Authorities informed the Shamasneh family of 8 they have until New Year’s to leave their Jerusalem house and turn it over to a Jewish organization

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement

Occupation raids the Bustan neighborhood in Silwan
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 10 Dec — Israeli occupation municipality officials broke into the Bustan neighborhood in Silwan town in Jerusalem on Monday morning and handed a number of residents demolition orders … The Israeli municipality had issued earlier decisions to demolish 88 houses in the Bustan neighborhood in order to establishment a biblical Park in their place. The Israeli court had issued a decision requiring postponing the demolition of 32 houses in the Bustan neighborhood to June 1st 2013, however, the Israeli municipality demanded canceling this decision and issuing immediate demolition orders for these houses.

Palestinians in Jerusalem ordered to leave home for Jews
JERUSALEM 10 Dec (WAFA) — The Israeli authorities informed the Shamasneh family that they have until the end of this month to leave their Sheikh Jarrah home, in occupied East Jerusalem, in order to turn it over to a Jewish organization, the family lawyer said Monday … The Shamasneh home is a small 50-square meter in area and houses eight people. The family rented the house from the Jordanian government in 1964, three years before Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967, which means they were protected tenants that cannot be evicted as per Israeli law.

Israel to destroy ‘Freedom Road’ once again
SALFIT 10 Dec (WAFA) — The Israeli military authorities Monday informed farmers from Qarawat Bani Hassan, a village west of Salfit, in the north of the West Bank, of its intention to destroy ““Freedom Road,” which the villagers use to reach a water spring and land on the outskirts of the village, according to a statement by the village council … Prime Minister Salam Fayyad oversaw opening the road two years ago and called it then “Freedom Road” … Illegal Jewish settlers in the area want to take control of the spring to prevent the Palestinian village from using its water.

Haaretz editorial: Drying out the Palestinians
10 Dec — Basic moral principles require that Israel cease destroying cisterns that are essential for the existence of dozens of Palestinian communities — Since the beginning of the year, Israel has destroyed 35 rainwater cisterns used by Palestinian communities, 20 of them in the area of Hebron and the southern Hebron Hills. In 2011, Israel destroyed 15 cisterns, and in the preceding 18 months, 29. In many of these cases ancient cisterns were destroyed that had served the forefathers of the inhabitants of these communities. Recently, they have been restored with European assistance. The cisterns show the continuity of Palestinian habitation long before 1948. Usually, the communities whose cisterns were destroyed are a short distance from settlements and unauthorized outposts that enjoy a regular water supply. At the same opportunity the Civil Administration almost always destroys Palestinian tents, animal pens and food storage facilities.

Otherwise Occupied: ‘You have to demolish them when they’re small’
Haaretz 10 Dec by Amira Hass — So Supreme Court President Asher Grunis said shortly before a partially built mosque in the West Bank was pulled down — Supreme Court President Asher Grunis should be pleased. A mosque under construction in the West Bank, whose demolition he supported, was pulled down last Tuesday – another performance by the Civil Administration bulldozer, underreported in the media. As in an increasing number of cases, the demolition was a result of pressure applied by Regavim – a nongovernmental organization whose goal is preserving lands of the (Jewish) nation.

Israeli military exercise forces families to leave their homes
AL-MALEH, JORDAN VALLEY 10 Dec (WAFA) — Six Palestinian [Bedouin] families were forced to leave their homes in the village of Humsa, in the northern Jordan Valley, to make room for Israeli military exercises, head of a nearby village council said on Monday … Palestinians fear that the process of ordering families to leave their homes to make way for military exercises is a prelude to emptying the Jordan Valley area of its Palestinian dwellers in order to take over the land.

Fatah: Israeli soldiers occupy Nablus home
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israeli soldiers took over a home in Huwwara village in Nablus on Sunday, a Fatah spokesman said Monday. Awwad Najm told Ma‘an that dozens of Israeli soldiers remained in the home of Ismail Khamis al-Fakhouri overnight and were still there on Monday evening. Al-Fakhouri and his family have remained in the home despite the army presence, Najm said.

Jewish settlers storm Aqsa mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 10 Dec — A big number of Jewish settlers entered the holy Aqsa mosque on Monday morning under heavy police escort. Eyewitnesses inside the holy site told the PIC reporter that special police units protected the settlers during their stroll in the mosque. They said that the settlers toured the mosque’s various plazas, utilities, and historical wall near the Marwani mosque.

Photo Essay: 111 kilometers, one day: a journey from E1 to Tel Aviv
972mag 10 Dec by Mareike Lauken and Keren Manor — Israel is threatening to bisect the West Bank by building in the E1 area, between the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem. A photographic journey shot in medium format film – starting east of Jerusalem, through the west of the city and all the way to Tel Aviv — provides portraits of how different rights are extended to different people under Israeli rule.

Israeli Violence / Raids / Clashes

Woman injured seriously by settlers in Hebron
HEBRON 10 Dec (WAFA) — A Palestinian woman was attacked and seriously injured on Monday when Israeli settlers from the Settlement of Efrat, north of Hebron, hurled stones at her car, according to witnesses … She was transferred to Hebron hospital where medical sources said that her condition is critical as she was injured in her eye and head.

Israeli soldiers ‘assault staff’ at Bethlehem school
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israeli forces on Monday assaulted a headmaster and two teachers at a secondary school near Bethlehem, a Ma‘an correspondent said. Three Israeli military jeeps arrived at the school in Tuqu‘ village at midday, and several soldiers assaulted headmaster Salim Abu Mufarrih and teachers Nabil al-Tamamri and Mahmoud Zawahra after they tried to block the soldiers entering into school grounds. Locals said there were no confrontations or stone-throwing in the area at the time.

Israeli forces raid NGO offices in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Dec — Israeli forces raided several NGOs and civil society organizations in Ramallah early Tuesday, a Ma’an correspondent said. Soldiers raided the offices of the Agricultural Work Committees, human rights group al-Dameer, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, located in Qaddura refugee camp. Israeli forces confiscated files and computer hardware from the women’s committee before ransacking the office, witnesses said. During the raid, clashes broke out with local youths and Israeli soldiers, who responded by firing tear gas. Military forces also raided the offices of the Palestinian NGO Network, Ma‘an’s reporter said. Palestinian National Initiative chief Mustafa Barghouti said the Israeli raids were “piracy,” adding that targeting civil society organizations that serve the Palestinian public is unacceptable.

Palestinians: Clip of fleeing soldiers – moral victory
Ynet 10 Dec –  A video [included in article] showing IDF soldiers fleeing a stone-throwing mob in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum has gotten much attention in the media in recent days, but the Palestinian residents don’t seek to fan the flames. “We aren’t talking about some kind of big victory for us here. We are against this label,” said Murad Shtiwi, a resident of Kafr Qaddum who witnessed the incident. “This is nothing more than a moral victory. What were we victorious over, exactly?” he pondered. “We are up against an army that can kill us. We don’t have the ability or the strength to confront the Israeli army.” The video shows Palestinians stoning Israeli security forces during a protest on Friday and eventually forcing them to run for cover. Shtiwi explained that all the protesters tried to do was to foil an attempt by the soldiers to entrap them.,7340,L-4318048,00.html

Israeli soldiers say it’s ‘intolerable’ they can’t kill Palestinians more freely, due to cameras, ‘rules’ / Ali Abunimah
EI 10 Dec — Israeli occupation soldiers have complained to Israel’s Ynet that they are not allowed to be more violent against Palestinians whose land they occupy in the West Bank. In particular, the soldiers seem unhappy that they can no longer just shoot dead Palestinians who throw stones at them because Palestinians do not like foreign armies occupying their towns. Ynet used only initials to identify the soldiers … One soldier admits that the presence of cameras — presumably in the hands of Palestinian and other videographers — inhibits the soldiers from being even more abusive: T. says the cameras on the ground undermine the forces’ efforts. “A commander or an officer sees a camera and becomes a diplomat, calculating every rubber bullet, every step. It’s intolerable, we’re left utterly exposed. The cameras are our kryptonite.” Occasionally crimes by Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers are caught on video. But more often they are not. In recent testimonies given to the group Breaking the Silence, Israeli soldiers admitted to horrifying crimes including deliberate and random attacks on Palestinian children, sometimes killing them and sometimes just for amusement.

Illegal arrests

Almost 300,000 Palestinians detained by Israel since 1987
MEMO 10 Dec — Almost 300,000 Palestinian men, women and children have been detained in Israeli prisons since the start of the first Intifada on 8 December 1987. The figures have been revealed in a report issued by a Palestinian human rights research centre on the Intifada’s 25th anniversary. Some of the detainees have been held for years; some have been behind bars for months; some for days and some for hours. The Centre for Palestinian Prisoners Studies’ report noted that 210,000 people were detained during the first Intifada between 1987 and 1994, when the Palestinian Authority was established. About 10,000 Palestinians were detained between 1994 and September 2000, when the second, Al-Aqsa Intifada was triggered by the visit of the former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to Al-Aqsa Mosque. Since late 2000, around 79,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. “Hence, the total number of Palestinians who have experienced detention by the Israelis is 299,000, including the elderly and minors from both genders,” said the report. “The detainees included elected Palestinian Legislative Council members, university students, academics and physicians.”

Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians across West Bank
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 13 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Sunday …
In another village near Nablus, Asira ash-Shamaliya, forces detained 32-year-old Basim Talib Hamadna and 24-year-old Rabei Ahid Sawalha. In Nablus city, several Israeli military vehicles entered a southern neighborhood and seized 20-year-old Muhammad Samir Hamdi Abu al-Hayyat. Also in the northern West Bank, forces detained university student Muhammad Khalid Qabaha from his home in the village of Yaabad, near Jenin. In the south, Israel troops raided the home Nimir Hmeid Taqatqa in Beit Fajjar village near Bethlehem, before detaining his son Hatim, 22. An Israeli military spokeswoman said in addition, two Palestinians were detained in Hebron-district al-Arroub refugee camp and in northern city Tubas.

IOF kidnap nine Palestinians in Nablus city
NABLUS (PIC) 10 Dec — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Monday kidnapped nine Palestinian citizens during raids on homes in different areas of Nablus city. Head of the municipal council in Qaryut village Abdul Naser Badawi told Quds Press that Israeli troops stormed the village at one o’clock in the morning, ransacked homes and kidnapped six young men accused of participating in marches against Israel’s settlement activities.Palestinian security sources also told Quds Press that the IOF stormed Assira town and Dahiya neighborhood in Nablus and kidnapped three young men from their homes. All the detainees were taken in chain to Hawara military camp south of the city.
On the same day at dawn, local sources in Beit Liqya town, west of Ramallah city, reported that a large force of Israeli troops violently broke into several homes in the town at the pretext of looking for a wanted young man. A municipal official in Beit Liqya said Israeli troops with armored vehicles encircled and stormed a neighborhood in the town and broke into the house of Mohamed Asi. They fired stun grenades and shots when they stormed the house without any regard for the presence of children and innocent people inside.

PA security services arrest liberated prisoners
RAMALLAH (PIC) 10 Dec — PA security services continued their arrests and summons against Hamas supporters and cadres in the various governorates of the West Bank, where they arrested two liberated prisoners in Ramallah and Tulkarm, and summoned others in al-Khalil, in addition to sentencing a university student in Nablus.

Prisoners / Court actions

Hundreds march in Nablus in solidarity with prisoners
NABLUS (PIC) 10 Dec — Hundreds of citizens took part in the march organized in Nablus city on Monday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails. The marchers, including relatives of prisoners and representatives of official institutions, walked in the streets of the city calling for freedom for the prisoners and unity for the Palestinian people.

Hadarim prisoners on one-day hunger strike in sympathy with Sharawna and Issawi
NABLUS (PIC) 10 Dec — Ahrar Center for the Studies of Prisoners and Human Rights said that the Palestinian captives in the Hadarim prison waged a one-day hunger strike, yesterday, in solidarity with the captives Sharawna and Issawi, on hunger strike since more than five months … Palestinian figures and leaders also participated in the strike; including the MP and Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, the head of the leadership body of Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails Abbas al-Sayed, and former minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Wasfi Kabaha.

Prisoners refuse Gilboa prison transfer decision
RAMALLAH (PIC) 10 Dec — The administration of Gilboa prison has decided to transfer all Palestinian prisoners in section one to Nafha desert prison by Wednesday. The prisoners told the Palestinian Prisoner’s club [Society] in a message on Monday that all prisoners in that section were from the northern areas of Palestine and their transfer to Nafha in the south was an oppressive decision. The prisoners said that they refuse their transfer and were prepared for a confrontation with the prison administration.

Tunis: Executive Office for supporting the prisoners starts to operate soon
TUNIS (PIC) 10 Dec — The Executive Office for supporting the Palestinian and Arab prisoners in the occupation jails is scheduled to start its activities in the next few days. The executive office emerged from the International Conference for supporting the prisoners, which had been held in Tunis a month ago on November 10 under the auspices of the Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and which was called for by the Tunisian, Arab, European and international civil society assemblies.

Mishaal: Exchange deals is the way to liberate the prisoners
GAZA (PIC) 9 Dec — The head of the political bureau of Hamas, Khaled Mishaal, pledged to release the Palestinian prisoners from Israeli occupation jails through capturing Israeli soldiers and implementing prisoners’ exchange deals.

The liberated prisoner Ahraf Abu Dhri’a goes into a coma
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 11 Dec — Head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in al-Khalil, Amjad Najjar, confirmed that the liberated captive Ashraf Abu Dhri’a went into a coma in al-Ahli Hospital in al-Khalil. Najjar said in a statement on Monday that Abu Dhri’a was a disabled prisoner in Ramla prison hospital where he suffered from muscular dystrophy and he was released in November 15 after he had served his sentence, about six and a half years. He explained that the liberated prisoner’s difficult health condition is “due to medical neglect

IOA orders house arrest of Jerusalemite after one year detention
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 10 Dec — The Israeli central court in occupied Jerusalem ordered the release of Ihab Al-Jallad from Issawiye in occupied Jerusalem but after imposing cruel conditions. Sources close to the family told the PIC reporter on Monday that Jallad was released after paying a bail and on condition he should be under house arrest in his father-in-law’s house and not his own home until conclusion of court procedures. Jallad was arrested a year ago along with a group of youths on charges of launching social activities in occupied Jerusalem

Did police kill 17-year-old Mahmoud al-Saadi? Court settles Arab-Israeli Rashomon
Haaretz 10 Dec by Or Kashti — Nine years after a Lod teenager was killed by police officers, a judge rejected the cops’ claim that their lives were at risk and ordered them to pay the family NIS 1.36m.


IOF incursion reported in southern Gaza
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 10 Dec — Israeli occupation forces raided southern Gaza Strip to the east of Khan Younis city on Monday morning. Local sources told the PIC reporter that IOF soldiers mounting seven armored vehicles advanced 100 meters from the Soufa crossing into Fakhari area. They said that the soldiers combed the area using robots to detect explosive devices. This is the second incursion into Khan Younis district since the calm agreement went into effect on 21st November.

In Brief: Gaza operation over, but emergency remains
DUBAI, 10 Dec (IRIN) – Despite the end of an Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, the humanitarian situation there remains dire, says the representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) in the occupied Palestinian territory. “There is a misconception that because there is a period of calm, we can start thinking about a development process, which is very difficult to do when they are under occupation,” Pablo Recalde said at a press conference in Dubai on 9 December … WFP requires US$2 million a month for its food programmes in Gaza; but its funding has dropped by around one-third since last year.

Hamas chief Mashaal concludes visit to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal left the Gaza Strip for Egypt on Monday after an historic four-day visit to the coastal territory. The Hamas leader concluded his first ever visit to Gaza by visiting a family in Rafah who had lost several relatives in recent violence with Israel.

Leila Khaled: Palestinians united behind resistance
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — The Palestinian people are united behind the resistance, which is legitimate as long as Israel occupies Palestinian land, national icon Leila Khaled said Monday. “Your people in the diaspora kiss the ground you walk on because it’s the land of Palestine,” Khaled told crowds during a visit to the northern Gaza home of Naem al-Kafarneh, who was killed by Israeli forces. “In your last battle, you registered epic resistance and determination,” said Khaled, a politburo member and former fighter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. “We heard pride … the voice of resistance and determination.”

Palestinian MPs receive Mauritanian delegation in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 9 Dec — The Palestinian MPs, headed by Dr. Ahmed Bahar the First Deputy head of the Legislative Council, met today at the PLC’s headquarters in Gaza City the Mauritanian delegation on a solidarity visit to Gaza after the recent aggression. The delegation included parliamentarians, preachers, artists and heads of political parties.

Lebanese delegations visit Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Hamas representative in Lebanon Ali Baraka arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday to meet with premier Ismail Haniyeh … Another delegation from Lebanon headed by the country’s deputy minister of foreign trade also briefly visited Gaza on Monday. The delegation included Lebanese politician and sister of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005.

Malaysian delegation heads to Gaza
El-ARISH (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — The son of Malaysia’s prime minister on Monday delivered medical aid to the Gaza Strip, a Egyptian security official said. The security officer said the Malaysian delegation brought 15 tons of medicine and medical supplies to Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Egypt’s border.

Hamas releases jailed Salafi leader
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip on Sunday released the leader of a Salafi group who had been jailed for more than four months. Jaysh al-Ummah, or Army of the Nation, said their leader Abu Hafs al-Maqdisi was freed late Sunday by Hamas security services … His arrest came amid an arrest campaign of Salafi members, after Egypt blamed jihadis for an attack on their border with Israel that killed 16 Egyptian officers. Salafi groups in Gaza denied involvement.

The scars of war on Gaza’s children
New Internationalist 10 Dec — The screams filled the hospital recovery room as the little girl kicked her legs. Her mother leaned over to comfort her while turning her face away to try to hide her own tears. ‘I want Daddy,’ her daughter cried. However, even a phone call to him did not ease her pain. Besan Ajrami is from Gaza. A victim of Israel’s eight-day November 2012 war on her home, the nine-year-old is the only one of over 1,000 injured people to be brought to Israel for treatment …UNOCHA estimates that 6,800 children whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the recent violence are in urgent need of psycho-social support. Besan’s long, dark eyelashes cover her light brown eyes, and a faint dimple is indented in her chin. Except for the tip of her thumb, a bandage covers the empty space where her fingers once were. Her father says that she has not yet returned to school, and prefers to play alone in her bedroom. Sadness has overcome the once-playful girl. Besan’s family is now working to get her used to using her left hand, “but it’s hard to convince her,” says her father.

Shattered lives in Gaza
Counterpunch 10 Dec — How the IDF targeted civilians — The father of the family, Jamal Mahmoud Yassin al-Dalu, was praying when the missile struck.  It was the afternoon of November 18th, the fifth day of the Israeli attack against Gaza misnamed “Operation Pillar of Defense” … Ahmed had flown in from Turkey, where he lives, as soon as the attack was over.  With indescribable anger and pain he lamented, “My mother, gone.  My sisters, gone.  My brother, gone. My aunt, gone. My sister-in-law, gone. My nieces, nephews, all gone.  Why did they do this? For what?” … Even through all that has happened to him, all that he has lost, Ahmad Dalu has not resorted to religious hatred.  He does not blame the Jews he said; he knows that they are not the same as Israel. He blames the governments of Israel and the US. “Obama has blood on his hands,” he said. It was in fact a US made F-16 that the Israeli government used to target the Dalu family.

Helpless: Notes of a Gaza teacher / Ahmed G. Ferwana
972mag One Gazan’s war diary, November 14-21. November 14: I wished my colleagues and students a nice weekend, and left the American International School of Gaza (AISG), where I work as a Language and Literature teacher, for my apartment on Al-Shuhada Street, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful streets in the Gaza Strip. It was a lovely Wednesday, to be followed by a three-day vacation, and I had plans to meet some friends for a barbeque. Then, time and date was all that mattered once I had that moment of silence as a response to the noises in the street; the waves of an unknown instability. I looked out the window of my room, wondering about the ambulance sirens and the fire trucks to see nothing but rushing journalists coming out of a nearby building. That site prompted me to search local news sites to investigate what was happening. After a few minutes of searching, the mystery was resolved. At 4:00 p.m. the Israeli military assassinated Ahmed Al Jabari, the leader of the Hamas armed wing.

Mideast: Who will pay for Gaza reconstruction?
CNN Video 10 Dec — It’s been two weeks since hostilities ended between Israel and Hamas, but many Gaza residents are still living among ruins.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|featured

German minister makes brief stop in Gaza Strip
AP 9 Dec — Germany’s development minister has made a brief visit to the Gaza Strip to inaugurate a sewage plant in the territory whose refurbishment was funded by Berlin. Dirk Niebel’s ministry said he also laid the cornerstone Sunday for a school to be run by the UN Relief and Works Agency. Germany doesn’t deal with Hamas, which rules Gaza and which Israel, the US and European Union list as a terrorist organization. Niebel’s ministry says he met later Sunday with an Israeli major-general responsible for coordinating activities in the Palestinian territories.,7340,L-4317603,00.html

nicer things, Gaza / Eva Bartlett
In Gaza 8 Dec — …It’s a tight taxi ride, the 2 front passenger seats occupied by a father and his infant son on the way to Shifa hospital for something related to the ill boy. Another man get in, taking the 2nd seat. Near the end of the ride, the child wakes, face red from sleep and illness, lined with the pattern of his father’s coat. The driver, a stranger, extends his arm and gently strokes the child’s cheek, a gesture any Palestinian male or female does here without a second thought. No accusations, no dirty looks from worried parents. Children are loved here and parental duties like picking up a fallen child are more-or-less shared by whoever happens to be nearest.

Unusual jobs highlight restricted choices of Gaza youth
BBC 10 Dec — Newsnight’s Tim Whewell talks to two young people whose jobs highlight the peculiarities of life in the Gaza Strip – Muhammad, who works in the smuggling tunnels into Egypt, and Madeline, who is the only woman in a fishing fleet restricted to trawling the waters inside the Israeli blockade. It is not even dawn in Rafah, at the southern extremity of the Gaza Strip, when Busaina Ismail leans over her sleeping son Muhammad and tries, with difficulty, to rouse him. It is a duty she says she dreads because she is sending him for another day’s work in a place where many young men have been buried alive – the network of smuggling tunnels that run under the Gaza-Egypt border.

A different kind of combat at Gaza paintball zone
GAZA CITY (AFP) 10 Dec — Deadly weapons are hardly in short supply in the Gaza Strip, but at this paintball center in the coastal Palestinian territory, the arms are strictly non-lethal. “You’re not here to make war, but to have fun,” the young instructor tells customers as he hands out paintball guns stocked with cartridges that are propelled toward their target by compressed air inside the weapons … “On the Internet, I’ve seen people dressed in fatigues playing in centers that have been transformed into urban war zones,” says Mohammed, one of the younger players. That would be unthinkable in Gaza, Abu Audeh points out. “If I started handing out uniforms, the site would look like a military training group and it wouldn’t be long before Israeli drones would reduce the place to ashes!” he says.

Israeli Racism / Discrimination

In Israel, democracy is delayed for Bedouin
Haaretz 10 Dec by Or Kashti — It is hard to break free from the idea that there are those in the Interior Ministry who don’t want there to be elections in Abu Basma — Last week, 27 local authorities held elections; it was democracy in action. Only in one regional council did the Interior Ministry cancel the basic right to choose and be chosen: the Abu Basma council in the northern Negev, which is run by Jewish officials, as it has been since its establishment a decade ago – even though the council governs a population consisting entirely of Bedouin residents. This is not the first time the elections in Abu Basma have been canceled, but as opposed to previous times, this year the decision was made only a month and a half before the date of the election.

Israeli Arab sues real estate company for discrimination
Haaretz 10 Dec by Jack Khoury — An Acre resident is suing the Israel Lands Administration and a real estate company building a residential project in the city because, he says, it refused to sell him an apartment because he is Arab. Sami Hawary, whose story has been documented by the investigative television series “Byurokratya” (“Bureaucracy” ), is seeking NIS 67,000 in compensation. A sales representative for Moshe Hadif Building and Investments was recorded telling an investigator for the Channel 10 show, hosted by Dov Gilhar, that “We aren’t bringing in Arabs” to buy apartments in the project.

Arab disability claims get lost in translation
Haaretz 9 Dec by Netta Ahituv — The National Insurance Institute permits non-Hebrew speaking benefit applicants to be accompanied by an interpreter. But when it comes to the residents of East Jerusalem, words are one thing and actions another — …”On one of the occasions I accompanied an individual to a psychological review committee, I wasn’t allowed in to assist with the translation of medical questions, and the candidate’s responses to them,” relates Amal Abbas, project coordinator and area researcher for Physicians for Human Rights. “That same person’s application for disability benefits for his mental illness was rejected. In fact, all cases of mental illness that were treated by us while I was working for HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual were rejected by the committee.”

Why is the birth rate in Israel’s Ethiopian community declining?
Haaretz 9 Dec by Talila Nesher — Women say that while waiting in transit camps in Ethiopia they were coaxed into agreeing to injections of long-acting birth control drugs …The birth rate among Israel’s Ethiopian immigrant population has dropped nearly 20 percent in 10 years. According to the report, the women were given the Depo Provera injections in the family planning workshops in transit camps, a practice that continued once they reached Israel.

Activism / Solidarity

After assault on Gaza, Palestinians join Native Americans on Alcatraz Island
Indybay 10 Dec by Sharat G. Lin — The annual sunrise gathering on Alcatraz Island, led by Native Americans on Thanksgiving Day, included a Palestinian delegation marking the solidarity between indigenous peoples of North America and Palestine in the face of histories of occupation and second-class citizenship … In view of the 65-year history of Palestinian suffering from ethnic cleansing and occupation, Native Americans now recognize Palestinians as an indigenous people, most of whom have been forcibly exiled from their homeland.

Vincent Harding meets young nonviolent protesters in the West Bank
Denver Post 9 Dec — Speaking up for Palestinians is not popular. But at age 81, veteran civil-rights leader Vincent Harding minces no words. “Lots of things are not popular,” he said, “but if they are true, they have to be said.”  Harding, a friend of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., recently returned from a peace-building mission to Israel and the West Bank with a delegation of civil-rights leaders from across the nation. The group included young activists, educators and clergy, with 12 African-Americans and eight Jews, including Brian Walt, an Ithaca, N.Y., rabbi who grew up under apartheid in South Africa, and Alan Gilbert,a University of Denver professor who teaches conflict resolution and theories of nonviolence. The trip was the first major international initiative of the Dorothy Cotton Institute, an organization founded in 2010 to promote civil and human rights around the world. It is named for the only woman on King’s executive staff. Cotton also was part of the delegation.

Political developments

PA to sanction Hamas anniversary event in West Bank
NABLUS (Ma’an) 10 Dec — The Palestinian Authority has officially agreed to allow a Hamas festival commemorating the movement’s 25th anniversary in the West Bank, an independent politician said Monday. Khalil Assaf, who heads a Palestinian forum of independent figures, said Hamas would organize a festival in Nablus on Thursday. Hamas leaders will deliver speeches, with the sanction of the Fatah-dominated West Bank government.

Hamas celebrates its inception in West Bank for the 1st time in 5 years
WEST BANK (PIC) 10 Dec — Hamas called on the Palestinian people and all its members and supporters, in al-Khalil and Nablus, to participate in the events that will take place on Thursday and Friday in the two districts, to celebrate the movement’s 25th anniversary. Hamas announced that a mass rally will be launched from Al Nasr mosque in Nablus on Thursday afternoon towards the Shuhada Square in the city center, where an oratory festival will be held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas under the title of “The Shale Stones” and with the participation of different forces and factions. The movement also announced in al-Khalil Governorate organizing an event next Friday to celebrate its anniversary …
The West Bank cities have not experienced any event to commemorate the founding of Hamas since the beginning of 2007, as the Palestinian Authority prevented that.

Israeli prime minister accuses world of ‘deafening silence’ over hostile Hamas rhetoric
JERUSALEM (AP) 10 Dec — Israel‘s prime minister on Monday accused the international community of “deafening silence” in response to recent vows by the head of the Hamas militant group to fight on until the Jewish state is destroyed, and appeared unmoved by the gathering storm of global condemnation of his government’s plans to continue settling the West Bank.

Employees at UNRWA in West Bank protest at the dismissal decisions
RAMALLAH (PIC) 10 Dec — The employees dismissed from their jobs at the UNRWA started on Monday a sit-in in front of the agency’s offices in the various governorates of the West Bank to protest at the dismissal decision against them. The Agency’s administration has dismissed 114 employees in the West Bank, while there are 850 others threatened with dismissal.

Canada, settlements, and Netanyahu’s memory loss
Haaretz 9 Dec by Barak Ravid — Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s office confirms that he spoke on the phone with the Israeli premier about settlement construction, but Netanyahu doesn’t seem to remember this chat with Israel’s good friend.

EU mulling ways to press Israel to ditch settlement expansion plan
Reuters 10 Dec — EU foreign ministers ‘deeply dismayed’ by construction plans, warns of unspecified consequences and says will act accordingly; some officials say options for robust steps against Israel are limited due to lack of unanimity in EU.

Abbas arrives in Ankara
ANKARA 10 Dec (WAFA) — President Mahmoud Abbas Monday arrived in Ankara on a three-day official visit during which he will meet several Turkish senior officials. Abbas is scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Erdogan … Abbas will also give a speech at the Turkish parliament in Ankara

Analysis / Opinion / Human interest

AP tries to put ‘wipe Israel off the map’ into Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s mouth / Ali Abunimah
EI 11 Dec — After the Observer mistranslated a section from Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s speech during his historic visit to Gaza last week, to falsely insert the words “kill Jews,” a report from Josef Federman of the Associated Press (AP) includes this: Making his first trip to the Hamas-ruled territory over the weekend, Mashaal delivered a series of speeches to throngs of supporters vowing to wipe Israel off the map. Although Federman does not attribute the words directly to Meshaal, who did not say them, the phrase “wipe Israel off the map” is notorious and provocative since it is the phrase controversially attributed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and used to falsely claim that Ahmedinejad or Iran had threatened to attack Israel unprovoked to destroy it, which neither has ever done, or would do so if they had the chance.

Why the Bible doesn’t give Israel a claim to the West Bank / Alice Bach
EI 10 Dec — Having a passport stamped with the names Judea and Samaria reminds me of a trip my family made to Disneyworld, where I got a passport stamped Neverland.  That day I met Peter Pan and Wendy. Getting my passport stamped for the West Bank these days, I can hope to stand before the graves of Biblical characters in Samaria and Judea …
In the past 25 years, scholars have begun to argue, following the lead of Niels Lemche of the University of Copenhagen, that the gap between the first written fixation of the Biblical texts, beginning some time after the Exile in 587 BC, and the occurrence of these events is too great to accept the tradition as a primary source for the reconstruction of the Israelite past. Why is this statement so central to our continuing study of this land today? Because it frees the Western scholarly “search for ancient Israel” to examine the history of the entire region, including the all-important search for a Palestinian history that has been overshadowed, intentionally erased, by those who ignored the social history of the indigenous people of Syro-Palestine.

Diamonds are Israel’s best friend / Pierre Klochendler
ACRE, Northern Israel, Dec 9 2012 (IPS) – While Israelis aren’t new to the diamond trade, they’re fairly novice in diamond mining. Inspired by the words of a revered Rabbi who prophesied that gems are buried in the Promised Land, Shefa Yamim, the country’s first exploration and mining company, hopes to unearth huge diamonds deposits. Somewhere along the tributaries of the Kishon River which nourish the Carmel Heights, unperturbed by the fallouts of Israel’s recent military operation on the Hamas Islamist movement in Gaza some 170 kilometres south, an intriguing quest is taking place after diamond deposits, at the exact location where science and faith could finally meet … For the past decade, the exploration and mining company has been rummaging through the land, hoping to confirm a prophecy made some 9,000 kilometres away and over two decades ago by a rabbi revered by his followers as being the Messiah. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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