Settlers raise Israel’s flag on top of Ibrahimi mosque
IMEMC 26 Apr — A group of Israeli settlers raised Israeli flags on top of the fourth holiest site in Islam, the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. This is the first time ever since Hebron fell under Israeli occupation in 1967. The Milad News Agency reported that head of the Waqf and Endowment Department in Hebron, Zeid al-Ja’bary, slammed the provocative move and stated that “this is an attack against the religious and historic stature of this site to millions of Muslims around the world.” … Hebron Governor Kamel Hameed held the Israeli government responsible for provocative acts and attacks carried out by settlers in Hebron. Hameed told the Milad News Agency that “writing street names in Hebrew, renaming the mosque, and placing iron and electronic gates on its entrances are provocative acts that are meant to prevent the Muslims from entering it.”
Land, property theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing
PM stance on Palestinian contiguity debated
JPost 27 Apr — Officials dispute interpretations that Netanyahu nodded to Palestinian territorial contiguity during CNN interview — Government officials played down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s comments in a CNN interview this week expressing a seeming willingness for Palestinian contiguity, saying he was referring to the West Bank, and not necessarily a physical link from it to Gaza … Burnett said in her narrative of the interview that the use of the word contiguous is significant, and that there was a “lot of weight in that particular word.” Government officials pointed out, however, that Netanyahu actually never used the word. One official said that the prime minister was trying to rebut Palestinian claims that what he had in mind for a future Palestinian state were Palestinian cantons surrounded by Israel. Netanyahu also stressed in the interview that a future Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized.
Jordan Valley resident forcibly removed from home
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 27 Apr — Israeli soldiers forcibly removed on Friday a Palestinian resident of the Jordan Valley to an area behind a military checkpoint that separates the Jordan Valley from the rest of the West Bank, according to a local official. Aref Daraghme, head of Wadi Maleh village council, said the soldiers removed Adel Zamel from his house in the Ein al-Hilweh area of the Jordan Valley and forced him to move with all his belongings to another area behind Tayaseer checkpoint. He said Zamel and his family were left homeless after they were displaced from their home, describing this Israeli move as unprecedented.
Slide show: Ethnic cleansing goes on. Khaled Natshe’s house today, April 27, 2012
Occ. Pal. 27 Apr — Palestinian and foreign activists protest against Israeli Jewish settlers moving into the house of Palestinian Khaled Natshe on April 27, 2012 which was handed over to the Jewish settlers, in the Israeli annexed Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina. Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family of 14 people from their two houses in Beit Hanina On April 18 after settlers won a court battle over ownership
Clashes in Jerusalem over occupied Palestinian homes
AFP 27 Apr — Clashes broke out on Friday when some 150 Palestinians and Israelis demonstrated in east Jerusalem to protest against Jewish settlers taking over two houses there, an AFP reporter said. As protesters brandished signs saying “Stop the occupation” and “Stop stealing Palestinian land,” there were scuffles between one settler and demonstrators and between protesters and police. One Israeli demonstrator was arrested, which prompted her comrades to stage a sit-in in a street to block police … The eviction of the Natshe family was the first successful attempt by settlers to secure a property in the well-heeled Arab district in the northern part of east Jerusalem, rights groups said.
Why the sudden interest in East Jerusalem? / Daoud Kuttab
Opinion – Ma‘an 25 Apr — A flurry of visits by Arab and Islamic officials to East Jerusalem in the past few weeks has left Palestinians wondering what is happening. Prince Hashem visited Jerusalem followed by a joint visit of Prince Ghazi and Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa. The head of Jordan’s security service, Hussein Majali, was the last to visit. His visit was followed by statements from Palestinian Islamic Waqf officials and the Israeli media that an important leader would be visiting soon.
The anti-normalization committee calls on Jordan to prevent visits to Jerusalem
AMMAN (PIC) 27 Apr — The Higher Executive Committee for the Protection of Homeland and the Confrontation of Normalization in Jordan has considered, in a statement on Thursday, official and semi-official visits to occupied Jerusalem a flagrant provocation to the Jordanian people and a betrayal to the Palestinian right of return. The committee asked the Jordanian government to prevent such visits through Jordan, calling on the Jordanian people to reject and condemn all forms of normalization with the enemy, including the flooding of the Jordanian market with Zionist products.
Who actually suffers from a boycott of Jerusalem? / Aziz Abu Sarah
972mag 27 Apr — …Muslim leaders across the Middle East have long followed a policy of boycotting travel to Jerusalem, until Israel ends its occupation of the city and Palestinian land. Some have labeled those who visit Jerusalem as “normalizers” of the occupation, and sometimes even traitors … However, 45 years after Israel first occupied East Jerusalem, I am still unable to understand how boycotting the Palestinians in East Jerusalem is beneficial to the Palestinian people. Muslims around the world expect Palestinians in East Jerusalem to stand firm, but they leave them alone in the larger Arab context. They are expected to survive and remain steadfast, to hold onto their residency in the city, while socially and economically they consistently face increasing challenges.
Mayor: Israel orders villagers to uproot olive trees
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 25 Apr — Israeli authorities on Wednesday ordered villagers in Wadi Qana in the northern West Bank to uproot 1,070 olive trees, a local official said. The mayor of Deir Istiya, Nathmi Salman, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces delivered the orders to Abdul Mansour, Qasem Mansour and Muqbel Awad, who own the trees. The trees are over five years old, he added.
New settlement on Ni‘lin’s land
Ni‘lin Sons 24 Apr — A group of young settlers started the construction of a new outpost on privately owned land in Ni’lin on the 10th of April. The outpost will be called ‘Or Hadash’ meaning A New Light in Hebrew, a biblical reference. Israeli soldiers came to the site and confiscated some construction tools but did not stop the approximately 100 settlers from laying down the foundations of the outpost. The construction of settlements on privately owned Palestinian land has been deemed illegal according to international as well as Israeli law. “We proclaim that the land of Israel is for the people of Israel,” said the settler leader Daniella Weiss, former mayor of Kedumim settlement, who spoke at the land grabbing event. Weiss also spoke about the support the settler enterprise receives from the trustee fund Nachala, an international organization dedicated to settlement expansion in the West Bank.
2015: A farewell to West Bank outposts? / Chaim Levinson
In 2015, people will no longer talk about “outposts.” There will be no Migron and no Ulpana Hill, no Givat Assaf and no Amona. In 2015, nobody will care. After Migron and Ramat Migron, they will build Neve Migron, Palgei Migron, Nofei Migron, Maale Migron and Tzidei Migron, along with Upper Migron and Lower Migron, and places with all the other generic names for new residential communities. In 2015, the outpost system will be 20 years old. After the Oslo II interim agreement, when the settlers saw the Oslo II borders had been set based on where communities were located, they began grabbing every hill and mountain.
‘Washington Post’ cartoon mocking future Palestinian state signals crumbling of two-state paradigm / Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss 27 Apr — Tom Toles’s latest cartoon is essentially an echo of the Archipelago map by Julien Bousac that Palestinian solidarity activists circulated 3 years ago. I believe that even Washington is today in a state of paradigm collapse. The two state paradigm that was fought for for several decades and then became the regnant idea is crumbling. Smart people understand this in the U.S. Every Palestinian understands this. They say to you, We don’t know what’s next.
Israel government petitions High Court to postpone evacuation of West Bank outpost
Haaretz 27 Apr — The Israeli government on Friday petitioned the High Court of Justice to reverse its decision to postpone the evacuation, and dismantling, of five structures that were built on Palestinian land in the Ulpana neighborhood in the Beit El settlement, originally due to take place on May 1. With instructions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as ministers on the panel for settlement issues, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Benny Begin, the State Attorney requested that the court “reconsider” its decision to evacuate the buildings, partly on the basis that the evacuation is likely to have difficult ramifications for Beit El residents.
Legal officials: Israeli government’s request to delay West Bank outpost evacuation ‘breaks the rules
Haaretz 27 Apr — In rare move, Israeli government is set to request that the High Court of Justice postpone the scheduled evacuation of Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood … The request differs from previous cases, in which requests were made to postpone court decisions. This request is meant to allow for the government to propose an alternative solution for the issue of Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood – a solution that would not be in line with the court’s previous decision … According to legal experts, the government’s request represents a problematic move – breaking the accepted rules for the relationship between the executive and judicial branches – that will put the country in a difficult position.
Legal source: State ridiculing rule of law
Ynet 27 Apr — Senior legal official says new government policy toward West Bank evictions wishes to draw distinction between isolated outposts and large neighborhood built on private Palestinian land … According to the source, “You cannot make a distinction between outposts that the government can easily evict and outposts that are less convenient to evict due to Rightist pressure on the government. The policy needs to consistent, which is that structures built on private land must be demolished.”
Violence / Raids / Provocations
PCHR Weekly Report: ‘Army carries out 81 invasions in West Bank, 1 in Gaza’ [19-25 April]
IMEMC 27 Apr — Several injuries and arrests were reported in the Israeli attacks. Soldiers carried out 81 invasions into Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped 15 Palestinian civilians, including four children and one woman. Soldiers continued the use of excessive force against nonviolent protests against Israel’s illegal Annexation Wall and Settlements, in the West Bank leading to one injury while dozens of civilians suffered from the effects of teargas inhalation. The army also detained six nonviolent protesters, including two photojournalists, and two Israeli peace activists. Israel also continued its illegal settlement activities in the West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem, in direct violation of International law. Settlers also continued their attacks against the Palestinians and their property…. Full Report
Settlers abduct Palestinians, summon them to Israeli soldiers
PNN 27 Apr — On Friday 27th April, a number of settlers in Ramat Gilad settlement summoned two Palestinians from Amatin village, east of Qalqiliyah, who were kidnapped while herding sheep in the East of the village, near the settlement. Eyewitnesses said that armed settlers attacked Issam Hassan Khalil, 28, and Mohammad Mahmoud Barry, 13, and handcuffed them before they kidnapped and summoned them to the Israeli soldiers, where they transferred them to an unknown location for further interrogation. Palestinians in the village are been subjected to settlers’ attacks daily, especially attacks on shepherds.
The Israeli public broadcast reported that the Israeli army closed Za‘tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, that separates north of the West Bank from the center, and detained Palestinians’ vehicles, which lead to significant delays in their travels.
Settlers spray gas on Palestinians, Hebron
PNN 27 Apr — On Friday, April 27th, Israeli setters sprayed toxic gas on two Palestinians near the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, south of the West Bank. Locals said that the two Palestinians who were sprayed by the gas are: Mohammad al-Muhtaseb, 23, and Ghassan al-Ja’bari, 16, while they were at the mosque’s yard. They were transferred to the Governmental Hospital for treatment.
The Israeli forces, escorted with military vehicles, raided B’ir al-Mahjar area in Hebron, as well as the villages of Halhoul and Nuba.
200 settlers break into Solomon pools, Bethlehem
PNN 27 Apr — On Friday, April 27th, around 200 settlers, accompanied by Israeli army forces, broke into the Solomon Pools area, south of Bethlehem under the auspice of “security activity”. Eyewitnesses told PNN that the settlers broke into the area at 6 a.m. and left again at 8 a.m. after wreaking havoc on the land, and attempting to swim in the pools.
10 teenagers detained after breaking into IDF base
Ynet 27 Apr — Nine teenagers were detained for investigation on Friday after they broke into the IDF Judea and Samaria Division base in Beit El. They were transferred to Shai Police for investigation. During the incident, police and army forces were razing an illegal structure erected in the West Bank outpost Hill-18, near Kiryat Arba. Settlers in the area clashed with the security forces, but no injuries or arrests were reported.
Al Mezan condemns escalation of Israeli attacks on Palestinian fishermen and calls for immediate lifting of siege
26 Apr — Israeli abuses against Palestinian fishermen in Gazan waters have escalated in recent weeks, as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have adopted new tactics causing increased physical damage to Palestinian fishing boats. The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has noted that the IOF has recently begun opening fire directly on the boats’ engines, with no justifiable cause. These escalating attacks come in the context of Israel’s maritime siege on the Gaza Strip, which prevents Palestinian fishermen from working, even within the Israeli-imposed ‘fishing zone’ of three nautical miles along the Gazan coast … According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, over the course of April the IOF has escalated its attacks on Palestinian fishermen. In this month alone, the IOF carried out eight attacks on fishermen, as a result of which three boat engines were damaged.
Video: Gaza farmers say Israeli blockade could destroy their crops
BBC 26 Apr –Israel first imposed a blockade on Gaza in June 2006 after Palestinian militants captured one of its soldiers, Gilad Shalit, in a cross-border raid. It was tightened a year later after the Islamist group, Hamas, took over the Palestinian territory. But farmers in Gaza say the blockade means that not enough fuel is getting through to the agricultural sector and they are finding it difficult to water and harvest their crops properly. Ghada Nassef reports.
Rafah reopens after Egyptian holiday marking liberation of Sinai
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — The Rafah crossing on Gaza’s border with Egypt reopened on Thursday, after closing for one day to mark Sinai Liberation Day, the Interior Ministry in Gaza said. The Egyptian national holiday on April 25 marks Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula in 1982. The Rafah crossing closes on all Egyptian public holidays in an agreement between the governments in Gaza and Cairo. Due to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, the terminal is the only open border for residents of the enclave, although travel through the crossing is restricted.
Israel forces ‘detain 2 teens’ near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — Israeli soldiers on Thursday detained two Palestinian teenagers east of Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, Palestinian officials said. Palestinian civil liaison officials said soldiers detained Isam Salim, 16, and 14-year-old Ibrahim Barri near Amatin village. An Israeli military spokesman said two Palestinians were detained for throwing rocks at an Israeli settler.
IOF soldiers arrest citizen at roadblock
JORDAN VALLEY (PIC) 26 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested a young Palestinian man while crossing Al-Hamra roadblock to the north of the Jordan Valley on Thursday, eyewitnesses said. They said that soldiers manning the roadblock detained Majd Bisharat, from Tamon town, for an hour then took him to a detention center in an army jeep. Al-Hamra is considered one of the worst roadblocks in the West Bank and many Palestinians were killed at that block. The roadblock separates the northern West Bank from Jericho and the Jordan Valley.
Abduct Israelis to free prisoners, Gaza leaders say
GAZA CITY (Reuters) 27 Apr — Islamic leaders in the Gaza Strip called on Friday for militants to kidnap Israelis and use them as bargaining chips to secure the freedom of thousands of Palestinians prisoners held in Israeli jails. Human rights groups say up to 2,000 prisoners have joined an open-ended hunger strike to protest against jail conditions and thousands of Palestinians staged a rally in the Gaza Strip to support their cause. “We should work hard to get (Israeli) prisoners in our hands in order to secure the freedom of our prisoners,” Khaled al-Batsh, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad, told the crowd. “I say to all armed factions, the way to free the prisoners is through swaps … An arrest for an arrest, and freedom for freedom. This is the way,” he said.
Surviving Israeli jail: torture, humiliation and giving birth
Russia Today 27 Apr — Thousands of Palestinians are on hunger strike in Israeli prisons – for over a week, they have been protesting against indefinite detention without charge and alleged ill-treatment. Some of those who got out, told RT about their life behind bars … Samar Isbeh was arrested when she was 22 following a student protest. She was sentenced to 2.5-year term in prison. She is now 28, and lives in Gaza, while her own and her husband’s families live in the West Bank…. She has now been deported to the Gaza Strip and is denied entry to Tulkarm, so she can see neither her husband nor her children. “I was in my fist weeks of pregnancy when I got arrested. I went through every kind of torture. They tortured me in an underground cell for 66 days. They made me balance on a children’s chair, they kept me in a freezing cold disciplinary cell,” says Samar.“My hands and feet were tied when I was going through labor. They C-sectioned me, not because I required it but simply out of hatred. They let me have the child but treated him as a prisoner, too. They gave us no milk or diapers, or only expired ones.
Comrade Tawfiq Ali Oweisat released from occupation prison
PFLP 26 Apr — Comrade Tawfiq Ali Oweisat, who spent 18 years in the prisons of the Israeli occupation, was released today, received by a large group of family, comrades, friends and leaders when he returned home to Jerusalem. He had spent the last 9 days on hunger strike with his fellow prisoners. Comrade Oweisat said that “the prisoners have high morale to confront the Israeli authorities and achieve their demands,”
IPS stages summary trials for dozens of hunger strikers
NAZARETH (PIC) 26 Apr — The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has organized summary trials for dozens of Palestinian prisoners as a penal measure for going on hunger strike, prisoners told the PIC on Thursday. They said that many prisoners were punished by visit deprivation, fines, and canteen denial in those trials, which took place over the past few days …
For its part, the Ahrar center for human rights said that the IPS moved 165 prisoners from Megiddo jail to Giloba and Shatta prisons including 140 affiliated with Hamas and 25 with the popular front for the liberation of Palestine. It said that the prisoners had gone on hunger strike on 22 April and were jammed into small cells, each nine inmates crammed in a room made for six
Prison administration ‘transfers 70 detainees’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — The Husam prisoners organization said Thursday that according to detainees in Nafha prison, the administration transferred 70 hunger-striking prisoners from Nafha to Eshel jail. It said the administration has intensified its transferring policy since the first day of the strike in order to create a state of confusion among the detainees and to make contact among them impossible.
Mass march in Gaza for prisoners
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Palestinian prisoners continued their hunger strike for the 11th consecutive day in protest of Israeli policy. A mass march went out in Gaza City, which was called by Hamas and Islamic Jihad to support the prisoners. Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh affirmed his government’s support of the prisoners. He added during a speech in Al-Omari mosque that the prisoners are united in their battle inside Israeli jails.
4 hurt in Ramallah protest to support detainees
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — Four Palestinians were injured Thursday when clashes erupted at a demonstration outside Israel’s Ofer detention center near Ramallah, a Ma‘an correspondent reported. Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets as protesters threw rocks at soldiers in a demonstration for Palestinian detainees on hunger strike in Israeli jails. Forces detained Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, a leader in the non-violent resistance movement from Bil‘in, the reporter said.
#PalHunger | Solidarity sit-in to be staged outside 10 Downing St in London on Saturday
LONDON (PIC) 26 Apr — Three non-governmental organizations in the UK have called for a sit-in to be staged outside 10 Downing Street in London on Saturday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails.
Empty Stomach Warriors (II) Bilal Thiab chooses the life he wants to live / Linah Alsaafin
Al-Akhbar 27 Apr — Even as a young boy, Bilal Thiab despised authoritative oppression. He refused to listen to adults telling him off for innocent mistakes and later that personality trait solidified into one that openly challenged the men in uniform trampling on people’s freedom. Thiab was just 18 years old and a high school senior when he was first arrested by the Israeli occupying army in October 2003 from his village of Kufr Rai. He was sentenced to prison for seven and a half years for what Israel called his “political activism in the Islamic Jihad group.” When he was arrested, he defied the Israeli soldiers’ commands to look at the ground instead of at their faces, and when he refused they threatened to shoot him. Thiab was unshaken, and replied scathingly that either way, death is inevitable.
Fact sheet: Why Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike
MEMO 26 Apr — 1.1 – The issue of Palestinian prisoners is one of the worst consequences of the Israeli occupation. Since 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians, 20% of the population of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have been detained. This number represents approximately 40% of the total male Palestinian population in the occupied territories. 1.2 – Today, there are about 6,000 prisoners in 17 Israeli jails and detention centres. They include six women and more than 200 minors.
Report: Mashaal, Abbas discuss hunger strike
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — The head of Hamas, Khalid Mashaal, on Thursday phoned President Mahmoud Abbas and discussed ways to coordinate efforts on the part of prisoners who joined a mass hunger strike, Hamas media said. A statement published on the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Information Center website said they agreed on ways to activate efforts to support the prisoners, especially on solitary confinement and the so-called Shalit law.
Slide show: Back to ethnic cleansed Palestinian villages
Occ. Pal. 27 Apr — Arab Israeli protesters hold up the Palestinian flag as they march for the right of return for Palestinian refugees who fled their homes or were expelled during the 1948 war that followed the creation of the state of Israel, in the village of Abu Sinan in northern Israel, on April 26, 2012.
Nakba march: We can free ourselves of brutal regime
“The Jews’ independence day is our day of mourning,” thousands of Arab Israelis chanted Thursday during a march commemorating the “Nakba,” or the “catastrophe” of the establishment of the State of Israel. The protesters, who marched from Kafr Yasif towards Amqa and Kuwaykat – two Arab villages that were depopulated in 1948, waved Palestinian flags. A number of Arab Knesset members, as well as Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s northern branch, were among the thousands who took part in the rally.
Israel criminalizes the Nakba / Richard Silverstein
[with video] Tikun Olam 26 Apr — Imagine you’re a Native American or U.S. human rights activist and you wake up one morning to find that Congress has outlawed any reference to the greatest acts of suffering experienced by Native Americans. So no reference to the Trail of Tears, Sitting Bull is gone. And Geronimo? Don’t even think about him. Wounded Knee is but a memory. You can’t call the U.S. treatment of its indigenous inhabitants ‘genocide’ at risk of prosecution. Imagine groups of Native Americans who resist this law being barricaded by a massive FBI/police presence inside their reservation so they can’t tell the world their version of 19th century American history. Yesterday, tied to Israel Independence Day, activists from Zochrot intended to quietly mark the day by posting signs around Rabin Square in Tel Aviv displaying the names of some of the hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed by the State after the 1948 War of ‘Independence’.
In a fear society, where some facts are crimes / Max Blumenthal
Al-Akhbar 27 Apr — Tel Aviv University was built on the ruins of the Palestinian village of Sheikh Muwannis. The university’s faculty lounge is the village mukhtar’s former home. At the corner of Arlosoroff and Ibn Gvirol streets, where the Century Tower skyscraper stands, a Palestinian village named Sommeil used to exist. When activists from the Israeli group Zochrot set out into the heart of Tel Aviv’s “Independence Day” festivities to educate revelers about these facts, they were accused of engaging in criminal activities. As soon as the activists attempted to exit an office building to place small placards on Ibn Gvirol Street memorializing Palestinian villages destroyed during the Nakba, riot police surrounded them with metal gates, blocking them inside.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Medics: Protester hit by tear-gas canister near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — A protester was critically injured on Friday after Israeli forces fired a tear gas canister at his head at a demonstration near Qalqiliya, a Ma‘an reporter said. Medics said initial examinations suggested 19-year-old Wasim Barham suffered a skull fracture after he was hit by the projectile at the protest in Kafr Qaddum. He was taken to Rafadia Hospital in Nablus. Tareq al-Khatib, 28, was also injured in his hand and leg with rubber bullets … Israel’s army said it was not aware of any injuries.
Spring in Palestine / Joseph Dana
GQ (Germany) 26 Apr — Fadi Quran’s first memory of the Israeli occupation is the Second Intifada. Ramallah, the de-facto capital of the West Bank and Quran’s home town, was under military curfew for weeks on end. Unable to buy necessary food staples because of the constant presence of Israeli tanks and soldiers, Quran’s family was literally starving. Driven by childhood immaturity and anger, Quran would collect trash in large boxes and place the boxes at the entrance to his neighbourhood. Suspecting the mysterious packages were bombs, the Israeli military would send in advanced robots to inspect the bags of trash. The operation would take hours, giving Quran’s neighbourhood valuable time to run out and resupply groceries before the tanks and soldiers returned and the curfew resumed … Twenty four year old Diana Alzeer was almost born at an Israeli checkpoint. During the First Intifada, Alzeer’s village of Salafit, which sits quietly below Ariel, one of the largest settlements in the West Bank, was under constant curfew. As she went into labour, Alzeer’s mother was stopped at the entrance to the village by soldiers … Alzeer and Quran are emblematic of the next wave of Palestinian activism in the Occupied Territories; young, energetic and disconnected from Palestinian party politics and inspired by the Arab Spring.
Hamas calls on Arab League to boycott French companies complicit with the occupation
MEMO 27 Apr — The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas – has strongly criticised two French companies, Alstom and Veolia, for constructing a tramline in the occupied West Bank. Upon completion, the tramline would connect Jerusalem with the illegal Jewish settlements in the territory. This, according to Hamas officials, amounts to complicity with the Occupation and its settlements. In a press release issued on Thursday, April 26, Hamas called on the French government and the European Union to take tougher measures against companies that support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
Video: Palestinian solidarity on trial / Vashti Kenway
Mondoweiss 27 Apr — On May 1st, 19 Melbourne activists will be put on trial for their political activity. In a precedent-setting case, these pro-Palestine activists will be fighting a variety of charges designed to criminalise dissent in Baillieu’s Victoria and intimidate supporters of Palestine in Australia. On 1 July 2011, Victoria Police attacked a peaceful demonstration in Melbourne’s CBD. In one of the largest political arrests in a decade, 19 activists were detained during a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) action against the Max Brenner store.
STUC deals another blow to Israel charity accused of human rights violations
PNN 26 Apr — The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) today added to the increasing number of organisations denouncing what has been labelled the discriminatory nature of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and its practices in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The STUC resolution follows a similar motion passed overwhelmingly by the Green Party of England and Wales in February this year, and last year by the Scottish Green Party, Scottish Friends of the Earth and others. Last year also saw David Cameron resign as Honorary Patron of the JNF, the first time in its 111 year history that the serving British Prime Minister does not hold this position.
Racism / Discrimination
Israel’s not-so-stellar record on treatment of Christians / Yossi Gurvitz
972mag 24 Apr — “The 2010 State Department report on religious freedom in Israel and the occupied territories found that the Israeli Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is harassing Christian priests by demanding they renew their visas time and time again. It limits the number of visas Christian religious workers receive, and makes onerous demands on them. The visa application process, when successful, takes months … The MOI further refuses to grant recognized legal status to several old churches in Israel, all of them Protestant … The MOI, left for many years to the Orthodox parties, is collaborating with a hate organization, ‘Yad Le’Achim,’ which has a clear anti-Christian agenda (Hebrew). The MOI sends “queries” about Israeli citizens and tourists to Yad Le’Achim, for it to decide whether they are suspected of “missionary activity.” … The situation of the Messianic Jews, a sect of Jews who accept a version of Christianity — ironically, re-creating the most ancient Christian community — is even worse. They suffer from endless molestations, both by the MOI (aided, again, by Yad Le’Achim) and by the general Jewish Orthodox population. In 2008, one such family suffered a terrorist attack … The spitting by yeshiva boys on priests has become a Jerusalem phenomenon, recognized by the courts (Hebrew), who deplored the police’s inaction. The police hotly denied this claim: it proudly replied it deported from Israel priests who refused to turn the other cheek and slapped those who spat at them. Should you happen to speak with priests in Jerusalem, you’re likely to hear of another lovely habit of our ultra-Orthodox brethren: urinating and defecating on churches. From time to time, a church is set on fire
Asylum seekers targeted in Tel Aviv neighborhood
Ynet 27 Apr — Aid organizations in Tel Aviv filed a complaint on Thursday night claiming that Molotov cocktails were thrown at four apartments where African asylum seekers reside as well as an apartment that is being used as a daycare center, both in the Shapira neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv … One local resident told Ynet that at around 1:30 am a fire broke out in the back yard of the apartment beneath his, where Eritrean asylum seekers live.
Community shaken after night of arson attacks on African refugees / Haggai Matar
[photos] 972mag 27 Apr — “Somebody is trying to get rid of these damn Sudanese,” said an Israeli resident of Shapira neighborhood in south Tel Aviv this morning. The term “Sudanese” is commonly used by Israelis to describe all African asylum seekers. The house adjacent to the house of this Israeli was hit at around 1:30 a.m. by three Molotov cocktails: two were thrown through the window, and one into the entry hall. No one was hurt, as residents and neighbors quickly awoke and extinguished the fire. Another fire bomb was thrown into a neighboring yard, where five asylum seekers sleep outdoors. Furniture was badly burned, but none of the residents were hurt. All of the cases are probably linked, as Mya has noted. “Whoever did this is right, but he’s doing it the wrong way,” says the neighbor. “This fire almost burned my car, and also – there is a small girl in that house. He should have waited until nobody was home, and then blown the place up to send them a message”.
Politics / Diplomacy
Mansour: Settlements prove Israel rejects 1967 borders
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — The PLO ambassador at the United Nations on Wednesday condemned Israeli settlement activity in a series of letters to senior UN officials. “There have been confirmations by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, Human Rights Council and the Social and Economic Council on the illegality of all settlement activity in a number of resolutions which are still available, and we are still calling on Israel to respect and implement the resolutions,” Mansour said.
Fatah: No talks with Hamas since February
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Fatah has not discussed reconciliation with Hamas for two months, Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad said Friday. Al-Ahmad told Ma‘an that Hamas leaders in Gaza had stopped communicating with Fatah after deliberately thwarting an agreement made in February between Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal and Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas.
Meshal expected to retain power after Hamas vote
Al-Akhbar 27 Apr — Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas government in Gaza has emerged in voting as the movement’s leader there, but incumbent Khaled Meshal is expected to retain his position as overall chief. Voting in the region, which has been taking place over the past month, placed Haniyeh at the head of the territory’s 15-member political bureau ahead of Mahmoud Zahar, previously considered the main leader there, party officials said on Friday on condition of anonymity.
Abbas avoids discussion of letter’s meeting with Fayyad
PNN 26 Apr — On Thursday, April 26th, Al-Quds newspaper revealed the details of the meeting between Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad on Tuesday, April 24th, where they discussed the details of the internal situation in Palestine. A Palestinian official said PA president Abbas, in the two-hour meeting with Fayyad, “avoided speaking about Fayyad’s refusal to participate in the meeting where Abbas gave a letter to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Italy funds diplomatic training for PA officers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Apr — Senior Palestinian Authority officers were awarded certificates in diplomatic protocol on Thursday at the presidential compound in Ramallah.
Obama removes block on Palestinian Authority funding
Al-Akhbar 27 Apr — President Barack Obama has signed a waiver removing a block on aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) … A provision of The Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2012 said none of the funds “may be obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian Authority.” A $192 million package was frozen by Congress after the Palestinians moved to gain statehood at the United Nations in September last year. In November, the US Congress released $40 million but the State Department had expressed concern about being able to provide the necessary funding to address the dire economic and humanitarian hardship facing Palestinians. In signing the waiver, Obama instructed Clinton to inform Congress of the move, on the grounds that “waiving such prohibition is important to the national security interests of the United States.”
US concerned by Palestinian Web blocking
[with press conference video] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — The United States said Wednesday it was concerned by efforts to restrict access to the Internet and would raise the issue with the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority has instructed service providers to block access to as many as eight opposition news sites, according to Palestinian officials who oppose the decision
Palestinian communications minister to resign
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — The Palestinian Authority communications minister intends to resign from Salam Fayyad’s government, according to sources in Ramallah. Fayyad was expected to accept Mashour Abu Daka’s resignation Thursday, the sources said … News of Abu Daka’s resignation comes days after he publicly condemned a secretive Palestinian Authority initiative to censor opposition websites. Like other concerned officials, Abu Daka blamed the order on attorney-general Ahmad al-Mughni, who he said had “made up his own laws” to justify it. Abu Daka will leave his post effective May 1, the officials believe.
Saeb Erekat: World must condemn Israel’s official incitement to violence against Palestinians
PNN 27 Apr — Friday, 27th April, Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, condemned in a press release issued on Thursday, Israel’s publication of a book that considers the occupied West Bank part of Israel and incites to violence against Palestinians by instructing Israelis to carry weapons inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory … Dr. Erekat said, “This is an outrageous case of incitement to violence against Palestinians that reflects Israel’s official policy and mindset. It should be of grave concern to the international community”. “By issuing a book on trails in Israel that includes at least 50 sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Israeli Defense Ministry exposes the true agenda of this government; nothing but abject disregard to international law, and the international consensus on the two-state solution”, said the Chief Negotiator.
Europe donates €10 million to Palestinians in extreme poverty
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Apr — The European Union, Switzerland and Austria will contribute €10 million to support Palestinian families living in extreme poverty, the EU said Wednesday. The $13.2 million donation will fund a program provide cash and in kind assistance to 64,743 Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza,the EU said in a statement.
Sheikh Raed Salah: A summary of the trial hearings
MEMO 25 Apr — Sheikh Raed Salah came to Britain at the invitation of the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) last June for a 10 day speaking tour. He was invited to address parliamentarians, journalists and the public to talk about Jerusalem, the Arab Spring, Palestine and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Three days into his visit he was arrested by officials from the UK Border Agency. The UKBA claimed that Sheikh Raed had entered the UK despite a banning order issued by Home Secretary Theresa May.
Sheikh Raed Salah’s lawyer named The Times ‘lawyer of the week’
MEMO 26 Apr — The Times newspaper has named Tayab Ali, of ITN Solicitors their lawyer of the week. Mr Ali headed the legal team along with barristers Raza Hussian QC and Duran Seddon in defence of Sheikh Raed Salah against the Home Secretary, Theresa May.
Neturei Karta hold anti-Israel protest on Independence Day
Ynet 27 Apr — Members of radical anti-Zionist sect take to streets in Bnei Brak, torch Israeli flags while country celebrates 64th Independence Day
Ex Shin Bet chief slams Bibi, Barak
Ynet 27 Apr — Yuval Diskin says prime minister, defense minister not fit to stand at helm of Israeli government. ‘If we don’t come to our senses soon, we might be in a worse-off situation,’ he cautions