Land theft / Ethnic cleansing
Israel to spend NIS 25 million on temporary housing for Migron settlers
Haaretz 6 Apr — The state is set to spend NIS 25 million to build a temporary housing site for Migron’s settlers, who have been ordered to leave the West Bank outpost by August. A team headed by cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser is due to meet Sunday to find a source for the money from the budget.
Palestinian held over Hebron home sale to settlers
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — A Palestinian man suspected of selling property to Israeli settlers in Hebron was detained by the national security forces following Wednesday’s evacuation of a building near the Old City. Israeli police evicted 15 settlers in the two-story structure which they said they had bought from a Palestinian. Security officials say the man — identified only by his initials, M.S. — originally from the Gaza Strip was involved in the effort to make the transaction, which would have been invalid under Palestinian law.
The occupation seeks to consolidate Jewish demographic domination in Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 6 Apr — A Jerusalemite committee condemned the occupation authorities’ declaration of building new housing units in occupied Jerusalem, and the opening of a new police station in the Mount of Olives, noting that it will build 872 settlement units in the “Har Homa” settlement, south of occupied Jerusalem, and another 180 units in “Givat Ze’ev” settlement in the north of the holy city, and the establishment of 69 housing units in the occupied Golan Heights. The occupation forces are continuing their arbitrary measures and their plans to Judaize Jerusalem and its sacred sites, the Islamic-Christian association to support Jerusalem and holy sites stated in a press statement
See and Hear: Israel to demolish Hebron Hills renewable energy / Jill Kestler-D’Amours
AIC 5 Apr — The Israeli Civil Administration – the Israeli military body that controls Area C of the occupied West Bank – has issued stop-work orders on solar panel and wind turbine systems in six separate communities in the South Hebron Hills. These orders in Area C are seen as the first step to demolishing the renewable energy systems entirely. The systems were installed by the Israeli group Community Electricity and Technology Middle East (COMET-ME), and funded in large part by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs … [Audio] Noam Dotan, COMET-ME co-founder, explains why the group constructed renewable energy sources in the South Hebron Hills community and how Israel is attempting to destroy this humanitarian work:
Israel: Palestinians cut off from farmlands
Jerusalem (Human Rights Watch) 5 Apr — A Year After Court Ruling, a Worsening Situation – A court ruling upholding a military permit system has had the result that a year later West Bank Palestinians in one affected area are virtually unable to work on their farmlands, Human Rights Watch said today, on the anniversary of the High Court of Justice ruling. The system, which requires Palestinians to obtain special military permits to access their lands on the “Israeli” side of the separation barrier in the West Bank, in effect treats all Palestinians living in or seeking to access farmlands in these areas as though they were security threats, and imposes unnecessarily severe restrictions on their access, harming their livelihoods, Human Rights Watch said. Such a system violates the requirement under international law that security measures must be narrowly tailored to the threat that they aim to meet.
In Photos: Bayt Jibrin — stolen beauty
AIC 5 Apr — Over 2,800 Palestinians from the Hebron-area village of Bayt Jibrin were expelled during the 1948 Middle East war. Today the area is an Israeli national park which erases the memory of its original inhabitants … In the 1947 UN Partition Plan, it was designated as part of the Arab state, but was occupied by Zionist forces during the 1948 Middle East war. The over 2,800 Bayt Jibrin inhabitants were deported during the war and today, many of these refugees and their descendants live in the ’Azza and Fawwar refugee camps in the southern West Bank. The kibbutz of Beit Guvrin was established on Bayt Jibrin’s lands in 1949. The residents of Bayt Jibrin left behind a life and an amazingly beautiful place that is today an Israeli national park. [unusual photos, worth seeing]
Restriction of movement
Israeli army closes West Bank checkpoints
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Apr — Israel’s military on Thursday issued a closure order affecting crossings into and out of the occupied West Bank, ahead of a Jewish holiday. “In accordance with the directives of the Minister of Defense and as part of the situation assessments in the IDF, a general closure will be implemented in the Judea and Samaria region,” a statement said. The closure will begin late Thursday and be lifted late Saturday “in accordance with security assessments,” the military said.
Pilgrims fill Jerusalem for Good Friday, Passover
JERUSALEM (AFP) 6 Apr — Christians and Jews in the Holy Land were set to begin marking their most important festivals of the year on Friday, with Good Friday and the Jewish holiday of Passover coinciding …thousands of Roman Catholics and Protestants were packed into the narrow alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City in processions marking the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter next Sunday after hold the Holy Fire ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre the previous day …Hundreds of Israeli police and border police carefully watched over the processions under the blazing sun. Ahead of the holidays, the Israeli military imposed a two-day closure on the West Bank, saying it would only allow Palestinians access into Israel for emergency medical or humanitarian reasons. At the same time, the army granted entry permits to 500 Christians living in the Gaza Strip for Israel and the West Bank, and allowed 20,000 Christians living in the West Bank to enter Israel over Easter, a statement from the military read.[???? not according to the Palestinians]
Arab Christians [no, West Bank Christians] denied chance to celebrate Good Friday
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 6 Apr – While Christians from all over the world were able to attend the Good Friday celebrations in the Old City of Jerusalem, Palestinian Christians were denied this opportunity. Israel has imposed a total closure on the occupied territories preventing Christians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip the chance to reach East Jerusalem to participate in the Good Friday procession. Military-issued permits granted to Christians that would have allowed them to reach Jerusalem to celebrate Easter were canceled as Israel has imposed a total closure on the occupied territories while Jews celebrate Passover, which starts Friday night ,,, The Arab Christians from Jerusalem and inside Israel, who participated in the procession, carried a large cross and sang hymns as they walked along Via Dolorosa on their way to the Holy Sepulcher Church.
What would a ‘safe passage’ between W. Bank, Gaza look like?
[with map] 982mag 5 Apr — …The absence of a ‘safe passage’ is by no means the only reason for the restrictions on travel between Gaza and the West Bank – Israel forbids passage even when Palestinians seek to access the West Bank from Gaza via Jordan, without entering Israel at all. A ‘safe passage’ could facilitate travel. AIX brings together senior researchers, individuals who have participated in negotiations and people experienced in Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s economic institutions with the aim of analyzing the economic aspects of a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The cost of the territorial link between Gaza and the West Bank has also been considered. AIX estimates that the project would cost about $700 million, in addition to $180 million for security arrangements.
Shalabi exposes the Gaza-West Bank divide / Daoud Kuttab
PNN 6 Apr — The end of Hana Shalabi’s 45-day hunger strike has produced mixed results, and has pointed out another underreported issue, the separation and difficulty of movement between Gaza and West Bank. Shalabi, like Khader Adnan before her, have done a great service to fellow Palestinians by exposing the undemocratic nature of administrative detention. It might be some time before it can be seen whether their struggle will reduce or totally end this kind of detention. By choosing to reside in Gaza for three years, Shalabi exposed what few people around the world realise, namely, that the unjust Israeli siege of Gaza also prevents 1.5 million ordinary Palestinians from the strip and over 2.5 million Palestinians from the West Bank to travel back and forth.
WATCH: The Separation Wall
972mag 5 Apr — A short [6 min.] film by Porter Speakman, Jr on the Separation Wall, and what makes it a tool of the occupation rather than just a security measure.
B’Tselem interactive map — The West Bank and the Gaza Strip
2 Apr — This complete, interactive map of the West Bank and Gaza includes information about Palestinian communities and Israeli settlements, checkpoints, the separation barrier, agricultural gates in the separation barrier, settlement zones in East Jerusalem, etc. Plus ongoing B’Tselem reports and video clips, organized by location.
Foreign support for settlements, occupation
English billionaire linked to Israeli settlers’ attempts to prove ownership over Migron outpost
Haaretz 6 Apr — Foreign residents are forbidden from buying lands in the West Bank, though English billionaire Cyril Stein has been linked to land purchases in Migron — In response to a 2006 Peace Now petition to evacuate the Migron outpost in the West Bank, the High Court of Justice ruled in 2007 that the land on which the Migron people were living was privately owned by Palestinians and the outpost had to be evacuated within a few months. It can be exclusively revealed here that the Migron settlers consequently organized a deal to buy land there with the help of English billionaire Cyril Stein. Stein, who died in February 2011, was a North London Jew who made his fortune from gambling (turning Ladbrokes into a multibillion business ). He funded the $100 million Mamilla complex in Jerusalem, and donated a lot of money to settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/english-billionaire-linked-to-israeli-settlers-attempts-to-prove-ownership-over-migron-outpost-1.422942
Commentary: Ros-Lehtinen opposing Christian tourism to Holy Land / Daoud Kuttab
4 Apr — The Palestinian people received some good news last month. After an eight-month delay, the hold placed on funds approved by Congress to Palestinians was lifted. This decision, however, came with some unusual conditions and restrictions … A second hold, placed by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, was only partially lifted, allowing for $88.6 million of the $147 million to be disbursed. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen conditioned the lifting of the hold with the understanding that the money not be used for assistance in Gaza. She also prohibited use for road construction projects in the West Bank, except if directly related to security. Finally, and bizarrely, she denied use for trade facilitation, tourism promotion, scholarships for Palestinian students and other aid for Palestinian Authority agencies and ministries.
Violence and raids
PCHR Weekly Report: ‘Three killed, dozens injured last week’ [29 Mar – 4 Apr]
IMEMC 6 Apr — …Israeli soldiers continued their systematic attacks against the Palestinians killing three residents, including one child, and wounding 73, including 18 children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. During the reported period, Israeli soldiers carried out 77 invasions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank in addition to 3 limited invasions into the Gaza Strip. During these invasions, soldiers kidnapped 28 Palestinians, including five children and one journalist. Full report
Shin Bet: Action against Jewish extremists has reduced attacks on Palestinians in West Bank
Haaretz 6 Apr — Shin Bet security service restraining orders take right-wing activists by surprise – Shin Bet security service officials say their actions against extreme right-wing activists have led to a significant reduction in violent incidents against Palestinians … The speakers attributed the reduction in violence − which they labeled ‘terror’ − to the restraining orders issued to 25 far-right activists, prohibiting them from entering the West Bank, as well as numerous indictments filed against the activists.
Palestinian man chased by settlers dies after his tractor crashes
NABLUS (PIC) 7 Apr — Fadi Zaitoun, from the village of Beita, south of Nablus, died late Thursday evening of injuries he sustained when his tractor crashed on its side as he was being chased by Jewish settlers from Yitzhar. Eyewitnesses said that Zaitoun was on his tractor ploughing village land when settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar started chasing him. As he tried to flee on his tractor, the tractor crashed on its side and he was critically injured. He was taken to Rafidya hospital in Nablus, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Armed settlers attack farmers near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 5 Apr – Armed Jewish settlers attacked on Thursday farmers near Aqraba, southeast of Nablus, according to a local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said settlers opened fire at farmers who were plowing their land in an area known as Wadi Yanoon without causing any injury. Farmers confronted the settlers and forced them to leave the area before Israeli soldiers had intervened and arrested one of the farmers and seized keys for the tractors used to plow the land.
Price tag actions follow Israeli eviction of Hebron settlers
AIC 5 Apr — Following Israel’s eviction of settlers on Wednesday from a downtown Hebron home they occupied last week, Hebron-area settlers conducted ‘price tag’ operations against Palestinian property in the area. Settlers set fire to several chairs in the protest tent of Hana Abu Haikal in the Tel Romeida area of downtown Hebron. The Abu Haikal family is the target of settler violence for years now as their home is located next to the Israeli settlement in Tel Romeida … Settlers further threw stones at several Palestinian homes in the Tel Romeida area. Yet even prior to Israel’s eviction of settlers from the building in Hebron, settlers from the Pene Hever settlement to the southeast of the Palestinian town of Bani Na‘em, located in the eastern Hebron district, attacked farmers who were cultivating their lands located near the settlement. Settlers started a fire in order to chase the farmers away, after which they damaged the wheels of the farmers’ tractors. This attack occurred despite permission from the Israeli civil administration for the farmers to work this land.
Why were undercover Israeli agents creeping inside a Palestinian village? / Charlotte Silver
EI 6 Apr — Last week, on 27 March, three brothers were shot in Rammoun village during an “Israeli raid,” and then taken to a Jerusalem hospital. A few days later, one of the brothers, Rashad Shawakha, age 28, died of his wounds. The event received little attention and the details of the so-called “raid” were not expounded. But Al-Haq, a Palestinian human and legal rights organization, has released important findings from its own investigation into the incident. Most unsettling was the discovery that the brothers were shot by Israeli soldiers in disguise. The day after the shooting, an Israeli intelligence officer (also in civilian clothes) told one of the brothers that “there had been a mistake and that the incident would be investigated.”
Tanks ‘open fire’ east of Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 Apr — Israeli tanks on Thursday opened fire in an open area east of Gaza City, locals said. Locals told Ma‘an they heard tank fire near the Israeli border. Emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said no injuries were reported.
Nablus City: Family left pleading in the night for their sons’ freedom
ISM West Bank 3 Apr by ‘Lydia’ — Essam Amer Ghassal,16 Khaled Beal Harabi, 22, Yousef Beal Harabi, 23: Three more names to be added to the political prisoner list, two more mothers to carry framed pictures of their children to prisoner awareness demonstrations. At 2 AM, on April 2nd the Israeli soldiers invaded an apartment block on An Najjah university road, Nablus city. They arrived at the homes of Essam, 16 and Khaled,22, friends who live just two floors apart. Both families were asked to step away from their door as the soldiers entered with force. Both families offered to open the doors for the soldiers, but the soldiers insisted on breaking the door down, preferring to use the force of their rifles to maximize damage. The shocked families were faced with 20 soldiers whose rifles [were] aimed [at] head height when the doors was opened.
They shoot the youth, don’t they? / Johnny Barber
OpEdNews 3 Apr — On this Land Day, I was at Erez Crossing. Several hundred youth had managed to find their way around the Hamas policemen blocking the roads leading to Erez. At the crossing, they moved to within 200 yards of the Israeli gate. There they found their path blocked by rows of concertina wire across the road. The shabob set fire to tires in the roadway and threw stones towards the Israeli wall, most falling into the roadway, well short of their target. Intermittently and without warning, the Israeli occupation forces open fire on the stone throwers. Each volley consists of one to three shots, and with each volley, young men fall. Others immediately retrieve them. Dozens of youth mob the wounded. Somehow they manage to carry them through the crowd and load them onto motorcycles where they are ferried to the Palestinian side of the crossing to waiting ambulances. I wonder about the young Israeli soldiers, picking their targets amongst the crowd and firing, like shooting fish in a barrel … And I wonder about the young stone throwers, completely exposed to the guns of the Israelis, knowing full well someone is going to be shot.
Israeli soldiers arrest 20 in a pre-dawn raid on Kufr Qaddoum
PSCC 5 Apr by Abir Kopty — Massive numbers of Israeli soldiers staged an extensive pre-dawn raid on the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddoum last night, storming over a dozen houses. Twenty individuals, aged 16 to 38 were motioned from their beds at gunpoint and arrested. Several of the raided houses were ransacked and left with extensive damage to their interiors. Soldiers have gone as far as pillaging gold jewelry estimated in thousands of shekels from the house belonging to Atta Shtawi, whose son Sabri was detained.
Adri Nieuwhof: Israel has murdered more political opponents than apartheid South Africa ever judicially executed
EI 6 Apr — This week the United Nations held an international meeting in Geneva on the question of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities. Professor John Dugard presented on the status of Palestinians who engage in resistance against Israeli oppression. Former Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Professor Dugard draws a parallel with the treatment of militant political opponents by South Africa’s apartheid regime and highlights the similarities between the two regimes. The below is a summary of Professor Dugard’s analysis.
Occupation forces storm Nafha prison and assault captives
GAZA (PIC) 5 Apr — The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs reported in an urgent statement, Thursday, that a brave prisoner at Nafha prison. Awadh al-Saidi attacked a jailer, in retaliation to the flagrant assault on the two leaders Abbas al-Sayed and Jamal Abu al-Hija, and as a rejection of the repressive policy of the prison administration. Consequently, the Police forces and Matsada forces were called and assaulted prisoner Saidi then took him to an unknown destination.
Report: Israeli hurt in attack near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — An Israeli national was injured by Palestinians late Thursday in the occupied West Bank, news reports said. The man was driving near al-Nabi Elias neighborhood of eastern Qalqiliya when Palestinians attacked him, Israel radio reported. The man was taken to hospital for treatment while Israeli forces combed the area, according to the report.
Coverage of hate crime against Jew highlights media biases / Mya Guarnieri
972mag 6 Apr — A group of Arab teenagers were indicted yesterday for the racially motivated shooting death of a 51-year-old Jewish man. Comparing coverage of a similar incident in 2011 – in which a Palestinian man was stabbed to death by Jewish youth – reveals deep bias in Israel’s media … While in both incidents, the Israeli media downplays the racial motives, the reaction of the government is interesting. While the racially motivated violence of Jewish extremists gets a gag order – essentially sweeping the stabbing death of a man under the rug – the gritty details of Sa’ado’s murder are out for all to see.
Activism / Solidarity
PSP activists join weekly demonstration in Um Salmona
6 Apr — On Friday, April 06, 2012, Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined the weekly peaceful demonstration in Um Salmona. Um Salmona is a small village located 12 km southwest of Bethlehem, and a separation barrier cuts through the village. During the demonstration, Israeli soldiers blocked two roads, preventing demonstrators from reaching the barrier, and also stopping cars from using the roads. Several Palestinian children broke through the line of soldiers, and waved Palestinian flags over an Israeli army jeep. There were no arrests, and no injuries.
Soldiers attack West Bank protests injuring two civilians
IMEMC 6 Apr — …At the village of Nabi Saleh, in central west Bank, one man and a journalist were injured when they got hit in the head by tear gas bombs in the head … Meanwhile, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at the nearby villages of Bil‘in and Ni‘lin. Both protests started after midday prayers on Friday … In southern West bank, also on Friday, the villagers of Al Ma‘ssara and residents of Beit Jala town near Bethlehem marched against the wall. Soldiers used tear gas in al Ma‘ssara village , many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. At the town of Beit Jala, the residents of the town marched the Good Friday and marched up to their lands Israel took over to build the wall on. Residents marched led by local priests. The protests ended after a short mass near the [confiscated] lands.
Israeli forces suppress Kafr Qaddum protest
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — Israeli forces suppressed a weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum on Friday, which was attended by several Palestinian Authority officials. Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and a liquid spray at protesters near Qalqiliya who were composed of international, Israeli and Palestinian activists. An Israeli spokeswoman said 150 Palestinians had participated in a “violent and illegal riot during which they hurled rocks at security forces, who responded with riot dispersal means.”
Cash shortage stops Gaza kids’ summer camps
AFP 5 Apr — The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees is cancelling its annual summer camps for children in the Gaza Strip, saying it has failed to raise enough money. “It was decided to stop the Summer Games programme in the Gaza Strip for 2012 due to not having received sufficient funding from donors, that is $9.9 million (7.5 million euros),” said Adnan Abu Hasna, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in Gaza.
More than 14,000 new births in Gaza since start of year
GAZA (WAFA) 5 Apr – More than 14,000 new born babies were registered in the Gaza Strip in the first three months of this year, or an average of 150 babies a day, a little bit more than half of them were males, according to figures provided Thursday by a Hamas-run department .. At the same time, the Gaza Strip registered an average of 12 deaths a day in the first three months of this year, more than a third of them in Gaza City and its area towns, making the ratio of births to death in the entire Strip 13 to 1 … The Israeli-besieged Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is the one of the world’s most densely populated areas in capita per square meter of space.
Gaza militants say they’ll adhere to cease-fire
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (Daily Star) 7 Apr – A Palestinian militant leader said Friday that his group is adhering to a cease-fire that stopped rockets and airstrikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip last month. Sheikh Nafez Azzam of Islamic Jihad said Israeli reports that he had called for an ongoing struggle against Israel despite a cease-fire were mistaken. “We, in the Islamic Jihad, are committed to the cease-fire,” Azzam told the Associated Press. He said a firebrand speech calling for ongoing resistance was a general political statement.
Miles of Smiles 11 arrives in Gaza
IMEMC 6 Apr — The Miles of Smiles 11 solidarity convoy made it into the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening after the Egyptian border control at the Rafah Border Terminal granted it the green light. The humanitarian convoy, and it 71 peace activists from several Arab and international countries, including Britain, South Arica, Jordan and Egypt, managed to cross into Rafah, in the southern party of the Gaza Strip. Several physicians and surgeons, accompanying the solidarity convoy, will be performing surgeries in Gaza.
Bahrain to open health centre in Gaza
Manama, Bahrain 6 Apr — Bahrain is set to open a health centre in a refugee camp in Gaza as part of a BD2 million ($5.3 million) reconstruction initiative in the war-torn state … It involves reconstruction, furnishing and equipping of the health centre in the Khan Younis refugee camp, a new library at Al Fakhoura School in Jabalia Cam, and a new elementary boys school, also in Jabalia.
Gaza: You can’t keep a good kid down / Julie Webb-Pullman
6 Apr — Today I visited the Association of Educational Excellence in Beit Hanoun, a city on the north-east edge of the Gaza Strip with a population of about 40,000 people, 99 percent of whom are Palestine refugees. The Association provides services to the poorest and most marginalised families in Beit Hanoun, to improve students’ performance and academic achievement, as well as providing social, material and psychological support to them and their parents. Their services are necessary – Beit Hanoun has extremely high levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in its population, particularly the children … Against such a backdrop, the Association holds sessions twice a day for severely traumatised children, morning sessions for the afternoon-school-children, and afternoon sessions for the morning-school-children. At this-morning’s session, I was amazed by the enthusiasm of the kids, and their excitement at having a New Zealander visit them. Yes, they know where New Zealand is, and yes, they all study English at school!!
Scoop Gaza independent breaking news website launched today
6 Apr Letter to the readers from Scoop Editor Alastair Thompson: Dear Scoop Independent News readers, subscribers and guests, I am delighted this day to announce the launch of a project which is dear to my heart and true to the founding spirit of Scoop – Gaza.scoop.ps. Scoop correspondent Julie Webb-Pullman has been in Gaza for most of the past 12 months giving Scoop’s readers a very rare view inside a city which is generally regarded as among the most dangerous places in the planet.
Gazan lights his house using solar energy to overcome power crisis
6 Apr — The two-floor house of Mahmoud Shain is the only one that is lighted in a neighborhood in the town of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip, while the adjacent and surrounding houses are in complete blackout amid an electricity shortage that the coastal enclave suffers from. The astonishing thing is that Shain is not using an electric generator like other Gaza residents, who have been obliged to turn their generators off due to a severe shortage of gasoline. Shain told Xinhua with pride and a big smile, “I managed to generate power to light my house from the sun’s heat.” “I developed glass cells to generate power from solar energy. Although it is little, but still I can light the house and operate some electric machines,” said Shain, who specializes in solar energy, adding that his dream to light his house using solar energy “has become true. It is a personal self-funded effort.” http://www.power-eng.com/news/2012/04/06/feature-gazan-lights-his-house-using-solar-energy-to-overcome-power-crisis.html
Amnesty: 4 men face execution in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Apr– Four Palestinian men are on death row in the Gaza Strip and could face execution at any time, an urgent report from Amnesty International said Thursday. The group identified Mohammed Baraka as one of the detainees who recently lost his appeal. Three other men have also had their appeals rejected recently, Amnesty said. Baraka, a father of six, was convicted on May 30, 2010, of murdering one of his relatives, the group said. He was sentenced to death and an appeal against the ruling was rejected in February. Three other men have been convicted of various crimes including kidnapping, murder, political killings and of collaboration with the Israeli army resulting in killings of fellow Palestinians.
Hamas official says capital punishment brings security to Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 5 Apr – A senior Hamas official said Thursday that capital punishment against people he described as traitors and criminals have brought security to the Gaza Strip.
Dark day for international justice
PNN 6 Apr — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) wishes to express its extreme disappointment following the decision by the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) not to open an investigation in the situation in Palestine. This situation has been under examination by the Court for more than 3 years; in response to the suspected commission of grave war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip (Operation ‘Cast Lead’), Palestine lodged a declaration recognizing the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 12(3) of the Court’s Statute on 22 January 2009.
Egypt: No evidence of Sinai rocket launch
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 5 Apr — Egyptian officials disputed on Thursday Israeli assessments showing that rockets which struck the city of Eilat were fired from Egypt’s Sinai desert. An Egyptian security official in the southern Sinai, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Egyptian-Israeli border was “intensively secured”, and no one had detected a flash of light or sound on Wednesday. No casualties or damage were reported after the rocket struck the Israeli resort town, police said, but the incident fueled Israeli worries over militant activity in the border area.
Israel is powerless as terror groups target touristy border town / Amos Harel
Haaretz 5 Apr — Senior Haaretz analyst Amos Harel says that a recent rocket attack on the southern town of Eilat shows that Jerusalem, fearing complications with its already tense relations with Egypt, cannot respond to a growing Sinai terror threat. The Grad-type Katyusha rocket attack on Eilat Thursday demonstrates the bind Israel is in along its border with Egypt. While construction of the new border fence is advancing at an impressive pace, gradually reducing the possibility of infiltration from Sinai, the Israel Defense Forces has no real solution to fence-avoiding rocket fire threatening Eilat. Nor does Israel have a clear culprit to hold responsible on the other side, seeing that it doesn’t wish to further destabilize its already strained ties with Egypt. And with no explicit responsibility announced for the shooting, it seems that Israel willl find it hard to respond harshly by attacking the Gaza Strip.
Occupation renews administrative detention of a blind captive
RAMALLAH (PIC) 6 Apr — The Israeli occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention, without charge or trial, of Sheikh Ali Hannoun (45 years) for the third time in a row. Sheikh Hannoun who hails from the village of Mazra‘a to the west of Ramallah is blind … The IOF arrested Sheikh Hannoun from his home mid-Ramadan (August 2011) and renewed his administrative detention of 4 months twice.
How detention without charge links Israel and apartheid South Africa / Eron Davidson
EI 6 Apr — The hunger strikes undertaken by Hana al-Shalabi and Khader Adnan have drawn international attention to Israel’s use of administrative detention, a legislation which allows for indefinite imprisonment without being charged with a crime or presented with evidence … The apartheid regime in South Africa similarly enacted various laws that imposed indefinite detention without trial in a manner clearly contravening international law. Using the pretext of pre-emptive security, the apartheid regime administratively detained tens of thousands of non-whites, including 2,000 children under 16 years of age, in its efforts to crush the resistance to its repressive policies. Aside from the physical torture that was prevalent during detention in the apartheid regime’s prisons, there was a form of torture intrinsic in administrative detention. Prisoners normally expect to be free on a scheduled release date, yet having an additional six months of detention imposed on them when that date comes around leads to a cycle of hope, anxiety and despair.
Amani al Khandaqja released following hunger strike
ISM 6 Apr – “You are a very clever woman Amani, you are the first free woman from Ashkalan, this brings me great frustration.” These are the words of the Chief of Intelligence at Huwarra Camp where Amani al Khandaqja was forced to go during her first Sunday of freedom after her 10 days of imprisonment … As the days and nights passed and interrogation continued, the military became weaker and weaker. “All they had to say was that I was too active on Facebook.” Amani explained how the interrogator informed her, “I know your words have power” but this simply was not enough to keep Amani captured. The Israeli military often offers monetary rewards for those it convinces to become collaborators against the Palestinian people, and with Amani the offers came thick and fast.
Twelve detainees on hunger strike, 2 hospitalized
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 Apr — Twelve Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Israeli jails protesting their administrative detention without charge or trial, the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) said on Thursday. It said that two of them, Bilal Diab, from Jenin, and Thaer Halahleh, from Hebron, who have been on hunger strike for more than a month, were hospitalized due to severe deterioration in their health.
The occupation continues to detain 190 Palestinian children
RAMALLAH (PIC) 5 Apr — The Statistics department at the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Prisoners Affairs showed that the occupation authorities are still detaining nearly one hundred ninety-Palestinian children, “in conditions such as those in which adult prisoners are detained, in terms of location, cruelty, inhuman treatment, and poor nutrition and health care.”
800 thousand Palestinians have been arrested by Zionist enemy since 1967
GENEVA (PIC) 5 Apr — Head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, Qaddura Fares, revealed that the Zionist occupation forces arrested since 1967 until today, nearly 800 thousand Palestinians, “on the backdrop of practicing their right, which is guaranteed by all international laws and norms, to resist the occupation in order to attain freedom and independence.”
Western women emerge from Israel with prison video
Salem-News by Tim King – …Fiona Williams and D Murphy are among the many who emerged from Givon Prison; only they brought out video, very unusual. In the spirit of Iara Lee and the Mavi Marmara video, it is very revealing … The rules are simple; if you want to avoid trouble you get someone in Israel to say you are visiting them. You tell authorities there are no politics accompanying your visit; and when you finally make it through the maze, you do the opposite of what you said you were going to to… you go to Palestine. For honest people; those who simply want to document what truth brings in Israel, the odds of getting to Palestine are very low. It’s interesting that this recognized country; Palestine, exists but has no airports. Israel makes every person destined for Palestine fly into Israel first, then they put them in jail for the stated intention of planning to visit Palestine. Try to imagine that any time you wanted to visit Northern Ireland, you had to first fly into Heathrow and undergo an excruciating, suspicion-toned screening by England’s people handlers. Then, you have to lie and switch your plans later. This is the how it is for those seeking to visit Palestine and also disclose their real motive to authorities.
Hamas vs. PA in the West Bank
Thousands of Palestinians participate in Betawi’s funeral in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 6 Apr — More than 10 thousand Palestinians from the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank together with Change and Reform deputies, representatives of Palestinian Factions, delegations of West provinces and delegations of Islamic movement participated in the funeral of MP Hamed Betawi on Thursday afternoon. The body of Sheikh Betawi was wrapped with Hamas’s banner then carried by Hamas supporters from Rafidya Hospital to the martyrs’ houses for the funeral prayer before being taken to Betawi’s native town Beta to the south of Nablus to be buried there. During the funeral procession, in which hundreds of women also participated, mourners chanted slogans supporting Hamas and the political and national position of Sheikh Betawi, promising to continue on his path
PA security chases participants in Bitawi funeral
NABLUS (PIC) 6 Apr — A number of participants in the funeral of MP Hamed Betawi told the PIC correspondent, in Nablus, that PA Intelligence confiscated Hamas banners from some young men in front of Rafidia hospital in Nablus, just before the start of the funeral of Sheikh Hamed Bitawi … Another participant in the funeral procession added that senior Intelligence and Preventive security officers attended in abundance in and around the procession, in order to monitor young people who participated in the funeral. He also stated that elements of Security services were filming all those who were raising banners and chanting anti-occupation slogans in the procession. Participants in the procession warned that the coming days will witness a wide campaign of arrests and summonses since what happened during the course of the funeral of Sheikh Betawi broke the long silence and absence of the Islamic Movement in Nablus.
PA security arrest university students who participated in Betawi’s funeral
TULKAREM (PIC)6 Apr — PA preventive security in Nablus arrested three university students from the city of Tulkarem and assaulted them after they took part in the funeral of Sheikh Hamed al-Beitawi, according to sources in the city. The sources added that the preventive security elements uttered insults against Hamas while they arrested the young men. The young men are: Mazen al-Zaal, from the Tulkarem and Ali Sulaiman and Mishaal Emeer from the village of Bal‘a to the east of Tulkarem. The three graduated from al-Najah university in Nablus. They travelled from Tulkarem to participate in the funeral.
Hamas is preparing to select new leadership
MEMO 5 Apr — Newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi has learnt from informed sources within the Islamic movement that Hamas has completed its preparations for internal elections to elect a new consultative (Shura) council and political bureau. The process is expected to take place later this month. One change from previous elections is that the political bureau will have more members.
March salaries to be delayed
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 Apr — Payment of the Palestinian Authority’s March salary for over 180,000 civil and military public employees will be delayed possibly until the middle of this month, said head of the Union of Public Employees Bassam Zakarneh on Thursday. He told WAFA that the Finance Ministry informed the union that there were “major financial obstacles facing the treasury causing the delay in the payment of salaries.” He did not explain these obstacles but blamed Arab countries for not coming to the aid of the Palestinian Authority, which is facing serious financial difficulties caused mainly by delays in aid arriving from donor countries.
Abbas urged to investigate Land Day violence
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — Palestinian civil society and activists on Wednesday urged President Mahmoud Abbas to investigate attacks on demonstrators during a rally to mark Land Day. A coalition of NGOs and civil society leaders called on the president to form an “independent and transparent” committee to investigate an attack on MP Mustafa Barghouti, who was injured at a demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah on March 30. Barghouthi, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, was “attacked by unidentified individuals” at the rally, said a joint statement from the Palestinian NGO network, PLC members and civil society leaders. “We ask that the people behind these attacks be held accountable in a non-partisan fashion and that their actions be recognized as an unconscionable attempt to derail the peaceful popular resistance struggle,” the statement said.
Netanyahu to ask Abbas to return to negotiations without preconditions
MEMO 5 Apr — Media sources in Israel have revealed that the country’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, intends to send a message to the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, inviting him to resume negotiations as soon as possible without preconditions. According to Haaretz newspaper, an Israeli official said, “The message, which includes an invitation to the Palestinian side to return to negotiations, will serve as a response to a similar letter that Abbas intends to send to Netanyahu.”
Two-thirds of elderly suffer from chronic disease, says statistics bureau
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 5 Apr – Approximately 70.5% of the elderly aged 60 and over in the Palestinian Territory suffered from at least one chronic disease during 2010, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said Thursday. The percentage was 46.5% in the Palestinian Territory in 2000. Of those, 71.4% where in the West Bank and 68.8% in the Gaza Strip, it added … The fertility rate in the Palestinian Territory reached 4.1 births per woman in 2010, compared to 5.9 births per woman in the year 2000, said the report.
EU, Sharek launch ‘with youth’ initiative
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 5 Apr — The European Union, in partnership with Sharek Youth Forum, launched the “With Youth” initiative; an opportunity for youth to get together in a series of youth-led activities around the West Bank and Gaza, an EU press release said Thursday. “Between April and June, the ‘With Youth’ campaign will gather the youth of Palestine for a number of fun and thought-provoking actions, such as university lectures, volunteer days, football matches and many more,” said the release.
Britain’s Royal Air Force considering purchase of Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle
Haaretz 5 Apr — U.K. looking at the Eitan system, also known as the Heron TP – the largest and most sophisticated drone Israel makes.
Analysis / Opinion / Reviews
Twenty lost years
Al-Ahram — The Palestinians are farther from having a state then they have ever been, writes Hasan Afif El-Hasan — American-Palestinian historian Beshara Doumani wrote after visiting the West Bank recently that as a result of the PA policies, the people can’t express their strong solidarity with the victims of Israeli occupation in the West Bank or Gaza. He observed that “Nablus [the center of resistance against occupation] is a broken city” where businessmen and professionals who can afford to do so move to Ramallah City or leave the West Bank, mostly to Jordan. Professor Khalil Nakhleh wrote in 2008 that due to the PA cooperation with Israel, there are frightening signs of socio- political fragmentation, Fatah-Hamas rivalry, and individuals, especially those with connections to the PA elites, who place personal interests over national collective ones.
The real radical left / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 5 Apr — The extreme left is whoever endeavors toward a single state – the plundering settlers, the establishment that embraces them and the majority of Israelis, who do not lift a finger to stop them … The battle for Hebron has been decided. All that remains is to ask what will replace the solution that was put to death. There will not be two states. Even a child knows the alternative: one state. There is no third option. Israel’s most radical left won. For years it said one state, even as we played with ourselves at two states. Now everyone says two states, in unison, only because they know that train has left the station, and the great train robbery was pulled off.
A world without UNRWA? / Randa Farah
DV 6 Apr — With the world media focusing on the crisis in Syria, it has been forgotten that Syria is home to some 400,000 Palestinian refugees. This includes 14,000 Palestinians who inhabit a refugee camp in the bombarded city of Homs, and who rely on UNRWA, the UN Agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees, for their daily needs. Hamas’s recent condemnation of the Assad regime is unlikely to endear it to the Syrian government, but, in fact, over the years Syria has treated the Palestinians relatively well, if one compares the way Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt have treated their Palestinian refugee communities.
Moreover, unlike Israel, Syria has never threatened the UN Agency or plotted its demise, a move that could precipitate a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. The most recent Israeli threats against UNRWA include an attack by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, that blamed the Agency for perpetuating the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Zionist cuckoos in Christianity’s nest / Stuart Littlewood
Corrupting the Biblical Message: it’s a propaganda classic, and the indoctrination has lasted 100 years. (LONDON) – If you are as puzzled as I am how a true Christian could possibly be taken in by Zionism, a short paper on the phenomenon is available from Sadaka http://www.sadaka.ie/Articles/Papers/PAPER-Christian_Zionism.pdf. “The destiny of the Jewish people is to return to the land of Israel and reclaim their inheritance promised to Abraham and his descendants forever. This inheritance extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates…” …. An effective riposte to the biblical distortions used to support Israel’s lust for supremacy is The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, a statement by the Latin Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued in 2006 http://imeu.net/news/article003122.shtml. They are on the ground, in the front line, in the Holy Land. They know the score. They put the genuine Christian case. And it is summed up in the first sentence: “We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation. ..”
Film review: Sheikh Jarrah, my neighbourhood
The story of a Palestinian boy coming of age amid profound upheaval in one of the world’s most contested cities. Al Jazeera Witness 4 Apr — Filmmakers: Julia Bacha and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi — Sheikh Jarrah, My Neighbourhood follows the story of Mohammad al-Kurd, a Palestinian teenager growing up in the midst of a remarkable nonviolent struggle at the centre of one of the world’s most contested cities. At the age of 13, Mohammad was evicted, along with his family, from their home in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli settlers seeking to create a permanent Jewish presence in the area. Reacting at first with deep anger towards all Israelis, Mohammad was soon exposed to a different part of Israeli society as Israelis from a variety of backgrounds began to arrive in the neighbourhood to support the residents in their struggle to save their homes. This film follows Mohammad’s coming of age over two years of profound upheaval and change in his neighbourhood, and introduces us to key figures in his life, including Tzvi Benninga, a leading Israeli activist who grew up in West Jerusalem and now plays a key part in organising the weekly protests in Sheikh Jarrah.