Israeli settlement binge continues: 1,500 new Jewish-only homes approved in East Jerusalem

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Israel approves 1,500 more settler homes in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 17 Dec — Israel approved plans to build 1,500 more Jewish settler homes in East Jerusalem on Monday, an official said, days after provoking international protests against a project for another 3,000 such homes on land it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. Washington had condemned the latest plans, for ultra-Orthodox neighborhood Ramat Shlomo, when they were published during a 2010 visit by US Vice President Joe Biden.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548831

Abbas orders UN envoy to complain to Security Council over settlements
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Dec — President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed UN envoy Riyad Mansour to contact representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to stop Israeli settlement plans in East Jerusalem. Israel on Monday approved plans to build 1,500 more Jewish settler homes in East Jerusalem on Monday, an official said, days after provoking international protests against a project for another 3,000 such homes on land in the city. An aide to Abbas said the president was furious at the announcement and instructed Mansour to immediately contact the UN envoys of the US, UK, Russia, China and France.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548844

In Pictures: West Bank Bedouins
Al Jazeera 17 Dec by Tanya Habjouqa — Israel’s plans to expand settlements in the E1 corridor represent a threat to poor Palestinian Bedouin communities.
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2012/12/20121217125028262988.html

Israeli tourism ministry to carry out new settlement project in Silwan district
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 17 Dec — Wadi Hilwa information center said the Israeli ministry of tourism intends to carry out a new settlement project in Hawsh Qaraeen road in Silwan district, east of occupied Jerusalem. In a press release, the center stated that the Israeli ministry of tourism in collaboration with other Zionist institutions would initiate the project of tiling Hawsh Qaraeen road and changing its infrastructure. The center affirmed that this project is aimed to serve the Jewish settlers, where it would connect this road with the tourist pathway known as Al-Baten in Wadi Hilweh.  The popular committee of Wadi Hilweh natives strongly denounced this project and denied it would be road improvements as the Israeli ministry claimed. It added that the Israeli occupation authority does not make repairs and improvements in the alleys and roads of Wadi Hilweh neighborhood and all its projects only take place in annexed areas used by Jewish settlers or tourists.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s757juu3zN%2bLUiAqNL00WvAqUr8qeoO3AobhtudSbH969YaNMV%2fXH0iy6Y%2f9PlWUKUoQB%2bikiYFK%2f9LvV4Zo3YIiod3G8QaozH12wVMwprJiI%3d

Israel to evict settlers from 4 Hebron homes
JERUSALEM (AP) 17 Dec — The Israeli government says it will evict two Jewish settler families from property they seized in the volatile West Bank city of Hebron. As part of a campaign to tighten Jewish control of Hebron, two settler families took over four stalls in the town’s Arab wholesale market a decade ago and turned them into homes. The plots are owned by a Jewish family that left the city before Jordan took it over in the late 1940s. Palestinians have been renting it since as protected tenants. On Monday, Israel it would clear the homes by April 24. It did not rule out the settlers’ request to transfer the property to other Jews because the property belongs to Jews.
http://news.yahoo.com/israel-evict-settlers-4-hebron-homes-121800429.html

IOF soldiers comb western Jenin in search of water wells
JENIN (PIC) 17 Dec — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) combed the plain of Marj Bin Amer to the west of Jenin district searching for water wells dug by Palestinian farmers to irrigate their cultivated land. Local sources said that IOF soldiers mounting armored vehicles stormed the plain with maps in their possession and started combing the region after taking photos of it. They said that the soldiers interrogated a number of farmers in areas west of three Jenin villages about how they irrigate their farms. The sources noted that the soldiers took shots of a number of those water wells and warned farmers that many of them would be demolished soon.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7Lqaw9JfrepUQqkCy1WhBdybfCV0DEH5AXJICP3oXc7C%2bBYldGoXpQmu69scUn4n8U4Z8G6oj2YKUvCN72%2fkovaKmRwxsBl17Gqon5pYwKj0%3d

Sewage from West Bank settlement pollutes Palestinian fields
Haaretz 16 Dec — Raw sewage from the ultra-Orthodox town of Betar Ilit in the West Bank overflowed this month and polluted fields cultivated by Palestinian farmers who live in the village of Wadi Fukhin below. Alerted to the issue, a settler from Gush Etzion came to the aid of the Palestinians and petitioned the Betar Ilit mayor to take a stand. The sewage overflow began two weeks ago after a malfunction in the Betar Ilit delivery facility. According to residents of the Palestinian village, the leak continued for about 10 days. The sewage flowed for about a kilometer, ultimately reaching Ein Tzadik, a spring that serves the inhabitants of the village. That water was then polluted … According to Ali Sukar, who lives in the village and had fields damaged by the runoff, this is not the first time there has been such an overflow. The difference this time, however, is that in the past the flows tended to last less than a day.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/sewage-from-west-bank-settlement-pollutes-palestinian-fields-1.485147

Violence / Incursions / Clashes / Illegal arrests

Three people shot in Madama, Palestine
ISM 17 Dec — Israeli settlers, then the Israeli army violently attacked the village of Madama, near Nablus, West Bank. Three people were shot with live ammunition and one person was kidnapped by Israeli settlers. It all started at 10.30 this morning when two brothers and their sister were attacked by a group of Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar. The three Palestinians were with sheep on the hills above Madama when the settlers attacked. Two were shot and have been taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. One of the brothers was hit in the head by settlers, who then took him into the settlement where we believe he currently remains against his will. All three were aged between 20 and 30 years old. Youth from the village went to the aid of the three siblings, and were met by the Israeli Army. Over the course of approximately five hours, soldiers fired live ammunition, tear gas, and stun grenades at Palestinian youth armed only with stones. A further two Palestinians were seriously injured in the clash, one shot in the leg with live ammunition and another was hit by a tear gas canister. The army also arrested one Palestinian. A Red Crescent medic at the scene said since the successful UN state bid he had seen a dramatic rise in wounds resulting from the fire of live ammunition.
http://palsolidarity.org/2012/12/violent-clashes-follow-settler-attack-madama/

Clashes erupt as Israeli forces raid Jenin village
JENIN (Ma‘an) 17 Dec –  Israeli forces on Monday raided Jaba‘ village in the northern West Bank, leading to clashes with locals. Five army jeeps entered Jaba village at around noon, and young men pelted soldiers with stones and bottles as soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets, witnesses told Ma‘an. Soldiers ransacked several houses, including the homes of Mahmoud Awwad, Radi Fashafsha and Ziad Alawna, and took photographs of a girls’ school, a mosque, a coffee shop and two houses, locals said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548681

Israeli forces make multiple arrests in the West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Dec — Israeli forces detained 10 people across the West Bank overnight Sunday, locals and Israel’s army said. Four men were detained in the Ramallah village of Beit Rima, locals said, with clashes breaking out following the arrest of Ibrahim, Firas and Muhammad Rimawi. Another man was injured while being detained and taken to hospital for treatment, witnesses said….
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548584

IOF kidnap 15 Palestinians, 11 of them today in West Bank
NABLUS (PIC) 17 Dec — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday and Monday stormed different areas of the West Bank and kidnapped 15 Palestinian civilians during violent raids on their homes. Eyewitnesses from Balata refugee camp in Nablus city reported that Israeli troops at dawn Monday broke into and ransacked the house of Farid Masimi, the principal of the UNRWA boys school of Balata, and took him in chain to an unknown destination …
Meanwhile, a municipal source from the Ramallah village of Nabi Saleh also reported the kidnapping of Abdulhakim Tamimi, an anti-settlement activist, and his brother. The source noted that the troops demolished the house of Tamimi in Nabi Saleh after midnight on Monday and released the brother of Tamimi after hours of interrogations….
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7GGabzmOWVb40PVwocujIWC2m9KheQAwxuKGk2gc%2fqaPsyDhvxw4%2bwKSPgC1aHQliBA%2bUJxe3fRNoXWkjyy1DP2MQChCpbNJ0uIrVZKFxV58%3d

Homes searched during Israeli incursion in H1 Hebron
ISM 17 Dec — One Palestinian was arrested and many were harassed by Israeli soldiers on Sunday evening between 6pm and 7:30 pm during an incursion into the Palestinian Authority controlled area of Hebron. Israeli occupation forces entered the Tel Rumeida area in H1. Homes and shops were searched, and a Palestinian teenager was restrained in handcuffs and blindfolded. The targeting of this person did  not appear to be based on any evidence. The soldiers’ illegal actions were an aggressive response to an incident in which a Palestinian allegedly threw a glass bottle at a watchtower. During the excursion families, ranging from infants to elderly men and women, were made to stand on the street, vehicles were stopped and searched by the soldiers, and businessmen were made to come out of their places of work for interrogation. The soldiers tried to raid one apartment that is rented by internationals despite possessing no legal documents authorizing a search. The civilians filmed as much of the harassment as possible in the dark and were repeatedly instructed to move 30, then 40 metres away.
http://palsolidarity.org/2012/12/homes-searched-during-israeli-incursion-in-h1-hebron/

Video contradicts Israel occupation soldiers’ account of Hebron teen’s killing
EI 18 Dec by Ali Abunimah — The Israeli army has released an edited video clip to support its version of the events leading up to the fatal shooting of Muhammad al-Salaymeh on his 17th birthday by Israeli occupation forces in Hebron on the evening of Wednesday, 12 December. Israel has claimed that al-Salaymeh had threatened its occupation soldiers with a gun that was discovered after they shot him to be a toy. But the grainy 54-second video, whose authenticity cannot be independently verified, raises more questions than it answers and is inconsistent with accounts the shooter gave to Israeli media.
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-contradicts-israeli-occupation-soldiers-account-hebron-teens-killing

Israeli army releases video of Dec 12 killing of Palestinian youth at Hebron checkpoint
Mondoweiss 17 Dec — The Israeli military has released, on an Arabic YouTube channel, this surveillance video of the shooting of Mohammed Salayme last Wednesday, Dec. 12, at a checkpoint in Hebron. The captions on the video describe a “Palestinian male” arriving at the checkpoint — the “border police” — talking to an officer, then attacking that officer. Then the male is “neutralized” by others. Gunfire is clearly visible. In earlier accounts, the Israelis said that Salayme was carrying a toy gun and threatened the border police before an officer fired six shots at him. Does anyone see a gun in Salayme’s hand? He appears to be swinging a plastic bag. Also Allison Deger notes that there is a skip in the video at second 24 or so. Was something edited out?
http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/israeli-army-releases-video-of-dec-12-killing-of-palestinian-youth-at-hebron-checkpoint.html

How an embroidered girl’s dress became a terror suspect / Amira Hass
Haaretz 16 Dec — Recent IDF raids on Palestinian NGOs show how absurdly lax the definition of terrorism is — Israel Defense Forces troops conducted a predawn raid on Palestinian nongovernmental organizations in Ramallah on Tuesday. IDF raids in cities and villages throughout the West Bank, along with nighttime arrests of people in their homes, happen every day. Therefore, Ramallah residents wondered whether this was just a matter of routine military bureaucracy, which always searches for accessible targets, or whether there was a special message in raiding the offices of civil-society organizations: Addameer, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; the Union of Palestinian Women Committees; and the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network … The simultaneous raids on the two buildings lasted about an hour and a half. The soldiers left behind broken doors, file folders and their contents strewn all over the floor, cupboards that had been forced open, empty drawers and torn-up posters (featuring, for instance, hunger striking prisoners or maps of Palestine). The soldiers left Addameer with four laptop computers, a video camera, a hard drive, and business cards belonging to employees of the organization, which supplies legal aid to many Palestinian detainees at military courts. Other computers in the office were not confiscated … Experience teaches that the security agencies don’t return such confiscated equipment, even after all the data they contain have been copied … The UPWC office’s cash box contained NIS 3,000, but the money was nowhere to be found after the raid, one of its employees told Haaretz on Wednesday..
http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/how-an-embroidered-girl-s-dress-became-a-terror-suspect.premium-1.485005

Gaza

Israeli gunboats fire at Gaza fishermen
MEMO 17 Dec — Israeli gunboats continue to harass and fire at Palestinian fishermen, despite the ceasefire which brought an end to Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip last month. In the latest incident off the Gaza coast on Monday, an Israeli vessel fired at a fishing boat, injuring the fisherman and detaining his son. The wounded man was named as Mas’ad Bakr, aged 36; he was taken to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon where his injuries are said to be “moderate”. The Israeli gunboat towed Mr. Bakr’s boat, along with his son Mohamed, 20, to an unknown destination.
http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/4841-israeli-gunboats-fire-at-gaza-fishermen

Head of Gaza Border Agency refuses entry to UN mission
MEMO 17 Dec — The Head of the Gaza Border Agency, Maher Abu-Sabha, has refused entry to the EU Mission charged with monitoring the border with Egypt at Rafah. The Mission was planning to return to Gaza after an absence of six years. Speaking to a Palestinian newspaper, Abu-Sabha insisted that the Rafah Crossing is Palestinian and is under absolute Palestinian sovereignty. “There is no need for an EU mission in Rafah,” he said … “Why does the EU think that it needs to come back?” asked Abu-Sabha. “Didn’t it abandon Palestinian patients who needed the mission’s help to cross the border for treatment abroad?” According to Abu-Sabha, hundreds of Palestinian patients have died since the closure of the crossing in 2006, when the EU mission stopped its work.
http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/4839-head-of-gaza-border-agency-refuses-entry-to-eu-mission

From Manama to Gaza: Solidarity between Bahrain and Palestine
Al-Akhbar 16 Dec by Yazan al-Saadi — As the Bahraini monarchy eagerly seeks to befriend Israel, the citizens of Bahrain have taken a different route, seeing parallels between theirs and Palestinians’ struggle against repression. A recent solidarity trip to Gaza by Bahraini medical officials is testament to the links that can’t be stymied by governments. “Palestinians are in our heart since birth. It is in the heart of all Bahrainis. It is the central cause for all Arabs and Muslims — to the extent that [we are willing] to be a martyr for Palestine,” Dr. Nabeel Tammam tells Al-Akhbar. Tammam is one of Bahrain’s leading otolaryngologist, or ear, nose, and throat, consultants.
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/manama-gaza-solidarity-between-bahrain-and-palestine

PHOTOS: ‘National Geographic’ and the Gaza Strip / Ahmed Moor
Mondoweiss 17 Dec — There’s an exceptionally good story about Gaza published in December’s National Geographic. The writer, James Verini, captures the reality of the Strip in somber colors. He also humanizes the Palestinians in ways few other mainstream publications have managed to do: ‘Our interpreter, Ayman, told us that after the airport was built, he was so proud of it that he took his family there on weekends for picnics. “Look at the destruction,” he said, shaking his head. “Everything. Everything is … destructed.” “Destructed” is a favorite malapropism of Ayman’s. It’s apt. “Destroyed” doesn’t quite capture the quality of ruination in Gaza. “Destructed,” with its ring of inordinate purpose, does.’
http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/national-geographic-and-the-gaza-strip.html

Prisoners / Court actions

The occupation puts 10-year-old child on trial
JENIN (PIC) 17 Dec — The occupation authorities have transferred today two children from the village of Kafr Dan west of Jenin, to a military Court for trial, to join dozens of other Palestinian children held in the Israeli occupation jails. The family of the two detained children appealed to human rights organizations and to the international movement for the defense of children to immediately intervene and release the children … The family also revealed that occupation forces had arrested the two brothers from the agricultural lands in the area of Marj Ibn Amer a few days ago, and then had taken them to an unknown destination.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7hexKVriHvxDUefcbOKpN3sWFG6cnkzRAZrmbYqrAnaEzAYcM%2bxTiDIwG5bHiIPnkYjTwOMCwWvRb8aQsXHA53BYItTQEzrjB%2bpq%2bgYk3H%2fw%3d

IPS pressures hunger strikers
JENIN (PIC) 17 Dec — The Israeli prison service (IPS) has been pressuring Palestinian hunger strikers to dissuade them from continuing their strike, Muhjat Al-Quds Foundation said on Monday. The foundation, mainly catering for prisoners and their families, said that the IPS and the Israeli Shabak sent representatives to negotiate with three hunger striking prisoners. It said that the prisoners Tarek Qadan, Jafar Ezzeddin, and Yousef Yassin refused the Israeli offer to reduce their sentence to three months administrative detention after which they would be released in return for ending their hunger strike. The prisoners said they wanted written guarantees or a verdict by the Israeli higher court otherwise they refuse any offer, the foundation said.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7E7qexK%2f481NxqsHQAjQxZQ%2fSjIKmRdi8HxbwAhsnbRNpQGo7X5q7CpEJRxIBgjnNOIS38QL9jZB2pocGac1o0rYtXvCPFYmwFKngfH1yZic%3d

‘My brother is dying’: an urgent appeal from the family of hunger striker Samer Issawi
EI 17 Dec by Malaka Mohammed – Samer Issawi has just turned 33. He spent his birthday on hunger strike. On Sunday I phoned his sister Shireen. “Save Samer, he is dying,” was the first thing she said. Samer had gone without food for 138 days. “The last news we got was on 14 December when the Israeli occupation court refused to release Samer on bail …”No one has met or spoken to him since his current arrest. I have seen him on Thursday [13 December] when he appeared in court. He looked like a skeleton sitting in a wheelchair, and he can’t move or walk. My brother was put in the slaughterhouse of Ramleh Prison Hospital during his first month of the strike. A month later he was put in a small cell as a punishment. He suffered the solitary confinement in a two-meter square room, meant to pressure him to end his strike.” “Where is he now?” I asked. “He is still in a small dark room in Assaf Harofeh hospital…”
http://electronicintifada.net/content/my-brother-dying-urgent-appeal-family-hunger-striker-samer-issawi/12011

Sit-in in solidarity with the striker prisoners in Tunisia
TUNISIA (PIC) 18 Dec — The Tunisian Association to Support Palestine has organized, on Monday in Sousse Coast, Tunisia, a sit-in in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers in parallel with the electronic media campaign in support of hunger striking prisoners in Israeli jails.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7o%2feevGLptiPjgg3w66e0rV0sFxcyaMPz0M%2bXSwSsGzwDZd%2bQNBJ9s7DJyyywR0j4sfwn5zBohJYMFHDMnSmhmiXcL2xfxVO23sFPOZ9Dkgs%3d

Occupation postpones trial of three female prisoners
JENIN (PIC) 17 Dec — The Israeli occupation authorities have postponed the date for trial of three Palestinian female prisoners for the mid of next January. The Tadhamun Foundation for human rights said in a statement on Monday that Salem military Court has postponed the trial of the two female captives Nawal Said Saadi and Mona Hussein Ka’adan for the mid of next month. The Israeli intelligence service has accused the two prisoners of providing services and transferring funds for the benefit of the Islamic Jihad movement in the West Bank, which the prisoners have denied. The Israeli occupation forces had arrested al-Saadi, the wife of leader in the Islamic Jihad and prisoner Bassam al-Saadi, on the 5th of November 2012 after breaking into her home in the Jenin refugee camp.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7qACwe6MilvBDq7M0M6xlG9%2fGoj6xejLsQuKu5SxRYUWn2kScGqVzge3jr5excOChPw%2b%2b3gT0tH89NfDVh47Hncq8VHFiglpLcgbqzyMRe5c%3d

Israel renews administrative detention term for 6th time
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Dec — Israeli prison authorities renewed the administrative detention of a Palestinian detainee for the sixth time on Monday, a prisoners’ rights group said. Israeli officials from Ofer prison called relatives of Omar Barghouti to inform them that his administrative detention would be extended by another four months, Addameer prisoners group told Ma‘an. Barghouti was arrested in the village of Kobar, near Ramallah, on Oct. 24, 2010.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548597

Man indicted for Fogel family murder.
Ynet 16 Dec — The Judea and Samaria Military Court has indicted Yaziz Awad, from the West Bank town of Awarta near Nablus, for his involvement in the 2011 Fogel family murder. Awad was indicted for harboring the killers, Hakim and Amjad Awad, in the days following the murder, in addition to illegally possessing two M-16 rifles stolen during the attack.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4320662,00.html

Refugees

Syrian rebels take over Palestinian camp in Damascus
Reuters 18 Dec — Syrian rebels took full control of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus on Monday after days of fighting, rebel and Palestinian sources said. The battle had pitted rebels, backed by some Palestinians, against Palestinian fighters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) loyal to President Bashar Assad. Many of the PFLP-GC fighters had defected to the rebel side on Saturday after their leader Ahmed Jibril left the camp, rebel sources said.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4321243,00.html

Video: Fighting rages in Palestinian camp in Damascus
17 Dec — Many residents of a neighbourhood mostly inhabited by Palestinian refugees in the Syrian capital are fleeing their homes. Fighting is raging between Palestinian factions loyal to and opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0AIcwl3H_xs#!

PLO officials: Thousands flee Damascus camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Dec — Over half the Palestinian population of a Damascus refugee camp has fled, a PLO official said Monday, after Syrian forces killed 25 people in an aerial attack a day earlier. PLO official in Syria Anwar Abdul-Hadi told Ma’an that Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk camp had been suffering terrible conditions during recent fighting between rebels and Palestinian fighters aligned with the Syrian regime. Palestinian civilians have sought refuge in nearby schools, mosques and United Nations buildings, Abdul-Hadi said, adding that President Mahmoud Abbas had been updated about the latest developments. The Syrian regime has pledged not to attack Yarmouk refugee camp again, the PLO official said … An activist in the camp said airstrikes continued on Monday, destroying al-Jurmoq and al-Mansura schools.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548539

Palestinians flood into Lebanon after Damascus fighting
MASNAA, Lebanon (Reuters) 17 Dec — Hundreds of Palestinian refugees living in Syria flooded into Lebanon on Monday after clashes raged between Palestinian factions loyal to and opposed to President Bashar Assad in a district of Damascus. A Reuters witness at the border said they came in buses and cars piled high with belongings. A Lebanese security source said the refugees from Damascus’ Yarmouk Camp suburb had tried to flee on Sunday but the road was blocked by fighting.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548795

Islamic Jihad: Bombing the Yarmouk refugee camp is a criminal act
RAMALLAH (PIC) 17 Dec — The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine condemned “the criminal bombing” of the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus, by the Syrian regime on Sunday … The Islamic Jihad called on all Arabs and Muslims as well as the free world to assume their responsibilities by stopping the bloodshed in lines of the Palestinian refugees as well as the Syrian people, and putting an end to “the ordeal and the current tragedy” witnessed by Syria and its people. A Syrian MIG fighter jet bombed a mosque and a school in the center of the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in Damascus on Sunday, killing at least 25 people and injuring 60 others. Syria is the home of more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees, most of them living in Yarmouk.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s76LQyCspu50SPkwFFZK7j6OCGdkTi4gjmqcyGqV4DbMlN%2fGKmA%2f61al2E3G4RynyYXnZ4eGaMz72LtR3qqYfRVI3is3Y%2bhPbWut1Z6683C7M%3d

Refugee camps to escalate UNRWA protests
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Dec — The heads of popular committees in refugee camps across the West Bank met Monday in Ramallah and agreed to escalate protests against UNRWA. Demonstrators will shut down all UNRWA offices on Tuesday to protest the dismissal of over 100 staff at the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the committee chairman said. UNRWA says it is unable to renew the contracts of 114 employees due to a reduction in donor funding, on which the agency relies.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548830

Dismissed UNRWA employees protest in Bethlehem tent
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Dec — Former employees of UNRWA are protesting their dismissal in a tent in Duheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem … Hussein Shamarkha, 40, worked as a an assistant physiotherapist for UNRWA for 12 years on a temporary contract that has not been renewed. Shamarkha is protesting his dismissal at the tent in Duheisha camp, where he lives with his five children in his father’s home. His father was displaced from Zakariyya in 1948 during the creation of the state of Israel. He has served al-Amari, al-Jalazoun and Qalandia refugee camps for UNRWA. Previously Shamarkha worked as a physiotherapist at hospitals in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and al-Khader. Sharmarkha has a brain tumor and pays around $200 a month in medical bills.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548575

Factions / Unity

Poll: Sharp increase in Hamas’s popularity following Gaza war
RAMALLAH (PIC) 17 Dec — A poll conducted [13-15 Dec] by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip showed a noticeable increase in Hamas’s popularity … It pointed out that Gaza premier and Hamas leader Ismail Haneyya would win a presidential race if it was to be held today against current president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. The PSR said that Hamas would win more seats in parliamentary elections compared to the findings of a previous poll in September … The poll also displayed a big increase in optimism about a possible national reconciliation that would restore unity to the Palestinian arena and end the current division between Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7THzd0oIWer7LEmyeDqUGdMJ%2bt83MOJB8XGSiTHMPqcxjevdRBVFYs0H%2fPeF5odYrBCIGIOyQgMRXiu%2f2IYfkxbjbZBEkDQEEMml9LhmphMg%3d

Palestinian poll: Hamas’ Haniyeh would win PA presidency over Abbas
Haaretz 17 Dec by Amira Hass — New poll by Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research finds that Barghouti would win in face off with Hamas leader; in the aftermath of recent Gaza offensive,popularity of Hamas leader is highest since 2008.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/palestinian-poll-hamas-haniyeh-would-win-pa-presidency-over-abbas.premium-1.485429

Hamas: Fatah can celebrate anniversary in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Dec — The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior has agreed to allow Fatah to celebrate its 48th anniversary in Gaza, a ministry spokesman said Monday. Islam Shahwan said government authorities would contact Fatah members to coordinate arrangements for the festival, adding that Hamas would permit the celebrations “to promote the atmosphere of unity.” Earlier, Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Aita said Hamas had refused a request to hold the anniversary festival in Gaza City’s al-Katiba Square.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548805

Israeli Racism / Discrimination

Racism and discrimination key to Jewish hegemony in Jerusalem / Ben White
MEMO 15 Dec by Ben White — Imagine if the mayor of a major British city declared it official policy to keep the number of ethnic or religious minority residents as a proportion of the population below a certain ratio. In Jerusalem, this is not a hypothetical nightmare but the reality under Mayor Nir Barkat. In 2010, Barkat told a Knesset meeting that the number of Palestinian residents in Jerusalem poses a “strategic threat“, citing a 70-30 Jewish majority as “the government’s goal”. A spokesperson later asserted the mayor’s belief that “Jerusalem should remain a city with a Jewish majority” (a position Barkat confirmed himself in a 2011 BBC interview). A US diplomatic cable noted that the mayor’s “comments reflect long-standing [Government of Israel] policy regarding the desired demographic balance in Jerusalem”. Barkat’s views are not exceptional for his office.
http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/4832-racism-and-discrimination-key-to-jewish-hegemony-in-jerusalem

Four Women of the Wall arrested amid escalation of restrictions on Jewish women’s rights
Haaretz 15 Dec — Jewish group claims new decree was issued Friday morning, forbidding women from entering the plaza with Jewish holy articles, tallit and tefilin; World Union for Progressive Judaism calls for third prayer section at Western Wall where men and women can pray together.
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/four-women-of-the-wall-arrested-amid-escalation-of-restrictions-on-jewish-women-s-rights.premium-1.484966

State had one week to appeal release of South Sudanese migrant but tried to deport him instead
Haaretz 17 Dec — Attempt to deport asylum seeker, after he was freed from court, was foiled by the man’s attorney … Dangyut, married with five children, was arrested on November 7 in a raid by the Immigration Police on his home in Bat Yam. The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court declared one of his children, a 12-year-old boy, a “dependent minor” and ordered him transferred to a boarding school … Welfare authorities are in contact with the Interior Ministry in an attempt to have the family granted temporary humanitarian status so they can remain here. In response, the Interior Ministry claimed that no connection between Dangyut and the mother of the children, or with the children themselves, had ever been proved, so there was no obstacle to his deportation.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/state-had-one-week-to-appeal-release-of-south-sudanese-migrant-but-tried-to-deport-him-instead.premium-1.485204

Political, economic developments / Other news

Israel complains to Washington about ‘weak’ security coordination with PA
MEMO 17 Dec — Israel has complained to the United States about what it alleges is “weak” security coordination with the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. This vulnerability is, claim the Israelis, an obvious security risk given the fragile situation in the West Bank, the [illegal] settlements and their surroundings. Well-informed Palestinian sources told the media that President Mahmoud Abbas has stopped his security agencies’ prosecution of Hamas members, including arrests and confiscation of weapons and money, at a time when calls for a third Intifada are on the increase. The sources said that Israel was responding to Washington’s demands that the Netanyahu government should hand over the tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority so that the PA can pay salaries, especially to its security services.
http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/4837-israel-complains-to-washington-about-qweakq-security-coordination-with-pa

Public sector union announces strikes across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Dec — The Palestinian Authority civil servants union on Monday accused Israel of collective punishment for withholding Palestinian tax revenues and announced strike action over non-payment of salaries. Union chief Bassam Zakarneh said government employees would strike from noon Tuesday until the end of the week.Civil servants have not received November salaries and cannot afford transport to get to work, Zakarneh added.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=548798

A Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods won’t hurt Israel
Haaretz 17 Dec by Amira Hass — A closer examination of the figures for Palestinian trade with Israel, of which Fayyad is no doubt well aware, shows that he is thinking about the internal Palestinian political atmosphere and not about damage to the Israeli economy
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/a-palestinian-boycott-of-israeli-goods-won-t-hurt-israel.premium-1.485451

AG: Not enough evidence to disqualify Zoabi
Ynet 18 Dec –  Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has asserted that there is insufficient evidence against Knesset member Hanin Zoabi to warrant her disqualification from the upcoming national elections. The Justice Ministry on Monday released Weinstein’s official legal response to several petitions to ban the Arab MK and Arab parties from the electoral process. The petitioners accused Zoabi of ceaselessly seeking to undermine the State of Israel and incite against its government and army. They further argued that with her actions, including her participation in the Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, Zoabi denied Israel’s Jewish nature, thus forfeiting her candidacy.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4321251,00.html

Israeli embassy’s Christmas message of hate: Bethlehem Palestinians would lynch Jesus / Ali Abinumah
EI 17 Dec — “A thought for Christmas…If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought …” That was the Christmas message posted today, along with a depiction of Jesus and Mary, on the official Facebook page of the Israeli Embassy in Dublin. The message drew immediate criticism from Gary Spedding, an activist with the cross-community Alliance Party in Northern Ireland, and a student at Queens University Belfast, who demanded that the embassy should “apologize for this vile Christmas message of hate and sectarianism.”
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-embassys-christmas-message-hate-bethlehem-palestinians-would-lynch-jesus

Israeli cluster bombs kill farm animals
Al-Akhbar 17 Dec — A large explosion rocked the southern Lebanese town of Tair Harfa on Monday, five kilometers from the Israeli border, killing several farm animals, resident said. There were no human casualties. A Lebanese security source said the blast was caused by an Israeli rocket fired into Lebanon during the 2006 war, that had not detonated … Israel had dropped approximately four million cluster bombs on Southern Lebanon during the war on a country of less than four million residents. More than one million bombs were left unexploded, according to a 2007 Human Rights Watch report.
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/israeli-cluster-bombs-kill-lebanese-farm-animals

US drafts compromise for Lebanon-Israel dispute over natural gas resources
Haaretz 16 Dec — Proposed map, based on versions submitted by both Lebanon and Israel, delineates maritime economic border and defines where each country can search for natural gas … The maritime border between Israel and Lebanon is divided into two: a stretch of 12 nautical miles off the coast, with each country claiming full sovereignty of one side, and an additional stretch of more than 100 miles called the “exclusive economic zone” or economic waters — a territory which has gained strategic importance in recent years, after gas worth billions of dollars was discovered in the area … this is made more challenging by the fact that Israel and Lebanon do not agree on their terrestrial border [and what about Gaza's share?] .
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-s-drafts-compromise-for-lebanon-israel-dispute-over-natural-gas-resources.premium-1.485160

Analysis / Opinion / Human interest

Poll: 67% of centrist Israelis wouldn’t elect party that splits Jerusalem
Haaretz 18 Dec — Two-thirds of centrist voters – defined as Labor Party and Yesh Atid supporters – would not support a party willing to compromise on Jerusalem, according to a poll commissioned by the rightward-leaning Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. And half of Labor Party voters prefer “defensible borders” – defined in Israel to include the Jordan Valley and large settlement blocks – to peace agreements, according to the poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Center, which is headed by the popularizer of the defensible borders concept, former ambassador to the United States Dore Gold. The poll, conducted during November by Mina Tzemach’s Dahaf institute, will be presented next Thursday at the Jerusalem Center’s annual meeting.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/poll-67-of-centrist-israelis-wouldn-t-elect-party-that-splits-jerusalem.premium-1.485476

Most Israelis believe elimination of poverty is more urgent than security
MEMO 17 Dec — The Annual Report of a major Israeli NGO claims that 69 per cent of Israelis believe that poverty is the most urgent problem facing the state and it is more important than security. Issued by latet Israeli Humanitarian Aid, the report said that the acute financial problems among struggling families have a significant political influence. When it comes to choosing a party to vote for in the coming elections, 56 per cent said that policies on poverty will have a significant influence on their choice, while 42 per cent cited the current government as being most responsible for their poverty.
http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/4840-most-israelis-believe-elimination-of-poverty-is-more-urgent-than-security

Roots of Resistance: 25 year retrospective on the first intifada
Mondoweiss — December 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the first intifada. “Roots of Resistance: 25 year retrospective on the first intifada” is a series of reflections and analysis on this milestone in Palestinian history and turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
http://mondoweiss.net/roots-of-resistance-25-year-retrospective-on-the-first-intifada

Worship behind the wall / Karen Jayes
Mail & Guardian (South Africa) 7 Dec — There are not many Muslim tourists in Jerusalem. Most are Christian or Jewish and they move about in large groups on carefully scripted routes. A Muslim woman — me — praying at off-the-beaten-track mosques is unusual enough to elicit surprise among locals and scrutiny from the young, bored and heavily armed Israeli ­soldiers who stop me to check my passport … The grounds of every mosque are holy but the Dome of the Rock (al-Aqsa) mosque in Jerusalem is one of the three of most blessed on Earth. Prayers and good deeds performed there carry special weight. So when Mohamad, a stranger, approaches me in the grounds of the mosque and invites me to meet his family in Bethlehem, I don’t hesitate to accept. A few days later I am on a 40-minute bus ride to Bethlehem being fed toffees by a woman with a bright smile who sits next to me. In West Bank towns, including Jerusalem, public transport is segregated: Arab buses stop at their own terminuses; the tram, a modern European-style train, feeds only the Jewish areas.
http://mg.co.za/article/2012-12-06-worship-behind-the-wall

Borj Rahal: a small town resists occupation
Al-Akhbar 17 Dec — On December 13, residents of the southern Lebanese town of Borj Rahal are celebrating. The town’s people have gathered in the Hussainia, or Shi‘a congregation hall, to fill the place with stories, tears, and memories. It’s the 28th anniversary of its popular resistance against an Israeli raid that aimed to arrest and kill leaders of the military resistance. From 1982 to 1985, the town was occupied by the Israeli military, yet its residents maintained years of resistance to its forces. A video depicting the events of December 13 was screened. The star is Khazna Ghazal, 85. She sits on the rubble of her house, which was demolished by the Israeli bulldozers in revenge against her son Ali Khrais, the Hezbollah MP who was a military resistance leader. She mutters, “The land is ours and you will leave.”
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/borj-rahal-small-town-resists-occupation

Video: “Dancing in Jaffa” film kNow Productions
Dancing In Jaffa is a feature length documentary film that follows Pierre Dulaine’s journey to Jaffa to fulfill his lifelong dream of teaching dance to Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli children, then pairing them in a competition … Dancing in Jaffa is both the story of Pierre’s homecoming to a city challenged by change and that of his 10-year old students’ transformation from reluctant participants in a dance competition to determined performers representing their diverse and divisive community. Through dance, Pierre’s program teaches the children to be proud of who you are, but to respect and embrace others. The film follows 4 children, the way they learn to dance, adapt to their partners, handle the challenges of the competition, and begin to trust one another. Amazing. http://www.dancinginjaffa.com/
http://fantasticdl.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/dancing-in-jaffa-film-know-productions/

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About Kate

American (New Englander); Muslim; A.B., M.A. in political science; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Today in Palestine

{ 3 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Abdul-Rahman says:

    It appears to be becoming more and more likely that, as a whole range of thinkers and analysts including Jeff Halper and co. have noted link to icahd.org that the two-state solution is becoming less and less possible all the time due to the the increase of the illegal settlements. And the real question is simply becoming more and more what kind of a ONE-STATE solution will we have between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea: i.e. will it be the current nightmare of Israeli apartheid or a new day and a new hopeful opportunity in a single democratic state with equal rights for all CITIZENS (think post-apartheid, Mandela led South Africa).

    You will often see Zionist propagandists, at the mention of the One-State Solution, saying things like “that is just your newest plan to destroy the ‘Jewish’ and ‘democratic’ state of Israel!” (putting aside that those two claims about being a “Jewish, democracy” are self-contradictory in the case of the colonizing/apartheid Zionist movement and also how exactly the modern secular Israeli regime is supposedly a “Jewish state” has of course never been adequately explained to start with!). But the reality is these same Zionists supporting the illegal settlements are themselves the ones killing the Two-state solution in front of the whole world and making a One-state solution again more and more inevitable!

  2. amigo says:

    link to haaretz.com

    This is in addition to the above mentioned 1500.

    So that is circa 11000 Jews only illegal squats since the UNGA vote.

    Great stuff Israel .Soon you will have zero allies and the BDS movements will grow exponentially and bury your racist project Zionism in the dirt , where it belongs.

  3. amigo says:

    Correction to my earlier post.

    Israel approves plan for 2,600 new homes in East Jerusalem

    link to haaretz.com