and other news from today in Palestine:
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
From Yamit to the Jordan Valley, the IDF continues to force Arabs from their homes / Amira Hass
Haaretz 16 Apr — Three decades after the IDF expelled Bedouins from Sinai, destruction and demolition of Arab homes continues throughout the West Bank — Last week, evacuees of Yamit marked the 30th anniversary of the demolition of their illegal settlement in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. Radio reports blithely skirted the fact that the construction of these Sinai settlements was preceded by mass destruction. Under orders from then-defense minister Moshe Dayan and Southern Command head Ariel Sharon, in 1972 the Israel Defense Forces secretly expelled 1,500 Bedouin families from the Al-Ramilat tribes, from a 140,000 dunam area … Now, moving from Lipschits and the Sinai to today’s occupied territories: destruction and demolition continues all the time. Silence is maintained, even without coercive actions taken by the censor, and the goal of using “C” areas to prevent natural Palestinian growth is promoted all the time. New master plans developed by Israel have left the Palestinians in area C out, so building remains forbidden. Connecting to water and electrical grids is illegal, and each act of demolition is “legal” and “authorized.”
The plight of Palestinian Christians / Faysal Hijazeen & Ibrahim Shomali
JPost 16 Apr — The end of the Israeli occupation would allow all our people, Christians and Muslims, to develop all our potential living side by side — Based on our years as parish priests in Palestine, we were appalled by the false allegations regarding Palestinian Christians made in recent weeks by Israeli spokespeople, such as Ambassador Michael Oren. We were perplexed not because of their position, which has been part of the official Israeli narrative for many years, but by how openly they have distorted facts and misconstrued the plight of Palestinian Christians pursuing justice and peace. These spokespeople have wrongly propagated a cynical discourse misleadingly touting “Christian persecution by Muslims.” Every Friday, we celebrate the holy mass attended by hundreds of Palestinian Christians from Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jerusalem in the Cremisan Area of Beit Jala. The holy service, celebrated among ancient olive trees, was not a prayer to end a “Muslim-led persecution” but to prevent Israel from confiscating this area of land that belongs to 58 Palestinian Christian families — Israel’s latest attempt to consolidate its ring of settlements that aim to sever Bethlehem from Jerusalem. This is one last attempt to prevent a land confiscation that would have catastrophic consequences for the local Christian population
Settlers plan takeover of Hebron-area land
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Apr – A group of Israeli settlers Monday set up tents on a Palestinian-owned land east of Yatta, a town south of Hebron, as a prelude to take it over, according to a local activist. Popular Committee Coordinator in Yatta, Rateb Jabour, told Voice of Palestine radio that settlers set up tents on land located between the Israeli settlements of Carmiel and Ma’on. He said the settlers most likely will claim the land for themselves and start adding housing units to it to create a new settlement. Jabour did not say if the land owners, the Abu Subha family, will contest the settlers’ takeover of their land.
Israeli forces destroy ponds, wells, land near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 16 Apr – Israeli forces Monday razed two ponds used for collecting rain water, demolished three water wells, razed agricultural land and destroyed farming equipment in al-Majnouna area, south of Hebron, according to local sources. They said Israeli soldiers, police and officials from the civil administration, the military government’s arm in the West Bank, brought bulldozers and other heavy machinery to destroy the ponds and wells the farmers use to water their fields and then razed agricultural land. The ponds were repeatedly destroyed by Israeli forces in the past few years. Landowner Kamal Amro told WAFA Israeli forces razed two dunums of agricultural land planted with vegetables, as well as demolished three water wells, some of which date back to the Roman period and were renovated only few years ago.
Israeli forces destroy Hebron structures, settlers erect tent
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Israeli forces on Monday demolished irrigation pools and terracing walls, leveling agricultural lands in the southern West Bank, residents told Ma‘an. Settlers also erected a tent near an illegal settlement south of Hebron, which locals fear is the first step to a new outpost in the area.
Settlers cut down 150 olive trees near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Apr — Jewish settlers Monday cut down around 150 olive trees in the village of Beitillu, west of Ramallah, according to local sources. Settlers from Nhaliel settlement, established on village land, cut [down] olive trees on land that belongs to a local farmer.
Israeli soldiers meanwhile demolished three agricultural facilities and three wells in the town of Kufr al-Dik, west of Salfit.
Jewish settlers steal Palestinian sheep
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 15 Apr — A group of Jewish settlers from Hagai settlement stole a sheep herd of a Palestinian shepherd from Rehiya village, south of Al-Khalil, on Sunday. Local sources told the PIC reporter that the settlers robbed Yousef Al-Haroush of his flock of 13 sheep heads [13 head of sheep? very confusing English locution]
Operation Dove videos: Settlers twice attack people, trees on Friday in South Hebron Hills
AIC 15 Apr — Settlers twice attacked internationals, Palestinians and Palestinian property on Friday in the South Hebron Hills region, making this the 24th settler attack in the area since the beginning of 2012 … The first attack occurred at 8:05 am, when two settlers from Havat Ma’on threw stones and chased away three international volunteers in the Shaab Seedi Valley. The two settlers came out of a recently built house situated over 50 meters away from the outpost. After covering their faces, they started to violently throw stones against the three internationals, one of them using a slingshot. When the volunteers started to escape, the settlers ran after them for a long stretch, until the three volunteers put themselves in a safe place. None of them were injured.
The second episode took place at 11:24 am when six young men from the Havat Ma’on outpost went on Meshaha Hill where a Palestinian woman and two children were collecting herbs, accompanied by an international volunteer. The six teenagers, one of them whirling a slingshot, headed threateningly towards them, who escaped to the valley below.
Fayyad inaugurates first water dam in Palestine
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Apr — Prime Minister Salam Fayyad inaugurated Monday stage one of the first water dam to be built in Palestine at a cost of over $1 million, according to a statement issued by Fayyad’s office. It said that on a visit to the village of Ouja and the Jordan Valley, Fayyad inaugurated the Ouja Dam, which he said is one of the projects to develop Area C that falls under full Israeli control and which makes more than 60% of the West Bank … He said that he will not wait for Israeli permission to allow him to develop that area of Palestine, stressing that “this is our land and it is our natural right to develop this area and to serve our people living here.” He stressed that the Jordan Valley is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and a vital part of the future independent state of Palestine.
London: Talk on rebuilding Holy Land peace center
ICN 16 Apr — In January, Beit Arabiya, the home to the Shawamreh family and a peace centre, was demolished for the fifth time in 15 years by the Israeli authorities. Beit Arabiya hosts groups visiting the area with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), and has come to symbolise Palestinian resistance to home demolitions and unity between the two communities. Beit Arabiya will be rebuilt next summer by both local people and international volunteers. For more information see: http://www.icahd.org/?p=8107
Gaza exhibition marks World Heritage Day
MEMO 16 Apr — EXCLUSIVE PICTURES [worth seeing] — To mark World Heritage Day, which falls on 18th April each year, the Islamic University in Gaza has organised a heritage exhibition on the Palestinian Cause, which will last for four days. Discourse on Palestinian heritage is critical to the Conflict with the Israeli Occupation. Palestinians possess the documentary evidence that prove their right to ownership of the lands and dwellings they were driven from by the occupation in 1948. The exhibition displays historic artifacts that prove ancient Palestinian ancestry in the land in the form of the Canaanites.
Resident injured by army fire in Jerusalem
IMEMC 16 Apr – Palestinian medical sources in occupied East Jerusalem reported Sunday that one youth from Al-Esawiyya town, in the Jerusalem district, was shot and wounded by Israeli military fire during clashes that took place after the army invaded the town … The sources stated that the soldiers invaded the town from its eastern entrance, and fired dozens of gas bombs and concussion grenades; one youth was directly hit by a gas bomb in his head and was moved to a local hospital.
Palestinians and internationals attacked during biking trip in Jordan Valley
[with video] ISM 15 Apr – Palestinian and international cyclists were brutally attacked by the Israeli occupation forces on Saturday as they attempted to bike up Route 90, the main North-South highway running through the Jordan Valley. The cyclists were demonstrating against Israeli apartheid policies in the Jordan Valley, which limit Palestinian access to roadways as part of an ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Bedouin communities of the Valley.
Video: Senior IDF officer beats pro-Palestinian activist with rifle
Haaretz 15 Apr — International Solidarity Movement posts YouTube video of IDF soldiers beating leftist activists who took part in a bike ride in the Jordan Valley; IDF Spokesperson: This is a grave incident.
Denmark asks Israel for clarifications over beating of activist by IDF officer
Haaretz 16 Apr — Danish activist Andreas Ias denies resorting to violence before being hit in the face with an M-16 rifle by a senior IDF officer — Denmark’s Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal said in a statement that Denmark is still unaware of all of the circumstances surrounding the event, which is why the ambassador has asked for details. The minister added that the Danish citizen will receive all necessary consular assistance if he so wishes.
‘Video may not be enough to convict officer’
Ynet 16 Apr — Inquiry into skirmish between IDF officer, Danish activist underway. Investigators seek incident’s full video, depose witnesses; legalists doubt footage’s admissibility
IOF soldiers fire at residents in Nabi Saleh in night raid
RAMALLAH (PIC) 16 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the village of Nabi Saleh, to the north west of Ramallah, on Sunday night and fired at young men who confronted them. Local sources said that the IOF troops randomly fired rubber bullets and sound bombs spreading panic in the village.
Increasing Israeli army harassment and violence against activists in Hebron
ISM 16 Apr — In the past weeks the Israeli army has increased harassment against both Palestinian and ISM activists in Hebron (Al Khalil), a deliberate targeting of those who oppose Israeli occupation and colonization. This targeting includes the arrest of six international activists, including five ISM volunteers, and four arrests of Palestinian activists, all within a two week period. The Israeli army also raided a community event in Tel a Rumeida, detained Youth Against Settlements activist Issa Amro directly after his release from jail, and tied another Youth Against Settlements (YAS) activists to a fence.
Israel border police beat, detain 9-year-old Jewish boy in Hebron
Haaretz 16 Apr — Incident occurs after a group of Jewish children began playing in the lot between the house recently occupied by Jewish settlers and a nearby closed military zone … A Border Police officer choked the boy, and held him in the air for approximately 10 minutes. Residents who were praying at the nearby Tomb of the Patriarchs were able to release the child from the officer’s hands. Two were arrested on suspicion of attacking the officer. The child’s parents lodged a complaint with the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers on Sunday …The Border Police issued a response to the incident, saying it is “unfortunate that the incident was presented in such a distorted way.”
Israeli official: 40% of names on Shin Bet fly-in blacklist were not activists
Haaretz 16 Apr — Forty percent of the non-Israeli citizens whose names appeared on a Shin Bet blacklist ahead of Sunday’s so-called “fly-in” protest by pro-Palestinian activists were added to the list despite the fact that the security service had no concrete information showing they were connected with the protest in any way … “We put people on the list who are as far removed from anti-Israel political activity as east is from west,” one Foreign Ministry official said. “We have insulted hundreds of foreign citizens because of suspicions, and have given the other side a victory on a silver platter.” “Direct damage has been done to tourism and to Israel’s good name,” the official said.
Activists accuse Israel, Air France of racism
Ynet 16 Apr — …the French organizers of the fly-in condemned Israel and Air France for their “racism” on the website. They claim that one female passenger was not allowed to depart from France simply because she was neither Jewish nor Israeli. “Only Jews or Israeli citizens were allowed to fly and a young passenger who replied negatively to both questions was grounded,” the message said. The message noted that this had occurred on a flight from Nice and that legal steps will be taken against the airline.
Bewildered fly-in activist makes it to Bethlehem
JPost 16 Apr — By accident Tanya slipped passed 650 police officers at Ben-Gurion Airport — determined to bar her entry to Israel — and made it to the West Bank Palestinian city of Bethlehem … She was one of an estimated 12 members of the “Welcome to Palestine” event who actually made it to Bethlehem …
But not everyone on a list of 500 names blacklisted by Israel were activists. Among those kept from boarding was former banker Jules Troxler, 62, who described himself as pro-Israel. He left his home in Zurich at 6:30 a.m. only to discover that he could not fly to visit an ailing friend because he was blacklisted. He was startled, he said, but not totally surprised, because his friend had warned him that there might be trouble because of the flytilla. But the airline never explained to him why his ticket was canceled. Additionally, all of his attempts to reason with Swiss Air, he said, failed. The trip, Troxler said, had been planned for two years. “We were going to go to the Dead Sea for two days. I especially wanted to come at this time of year because it is not so hot,” he said.
‘Preventing flytilla not necessarily best for Israel’
Ynet 16 Apr — Diplomats remain divided over whether success in preventing pro-Palestinian fly-in serves Israel’s PR interests — … Former Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Liel believes the mass security forces deployment at Ben Gurion International Airport shamed Israel, while Zvi Mazael, former Israeli ambassador to Sweden, said that refusing to allow the activists entry to Israel further impeded the anti-Israeli bloc’s efforts to seek legitimization. Liel cautioned that Israel’s reaction to what he called “a bunch of students and elderly ladies from Europe, who only wanted to hoist a sign in favor of a Palestinian state,” was disproportionate.”I don’t understand what’s the big deal. Why are we so afraid of these people?”
Israel holds 58 pro-Palestinian activists
AFP 16 Apr — Israeli authorities were on Monday holding 58 foreigners pending deportation, out of 79 barred from entering the Jewish state on ground they were linked to pro-Palestinian campaign, an official said. Immigration official Sabine Haddad told AFP that 21 people had been flown back to their port of origin. Of the 58 who refused to leave voluntarily, two were being held in detention at the airport, while the other 56 were taken to a prison near Tel Aviv, she said, adding that 10 were due to leave the country later on Monday. Among those refusing deportation were 43 French nationals, eight Britons, two Italians, three Canadians, one Spanish national and one person from the United States. All 79 activists would be barred from entering Israel for five years, Haddad said.
Press release from the Welcome to Palestine campaign
16 Apr by Mazin Qumsiyeh — We did not have to show our 1500 visitors Israeli racism, arrogance, and human rights violations; the Israeli government showed them and also showed the whole world. Calling itself a democracy, this outlaw state denied the right of people from around the world to come visit us and see for themselves the reality of life under occupation.
In Israel, pro-Palestinian activists get attention, if not entry
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Wash. Post) 15 Apr — Israel blocked or detained all but a handful of hundreds of pro-Palestinian foreign activists who planned to gather here Sunday, and the event appeared to be something of a bust. Or maybe not. A media scrum stood alongside a phalanx of hundreds of police officers deployed at the airport in Tel Aviv, where travelers participating in the fly-in were scheduled to arrive … “In terms of media, yes, we have managed to show that Israel is pretending to be a democracy,” organizer Abdul Fattah Abu Srour told reporters. “These people are not coming to make trouble.” Organizers of the “Welcome to Palestine” campaign said they intended to draw attention to Israel’s control of entry points to the West Bank, where Palestinians want to build a future state.
Israel greets pro-Palestinian activists with snide letter
Jerusalem (CNN) 15 Apr — …Activists who were sent home were being given a letter sarcastically thanking them for “choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns.” The letter says protesters could have focused on “the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people,” or the actions of Iran or Hamas, but instead “chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy,” according to a copy posted on Twitter by Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Who are the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ activists? / Mya Guarnieri
972mag 15 Apr — In the air between Geneva and Tel Aviv, I spent some time talking to the international activists who joined the “Welcome to Palestine” campaign. Activists who told this writer in the Geneva airport that they are traveling to Palestine cheered quietly and smiled as the plane took off.
Israeli response to fly-in proves West Bank is the Palestinians’ prison / Noam Sheizaf
972mag 16 Apr — Last week I posted here a criticism of Ambassador Michal Oren’s Foreign Policy piece, titled “Israel’s Resilient Democracy.” … Freedom — or lack — of travel is another major issue. Since the mid-90s, Palestinians have been unable to travel beyond the Green Line and into “Israel proper.” Nor can they travel abroad, unless they get a special permit from the military authorities. At times, they are even prevented from traveling between towns and villages in the West Bank. People are also prevented from traveling into the West Bank: Israelis are prohibited by a military order from entering area A, and tourists, business travelers and diplomats must go through Israel’s international airport or through land crossings – all controlled by Israel – before entering the West Bank. Stating that your destination is a Palestinian town or village might lead to a refusal of a tourist visa by the Israeli authorities, so many visitors simply lie. This is the way most activists enter the West Bank today. The irony is that for some people it’s easier to enter to Gaza – which is officially still under blockade – than to reach “free” Ramallah, because Gaza has one land border that Israel doesn’t control.
Ashrawi says Israel waging war on people of conscience
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Apr — PLO Executive Committee member and lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi Monday accused Israel of waging a war on all people of conscience by preventing them from expressing solidarity with the occupied Palestinian people … “We call on all countries to protect their nationals from persecution and not to prevent their national airline companies from becoming instruments of Israeli coercion,” she concluded
Witnesses: Missile fired at Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Israeli warplanes fired a missile at an open area of Gaza City on Monday, witnesses said. Locals said a huge blast rattled the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, with no injuries reported. In a separate incident, medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said that Israeli soldiers opened fire at two security guards at a factory east of Gaza City. An ambulance was sent to the area, he added.
Israeli reconnaissance plane fires missile at Gaza field
GAZA (PIC) 16 Apr — An Israeli reconnaissance plane fired a missile at a cultivated land lot to the east of Gaza city at dawn Monday but no casualties were reported, local sources said. The sources told the PIC reporter that the missile exploded in an area between Zaitun and Shujaiah suburbs in Gaza city. They said that the same area was the target of artillery shelling on Sunday night. Medical sources said that ambulance crews combed the area and did not find any casualties after the bombing.
The Israeli army claimed that a projectile fired from Gaza blasted in the vicinity of Askalan without causing any casualties or damage.
Fatah-affiliated militants claim Gaza rocket launch
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Apr — The Ayman Judah Brigades, a division of Fatah’s military wing, said they fired a rocket into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday night. An Israeli army spokeswoman said no rockets had landed in Israel overnight.
Gaza man seeking family reunification ‘detained at Erez’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man at a military crossing from the Gaza Strip last week, relatives told Ma‘an. Eyhab Ahmad Abu al-Jidyan, 39, attended an interview with security officials at the Erez crossing last Monday and never returned, his family said. Abu al-Jidyan was seeking permission to bring his children, who are currently staying at a facility for people with disabilities in the West Bank, back to Gaza. He currently visits his three children, who are blind, at the Ash-Shorouq center in Beit Jala once a year. Seeking to reunite the family, he tried to bring the children to his home in Jabalia refugee camp, where he is the sole parent of 10 children.
Aman Palestine enters Gaza after 30 hour ordeal
GAZA, April 15 (Bernama) — The Aman Palestin (AP) VIII humanitarian mission has finally entered the Gaza Strip after a 30-hour trip from Kuala Lumpur. It managed to cross the Rafah border after passing through 14 blockades … The AP VIII Humanitarian Mission is in Gaza to deliver medical supplies, generator sets, a water desalination station and meet 500 AP sponsored orphans. The team will also visit a few agricultural and livestock areas in Gaza to help set up small businesses for the Palestinians here, who have been under blockade since 2009.
Gaza conveyers reject Syria route in favor of Cairo start
Scoop 16 Apr — Press Release: Kia Ora Gaza — By unanimous decision of our trustees, organisers and convoyers, Kia Ora Gaza has withdrawn our two vehicles and four New Zealand volunteers from the Viva Palestina Arabia convoy to Gaza. Why? Because of a sudden, and unilateral, decision by leaders of Viva Palestina Arabia to reroute the mission through Syria. The convoy is scheduled to depart from England on 22 April 2012. Instead, Kia Ora Gaza will focus on flying into Cairo to take medical supplies and other humanitarian aid into Gaza. This looks like happening in June 2012 in parallel with Viva Palestina Malaysia, which has also withdrawn its seven vehicles and 15 volunteers from the Viva Palestina Arabia convoy for similar reasons.
Israel resumes pumping diesel to Gaza power plant
GAZA (Alresalah.ps) — Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border official, said today Sunday that IOF decided to keep open Kerem Shalom crossing, through which diesel would be pumped to Gaza Power Plant for the first time in three days. “IOF acceded 130 supply trucks to enter Gaza, to allow the flow of goods for both trade and agricultural sectors, leave alone pumping shortened amounts of cooking gas,” Fattouh added. Two shipments of Palestinian roses will be exported to Europe; one shipment, carrying tomato, will be exported to Jordan, confirmed Fattouh. It is worth mentioning that Gaza Power Plant needs 450,000 liters a day.
Haniyeh meets Kuwaiti engineers in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Apr — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh met a group of Kuwaiti engineers visiting the Gaza Strip on Sunday. The civil engineers visited the coastal strip to assess damage from bombing campaigns, a press statement from Haniyeh’s office said. Haniyeh discussed ways to increase bilateral relations between Palestine and Kuwait, it added.
Fuel crisis drives down car prices
Gulf News 16 Apr — Gaza Strip: Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have started to sell their cars for prices much lower than their actual value as fuel prices spiral amid a worsening crisis. Hamed Mahmoud, a 35-year-old taxi driver, was forced to display a sale price of $7,000 (Dh25,704) for his 2000 model Mitsubishi Lancer, which cost around $9,000 at the Gaza Auto Market. http://gulfnews.com/news/region/palestinian-territories/fuel-crisis-drives-down-car-prices-1.1008983
Video: Gaza training new generation of cooks
PressTV 16 Apr — These hearing impaired youths are learning to become Gaza’s new cooks. The trainees use sign language to communicate with their trainer and receive lessons at a training restaurant run by a Palestinian NGO in Gaza city. After completing the training, the chefs will work at a restaurant that will be inaugurated within the coming months … According to Atfaluna, the hearing disability average among Gaza’s 1.6 million is 1.5%.
Saraya al-Quds: The resistance has the right to obtain weapons
GAZA (PIC) 15 Apr — Abu Ahmed, the spokesman of Saraya Al-Quds, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, stressed on the right of the resistance to get weapons in any way it deems appropriate, denying at the same time, Zionist accusations about activities of Saraya Al-Quds in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.
Hunger striker Halahla vomits blood
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 15 Apr — Hunger striker in Israeli occupation jails Thaer Halahla has started to vomit blood after 49 days of hunger strike, his father told Quds Press on Sunday. He said that his son, who is held in Ramle prison hospital, could not move and the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) was banning visits to him whether family or lawyers’ visits … The father said that the IOA renewed his son’s detention for eight times ever since his arrest in 2010 at the pretext of the secret files. He recalled that Thaer was arrested in 2010 only two weeks after his marriage and saw his daughter that was born while in captivity only once and behind glass barrier.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Day: More than 2,400 captives [will] participate in a hunger [strike]
GAZA (PIC) 15 Apr — The director of Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and human rights, the ex-captive Fouad Khuffash said that more than 2400 captives in the Zionist occupation’s prisons will participate in the open hunger strike that will start on the seventeenth of April which corresponds to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. Khuffash said in an exclusive statement to PIC on Saturday that prisoners from Fatah movement in Eichel, Ashkelon and Nafha prisons decided to participate in the open hunger strike “which means increasing the number of participants in the strike to more than 2400 prisoners. It is expected that this number will increase, later, to include all the detainees in the occupation’s prisons.” Khuffash further said that prisoners of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP in all prisons will all participate in the strike, “which means that we are going to witness a large factional unity in this strike.”
IPS threatens unprecedented punishments against striking prisoners
NABLUS (PIC) 14 Apr — The Israeli prison service (IPS) has threatened unprecedented penalties and measures in the event the Palestinian prisoners went ahead in their plan of mass hunger strike. The Tadamoun foundation for human rights said in a statement on Sunday that the IPS established a committee to negotiate with prisoners but instead of listening to their demands it started voicing threats.
Khafsh: Talks with IPS ended in failure
RAMALLAH (PIC) 16 Apr — Fuad Al-Khafsh, the director of the Ahrar center for human rights and prisoners’ affairs, has said that prisoners’ negotiations with the Israeli prison service (IPS) had ended in failure. He said in a statement to the PIC on Sunday evening that an IPS committee led by former Israeli intelligence chief failed to reach an agreement with representatives of the Palestinian prisoners. Khafsh noted that the IPS committee asked for delaying the hunger strike in return for a promise to solve most of the prisons’ problems. However, the prisoners refused and insisted on going ahead in the hunger strike, scheduled to start on Tuesday, unless their demands are met topped by ending the isolation policy.
Barghouthi: Hunger strike to continue until demands are met
AMMAN (PIC) 16 Apr — Abdullah Al-Barghouthi, a Qassam Brigades commander serving 67 life sentences in Israeli jails, has said that he would maintain his hunger strike until his demand of ending his isolation was met. In a letter addressed to the Jordanian engineers syndicate on Sunday, Barghouthi said that his life in solitary confinement in the past nine years was like living in a grave.
Letters written to loved ones ahead of Prisoners Day
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — The families of detainees in Israeli jails have written letters of support to their loved ones ahead of Palestinian Prisoners Day on April 17. The letters called on international political figures such as US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to support prisoner rights and help end their suffering. “Since you’ve been gone, I’ve become 12 years old and you’re sentenced to 22 years in prison and yet more years have to pass in order to see you,” one girl wrote to her father. “The house is empty after you were arrested, I am alone here and after my son passed away 5 months ago, I can’t sleep at night and can’t stop crying,” the mother of one prisoner wrote.
Israel jails Bethlehem journalist for 4 months
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Apr …Suhaib al-Assa, 26, who works for Radio Bethlehem 2000, was also fined around 3,000 shekels ($800) by the military court, his father said. He was arrested by Israeli forces on Feb. 5, after soldiers raided his home in the Bethlehem village of al-Ubeidiya. Soldiers seized the journalist’s personal computer and cellphone during the raid, relatives told PA news agency Wafa. Al-Assa is being held in administrative detention, a practice started under British mandate rule.
Israeli forces arrest eight Palestinians in West Bank
WEST BANK (WAFA) 15 Apr – Israeli Forces Sunday Arrested eight Palestinians from across the West Bank, according to security sources. They said that forces arrested four Palestinians from the Hebron area, including an 18 year-old, at the entrance of al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. The rest were arrested from the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem.
IOF soldiers summons four villagers for questioning
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) handed four Palestinians from Yatta village, south of Al-Khalil, summonses for questioning at Etzion detention center. IOF soldiers intercepted a school bus from Yatta at Hawara roadblock, south of Nablus, while on a school trip on Saturday and detained four of the teachers for almost five hours. The soldiers threatened to arrest the four before handing them the summonses.
Bilin activist Abu Rahmeh released from prison
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) — Israeli authorities released activist Ashraf Abu Rahmeh on Sunday night, the Bilin Popular Committee said.
Abu Rahmeh was detained by Israeli forces in October 2011 while participating in a weekly protest against Israeli land confiscation. He is a leading figure in weekly non-violent demonstrations against Israel’s ongoing annexation of village land for nearby illegal settlements and the separation wall.
Islamic Movement leader returns to Israel aftet 10 months in UK
Ynet 16 Apr — Raed Salah returns a free man following triumphant legal battle against British authorities. Hundreds greet him at airport with chants of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ MK El-Sana: Arab public rejoicing … Meanwhile, hundreds of Umm al-Fahm residents were preparing to greet Salah. On Wednesday the Arab-Israeli city is expected to officially celebrate his return home.
Shin Bet threatens to arrest or assassinate 40 freed detainees
NAZARETH (PIC) 15 Apr — The Hebrew newspaper “Yediot Ahronot” website confirmed, on Saturday that Israeli intelligence has been marking the names of 40 freed detainees in the exchange deal for the Zionist soldier Gilad Shalit because they returned to their resistance activities, as the internal intelligence agency (Shin Bet) claimed.
West Bank activists remember the life of ISM justice activist Vittorio Arrigoni
ISM 16 Apr — Palestinians and International activists celebrated with the spirit of Vittorio Arrigoni this week across Palestine. Memorial events were held to mark the one year anniversary of his murder: two in Al-Khalil (Hebron) with members of the Hebron Defense Committee and Youth Against Settlements and a week of events including a mural creation, video conference with Italy, and a demonstration concluded yesterday in Gaza. The International Solidarity Movement continues to mourn the loss of such an amazing colleague and was a grateful participant in these memorial events.
Stay human — Gaza commemorates Vittorio Arrigoni / Julie Webb-Pullman
Scoop 16 Apr — A year ago today, on April 15, Italian activist and writer Vittorio Arrigoni, known as ‘Vik’, was murdered in Gaza … Vik was in Gaza as an activist with the International Solidarity Movement when the Israeli “Cast Lead” offensive took place in 2008, killing over 1400 people in 20 days. He reported from horrific scenes of carnage, where he assisted emergency services and earned the gratitude and respect of all of Gaza. He was subsequently recognised by the Gazan government for his dedication under fire with the awarding of Palestinian citizenship. He went on to become the most widely-broadcast – and authoritative – western voice from Gaza, and in 2010 published a book titled Stay Human, named after the concluding sentence of his blogs and articles. The 36-year-old was abducted by Salafists in Gaza City demanding the release of several prisoners, however Arrigoni was killed several hours before the deadline expired. The trial of his alleged killers has yet to conclude….
in case you missed it:
Vittorio Arrigoni, Onadekum (Calling You) — DARG Team (official video)
“One of Vittorio’s favorite music that he was always singing in Gaza with children, young and elder.”
A year after the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni / Tim King
Salem-News 15 Apr — The grandson of Italian Resistance Fighters in WWII who helped defeat the fascist and Nazi Italian and German governments of the time, it was natural for ‘Vik’ to rally for the downtrodden people of Gaza, who are forced to live like animals behind fences and walls and suffer the antics of deadly Israeli naval patrols that endlessly harm and harass Gaza’s fishermen. It was this specific issue that haunted Vik and occupied his thoughts; he couldn’t stand the Israeli harassment of these hard working fishermen, who are not unlike fishermen on our own U.S. coastlines, however Gaza’s fishing fleet is dealt with by bullets, water cannons on freezing days, and sometimes confiscation, arrest, etc.
Activism / Solidarity
Conscientious objector refusing to serve in IDF sentenced to prison / Haggai Matar
972mag 16 Apr – Noam Gur, a young Israeli conscientious objector, was sentenced Monday afternoon to 10 days in military prison. Once released, Gur is likely to be ordered to enlist again – and sent again to prison, the process repeating itself several times before she is ultimately released. Gur was accompanied this morning to the Tel Hashomer induction base by several dozen friends and supporters, who said that the Israeli response to the latest “flytilla,” and the attack on the international activist captured on tape strengthened their support for Gur’s choice … Also at the induction base was a group of members of the right-wing organization Im Tirzu, who mocked the conscientious objectors and called them clowns and cowards.
Urgent request from PSP co-founder Bekah Wolf
I have been proud to work with Palestine Solidarity Project since its beginning. As a co-founder of PSP with my husband Mousa Abu Maria, I have watched PSP grow from a small project involving a dozen committed individuals, to an internationally-known grassroots Palestinian organization dedicated to supporting Palestinian popular resistance and international solidarity. However, with the expansion of our organization comes even greater responsibility … Palestine Solidarity Project has, since its inception, taken on the cost for the legal defense of as many residents of Beit Ommar as possible, as well as anyone arrested during non-violent demonstrations in the area … Because of the marked increase in detentions of youth in Beit Ommar, PSP is in critical need of financial support for its legal defense fund … Donations to our legal defense fund can be made in two ways: Donate via Paypal at: palestinesolidarityproject.org/donate
Jal al-Bahr Camp: Life at the mercy of the sea / Jana Yasmin Nakhal
Al Akhbar 15 Apr — Life in the Jal al-Bahr refugee camp on the Tyre coast is little more than a series of calamities every winter: flooding, destroyed homes, and appeals for help. The impoverished camp lies a few meters from the sea with no jetty or barrier to protect it … Most people here are from Tarshiha, on the border between Lebanon and Palestine. They also come from Nazareth, Acre, and other areas. The camp has about 2500 people living in it. It is not allowed to expand horizontally or vertically. Compared to the Jal al-Bahr, all the other refugee camp look like classy suburbs. Here, some roofs are still made of corrugated tin. The population is increasing but people have nowhere to go.
Beitar soccer fans march in Jerusalem chanting racist slogans, allegedly beat woman
Haaretz 16 Apr — Police are launching an investigation into the attack on 50-year-old Reli Margalit, after being criticized for failing to immediately investigate Beitar fans’ attack last month on Arab workers.
Noam Shalit: Allow Ethiopians to protest
Ynet 15 Apr — Father of former captive soldier backs Ethiopians protesting against discrimination and racism, urges Jerusalem Municipality not to evacuate protest tent outside PM’s residence
New Hamas politburo ‘remains confidential’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — The results of Hamas’ internal leadership re-shuffle are still confidential, party officials said Monday. Hamas officials, speaking to Ma‘an on condition of anonymity, denied that there had been any clashes over the process which took place in Gaza recently. The Shura Council, a 55-member advisory body, nominates candidates to form the politburo, and those selected must accept their positions or provide acceptable reasons to refuse.
Hamdan: The reshuffle in Fayyad’s government is a blow to our people
BEIRUT (PIC) 15 Apr — Osama Hamdan, the Head of International Relations for Hamas, described the PA president Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to reshuffle Fayyad’s government in the West Bank as an illegal and illogical measure that will “disrupt the reconciliation”. Hamdan called, in a press statement published by Hamas Information Office, on president Mahmoud Abbas to form a new government under his premiership as agreed, pointing out that the intended reshuffle in Fayyad’s government is inconsistent with the reconciliation agreement signed in Egypt.
Young members ‘to take lead’ in Fatah’s Gaza office
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Fatah has decided revitalize its committee in Gaza with young leaders, senior party official Nabil Shaath said Monday. Fatah will hold a meeting when the president returns from an overseas trip to discuss appointing younger members to party leadership roles in Gaza, the central committee member said. The central committee has decided that young members will constitute around half of the 15-member leadership committee in Gaza, Shaath told Ma‘an. The new committee will include young figures in important leadership positions for the first time, Shaath said. He declined to name any candidates.
Interview: Abbas says Israel aims to keep status quo
ON BOARD PRESIDENTIAL JET (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Israel seeks to maintain the status quo by talking about peace without making any efforts to achieve it, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday. Abbas, on a regional tour in Asia, told Ma‘an that the Israeli government’s stated support of a two-state solution was a “slogan for public opinion.” “Israel talks about the two-state solution without taking a single step towards that solution … (they are) comfortable with the status quo and don’t seek to reach a solution,” he said.
Bethlehem governor outlaws contact with Israeli liaison office
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — The governor of Bethlehem on Monday ordered all organizations and individuals to end all contacts with an Israeli department in charge of permits … Governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals are instructed to go to the Palestinian Authority liaison department, tasked with dealing with the Israeli office, directly in all cases, the decree said. He said the move aimed to protect Palestinians from exploitation through Israel’s control of citizen’s needs, and to shore up the PA while Israel threatens to bring it down.
Survey: Nearly half of Israelis fear Holocaust could happen again
Haaretz 16 Apr — Findings reflect the deep impact of the Holocaust on succeeding generations of Israelis,says Prof. Shaul Kimhi – About 40 percent of all Israelis believe the Holocaust could happen again, and 43 percent are reportedly concerned the State of Israel is in danger of being destroyed, according to a poll conducted by Tel-Hai Academic College.
Paratroopers fall asleep during ambush
Ynet 15 Apr — Soldiers from the Paratroopers Brigade 101st Battalion fell asleep while lying in ambush along the border with Lebanon, Ynet reported. During the incident, which occurred a few days ago, a company commander and his soldiers were caught sleeping when they were supposed to be keeping watch over a sensitive area along the border to prevent smuggling and possible attempts to infiltrate Israel.
Opinion / Analysis
A lack of vision is making Israel a short-term state / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 14 Apr — Nobody is doing anything to stop democracy from rupturing, nobody is stopping Israel on its way to becoming a pariah, even more than it is already — A state without a (clear ) future, wallowing in the past and focusing on the present, is tantamount to a short-term state. Even on the eve of our national days of pathos, nobody asks what Israel will be like in a decade, which is no time at all in historical terms. Last week I joined the pilgrims to Hebron on Passover eve. In the bus, one of them, using a derogatory term for Arabs, said loudly: “All the Arabushim should be sent to the stone crushers straight from the hospital, as soon as they’re born.” The whole bus roared with laughter … Every society has an extreme right wing today, but in a small, fragile society like ours, this could become fatal. The United States can afford its dark Christian right and remain a democracy. Israel cannot.
Israel will have to go, sooner or later / Khalid Amayreh
ABNA 16 Apr — Israel is undoubtedly a powerful state, which also controls the governments of even more powerful states. Israel is a nuclear state that is armed to the teeth, which enables the apartheid entity to threaten other states, near and distant. Thus, one could argue that the German poet Guenter Grass was absolutely right when he said Israel was the state that, more than any state on earth posed the greatest threat to the peace and security of the world. But Israel is also an obscenely and intrinsically sinful state that lacks the moral underpinnings which historians and moralists insist is necessary for a long life. I think many Israelis are conscious or at least subconscious of the existential perils lying in wait for their maverick state.
Israel should never forget its Mideast atrocities / Yitzhak Laor
Haaretz 16 Apr — The major problem in the Grass affair is not the way Israel blackmails every German. Rather, it’s Israelis’ inability to understand this country other than through the way it’s portrayed in our media … Unlike Israelis’ good memory of heroic operations that the media take such pleasure in, we totally forget the scope of atrocities Israel has carried out in every confrontation with a Middle Eastern country … So we have to remember what Israel did in the cities near the Suez Canal and its bombings deep inside Egypt during the War of Attrition, killing thousands and maiming civilians – children in a school that was totally devastated, workers in a giant factory that was bombed during their lunch break. Or for example Beirut, where, during the first Lebanon war, the air force pounded the western part of the city daily. How many dead were there in Beirut – and in Sidon and Tyre? Was it 10,000 or 20,000? The pattern was repeated in the next “wars” – the Second Lebanon War with its atrocities and Operation Cast Lead with its atrocities.
What if somebody gave a war and nobody came? / Dr. Paul Balles
Salem-News 15 Apr — Israel has bombed and attacked Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Gaza and the Sinai. In the same period Iran has attacked no one! (MANAMA, Bahrain) – Achtung! Under no circumstances is a German legally permitted to criticize Israel! But Nobel Prize winning poet Günter Grass says: WHAT MUST BE SAID Why do I stay silent, conceal for too long / What clearly is and has been / Practiced in war games, at the end of which we as survivors / Are at best footnotes.
Grass’ joining the Waffen SS as a youth does not warrant shutting him up some 70 years later, but that’s exactly what guilt-ridden Germans and deceitful Israelis have been trying to do.
Meridor concedes Iran’s leaders have never called for Israeli’s destruction / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 16 Apr — In an Al Jazeera interview, one of the more moderate ministers in the current government, Dan Meridor, conceded that a notorious phrase widely attributed to Iran’s leaders including Pres. Ahmadinejad, that Iran would wipe Israel from the map, is false. Though Meridor, a senior cabinet member in the Netanyahu ruling coalition, believes that Iranian statements about Israel being a cancer in the region are equally distressing to Israel, he acknowledged that neither of Iran’s current leaders had ever called for destroying Israel. That of course, didn’t prevent him from lapsing back into precisely the same claim not once, but twice later in the interview. It seems that some tropes are so engraved in a nation’s consciousness that a politician can intellectually know they are false, publicly admit it, and then contradict himself.
‘In your eyes I’m a terrorist, but you killed and maimed 100s of 1000s of Muslims’ — Mehanna on sentencing / Roqayah Chamseddine
Mondo 15 Apr — Tarek Mehanna, 29, of Massachusetts, was sentenced Thursday to seventeen and a half years in prison following conviction in Boston on federal criminal charges of “conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and providing or attempting to provide material support to terrorists.”