by Leehee Rothschild — The activist tells of her experience being held for hours, harassed and intimidated by Israel Security Agency officials – for doing nothing illegal or suspicious — I arrived at Luton airport for my flight back to Israel, after spending one month in the UK and France, participating in Israeli Apartheid Week and BDS events. That, along with my ongoing activism for Palestinian rights, made me a security risk of the highest level for the Israeli state. The troubles began at the Israeli security counter before check-in.

Norwegian retail chain ends sale of Ahava occupation products
AIC 27 Mar — Norwegian retail chain VITA made public on Friday their decision to stop all sales of products originating from settlements in occupied Palestine. VITA will therefore stop selling products from the cosmetics brand Ahava. VITA has been the main retailer of Ahava products in Norway, and this decision will be a serious blow to the sales of Ahava products in Norway. The principled decision by VITA not to buy products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank is based on a position of not wanting to contribute to violations of international law.

Park Slope Food Co-op rejects effort to boycott Israeli-made products
NY Times 27 Mar — Members of the Park Slope Food Co-op voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday night against a motion that would have moved the organization closer to joining an international boycott against products made in Israel. The vote settled a debate that had embroiled the venerable neighborhood institution for many months and divided its membership. The vote, conducted by paper ballot, came during the Brooklyn co-op’s monthly general meeting, with 1,005 people voting against the motion to hold a referendum on a boycott, and 653 in favor.

Political news

Court rejects appeal against Abbas premiership
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — The Palestinian Constitutional Court in Ramallah on Tuesday rejected a legal challenge to President Mahmoud Abbas’ appointment as prime minister of a national unity government. Fatah leader Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal agreed in Qatar last month that the president will lead an interim cabinet to prepare for fresh elections and end divided governments in Gaza and the West Bank. PLO central council member Abdul-Jawwad Salih submitted a legal challenge to the appointment on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. But the court ruled in a Tuesday hearing that the case does not fall within the court’s jurisdiction.

PA will ask UN summit to end Israeli military detention
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Mar — After the UN Human Rights Council voted to launch an international investigation into Israeli settlements last week, the PA prisoners ministry is preparing to ask a UN meeting to force an end to Israel’s detention of Palestinians without charge. Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said Monday the PA is launching a legal campaign for the a UN meeting on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in Geneva starting next Monday.

Reconcilation committee to meet on political detentions
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Mar — A reconciliation committee will meet in the West Bank on Thursday to tackle a recent escalation in political detentions between still-warring factions Hamas and Fatah. West Bank public freedoms committee coordinator Khalil Assad said Tuesday evening the cross-party group, set up the implement a reconciliation deal between the factions, will convene to deal with the escalation. The Gaza body may join by video conference, he said. Fatah and Hamas are holding closed-door talks sponsored by Egypt to resume the stalled reconciliation deal, he said.

Other news

Army chief cancels IDF-wide Passover vacation
Ynet 28 Mar — For first time in many years, all IDF units to be on full alert during Passover holiday; army officials insist decision not related to any planned military operations,7340,L-4209387,00.html

Pentagon wants more money for Iron Dome
Ynet 27 Mar — US Defense Department to ask Congress for additional funding for Israel’s short-range rocket defense system,7340,L-4208877,00.html

Palestinian medic gets Libyan jail compensation
THE HAGUE (AFP) 28 Mar — A Palestinian-born doctor who spent eight years in a Libyan jail on charges of infecting children with HIV has got one million euros in compensation, his Dutch lawyer said Tuesday. Ashraf Juma Hajuj, who now lives in the Netherlands, last year sued for compensation in a Hague civil court. The 41-year-old and five Bulgarian nurses were sentenced to death in Libya for deliberately infecting 438 children with HIV-tainted blood.

Opinion / Analysis / Reviews

Bibi: First we’ll take Tehran, then we’ll take Istanbul / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 28 Mar — Yesterday brought ominous news regarding yet another aggressive Israeli projection of its military power in the Mideast … To show that Bibi’s aggressive, interventionist approach isn’t a fluke, UPI reports that Israel is negotiating with Greek Cyprus for placement of an Israeli air base on the island, ostensibly to protect the new Israeli-Cypriot joint gas exploration project … This field is in dispute with Lebanon, which also claims title.  Turkey too disputes the area on behalf of Turkish Cyprus. This certainly is one reason for the Israeli move. But an even more important one in the long-term, is Israel confronting Turkey with its power.  It’s a rather naked move.  A flagrant invasion of Turkey’s sphere of influence, which can only bring a Turkish response.

Ignoring Israel’s complete domination / Amira Hass
Haaretz 26 Mar — Israel’s position in its periodic report to the donor-coordination group for the Palestinian Authority reminds one of the boy who kills his parents and then demands an orphan’s pension. Israel describes the failings of the Palestinian economy as if the colonialist occupation is not their primary cause. The authors of the report express the view that the dependence of the Palestinian Authority on foreign aid will not diminish in the coming years. In doing so, they are showing disrespect for the intelligence of the donor countries’ representatives, who met last week in Brussels. Who better than these delegates knows the great service the family of nations is doing to Israel by providing massive, ongoing aid to the Palestinians? Taxpayers around the world are the ones who are relieving Israel of its obligations as an occupying power and repairing the damage it is causing.

Traces of the Nakba: Book review of ‘Stone, Paper’
972blog 27 Mar — Despite attempts to conceal the memory of stones in the village of Hunin, papers in the kibbutz archives left a trail revealing the hidden war. In his bold book, Stone, Paper, Tomer Gardi places history in its present, as a driving political force, while rejecting the practice of historical writing. By Yehouda Shenhav | Translated by Dana G. Peleg

Dutch author finds love of walking in Palestine / Charlotte Alfred
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — Three years ago, a Dutch economic adviser to the Middle East Quartet set off into the wilds of the northern Jordan Valley to find a mountain biking route. His book Walking Palestine is published this month, 125 West Bank walks later. Stefan Szepesi, 32, never found a place to mountain bike. Instead, Palestine converted him to the art of walking. “I always thought walking was for old people … I found my love for walking here,” Szepesi told Ma‘an. The book compiles 25 walking itineraries, with hiking maps, detailed directions, and local attractions on the way. “These are the first Palestinian-created hiking maps,” Szepesi said, who worked with local mappers Applied Research Institute — Jerusalem. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

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

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2 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    March 28, 2012, 5:28 pm

    “The proposal calls for the relocation of up to 30,000 Bedouin from areas not recognized by the government as residential locations.”

    Hopefully when the Israelis talk about “shipping them to the East” they use the correct accent.

  2. Mayhem
    March 29, 2012, 9:21 am

    Let’s remember the forced resettlement of Petra’s Bedouin (refer ) or the Nubeans in Egypt for some perspective on this issue instead of all this emotive claptrap about Israel’s Bedouin population.

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