and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
UN says Israel destroys Palestinian Bedouin homes
AFP 22 Apr — UN agencies in the occupied West Bank said on Sunday that Israel last week destroyed 21 homes of Palestinian Bedouin refugees, making 54 people including 35 children homeless. A joint statement from the refugee agency UNRWA and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs condemned the April 18 demolition of the structures at Khalayleh north of Jerusalem, along with the removal the same day of refugees from two houses in annexed east Jerusalem.
Official: Israel demolishes Bedouin village in Negev
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village Al-Araqib on Monday for the 37th time, a political official who witnessed the demolition said. The Palestinian residents began to immediately rebuild the site, after forces left just a mosque and cemetery standing, PFLP official Ayman Odeh said on return from the village.
Israeli soldiers raze land near Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 22 Apr — Israeli soldiers accompanied with bulldozers Sunday razed agricultural land in the village of Qalandia, northwest of Jerusalem, said witnesses. They said that Israeli authorities declared intentions to take over 400 dunums to build and expand the Separation Wall to separate the area from Ramallah and Jerusalem and build Talmudic gardens that serve Israeli settlements’ plans. Local sources pointed out that Israeli authorities took over 4000 dunums, leaving only 1000 dunums of the villages’ land, in an attempt to completely isolate the village from Jerusalem.
Settlers take over land, divide it among them
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 23 Apr — Dozens of Jewish settlers Monday raided a Palestinian land in the town of Taqoa, in the Bethlehem area, conducted a land survey and decided to divide the land among themselves, according to an official. Head of Taqoa local council, Taysir Abu Mofreh, told WAFA that settlers from Romaan settlement surrounded a 60-durum plot of land with fence, began conducting a land survey and then divided it between them. The land belongs to a number of Palestinian families and is planted with olive trees.
Settlers raid land, cut down trees in Tulkarem
TULKAREM (WAFA) 23 Apr — Jewish settlers from the settlement of Avni Heifetz Monday raided a piece of land and cut down dozens of olive trees belonging to a Palestinian resident in an area north of Tulkarem, according to witnesses. They said settlers protected by Israeli soldiers used chainsaws to cut down the olive trees, causing severe damage to trees.
Soldiers demolish two wells north of Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 23 Apr — Israeli soldiers Monday demolished two wells in the town of Halhoul, north of Hebron, said local sources … Palestinian farmers said the soldiers demolished the two wells because they were located in an Area-C.
Israel threatens to close school to protect settlers
HEBRON (WAFA) 23 Apr — Israel threatened to close a Palestinian school in the southern Hebron hills under the pretext of “protecting the security of Israeli settlers,” the school principal said Monday. Wajeh al-Adrah, headmaster of Zif elementary school, told WAFA that the Israeli commander of the southern region threatened to close the school “permanently” to secure the safety of several illegal Israeli settlements constructed in the southern hills.
UN: Israel displaced 67 Palestinians in a week
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — Israel forcibly displaced 67 Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem over the last week, UN agencies said Sunday. On Wednesday, Israeli forces evicted two Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina. Jewish settlers moved into the homes the same day. Also on Wednesday, Israeli authorities destroyed the homes of seven families in al-Khalayleh in East Jerusalem, displacing them for the third time in six months. A day later, Israeli forces demolished and confiscated emergency tents provided to the families by humanitarian organizations, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Relief and Works Agency said in a joint statement. UNRWA’s director in the West Bank Felipe Sanchez said the forced evictions broke international law.
A Zionist march calls to speed up the ‘Temple’ construction
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 23 Apr — Zionist groups organized, on Sunday, a march under the name “March of the Doors” that marks the start of the Hebrew month, touring Old City’s alleyways in Jerusalem, chanting slogans against Arabs and Muslims, and calling to speed up the construction of the alleged ‘Temple’ … The march was organized by Har Hamor organization, entitled “the return to the Temple Mount to build the temple and offer sacrifices,” and protected by the occupation forces.
Google Street View catches the beauty and hardships of Jerusalem’s Old City
Haaretz 23 Apr — Jerusalem was photographed by the Google team in October and November of 2011, using its specially-adapted vehicle … But the software also provides a glimpse of Jerusalem that goes beyond simple directions. A look at the details also reveals the deeper veins of political and social tensions running through the capital. For example, the Google vehicle unknowingly documented the birth of a new enclave in East Jerusalem, when, as it navigated the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina, it encountered the right-wing activist Aryeh King … Google’s cameras also reveal Jerusalem’s endless ruptures – the separation fence in Abu Dis with graffiti in English reading “the hands that build can also tear down.”
Video: The last Christian village in the Holy Land
’60 Minutes Overtime’ 22 Apr — This week, veteran 60 Minutes producer Harry Radliffe threw Overtime a real plum: the story of Taybeh. He and correspondent Bob Simon stumbled on the tiny village of Taybeh while they were in the West Bank, reporting on the Holy Land’s vanishing population of Christians. What makes Taybeh the last all-Christian village in the Holy Land? The village has no mosque and is home to three distinct Christian communities: Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholics. Taybeh’s roots are deep, and for Christians, important: the biblical name of the village is Ephraim.
The Wall, 10 years on / Part 4: Trapped on the wrong side / Haggai Matar
972mag 21 Apr — This is exactly the kind of thing that planners of the route hoped to avoid: having Palestinians who are barred from entering Israel trapped on the ‘Israeli’ side of the fence. Yet in its long and winding route, the fence engulfs some 35,000 Palestinians who describe their new lives as a daily prison … “We live in something that is part jail, part hell,” Qasab Sha’ur says bitterly. Sha’ur is a resident of Arab a-Ramadin, and has to go through the fence at least once or twice a day. “Our village is small, just 500 people, and it had no hospital or clinic, no school, no big shops or workplaces, so everything requires crossing the checkpoint. But going through can take an hour, at best…”
Egypt parliament demands Mufti quit over Jerusalem trip
CAIRO (Reuters) 22 Apr — Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament on Sunday called on the Mufti to quit after a visit to Jerusalem, stepping up pressure on the state-appointed official over a trip that critics say bestowed recognition of Israeli control of the city. Mufti Ali Gomaa’s trip to East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, has caused a stir in Egypt and across the Arab region, where he has been criticized for a visit that has revived debate about normalization with Israel.
Israeli split over outposts
Government panel legalizes three settlement outposts
JPost 23 Apr — A special ministerial committee decided Monday night to legalize the three West Bank outposts of Rehalim, Bruchin and Sansana. The move comes even as the government continues to search for a solution to the Ulpana neighborhood in Bet El, which the Supreme Court said must be evacuated by April 20 because it was built on private Palestinian land.
Barak: Beit El has alternative land for Ulpana neighborhood
Ynet 22 Apr — Is the defense minister looking to reach a compromise with settlers in Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood? Ehud Barak said in Sunday’s cabinet meeting, “We have found 22 dunam in Beit El which can under certain circumstances, if and when planning is completed, serve as a spot where alternative structures can be built, if the need arises.” … According to a High Court ruling, the State is required to evict the Ulpana neighborhood by May 1 after it was established it was created on private Palestinian land.
PM struggles to find solution for Ulpana
Ynet 22 Apr — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his aides Saturday to devise a legal solution that will thwart the pending eviction of settlers residing in the Ulpana neighborhood, in the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Netanyahu’s position on the matter contradicts those put forward by the Judiciary and the defense establishment, which stated that the land on which the settlers’ housing units were built is “unfit for housing.” … Earlier Saturday Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon warned that the ramifications of Ulpana’s eviction may destabilize the Coalition to the point of the government’s collapse.
Settlement row flares
Tel Aviv (Sydney Morning Herald) 24 Apr — Several senior ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition are threatening to dismantle the government and force early general elections if 30 Israeli homes in a West Bank settlement are demolished. The Environment Minister, Gilad Erdan, and the Minister for Transport, Yisrael Katz, have joined ranks with Mr Netanyahu’s deputy, Moshe Ya’alon, against the Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, who is overseeing the evacuation of the Ulpana outpost. Speaking at a cultural event in the country’s south at the weekend, Mr Ya’alon appeared resigned to the government’s inevitable collapse, laying the blame for its disintegration squarely on Mr Barak, whom he said had ”taken the Defence Ministry and made it a political tool at the expense of the settlers”.
Israeli Terrorism / Raids / Violent Suppression of Peaceful Protest
Pregnant woman hospitalized following army raid on home
HEBRON (WAFA) 21 Apr – A pregnant Palestinian woman was admitted to hospital in Yatta, south of Hebron, after Israeli soldiers had raided her home to arrest her husband, medical sources said Saturday … Mahmoud Daoud, the woman’s father-in-law, said that the soldiers broke down the doors of the house and forced their way inside in a very violent manner to a point that terrorized his pregnant daughter-in-law causing her bleeding and abdominal pain … The army arrested Daoud’s son, Sayid, 32, without explaining to the family the reason for his arrest.
Israeli soldiers assault Palestinian family near Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 23 Apr — Israeli soldiers Monday assaulted a Palestinian family in the village of Qalandia, northwest of Jerusalem, during attempts to confiscate its property, said witnesses. They said that clashes erupted between the family and soldiers when they tried to force the family members out of their homes and confiscate an adjacent garden. Israeli authorities earlier announced a plan to take over 400 dunums of land to build and expand the Apartheid Wall in order to separate Qalandia from Ramallah and Jerusalem and build parks.
Many Palestinians suffer suffocation in Israeli raid near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 22 Apr – Several Palestinians Sunday suffered from suffocation due to gas inhalation after Israeli soldiers fired tear gas inside Palestinian houses in Fahmah, a village south of Jenin, according to security sources. They told WAFA that clashes erupted between the soldiers and some youth in the village, following the Israeli attack on the residents. The youth threw stones, to which soldiers responded with firing tear gas canisters at them.
Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers raided the nearby towns of ‘Arraba and Kafr Ra‘i, as well as put up a flying checkpoint south of Jenin, searched Palestinian vehicles and checked the passengers’ identification papers. No arrests were reported.
Press Release: Five Palestinian shepherds arrested during a nonviolent demonstration in South Hebron Hills
Operation Dove 22 Apr — At-Tuwani – On April 21st five Palestinian shepherds were arrested by the Israeli army and police in Meshaha Hill during a demonstration attended by Palestinians, Israeli activists and international volunteers. At 8:45 am, about 80 people between Palestinians, Israelis and international volunteers gathered in Kharrouba Valley and Meshaha Hill, nearby At-Tuwani village, for a pacific demonstration, in occasion of the harvest. About 20 Palestinians were harvesting barley and 7 shepherds were grazing their flocks. The gathering attracted several settlers from the illegal outpost, which provokingly came near the presents, and a large number of Israeli soldiers, in particular police, army, DCO (District Coordination Office) and Border Police.
Israeli forces storm town in Jenin, confrontations erupt
JENIN (WAFA) 23 Apr — Confrontations erupted Monday between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the town of Silat al Harithiya, west of Jenin in the northern West Bank, according to security sources. They told WAFA that forces stormed the town provoking residents who responded by throwing rocks at them, leading to confrontations. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, forces stormed the western Jenin village of Ta‘nak [Ti‘nnik?] and set up a temporary military checkpoint between the villages of Rummana and Zububa, stopping and searching Palestinian vehicles. No arrests were reported.
One boy’s story: Palestinian-Cuban teen kidnapped in night raid, abused by Israeli army
EI 23 Apr — On April 18, during the night, about 200 Israeli occupation soldiers descended on the village of Burin, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, arresting 10 teenage boys. One of them is a 17 year-old Palestinian-Cuban high school senior called Qais Bilal Muhammad Omran … Qais and one of his siblings were born in Havana, where his parents met while his father was studying medicine. Qais holds a Cuban passport. Qais, his mother told me, is a studious boy who has never been in trouble. He is musical and plays the organ — so well that he earns extra money performing at weddings and parties. He plans to study music after graduating from high school …The Israeli forces made him walk to the nearest settlement [about 2 kms] with his hands shackled, and also forced him to run. There were about 15 soldiers and another detainee from the same village walking with him. He reported that they tried to scare him multiple times by yelling at him and continuously insulting him. They also tightened the shackles and played with their guns around him and near his head. One of the soldiers was yelling in Arabic: “Shoot, shoot”.
Impunity under the law: Settler attack in Jabari neighborhood
ISM 22 Apr by ‘Paige’ — Marwan Borqan always locks the main door to his house at night. Late at night, soldiers will often knock at his door, ‘checking,’ they say, although Marwan has never known what they are checking for. That is why he did not find it unusual when he heard a loud banging at his front door at 10:30pm on Wednesday night. However, this time it was not the Israeli army but an Israeli settler from the nearby illegal settlement of Givat Ha’avot. As soon as Marwan opened the door he was violently punched and kicked by the settler, who then dragged him out the door. Outside the beating continued, causing Marwan to fall down a flight of stairs as other settlers, the settlement security guard, and Marwan’s shocked children looked on.
Settlers attack school, injure 8 students near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 23 Apr — Israeli settlers from Yitzhar settlement, south of Nablus, Monday raided the nearby village of Urif and attacked the local school, injuring eight students, according to a local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said a group of settlers attacked the school with tear gas canisters, causing suffocation to eight students. They received medical treatment at the scene.
Activism / Solidarity
Palestinian women take back spring as settlers, soldiers look on
[photos] 972mag 22 Apr by Haggai Matar — For the first time in years, a group of Palestinian women was able to reach the Nabi Saleh spring, which was taken over long ago by settlers. The women vowed to return, hoping to hold on to the spring. Every Friday for the past three years or so, Nabi Saleh residents, along with Israeli and international supporters, have been demonstrating against the theft of their lands by settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish. At the focus of the struggle is the attempt to reach the Al-Kous spring, which was taken over by settlers in recent years. Week after week, demonstrators march toward the spring, but are stopped by soldiers who disperse them with tear gas (sometimes aimed directly at protesters and once resulting on the death of a Nabi Saleh resident) with “skunk” water, severe beatings, arrests and more.
On Sunday, for the first time in years, a group of roughly 30 Palestinian women was able to make it to the spring. The group was made up of local women, who were joined by activists from other villages, and supporters from Ramallah and Jerusalem. Soldiers and settlers who arrived at the scene did not stop the women from picnicking around the spring.
IOF soldiers advance in northern Gaza amidst random shooting
GAZA (PIC) 23 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) infiltrated into northern Gaza Strip to the east of Beit Hanun town on Monday amidst indiscriminate shooting. Local sources said that the IOF soldiers in four army tanks escorted two bulldozers into the area and fired at farmers as the bulldozers leveled land. The armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said its fighters managed to blast an explosive device near one of the bulldozers.
Earlier today, IOF troops fired artillery shells at agricultural land to the east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.
Ministry: Groom dies from generator fumes in Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — A man died hours before his wedding on Saturday in the northern Gaza Strip from smoke inhalation, the Health Ministry said. Ayman Sammur, from the Shekih Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, was poisoned by carbon monoxide emitted by an electricity generator which was operating in a small room, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidrah told Ma‘an.
Israeli navy intercepts ship at sea
NAZARETH (PIC) 23 Apr — The Israeli navy intercepted a ship in the Mediterranean on Sunday night on suspicion of smuggling weapons to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli TV channel Ten quoted military sources as saying that special navy forces launched the operation. The sources said that the vessel was controlled 260 kilometers off the shores of Palestine occupied in 1948, adding that the forces searched the ship but did not find weapons.
Army: Rocket reports ‘false alarm’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — Alarms rang in southern Israel on Monday, but no rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip, an Israeli military spokesman said. Israeli news site Ynet reported earlier that a rocket from Gaza landed in an open area of the Shaar Hanegev region.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers will begin teaching Hebrew in schools
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 23 Apr — A senior Hamas official in Gaza says the territory’s militant rulers intend to begin teaching Hebrew for high school students beginning next year. Ziad Thabet, the education ministry undersecretary, said Monday the government is trying to find and train teachers. He says students should be introduced to as many languages as possible. Hebrew, the chief language of Israelis, is now only offered as a university course. Thabet says the Gaza government still needs to approve the decision, but it is likely to go ahead.
Israel court rejects hunger strikers’ detention appeal
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — An Israeli military court refused an appeal by long-term hunger-strikers Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diyab to end their detention without charge, prisoners groups said Monday. Muhjat al-Quds society for the defense of prisoners said Ofer military court rejected the appeal against the prisoners administrative detention, on the 56th day of their hunger-strike. Lawyer Jamil Khatib will now take their petitions to Israel’s Supreme Court, Addameer Director Sahar Francis told Ma‘an. The Sunday rulings show the negotiations to end the prisoners’ hunger strike have failed, as they refused Israel’s suggestion to deport them to Gaza, she added.
Israel holding 1,350 hunger-striking Palestinians
AFP 22 Apr — At least 1,350 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails are observing an open-ended hunger strike, the Israeli Prisons Service said on Sunday, after another 150 inmates began refusing food. “There are now 1,350 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike,” said Sivan Weizman, spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service (IPS). “An additional 150 prisoners joined the hunger strike over the weekend, bringing the total number of prisoners on hunger strike to 1,350,” she told AFP.
Palestinian hunger strikes draw attention to Israeli detention practice
ARRABA, West Bank (Washington Post) 23 Apr — A stream of visitors passes through a simple concrete house in this sleepy village, bearing tribute plaques, floral bouquets and plaudits for a soft-spoken man who has become the latest icon for the Palestinian cause. Khader Adnan arrived home on Wednesday morning following his detention without charge in an Israeli military prison, an early release he brokered by refusing food for 66 days and bringing himself to the brink of death. To many Palestinians, that made Adnan, an alleged activist of the militant group Islamic Jihad, a victor over the Israeli occupation, as well as inspiration: Half a dozen other Palestinian political prisoners are weeks into fasts of their own, and at least 1,200 more embarked on hunger strikes last week. The tactic is not new. But some supporters say the current campaign, which has drawn international attention, could force changes to what they deem unfair and illegal Israeli detention policies — if, that is, large numbers of detainees go as far as Adnan.
Israel punishes Palestinian hunger strikers
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) 23 Apr — Israel has taken measures against some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike, denying them family visits and separating them from inmates not taking part in the protest, prison authorities said on Monday. The open-ended strike, dubbed the “battle of empty stomachs” by organizers, began last Tuesday. The prisoners are demanding better jail conditions and for Israel to end detention without trial for Palestinians suspected of security offences.
Sheikh Abu Hija and his two sons launch a hunger strike in occupation prisons
JENIN (PIC) 22 Apr — The family of Sheikh Jamal Abu al-Hija from the Jenin Camp expressed their support for Sheikh Jamal and his two sons Abdul Salam and Hamza after announcing they were joining the mass hunger strike that was launched in the Prisoners’ Day (17 April)
MP Natshe joins hunger strike
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 22 Apr — Wife of detained Hamas MP Mohammed Jamal Al-Natshe has said that her husband joined the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike on Saturday. Ahlam Al-Natshe said that her husband phoned her at a late Saturday night hour and told her he joined the strike along with all Nafha internees. Natshe was arrested on 30-11-2011 and held since then in administrative detention. His detention was renewed for three times.
Detainee says he will join hunger strike in letter to family
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — A Palestinian detainee said Monday that he intended to join other hunger strikers in their protest against prison conditions. Muhammad Nayfah wrote to friends and family from Shatta prison in Tulkarem to tell them that he was frustrated about the suffering of other hunger strikers and intended to join them on Monday. Muhammad Nayfah said in the letter that he intended to go on hunger strike in the style of Irish hunger strikers, which he said meant abstaining from all food and drink.
Political detention / Court actions
21 Apr — MachsomWatch has recently published the English edition of a new report entitled “Invisible Prisoners: Don’t Know Why and There’s Nowhere to Turn,” which can be downloaded at http://machsomwatch.org/en/summaries_subject “Invisible Prisoners”g relates to the deeply disturbing experience of tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians who are blacklisted by the General Security Services (commonly known as the Shabak) and are thus prevented from obtaining permits to enter Israel or the Israeli settlements in the West Bank for work or trading purposes — in other words, from making a living to support their families. Being on the Shabak blacklist also leads to difficulties in gaining entry into Israel for other purposes, such as seeking medical treatment at one of the Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, family visits, and other personal needs that require passing through checkpoints. In addition, some people on the Shabak blacklist are not allowed to travel abroad.
Israeli court ‘grants journalist bail after video evidence’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — An Israeli military court released a Palestinian journalist on bail after seeing a video showing him rushing to the aid of his wife at a West Bank demonstration, a popular committee said on Sunday. Bilal Tamimi, an independent journalist, was detained by Israeli forces at a popular protest in Ramallah-district village Nabi Saleh on Friday.
Israel replenishing its jails with peaceful Arab students / Khalid Amayreh
PIC 23 Apr — In an effort to scuttle Palestinian resistance, including peaceful opposition, to the harsh Israeli occupation, Israel has been arresting dozens of Palestinian college students, ostensibly for involvement in peaceful political activism on their college campuses. The semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority is nearly totally powerless to stop daily Israeli arrest raids on Palestinian population centers in the West Bank. In recent weeks, the Israeli occupation army, in coordination, with the Shin Beth, Israel’s chief domestic security agency, stepped up a detention campaign targeting Islamist students at junior colleges and universities all over the occupied territory. It is not exactly known how many students have been rounded up in these nightly raids. However, sources close to human rights organizations and NGOs monitoring Israeli human rights violations put the number at “dozens if not hundreds.”
PA security sources reveal rise in the number of Palestinians working as agents for Israeli intelligence
MEMO 23 Apr — A high-ranking security official in the Palestinian Authority [PA] has revealed an “alarming increase” in the number of Palestinians working as agents for Israeli security bodies. He noted the existence of dubious organizations and extremely well-funded foreign entities with covert agendas and the direct objective of discouraging the nationalist spirit of the Palestinian youth. On Sunday, April 22, the official Palestinian News Agency, which is affiliated to the PA, quoted a source as saying that there is a “satanic intelligence war being waged by Israel against the Palestinian people.” The source also added that the number of Palestinians recruited by the Israeli Shin Bet between 2000 and 2006 far exceeds the number of those recruited from 1967 to 2000.
Boy, 15, to appear in court for the 8th time
PSP 22 Apr — Basel Abu Maria was arrested on March 6, 2012, when a total of sixty soldiers in ten military jeeps raided houses in Beit Ommar at 2 a.m. He was taken by the soldiers without getting time to put on more clothes in the cold night. This was of course a frightening happening for the whole family. Especially for Basel’s little sister, who now is scared at night, not wanting to go to the toilet alone. She and the other siblings talk about their big brother every day. That same night, two other boys were arrested, with another three the following night. None of these boys have received a sentence, but are still imprisoned. Basil is charged for throwing stones and for participating in demonstrations. But having already met in Ofer court seven times since being arrested, it is obvious Israel has nothing on him.
IOF soldiers arrest five students including two females in Al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 23 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested five Palestinian students from their homes in Al-Khalil at dawn Monday including two young women, local sources said. They said that IOF soldiers broke into the family home of Fatima Sidir, a student at Al-Khalil University, and took her away after searching the house. Fatima along with her mother and two of her brothers were summoned by the PA preventive security for participating in rallies in support of political detainees. One of her brothers and her fiancé are held in Israeli custody.
IOF soldiers arrested another female student in Al-Khalil city at dawn Monday from her home. Afnan Ramadan is a student at Polytechnic Palestine.
Israeli forces seize at least 10 in West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — Israeli forces detained at least ten Palestinians throughout the West Bank overnight Sunday, according to witnesses and military officials … An Israeli military spokeswoman said five people were detained in Hebron, among ten seized overnight. Palestinians were also detained in Ramallah and nearby towns Deir Qadis and al-Bireh, as well as Bethlehem refugee camps al-Duheisha and al-Aida. Local officials said another four were detained in the West Bank.[3 in Beit Ummar and one in Yatta]
Racism / Discrimination
Ethiopian demonstrators claim double standard on right to protest outside Netanyahu’s home
Haaretz 22 Apr — The authorities say Ethiopian Israelis’ protest camp near the Prime Minister’s Residence is disturbing the neighbors. Funny, they never said that about other demonstrations.
Ivory Coast citizens protest May deportation
Ynet 22 Apr — Some 150 Ivory Coast citizens gathered at the Cinematheque Plaza in Tel Aviv on Sunday to demand an extension of a deadline for their deportation, citing security concerns in their country. “What is happening in the Ivory Coast is out of our control. All we ask is a little more time,” they said … Other signs read: “Deportation of refugees=death” and “You were refugees once too.”
Mystery surrounds Righteous Gentile who saved dozens of Jews
Haaretz 20 Apr — The body of Polish Col. Wladyslaw Kowalski lay in the morgue of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv for five days. Nowhere in the country could a cemetery be found that would agree to his final request to be buried “alongside Jews.” The rabbinate was unwilling to compromise on its principles so that a Christian could be buried in a Jewish cemetery. The fact that he had been declared one of the “Righteous Among the Nations,” who had saved some 50 Jews during the Holocaust, among them his future wife, was not sufficient to change that decision
Politics / Diplomacy
Report: ‘Silent crisis’ between Abbas, Fayyad
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — A crisis has emerged between President Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad over the latter’s refusal to deliver a letter to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu last week, Al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Monday. The London based paper said that a “silent crisis” has emerged between the leaders after Fayyad backed out of a meeting last Tuesday. The PA prime minister was reluctant to engage with Israel on a day when more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike in protest against their conditions in Israeli jails, senior Palestinian officials said. President Abbas has not been responding to the prime minister’s phone-calls, Al-Quds al-Arabi reported. A number of Palestinian officials contacted by Ma’an refused to comment on the report.
Fatah committee in Gaza includes women, few youth
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — Fatah selected a new leadership committee in the Gaza Strip, officials announced late Sunday, including three women members, but not the strong youth showing that had been pledged. Fatah’s Gaza 20-member office is appointed by the central committee, in particular committee member tasked with Gaza affairs Nabil Shaath.
Clampdown on Palestinian media spreads to the Web
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — The Palestinian Authority has quietly instructed Internet providers to block access to news websites whose reporting is critical of President Mahmoud Abbas, according to senior government officials and data analyzed by network security experts. As many as eight news outlets have been rendered unavailable to many Internet users in the West Bank, after technicians at the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, or PalTel, tweaked an open source software called Squid to return error pages, a detailed technical analysis indicates. Several small companies are using a similar setup.
AP interview: Top Palestinian warns Israeli it may be headed toward a single, non-Jewish state
ABU DIS, West Bank 23 Apr — With gloom deepening over prospects for peace, a leading Palestinian is suggesting they might drop the “two-state solution” that has underpinned two decades of negotiations, aiming for Israel and a Palestinian state next to each other. Instead, Palestinians might seek a multi-ethnic state covering all of historic Palestine — including today’s Israel, said former Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia in an interview at his office in this West Bank town.
Israeli president: Israel missed chances for peace
JERUSALEM (AP) 23 Apr — Israeli President Shimon Peres says his country has missed opportunities to forge a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians. Peres told Haaretz daily Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is “a worthy partner (who) can deliver the goods.” He blamed the deadlock on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he does not believe in negotiations.
Turkey says Israel not welcome at NATO summit
(Reuters) 23 Apr — Turkey has refused to allow Israel to take part in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not apologized for the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a raid on a ship taking aid to Palestinians, a Turkish official said on Monday.
Israeli military chief: Covert operations on the rise
AntiWar 22 Apr by Jason Ditz — In an interview published today, Israeli military chief of staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz says that the IDF has dramatically increased the number of covert operations against “enemy countries” across the world. “You almost won’t find a point in time where something isn’t happening somewhere in the world,” Gantz said. “I am escalating all those special operations.” Naturally, since these are covert operations Gantz provided no details. This is in stark contrast to reports late last month from Mossad, however, as the Israeli spy agency was said to have scaled back its assassination campaigns in Iran at the order of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, amid fear that the attacks might “go awry.”
Israel to start work on Lebanon border wall: report
AFP 23 Apr — Israel is to start building a wall along part of its border with Lebanon next week to shield the northern town of Metulla, Channel 10 television reported on Monday. It said the wall, more than two kilometres (over a mile) long and 10 metres (33 feet) high, was also aimed at preventing clashes between Israeli and Lebanese border forces whose posts are often just metres (yards) apart.
Former Mossad chief lends support to Camp Sucker protests
JPost 23 Apr — Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan visited Camp Sucker (“Frier”) in Jerusalem on Monday to lend support to protesters demanding that the IDF broaden its base of inductees by drafting more within minority communities, Army Radio reported. [Why such a name? Note that many Israelis reportedly have an exaggerated fear of being seen as a ‘sucker’, someone who is taken advantage of. This fear does not promote acts of mercy.]
FM: Reports Israel obtained Azeri airfields are fiction
JPost 23 Apr — Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, currently visiting Azerbaijan, dismissed reports that Israel had obtained airbases there to assist in an attack on Iran as “science fiction” and a “James Bond story.” … The US magazine Foreign Policy ran an article last month claiming that Israel had gained access to Azerbaijan airfields to facilitate a possible attack on Iran.
Israel and Egypt say gas row not political
JERUSALEM/CAIRO (Reuters) 23 Apr — Israel’s prime minister on Monday played down Egypt’s termination of a gas supply deal after the Israeli finance minister said the move cast a shadow over the peace agreement between the two countries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the cancellation of the contract supplying Israel with 40 percent of its gas needs, announced on Sunday, resulted from a business rather than a diplomatic dispute. Egyptian officials also said it was a trade issue, although there have been growing public calls for Egypt to review ties with Israel … Minister of International Cooperation Faiza Abu el-Naga said Israel was welcome to negotiate a new contract.
Peres concerned over violence in society
JPost 23 Apr – President Shimon Peres expressed concern at mounting violence at all levels of Israel’s society, during an address Monday evening at the Hebrew University’s amphitheater where 26 outstanding members of the Israel Police were singled out for recognition. Referring to recent incidents of violence on the sports field, Peres said that violence was not confined to sport alone, but could be seen at all levels of society. He listed as examples domestic violence, road rage, violence in schools and most recently violence on the football field after the game was over.
USAID funds building school in Jalazon Refugee Camp
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 Apr — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Saturday announced funding of the building of a school in the Ramallah-area Jalazon refugee camp in an area under full Israeli control, known as Area C. The construction will cost $1.7 million. Speaking at a press conference in Jalazon, assistant administrator for the Middle East bureau in USAID, Mara Rudman, said the girls’ school project, which will be implemented by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), will provide education to more than 1000 students and that the school will be equipped with modern classrooms, science labs and needed facilities. [Hmm, Area C, so will the Israeli dare demolish something built by the Americans?]
Video: ’60 Minutes’ profiles Palestinian Christians, Michael Oren falls on his face / Adam Horowitz
Mondo 22 Apr — The above story ran on 60 Minutes tonight. It’s a powerful piece showing life under occupation, and a damning portrait of Michael Oren as the chief spokesperson for Israel’s unjust control over the West Bank. On the onerous permit regime that limits freedom of movement and defines Palestinian existence in the occupied territories Oren says, “It’s their inconvenience, it’s our survival.” Oren tries to blame the dwindling Christian community in the West Bank on Islamic extremism, and Palestinian Christians interviewed nearly break out laughing. Not surprisingly, Oren calls Israel’s Christian critics anti-Semites.
But perhaps the most revealing part of the show was Bob Simon sharing that Oren had complained to CBS News head Jeff Fager before the segment had even been aired, calling it “a hatchet job.”
[At one point in the video is the following voiceover: “Israel built the wall over the last 10 years, which completely separates Israel from the Occupied West Bank. The wall was built to stop Palestinian terrorists from getting into Israel, and it’s worked. Terrorism has gone down 90%.” The Wall, of course, is not why this happened. See the excellent analysis by ‘anonymouscomments’ in the comments section of the Mondo article.]
Netanyahu was briefed on efforts to stop ’60 Minutes’ report on Israel’s Christians
Haaretz 23 Apr by Barak Ravid — The attempts by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren to halt the broadcast of a “60 Minutes” investigative report on the Christian community in Israel and the West Bank were carried out after a series of consultations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political adviser Ron Dermer. It is unclear whether Netanyahu or Dermer were the ones who instructed or suggested that Oren directly address the president of CBS in an attempt to prevent the broadcast, but the two were fully informed on the affair almost since its start.
60 Minutes on the plight of Palestinian Christians
The Atlantic 23 Apr by Robert Wright — Last night’s 60 Minutes segment about the plight of Christians in the West Bank has gotten a lot of attention, in part because of the attempt by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren to intervene with CBS brass while the segment was being put together. (See the 11-minute point in the video below, where CBS correspondent Bob Simon confronts Oren with this fact.) You can see why Oren might rather the piece hadn’t aired. Things that Palestinian Muslims routinely say about the Israeli occupation may get more traction in America when Palestinian Christians say them. Such as this, from a Christian clergyman: “The West Bank is becoming more and more like a piece of Swiss cheese, where Israel gets the cheese–that is, the land the water resources, the archaeological sites, and the Palestinians are pushed in the holes.”
US Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism visits Latvia
JPost 23 Apr — US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal completed a four-day visit to Latvia on Monday. During her stay the diplomat met with the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other local leaders over the Baltic nation’s role in combating anti-semitism and extremism. The next stop in her tour of northern Europe will be Sweden, where Rosenthal will meet the controversial mayor of Malmo Ilmar Reepalu, who has often offended the Jewish community in the city. [Who knew the US had such an envoy?!]
UN to investigate plight of US Native Americans for first time
Guardian 22 Apr by Ewen MacAskill in Washington — The UN human rights inquiry will focus on the living conditions of the 2.7 million Native Americans living in the US … The human rights inquiry led by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, is scheduled to begin on Monday. Many of the country’s estimated 2.7 million Native Americans live in federally recognised tribal areas which are plagued with unemployment, alcoholism, high suicide rates, incest and other social problems. The UN mission is potentially contentious, with some US conservatives likely to object to international interference in domestic matters. Since being appointed as rapporteur in 2008, Anaya has focused on natives of Central and South America.