Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
WATCH: Palestinian village suffers from ongoing water shortage
972blog 4 July –Because Israel restricts Palestinian access to natural water sources in the West Bank, Palestinians are forced to depend on water allocation by Mekorot, the national water company. But in many West Bank villages, the daily water allocation supplied to residents is much lower than the minimal supply required by the global health monitoring organization. WATCH this video report by Israel Social TV on A-Dik, a small village near the settlement of Ariel, where residents find themselves in an ongoing water crisis.
Water torture / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 7 July — IDF confiscates water containers from Palestinians and Bedouins in Jordan Valley — Avi is an inspection coordinator for the “Civil Administration” – the occupation regime, to speak without euphemisms. Presumably Avi likes his job. Maybe he’s even proud of it. He doesn’t bother mentioning his last name in the forms he signs. Why should he? His ornate “Avi” signature is sufficient to carry out his diktats. And Avi’s are among the most brutal and inhumane diktats ever to be imposed in these parts. Avi confiscates water containers that serve hundreds of Palestinian and Bedouin families living in the Jordan Valley. The containers are these people’s only water source. In recent weeks, Avi has confiscated about a dozen containers, leaving dozens of families with children in the horrific Jordan Valley heat, to go thirsty. The forms he takes pains to complete, in spiffy style, say: “There is reason to suspect they used the above merchandise for carrying out an offense.” Avi’s bosses claim the “offense” is stealing water from a pipe. This is why the containers are seized – with no inquiry, no trial. Welcome to the land of lawlessness and evil. Welcome to the land of apartheid. Israel does not permit thousands of these wretched people to hook up to the water pipes. This water is for Jews only.
Settlers cut down 120 olive trees near Nablus
NABLUS, July 5 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Thursday cut down around 120 olive trees near the village of Yatma, south of Nablus, according to a local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said settlers from the nearby settlement of Kefar Tappuach cut 120 olives in private Palestinian land. [PIC: the lands located between Betta and Yatma towns]
Man sentenced for selling Israelis land
Ramallah (Gulf News) 5 July — An aged Palestinian from the village of Al Jeeb, North West of Occupied East Jerusalem, has admitted to the Ramallah Court of First Instance that he was responsible for passing several plots of lands to the Israelis. The 62 years old suspect, identified as A.Kh, has sold at least eight pieces of land to the Israelis – two which he inherited from his father and at least six other pieces of land between Ramallah and occupied East Jerusalem that he bought with Israeli money. Sources in Ramallah said that the suspect has provided the Israeli buyers with all the necessary official documents to prove their claims to the lands. The Ramallah court sentenced the suspect to eight years imprisonment, but the suspect’s old age and the official documents he provided to the court outlining the existence of a daughter with cancer that he sponsors at home reduced the prison term to five years of hard labour. Ramallah sources told Gulf News that this collaborator is one of the most serious enemies to the Palestinian public and that his case has been followed by the Palestinian security apparatus, in particular Palestinian Preventive Security.
IOF soldiers arrest Jerusalemite, storm houses
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 7 July — Israeli occupation forces arrested a Palestinian Jerusalemite in Ram town to the east of occupied Jerusalem on Saturday. Local sources said that the soldiers took away Mohammed Ka‘abna, 26, after breaking into and searching a number of homes in the town. The soldiers said that Ka‘abna was wanted for interrogation by the Israeli intelligence.
Meanwhile, Israeli police forces escorted municipality teams in storming Silwan town, south of the Aqsa mosque, and took many photos of houses threatened with demolition in the Bustan suburb. Heated exchanges took place between the inhabitants and the soldiers for forcing their way into their homes without warrants. The inhabitants appealed to the world community to swiftly intervene and save their homes from a demolition spree.
Palestinians, Israeli and Internationals protest illegal settlers in Sheikh Jarrah
IMEMC 7 July — On Friday afternoon, about 80 activists gathered at Sheik Jarrah in East Jerusalem to protest the illegal eviction of Palestinian families, and the occupation of their homes by far right Israeli settlers. The area has been a flashpoint for weekly protests since two Palestinian families were evicted from the homes they had lived in for 60 years. One family, the Al-Kurd’s are now forced to live in the back yard of their own home in a tent, while far right Israeli settlers occupy their home on a rotation system in a bid to grab more and more land from the Palestinians of East Jerusalem. In the house opposite, illegal Israeli settlers who are occupying another Palestinian home after the original family was evicted by an Israeli court have erected a 10 foot tall wooden menorah and draped the building in Israeli flag … Friday’s protest aimed to bring to light the plight of the evicted families and also the broader issue of how Israel is seizing more and more land in Palestinian East Jerusalem with the aid of illegal settlers … Two young male Israeli settlers occupying the Al-Kurd home waited until a young Israeli female protester had turned her back before one of them rushed out, attacked and struck her with a wooden pole. Fortunately she was not seriously injured.
Neither in nor out: Jerusalem village on the seam
AL-NUMAN, West Bank (Ma‘an) — In the spring of 2003, the residents of al-Numan, a Palestinian village in the outskirts of East Jerusalem, greeted an unusual visitor. The man, Dvir Kahana, was later revealed by a Haaretz investigation to be an employee of a private company given permission to operate in al-Numan by the Israeli Ministry of Housing. But Kahana identified himself to al-Numan residents as an official representative of the Israeli government, dispatched to Palestinian areas affected by the separation barrier, then in an early stage of construction. … Kahana’s message to al-Numan residents was clear: Israel will eventually take this land, and will make life here impossible if you stay. Nine years later, the separation barrier surrounds al-Numan on three sides. Israeli soldiers stand watch at a checkpoint outside the village’s one entrance, strictly controlling movement in and out. They keep a list of the village’s 220 residents, and only those people are allowed to enter, keeping out relatives and friends who used to travel between al-Numan and neighboring al-Khas freely … For the last 19 years, al-Numan residents have remained in a state of legal ambiguity — technically living in East Jerusalem but with identity cards from the Palestinian Authority. Though the town has endured five home demolitions since the annexation, no one has been forcibly removed. Instead, tight Israeli control, enforced by the checkpoint and separation barrier, is slowly suffocating village life. A prohibition on commercial activity in town has led to soldiers arbitrarily limiting food and basic materials that al-Numan residents are allowed to bring past the checkpoint … These regulations often have severe consequences. Doctors have to go through the hassle and uncertainty of obtaining a permit like any other visitor. A Jerusalem ambulance sent to pick up a boy bitten by a spider was recently made to wait outside the village, while the boy’s family carried him through the checkpoint themselves.
Earmarking some well buildings for preservation may doom the rest
Haaretz 5 July — The iconic Palestinian mansions that evolved from wells irrigating orchards are mostly worth preserving … Back in the 19th century, European demand for Jaffa-brand Valencia and Shamouti oranges brought a lot of money into Palestine and made several Jaffa families of fruit-growers quite wealthy. The humble well houses that provided the water to irrigate the orchards were expanded over the years to include stables, warehouses, packing houses and finally, luxurious mansions that offered refuge from Jaffa’s crowded streets. Before the establishment of Israel, there were some 200 well houses still functioning near the orchards of Jaffa … The well houses, with stone walls concealing exotic gardens, were preserved, among other places, in the drawings of Nachum Gutman and the writings of contemporary writers and poets … After the establishment of the state, the orchards of Jaffa were abandoned and so too the well houses.
Israel to accelerate Falashmura immigration from Ethiopia, ending 30-year operation
Haaretz 8 July — The Israeli government decided on Sunday to accelerate the immigration of some 2,000 Falashmura, bringing a close to a 30-year effort of organized immigration from Ethiopia. The move, which was agreed to by the government and organizations supporting immigration from Ethiopia, will accelerate the process for the final group of immigration candidates, bringing them to Israel by the end of March 2014.
Building of security fence to resume
Ynet 5 July — After five years of a freeze on construction, the government now intends to resume work on erection of the security fence in the area of Gush Etzion and afterward also the Jerusalem perimeter. How will the world react this time? Time will tell. The security fence is supposed to extend over 760 kilometers. Building began in 2002. Until now some hundreds of kilometers have been erected, but the work was frozen by the government around five years ago. The government claims that building the fence was frozen because of budget problems, but various parties claim that petitions filed in court by various bodies and international pressure – caused the freeze.
Double take: Airport security designed to delay
Haaretz 6 July by Joel Greenberg — There was a time when security checks at Ben-Gurion International Airport were designed solely to block terrorist threats to Israel. In recent years the checks have taken on a different role, expanding to identify people whose travel plans include a trip to the West Bank for a range of purposes from family visits, humanitarian work or non-violent protests against the Israeli occupation … A former security inspector who left his job at the airport several months ago recently described to me how measures there have taken on new dimensions. He declined to be identified by name, concerned he would be recognized by his former employers. The airport security measures are calibrated “to the geo-political situation” in the region, he said. The criteria for treatment of certain suspect travelers are “clearly political,” he added, and intended “simply to deter” people from traveling to the Palestinian territories.
Violence / Raids / Arrests / Provocations
Yanoun: Settlers and soldiers attack village, injuring 5
ISM 8 July by ‘Marshall Pinkerton’ — On Saturday 7 July, 2012, the village of Yanoun, located 12km southeast of Nablus, was attacked by illegal settlers from the illegal Itamar settlement. Five Palestinians were injured in the attack and large sections of agricultural land were set ablaze. The attack began at roughly 2pm. The illegal settlers descended on the village and began setting fire to sections of land and firing on sheep while they were grazing. In the course of the attack on Yanoun, 5 resident of Aqraba, (the neighbouring village) were injured to varying degrees. Two men, Ibrahim Hamid Ibrahim, and Adwan Rajih bini Naber were beaten by settlers, and another, Joudat Hamid Ibrahim was stabbed in the shoulder after being beaten as well. When the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrived, they joined in the attacks, injuring two more. Hakimun Ahmed Yusuf Bini Jaber, 42, was shot in the arm with live ammunition by an IOF soldier and Ashraf Adel Hamid Ibrahim, 29, was shot in the back with a tear gas canister when the soldiers attempted to scatter villagers who were to aid the injured.The villagers who were aiding the injured attempted to carry the injured men to ambulances, but IOF soldiers blocked the roads and refused to let them through. The IOF and illegal settlers also stopped residents from putting out the fires. The first ambulance to leave was reportedly stopped at Huwwara checkpoint en route to a hospital in Nablus. Two of the injured men were taken from the ambulance and held in Israeli custody for an undetermined period of time. The second and third ambulance were not allowed to depart with those wounded for two hours.
Teen struck by rubber bullet at West Bank rally
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 July — A teenager was shot by a rubber-coated bullet in his foot and others suffered tear-gas inhalation Friday at a weekly rally against Israel’s separation wall in the central West Bank village of Bil‘in west of Ramallah. Residents identified the injured teenager as Muawiya al-Khatib, 17. They said protesters marched from the village toward the wall, and as they came close to the wall, Israeli forces fired gas canisters, rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades. Foul-smelling chemicals were also sprayed at the demonstrators. A delegation of Brazilian activists joined the rally along with Israeli and international peace activists.
Gas canister sets fire to West Bank home
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 6 July — An Israeli tear gas canister set fire to a Palestinian home on Friday in the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddum, during a demonstration against settlers in the occupied West Bank. Witnesses said the home belonged to Mousa Obeid, a resident of the village. Several family members suffered from inhaling the gas but their conditions were not immediately clear. Soldiers were stationed at the entrance of the town holding up a firetruck and detained one person, onlookers said.
Near Bethlehem, Israeli forces suppressed a weekly demonstration against the wall in the al-Masaara village by preventing their access to the barrier. The coordinator of the local committee against the wall, Hassan Briggah, stressed that all activists were paying condolences to a Fatah leader, Hani al-Hassan, who died this week.
Palestinian demonstrator arrested at weekly Kafr Qaddum protest
ISM 7 July by ‘Marshall Pinkerton’ — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) violently suppressed the weekly demonstration at Kafr Qaddum on Friday the 6th of July, injuring one man, and arresting another. Majid Joomaa, 40 years old, was arrested as the IOF stormed the village. Joomaa, who is a father of ten, was unable to flee from the advancing soldiers due to a prior injury in his leg. Another man suffered from overexposure to tear gas, and was carried to an ambulance after he collapsed. Next week marks the one year anniversary of the popular demonstrations against the Israeli Occupation in Kafr Qaddum. In 2003 the IOF closed the main road that connected the small village with Nablus, which lies only 13km away. Palestinians are forced to drive around the illegal settlement of Kedumim, which was erected in 1975, extending their journey by 22 kilometers instead of the usual 10 to reach Nablus.
IOF soldiers quell Al-Khalil protest
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 7 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled a peaceful protest march in Beit Ummar village to the north of Al-Khalil on Saturday. Yousef Abu Maria, the coordinator of the popular anti-settlement committee in the village, said the IOF troops attacked the peaceful march that was also in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails. He said that the IOF soldiers beat the participants and declared the area a closed military zone. He added that the soldiers forced the participants out of the area and arrested two solidarity activists.
PCHR Weekly Report: 5 civilians wounded, 27 abducted by Israeli forces this week [28 June-4 July]
IMEMC 6 July — Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip: Israeli forces launched a series of air strikes on the Gaza Strip. A training site and a car were bombarded, but no casualties were reported. Two houses were damaged. In the Gaza Strip, on 29 June 2012, Israeli forces abducted 3 Palestinian civilians, including two children, when they attempted to cross the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to search for jobs inside Israel.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Israeli forces conducted 45 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 19 Palestinians, including two children. Full report
IOF soldiers detain old man and his grandchildren for hours
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 7 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained an old Palestinian man and his four grandchildren near Bani Naim village to south west of Al-Khalil on Saturday. A security source told Quds Press that the soldiers detained the four children and their grandfather at a bypass road near Bani Naim for several hours without giving any reason.
The soldiers stormed two other villages in the province and a number of suburbs in Al-Khalil city, he said, adding that the soldiers searched vehicles and demanded IDs of passengers and pedestrians.
IOF arrests two farmers near Hallamish settlement
RAMALLAH (PIC) 6 July — The IOF arrested yesterday two brothers, the farmers Ihab (30) years and Mohammed Hassan Al-Tamimi (25) years, while they were working on their land adjacent to Hallamish settlement that is built on Nabi Saleh village’s lands, and took them into the settlement for interrogation.
Four Israelis arrested in Susya for painting over anti-Arab graffiti
972blog 8 July by Mairav Zonszein — Israeli activists went to the Palestinian village to replace the vandalism committed by settlers with a message of nonviolence and solidarity – and were subsequently arrested for damaging property. While tens of thousands of people were demonstrating last night (Saturday) in Tel Aviv for the mandatory military enlistment of all Israeli citizens, four other citizens were sitting in jail after being arrested for painting over hate speech graffitied on a rock by settlers in Susya and proceeding to write “Stop the Violence” and “Free Susya””next to it.
Four children injured in explosion of Israeli army ordnance
GAZA (PIC) 7 July — Four Palestinian children of one family were wounded on Saturday morning when an army ordnance exploded near their home in Wadi Al-Salaqa east of Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza Strip. Medical sources said that the four children of Abu Muharib family, the youngest being a seven-year-old girl, arrived in the hospital with shrapnel covering their bodies especially the upper parts, adding that their injuries were light to moderate. They said that the explosion occurred one kilometer away from the border area, charging that the ordnance was most probably left over by the Israeli occupation forces in one of their repeated incursions into the area.
Gaza man shot by soldiers at Israel border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 July — A Palestinian was injured Thursday by Israeli forces near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, and was transferred to hospital, a reporter said. Mohammad Akhrat, 20, was shot in his right leg and his wounds were described as moderate. The victim was collecting iron scrap when soldiers opened fire, medics said.
Official: Israel closes Gaza’s Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 July — Israel closed the Erez crossing on the Gaza border on Friday morning, a Palestinian official said. Crossing director on the Palestinian side Maher Abu al-Ouf told Ma‘an that patients, traders and elderly passengers were waiting to cross when Israeli authorities closed the terminal without prior notice.
Army: Gaza rocket lands in southern Israel
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 6 July — Gaza militants fired a rocket into southern Israel on Friday causing no damage or injuries, the Israeli army said. The projectile landed in the Shaar Negev regional council, an Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an.
Activists from aid convoy enter Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 8 July – A delegation of 40 international solidarity activists from different countries entered the Gaza Strip on Saturday afternoon via Egypt’s Rafah crossing. An Egyptian security source at the terminal said the activists were part of the international aid convoy Miles of Smiles 14. The group left humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip which will be sent later. The aid includes, according to the source, 14 vehicles for disabled people in addition to medicines and an x-ray machine. The cargo is being checked at Alexandria port.
Israel’s siege suffocates Gaza
Scoop 5 July by Municipality of Al-Nusirat Refugee Camp — The siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is regarded as one of the most brutal and repressive sieges, particularly as it has its economical and political motives, both in the long and short term. It differs from other sieges in modern history in terms of practice and goals. It is in no way like the siege imposed by the imperial powers on the Russian Revolution in 1917, the siege imposed on the Cuban Revolution and of Iraq and Northern Korea sieges. Firstly, the siege aims to dismantle the political, economical, social, and cultural structures of the entire Palestinian people and secondly to deepen the rifts in society. It aims to push the Palestinian people to a state of depression through multi-layers of deprivation and misery, which leads to a state of confusion regarding the struggle with Israel and steadfastness and defiance in resisting it.
State-of-the-art care for Gaza’s infants
GAZA CITY, Occupied Palestinian Territory (UNICEF), 6 July 2012 – On a sunny day in Gaza, Mirfat Ali cuddled her 10-day-old baby Mahmoud. With the sun pouring in from the window, her concern slowly eased: her infant had finally stopped coughing. “He had a cold and a fever all night long,” Ms. Ali said as she rocked him gently in her arms. “I could not sleep and at first, I was reluctant to bring him here. However my husband insisted and now I’m glad we came.” For the first-time mother, coming to the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Gaza City’s Al Nasser Paediatric Hospital proved to be the best decision she could have made … Launched in January with funding from UNICEF’s French National Committee, this state-of-the-art neonatal unit, specializing in the care of babies up to 28 days old, testifies to the potential of the Gaza Strip when it is able to develop.
Prisoners / Court actions
Weeks after prisoner strike ends, Israel not holding up its end of the deal / Haggai Matar
972blog 5 July — New report by Israeli and Palestinian human rights NGOs shows that Israel is not meeting the conditions to which it agreed in a deal to end a massive hunger strike almost two months ago. Three Palestinians are still on strike, one in mortal danger … The prisoners’ hunger strike, which started on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, was aimed at challenging steps taken by Israel in 2011 against the prisoners in order to promote the release of Gilad Schalit. While Schalit was released in a prisoner swap, conditions in Israeli prisons remained the same, leading to the prisoners’ struggle. The strike was also about demonstrating solidarity with several administrative detainees who have been on strike for longer periods, demanding to put an end to Israel’s use of draconic detentions without trial or charge. The deal reached on May 15 between the state and the leaders of the strike was supposed to begin a process whereby inmates regained their rights — but only few steps were actually taken by Israel in that direction since … One of the most important of these [parts of the deal] was the demand to reinstate family visitations from the Gaza Strip, which was sealed off in 2007. According to the report, visitations were supposed to resume within a month, but inmates have still not seen any of their loved ones. A similar problem affects several prisoners from the West Bank whose families are barred from entering Israel — another problem not yet solved by authorities.
Life of Akram Rikhawi, father of 8, in grave danger after 85 days on hunger strike
Elect. Int. 5 July — The life of Akram Rikhawi is in grave danger 85 days into his hunger strike, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) and the Palestinian human rights and prisoner advocacy group Addameer warned today … An independent doctor from PHR-I was finally able to visit Akram Rikhawi yesterday after an appeal to an Israeli court — Rikhawi has gone nearly a month without a visit by a doctor independent of Israel’s military and prison system. The last visit was on 6 June and recommendations made by the independent doctor, such as an immediate examination of a lung specialist, as Rikhawi suffers from asthma, went ignored by Israeli authorities. The human rights groups added in a statement released today that Rikhawi “reported that he is experiencing severe dizziness, can no longer walk and is having difficulty standing. Even more troubling, Akram has not been given any assistance in these matters, leaving him vulnerable to the danger of falling, which could result in fatal injury due to his osteoporosis.”
Sheikh Rajoub released after serving 8 months in administrative detention
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 6 July — The IOF released Sheikh Hashem Rajoub from city of Dura south of al-Khalil after serving eight months in Zionist jails under administrative detention. The liberated prisoner Sheikh Rajoub, who had been held under administrative detention on charge of posing a threat to the occupation, told PIC that the Israeli occupation decided to release him from Ofer prison west of Ramallah on 2 July. It is noted that the occupation forces had arrested Rajoub several times under the pretext of managing the charitable society for the orphans in Dura and transferred him to administrative detention in the Zionist prisons where he spent more than four years.
Israelis release two Palestinian lawmakers
MEMO 7 July — The Israeli authorities have released two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Mahmud Al-Ramahi, the PLC secretary from Ramallah, and Nizar Ramadan from Al-Khalil (Hebron). Both men are elected representatives of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, which is affiliated to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). They were released at Al-Zaheriyya checkpoint south of Al-Khalil. Mr Al-Ramahi, who was kidnapped by Israel from his house on 10th November, 2010, spent 20 months in administrative detention. Mr Ramadan was detained at an Israeli checkpoint in Al-Khalil on 11th July, 2010; he has spent 24 months in administration detention. Twenty PLC members are still being detained in Israeli prisons.
Center: Israel releases administrative detainee
JENIN (Ma‘an) 6 July — Israel on Friday released a Hamas member after detaining him without charge for 14 months, the Ahrar prisoners center said. Khalid al-Hajj was released from Ofer prison after serving time in Megiddo and Shatta prisons. Al-Hajj has been detained several times before, and has spent a total of over 100 months in administrative detention, without charge or trial, the center said in a statement.
Knesset extends legislation that facilitates torture
972blog 8 July by Dahlia Scheindlin — The Knesset has extended temporary legislation under which interrogations of security prisoners are exempt from requirements to visually record the investigation, Haaretz recently reported. The security establishment pushed hard to make the law permanent; Haaretz reports that opposition by two of the democratic-leaning Likud members, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, as well as human rights organizations like ACRI resulted in the compromise of a temporary extension … The law can be seen as a direct challenge to Israel’s landmark ruling from 1999 which famously restricted certain kinds of torture in security interrogations. Yet B’Tselem has shown that torture continues. Allowing interrogators not to record their investigation is precisely the kind of measure that enables a free hand, since interrogators know that any later accusations by the victims will lack proof.
Women protest [PA] political arrests in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 July — Palestinian women in Hebron rallied Friday against the arrests of Hamas supporters, demanding that the Palestinian Authority release their sons. The demonstration, organized by parents of political detainees and the association of Muslim youth, started at Al-Hussein Bin Ali Mosque after Friday prayers and headed toward a sit-in tent in central Hebron. Ten of the Hamas detainees have announced an open hunger strike in protest of their continued arrests at the Hebron detention center. Lawmaker Muhammad At-Tal demanded that the government close the file of political detentions and called on Hamas to suspend a reconciliation deal until the practice is ended.
Hunger strikers in PA jails reach agreement with jailers
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 7 July — Political activist and journalist Lama Khater told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that an agreement between the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence agency and political prisoners on hunger strike in its jails was reached on Friday. “The agreement happened due to the determination and the defiance showed by the hunger strikers who did not yield to any pressures made by the intelligence apparatus to force them to break their strike, in addition to the popular activities which escalated recently in the West Bank especially in the occupied city of Al-Khalil,” Khater stated…
According to the agreement, the PA intelligence is committed to release 22 political prisoners including three 10 hunger strikers from different West Bank jails, but it absolved itself of their arrest by Israel after their release. The agreement takes effect as of next Tuesday and if the PA intelligence did not respect its pledges, the hunger strike would resume.
Abu Zuhri: PA has to end political detention once and for all
GAZA (PIC) 7 July — The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, demanded the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to end the political arrests campaign. The movement’s spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, demanded in a statement on Saturday the PA to close the political detention’s file once and for all, to stop summonses and arrests against Hamas’s supporters and to release all the political prisoners in its jails.
Meanwhile, Abu Zuhri congratulated Hamas’s members who have been held in PA’s prisons for their success to extract the decision of releasing twenty of them during the next few days, after an open hunger strike which had lasted for 17 days. The General Intelligence Service in the West Bank pledged to release 22 political detainees, including 10 hunger strikers in exchange for ending their strike.
Court sentences man to 6 years for collaboration
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 8 July — A court in Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank on Sunday sentenced a 51-year-old man to six years of hard labor after he was found guilty of “collaboration with the enemy.” The defendant was convicted of spying on Palestinian activists who were later detained by the Israelis. The court did not release the detainee’s name.
Video: Palestinians from Syria flee to Jordan
Al Jazeera English 7 July — Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from the northern Jordanian city of Ramtha
HRW: Jordan turns away Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 July — Jordan has forcibly returned Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria and threatened to deport others, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. Since April, Jordanian authorities have arbitrarily detained Palestinians fleeing Syria in a holding center, the report said. Thousands of Syrian refugees have entered Jordan without passing through an official border crossing after the Syrian state forces started to crush an opposition movement 16 months ago, according to the rights group. Unlike Syrians, Palestinian refugees have been detained without possibility of release unless they return to Syria, according to Human Rights Watch.
Presbyterians pass boycott bill, but not divestment
PITTSBURGH, USA, July 7 (WAFA) – The general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States voted Friday in favor of a resolution to boycott products made in Israeli settlements, a day after another bill on divestment failed to pass by only two votes, according to a press release by local activists.
Correspondence: Senators urge United Church of Canada to reject Jewish good boycott
Globe&Mail 5 July — The United Church of Canada will vote next month on boycotting goods that come from Jewish settlements in the West Bank. But nine senators – both Conservatives and Liberals, and all members of the United Church, have urged them to reject the idea, arguing it will damage relations to Canada’s Jewish community.
Israel divestment campaigns gain momentum in US
Washington (IPS) 7 July – A resolution at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest from three corporations which provide equipment used to maintain Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands failed by a mere two votes on Thursday. Yet despite this apparent setback, the movement to divest from such corporations has gained tremendous momentum in recent weeks.
Political / Economic News
Abbas, Haniyeh await invitations to Cairo
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — Despite Hamas’ efforts to arrange a meeting for the movement’s top leaders with the Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi, the Egyptian leadership is still examining their priorities and hasn’t so far taken any new stance on the Palestinian case. Neither has President Mahmoud Abbas received an invitation to visit since Mursi took office, says Abbas aide Nimir Hammad.
Abbas to visit Iran for international conference
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) 8 July — The Palestinian president has accepted an invitation to visit Iran, a patron of his political rival, the Islamic militant Hamas, a top Palestinian official said Sunday. In Tehran, Mahmoud Abbas will attend a conference of the Non-Aligned Movement at the end of August, said his foreign minister, Riad Malki. The trip “reflects our appreciation of this movement, which always supported the Palestinian position and the Palestinian cause,” Malki said. “We cannot be absent from the summit of the non-aligned countries.” Malki’s comments suggested that Abbas’ planned visit to Iran is not signaling a thaw in relations.
Fayyad: UNESCO move first step to statehood
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 July — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Saturday that UNESCO’s inclusion of the Bethlehem Nativity Church as a world heritage site is the first step on the path to Palestinian statehood. Fayyad addressed several hundred Palestinians who gathered in Bethlehem’s Manger Square adjacent to the church to celebrate the June 29 decision.
Abbas: We will go to UN in absence of talks
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 8 July — President Mahmoud Abbas says he will return to the United Nations to seek recognition of a Palestinian state if peace talks with Israel fail to resume. In an interview Saturday with Israeli Channel 2 television at his office in Ramallah, Abbas said Israel had to freeze settlements and release 123 people detained before the Oslo accords before he would return to talks. Asked about Hamas, which Abbas’ Fatah faction is seeking to form a unity government, Abbas said: “You want me to defend Hamas! Well, Hamas is with us. The group is committed to popular resistance, and sometimes they fail to leash some factions in Gaza and Sinai, which launch missiles.” But the president added that “This pretext Israel is using is irrational. How could you say that if we sign a peace agreement with Abbas, Hamas will take control of the West Bank, and Hamas is a terrorist organization? Why can’t you say that a peace agreement will strengthen the peace preachers here?”
PA official says no progress on salary delay
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 July — The Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis is still ongoing and civil servants’ salaries for June will be delayed at least 10 days, a PA spokesman says. Ghassan Khatib said Friday that no mentionable progress was made on the financial crisis … Salaries are usually paid before the 7th of the following month.
ISC threatens to to cut off power to Palestinian villages in WB
Nazareth (PIC) 7 July — The Israeli Electric Corporation (IEC) threatened to cut off power to Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank due to PA’s failure to pay funds due to the provider company. The IEC chairman, Yiftach Ron-Tal, stated: “The company will cut off electricity to Palestinian villages in the West Bank in case of the Palestinian Authority’s inability to pay money owed to the company, about 6.4 million shekels.” He added in statements published by “Yisrael Hume” newspaper in its Thursday edition, that it is unreasonable to leave the Israeli citizens cover the PA’s debts [of course, as the occupier, Israel is legally responsible for supplying utilities to residents]
Rizqa: Cabinet reshuffle in Gaza imminent
GAZA (PIC) 7 July — Dr. Yousef Rizqa, political adviser to Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haneyya, confirmed that there will be a cabinet reshuffle in Haneyya’s government, denying that the step had any connection to the Palestinian reconciliation. Dr. Rizqa denied in a statement to Quds Press on Saturday what some websites had reported that the reshuffle would take place next Sunday, stressing that no date has been set yet.
Elections official says efforts underway to restart voter registration
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 July — Jamil Al-Khalidi, an official with the Central Election Commission, says there are ongoing efforts to reopen voter registration in Gaza following Hamas’ orders to stop work. Al-Khalidi told Ma‘an that several Palestinian factions along with Egypt were communicating with Hamas to reverse its decision. Still, no progress has been made thus far.
EU Parliament: No changes not agreed upon should be accepted
LUXEMBOURG, July 5 (WAFA) – The European Parliament (EP) voted on Thursday in favor of a resolution stressing that no changes on the ground in the Palestinian territories not agreed on by the conflicting parties should be accepted. By a vote of 291 in favor and 274 against with 39 abstentions, the EP called on Palestinians and Israeli to avoid all steps that may undermine prospects of a negotiated agreement, urging both parties to resume direct negotiations.
UN Human Rights Council to probe Israeli settlements
GENEVA, July 7 (WAFA) – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC ) appointed on Friday three independent experts to conduct a fact-finding mission on the effect of Israeli settlements on Palestinians in the West Bank. UNHRC president, Uruguay’s representative to the council Laura Dupuy Lasserre, named Christine Chanet of France, Unity Dow of Botswana and Asma Jahangir of Pakistan to the committee. The council passed a resolution in March ordering the probe by a vote of 36 in favor, with the United States casting the only negative vote, to look into impact of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people. Israel said it will not cooperate with the mission and will not allow its members to enter Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
European Commission President to visit Palestine
RAMALLAH, July 7 (WAFA) – European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso is expected to visit Palestine on Sunday where he will meet President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, according to an EC press release.
The Death of Yasser Arafat
WATCH: What killed Arafat? Clayton Swisher, Ali Abunimah on Al Jazeera’s Stream
6 July — Al Jazeera investigative reporter Clayton Swisher is joined by Ali Abunimah on Al Jazeera’s The Stream to discuss Swisher’s bombshell revelations that the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may have died of polonium poisoning. The program debunks several myths about Arafat’s death, including the false claim — being spread by Israeli sources — that he died of AIDS, and explains some of the background, findings and limitations of Aljazeera’s investigation.
Also, in a fascinating article in Wired called “A Poison for Assassins,” Pulitzer Prize winning science writer Deborah Blum explains why polonium — which was famously used to murder Russian spy turned dissident Alexander Litveninko in 2006 — makes such an attractive poison for would-be assassins:
PA wants international inquiry into Arafat death
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 July — President Mahmoud Abbas has asked his French counterpart François Hollande to form an international commission to investigate the death of late president Yasser Arafat, similar to the international committee which investigated the assassination of Rafiq Hariri of Lebanon. PLO official Saeb Erekat told Ma’an that if an international investigation is carried out, the PA will ask the Arab league to appoint a joint Arab and international committee.
‘Collaborator confesses to poisoning Arafat’, Al-Mayadeen reports
IMEMC 6 July — The Al-Mayadeen TV, based in Lebanon, published a video reportedly documenting the confession of a collaborator with Israel, operating in the Negev detention camp, in which he said that “Israel recruited him to poison dinner meals of late President Yasser Arafat.” The tape was recorded in 2006; in it a Palestinian detainee was interrogating the collaborator, who was assigned to spy on the detainees at the Negev detention camp before he was exposed. The alleged collaborator detailed how he smuggled poison, and with the collaboration of some persons and a cook at the then besieged presidential headquarter in Ramallah, he managed to poison one of Arafat’s meals, and even personally handed the meal to him. According to the report, the collaborator was recruited by Israel in 2002, and poisoned Arafat’s meal in 2004. The man explained how a collaborator recruited him and took him to Jerusalem where he met an Israeli security officer by the name of Yoram, and the two agreed to “work together”before he took him to a Border Guard Police base in Maaleh Adumim Israeli settlement, where he was allegedly trained for two months.
PA officials accused of obstructing inquest into Arafat’s death
MEMO 7 July — The Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has accused Palestinian Authority officials of obstructing an inquest into the death of the late President Yasser Arafat. Hassan Khreisheh said that Palestinian and Arabic officials refused to disclose important information about Arafat’s death in 2004. Dr Khreisheh, who formed a committee to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, said that his team headed by Abdul-Jawwad Saleh had worked for two months before it was suspended because no one from the PA or Arab officials, and even Arafat’s close relatives and doctors, would agree to give any information.
The murder of Arafat / Uri Avnery — 21 September 2002
While I am writing this, Yasser Arafat is still alive. But his life is hanging on a thread. When we visited him the last time in his bombed-out Mukata‘ah compound in Ramallah, I warned him that Sharon is determined to kill him. Everybody acquainted with Sharon knows that he never lets go … Arafat is the man who decided, 28 years ago, to start on the road to a settlement with Israel, in order to realize this way the national aspirations of the Palestinian people … Since then, Arafat has not changed by one iota the decision he took then: to seek conciliation with Israel within the framework of peace that will include an independent Palestinian state, return to the pre-1967 border with mutually agreed adjustments, Jerusalem capital of both states, withdrawal of the settlers, suitable security arrangements, a mutually agreed solution of the refugee problem.
On this basis, peace is possible even now. Immediately. But Sharon rejects is with both his fists. He wants a Greater Israel, the extension of the settlements, and, eventually, the elimination of the Palestinian presence west of the Jordan.
Israel’s lethal history with polonium / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 7 July — With news breaking in Al Jazeera this week about the possible poisoning of Yasser Arafat by polonium, I thought it worthwhile to examine an interesting line in Clayton Swisher’s report, which refers to an accident in an Israeli lab involving the material. Through further research, I discovered that this was the first nuclear accident in Israeli history and it took the lives of a number of Israeli researchers, both immediately after the accident and even decades later … It makes perfect sense that Israeli intelligence, learning about both the accident and its repercussions for the health of the lab workers, would be interested in learning everything it could about polonium poisoning. When you have a lemon, you make lemonade, right? Clearly, Russia had a similar program because its polonium was used, likely by its intelligence agents, to poison Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.
Other news – Palestine
Palestinian nationalist veteran al-Hassan dies
AFP 7 July — Veteran Palestinian nationalist Hani al-Hassan, a confidant of late leader Yasser Arafat, has died aged 74, the Palestinian Authority said on Saturday. A foreign ministry statement said that Hassan, born in Haifa in 1938, died in the Jordanian capital Amman on Friday. It did not give the cause of death. With the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 his family joined the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, in their case fleeing to neighbouring Lebanon. Hassan studied in Germany in the 1950s, where he set up the first Palestinian political organisation in Europe, which joined Arafat’s Fatah after its foundation in 1962 in Kuwait. A former member of the Fatah central committee, Hassan was a political adviser and confidant of Arafat and a founder-member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in 1964, according to Palestinian think-tank PASSIA.
Hamas lawmaker dies of stroke in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 July — Parliamentary deputy Jamal Skaik has died in the Gaza Strip after he suffered a stroke, his party announced on Saturday. Skaik, aged 66, had been hospitalized in Gaza City’s Shifa hospital after he fell ill. He was a member of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc.
Hamas man’s Syria death not murder: source
GAZA (Reuters) 6 July — A Hamas member whose charred body was found in his Damascus apartment was not assassinated as first thought but died from inhaling smoke, an official of the Islamist group said on Friday. The body of Kamal Husni Ghanaja was found on June 27 in a cupboard above the ceiling of his ransacked apartment in the Qudsia neighborhood of Damascus and Hamas launched an investigation into what it had said was a “cowardly murder”. But a Hamas official with direct knowledge of the investigation, said on Friday that the group has found that Ghanaja was not assassinated. “An internal investigation indicated brother Ghanaja died because of the smoke coming from a generator he used in his house … he was not murdered,” the Hamas official said.
Palestinian judo contender wins Olympic place
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 4 July — When Maher Abu Rmeileh makes his bow on the Olympic judo mat in London this month, he will become the first Palestinian to compete at a Games on merit. The 28-year-old father of two ensured his participation in the Olympic judo competition in the under-73 kilo division at a recent qualifying event in Japan and will be one of five Palestinian participants in London. “I am so proud to be the first Palestinian to have qualified … this was a dream for me and finally I have fulfilled it,” he said. “I am sure that every athlete dreams of competing at the Olympics through qualification and not with the help of a wild-card invitation.” Abu Rmeileh has even more reason to be proud as he will carry the Palestinian flag at the opening ceremony on July 27.
Authority: Jericho solar power plant to start production
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 7 July — Jericho’s solar power station will be connected to the Palestinian Jerusalem Electricity Company for a week’s pilot testing, the head of the energy authority said Saturday. Omar Katana said the plant will provide Palestine 300 kilowatts of energy per day to power the city of Jericho through the electricity company. The first solar power station of its kind in the West Bank, Jericho’s solar energy station was built with funding assistance from the Japanese government.
Palestinians turn to solar power to reduce reliance on Israel
Al-Monitor 5 July — Palestinians are almost entirely dependent on electricity provided by Israel. In Gaza, a local power station provides some 40% percent of the Strip’s electricity. The Palestinians buy electricity in small levels from Egypt and Jordan, but this doesn’t change their dependence on Israel. As a result, the Palestine Electric Company, in cooperation with the Palestinian investment firm Padico, began roughly two years ago to make preparations to build a power station near Jenin. Palestinians consume about 1,000 megawatts of electricity (700 in the West Bank and 300 in Gaza, as opposed to Israel, which consumes roughly 12,000 megawatts). Israel is in favor of the idea to establish the Jenin power station
Other news – Israel
Navy wants better missiles on new vessels
JPost 8 July — The Israel Navy is looking to install short- and long-range surface-to-surface missiles on new vessels it hopes to buy in the coming year. The requirement for the new missile systems is based on the navy’s desire to assist large IDF ground offensives either in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon or Syria. The missiles could be used to attack enemy installations – bases or radar stations – and to provide fire support for ground forces.
IDF general: Goldstone ‘nothing’ compared to next Lebanon clash
972blog 6 July by Noam Sheizaf — …Yesterday, the IDF’s Northern Command held a briefing for reporters to mark six years since the Second Lebanon War. It was all about warnings and threats. An unnamed Northern Command general was especially gung ho. This is from Ynet: “Any escalation can result in rocket fire on central Israel,” a senior officer said.”The next war will be different.
We’ll have to attack with more force, more violently, to halt any assault of the home front as quickly as possible.”
Even if we go only after their military infrastructure… There will be a completely different ratio between the explosives used on Lebanon and those used on Israel.”
Another quote, found only in the Hebrew version of the article, sounds like something out of Game of Thrones: “We will kill 13 of every 15 enemy soldiers, so that two will be left to tell their commanders what happened.”
Tens of thousands call for universal service in TA
JPost 7 July — Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in central Tel Aviv on Saturday night to voice their demand for universal enlistment in the army or in civilian national service, in the largest protest of the summer to date, and the biggest show of force since the “Camp Sucker” movement began six months ago. The protest began with a march from Camp Sucker’s faux military base south of the Arlozorov train station to the Tel Aviv Museum Plaza, where a small crowd of around 2,000 made their way to the protest, chanting, “One people, one draft” and “Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu], you promised, now do it!” among other slogans tying the issue of universal service to the cause of social justice.
Pressure on to end draft exemption for Israel’s Orthodox
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 6 July — One of the earliest decisions the Zionist leaders of the new state of Israel made in the late 1940s was to strike a deal with ultra-Orthodox rabbis from Eastern Europe to help preserve a traditional Jewish practice almost wiped out in the Holocaust. Seeking political support from the rabbis, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion agreed to exempt about 400 pious students from military service so they could devote themselves to lifetime study of the main Jewish scriptures, the Torah and the Talmud. It seemed a small concession at the time.
Over six decades later, the once threatened ultra-Orthodox are a fast-growing underclass making up about 10 percent of Israel’s population. The original handful of students has ballooned to about 60,000 men supported by state handouts, occasional work and donations from family and friends.
Netanyahu moves to end religious military exemptions
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 8 July — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the go-ahead on Sunday to reforms that would end the exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from compulsory military service, in an about-face hours after 20,000 Israelis marched for change … “Everyone must bear the burden. We will provide positive incentives to those who serve and negative incentives to draft dodgers,” Netanyahu told a meeting of lawmakers from his right-wing Likud party. At his urging, the Likud legislators ratified the recommendations of a government-appointed panel formulating a new military conscription law that would cancel exemptions for most Jewish seminary students. The issue has put huge strain on Netanyahu’s ruling coalition.
Israeli racism / Discrimination / Segregation
Haaretz editorial: To prison, without trial
5 July — As of next week, the police will be able to turn over African migrants suspected of criminal acts to the Immigration Authority. The authority will decide whether to detain them for an extended period. The decision will be based on discretion and without a legal process. This is part of a process “developed with the Israel Police and authorized by the Justice Ministry,” as the Interior Ministry’s Immigration Authority phrases it.
This move has far-reaching significance. African migrants are likely to stay in prison for extended periods only because they are African migrants. This is because the criterion is “suspicion of criminal acts,” not “having been convicted of criminal acts.”
It seems the accepted judicial process in a democratic country – which includes arrest, an indictment and a trial – has become superfluous in everything relating to African migrants.
Forgotten deportees: Israeli-born children of migrant workers / Mya Guarnieri
972blog 4 July — Since March of 2011, the state has been arresting and deporting the Israeli-born children of migrant laborers along with their parents. In the past 16 months, over 90 families have been expelled. Many arrived on state-issued work visas and lost their legal status due to a policy that forbade foreign workers from having and keeping babies in the country — a policy that was struck down by the Israeli Supreme Court in April 2011. Without a peep from the international media. Israel’s expulsion of migrant families bears many similarities to that of African refugees. Politicians call both groups a threat to the Jewish character of the state. And human rights groups have decried the deportations as a breach of Israel’s obligations as a signatory to various international conventions. The deportation of some 1200 children was first announced in July of 2009, the same time that Israel began enforcing the hitherto unenforced Gedera-Hadera policy, which bound African migrants by Gedera in the south and Hadera in the north, forbidding them from living in the center of the country. A public outcry led to the cancellation of Gedera-Hadera; the expulsion of the children was postponed.
A ‘sign’ of trouble: Battle over women’s exclusion in Beit Shemesh heats up
Haaretz 8 July — Tensions over women’s exclusion in the central-Israel city, which made headlines late last year, are revived through a battle over a sign asking that women walk on the other side of the street … The sign, in front of a synagogue on Hazon Ish Street.. Although it is clearly located in a haredi neighborhood, it is in the heart of the city, next to a major thoroughfare that must be traveled to enter or exit that part of Beit Shemesh – she herself had rocks thrown at her when she was riding her bicycle on the street, not an uncommon situation. In addition, Philipp points out that many of the major health HMOs have clinics near the synagogue, and women who are traveling there for health services they cannot get elsewhere must walk by.
Analysis / Opinion
Ramallah: Breaking bones, breaking trust / Daoud Kuttab
Al Jazeera 6 July — Violence used by police against protesters will further the growing discontent with the Palestinian Authority — Something deep and painful was broken in Ramallah last Saturday. Along with the bones broken by violent Palestinian plainclothes officers and security officials dealing with the protest, Palestinian trust was permanently wounded. The protests were called for by non-partisan youth protesting the intended, unprecedented visit by the Israeli vice-prime minister, Shaul Mofaz, to Ramallah. Palestinian protesters made a strong argument for their opposition to the Mofaz visit … The Mofaz visit was eventually called off, but the demonstration continued and was met with a violent crackdown. It is unclear why the visit was cancelled. Israeli media talked about conflicts within the Israeli government, while Palestinian leaders tried to take credit for the cancellation. Regardless of the reason, the violent attacks against protesters were reminiscent of images of the Arab Spring. The acts of plainclothes security under the eyes of the head of the Ramallah police reminded many of similar attempts by thugs and shabiha in various Arab countries.
Between security reform and occupation in the West Bank
DUBAI (IRIN) 7 July — “I have never seen such brutality in my life, except from the Israeli forces,” says Aliya, still shocked a day after her protest march through the West Bank town of Ramallah was violently attacked by Palestinian security officers. “They just kept on beating us.” … A 2010 UN Development Programme survey in the area showed that 52 percent of respondents felt the security services ensured a safe environment. But this new security comes with a twist: the police and intelligence services are also protecting the security of Israel. Coordination with Israeli security services is a pillar of the reforms. Forces are trained and equipped to react to the demand of Israeli agencies in quelling armed groups. During the month of Ramadan, when many Palestinians try to cross the checkpoints into East Jerusalem for religious reasons, it is now the Palestinian police which screens people, checking to see if they fit set Israeli criteria for a crossing permit. Many Palestinians and external experts say the developments inside the PA and its security services are worrying.
‘Down with Oslo’ (and the PA?) / Michael Omer-Man
JPost 7 July — …Eighteen years after the Palestinian Authority’s creation, some Palestinians are questioning whether the Oslo-designed Palestinian quasi-government, which was only ever meant to exist as a five-year interim body, has outlived its raison d’être of achieving Palestinian independence and ending the occupation through diplomatic channels. As far as a growing number of people are concerned, the Oslo accords, and their byproduct, the Palestinian Authority, have done little more than act as a political and security buffer for maintaining Israel’s comfortable status quo in the territories. Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation serves to sustain quiet for Israel, the division of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C creates an illusion of semi-autonomous Palestinian rule, and the ever-present semblance of a peace process provides diplomatic cover for Israel to perpetuate the current situation without consequence. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are no closer to realizing their rights-based – civil rights, return of refugees, freedom of movement — and national aspirations (statehood).
Ditching the status quo in Palestine / Ben White
Al Jazeera 5 July — It has been a bad week at the office for the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership. Last weekend, protests on successive days against the proposed meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Kadima Party head Shaul Mofaz were met with violent attacks by PA forces. The harassment and baton swings (including the targeting of the media) provoked yet another demonstration on Tuesday, where there were chants against Oslo, the PA, and the repression of dissent. Groups like Amnesty International have also spoken out. By coincidence, two other stories were reported at the same time: first, the detention of around 200 people in recent weeks by the PA, particularly in the northern West Bank; and second, the request by Israel on behalf of Salam Fayyad for an IMF loan to help prevent a PA financial collapse. This is shaping up to be a time of clarity, and the issues go much deeper than heavy-handed EU-trained police. It is a moment to acknowledge that three cornerstones of the status quo – the official peace process, the PA structure, and the two-state framework – are not just flawed or in trouble, but are thwarting the realisation of Palestinian rights by their very nature.
Electronic Intifada weekly podcast, featuring Jalal Abukhater on PA repression
6 July — This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: A study backed and supported by the UK government reveals that Israel treats every Palestinian child as a “potential terrorist”; Palestinian Authority police violently attack Palestinians in Ramallah protesting against Mahmoud Abbas’ invitation to meet with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and war criminal Shaul Mofaz, we’ll feature a report from our correspondent Jalal Abukhater who was at the protests; Updates from the ongoing Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike and more….
Anarchists: the most important activists on the Jewish Israeli left / Noam Sheizaf
982blog 8 July — A lot of nonsensical accusations are leveled at Israel’s anarchist activists, a small group of citizens engaging in civil disobedience and nonviolent protest against the occupation. Most of them are lies. The fact is that the anarchists are the only group in Israel engaged in serious anti-occupation activism … Yet after awhile I began to understand the power of their political activism. One aspect of that activism is to think politically about all our life choices – what we eat, who we exploit through our work and how we oppress others. The other side is to engage in continuous, determined political action. Their activism is not only about demonstrations: Anarchists have changed the names of Tel Aviv streets to the names of streets in occupied Hebron; they have posted stickers decrying “price tag” actions by settlers against Palestinians; and they have “returned” crates of spent, U.S.-manufactured tear gas canisters used by the Israeli army at West Bank demonstrations to the U.S. ambassador. All these are primarily symbolic actions, designed to raise public awareness of the things that are being done in their name just 20 kilometers away from Tel Aviv. The fact that this small group of people comprises the only Jewish Israelis who are willing to oppose the occupation with serious activism – and not just moan about it in café conversation or on the pages of Haaretz – is an unflattering commentary on Israeli society.
US Jews speak up on religious freedom in Israel / Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
Haaretz 5 July — America’s Jewish community is increasingly militant about the injustices that flow from Israel’s government-sponsored religious monopoly. The new, blunt tone shows US Jews see these issues as a priority — as they should … Evidence of this more assertive attitude can be found in last month’s statement by the American Jewish Committee. The committee is a strong pro-Israel advocate. In the past, it has occasionally spoken on religious matters in Israel, but always with restraint. This time, however, caution was abandoned. The Committee statement referred to the Chief Rabbinate as an “anachronism…dividing the Jewish people,” urged that its monopoly over personal status issues be ended, suggested that it be given a ceremonial role akin to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and called for full recognition of all Jewish denominations … Stories about women forced to the back of buses in Israel, of ultra-Orthodox men spitting on young girls because of immodest dress, and of prohibitions on women soldiers singing in public have impacted American Jews profoundly … Israel’s Orthodox world, torn by divisions, buffeted by change, and burdened with an inflexible leadership, has become even more extreme in its pronouncements. Relatively moderate voices could once be counted on to calm the waters of the Orthodox world, but such voices have little influence today.
So, what did the Muslims do for the Jews? / David J. Wasserstein
Jewish Chron. Online 24 May — Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity – also in Christendom – through the medieval period into the modern world.